What happens when your world is turned on end and everything you have planned for in life is now null and void. A little background of what I can say about who I am or was. Without being specific I will say that I used to be a government contractor doing things that I won’t discuss. Needless to say I have a tainted view on life and what I believe is coming down the pike. This has majorly shaped the way I prepare and with what. Due to this previous life, big changes in my health, and many other things, my world has now changed and this is what I want to discuss.
I used to be the person that would jump out of perfectly good airplanes, rappel down and climb mountains, scuba dive, hike, camp, and a whole lot of other very physical activities. I am the type of person that often finds himself in the middle of an emergency or disaster either helping with it, surviving it, or… the cause of it. “Accident prone” is really a good definition of my life. So, learning about emergency preparedness has been a life survival tool for me personally. To say I have had a fair share of issues is an understatement. To mention a few, I have been shot and stabbed multiple times, gassed, radiated, majorly burned several times, electrocuted, broken just about every bone in my body at least once, and so on.
To not expose all my preps I will just say that I am well prepared for about 20 people, because there are 20 people in my extended family, for about 6 years with the ability to leave at a moment’s notice with preps fully packed and ready to leave either on foot or in a vehicle or bug in and feel relatively safe in my home depending on what I choose according to the threats presented.
Okay so I am well prepared. In fact I teach emergency preparedness on a regular basis in numerous settings and venues. So what is the big deal. Well, almost 15 years ago I decided it was better to sleep while driving down a winding canyon road at 60 mph, resulting in rolling my truck and breaking my back in three places. To top this off, previous life adventures have also taken their tole on my body and combine that with a life threatening blood disease that is now literally killing me. Okay, not trying to play the sympathy card here, but I wanted to paint the new picture of my life.
Before, I could grab an 80 lb. bug out backpack and travel through inhospitable terrain for miles and miles in all kinds of in-climate weather. Now, there are days that I am tickled pink if I can get out of bed for the day and walk to the mailbox and back.
So, does this mean I am no longer prepared for come what may? Heck no. This means I now need to do things differently in order to do what I wanted to do before. I am stubborn enough to still be alive today and not say “die” and just throw in the towel. Things may slow me down, but I don’t let anything stop me.
Below are a few changes that have helped me that may work for others: (Remember my preps work for me and are not the answer for everyone.)
- Not being as mobile as before I found that a handcart can carry a lot of stuff and take the weight off my back if I ever have to leave on foot.
- Being medication dependent, I have stored up to a year or more of medications, based upon their storage life. Also important is the ability to keep them cool, especially insulin, in a very small but adequate container. I can keep them cool in my container using fold up solar panels. Yes, I know that limits me to cooling in the daytime and only cloudless days, but the container is insulated well enough that even in 90 degree weather I only have to cool it down every 4 days to keep my insulin from spoiling.
- I don’t keep my truck permanently hooked up to my fully stocked and ready to go enclosed trailer because I use my truck regularly. However, I do keep the trailer in a position and level that I can back up the truck to it and leave at a moment’s notice after unlocking it from its secured location. I have drilled this many times and even in the middle of winter I can do this in 3 minutes.
- I can no longer carry an 80 lb. pack. In fact a 25 lb. pack gives me trouble now especially as I now walk with a cane. I learned from years of practice and training and real world experience that I can live off the land with literally nothing prepacked. Yes, it is nice to have a knife and fire starter and a whole host of other gadgets, but I don’t need them. These same principles I have taught my wife and children. Now we all carry packs that we have drilled with and know we can actually carry and have packed them to the weight and size limitations of each person and their ability to walk long distances with them. We realize we don’t have the pillow top mattress that we really want. However, we can survive if needed on literally nothing prepacked. So we prepack as much as we can, within our limitations, and pray we can actually take and use them. Regardless, we will not die or give up if we have to leave with nothing. Speaking of which the hand cart still goes with us just in case my sons have to put me in it to haul me out. If we can drive out, that’s even better. Once again we are not limited to only bugging out in a vehicle if we so choose to leave.
- Now, speaking of bugging out, years ago I planted or buried caches of food and other survival items every 20 miles along 5 different possible bug out routes from my home to aid in travelling up to 100 miles on foot. Yes, I know 100 miles may not be far enough, but where I live in the Intermountain West, 100 miles puts me in some very suitable locations. Walking that far for me is the new challenge. It no longer will happen in 3 days like I have been able to do before. It will take much longer and be a lot tougher for me. Once again, though, I am stubborn enough to make it there.
- Years of prepping and practice and unfortunate real life situations have taught me to carry certain gear with me at all times. I have carried what I call a “crash bag” with me at all times. Some people call this a “SCRAM” or an “external carry bag”. Mine is put together with the thought if I were ever in a airplane and it crashed in some remote location what would I like to have with me. As mentioned before this is a “want” bag and not a “need” bag. This is not a bug out bag but much smaller and easier to throw over my shoulder to carry literally everywhere I go, even walking with a cane. Now with the latest grope and violate procedures now employed at most airports, I have had to modify what I used to carry in the bag. However, I still keep the other non-compliant items in a separate pouch for when I am not getting on an airplane. This pouch goes in my “crash” bag for when I leave my house for whatever other reason. Examples of non-compliant items in my bag would be a compact sidearm, knife, and certain fire starters. I still carry my bug out bag in my truck at all times, since my mobility issues dictate that I am rarely very far from my truck any more.
- Everyone that knows me or attends my classes and seminars know that I am prepared and many have expressed their desires to “share” in my preps, whether I agree or not. For the past couple of years I have been caching most of my preps, especially food, out of sight and out of general public reach. I am now more willing than I was before to give guided tours of my now almost empty pantries and storage rooms. I like to paint that picture, now that I am currently unemployed, that I am living off my preps and almost have nothing left. Hopefully, this is making me less of a target for those that would love to “share” in my preps. By the way I am not as destitute as the picture I show people. This is just part of the preparedness plan to keep me fed.
- Other thoughts about staying home include rapid mobility concerns. Having serious mobility issues, I have now added ramps and railings throughout my house and yard to allow me to respond quicker to possible threats and issues.
- I used to brag that I could shoot the left eye of a fly sitting on a pole 300 meters away. Now with my diabetes I cannot even see the pole, let alone hit anything with a real long gun. So long guns are not an option for me anymore, although my children are proficient enough that I still keep them around. So a few scatter guns with combat loads and a few side arms now do the trick. With my deteriorating health I have found that manhandling bad guys is not what it use to be, but at the same token I have not lost the understanding that the only way to take care of bad guys is not always with a gun. It is never a good day when you are required to take another life, especially in self defense. However, the last two men that tried to use a gun on me were subdued and eventually went to meet Allah after finding out that the bent over stupid American with a cane knows how to use it effectively. Needless to say I had to buy a new cane. Don’t be totally reliant on only one way of doing things that works for other people. Find out what works for you and then practice, practice, practice.
- One more security issue involves those that insist on “sharing” my preps. I have two thoughts on this. First, my best defense is a good offense. My offense is knowing the condition of my neighbors by being friendly or Christian with them. I would rather be on their porch with a casserole in hand saying “please eat” rather than them being in my face with a shotgun saying they are taking my food. Okay, so I give up a little food. However, food is a great force multiplier. Second, for those that show up on my doorstep wanting food, I will hand them a shovel. I will tell them in exchange for going to the park and turning under a 10′ x 10′ section of turf and preparing it for planting, I will give them a loaf of bread fresh out of the oven and warm to eat. I cannot turn dirt under for a garden any more. However I can bake bread. I will not give them the ingredients. I will give them a reward for their efforts. I have seed, a deal with a farmer neighbor, and a plan to turn the whole park into a huge potato and corn field and thus be able to feed the entire neighborhood. Yes, I have go give up some time, wheat, and other bread making ingredients, but I now have an entire neighborhood on my side. Now that is security. For those that don’t want the shovel option, I offer them the lead option.
These are a few of the changes I have made in my life to still stay prepared in my new condition and lack of employment. So many that know me and my situation think there is no way I can continue to be prepared. All the better for them to think that so they don’t show up on my doorstep. In the mean time I will continue to hobble along at my new pace and be ready for come what may.