Most of us do not have the funds to purchase and maintain a survival retreat, however there are effective things the ordinary citizen can do to help themselves and their families get through the troubled times ahead. I could write reams on this subject, but for the purposes of this article I will concentrate on a few basics to help your family get started on the path to survival.
I have been watching in horror for months as the U.S. government races towards the abyss. The British press truly nailed it when, after the debt ceiling vote was announced, the BBC referred to the vote as increasing the United States’ “overdraft authority”. Hurricane Katrina showed everyone with a brain that the government cannot and will not help you in the event of a disaster! Nuff’ said here.
Shelter Where You Are
In my opinion, people who live in rural areas are going to be generally better off. You are still going to need to stock up for long term difficulties and the sooner the better! The American people have become far too dependent upon outside systems and people, and when and if our infrastructure collapses, you going to be in a world of hurt if you don’t act now!
Here are some examples of things my family is doing. I am buying several extra cans of food a week. I buy at several different stores in nearby communities. I do this because any sudden large purchase gets the attention of our local paranoid Sheriff’s department. I’ve been given several 2½ and 5 gallon plastic buckets by the manager of a local mini-mart after they’ve finished with them. I clean them out, and then put the extra canned goods in them. We live in a humid area, and storing the cans in the buckets prevents the outside of the cans from rusting.
One other thing I plan do very soon is to purchase three large plastic totes in which I can place 4 weeks worth of canned foods to throw in our car if we do need to evacuate. In a 4th tote, I’ll have 3 changes of clothing for my wife and myself along with some cooking implements, a one burner butane stove and 6 cans of fuel. I can also carry 14 gallons of drinking water as well as food for our dog for a month. Do not forget to assemble a complete emergency medical kit for this evacuation pack! In our case, I have packed 60 days worth of our prescription medications.
Back to the homestead, however. Here is what I’m planning to do at our place.
50 gallons of drinking water and two 200-gallon [service life] filters. In my case I’m lucky enough to be about two miles from a large creek which runs all year. I can take a few dozen containers in the car and fill them from this stream. I do not, however drink this water without treating it first! I boil it for 20 to 30 minutes, and after it has cooled, I filter it. I use the Katadyn Hiker which is rated to filter up to 200 gallons. After it has been filtered, I add a teaspoon of unscented bleach to each 7 gallon storage container. These containers are kept in a dark and cool storage shed, and will keep for a very long time. Purchase as many of the 5-7 gallon containers as you can. If this is not possible or practical, save your two liter soda bottles as these are an excellent alternative. Be sure to treat the water before storing it. As for your tap water, depending on where you live, you might want to treat that as well, before storing it.
One-Burner Butane stove: These can be had at Wal-Mart and most other big box stores. The one I use has a Piezo-electric spark which ignites the fuel. We also have 40 extra fuel canisters for it. I estimate this will provide 2 hot meals each day for two people for up to six months.
Kerosene: We heat our home with it. We usually store 60 to 100 gallons, depending on the severity of the Winter. We have an indoor use Kerosene heater which does not require electricity to operate. We also have a large stock of candles for lighting as well as a few hand crank rechargeable LED lights.
Solar Shower for indoor use: Don’t laugh! This does work! We simply heat some water in a pot on the butane stove, pour the heated water into the Solar Shower, and hang it on the shower head in the bathroom. Hot shower off the grid! If it works on the trail it will work in your home!
Not enough can be said on this subject. I mentioned the 2-½ gallon buckets earlier. The reason I prefer these over the 5-gallon size is very simple. Older folks and children will have a much easier time moving the smaller buckets around. There is nothing wrong with the larger containers and I certainly have a few of them as well. As with the larger totes, I put the extra canned goods in there to prevent them from rusting, and this allows us to move the most food possible with the least amount of effort.
Important Note: Most people don’t do these things because they are daunted by the size and expense of a project like this. There is a way to deal with this. Whenever you go to the store, buy two or three extra cans and put them away for lean times. Your wallet will hardly notice the extra few dollars and in a year’s time you will be amazed at how much emergency food is in your pantry or your shed.
At my house, my wife is annoyed that I’m buying extra canned food to put away whenever I can. She tells me that she will take care of the matter and won’t let me starve. I know she loves me and takes excellent care of me: However, if the world around us takes a nose dive there will not be any food available for her to take care of me with! So, with no disrespect towards her, I am ignoring her protests and buying the food anyway!
As a side note, I highly recommend purchasing a subscription to Backwoods Home Magazine. The editors and staff there have developed self-reliant living and emergency preparedness into an art form! I have not seen a more in-depth and comprehensive source for these matters anywhere else!!
Learn First Aid and CPR. While I have good reason to have no love for the American Red Cross, they do offer the best basic training available in this area. Build the biggest medical kit you possibly can! Whether you can evacuate or not, having as much first aid gear as possible could well be the difference between life and death for you and your family. Do not forget to include prescription meds for every family member. Visit your doctor and explain what you are doing. Be tactful! Explain that you are simply trying to build up a small extra supply for emergencies such as a natural disaster, long-term power outages, etc. Do not say anything about your political concerns! Most of the medical personnel that I work with are very liberal. My two concerns here are first, they may view you as a nut-case and deny your request for extra meds. Second, though not likely, they may report you to the local authorities as a “Rambo” type or a “dangerous survivalist”. All you are attempting to do at this point is to have some extra medications on hand in the event of an emergency and you can’t get to medical care or they can’t get to you. Make sure they understand this and keep it simple!
Which brings me to the final point of this article, personal protection.
I am a strong supporter of our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Some people suggest you have a reliable handgun for personal and home defense. I suggest getting two! Ideally, one of them should be unregistered. If at all possible buy one or more guns privately so there is no ’paper trail’ to tip off Big Brother.
For home protection my first choice is a 20 gauge shotgun. They are lighter and easier to handle than a 12 gauge, so women and teenage children can handle them. They are also usually a bit shorter which makes them more maneuverable in a high stress situation. They will do less damage to your walls and furniture and at the ranges being discussed here, and will drop an intruder just as effectively as a 12 gauge. Another advantage here is that if you have to shoot outside, a 20 gauge is less likely to damage a neighbor’s property. [JWR Adds: Some ammunition makers might disagree with some of the foregoing, given the relatively comparable penetration of buckshot and slugs from 12 gauge versus 20 gauge shells at less than 20 yards.]
I also highly recommend a reliable handgun for each adult. There are pros and cons to revolvers and semi-autos, and the debate will not be settled here. Generally speaking, revolvers are less likely to jam at a critical moment. For people with less experience with guns, I suggest you start with a revolver, and there are some very good ones out there. I personally own a .357 Magnum which I can get to very quickly if I need to.
I despise 9mm! If someone trying to get into your home is high on Methamphetamines or PCP, he won’t even feel a 9mm and a .40 Smith will only enrage him. The bare minimum I would have is a .38 +P or a .357 Magnum. Jacketed Hollow Points are the order of the day here! A .357 SIG in my opinion is also inadequate in these circumstances. Bottom line: Buy either a .357 Magnum for anyone or a .45 ACP such as a 1911 type semi-auto.
Why do I advocate personal ownership of firearms? Well, taking the Second Amendment out of the equation for a moment, it is quite simple… At best the local cops are 6 to 30 minutes away. Where we live, it can be up to an hour, depending on how many donuts they have yet to consume. Another reason is that most dispatchers will tell you to do nothing and wait for officers to get to you. Yeah, right! Meanwhile, the burglars are in your garage, your shed, or your bedroom and you have been shot or your wife raped or your children abducted! No thank you! If an intruder comes into my home and he, she, or they are armed, it is the intruder who is going to be lying dead on the floor, not me or a member of my family, thank you very much! As the old saying goes, I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6. To keep things in balance however, let me say this: While I will act to protect myself and my family, I pray to God that I never have to put this to the test !
In closing let me also stress that it is best to keep as low a profile as you possibly can. You do not want nosey neighbors knowing you have extra food and supplies. You might want to suggest to them that they start doing things for themselves, but keep your own activities secret from them. You may think they are your friends and that they can be trusted. Do not fool yourself! If push comes to shove and they know you have provisions and they don’t. And some of them are liberals.
My last thought is this: I am very irritated by the mainstream media’s treatment of freedom loving, conservative Americans. I am constantly hearing talk from the media that it is the conservatives who are going to rise up and riot in the street. I submit that the exact opposite is going to be the case. It is my considered opinion that it is the liberal element of the population who will be the problem. It will be the welfare recipients, the illegal aliens, and the social engineers who will be the ones to riot and cause destruction. Why? Because they are the people who have lived off the system for nearly two generations, who have no work ethic, no sense of self worth, and expect everything to be handed to them, who, when the system does fail and America goes into default, will demand that the gravy train continue. When they see that their meal ticket no longer exists, their veneer of civilization will come off and it is they who will rise up against the government, not us! It will be far worse for our country than the Civil War ever was!
Prepare now. Prepare quietly. Do have a plan of escape if at all possible. If you cannot evacuate, or even if you can, lay in your supplies now. Because once it hits the fan it will be too late.