When Paul Revere’s alarm, “The Redcoats are coming!”, was sounded through the countryside centuries ago, it was made to people who were prepared to meet a challenge. Whether the coming challenge in our present day is one of economics or something else, will you be prepared to respond when the alarm is sounded? Here are some ideas you should consider as you get started in your preparations for whatever hard times might await:
Will you have enough food? Go down to Costco and buy a 50-lb bag of rice. It’s inexpensive, stores well, and can go a long way. Canned goods and pastas have shelve lives, so rotate them out as you use them. There are a lot of canned food options, so plan wisely. I recommend tuna, chicken, salmon, beef, vegetables, soups, olives, beans, and fruits, at the minimum.
Oatmeal is good. Other grains, like barley, might be explored. Also, look into buying jarred preserves (jams, fruits, and pickled items), MRE’s, bags of beans (pinto, lima, kidney, soy, and so forth). The more options you have, the better off you will be. Salt and spices, sugar, honey, peanut butter, mixed nuts, jerkey (turkey, beef, and other meats), certain candies, dehydrated foods, and protein powder can be stored for quite a while. When the Redcoats come, refrigerators will probably not work (with no electricity available), so use the perishables first, before they spoil.
Also don’t forget about planning for your pets. Make sure to stock up on extra pet food and pet snacks.
How will you cook? Wood burning stoves are good options but not available to everyone. Your BBQ can be an option for heating foods but will send out delicious aromas to people around you that may be starving. Food warmers and camping stoves can be also be purchased at the Army surplus store, and MRE’s also have food warmers in them. I recommend conserving your cooking resources for when you need them and finding ways of cooking in-doors. (Carbon monoxide can kill you, so make sure you don’t use cooking options indoors that produce carbon monoxide.)
How will you store your food? Food attracts rodents. Plastic tubs can help defend against them, but they are not rodent proof. Rodents will chew through plastic tubs to get to food. Set traps for them nearby the storage locations. A locked metal cabinet can also help keep them out.
Do you have a place to grow food? You will need water, seeds, soil, fertilizer, protection, time/attention, and sun to do this. Take away one of those items and you may as well not attempt it. Resources will be in high demand and growing vegetables where others can see could generate problems for yourself. I don’t want to discourage you from this option. Just know that there is effort, resource use, and risk involved. You should also consider canning or dehydrating the foods, if you grow them. This will make them go farther and prevent spoilage. You will have to get the supplies and information for these options, if you decide to use them.
Where will you get usable water? This is the most important resource, in my opinion. It will be difficult for most people to obtain. So, as a survivalist, you will most likely have to think outside of the box in this area.
When an emergency strikes, power outages may cause a situation in which your water faucets in your house may not work. That may mean having to go out to find a source of water. Things like ponds, pools, streams, and rain water might be your source of water. Will these be guarded by someone? Will you have to contend with the community for this resource? Will they have bacteria, like Giardia, that can kill you?
I recommend that you go down and get supplies for decontaminating and filtering water. They have emergency drinking water germicidal tablets and water purification filters that you can pick up at the local army surplus store or can order online. These will give you drinking water options that may not be available to others.
Also, you should have a supply of bottled water, as well as 5-gallon water containers for storage. I recommend one 5-gallon container per person in your household. These will need to be refilled during long emergency scenarios, so figure out a plan ahead of time.
Boiling water will also kill things living in the water, but you will need fuel and a place to boil the water to do this. Alternatively, you could just use the germicidal pills I mentioned earlier.
First Aid and General Health
Have you been into the dentist lately? You don’t want to be in an emergency situation with a life threatening dental problem or simple medical procedure that could have been fixed from a simple doctor or dentist visit. Get the simple things done today, because tomorrow may be too late.
Also, get a first aid kit. It should contain: alcohol, wipes, bandages/bandaids, pain killers, sewing needle and a strong thread, matches, mouthwash, soap, Q-tips, gauze, vitamins, first aid information, Sudafed, aloe vera/burn ointment, elastic wrap, heat/cold pads, scissors, tweezers, anti-itch cream, anti-fungal cream, Neosporin, and baking soda. (Baking soda can nullify the effects of poisons from bee stings, be used for teeth brushing, is good for skin cancers when used with coconut oil, and has other uses.)
What will you do if the money in your pocket isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on? You may find yourself in a situation where you have to get something that you don’t have. Bartering is one way to get these items.
Here’s a list of things to barter: tools, precious metals (gold, silver, and platinum), skills, food, water, drinking alcohol, first aid, gardening seeds, medicine, and other commodities that are needed by the other party. What do you have that people will trade for in an emergency? Will you be able to protect it, if you let people know you have it? Consider your barter partners wisely and carefully. Your family’s lives could depend on it.
Protection, Hunting, and Fishing
The list below is a good starter list for supplies you should probably have as a bare minimum for protection and/or when hunting/fishing:
- BB Gun (This probably sounds silly, but this will probably put more food on the table than the others.)
- Compound Bow
- Fishing pole with fishing line
- Fishing tackle (This is up to you. Hooks, sinkers, and tacklebox are the bare minimum.)
- Powerbait (or you can dig for worms).
- A good guard/hunting dog.
Where are you going to get information? Books on topics like survival, fishing, hunting, gardening, medical, cooking, et cetera will become nice resources, if the Internet fails. These items will probably have barter value as well. Most libraries have a book store in them. You can pick up many of these books for under a dollar right now. You can also get them at estate and garage sales for next to nothing.
Have you considered how you will get heat? For those who live in areas with extreme cold, you should think about how you will heat your home, in an emergency, when fuels like natural gas are not available. Wood burning stoves, non-electric heaters, and solar and wind energy to supply electricity are all options that should be considered. “Winter is coming!” (This is a George R.R. Martin Game of Thrones reference, for those that didn’t catch it.)
Transportation may be limited. People may try to take what you have, if you travel. You will also need fuel, if you are traveling via a car, motorcycle, or other motorized vehicle. Your vehicle should be serviced regularly, so that it will get you to where you want to go. Motorcycles provide means for going where others can’t, but they are limited in how much they can carry. Bikes can get you places faster than walking. (Make sure you have spare tubes or a repair kit if you go long distances.)
Other items to consider: bleach, deodorant, toothpaste, extra tooth brushes, lotion, shampoo, hydrogen peroxide, apple cider vinegar (good for sore throats and colds but be careful to use in moderation so you don’t make your throat raw), oregano oil (I use this on cold sores and skin ailments), razors, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. (Hand sanitizer can clean you if a shower is not available. I used this for two months when I had no income and couldn’t pay the water bill.)
Around the house you will want: batteries, flashlight, hand- or solar-powered emergency radio, firewood, blankets, warm clothes, shoes, jacket, tools, rope, zip ties, duct tape, glue (super-glue for sealing wounds and Gorilla glue for all purposes), compass, multi-tool, hunting knife, burn barrel for trash, magnifying glass, generator, solar panels and wind power, CB radio, paper plates, plastic utensils, sleeping bags, gas mask, rubber gloves, cooking oil/shortening, extra propane containers that are filled and ready for your barbecue, and candles.
Books and Games
You should also think about how boring life may become in an emergency situation. Little things like board games, card games, novels, bible, et cetera may keep you from losing hope. Losing hope is the biggest killer in a survival situation. Keep your head and spirits up, if not for yourself, then for those around you.
Church Preparedness Planning
If you currently go to church, make sure that they are planning ahead for a crisis. We could have a future scenario where U.S. citizens will be starving, and the church will be one of the only options for helping them (outside of the governmental options). Does your church have grain storages, canned foods, water supplies, medical supplies, et cetera? If you check on this now and get them to adopt an emergency plan, then this could end up helping or saving you and your family later on. It could also help hundreds of others. The church should have money that they can use. They may as well use it before the dollar is debased. Besides, it’s what Jesus would do.
Finally, you may not have the Internet, power, or gasoline when stuff hits the fan. Don’t put off for tomorrow that which should be done today.