What Jennifer, a self-described prepper who declined to share her last name for security reasons, didn’t anticipate was the sheer force of Maria’s rains and 155 mile per hour winds — and how little the storm shutters would do to protect her home. “I was taking water out of the bedrooms, the living rooms, the hallways,” she says. “The house was flooded.” At one point, a piece of debris flew off a neighbor’s roof and got stuck between the outside wall of Jennifer’s pantry and the storm shutters, ripping off a pair of windows in the process.
One of the first things to go in any disaster, or even just on a stormy night, is the power. Every standard family household has go-to flashlights and candles, as blackouts are an occurrence in every corner of the world (some areas more than others, of course). But for preppers, the answer to that problem is a generator. The only question is, will it be electricity or fuel-based?
Disasters have, of course, put pressure on communities for a long time—including in the region now known as Mesa Verde, an area in southwestern Colorado renowned for its astonishing cliff dwellings. An estimated 25,000 to 30,000 people lived at Mesa Verde between 1225 and 1260, and then the population declined rapidly. For a long time, archaeologists had no idea what had become of them. But Pueblo tribes—in what is now New Mexico and Arizona—had, for generations, told stories about an exodus from Mesa Verde, and they claimed the previous inhabitants as their ancestors.
Experts worry most about the grid’s nervous system: 2,000 extra-high voltage transformers. They’re 200- and 300-ton behemoths, individually engineered to meet specific power demands, and on average, they’re 40 years old. Notwithstanding the fact that 85 percent of transformers are imported, the U.S. Department of Energy says it takes between 5 and 16 months to replace a single one. According to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Committee, an attack that destroyed nine of the 2,000 transformers would “cause a protracted nationwide blackout.” There’s no national cache of spare transformers.
Survivalists maintain their group identity by using specialized terminology not generally understood outside their circles. They often use military acronyms such as OPSEC and SOP, as well as terminology common among adherents to gun culture or the peak oil scenario. They also use terms that are unique to their own survivalist groups; common acronyms include:
He points to the cash registers over his left shoulder. “I’ll bet you there’s not one thing you bought today that didn’t use electricity in the transaction,” he says. Before Y2K, Finelli says he owned a small computer manufacturing company and personally upgraded 8,000 operating systems so the dates would roll over from 1999 to 2000. “Because they wouldn’t,” he says. “There was a defect. I know that computer systems are frail because I built them.” He says a widespread power outage would cripple us—no electricity, no trading debt portfolios, no buying wholesale taquitos on credit.
Adherents of the back-to-the-land movement inspired by Helen and Scott Nearing, sporadically popular in the United States in the 1930s and 1970s (exemplified by The Mother Earth News magazine), share many of the same interests in self-sufficiency and preparedness. Back-to-the-landers differ from most survivalists in that they have a greater interest in ecology and counterculture. Despite these differences, The Mother Earth News was widely read by survivalists as well as back-to-the-landers during that magazine's early years, and there was some overlap between the two movements.
“Everything started flying out,” she says. Buckets and cans rolled out of the pantry and down the side of the mountain. Hurricane Maria claimed almost all the food Jennifer had stockpiled, in addition to more than 30 chickens, two cows, four pigs, six ducks, and a turkey. “I had prepped for two and a half years, and I ended up with preps for six months,” she says.
My OCD side has often obsessed over the years about my prepping to the point of actually hurting my progress. See items #12, #13, and #14. Yes, you CAN procrastinate in an OCD manner! As you brought up, you can study study study to the point where nothing actually gets done. A favorite saying of mine is that “I hate do-overs”. I’d rather thoroughly examine a situation and do it right the first time instead of taking four tries to get it right. But that often accomplishes exactly what I’ve suggested…nothing.
I am also quite into food prepping in the sense that I like to plan what I eat for the week in a balanced diet, so I use the Excalibur Dehydrator as it lets me do nine trays of foods at the same time, which I generally do on a Sunday afternoon. I’m also a fan of this dehydrator as I can make jerky with it, or if I have had a huge harvest from the garden of a specific fruit, I can dry it all out at once in one bulk session.
Since people began building fallout shelters during the Cold War, canned nonperishable food has been recognized as great to have around when the going gets tough. Freeze-dried food and MRE (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) military rations with years of shelf life are also good options that take up less space per available calorie. [Doomsday Facts (and Fictions)]