Some people say you can’t prepare for every situation. I say, you can because every situation has one common element that can and will hurt you outside of the event itself: other people. Lets face it, if you die in a storm, a nuclear/biological/chemical event, or terror attack, then you are dead. There is nothing from stopping God’s will.
You don’t prepare for those events, you prepare for surviving those events. There are many events, (and not far-fetched crazy extreme events) which people should be prepared to deal with to protect themselves and their families when it’s over and you are alive. Some include:
- Storms (Hurricanes/tornados/floods/earthquakes, droughts, Tsunami)
- Financial collapse
- Biological emergencies (natural or weaponized)
- Chemical emergencies (Living near DuPont?)
- Nuclear emergencies (Attack/Power grid failure resulting in leak)
- Civil unrest (Riots/Revolution/Civil War/Race war/Looting)
- Power Grid failure (EMPs/Solar flares/ attack on grid)
The interesting fact is that just one event on the above list, can and will cause another on the list. If you don’t believe me, look at Hurricane Katrina. Not only did this storm devastate a region, but what else happened? Civil Unrest, chemical emergencies from refineries, Biological emergencies with contaminated water and disease from bodies, and financial collapse of the region and lets not forget the looting and power grid failures. Look at the recent tsunami in Japan. No one ever dreamed the nuclear reactors would so easily fail, melt down, leak, or kill (wait for it). The Japanese can probably site all the above listed events as a result of an earthquake. There is a common denominator shared by each item on the list that represents the biggest threat to survivors, outside of the event itself: People.
People will react in the most amazing ways after a horrible event. Events like these bring out the best and worse in people. This was seen in New Orleans. I was there in the aftermath. I saw the best and worst in mankind – Mostly the worst. Normal, law-abiding people (well, it is New Orleans), when put in a survival situation, will kill you, if the stress of the event makes them believe they need your stuff to stay alive.
The dichotomy is that people are the biggest threat, but you can’t survive without the cooperation of other people. You can’t make it through the listed events alone; you have to rely on other people to pool all your resources to survive. Every event on that list will cause people to lose their minds and cause chaos. Give it a couple of days, then the looting, crime and civil unrest explode like a powder keg. Sure, you can crawl in your bunker, but for how long? You can buy 20 guns, but you can only shoot one at a time. You need to get organized, with a group of trusted friends/family, to provide, protect and plan your hopefully short term situation. The well-organized, well armed groups will get passed by the marauders for easy pickings down the road.
Just in the last 10 years or so, we have seen some horrible events that touch every item on the list above….9/11, Hurricanes in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi,, Haiti, Japan’s Tsunami, Worldwide Earthquakes, Eastern Seaboard Power failure shutting down New York, Euro collapsing, Japans Nuclear reactor failures, Iran’s Nuclear prowess, Missing former Soviet nuclear devices, Los Angeles riots, Tornados Midwest rampage, Ohio/MS River flooding, Texas droughts, and I could list a whole page .
Preparing doesn’t sound so crazy now does it? It’s not some right-wing doomsday fantasy, but if it makes you concerned, perhaps it should – No one is saying we should build an underground bunker (although I would love to). All I am saying is having a plan, with people you trust while pooling resources just may save your life.
So now you realize you aren’t crazy- lets take a look at the basics:
What are the basic needs we will need as human beings?
WATER – Take stock if you are staying put or bugging out. You have what is available to you, but I would recommend having 3 sources of water either in my home or bug out location.
- Natural water sources (Creeks, rivers, springs that flow year round)
- Well water (How is it powered? Electricity/ manual pump/ solar?)
- Water storage (Ponds, stock tanks, water catch systems, barrel storage, bathtubs)
- City/County (Keep in mind this source is dependent on upkeep by people who will not be showing up to work in our scenarios)
FOOD – I know a lot of people have their 3-day bug out bag with survival food bars handy, but I believe you need to take stock, not only of your pantry, but other potential sources in your locations.
- Stored and saved canned goods with shelf life and extended life usage.
- Staples (oil, flour, beans, wheat, salt, sugar- Think food grade barrels)
- Natural Resources (Fish, wildlife in area for meat, Feeders/traps/snares)
- Seed (growing, farming, reproducing your own food – heirloom seeds)
- Livestock animals
- Food as a trading commodity (honey, spices, alcohol, Etc)
SHELTER –We have our homes we currently live in whether its an apartment, house etc. Think about if you leave or bug out, it’s important to have shelter not only where you end up, but keep in mind it may take a few days to get there. Do you know anyone between you and your bug out location? Is there someplace safe you can leave a cache?
Some things to think about shelter:
- Size, capacity (how many are in your trusted circle? Will everyone fit?)
- Power options (propane, electric/generator, wood for warmth)
- Portable/semi permanent (shipping container, RV, tents, Trailer)
- Underground (storm shelter, root cellar, buried shipping container)
- Ability to create lean-to and basic shelters
- Alternate locations (when things get too tough, you may need to relocate)
- At your bug out location, is there a secure place, if there is a bio event, that someone can be put into quarantine until incubation period is satisfied before joining the rest of the group?
SECURITY – This means a lot of things to a lot of people. Lets list out a few things that are important keeping in mind safety in numbers- however a smaller group of well prepared and well trained people can be the most important asset of security.
- Personnel (large enough to make the average band of marauders move on to easier targets)
- Weapons (pistols, mid range, long range firearms.) One important need for quiet registered suppressed smaller caliber weapons for stealth and hunting. This will be very important- Texas is mostly flat and sound carries for miles.) It is good to have .22, .223, .40/9mm, 12ga, 30.06/.308, 7.62×39. These are most plentiful and easily found. Stealth and being quiet is something that not many presently talk about, but will be important. If someone is looking for food/water etc, man-made noises are a beacon for people to come and find you. At some point, you will want to put your big bang stick away and opt for suppressed/small caliber or conventional bows.
- Ammunition: Having similar calibers among your group members makes ammo go further and able to work with more than one weapon. This coordination could be extremely important in long-term situations.
- Night Vision (or Thermal but expensive) There are many Gen 1 NV scopes out there that are priced so reasonably that they make it a must. Those who own the night, control the day.
- Dogs (trained ones, not purse dogs)
- Fuel (including storage- This will make you mobile while gas is scarce)
- Alternate Transportation (ATV, Bicycle, UATV, mopeds) Don’t laugh – You can ride 10-to-20 miles on a bike without being in Olympic shape. How long does it take to walk 10 miles? Not so silly now is it? Do some research on the Japanese in WWII being able to move mass amounts of troops in a short timeframe catching their enemies by surprise. And bike is quiet…….
Now that we have some of the basics identified, there are other things that could have been listed above that many of us have lying around or have access to its usefulness. I like to refer to these items as assets. You should put a checklist together of your assets, keeping in mind, some assets are intangible. Here is a quick list of both:
Communication. This is number one for a reason- ham radios, CB radios, Walkie-talkies, field phone with wires, and radios. Information equals knowledge, and knowledge is power.
- Boats (rafts, canoes, jon-boat, fishing and pontoon, inner tubes/pool toys- sometimes you need to get across a river/creek and need to keep stuff dry and they take up no space at all – deflate and use again later)
- Vehicles (some of us have multiple vehicles…or toys, that carbureted vehicle can be more valuable than you know if there is a solar flare or EMP)
- Trailers (we have a lot of stuff and people to bug out)
- Generators (these need extra fuel so prep accordingly, and don’t forget the oil)
- Tools (welder, chain saws, wire cutters, bolt cutters, etc)
- Bikes (these don’t need fuel and can get you miles in minutes)
- Land/property (even if it is not ideal bug out territory, it could be used as a cache to store items in alternate locale, or a safe place to stop and resupply to your ultimate destination)
- Reloader (The ability to load and reload your own ammo is a huge asset)
- Medical equip (all inclusive down to the band aids – don’t forget toothaches and tools for extraction if necessary) People never think about dental as part of their first aid kit…until they have a cracked tooth or toothache.
- Silent weapons (crossbows, bows, arrows/bolts, snares/traps)
- Fishing Poles (self explanatory)
- GPS/Maps (You need both because at some point tech will fail, oh yes, learn how to use a compass with that map) You don’t need static electricity with a needle on a pool of water- Bear Grylls is cool to watch, but go buy a handful of cheap compasses and put them in everyone’s bag and teach some online land navigation basics.
- Force multipliers (trip wire alerts, motion sensors, noise making material for areas you cant always see) An easy fix, battery operated motion lights. If you need eyes in a location you can’t see at night – Set these up in those hard to see areas – It’s like having an extra person to alert you. Fishing lines and cans with rocks will make noise when tripped.
- Battery charging devices (Commercial, solar, also think non conventional like a stationary bike with a belt to an alternator to battery to inverter to outlet) Hook it up to a wheat grinder and make some flour.
- Alternative energy (like my bike idea above, there are available sources on the market like solar, wind, hydro- research hydro – It only takes 10 foot of head to turn a turbine – I would love to explore this idea with my creek)
- Wood (Gotta have heat in winter, and have to cook)
- Clothing for all seasons (doesn’t hurt to have chest waders, mosquito netting, and sewing kits for repairs. Not everything needs to be military or camo )
- Hammocks – I’m getting everyone in my family hammocks with a cheap tarp to go over the top. There is a whole group of campers out there using only hammocks – Very cool, light weight and fit into the 3 day bug out bag nicely.
Now lets look at a list of what I call Intangible Assets. What knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) do we bring to the group that can be passed along or taught?
- Training (Firearms, tactics, military, safety/chemical, survival)
- Certifications (CPR/First Aid, EMT, MD, paramedic, dentistry)
- Skills (Farming, hydroponics, carpentry, mechanics, cooking, fishing, welding)
- Knowledge (Can you fix things? Make things, butcher, chemical knowledge, canning, pickling, reloading, armorer, water purification)
- Abilities (climb trees, make candles, negotiate, bow hunt, make a zip line, fish with a net. Think outside the box)
These are just a few things to think about when starting to prep. Take your own inventory, and then take the next step. This step is just as important as your safety. Unless you are going to live by yourself in a bunker (Okay, perhaps I have bunker envy)- you need to incorporate your trusted inner circle to share your ideas and make a plan. Choose wisely- I have seen a lot of people utilize their family- Most of the time, that works. But some folks don’t live near their family, or if they do, they don’t always get along with an in-law or each other. Don’t be that guy that chooses his best friend that doesn’t believe in prepping, and if by chance they do, won’t prepare, wont bring anything to the table and will end up mooching off of your hard work and the others in your group. Here are some things to keep in mind when you find your bug out group. Ask the hard questions with your group now.
If you plan on leaving your home to your bug out location, you may be faced with some tough decisions, table these with your group and ask:
- How many people are invited to the location?
- What is the group going to do when some other “friends” not in the trusted circle show up?
- Uninvited family vs. uninvited friends – Is there a difference? Oh yes!
- When others show up looking for a handout or help- what are we prepared to do?
- In a bio situation (bird flu) how long should you quarantine others before letting them into your location- What if they are sick – What is the group prepared to do? What if they are family?
- Leadership roles vs. democracy vs. clans (family leaders)
- What are group pooled items vs. individual (mine) items. What is shared vs. kept?
Meeting with your trusted inner circle (bug out crew) of people now and discussing these items will be crucial down the line. Lets face it, it’s hard to find couples that all like each other much less entire families. Face the fact and embrace the fact there will be disagreements in advance, No one will ever completely agree on everything- That is reality. These disagreements may become amplified in a stressful environment, but come to grips with it together and talk about it now. Talk about that family or group that finds you and wants to join your group to bolster their security (who, what when where, why and how- will be the name of that game). I can create an endless number of scenarios for and against accepting – But the group needs to come to an agreement. What style of leadership are we going to use? Talk about it now.
Have a plan and several routes that everyone knows to get to your bug out location. This is where communication devices are essential – Know what routes are inaccessible, have your back-up routes from each alternate points of entry (back up routes to your back up routes) Timing will dictate your routes. Depending on situation and spread of the event, smaller towns that you would normally drive through could be barricaded and controlled by organized militias/groups like you, limiting access. This goes for any area. Think of your bug out location, you may want to limit the access too, out of fear of travelers/hordes looking to pillage. Depending on the situation be prepared to negotiate, barter, trade and or shoot your way to your bug out shelter. You may end up using all those methods along the way.
Bug out to a secondary location comes with its own set of pros and cons. To me, the hardest question is: When is it time to bug out? No one can predict the best time, but I will say before all of the gas is used up. In our area of South Texas, you can hear a V-8 engine a couple miles away. Remembering that a panicked society wants to take your stuff because they did not prepare and believe they will die without your stuff-What I am trying to say is err on the early side of bugging out. The Bottom line is that if you wait too long, you will have herds of “zombies” trying to catch, shoot and kill the caravan of people who still have gas and a way out of town.
At this point, being quiet is the name of the game. Noise attracts attention- Hunting is a good example; an AR-15 is deafening and can be heard 5 miles and more away. If you use it, use it only once. You will have everyone’s attention waiting to vector the second shot and move in that direction. Get skilled with a bow/crossbow or get a suppressed weapon. .22s are relatively quiet and are good small game calibers. Generators are loud and will attract attention. What are some fixes? Underground, ventilated areas/ mufflers? This opens the door to learning to trap, lay snares, or take serious advantage of the hog trap. Stock up on rat traps and keep them at your bug out base (the snapping closed kind). Not for rats, but for small game and birds. These force multipliers will help you catch your needed protein.
As your group comes together, start training together. You can start out with a “survivor man” weekend where you can try your wares. Sight in all your weapons, start fires utilizing various methods, cook using only a fire-pit. Walk your perimeter, know your weak spots, where are you vulnerable? Where are the best vantage points on the property, escape routes, choke points, fallback areas, and cache spots. Bring the families out. Make sure everyone of responsible age knows how to load, fire, unload each weapon system each family owns. Make training weekends fun, but cover the basics and have everyone hone a skill. If they don’t have one, have them choose one, learn it well, and teach the rest of the group. Empower everyone in the group because we all need to not only feel we contribute to the whole, but we actually all really do need to contribute. Make weekends to learn how to:
- Security patrol/force multiplier utilization
- Prepping vehicles/Trailers/ bags with supplies (what should be in them)
- Survivor man trips using your 3-day bug out bag. Know what works and what doesn’t.
- Make flour from wheat and bread from flour.
- Make alcohol – Uses are many, from drinking, fire starting, trading, sanitizing, cleaning wounds, sterilizing….and did I say drinking?
- Bee keeping many uses from pollinating, honey, candles, trading. Edible honey was found in Pyramids buried for centuries.
Each aforementioned training topic could be a whole chapter in a book. Remember there are no wrong ideas, some may be misguided or implemented incorrectly, but most of us have not gone through this before. Getting ideas together is the first step to getting prepared which leads to taking action and responsibility for you and your loved ones which just may save your life one day. Good luck to us all – we might just need it.