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Think you're safe out in the surburbs? Think again. A major disaster including a wave of homegrown terrorists with chemical bombs will make several regions dangerous places to live. If you live ANYWHERE nearby where winds can carry toxic smoke you better have a plan for bugging out.
What kind of preps could you buy?
Underground Bunker ... with all the bells and whistles... Have a state of the art "Cold War" bunker built deep underground below your home.
Private airstrip near the national forest... Purchase several acres of property along a vast stretch of national forest land (that no roads or trails lead to currently), get your pilot's license, buy a small airplane, and practice making that flight between your hometown airfield and that area of private land you purchased near the national forest.
Mountain Cabin ... Remote ... Solitude... Up above the national forest, have a cabin built as a second survival retreat that you can spend time at during the summer months after the snow has melted and large game has migrated to higher elevations (which in summer you know the hunting can be good at that elevation).
Possibilities for expensive preps are endlessWith deep pockets and money to spend, we can go on and on describing some costly doomsday preps, each prep serving a step of creating safety and security -- even if that safety and security is just an illusion (remember, anything can happen in an SHTF -- what if someone hijacks your airplane before you've lifted off from your hometown airfield? Just like that you're on foot and begging the local riff raff to sell you a pick-up truck so you can get the heck out of 'Dodge.) For most of us, that's just not realistic. While it's important in this day and age to start preparing for and even stockpiling for an extended emergency, it's important to think "second hand" first and foremost when it comes to specific types of gear.
Don't go broke on prepsOtherwise you'll quickly break your budget; most of us have bills and expenses every month as it is. The bigger your family the more expenses you have.
To be a true prepper, there's two kinds of preps
1. Shelter in place (preps for "bugging in")
2. Plan B for evacuation (preps for "bugging out")In the tips that follow, we discuss sheltering in place and (in a second article, follow the link at the bottom of this article) a Plan B for evacuation (Bugging Out), where you leave your home for the last time and head out into the wild blue yonder or just hit the open highway with your fully packed car, suv, or truck hoping to find a safer place somewhere down the line (that's the goal anyway; nothing's guaranteed in a post-collapse; but planning and being able to improvise to changing conditions can help you survive with your family for the long term).
Starting with #1: Sheltering in Place
So how do you prep for sheltering in place on a budget?
Two things you can shop for second hand1. Power tools (when major storms or disasters hit, one of the first things that people do is start repairing damaged homes and properties; your home may have been damaged in an earthquake or sudden windstorm, with doors and windows destroyed or even an entire wall; for security and keeping out bugs and cold temperatures, you'll want to tackle these repairs as soon as possible). Power tools like: Circular saw, impact drill, chain saw (if trees have come down on your fence or home).
2. Lumber (you can't do any repairs without a generous supply of wood on hand; 2x4s, plywood, etc., you can keep stored in your garage or under tarp and out of the weather; before paying top dollar for lumber at your local hardware store, head to an actual lumber yard and ask if they have any discounted wood pile you can pick from; this is lumber for quick repairs and not lumber for helping you remodel your home; the cheaper stuff can work just fine in many cases). You will need: Several boxes of nails, roofing shingles, tarp.
What should you buy new to shelter in place?
Five things you should always buy new
1. Food suppliesDiversification is key to preventing food fatigue during a long term emergency where the only food and water you have is what you stockpiled before hand; so don't just stock up on freeze dried backpacking meals and buckets of freeze dried emergency food; purchase several bags of rice, beans, seasoning, nuts, healthy seeds for the nutrition factor (chia seeds, sesame seeds, etc), coffee, tea, cocoa, Ovaltine (for the kids if they're picky), canned salmon and tuna, canned chicken breast, canned and bottled peppers, canned refried beans, canned baked beans; jerky (preferably home made and properly preserved for long term storage; more on that below); chocolate (for an occasional morale booster); and other foods commonly stored by seasoned preppers and covered in other articles on our website on survival foods.
2. Chest Freezer(s)- Why buy new? You're looking for highly energy efficient chest freezers in order to maintain a deep cold temperature for several days once the power goes out -- which several of the leading brands of today's chest freezers are known for. There's a lot to say today on freezers. If you have at least two chest freezers you can stockpile a couple hundred pounds of frozen meat that can help get you by the first several days of an extended emergency and loss of power, especially if you have a bigger family at home (and what you can't eat fast enough by the end of the first week you can give to friends and hungry neighbors).
Here's how to make your chest freezer work for you even in the loss of electrical power: The trick is to make your freezer stay as cold as possible for as long as possible (once you've lost power), giving you several more days of cold meat in storage that you can eat as each piece slowly thaws. How do you do this?
- Fill both chest freezers 2/3 full of ice blocks, with 50 - 100 pounds of frozen meat stored underneath a row of ice blocks using large cuts of meat (since large cuts thaw at a slower rate than small cuts). Each of these large cuts should be tightly wrapped in freezer paper, taped, sealed, and labeled. Even better, and allowing you to see a sealed package's contents several months down the road, is to invest in a commercial grade vacuum sealer prior to freezing any meat, to both protect meat from any melting ice in the days following the loss of electricity, as well as prolonging the quality of meat placed in long term storage. A commercial grade vacuum sealer removes the oxygen from your "diy" packaging, producing a better environment for long term storage vs. storing meats simply wrapped in freezer paper.
More ice blocks means freezer stays colder longerHint: If you're experienced taking a large cooler to the beach, then you've learned that the more ice blocks you have, the colder the cooler stays, for a longer period of time. In a normal setting with power on hand, frozen meat removed from the freezer and placed in a refrigerator should be eaten within five days -- we're talking about steaks, roasts and chops; any type of ground meat should be eaten within two days of starting a thaw; thus, for your chest freezer, large steaks, roasts, and chops are a better choice for long term food storage, giving you up to five days between thawing and consumption in normal conditions. We're talking about going above and beyond normal conditions by using a large number of ice blocks to help keep the temperature cold in each freezer, following the loss of electricity. Can we extend the five day thaw time to 8-9 days?
Chest freezers are investmentsA good chest freezer is an investment in prepping and will set you back a few hundred dollars. Well known brands include GE, Frigidaire, Amana, Danby, and Whirlpool. Compared to upright freezers, they don't self defrost and the temperature inside stays consistently lower. If you currently live in an area subject to power failures, they are a good investment because they keep food frozen for a longer period of time following a loss of power.
Keys to rememberHow long you can maintain a cold climate in each freezer after a loss of power depends on the type of freezer (chest freezers are best), the temperature surrounding each appliance (so look for energy efficiency in the model you buy -- to keep cold in, to keep heat out and also look for ways to keep the room your chest freezer is in as cool as possible).
"ArcticLock" and other chest freezer engineeringSome chest freezers are more advanced than others at energy efficiency. The Frigidaire 61" Chest Freezer with "ArcticLock" will keep food frozen for two full day after the power has been lost ... that's stated in Frigidaire's product specs.
Now consider how much more time you can extend the life of your frozen food by packing the freezer 2/3 full of ice blocks along with those large cuts of frozen meat? It's possible we'll see 10-12 days from frozen to completely thawed and the day the food must be eaten.
Keep frozen meat colder, longerFinally, after the loss of power, only open a freezer for a brief moment, and only when necessary.
The time everything will stay frozen or cool will depend on the type of freezer or refrigerator, the thermostat setting, and the temperature surrounding the appliance. (Hint: In a warm climate, keep the contents of each chest freezer wrapped in emergency space blankets for one more layer of insulation to keep the internal temperature at freezing, longer, following a loss of power; space blankets reflect from both directions)
3. Professional Materials for Food Preservation: Jerky Maker- If you have the space at home, there's no time like the present to start using a backyard smoker to dry and smoke meat for long term storage. Wilbur Eastman goes into detail on smoking and curing meat in his book, A Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking Meat, Fish & Game. If you follow a specific set of steps, using the correct backyard smoker, drying and smoking meat is a proven way to store large amounts of meat for long term storage where no refrigeration is needed. Native Americans, pioneer ancestors, and tribal groups around the world have for have used similar methods over the centuries for making jerky and storing it for several months or even several years, when done correctly.
A backyard smoker doesn't need electricity, it's wood burning, charcoal burning, etc. If that's a lot of work, there's an even easier way, and one not so dependent on good weather conditions for using a backyard smoker. What's the other way for creating jerky right at home? In your own kitchen, you can start using your oven (at a low setting using specific techniques explained at the link to remove all moisture from meat over several hours vs actually cooking it -- which is what you do not want to do when creating jerky). For a serious step though, especially if this is something you'd like to start doing more of in the coming months, you can invest in a proven appliance called a dehydrator made specifically for drying meat and creating jerky and other survival foods, including dehydrated fruits and vegetables.
Second use for a commercial grade vacuum sealer ... Store your jerky with itRemember that commercial grade vacuum sealer mentioned above? Here's a second use where you'll find an immediate need for it, packaging all foods that come out of your dehydrator for long term food storage and your disaster preps.
So to start preparing the foods you'll need to feed your family for the long term, consider a chest freezer, ice blocks, and several large cuts of meat properly packaged to get you through the first few days of a loss of power. Then you can turn to all the foods you've prepared in your food dehydrator, in addition to any buckets or boxes of store-bought freeze dried emergency meals sold by companies like Wise Foods and Augason Farms, both big names in emergency preparedness.
Don't overlook store-bought jerky for a short term disasterIf you're preparing for a short term disaster, store bought "natural" jerky can work just fine for you. But it's costly. Considering that most people who come to our site are preparing for the possibility of catastrophic disaster, it is much more cost effective to teach yourself the process of drying and smoking meat, of canning, and bottling as well, and then investing in all the tools and materials to make it happen. Not only can you save money over several months of perfecting the process, but you also learn a valuable skill that can help you continue in food preparation in a post-collapse world when you and others may be preparing fish, wild game, livestock, etc., to feed your own families or small community of survivors.
Start small ... then, once you've got it down, go biggerFor your first couple attempts at jerky making, start small, only to teach yourself the process. Once you've got the process down, that's when you can start the process of drying and smoking larger amounts of meat, spending entire weekends if that's what it takes building up a stockpile of correctly preserved meat.
Reminder -- you've just learned a valuable skill for a post-collapse worldIn the next section we warn that a number of rural towns may shut their doors to outsiders fleeing major cities, even chasing you off if you show up seeking refuge. That just depends on the town and the local powers that be who are present when you show up. Offering a valuable skill set in exchange for refuge can possibly open a door for you where you are welcomed into the town for a period of time (more on this below including specific skills that could make you valuable addition to a welcoming town).
4. First Aid and Medical Supplies- Like it or not, you can quickly find yourself thrown into a land with no hospitals, doctors or pharmacies, not unless by some small miracle you find a distant town where there's still people working together and still doctors to be had. Isn't this article about sheltering in place? It is. But if someone is sick or badly injured, you may need to seek out a doctor if you can find no other way to treat the sick or injured person.
If you make it to a neighboring town somewhere distant you may possibly be welcomed and that town may still be somewhat functional, with a few small doctors and nurses tending to the local population. But if your injured person is back at home, will a doctor be even willing to make the trip to see about helping? (A provision from God might be the only way this injured person is helped in the end.)
If you do find a doctor or clinic there's one more thing to consider: No electricity ... anywhere.
Don't expect to find electricity if this extended emergency is following in the footsteps of an EMP or solar flare (scientists say both events have the capacity to fry America's fragile power grid; with so many terrorists sworn to the West's destruction, and so much hate coming from North Korea and Iran for the West, it's very possible we'll see an EMP at some point in years to come).
Doctors forced to work in conditions comparable to third world countriesSo, no electricity. These doctors will be working in the same kind of conditions that doctors work when volunteering in third world countries with church missions groups. No electricity also means no interstate shipments of medication to distant towns located out in rural areas -- and definitely no shipments to cities or suburbs where a severe shortage of doctors and empty pharmacies will mean families and neighborhoods are on their own with only each other to help with first aid and emergency medical procedures.
Massive injuries ... possibly family or friends among the injuredDepending on the chaos of the moment, there may be several gun shot victims and others injured in bombings. There could be burn victims, people with broken arms or legs, lacerations and deep cuts, etc. Not to spook readers but it could easily happen to you or members of your family if your house or apartment collapse as part of some catastrophic event that takes on any number of forms.
Fully equipped first aid "kits" for an extended emergencyHaving a fully stocked first aid kit is prudent to help be fully prepped before hand (we're talking the same kind of first aid kit a church missions group might bring into a third world village; it should have everything in it and then some; this is long term.) This is especially true if the possibility exists that you won't access any doctors quickly enough for medical help you need to treat any injured.
Supplies for Chemical / Nuclear Emergency In a way each of these supplies could be considered additions to a well stocked first aid kit:
A personal radiation detector (so you can detect radiation levels and if you've been contaminated) as well as potassium iodide pills (which can be taken during a nuclear emergency to reduce chances of several types of cancer).
Another important item discussed, and possibly the most important item of all in a nuclear or chemical emergency, is a chemical protective gas mask for a nuclear or chemical emergency.
Additional items to help include chemical-barrier coveralls (such as those made by Dupont, that protect your clothing and skin from radiation in the air), especially if you'll be in an area of possible fallout; you can also equip yourself with an actual Geiger counter for monitoring levels of nuclear radiation. If you pick up too much radiation, you need to keep moving until you get to an area where radiation levels are at a safe level, making a Geiger counter a very useful tool following a nuclear emergency. Note that both of these items are commonly sold and easy to get a hold of online.
Growing nuclear threat from Middle East, North KoreaLike it or not, some would say that with Donald Trump coming in to the Presidency concerns in Middle East nations like Iran about America using the full force of it's military may escalate now, prompting Iran (put North Korea on that list as well) to move forward with it's rumored desire to hit the U.S. with an EMP, nuclear annihilation of major cities, or both.
We live in a dangerous world growing increasingly dangerous. Russia is right now ramping up it's own citizens preparations for nuclear warfare; maybe the U.S. should take notice and start doing the same. And even if our government fails to take these steps with citizens, then at the least we as individuals with families should start to consider these steps for ourselves.
5. Firearms for Light Hunting and Self DefenseEven if you effectively shelter in place for several months, at some point your large stores of food supplies could start running low. In a worst case scenario, your food supplies could have even been destroyed by a natural disaster, earthquake, wildfire, or flood that swept through your community in the early days of an eventual collapse.
That is one reason why seasoned preppers recommend storing food supplies and survival gear in more than one location, hidden in ways so that if a thief breaks in, they can't find it, or if a disaster strikes, you don't lose everything.
• A dummy stash is a good way to throw a thief off the scent. You set up some cheap or expired food supplies in an easy to find closet, along with some junk or old emergency gear you no longer use, and hopefully any thieves will take the bait and give up searching for anything else you may have on site.
Prepping with Rifles If You Plan on Hunting ...• Following a disaster on a catastrophic level, it's a good time to consider letting go of any qualms you might have about hunting, if it's never been your thing before. There are several makes of small rifles to introduce people to light hunting, especially in the .22 caliber range, that make great rifles for bird hunting and targeting small mammals.
• Leave the higher caliber rifles for the experienced hunters if you're not too excited about pulling a trigger on a bigger rifle. If you're ready to step up to it, A 30.06 makes a great all around rifle for large game and even taking down a predatory bear.
Prepping with Firearms for Self Defense Concerns ...
Practice street smarts ... situational awareness• The best self defense starts with street smarts, commonly called "situational awareness." You can avoid a lot of dangerous encounters with the wrong kind of people with proper planning and a good eye for spotting possible trouble and choosing to avoid it. It's better to completely avoid a conflict than to otherwise get thrown into it.
Consider a firearm if you plan on scouting the region for resources• A good sidearm and holster as well as a backup sidearm can help you be better equipped for protecting yourself and your family during your travels. You might do a great job of detouring around a bad part of town or avoiding some riff raff known in the area for robberies and beatings, but if they get the jump on you that day, maybe one of them is an experienced hunter or former military and knows how to track, then the only self defense you might have in that instance is either a rifle or handgun.
Consider a .20 gauge shot gun for those left back at camp to defend themselves•A shotgun is also a long time proven firearm for self defense purposes, but if you're out in the countryside hunting or scouting, it's not likely you'll be carrying a shotgun (unless you're hunting certain birds). A rifle is a better choice in this regard; you can shoot with accuracy at a much longer distance; you can carry more ammunition; etc. When out and about, leave the shotgun for someone else back at camp to defend with.
As far as that defense goes back at camp, note that a .12 gauge shotgun has a lot more recoil than a .20 gauge, which is fine for most men. For ladies or older teens protecting the fort and kids, ultimately, a tactical .20 gauge shot gun is recommended due to having less recoil, giving the user more control.
Do your homework if you're going to carryThere's more to be said on the topic of firearms. We can fill pages with details, recommendations, and opinions. All that is just too much to cover here; the best thing to do is research this yourself, get licensed today if you feel you're able and ready to use a firearm for self defense, and then get plenty of practice at a local gun range.
Keep the faithFinally, pray that you never have to use it on someone else. As much as possible, use peaceful (diplomatic) tactics first to avoid conflict (it works for U.S. Army Green Berets; diplomacy is a trait Green Berets are known for -- it is a proven survival skill we've discussed in other articles). But if one day diplomacy doesn't work or it's simply not an option, you will have your firearm for possible protection.
Get the trainingLast point to make in all this: To be able to make your firearm of choice work for you in an emergency, you should seek out training in firearm use for self defense beforehand. Being able to use a handgun in a high stress situation is a skill that is acquired with training and rehearsing. Even law enforcement and our military personnel often start out green, but with training become the skilled men and women that they are later known for.
Be ready to help someone in needLast point on the subject of prepping with firearms ... If you're not licensed today to carry, should you start carrying? As with everything else in life, let prayer be your guide; maybe God's going to use you in some way one day to save someone else's life, who's not carrying a firearm. Anything's possible...
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