Avoiding Prepping Tunnel Vision – Part 1, by T.Z.

Both news media and social media have the ability to quickly spread information all throughout the world. When news of a disaster reaches preppers, we like to quickly find solutions to mitigate risk to ourselves and our loved ones. However, in their zeal to find solutions, many preppers get tunnel vision. They only focus on one or two kinds of disasters, failing to consider the unanticipated consequences that a disaster might have. It is interesting to note that many preppers stockpile food, water, and ammunition, yet underprepare for the second and third order effects of the disaster. In this essay I will show how to prepare for the unanticipated consequences of disasters, using the novel coronavirus response of 2019 in Wuhan, China and the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 (pictured) as case studies.

While preparing for disasters has been immortalized in post-apocalyptic novels and movies, many preppers are influenced by the dramatic aspects of this literature. Trying to get enough food to feed one’s family, fighting off attackers, and finding a clean source of drinking water dominate the post-apocalyptic literature. It follows that some preppers stock up on food, water, and ammunition at the expense of other important preps. While it is extremely important to have enough sustenance and protection, it is also very important to consider what else you might need – the less dramatic, but equally important preps needed to survive.

Every event has a ripple effect. Disasters are the same way – they do not occur in a vacuum. As an example of this, consider the novel coronavirus. Coronavirus is not new; in fact, a type of coronavirus called severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) became an epidemic in 2003. It quickly spread from Asia to North America, South America, Europe, and Asia before the SARS global outbreak was contained.[1] The novel strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) that is currently spreading throughout the world has spread more quickly and killed more people than the SARS virus of 2003. As it does not currently have a cure or vaccine, governments have been scrambling to prevent the further spread of this deadly virus, and people have reacted with panic. The ripple effect left by COVID-19 continues to bleed further into people’s everyday lives.

This kind of scenario – a viral pandemic – is one that many preppers are concerned about. The plights of those from Wuhan, the city in China where COVID-19 originated, provides some important details that many preppers have not previously considered. Firstly, the hospitals were packed. Unprepared for a new pandemic, hospitals in Wuhan did not have the staffing or space necessary to treat those who were sick. Many patients were turned away, told only to stay inside and minimize contact with those who were healthy. This kind of self-quarantine was doomed to fail, and the virus quickly spread as a result. In previous viral spreads, medical personnel were disproportionally affected by the viruses they were trying to prevent. Due to being in near-constant contact with infected patients, some doctors in Wuhan were unknowingly infected with COVID-19. This hit the news after a newborn baby tested positive for COVID-19, even though he only had contact with doctors.[2]


Due to hospitals being under-prepared for a pandemic, they had a limited amount of personal protective equipment. This led to medical personnel having a higher risk of infection. The overwhelmed hospitals turned more patients away, and body bags were seen in hallways and dead bodies left in wheelchairs.[3] While this was generally hidden from public view, the terrible conditions in the Wuhan hospitals caused more infection and illness than they helped. The people in Wuhan were not prepared for the lack of quality medical care available.

When the Chinese government built makeshift shelters and clinics, they only had enough space to quarantine those who tested positive for, and showed symptoms of, COVID-19. However, the virus is still contagious in infected people before they show symptoms. People who were not quickly identified as infected with COVID-19 could spread the virus to tens of people before they were quarantined. Termed as “super-spreaders,” they infected many more than anticipated.[4] This led to a surge in demand for masks, hand sanitizer, and soap. Within days, masks were no longer available to the general public, and hand sanitizer became nearly impossible to obtain. The lack of protective equipment and anti-bacterial cleaning supplies available to the public increased the spread of COVID-19. The people in Wuhan did not think to stockpile masks that would have minimized the spread of disease. N95-rated masks, when fitted properly, will stop 95% of spittle particles that would otherwise enter your nose and mouth. In addition, razors (masks only seal when the wearer’s face is clean-shaven), hand sanitizer, soap, and gloves should have been stockpiled and stored properly to allow for clean and hygienic living – preventing the further spread of the virus.

This hygiene crisis continued when stores ran out of toilet paper, trash bags, and feminine hygiene products. Trash and the smell of fecal matter filled houses. What has resulted is bored and lonely people unable to leave their houses, slowly watching their houses fill with fecal matter and trash. Women from Wuhan are now at a much higher risk of toxic shock syndrome and infection because they have run out of feminine hygiene products. Female medical workers were told to “deal with it” when they expressed a need for sanitation during their periods while in their hazmat suits.[5] People from Wuhan likely did not expect to be trapped in their homes for long periods of time without health and sanitation products or working plumbing systems, and doctors were under resourced in terms of personal protective equipment, feminine hygiene products, and staffing.

The Chinese government is infamous for its controlling philosophy on governance. While government officials initially denied the existence of a virus quickly spreading throughout its population, they quickly their approach and put Wuhan on lockdown. The government used COVID-19 to justify forced quarantine, with police dragging people out of cars and tranquilizing them, as well as dragging screaming children out of their homes and throwing them in the back of a truck. Videos on YouTube show civilians being forcibly taken and quarantined by Chinese police in protective gear.[6]


The lockdown in Wuhan caused many people from other cities throughout China to be wary and afraid of people from Wuhan. For those that evacuated Wuhan before the government lockdown, they now faced the prospects of being a refugee in another city. Xenophobic crimes and fear-motivated assaults occurred, and those from Wuhan struggled to find shelter, jobs, or protection from others. While they could reasonably expect the Chinese government to intrude on their lives and arrest them, people from Wuhan likely did not expect to become refugees in their own country. When they attempted to bug out, they were unable to provide for their needs or protect themselves from the residents of other cities.

Preppers can learn a lot from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as it is a great example of a TEOTWAWKI situation. Unanticipated consequences of the pandemic are all around us. While food storage and clean water supplies are important, there are plenty examples of second and third order effects of the pandemic that are not usually prepared for. The hospitals becoming largely contaminated with COVID-19 shows that preppers must prepare to be without formal medical care for long periods of time. Many preppers have first aid kits oriented towards heavy bleeding and trauma, but how many prepare for not having access to prescription drugs or birth control, or prepare to handle joint dislocations or concussions? While many preppers have large supplies of masks, gloves, and soap, few think to store hand sanitizer, razors, toilet paper, trash bags, or feminine hygiene products. Even fewer think to have games and books on hand to prevent boredom and misery while waiting out a pandemic. Mental health is so important, even more so in a TEOTWAWKI situation. Those that bug out usually do not believe that they will become refugees, feared and hated as they find their new lives in a different place. The key to successful prepping is to think of the unanticipated consequence of an emergency – the crises within the original crisis.

This may seem overwhelming; one cannot possibly prepare for every eventuality! Indeed, no one can truly prepare for TEOTWAWKI, but preppers can find relatively inexpensive and simple solutions to often overlooked problems. For example, a potential lack of medical care can be solved by a network of preppers. If someone in the network is a trained and competent nurse, PA, or doctor, he or she can solve the majority of medical issues that may come from a disaster. Other members of the network can also be trained to handle minor medical issues under his or her supervision. Another unanticipated consequence is a hygiene crisis, which can contribute to a third order effect of increased vulnerability to disease and low morale. This can be solved by stockpiling value packs of essential items such as trash bags, toilet paper, and feminine hygiene products before the crisis emerges. Waste can be quickly and efficiently disposed of underground, preventing the filling of living places with smelly waste. This will enable people to live healthier, happier lives when SHTF.

Yet another unanticipated consequence of the pandemic was the prejudice faced when attempting to bug out. Few, if any, are prepared to become refugees. Having close social connections with others in the chosen bugout location will minimize the impact – and danger – that comes with bugging out in a new location. Preppers and their families will be less likely to be stranded without a job or essential supplies after their initial store runs out, as well as have some basic protection from xenophobic residents. Think through a typical month: what would you need to keep a similar standard of living when SHTF? Start by slowly stocking up on essential items you need. Then add the supplies, training, or connections to your network. In this way, preppers can prepare for the majority of unanticipated consequences that may occur during TEOTWAWKI.

The Big One in 1906

Historical case studies can be used to help identify common unanticipated consequences of disasters. The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 was one such disaster, and residents today still fear such an earthquake. On April 18, 1906, a massive earthquake ruptured the San Andreas fault to the north and south of San Francisco, and it could be felt from southern Oregon to Los Angeles to central Nevada.[7] The city that felt the worst effects of the earthquake – which had an estimated moment magnitude of 7.9 – was San Francisco. The quake ended in less than a minute after it started, having left destroyed buildings and creating panic in its wake.

While the most memorable effects of the earthquake were the toppled buildings and rubble, the real disasters occurred after the earthquake. The final results from the earthquake and subsequent destruction by fire were over 28,000 buildings destroyed, over 3,000 people dead, and 250,000 people homeless. The post-quake consequences show possible unanticipated consequences of a modern disaster

(To be concluded tomorrow, in Part 2.)


  1. I am convinced the Chinese did this on purpose. Their current military/political moves have long logistical tails. They had uprisings in Hong Kong and Wuhan. Wuhan had lots of European and American interaction. Their economy was flagging. Taking our economy down with it makes strategic sense.

    1. We agree… We are at a loss to find any benign explanation for allowing people from Wuhan to travel internationally while placing restrictions on their movements within China. If this isn’t “intent”, what would it take to constitute “intent”?

      The late breaking “explanation” that the CCP was in a race against the West to find a vaccine or cure for HIV is just about the lamest cover story we can imagine.

      If this had been the case, why not just come right out with it… Why raze the wet market? Why destroy the lab samples? Why threaten and silence the scientists at least one of whom was working on “gain of function”? …and why “disappear” whistleblowers?

      The story in entirety is deeply troubling, and we should all be alert to it and its implications.

      Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

      1. I don’t know for sure. And I think that puts me in company with 99.9999% of the population. But I agree with both you and Roger.

        I go a step further although this could mean my tin foil hat is on too tight. I think this was meant to be Impeachment 2.0. The timing of this was too convenient. Literally the chaos started within days of impeachment being over.

        How do you time such a thing? I don’t know. I think the most likely thing is that diseases of this type sweep through all the time and we typically ignore them. I know there are many who feel COVID is much worse than normal but we do not keep daily count of diseases like we do with this one. If we did I am not convinced we would be in a perpetual state of shutdown.

        Regarding hospital overload, my local hospital is completely overloaded many flu seasons. All beds full. I never knew how dire it got most years until a hospital Emergency Management Specialist who take stained glass art lessons from my wife told us several years ago to not got sick because there were no open beds at the hospital. She has repeated this warning numerous years since. On a side note when she retired from full time work and went to consulting her successor threw away hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment and supplies she had stockpiled saying they were unnecessary. She was furious.

        Three years ago one of my wife’s best friends became very ill during flu season and went to the emegency room. She never made it into an examination room but they did manage to take some x-rays. She was informed by a very apologetic I believe nearly crying doctor, in a crowded hallway with people left and right and doctor kneeling before her (because there was no place else) that she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She was dead less than a month later.

        Regarding the sanitation conditions described in Wuhan my sister travelled extensively in China with her husband and seven children. Some places are quite nice but others were pretty much as described in Wuhan in normal times. Parts of China are filthy every day.

        Hate to quote a movie but this quote from Men In Black is pertinent for these times.


        There is always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser out there. Or maybe intergallactic plague is more pertinent to this situation. The powers that be just decided to advertise this one I think because a guy got in the White House for the first time in decades who would not follow their agenda. He and we the citizens got uppity and now they are going to try and put us all back in our place through fear.

    2. Roger, ~ Quite a few people agree that Communist China and their Associates should be held responsible and culpable for the Wuhan Flu deaths and harm.
      Two examples: =

      “Cotton, Crenshaw Bill Would Allow Americans to Sue China for Virus Damages.”

      Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) introduced legislation that would allow Americans to sue China in federal court to recover damages for death, injury, and economic harm caused by the Wuhan Virus. Specifically, the bill would amend the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act to create a narrow exception for damages caused by China’s dangerous handling of the Wuhan Virus outbreak.

      “By silencing doctors and journalists who tried to warn the world about the coronavirus, the Chinese Communist Party allowed the virus to spread quickly around the globe. Their decision to cover up the virus led to thousands of needless deaths and untold economic harm. It’s only appropriate that we hold the Chinese government accountable for the damage it has caused,” said Cotton.

      “We need to hold the Chinese government accountable for their malicious lies and coverup that allowed the coronavirus to spread across the world. The communist regime expelled journalists, silenced whistleblowers, and withheld vital information that delayed the global response to the pandemic. Simply put: their actions cost American lives and livelihoods. This bill will help ensure China’s actions are not without consequences,” said Crenshaw.”

      [From Senator Tom Cotton’s site April 16, 2020]
      At the White House site, Americans have the right to create a petition. The following petition has gathered sufficient signatures. =

      We Call For Investigations Into The “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation” For Medical Malpractice & Crimes Against Humanity
      Created by C.S. on April 10, 2020

      As we look at events surrounding the “COVID-19 pandemic,” various questions remain unanswered. On Oct. 18th of 2019, only weeks prior to ground zero being declared in Wuhan, China, two major events took place. One is “Event 201,” the other is the “Military World Games,” held in none other than Wuhan. Since then a worldwide push for vaccines & biometric tracking has been initiated.

      At the forefront of this is Bill Gates, who has publicly stated his interest in “reducing population growth” by 10-15%, by means of vaccination. Gates, UNICEF & WHO have already been credibly accused of intentionally sterilizing Kenyan children through the use of a hidden HCG antigen in tetanus vaccines.

      Congress & all other governing bodies are derelict in duty until a thorough and public inquiry is complete.

      [The petition is available at White House (dot) gov, to allow other people to sign the ~>citizen originated petition.]

      +As a more immediate activity: Guns, Long Term Storage food, and other ‘survival’ items are being bought at a record pace, by worried Americans.

      Of course, China still has a lot of American dollars to grease the palms of many of our American politicians.

    3. I’ve read science research that suggests the virus came out of animals, not a lab, based on its genetics. It’s still early and finding may show otherwise in the future. If the Chinese did it intentionally they are incompetent, and the Chinese are not incompetent. 1) what are the chinese gaining? They have been hurt economically and this had the potential to cause an uprising of the people against leadership. Their economy has been growing by leaps and bounds making and selling products to the world, something this virus interrupted. They are losing money, profits and jobs right and left. 2) pandemics and biological warfare have the potential to hurt your country as much as the enemy because viruses and bacteria do not obey country boundaries. They are an efficient weapon for a terrorist, but not so much to attack an enemy. If the virus had been introduced only in the US the virus still would have come back to China. Next, war games. If you were China, had a potent virus you wanted to unleash on an enemy, had a cure to protect your people and troops (doesn’t exist for COVID-19), it would be more efficient to gather a bunch of Chinese, infect them with the virus and then send them around the world to infect your enemy or the rest of the world. They didn’t do this. Or they could figure out a way to aerosol it and just spray it around big cities. You don’t start a biological war by infecting your own people and troops first. 2nd theoretical war game. Reverse roles of US and China. What you suggest is that the US gov decides to develop biological weapon, no antidote or treatment, spread the biological weapon in NY City and a couple other US cities that have a lot of international travelers, the international travelers carry the weapon around the world including to your intended target. In the process the weapon starts spreading across the US, infecting and killing people indiscriminately. The US would not do this and the Chinese would not do this. It’s tactically stupid.

      There are tens if not hundreds of thousand of diseases in wild animal populations. Some have the potential to infect humans. A smaller number can infect humans and cause sickness and death. Human behavior and activity continues increase the frequency of contact between humans and these diseases. We must prepare for these risks and be ever vigilant because we could have another pandemic from a different virus next year, in 5 years, in 10 years, maybe it will be 50 or 100 years. Its difficult to predict, but it will happen.

      1. I appreciate your perspective, Greg. At the same time, there is the law of unintended consequences. People make mistakes in judgement and execution. Of course, we are left to surmise, based on very little information, what is really going on.

        In the meantime, this geezer practices caution when “out there”.

        Carry on in grace

        1. If it came out of a lab it had to be an accident. We’ve also seen overzealous military’s design weapons that really should not be used on the battlefield, so china could have been researching the virus. The percentages and data to date mainly support nature creating COVID-19. Many trying to blame china are just trying to shift blame for their inadequate handling of the virus or for political or power gain. Some people also apparently need bad guys and conspiracy theories to explain why bad things happen. I can’t relate. Figure out what happened based on hard data, research, facts, ignore your biases and prejudices, accept the data even if it doesn’t conform to your political beliefs, learn from the data and incorporate those lessons into your future survival plans. Those that choose to believe political beliefs or conspiracy theories without valid supporting data may feel good but they wind up with inferior plans, inferior or wrong policy, they prepare for the wrong battle or risk, they don’t know who the enemy is or how the enemy will behave, and they aren’t prepared for will assail them. There are consequences for letting biases and prejudices taint one’s judgement. Be safe, follow what the medical professionals say and let’s get through this.

          1. I so agree with you, Greg. But then, I would, based on this excerpt I read recently.

            First, don’t look to facts to do the trick, researchers say. As compelling as they may be, facts aren’t how we fundamentally build our opinions. “People think they think like scientists, but they really think a lot like attorneys,” says Pete Ditto, a professor of psychological science at the University of California, Irvine. That is, rather than developing our beliefs based on the best available facts, most of us decide what we believe and then select the facts that support it. So when we hear arguments that don’t align with our beliefs, we tend to disregard them.

            We gotta keep loving those whose attitudes we object to. Even, sometimes, when they are a danger to us.

            Carry on in grace

        2. A more expansive and scientific explanation of Pete Ditto observations below can be found in the article linked. Pete was right. Pete’s described “opinions”, the problematic ones, tend to be adopted from the group(s) one identifies with. Then the facts are selected to support the opinions. It’s tough to dodge for many if not most, though the problem will be worse for some than others. The least influenced will be the loner that doesn’t belong to a group, that doesn’t identify with any group, so they don’t have a belief set they must adopt, or the person who identifies with a group that doesn’t have an ideology that members must embrace to belong to the group or that doesn’t have a consistent set of core beliefs across the group, or a group whose ideology is that they don’t have absolute knowledge so everything is subject to change and does as new knowledge is discovered. Ponder the group that embraces new knowledge. All these people are mentally free to go where information takes them. Your last two sentences are so true, everyone brings a different perspective to the table, some better than others, but all should be heard because you never know when the person who brings bad solutions most of the time actually brings the perfect solution to the problem at hand, or stimulates the modification of the consensus solution to make it even better. Corporations that embrace diversity actually make more profits from the diversity of background, opinion, beliefs, religions, sexual persuasions, etc. They are more competitive in the marketplace.

      2. Greg:
        You can read lots of things. One of the items I read was about Covid 19 having characteristics that did not belong together. Certainly it started in an animal.

        I think it was used as a pretext to crack down on an uprising rather than a potential cause of one.

        Their economy was already suffering. They needed to bring ours down with it.

        Further, it would be their agenda to rid themselves of our “Orange Man”.

        For the record: MAGA MMXX!!!

    1. It was amazing to see how quickly the question of “how much toilet paper do you have?” gained the same socially awkward response as “how much ammo/guns do you have?” already does within the gun community.

      I’ve always maintained at least 6 months’ worth of TP and related (e.g., feminine for the wife) products, just in case. As was evident during the Great Toilet Paper Panic of 2020, there wasn’t even a true shortage of the product…all that’s necessary is for a small percentage of the buying public to PERCEIVE an upcoming shortage, and they’ll descend upon stores to arm-sweep the shelves bare. Preppers slowly build up their supplies over time, and as a normal habit. Panickers wait until the wolf is at the door.

    2. Yes, I totally agree on the need to be “below the radar” for much of our prepping, for several reasons. The shaming of preppers is completely misplaced of course, but we become targets because people are angry at their unprepared nature. We also could become targets of people with ill-intent to help themselves to our stock.

      it’s better not to discuss our preparedness with too many people though it’s easy to feel proud of our preparation. I HAZ A QUESTION has a good point about how different panickers are from those who prepare all the time.

  2. An unanticipated effect revealed by this pandemic is that doctors/nurses in your group may not be able to perform their planned roles.

    1. If they are hard at work to fight the pandemic, how much time/energy is left for the group?
    2. Will they bug out early to the retreat, or stay and battle the pandemic in their local hospital?
    3. Hospital staff are faced with increased risk of exposure. If your group is quarantined to avoid infection, they present a risk to other members.
    4. If your security plans include them as able bodied sentries, will you be left short handed at your retreat?

    It would appear that retreat planning needs to take into account the “essential personnel” nature of some professions.

      1. Luke,

        Has this pandemic (which we’re talking about) presented such severity that doctors, nurses, police, etc. have walked off the job to protect their families by bugging out? To my knowledge, the vast majority of them have not. This pandemic scenario has been a slow creep of danger unlike other potential triggers for bugout.

        If the hospitals get overrun and riots become widespread among the public, then you will see the behavior you reference. However, by that time it may be too late to bug out and they themselves may already carry the virus.

        There are also some in the medical profession that don’t think of what they do as a job, but a calling to help anyone in society who is in need. They have expanded their circle of responsibility BEYOND just their own family (or group). Let’s not just dismiss them or denigrate their choice because we may not be in their shoes. A wise guy once said, “Judge not…”

        1. I agree with you, Tim. Having family members that are physicians and surgeons, I see their dedication. Yes, they love and care for their families, and yes, they are dedicated to saving the lives of people they don’t know and have no emotional bond with except that empathy and human connection. When that is gone then we have lost our humanity.

      2. In agreement with Tim and jima on this one. The profession isn’t more essential than the family but it is essential to the family. So there would be a fine line and deeply emotional choice in not only “abandoning” patients but knowing if things return to normal you’ve now probably lost your job, career, license, etc. It may not be obvious in a timely manner that this is the big one so to speak.

    1. Tim,

      Great comment. Your four questions are crucial to retreat planning. This pandemic has shown how medical workers and other essential personnel can be overworked, and how planning needs to adjust accordingly.

      I would apply these questions/points of thought to a shelter-in-place scenario too. For those who decide that it is impractical or more dangerous to bug out, they must still take care to ensure that medical personnel have enough energy to keep up at their jobs and responsibilities in the group.

    2. Tim,

      Good point, I like the four questions/points of thought you made. This pandemic has made it clear that medical workers and other essential personnel are prone to overwork in a pandemic. Without enough resources, funding, and manpower, medical workers have to allocate more time and energy to their jobs, and prepper groups must take that into account.

      I would also apply those questions/points of thoughts to groups that decide it is impractical or too dangerous to bug out, and therefore must shelter in place. Thank you for your comment!

  3. Well said. Disease and lack of personal hygiene killed more people in past wars than bullets and bombs before the advent of modern antibiotics. Many died in POW and concentration camps due to outbreaks as much as those by executions. That will be the toughest ongoing challenge in a social breakdown scenario.

  4. Great article, very helpful concept. There are so many areas to consider, it boggles the mind, and I’m hoping between all of us that all the bases are going to be covered.

    One area that may be overlooked in prepping is the fact that children outgrow their clothes. If you have a couple of littles, they will be bigs before you know it! Be sure to include ascending sizes of at least the essentials like winter coats, light hiking boots, and heavier work boots. There’s nothing wrong with getting hand me downs or hitting the thrift stores while it’s still relatively easy. Even if you don’t have your own children, someone may show up at your retreat with a few kids in tow. I also have several items of men’s and women’s utilitarian clothing and footwear in different sizes for possible use, mostly obtained free at church giveaways or at low cost in thrift stores. You will want school books, too, particularly of the home schooling genre.

    Musical instruments would be a good thing to have in later times, too, as it may turn out to be our main form of evening entertainment just as it was in former days. Pawn shops may have a lot of violins and guitars available in a couple of months since so many people have lost their jobs recently. I have a half dozen huge puzzles I bought at a local yard sale, and have included some classic novels along with the obligatory field medicine and how-to books obtained over the years (I used to live two blocks from the dollar book store in my former life). I have a set of Great Books of the Western World from my dad, and an older set of encyclopedias purchased for $5 at a neighbor’s yard sale. They also had a few hymn books for sale, which will be great for home based worship.

    I have my grandmother’s beautiful old-school Singer sewing machine which is electric but can also be made to function by simply turning the wheel by hand, and it’s faster and more accurate than hand sewing. If I had a spare $800 I would love to have a working treadle sewing machine but that’s not going to happen. The local Mennonite store has sewing patterns for various clothing items, also a handy thing to have when we have to revert to making our own clothes eventually, and I wouldn’t have thought of it just now if not for your article!

    I’ve spent many happy and miserable days camping during my lifetime, and it’s such a great way to discover the difference between a tent and the Holiday Inn. The longer you stay out, the more adapted you become to the cycles of nature, the way your senses begin to stretch out into your environment, the value of a hot cup of coffee, the importance of trusting your companions. A clean dry set of clothes, a hot shower, a mattress, are all luxuries. Lunch is a luxury. A safe cup of water is a luxury.

    Are we not living in interesting times?

    1. Didi,

      Thank you for your comment! Your point about children quickly growing out of clothes, footwear, and schoolbooks is SO important. I didn’t even think about if someone shows up with children, thank you for bringing that to my attention. It will definitely be included in our planning.

      While we cannot always plan on reliable internet access, it is nice to have when possible. YouTube videos on how to play musical instruments, sew, crochet, and free podcasts on academic subjects can also help entertain members of a family at all ages.

      When reading your comment, my wife remarked that you must have had a very interesting life. I would love to hear your story sometime!

  5. Considering how many deaths from other causes are being attributed to CV19 this is being way overblown. States like mine that limit the number of hospital beds are now demanding hospitals have extra beds. Our Gov is having temper tantrums on the people who disagree with her opinions. Yes, I say opinions, because allowing members of a country club to golf, but not a public golf course to open is based on her opinion. Allowing a small town greenhouse that happens to sell food to open, but not a large one that sells vegetable plants is based on her opinion. IMO, the greatest need to prep for is an over reaching government.

    1. That is a meme that is out there but don’t buy into that 100%. There is some confusion and fog of war (pandemic), but not mass reassignment of cause of death. You have to wonder who benefits by this false information? Also it is just as likely that deaths from this virus are being incorrectly attributed to something else. The virus is real and killing people by the tens of thousands.

      1. You may be right but I would argue there are things all the time that are killing people by tens of thousands but we do not put up counters on all channels of national TV continuously counting them and talking about them non stop.

        I would like to see two things.

        The famous denominator of how many have actually had this to really see how deadly it is. According to a recent article in the Economist some are beginning to estimate that number at upwards of 28M. On a personal basis I think it likely I had COVID in December and I know many more people who think they did as well between December and February. And none of us were tested or even suspected it

        A comparison of two numbers. 2019 deaths attributed to influenza + ILI (influenza like illness) + COVID deaths. And compare that to 2018 deaths from influenza + ILI. The second number was estimated at 80,000 in the US. The worst in 40 years with zero advertisement.

        When I was active duty Navy we were subjected to the “scary numbers with no reference point” game several times. Actually on a recurring basis over many years. The details would be meaningless to most people but the tactic did keep numerous people from John Hopkins University Applied Research Laboratory employed generating scary numbers with no reference point for probably decades. The interesting thing in that case was that they actually had the data to generate reference points and track long term trends and they never to my observation presented them. If they had, they might not have kept their funding.

        1. JBH,

          There are small scale samplings being done now (Santa Clara is an example). Several in each State are needed to be able to ESTIMATE the true number of infected/resolved.

          When this started the experts didn’t have access to good data (see the Red Dawn email chain) and what they did have out of China, Diamond Princess and Italy was scary bad numbers.

          The CDC classifies pandemics like hurricanes. This was treated as if it was a Category 5 pandemic (worst), when in fact the numbers will reveal that it is more likely only a Category 2 or 3. This is important because the community mitigation strategies are WAY different between those levels.

          Category 2 & 3 pandemics are not mandatory to close schools and businesses. And, if they do close are only supposed to be for less than 4 weeks (we exceed that already). Only Category 4 & 5 pandemics require such closures and the duration is stated at 12 weeks.

          Will the CDC admit they screwed up and over-reacted? I would guess not. Instead, we’ll jump through the NEW HOOPS they have made up for this re-opening over the next 4 weeks while they gather more data to get a better idea of the scope of the pandemic.

        2. JBH, COVID-19 is not the flu and many of the comparisons between the two, including deaths, are not valid. The article at the end shows some of the differences. COVID-19 appears to be more contagious than the flu. This means that if we didn’t physically isolate (extreme measure) there would be millions more COVID-19 cases. More people wind up in hospital after catching COVID-19 than after catching the flu. Look at NY City. It’s hospitals were overloaded and that was with the extreme “shut down the economy to limit physical contact measures” that reduced the number of people who caught the virus. Doing nothing would mean no hospital care for thousand, tens of thousands, etc. (This happened in Wuhan and Italy). Lastly, more people die from catching COVID-19. If the flu kills 50K, COVID-19 could kill 1.5M if no physical distancing measures were put in place. The measures states have put in place to reduce the spread of the virus have significantly reduced the deaths and damage caused by the virus. Imagine how small the number of flu deaths would be if we used drastic physical distancing during flu season. Admittedly the actual RO, hospitalization rate, and death rate are likely to change if we can ever ramp up testing, but the fact that the hospitals filled up in China, Italy, Spain, and some areas of US, and then so many people died that there wasn’t enough cold storage to store the dead shows that the coronavirus numbers are significantly worse than the flu. https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2020/3/18/21184992/coronavirus-covid-19-flu-comparison-chart?fbclid=IwAR3AVAyypPF9tHNbbxfinVx1hsEYT03tdIzvgzJy0nGAb6XkQfcIIMm1MJI

  6. What If,

    A third party unleashed the virus on the world knowing it would bring havoc on the world and maybe unseating Trump? Would some third party do such a thing to carry on their agenda?

    1. If a technologically advanced country like China wanted to unseat trump it would be much easier to use the internet like Russia did to elect Trump. The virus causes too much collateral damage to your own country.

  7. Outstanding 1st installment, TZ!

    From your article: “While it is extremely important to have enough sustenance and protection, it is also very important to consider what else you might need – the less dramatic, but equally important preps needed to survive.”

    An excellent point among many in this presentation. A couple strategies we have used in our own preparations, and in addition to reviewing the lists created by many others.

    1) Go through the activities and events of a usual day including the nooks and crannies of a usual day. You might be surprised by what you can add to your list of necessity items.

    2) Recall any situations in which you’ve found yourself inconvenienced for not having a particular item on hand, and use these experiences to examine what we call “subject areas”.

    3) Consider accessory items. A helpful example… When you think about shoes and boots, remember to add a stash of shoe laces to your planning and purchases.

    4) Shop sections of store aisles (when it’s once more safe to do so), or shop online as good options are available by subject area. You may discover items that inspire your solution focused thinking or provide a reminder for something that otherwise might have been forgotten, perhaps not yet considered.

    Even if you’re not actively making purchases now, the development of shopping lists for the near, intermediate, and longer-term futures will also be helpful.

    We’re learning a lot even now, and even among those of us who have been dedicated to serious preparations for many years. Before us is an excellent opportunity to deepen our levels of knowledge, to expand our supplies, and to broaden our capacities.

    This is also an outstanding time for preppers to share with and teach one another. Special thanks to our editors who make this forum for such an important purpose possible!

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

    1. Recalling situations where we’ve been inconvienced has caused some height here too.
      I now have 3 or 4 of some things. Manual can opener? 3. Some stuff may seem dumb or unnecessary at first, but then that time comes and you uses it.
      Kinda handy. And oftentimes, not very expensive. (Dollar store anyone?)

      Accessory items. Spot on! I’ve taken to scrolling down when buying online for the “customers who bought this, also bought that” or looked at, or compared to.
      Another thing that helps me stop and think, then check or add to the list…

    2. Telesilla,

      Thank you very much!

      I love the four strategies you use to make shopping lists and find other things you cannot or would not want to live without. This will definitely help me and my family as we continue to prep! Great comment!

  8. Yes, a third party would “do such a thing to carry on their agenda”. It has happened before. The current pandemic is keeping heads turned in the direction that they want while leaving this third party behind the “smoke screen” that they have manufactured.

  9. Thank you for the article. This is the first time my adult children looked to me for guidance regarding being prepared and they are now more serious about it. I advised them to keep a daily/weekly/monthly list of what they actually consume or use, just to get started. Once they understand in more detail things they often take for granted, the simplest method is to buy 2 rather than 1 of say, canned chili, and so on, over time. As new items surface in their consciousness, just add it to the long list and hack away at the list each time they shop. Not everyone can plunk down a few thousand dollars, but most people can spend an extra $10-25 per week without noticing it too much. Another idea was to point them to the online Mormon food calculators, but with the caveat that one’s family may not consume the amount of recommended sugar, for example. Adjust accordingly. Some may disagree, but I steer away from the pre-packaged “emergency foods”, with the understanding that they offer convenience and calories, but actually eating them is another thing altogether (insert puking face emoji here). Prioritization of “preps” becomes clear when you become aware of your actual consumption and what’s important to you. Here at the “safe house”, I added specific items for my grandchildren (diapers, wipes) and specific things for my adult children (feminine products, razors), this past winter. People have different priorities and lifestyles. While I wish everyone would purchase bulk foods, and pressure can the food, that’s just not realistic for everyone. I think people will have more success if they keep it super simple initially. On my long list I haven’t gotten to yet, are family games, books, toys, learning materials, etc. Some may shake their heads at the level of preparedness, but for me personally, I care more about the safety of my children and grandchildren, than I care for my own comfort. Stocking up is a hedge against inflation in my mind. If necessary, I would not have to shop for a few years, if it came to that. There’s a balance though, there has to be. Matthew 6:34 came to me this morning – “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

    1. Your suggested method is exactly how I (and likely most others) built up supplies over the years.

      I’ve always maintained an Excel spreadsheet – from the very beginning a dozen years ago – listing perishable items by description, and in descending order by printed expiration date. When something is due to be rotated out, eaten, and replaced with new stock, it automatically shows up as highlighted yellow for easy identification. Makes rotation a breeze.

      Also, when buying canned foods (vegetables, soups, etc.), I take a black Sharpie pen and write the expiration month/year in large numbers on the tops to make identification easy, which is a big help when you’re peering into large storage tubs full of 50+ cans at a time, and you’re looking for the ones that just updated in yellow on the spreadsheet.

      1. I’m not as good as you at labeling things, but I do keep an inventory in an Excel spreadsheet. That’s probably because in my professional career, spreadsheets were a daily thing, so I’m comfortable with them. I like to group things in categories on the shelves (or on the floor) and put the newest items in the back, oldest in the front in my storage room. I have it on my TO DO list to be more organized about it. If I think of something while I’m going through my life that I’m out of or need and didn’t have, I make a quick note on my cell phone so that when I shop I have a quick list. I’m sure there are better ways! This is what works for me. Good for you!

      2. What a great idea! This weekend my family and I will sit down and inventory our food storage using your spreadsheet idea and labelling the expiration dates on canned foods. Thank you for making our food rotation easier!

    2. SaraSue!

      From your post: “Some may disagree, but I steer away from the pre-packaged “emergency foods”, with the understanding that they offer convenience and calories, but …”

      This raises an interesting thought about strategy. When we were making decisions about our food supplies, we considered seriously the idea of pre-packaged emergency foods, but decided substantially to go in a different direction. We have gone primarily with supplies with long shelf lives, and have a supply that will go for quite some time without expiration. We decided to supplement this with “means of production” so that we can largely resupply ourselves (hens for eggs, greenhouse, garden). Pre-packaged long term food supplies are a back-up only to these. They have a role to play, but we found that we could deepen our stash much more affordably, and sustainably, with these strategies.

      Of course we look forward always to the thoughts of other readers who may have gone with other variations on the theme!

      Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

    3. SaraSue,

      Thank you for your comment. I hope your children and grandchildren find prepping useful and giving them confidence and security during these troubling times.

      There is definitely something to be said about keeping it simple while starting out. A saying I like is “bullets before bombs,” meaning that it is easier to try committing to something small before going all-in. I like your approach of getting a couple extra things from the store to slowly stock up instead of going all-in and getting into financial trouble by panic-buying. I also like that you mentioned using LDS food calendars and applying them to your individual family’s needs.

  10. Im grateful for all of you who post your thoughts and knowledge here on SB.

    Doing Well here “up the holler” in the Appalachian redoubt.

    God bless y’all.

    1. WV Joe! We are also residents of the Appalachian Redoubt, and think of this as the “Sister Redoubt” to the part of the country in which our dedicated editors live!

      1. Hi T of A. Thanks for the reply. We Appalachians are on an island here in the east. But we are a proud people and love our family and neighbors. We watch each others homes and will fight to protect each other. Good hillbilly neighbors are golden.

        Country Roads take me home

        God bless ya

        1. Well said, and so right!

          We couldn’t be dragged from our Appalachian Redoubt homestead. Neither my husband nor I were born in the South, but as the expression goes… We got here as fast as we could! …and we know this is where God intended us to be. Whenever we must leave the mountain, we find ourselves longing to return. We simply never have the peace of spirit and mind that we have when we are here, and know we are HOME in this place and among these people.

  11. Event 201 pandemic drill late in 2019 compliments of Bill Gates who has publicly expressed the desire to reduce the population by viruses or vaccines. Check out Dr. Francis Boyle on you tube and read his take on this. We are being herded and controlled for other reasons now, but what are they? Are they expecting an attack from another country, cyber attack, emp, or biological weapon? Are they expecting a Near Space Encounter with the recent comets and planet x return? Is this a continuing drill for something to come within the next month or so? Either way, those who prep are far better off for it. Great article.

  12. Good article and I consider this type of thinking in our preps, but I take issue with the premise that “few” preppers stock up on feminine hygiene, trash bags, and TP. I think most do, but to what degree (1 month or 12 months) I do think can be debated. I don’t stock instant hand sanitizer but we normally have a good supply on hand. What we do stock up on is soap (washing hands with soap and water is preferred over instant hand sanitizer). For razors I have been stocking up on the old school blades which you used to be able to sharpen. If you look in antique shops you can sometimes find razor blade sharpeners. If you can’t a nice stone will still do the trick. I’ve thought about straight razors but I’ll pass on that.

    I believe we need to be prepared with a mini-hardware store. I teach disaster logistics classes and I use the old “For the want of a horse shoe nail” nursery rhyme to demonstrate the ramifications of not having something as simple as a nail.

    I think this situation has validated and debunked many beliefs we have as preppers as to how things will play out in a SHTF scenario. But keep in mind just because it went down like this in this particular situation doesn’t mean the next SHTF or even the next pandemic things will go down the same way. People bugged out of the cities, rural Pennsylvania has seen people move to their camps from Philly, Pittsburgh and even NYC. But they had places to go, we didn’t see people just leaving with no known destination. Many of the stores in these smaller communities don’t keep the stock on hand as they do in hunting season or the summer.

    The run on grocery stores and gun shops- Validated!! I saw people buying seeds and chicks at Tractor Supply. Seed displays were decimated. Riots? Well not yet any way. Neighbors helping neighbors- validated here- we have given away several rolls of TP.

    I think the severity of this virus really depends on location, population density, time, implementation of mitigation, and the Comorbidity and risk factors of the population in a particular location. Look at what this has done in nursing homes and in St. Louis and New York City. Places that put mitigation in place quicker have less cases. I look at my own state of Pennsylvania where the eastern side of the side is getting ravaged the western part is holding its own in even in the Pittsburgh area. I also believe that as our economy starts back up and people start to move around again that you will see cases spike again. I hope that people wearing masks will really stop the spread of it. Time will tell. But don’t let your guard down pandemics historically have waves and the subsequent waves are often worse than the first wave.

    1. 3AD Scout,

      Perhaps I miscommunicated that point. Many preppers over-emphasize bullets and food storage, and don’t allocate enough of their budget and storage space for hygiene products and other necessities. While some keep a well-balanced supply of preps, I have found that many do not. Thank you for bringing it up so I could clarify that point.

      I definitely agree that this pandemic has validated and debunked many of our beliefs as preppers. I view this as a ‘practice run’ for the second wave of COVID-19 cases – predicted to start in the US in late fall or early winter. If this follows the same trends that we saw in the SARS, Swine Flu, 1918 Flu epidemics, then the second wave would be more severe than the initial outbreaks. This is due to complacency, and I hope that we take the time to prepare accordingly and keep distancing ourselves so we can all stay healthy and safe.

      1. TZ,

        Sorry I cringe when I see words like “all” of “none”, due to flashbacks of my college logic course- I use words like “many”, “most” or “few”.

        I think your point is valid that many “Preppers” just don’t have the width and depth in their preps. 72 hour bags just means your going to survive 72 hours more than many. But as the same time perhaps many are planning to go “old school” and revert back to methods before that advent of modern day feminine hygiene products. I also wonder if demographics play into what gets prepped at what level. Does a prepper household where the Paternal figure is the advocate for preparedness prep differently than if the Maternal figure was the lead? I would be willing to bet there is some significant differences, all the more reason that all family members should be involved.

        1. 3AD Scout,

          No worries!

          I hope that people decide not to go “old school” when it comes to feminine hygiene products. Before pads, tampons, and other modern products, women used to use rags. As you can imagine, this had a much higher chance of infection. Some cultures still use rags, and it has a terrible effect on health.

          I agree that there would be significant difference, getting all family members involved creates a great opportunity to strengthen family bonds and prevent leaving important preps out such as feminine hygiene products.

  13. “Yet another unanticipated consequence of the pandemic was the prejudice faced when attempting to bug out.”

    Excellent point that is proving out here in the US, as less populated locations face severe medical shortages if the virus were to impact them. An example in Northern California was the vacation destination town of South Lake Tahoe where the local govt told visitors to stay away when the lockdowns first hit the major metro California counties. They moved to fine vacation rentals, and are sending out the message to vacation home owners to also stay away. While that might be hard to legally enforce, it doesn’t bode well that the locals will be happy with your presence.

    1. Norcal Prepper,

      Thank you for your comment. I did not know that South Lake Tahoe is currently experiencing that. It definitely makes it hard to resupply if locals are unhappy with your presence or refuse to serve you in their stores.

  14. totally with telesilla of argo on prep strategy-have invested heavily in long shelf life reg foods, while working on supplementing with chix, ducks, rabbits-much more bang for the buck than the emergency freeze dried stuff, mres, etc. I do have some of those things, but other ways much more cost effective-beans and grains, hot canning, dehydrating, etc.

  15. Enjoyed Part 1 of the article, waiting to learn more about the SF Earthquake.

    When we started actively prepping a couple of years ago, I was pondering on my lists and started to think, what are the most ubiquitous things in our modern life that will be really, really difficult to produce after TEOTWAWKI? Up near the top of my list was paper. We are constantly using paper in our lives, all kinds of paper. Paper is not terribly difficult to make. Paper that can be written on with a fine pencil, a ball point pen, anything thinner or harder than a piece of charcoal, is difficult to make. Toilet paper is probably fairly easy to make, provided you have modern, commercially-made paper that can be recycled, available in great enough quantities to make disposing of it an economically viable choice. And, of course, provided the paper you make will hold up well enough to clean the necessary areas of your body but will dissolve easily enough to break down properly in a residential septic system.

    My DH has said for many years, “The next major war will be fought over toilet paper.” How right he was.

    Personally, I stocked up on the giant packages of triple and quadruple rolls of Extra Strong Charmin’ TP over the course of the past two years. I figure I have about 14 months’ worth, provided we don’t have any unexpected guests show up. And, “just because,” I have been picking up a 6-pack on some of my recent grocery shopping forays, since they have restocked the shelves at the store. It makes me look like a “normal” shopper and helps to keep our stocks at their usual levels.

    Other things that will be hard to produce include pencils, pens, tape, rubber bands, rope and string, fabric, thread (but I am a seamstress and quilter, so I am pretty well stocked up on those supplies). Somebody mentioned clothing patterns. I used to do a lot of historical costuming so I have a stockpile of patterns and know how to make some of my own. Wool blankets will be worth their weight in gold someday, so I have combed thrift stores to find them at reasonable prices. Real wool blankets are terribly expensive, IF you can find new ones at the store. They are not something that Walmart carries. Everything these days is “polar fleece” which I don’t want to get caught in the rain with. You can also check the thrift stores for woolen clothing that can be de-constructed and cut into patches to make woolen quilts. Hair brushes and combs, scissors, tweezers, nail files and emory boards, toothpaste, toothbrushes, denture tablets, even if you don’t have dentures …. yet. How about knee, wrist and ankle braces, because we are all getting older and we will be doing additional, hard physical labor. What about canes, crutches, walkers? The lists grow as one idea generates five more.

    Start to look around your home and write a list of common items that you just won’t be able to replace as they get used up or they wear out. Those are the things, the incidentals, that you need to stock up on. Things that don’t necessarily fall into the “Beans, Bullets & Band-aids” categories. This will become your version of JWR’s “list of lists.” Start writing them now.

    1. Sabel,

      Thank you, I hope you enjoyed Part 2 as well.

      The items that you described are so important. What we commonly find in the military are that pens and paper are indispensable, as we cannot organize as effectively without a way of accurately remembering and quickly communicating information. Paper, pens, rubber bands, tape, and rope are so important, yet understated items that make it much easier to stay organized and efficient. I might need to add them to my next shopping list!

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