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Remember 2012? The Mayan calendar predicted the world would end in December. Doomsday Preppers premiered in February. The country was in an apocalypse mood, and thanks to Finelli, Springfield’s former Boy Scouts and ex–Tea Partiers came out of the shadows to mix it up with doctors and dentists. They had little else in common, but to borrow Finelli’s term, they were preparedness-minded. Springfield, MIss community was born.
When bands of marauders start roaming the streets, how are you going to keep them out? Tear down a few walls, says Timothy Ferraro, a twenty-five-year construction veteran who's thought about this situation plenty while watching The Walking Dead. "Assuming the attackers don't have a battering ram, you should be able to keep them out using the lumber and drywall already in your home," he says.
Five backpacks, which I got at the Good Will, because I am a frugal paranoiac. These are our go bags, one for each person for our family, plus an extra for my husband to keep at work. In his work go bag I also put a blanket, another billion-hour candle, and, in case he has to sleep at work, a comic novel. Something lighthearted, because if he’s sleeping at work I know he’s going to be freaking the fuck out. I considered The Road but decided that was unkind.
People who are not part of survivalist groups or apolitically oriented religious groups also make preparations for emergencies. This can include (depending on the location) preparing for earthquakes, floods, power outages, blizzards, avalanches, wildfires, terrorist attacks, nuclear power plant accidents, hazardous material spills, tornadoes, and hurricanes. These preparations can be as simple as following Red Cross and U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommendations by keeping a first aid kit, shovel, and extra clothes in the car, or by maintaining a small kit of emergency supplies, containing emergency food, water, a space blanket, and other essentials.
The preparation you make for a hurricane, earthquake or other short-term disaster will not keep you alive in the event of widespread social collapse caused by pandemic, failure of the grid or other long-term crises. Government pamphlets and other prepping books tell you how to hold out through an emergency until services are restored. This book teaches you how to survive when nothing returns to normal for weeks, months or even years, including:
I need to organize my food in a similar manner. I started prepping about a year or so ago, but it took months of talk and giving my wife articles to read, but I finally got her on board with buying a couple of extra cans/items each time she went shopping. I now have an overflowing panty that is disorganized. I’m sure I have items approaching their “best buy” date. Part of my “problem” is the size of our pantry area…too easy to cram things in and forget about them or forget where they got placed. We have an adequate 3-month supply, but nothing yet for long-term storage…that seems hard to get figured out (what to store, where to store, quantity to store, “best” storage method, etc.).
Whether you embrace firearms or shun them, you still need a way to defend yourself, your family and your property. Consider pepper sprays, martial arts, and other defensive mechanisms in addition to traditional firearms. It is foolhardy to believe that having some means of defense is not needed because “there is no one out to get you”. Don’t be naive in this regard!
For a time in the 1970s, the terms survivalist and retreater were used interchangeably. While the term retreater eventually fell into disuse, many who subscribed to it saw retreating as the more rational approach to conflict-avoidance and remote "invisibility". Survivalism, on the other hand, tended to take on a more media-sensationalized, combative, "shoot-it-out-with-the-looters" image.
I just rotated my canned foods and such over the holiday weekend. When you start getting busy it will get away from you. I was able to donate some goods coming up on best buy date to local pantry and of course we prepared some of these items in upcoming meals. I did have to pitch about 8 or 9 cans, so I am getting better at not loosing too much. The goal is not to loose anything! We try very hard to stay abreast of the expire dates and restocking the shelves as frequently as we can.
While survivalists accept the long-term viability of Western civilization, they learn principles and techniques needed for surviving life-threatening situations that can occur at any time and place. They prepare for such calamities that could result in physical harm or requiring immediate attention or defense from threats. These disasters could be biotic or abiotic. Survivalists combat disasters by attempting to prevent and mitigate damage caused by these factors.
PACK ANYTHING: Discrete gray and navy blue 40-liter bag (approx 14” x 9” x 22” inch / 35cm x 23cm x 55cm) prepacked with additional room; Water-resistant double-stitched reinforced nylon and polyester fabric repels water; Padding on all stress points; Adjustable sternum strap includes a built-in emergency whistle buckle; 5 zippered pockets with double metal zippers on main compartments so you can use a lock on the pockets to safely secure items and grab loop pull-strings for quick zip and unzip
I have also heard that a lot of homesteaders stock an air rifle in their prepper gear as it is an easy-to-use gun with very cheap ammunition and much fewer regulations on it. Some time ago I came across a prepper who had a Gamo Hornet Air Rifle in his prepper supply. He said that while this was for allowing him to hunt small and big game, it was also a great weapon for home defense.
In 2001, Tim Kohler, a professor of archaeology and evolutionary anthropology at Washington State University, set out with a group of specialists to create the Village Ecodynamics Project to figure out the relationship between Ancestral Puebloans and their environment. Did catastrophic drought lead to migrations out of this region, as some had speculated?
I would agree that the moral ground of choosing to not have a firearm is great for some people. I have a family and am prepared for our needs with supplies and learned skills and would not expect to need assistance of others. I am currently working on extra supplies that I might be able to distribute to others in need. I like to help others and do not see the world as an evil place. Unfortunately with a catastrophic event law enforcement is often not available. History and current events in less “civilized” areas has proven that without law then anarchy and predatory animals are often unleashed. I feel that it is my moral obligation to protect my family. If I took the stance that I would go firearm free for moral reasons then I don’t think that I could live with myself if I was powerless to stop thugs from overpowering me then stealing our hard earned supplies necessary for our survival and then brutalizing my wife and young daughter when I might have been able to stop it with force. If accepting the risk of being less able to protect your family is acceptable to you and your family for moral reasons then god bless you and I support your decision. Could I live with the “stain” on my soul for protecting my family from predatory animals using force? Yup. How many “stains” could I tolerate….depends on how many predators and how many bullets I have. I do not live in fear and do not think that my commitment to my family protection as a husband and father makes me psychotic, paranoid, pathetic, a coward or a sociopath and feel slighted at the suggestion otherwise in your post. I would say that each of us must make the moral decision themselves about use of firearms for protection. I don’t judge others decisions and wouldn’t expect others to judge mine. I think I am a realist. A protective firearm can be like a fire extinguisher- you don’t have one because you want to use it or expect a problem but stuff happens.
Update: Yes, if you have prescription meds you’d die or suffer without, definitely pack an extra few weeks’ worth in your go-bag. And stick in extra glasses for anyone who wears prescription lenses. I didn’t add these because the former doesn’t apply to me, and I haven’t gotten around yet to buying the latter, but commenters have reminded me that these two things are at the top of the FEMA list.
Thomas spoke about these in his article on purifying contaminated water. Basically, the reverse osmosis water purification systems, like the one featured as #5, will take care of larger contaminents. Couple that with ultraviolet disinfection and the rest of water purification is pretty well taken care of without requiring anything too expensive. Remember that this system requires electrical power, so you’re going to need to take that into consideration. But with a solar panel generator, it’ll do the trick perfectly.
Fires happen at the best of times—when the SHTF, they are even more likely to happen. You need to be prepared. And you will be with the Firemask as part of your prepper gear This is a respiratory device that will protect against smoke inhalation, fire, and radiant heat. It also protects against carbon monoxide, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and other toxic gases.
A portable, 2.6 pound stove fueled by naturally occurring scraps sure would come in handy after society breaks down. Voila: the BioLite Camp Stove. Feed it biomass like twigs, pinecones, or wood pellets, and the resulting smokeless fire from this portable grill can get a pot of water boiling in under five minutes. It also generates enough electricity to charge a mobile phone or other gadgets with a USB port. Included is a USB-charged FlexLight, a light with bendable stem that can be positioned to illuminate the cook surface.
As for the solar panels, I use a 100W Renogy solar panel, which connects to the generator giving it a pretty quick charge, given the right amount of sunlight. I have used these in conjunction with each other a number of times in different scenarios and have to say that together, they are worth the investment. In fact, the two of them together are still cheaper than most quality generators and are more sustainable to run.
Several years ago, a New York City firefighter named Jason Charles read the novel “One Second After,” by William R. Forstchen, and decided to change his life. In the book, an electromagnetic pulse goes off and sends the United States back into the Dark Ages; in its foreword, Newt Gingrich writes that this technology is not only real but terrorists know about it. “It was pretty much a green light for me to start prepping,” Charles says. The latest episode of The New Yorker’s “Annals of Obsession” video series centers on doomsday preppers—people who aim to equip themselves with the skills and materials they would need to survive a world-ending calamity. Charles is now the organizer of the group N.Y.C. Preppers, which teaches city dwellers how to fend for themselves. He says that he has stockpiled enough supplies that, if the worst came to pass, he would be able to be self-reliant for a year and a half.
During this crisis, I have followed the local electric company’s FaceBook page and it is very disconcerting how unprepared people seem to have been. People wrote, “the electric company knew days in advance the ice was coming and THEY did not prepare.”……and, “I pay THEM to handle problems like this”…..and, “This is not the Stone Age, this should not happen”. All I could think of was Katrina and the New Orleans’ Superdome.
Adam Hadhazy is a contributing writer for Live Science and Space.com. He often writes about physics, psychology, animal behavior and story topics in general that explore the blurring line between today's science fiction and tomorrow's science fact. Adam has a Master of Arts degree from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College. When not squeezing in reruns of Star Trek, Adam likes hurling a Frisbee or dining on spicy food. You can check out more of his work at www.adamhadhazy.com.