Imagine this situation: All of the media outlets have gone to commercial-free coverage. They are reporting that the Dow has dropped 2,000 points and trading has been suspended on Wall Street. The Chinese, along with other countries have transferred their reserves from the US Dollar. Oil futures climb $50 a barrel in hours. A national bank holiday shuts down the financial system on Main Street. Within 24 hours the grocery stores are cleared out of all food stocks. The gas pumps dry up in 12 hours. Trucks delivering goods are stuck at truck stops waiting on fuel that may not be available in days; 18-wheelers that have enough fuel to get back home are doing so, with the trailer left on the side of the road. Inner city areas are turning into war zones with looting and random acts of violence occurring between rival gangs. The Interstate System becomes a parking lot with the suburbanites trying to “get out of Dodge” (G.O.O.D.). With no more fuel supplies people become stranded and forced to flee on foot, with panicked people who are usually rational and moral, now acting immorally and irrationally; doing what it takes to get their family to perceived safety.
Moral of the story is simple – given an emergency where you will be cut off from the comfort of the complex supply chain, utility grid, and police protection, could you take care of you and your family? Could you do it for a week, for a month, or even a year?
I know this has more than likely unnerved you. Do not panic! Simple planning can help you get where you can take care of yourself and your family. We are going to try to guide you step-by-step in your path to peace of mind. Look at this plan as purchasing an insurance plan. You pay hundreds per month to insure yourself and your belongings, and investing in preparations may be the best policy you ever purchase. This will be covered in several areas:
- Food Storage
- Self-Sustaining Lifestyle
It may be advised to keep your preparations confidential. Use discretion as much as possible when you make your acquisitions. Also note that there will be some sacrifice in making your targets. The items we are suggesting to buy in this document are costly, but remember what we said earlier about this being an insurance policy for the safety and security of your household. Try to think of others that may join you if they are displaced by a disaster. We will cover this in detail throughout this work.
Most of the families in this country are trying to figure out how to make ends meet in these troubled times. The first thing you need to do is do a household budget with your family. You should put a total of what is coming in and the fixed bills that have to be paid out monthly. Write out your variable expenses for six months and see what you can cut to contribute to your monthly “insurance” expenses. There are many plans out there to help you with this. There are many ways to cut corners; you just have to be creative. 25-50% of the “insurance” fund should be used to pay down debt, with the remainder directed at your preparations. Use one month’s “insurance” allotment to purchase 90% pre-65 silver coins, which have intrinsic value with the silver content in them, or 1 oz. silver rounds from a recognized mint.
Water is crucial for healthy living and survival. 80+% of the human body is water and must be replenished regularly. I human being can go on weeks without food, but without water, a person will perish in days. Each person will need three gallons of water per day to stay cleaned, fed, and hydrated. Invest in a high-quality gravity water filter. The British Berkefeld or Berkey Light (starting around $200) is recommended for its timeless design and filtration level. Rain collection and other sources of water must also be considered.
In today’s just-in-time society, our logistics system is so finely tuned that the slightest hiccup in the system could cause massive trauma to the supply system. 3 days of delivery delays could interrupt the system for a month. How much food should be stored in reserve? Well, as much as space in your house and your pocket book will allow. 60 days will be your starting point. Remember to eat the elephant one bite at a time. Allocate an extra $30 per week to your grocery budget. Sit down with your family and make a list of what foods they enjoy to eat. Make a menu and look at the ingredients needed to make the dishes. Create a special storage area in a closet or basement for food storage. When you go to the grocery store by double the ingredients and put the excess in your storage closet. Keep an inventory and check off items when you meet your goal level for that particular ingredient. A starter list is included in this work.
If you have the funds, try to stock your shelf with freeze-dried foods designed for long-term storage. These are items are pricey, but worth it on that rainy day. If you have a Mormon contact, you can go to the Provident Living centers to can food at a reduced cost compared to other commercial sources.
Two Month Supply for Two People of Shelf Stable Grocery Store-Purchased Foods:
Starches (daily: 6 servings, 2 people/60 days: 720 servings)
12 boxes (10 packets ea.) instant oatmeal (120 servings)
6 lbs. rice (120 servings)
8 lbs. pasta (120 servings)
3 boxes instant potatoes (60 servings)
60 cans starchy vegetables (beets, carrots, corn, lima beans, sweet peas) (180 servings)
15 lbs flour (for baking bread) (120 servings)
Vegetables (daily: 4 servings, 2 people/60 days: 480 servings)
160 cans non-starchy vegetables (or 120 cans veggies & 20 jars spaghetti sauce)
(artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, green beans, yellow beans, wax beans, mushrooms, okra, spinach, tomatoes)
Fruit (daily: 3 servings, 2 people/60 days: 360 servings)
120 cans fruit (no sugar added)
Meats/Legumes (daily: 4 servings, 2 people/60 days: 480 servings)
30 (6 oz) cans tuna (90 servings)
12 (15 oz) cans salmon (90 servings)
15 (12 oz) cans chicken (90 servings)
15 (12 oz) cans turkey (90 servings)
15 (5 oz) cans ham (30 servings)
30 cans (or 7 lbs. dry) beans (90 servings) (kidney, navy, great northern)
Dairy (daily: 3 servings, 2 people/60 days: 360 servings)
6 (25 oz) boxes non-fat dry milk (enough to make 12 gallons)
or 16 (12.6 oz) cans NIDO brand dry whole milk (can be found in ethnic foods section)
6 lbs. Velveeta cheese
12 (12 ounce) cans evaporated milk
10 lbs. sugar
20 packages active dry yeast
4 (26 oz) containers salt
2 lbs. popcorn
4 jars peanut butter (40oz)
4 (32 oz) bottles vegetable oil
dried onions, garlic & other spices
large bottle of Multi-vitamins
This is where people tend to get a little uneasy. Except for the sociopath and serial killer, humans instinctively do not want to harm their fellow man. However, in times where there are challenges, people will be likely divided into two categories:
- Good guys that work with their neighbors and others survive
- Bad guys that will do anything it takes to survive.
You must be prepared to handle the second group, either though evasion, repulsion, or attack. The only way to do this effectively meet this task is to arm yourself with knowledge and of course – the hardware needed for the job.
First and foremost, firearms need to be looked at as tools. They can hurt you if you are not safe! Just as a chainsaw, ladder, or tractor, like all dangerous tools, firearms must be handled with respect, with all the safety guidelines followed. Firearm selection can be complicated, so here are some easy guidelines in selecting a firearm.
Caliber refers to what round the firearm is chambered to shoot. It is recommended that you purchase firearms listed in the primary category:
- Rifle – .223; .308
- Handgun – 9mm; 45ACP
- Shotgun/Survival – 12 gauge;.22L
- Rifle – .30-06; 7.62x39mm
- Handgun – .40S&W; .357 Magnum(also shoots .38 Special)
- Shotgun/Survival – 20 gauge;.17 HMR
A lot of people who are new to firearms, or who have never thought of needing defensive firearms can get confused with all of the choices out there in the gun market. We will use the primary caliber list above as a starting point. If you own firearms, make a list of the caliber and type you have. Then inventory the ammo you have on hand for each firearm. Sell excess firearms that are not in the primary caliber list to create some extra funds to get what you really need in your defensive toolbox. Keep firearms chambered in Secondary Calibers as barter items or handouts to extra “help.”s
For those on a budget and new to firearms, purchase a used 12 gauge pump shotgun and a used .357 Magnum revolver from an individual if possible. Guns have service lives measured in tens of thousands of rounds, so it makes sense to buy used guns, to save money. Also, by buying used guns from private parties, in most states you can avoid creating a “paper trail”.) Find a friend or coworker that is knowledgeable in firearms, do your homework, and get these guns first. The 12 gauge has quite a recoil (“kicks”) with heavy loads, but can be used on any critter with wings or legs (2 or 4); make sure to get a model of shotgun that can have an extended magazine tube installed on it. As for handguns, the .357 revolver is a formidable self-defense pistol and can also shoot the [less powerful and slightly less expensive] .38 Special cartridge. Make sure you also have a holster and some speed loaders. Along with 100 rounds each of Buckshot and .357 hollow points, purchase low-cost clay load 12 gauge shells for the shotgun and bulk packs of .38 and to inexpensively learn how to use your firearms. Practice safe use and handling of all firearms, and make sure all chambers are clear or cylinders empty while stored in a secured safe or metal gun cabinet. Always make sure a firearm is clear before handling, and not in the physical grasp of untrained/young children.
After you have your “starter” guns, make sure you have plenty of food for a couple months and water filtration, then start adding to your defensive tool box. Acquire firearms that are more suited for defending your perimeter and neighborhood. This can be pricey, but remember, you do not want to skimp on an item that might save your hide!
- Rifle – a rifle should be a magazine fed, self-loading weapon that can be easily handled and maintained by the individual.
- AR-15 Lightweight Carbine with M4 or Magpul stock
- 10-to-20 magazines per weapon
- Minimum 1,500 rounds of M193 ball per weapon
- Springfield M1A
- magazines per weapon
- Minimum 1,000 rounds of ball
- Handgun – Remember that a handgun is just to get you back to your rifle and to defend yourself in situations where a rifle is not appropriate.
- “Safe-acton” style in 9mm or .45ACP
- Springfield XD
- Smith and Wesson M&P
- 1911 Variant in .45ACP
- Springfield Armory
- 50 magazine loads worth of ammo and 6-8 extra magazines per weapon
- Specialty – If you have the skills and the funds, it is wise to have a Varmint rifle handy for long range targets. There are many excellent choices out there, and is this is a custom weapon to the person; however, the author recommends .308 (7.62mm NATO) or .300 Winchester Magnum for the caliber
You must have adequate gear to carry your extra magazines and survival gear. A plastic grocery bag just won’t fit the bill. This is called load-bearing equipment (LBE). Purchase gear that fits you and your environment. Some manufacturers of high-quality gear include: Tactical Tailor, Spec-Ops Brand, and Maxpedition
24 Hour Kit – this is the equipment that is your base equipment you will wear while doing security patrols. It should sustain you for up to 24 hours in the field.
- Load Bearing Vest with appropriate pouches for your gear
- Rifle and 6-12 magazines
- Sidearms and 2-3 magazines
- Camelback hydration carrier – 2 liter
- FRS/GMRS Radio
- Survival Gear Pouch
- Gloves – Cold Weather and Heavy-Duty Leather
- Small Bible
- 24-hour food supply
- Water purification tablets/Water filter
- Mosquito net
- Gun cleaning kit (Otis Universal Recommended)
- 2 pairs of socks
- Camouflage bandanna
- Signal mirror
- Emergency blanket
- Small fishing kit
- Sewing kit
- Fire Starting Kit
- Matches in waterproof case
- Magnesium starter
- Starting Tender (dryer lint or cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly)
- Camouflage face paint kit
- Knife Sharpener
- Quality surplus USGI pistol belt (usually attached to vest)
- Tactical Pistol Holster (optional)
- USGI Canteen (empty), with cover and cup
- Quality Fighting/Utility knife
- Quality LED flashlight with colored filters
- First Aid Kit
72 Hour Kit (Also known as the Bug Out Bag) – This is in addition to your 24 hour kit. As with the vest, his should be ready to go at all times. Rotate times that need to be rotated and do a gear check on a monthly basis.
- Small or Medium Daypack or Rucksack
- 3 MREs or similar trail-type food
- Spare ammo
- 1 – Set of clothes (camouflage for your area)
- 2 – Black, Drab Green, or Brown T-shirts
- 6 – Pairs of Socks
- Mess Kit
- Sleeping bag – Winter
- Poncho liner – Summer
- Entrenching Tool
- Plastic Bags
- Scenario Specific Equipment
- Advanced Medical supplies
- Bolt Cutters
- Long Distance Two-way Radios
- Entry Tools
- Heavy Wire Ties
- Large Wire Cutters
- Rappelling Line and accessories
- Barter/Charity Goods
- Hatchet/Machete of some type
Make sure first off the pack you select fits you well, is durable (no Chi-com knockoffs), Drab in color (florescent colors and reflective stripes are a no-no). Make sure the straps are of modern ergonomic design and you have a chest and belly band the fits you will over clothing. The better the fit of the bag, the less fatigue you will endure.
Put your gear on and make sure it fits well. Go to a private location and test your gear out. Try to simulate being in the field. 99% of your activity in a disaster is gathering food and keeping yourself going, however you will need to periodically do a scouting patrol around your property to see what is happening, check on distant neighbors, etc. You need to make sure you can haul on your person every item you need to operate in the field for 72 hours.
Wearing this kind of gear around is very fatiguing. If you are not in shape now, you will get in shape when the time comes. Make sure you can eliminate weight at every opportunity. Examples include carrying hotel size soap bars or slices of soap instead of a whole bar; a lightweight one-man tent instead of a three-man tent; sawing a toothbrush in half; etc. Anything to lighten the load, do it.
If you made it through this work so far without throwing it in the trash or deleting it from your computers, thank you. I bet the wheels are turning in your head. Do not panic or get overwhelmed. The point of this work from the first letter is to give a broad overview of what steps you need to take to become a more self-sufficient American. I know that the cost of items freak you out. Think about it as spending your money while it is worth something. A simple breakdown in the monetary system could invalidate years of savings. Make it where you are comfortable in the future and do not become a casualty. The biggest issue faced in a disaster situation is comfort. However, if you have a comfortable place to sleep, food to eat, and water to drink you will thrive in hard times.
A survivalist thinks they will hit the woods and live off the land. A good majority of these people will not make it due to exposure and lack of clean food and water. A thrivalist makes plan A to go to the well-stocked retreat (which may be home) and ride out the storm. The thrivalist can also live in the woods, but it is strictly plan B. The best place to remain is in what you know intimately – your home and surrounding area.
Bug Out or Stay In?
This will be a difficult choice for you to make. This is strictly the opinion of the author, but you should plan to avoid major cities during this time of crisis. In other words, if you live in an urban/suburban area become good friends with someone like mind and a tank of gas away or if you live in the country, plan to stay in and make room to have extra permanent guests if a catastrophic event happens to our nation. Whatever choice you make, you will need more people than just yourself. You will need a team of folks to sustain your Area of Operation (AO). This is where the purpose of this document ends. You have to use the gifts God gave us – intuition, critical thinking, gut feeling, etc. – to plan out exactly what you are going to do.
Some suggested helpful links: