Avoir un lieu où pouvoir se retirer pour se protéger ou protéger les siens peut être une nécessité. Se planquer, c’est disparaître de la société pour s’en protéger. Mais pour disparaître et rester en sécurité il faut avoir organisé sa retraite. Pourquoi se planquer en cas de catastrophe ? Les criminels se planquent, et changent de planques pour pouvoir se reposer en sécurité. Mais elle est très loin de celle que l’on construit pour se prémunir en cas de catastrophe, une planque permanente, bastion protecteur pour s’isoler des conséquences de ce que nous appelons un « cas de catastrophe », un refuge. Une catastrophe sera dans notre sujet, un événement négatif capable de déstabiliser tout le système en place. Il peut s’agir par exemple d’une crise économique grave, guerre civile, une guerre nucléaire, une épidémie, une famine, etc. des événements qui nécessitent d’avoir un lieu où se mettre en sécurité quand l’Etat aura perdu ses moyens, et que le chaos et la panique s’installeront. Voici les éléments auxquels penser lors de la construction de votre refuge.
1. Le refuge doit être résistant aux catastrophe nucléaires. Pour pouvoir construire un tel abri, il vous faudra des connaissances de pilotage de machine excavatrice, des connaissances de maçonnerie, d’électricité, plomberie, répartition des charges. D’abord Il doit être suffisamment épais pour résister au pouvoir de pénétration des particules radioactives émise lors de l’explosion (les plus fortes) et celle qui subsisteront après en pénétrant dans les sols. De manière générale 20 à 30 cm de béton armé est une protection suffisante.
Exemple pour une pièce.
L’abri doit avoir une deuxième entrée/sortie au cas où l’entrée principale, constituée d’une porte résistance aux chocs devait ne plus s’ouvrir. Un tunnel rempli de sable peut faire l’affaire. Une ventilation manuelle avec des filtres anti poussière devra être installée. Il faudra une cuve pour la réserve d’eau reliée au bunker. Et le bunker doit être isolé de l’eau sur toute sa surface sauf la chape. Il peut aussi être isolé du froid.
Une voûte en triangle ou en demi cercle ou en pointes permet de gagner du volume et d’augmenter la portance. Pour une grande salle, faites des piliers. Une couche de 60cm minimum de terre est recommandée. Faire un coude avant la porte d’entrée est préférable, on peut faire un sas, même renforcé pour permettre sa défense par arme à feu.
Vous aurez besoin au minimum d’un marteau piqueur, de courant électrique (génératrice ?), d’une brouette, pelles, pioches, étayage solide, masques à poussière, lunettes de protection, protections auditives (prenez le maximum possible), remorque pour déblayer le terrain excavé, véhicule, bétonneuse ou malaxeur, eau en quantité, etc.
2. Le refuge doit pouvoir accueillir tous les objets de nécessité dont vous aurez besoin. Tant que vous vivrez à l’intérieur, vous n’aurez pas besoin de grand chose. C’est lorsque vous en sortirez que vous aurez besoin de matériel. Tenue NBC, lampe de poche, armes, pharmacie, matériel de couture, outils, chaussures, vêtements, filtres à eau, tout cela devra se trouver en sécurité dans votre abri, ou il sera détérioré, radioactif, ou volé lorsque vous en sortirez. Des munitions en énorme quantité sont une nécessité. Une bibliothèque et un salon dans l’abri sont une bonne idée. De même qu’une cuve de pétrole enterrée à proximité. Vous pouvez planquer du matériel hors de l’abri. Les armes à feu et du matériel illégal en temps de paix par exemple. Dans des caisses entourées de plastique, le matériel en métal légèrement huilé, mettez quelques absorbeurs d’humidité avec.
3. Le refuge doit accueillir de la nourriture pour la survie de ses occupants pour au moins 1 ans et 6 mois. En cas d’hiver nucléaire, en quelques jours, les températures tomberont sous la barre du 0°C pour au moins un ans. Peut-être deux. Dans tous les cas, la pratique de l’agriculture sera impossible immédiatement après la catastrophe. 2 ans de nourriture stockée serait mieux. Mais cela prend beaucoup de place. La nourriture consistera en des céréales stockées sous vide dans des sceaux ; des conserves ; des aliments secs, etc. Ces aliments peuvent être gardé des dizaines d’années sans problème. Vous pouvez manger ce que vous stockez et remplacer les aliments au fur et à mesure en temps de paix. Ainsi, vous garderez vos aliments le plus frais possible. Une cuve enterrée pour l’eau potable est essentielle. Des pastilles de décontamination de l’eau doivent être gardées. Un filtre à eau avec filtres de rechange est essentiel. Des pastilles d’iode à ingérer immédiatement après une explosion nucléaire en europe de l’ouest doivent être gardée dans votre lieu de résidence actuel.
4. L’emplacement du refuge doit être soigneusement analysé et gardé secret envers tous ceux que vous ne pourrez pas et ne voudrez pas accueillir. Pensez à qui habitera probablement dans la région du refuge dans 100 ans et dans 1000… Choisissez un endroit éloigné des grands axes urbains et routiers. Pour autant il n’est pas nécessaire non plus de trop s’éloigner de toute trace de civilisation. Vous avez besoin de la civilisation pour survivre. Soyez simplement certain que l’emplacement ne sera pas intéressant pour les curieux de passage et que vos vas et viens lors de la construction et lorsque vous en sortirez pourront passer inaperçu. En principe, pour des raisons de discrétion ou parce que vous habitez en ville, en appartement, il ne sera pas possible pour vous de construire votre abri chez-vous. Mais, une maison de campagne reculée n’est pas forcément un obstacle à la construction de votre abri souterrain sur le même terrain. Lorsque vous pourrez sortir, vous devrez pouvoir faire du feu. Par précaution vous devrez probablement au début, faire du feu uniquement la nuit et à l’intérieur d’une pièce qui ne laisse pas filtrer la lumière à l’extérieur. Les hommes sauvages sont bien pire que des animaux. En cas de catastrophe, la faim au ventre et dépossédés de tout, ils s’attaqueront à tout ce qui peut les faire vivre. Toute trace de vie les attirera. Ceux qui auront survécu à la catastrophe sauront reconnaître les moindre signes de vie humaine, vous traquer, vous observer, vous attaquer lorsque vous serez le plus faible. Il vaudra mieux rester toujours caché, plutôt que de vivre en permanence avec la peur d’une attaque, même si vous êtes bien protégé derrière une fortification. N’allez pas dans un endroit sans forêt, sans eau, désertique, trop froid pour cultiver facilement, sans soleil (pendant le printemps et l’été). Faites en sorte de connaître tous les environs, cherchez les promontoirs d’où vous pourrez observer sans être vu. Camouflez-vous bien, surtout l’entrée du souterrain. Un passant ne doit pas comprendre qu’il y a quelque chose dessous.
5. Le refuge doit pouvoir se transformer en planque et en base arrière lorsque les temps vous permettront à nouveau de sortir. Si vous avez gardé des graines et autres semences, vous pourrez à nouveau cultiver facilement. Si le terrain était radioactif, il faudrait alors enlever la couche suppérieure irradiée de terre (~3ocm) pour la mettre sur le côté du champ et n’utiliser que la terre végétale moins irradiée. Les survivants se remettront rapidement à se rassembler et reconstruire sur les restes de l’ancien temps.
Editor’s Note: We are pleased to offer our readers, over the next few weeks, a serialised guest article written by Sean Johnson, an ex-seminarian at St. Thomas Aquinas College. He now lives in the American Midwest with his wife of three years and two children. He became interested in the topic of being prepared for a societal/economic collapse after reading Bp. Williamson’s 2009 London interviews with Stephen Heiner. We therefore invited him to offer his thoughts on this important topic with the hope of, at the very least, getting our readers to think more about preparing themselves.
I note that this article is simply one man’s recommendations and thoughts on the subject. Others will likely have different views and solutions and lively discussion on this topic in the comments box is welcome.
Preparedness is a hot-button issue in America today. It is advocated, in various forms, by the more popular conservative political pundits of talk-radio; it is promoted on the websites of federal governmental agencies such as FEMA and the DHS; it is preached from the pulpits of the Amish, Morman, and Jehovah Witness sects; and it is on the minds of some of the more observant mainstream American citizenry, who have not already forgotten the horrific spectacles of the LA Riots; Hurricane Katrina; the Chilean earthquake; and the Haitian nightmare; an actual unemployment rate approaching 22%; the Greek riots and austerity measures; a federal debt in excess of $13 trillion, which can never be repaid; a federal stimulus policy which must certainly end in tragedy for the value of the US Dollar; terrorist attacks; pandemics; nuclear war; etc.
Whatever it is that keeps you up at night, one thing is for certain: There are more reasons in 2010 than ever before to cause you unease. Faced with these mounting and converging threats, a man can have one of two reactions. He can embrace a fatalistic attitude that says, What will be will be. Or, he can take practical measures to insure against those issues that concern him (Just as he does in all other aspects of life).
The purpose of this article, then, will be to outline some practical measures that almost all men will be able to implement to insure a basic degree of self-sufficiency in a worst-case scenario, which would be total societal collapse (from any number of causes).
The first step in implementing any preparedness plan is psychological preparation. Why? Because, despite everything mentioned in the 1st paragraph (above), public opinion has not yet accepted, en masse, that there is actually a reasonable probability of some disaster befalling them in their lifetimes. Most men are still asleep at the wheel. It is a relatively small percentage of Americans (or Brits, for that matter) that are observant enough to perceive the converging threats that make preparedness a reasonable activity. And this being the case, you are sure to encounter a certain degree of mockery when your friends, neighbors, or in-laws discover you are hoarding 50lb flour sacks in the basement, etc.
Some men, sadly, are discouraged a priori from implementing a preparedness plan at all, simply from coming to this realization. That the sheeple should find them odd for implementing a preparedness plan pre-empts the idea for them altogether. The simple thought of acquaintances raising an eyebrow at their activity causes them to doubt themselves. And once that happens, the whole plan melts away. They go right back to sleep.
But even for men of strong temperament, who would not be easily dissuaded by a mocking or scornful public opinion, it is still helpful to have an arsenal of reasonable and objective motivations from which to parry the jibes you are likely to get from your friends, and the best ones to use are those that will resonate with the mainstream, such as:
1. Well, the way this economy is going, it probably doesn’t hurt to have a little extra food around the house;
2. The way food prices are climbing, I find it more affordable to buy in bulk;
3. We use the water purifier when we go camping in the woods;
4. I buy silver bullion to diversify my portfolio;
5. I keep a little extra gas around to avoid the spikes in price at the pump, and re-fill when it dips;
6. We all insure against a lot of things that will probably never materialize (Like death and dismemberment insurance at work), but don’t you sleep better knowing youare covered?
7. Preparedness is just a hobby, now that I don’t have time for sports (or am too old for sports).
The list goes on and on, but you get the technique: Using such justifications is much more likely to elicit a sympathetic response than telling your co-worker (or wife) that, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion predicted all this years ago, and the Federal Reserve and deficit-spending are the levers by which they are executing their plan, etc.
In other words, prudence will reduce the psychological opposition and deterrents you are likely to encounter, thereby keeping you strong, focused, and committed to implementing your preparedness plan.
Oh, by the way: Did I mention that preparedness is fun? Yes, preparedness is a serious endeavor. But there are few things that give me more gratification than knowing I am storing up an insurance policy for my family. As a husband and father, I have a certain duty of state to provide, shelter, protect, and plan ahead for my family’s welfare. I consider implementing a preparedness plan part of that duty, and executing that duty for the benefit of my dependants is very rewarding.
Preparedness also provides wholesome activity for the family: We shop together, can garden produce together, think of things we still need together, etc. And as a 38 year-old man with a very demanding occupation (from a time-consumption perspective), preparedness is basically a surrogate hobby: No time for sports, and prefer to spend the little time I do have doing something other than drooling in front of the TV set.
Priority #1: Water
Depending on what event you are protecting against, there will be a mix of mandatory and optional measures you can take, but the common denominator amongst all of them is the need for water.
In order to select a method of obtaining and/or storing water, you will need to decide whether you will be staying put, or bugging out (i.e., Leaving to a safer location). If your plan is to stay put, you ought to invest in 50 gallon plastic water storage barrels, which are readily available on the internet (and the accessories to go along with them, such as manual water pumps, spigots, bung wrenches to open them, and bleach/chemical water treatments for potability and mold/mildew prevention needed for long-term storage).
If you are fortunate enough to have a bug-out retreat, then hauling stored water will not be worth the burden to transport (i.e., a 50 gallon water barrel weighs approximately 450 lbs, and you won’t be able to move it without a lot of help). However, if you had the foresight, you could store the water barrels at the retreat, so that in the event you had to vacate your home and head for the cabin, the water would be there already waiting for you.
In any case, this raises an interesting point: There could be a temporal gap between the time you leave your home and arrive at your retreat (for a variety of imaginable causes). What will you do for water in the interim period? Clearly, you need to provide for some sort of portable, short-term water supply. Bottled water fills this nitch. For my own part, I have a 3-day supply of bottled water to see my family through this potential transition period. I may bump that up to a week supply before I am done.
The final consideration is: What will you do for water after you have consumed your bottles and water barrels? Just asking the question clearly reveals the need for some sort of long-term system. Basically, there are three ways of making suspect water potable: Boiling, chemical treatment, and filtration. Of these, boiling is the cheapest, and also the longest term solution (i.e., Because, what happens when you run out of chemical treatment, or when your filters wear out and/or expire?).
So boiling is the best long-term solution, simply because it does not require the replenishment of supplies. But it is also time consuming and laborious. Though boiled water is safe to drink once a rolling boil has been obtained (i.e., you need not boil for any length of time once a steady boil has been reached; the water is safe at that point), it may require the building of a fire to boil every time you want to drink, cook, or wash. There are other detriments to reliance on boiling: An open fire will smoke, potentially giving away your position and drawing attention to you (As you will see below, you want to avoid this at all costs; desperate people will be coming to take what you have).
Because of this, and in light of the obvious short-term feasibility of chemical treatments, I have opted to use water filtration as my primary long-term water solution. I purchased a Katadyn Gravidyn gravity water purifier for about $200 (Note: Katadyn is the Swiss manufacturer; Gravidyn is the model of purifier). It has a 2.5 gallon reservoir, and will filter putrid water to a state of potability at the rate of 1 gallon/hour. It has extremely long-lasting filters that estimate a 39,000 gallon lifespan. For another $65 USD you can get a set of replacement filters (i.e., in case you break one, or wear one out).
Priority #2: Food
Once you have addressed the water issue, it is time to think about food supply, and just as was the case with water, there are several methods you ought to consider implementing concurrently, in order to insure your food supply against the greatest number of contingencies.
We begin with canned goods. They are cheap, and have a decent, intermediate shelf life of 2-3 years (in most cases). You will want to concentrate mostly on canned meats, fish, and beans for their protein content. Other nutritional needs will be met from different food sources (discussed below). Don’t waste your money on things you wouldn’t eat in normal life: These things will be even less appealing, and will have a demoralizing effect, in an emergency situation.
I would advise a 3 month supply of canned goods (Defined as: The length of time your supply would last if each member of your family consumed 2 cans per day). Once you have reached your 3 month supply, do not be afraid to start eating it! Just remember to replenish the small amounts you will deplete between shopping trips, and you will be fine. This way you do not incur the risk of having your entire canned goods supply expiring all at once (Which reminds me: You will want to continually rotate your can supply as you eat and replenish your stocks; keep moving the older food forward on the shelf to ensure it gets used next). There are some rather elaborate and ingenuous can-rotation shelving systems available on the internet designed to automatically handle can rotation for you, but for most of us, this luxury would not be necessary.
There is another reason you wouldn’t want to build a stockpile of canned goods much beyond a 3 month supply: Canned goods are heavy. If a situation arose where you needed to evacuate your home (or your retreat) on foot, how would you transport all that food? You wouldn’t be able to take more than a fraction with you. Canned food is not very portable, which brings us to our next project.
Once you have your canned food supply, it is time to consider portable food sources. By portable, I mean more than just lightweight. A portable food supply is one that is light, requires little to no preparation or cooking, and has a long shelf-life. This is food that is never used except in a transitional contingency (i.e., A situation which does not avail itself of cooking, preparation, time, and utensils). The best food supply for such circumstances which all should prepare against- are called MREs. This acronym stands for Meals Ready to Eat.
MREs are a long-time staple of military units. They are basically single, self-contained meals in a vacuum-sealed, watertight box (usually rectangular in shape, and containing an entrée, dessert, drink mix, wet-wipe, and side dish). The food quality is most comparable to an airline meal, and of similar portion. They are not known to be fine cuisine, but are not horrible either, and come in a surprisingly wide variety. Their purpose is to get you through a pinch. They are not intended (except in the case of military deployment) to be a long-term, sole food source.
For this reason, I advocate a one week supply for each person in the family (defined as 2 MREs per person per day). The major down-side to MREs is the cost. Depending on the internet source you use, a one week supply (for one person) might run you $75-150 USD. On the other hand, this supply will be a one-time expenditure, so at least it is not a recurring expense. But I consider them an essential part of any food storage plan.
Once you have your MREs and canned goods (short-term and intermediate-term supply) taken care of, you will want to turn your attention to long-term food storage, which brings you into the world of storing dry bulk goods. Dry bulk goods are basically those foodstuffs that contain a very low moisture content, making them suitable for storage in large amounts for long periods of time (e.g., 5-30 years, presuming proper storage methods). Examples of dry bulk goods might include the following: Rice, pinto beans, dry milk, flour, corn meal, sugar, salt, rolled oats, potato flakes, pasta, or most dehydrated foods. Fortunately, dry bulk goods tend to be very affordable: As of last week, I could get a 50 lb bag of rice for $16 USD.
As with canned goods, common sense is demanded when choosing what kind of dry goods to store. If your family never eats pinto beans, how will they react to eating them every day for months? Or, will you have age-appropriate foods (e.g., powdered milk and rolled oats for the infants, who are not likely to think much of heaping plates of white rice)?
But even more important than food choice is storage method. Oxygen, moisture, and heat are the mortal enemies of long-term food storage, and you must take precautions against spoilage from these culprits.
Lets deal with oxygen first. Oxygen is a double threat. On the one hand, it renders your goods subject to slow (but steady) decomposition and spoilage. On the other hand, it allows for the incubation of infestations. People do not generally stop to realize that their dry goods once sat in a warehouse somewhere, and that in that warehouse there were insects. Insects can be trapped in the bags or boxes at the time of packaging, or, they can invade and infiltrate the paper or cardboard container. They love to do this! To their way of thinking, they have a lifetime food supply, and insulation from the cold (not to mention a perfect place to raise a family!). Rest assured that, if you do not take the means to eliminate oxygen from your dry goods, you are throwing your money right out the window, unless you consume these goods within 6-9 months (which would be self-defeating).
Your first protection against oxygen is the good old-fashioned 5-6 gallon plastic bucket. Please note that not all buckets are suitable for food storage. They must be classified as food grade storage buckets (and internet companies that cater to this market advertise their buckets as such). Naturally, this bucket needs a lid, and the lid would preferably contain a gasket rendering it airtight/watertight. But this is not enough: You are trapping oxygen inside the bucket, and, the bucket itself is semi-porous (thereby allowing a slight oxygen transfer).
If you are going to store dry goods, in addition to the food grade bucket and airtight/waqtertight lid, you also need a mylar bag inside the bucket. Mylar is the oxygen barrier par excellance. You can find these sold on the same internet sites that sell the buckets. Just shove one inside the bucket, and pour your food inside it. But dont seal it yet! There is one more step.
You have a food grade bucket. You have a mylar bag lining inside the bucket. But you are trapping air inside the mylar bag, just as without it you would trap oxygen inside the bucket. The purpose of the mylar bag is to stop oxygen transfer through the plastic bucket. But you must still purge the oxygen inside the mylar bag that will be trapped there when you seal it. To accomplish this, you need oxygen absorbers.
Oxygen absorbers are usually available on the same website selling the buckets, lids, and mylar bags. An oxygen absorber is basically a plastic packet (of varying size and strength) filled with iron pellets. Once placed inside the sealed mylar bag, the iron inside the packets chemically reacts by oxidizing the iron, thereby consuming the oxygen in the process that was trapped within the bag. Oxygen absorbers come most commonly in 100cc, 500cc, and 1500cc sizes. And they are dirt-cheap: You can get a pack of 100 500cc absorbers for $5-10 USD, so don’t skimp on using them: The integrity of your food storage is at stake! Generally, I recommend 3000cc worth of absorbers per 5-6 gallon bucket.
A question usually raised at this point is, How long will all this stuff last in these buckets? The answer depends on what the food is, but you are looking at anywhere from 5-30+ years. For the sake of brevity, I will simply supply a link at the conclusion of this article which will direct you to a website laying out all the different life-spans for food items stored thusly.
Another question that comes up after proper storage methods have been discussed is, How much do I need to store? Basically, you want to store one full year worth of dry goods (Because this will reduce your dependence on gardening in the first year of a prolonged emergency. Eventually you will need to learn proper gardening/farming skills, but your first attempt is likely to teach you more about what you did wrong than provide you with a good supply; more on this later).
A quick (but important) note on the effects of heat on long-term food storage shelf life: Generally, you want to keep your food stored at a cool temperature. The most common recommendation is to store them at 70 degrees (farenheit) or less. Shelf life will increase in inverse proportion as temperature decreases; it will decrease in inverse proportion to rising temperatures. If you store your buckets in the garage or attic, you have just done a lot of work, and spent a lot of money for nothing: You will be lucky to get 5 years out of them. Don’t make that mistake.
A final note on food storage: As was the case with water, if you need to evacuate your home, you are going to have a very hard time taking 50-75 buckets of food with you (even if you can still use an automobile). Presuming you have the luxury of a bug-out cabin, you should move the majority of your buckets to that location before the emergency hits, so that your food is there (with your water) waiting for you. It goes without saying that doing so presumes the bug-out cabin is cooled.
Priority #3: Shelter
You have come a long way by now, taking great pains to supply for your water and food needs under any contingency. The next step is to consider where you will live. You have a house or apartment. Will you be able to stay there? For how long? If you needed to evacuate for any reason, where would you go? Would you need to find interim shelter between leaving your home and arriving at your new destination? What would this new destination be? These are the thoughts and variables that ought to occupy your mind, and you must prepare for all of them, in order that you will have shelter in any of them.
This article presumes that, at some point, you will need to evacuate your home or apartment. If you are a suburbanite like me, I can guarantee you infallibly that, at some point in a sustained crisis of epic proportion (such as hyperinflation, economic collapse, pandemic, etc.) of 3+ month duration, people who did not prepare will be coming to take what you have. You will find it necessary, once mass-desperation reaches a fevered pitch, to head for the countryside, woods, mountains, or anywhere you can find a bit of seclusion. More on this later.
Here are some general considerations to ponder in planning your bug-out destination. First, you want your retreat to be reasonably proximate: 1-2 hours away maximum. Why? Two reasons: First, fuel is likely to be in short supply by the time you leave. Second, the main highways and roads are likely to be impassible, as they will be clogged with people just like you trying to get out of town. In other words, a bug-out destination does you little good if conditions make it impossible for you to get there.
Therefore, before deciding where this shelter will be, or of what type it will be, you need to plan how you will get to it. You can be pretty much guaranteed that you will not be able to escape by interstates, highways, or state routes. Insofar as is possible, you want your route to use the back roads.
Then, you need to decide how you will travel this route: Automobile? Bike? Walk? The best idea would be to plan for all three contingencies: Automobile if possible, with bikes pulled behind in case roads become impassible (In this latter case, you will lose most of the preparedness items you may have been carrying, since you will not be able to carry much on bikes or foot, but it is better than staying in a dangerous location; for this reason, it is better to have had the foresight to bring preparations to the retreat before the emergency began).
Once you have determined the route and method of travel, you need to decide what type of shelter you will prepare. Ideally your shelter will have the following advantages: Seclusion, proximity to water, some tillable land, sanitation, and defensible topography.
Seclusion is the most important thing. People will be foraging (a polite term for looting). They will be desperate. They will know you have something worth taking if they see lights on in your cabin and smoke coming from your chimney. Believe me, they will try to take what is yours rather than die (Wouldn’t you do it for your family if you were in their position?). Therefore, you should choose a rural location for your retreat; rural, but within the 1-2 hour distance limit from your current home.
Your retreat should have a water source (e.g., A pond, lake, river, spring, or well), and you should take care to investigate that it is available all year, since some streams are only seasonal. You will need this water source for your drinking needs, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, etc. Besides the convenience, you will not want to wander too far from your camp, so as to stay unnoticed. And then convenience is also an obvious advantage: Carrying water is heavy.
Ideally, your land would be a mixture of woods and pasture: You would build your shelter under the seclusion of the trees to avoid notice, but want arable land for the purpose of gardening/farming. Also, buy as much land as you can afford: The more distance between you and your neighbors the better.
Sanitation is also critical. Dysentery, cholera, and other fatal maladies are the demise of those who do not have the foresight to provide for the baser needs of the human being. Dig an outhouse no less between 30-40 yards from the cabin. If you don’t have the means or time to do so, minimally you must dig a trench to dispose of your waste, burying it when you are done.
Your shelter should also be constructed or set-up at a defensible position. You would want long fields of vision, in order to see approaching persons at great distance (Not necessarily from your tent or cabin, but from somewhere on your property. Gated access has obvious benefits, as do island abodes. Anything with only one approach or exit is easier to reconnaissance and defense.
A passing thought on the type of shelter, before continuing on to consider security: Many of us will not have the means to purchase a cabin and/or land. If I were in that position, I would give strong consideration to purchasing a safe-room (see websites below). A safe-room is the next best option for those who, all things considered, would be better off staying put in their homes because they really have nowhere to go. Basically, a safe room is a solid steel structure (or concrete, or fiber glass) panic in which you can lock yourself in until trouble passes. Normally, they are marketed to American homeowners who have no basement shelter from tornados, but since the whole preparedness movement has caught on, these companies have begun marketing to our crowd as well. A basic safe-room would be 6 x 10 x 7 tall. That structure weighs 2,000 lbs, and is bolted to your garage (or any concrete) floor. It is immovable. The steel is ¼ thick, and bullets will not penetrate it. This structure costs about $5,000 USD, but there are all kinds of exotic and impressive structures available (Complete with escape exits, ventilation systems, sleeping and sanitation quarters, etc). If you have nowhere else to go, this is a winner.
Priority #4: Security
You have taken measures to provide for water, food, and shelter. Now the trick is hanging on to all of it. In any sort of sustained emergency, people will be looking for your stuff. They will take it if they can. Therefore, you need to prepare to defend yourself, your chattel, and your loved ones. If you don’t, you could die a miserable death (and watch your family die the same).
The first thing you need to do is to keep your big mouth shut. Though I began the article by giving you some justifying talk-tracks to explain the reasonableness of preparedness, I presumed that only your closest family members were the ones you were defending your actions to. But when things get really desperate, anyone who knows you have taken means to prepare will be coming to you for a handout (or to take your stuff). Fly under the radar. Don’t let people know what you are doing. Avoid notice all through the process (i.e., When preparing; when fleeing to your shelter; when you are at your shelter). This will protect you better than an AK-47: If nobody knows you have anything, it won’t occur to them to take it.
But inevitably, someone will see your campfire smoke, or lantern light, and come snooping. So what can you do? You need guns and ammo. Lots of both. The following are some considerations when making your selections:
First, you ought to get at least these 6 weapons:
A) 12-Gauge shotgun: good for home defense, since the buckshot will not over-penetrate walls and injure your own; also great for hunting.
B) .40 caliber high-capacity automatic pistol: Revolvers don’t hold enough bullets to make me feel safe, and 9mm pistols just don’t have the knock-down power I want. But a Glock .40 will hold 15 rounds and deliver more muzzle energy than a .45; you will need a handgun for short range and tight quarters shooting.
C) High powered pellet rifle/air rifle: Quiet for hunting without drawing notice.
D) .22 rifle: Longer range hunting than a pellet rifle, but not so loud as a typical hunting rifle; could also be used for self defense more effectively than a pellet rifle if you had to.
E) A combat rifle that shoots the 7.62 x 39 round, such as an AK-47 or SKS: The most commonly used battle round in the world today, and precisely the reason you want to choose your assault rifle in this round; you will need an assault rifle for long-range combat where your other weapons will be useless; this round is good for 200 yards, but accuracy drops off after this.
F) A combat rifle that shoots the .223 or 5.56 round. Probably the second most common round in assault weapons today, and precisely the reason you want it. Not as much knock-down power as the 7.62×39 round, but much more accurate at ranges up to 400+ yards. Used by NATO and US forces today.
Secondly, you need at least 1,000 rounds of ammunition for each gun. If you are a rookie to shooting, that probably sounds wild to you. But you need to consider that, if the emergency you are preparing for ever occurs, you may never have the chance to buy ammunition again. Ever. You also need to consider, therefore, that the ammunition you buy may have to last a lifetime (and the lifetime of your loved ones as well). Finally, a gun without bullets is worthless. If you run out, it will make life psychologically much more challenging; you will be scared every day, and so will your family. Don’t let that happen to you and them. Guns and ammo make people feel safe, and in the crazy new world you may be preparing to live in, that will count for a lot.
Thirdly, consider networking with like-minded people. Though you might be keeping your mouth shut, listen for those who don’t. Show them some interest, and let on that you are interested, but do not let on that you yourself are preparing. If something ever happens, consider teaming up with them when the SHTF: There is safety in numbers. And if you both have already made your own separate preparations, you dont have to worry about mooching off each other. Americans might remember the videos of the Korean merchants banding together to fend off hoards of looting rioters in the LA Riots. The same principle applies here: If you know a few people who have made preparations, you are well-advised to ally yourselves. The more gunmen you have on your side, the better your chances of deterring gangs to go find easier targets.
Fourth: You need to patrol your shelter. If you have a cabin in the woods somewhere, you need to be on guard while your family sleeps; they need to be on guard during the day when you sleep. People will be looking for you, and you need to be able to send them a good signal that there is a peck of trouble at your cabin if they ever come back. The worst thing you could ever do is to have come this far and walk out your front door one day and someone has you at gunpoint. If that ever happens, you could lose everything. Therefore, you need to patrol your camp just like you were an army soldier defending against an enemy. Post signs within your camp (not at the property edges where everyone will know there is someone on site, but at the perimeter of your inner-sanctum just inside the tree-line so that those who stumble that deeply into your property will know they need to turn back or else).
Finally, require that nobody ever wanders off alone. It may be necessary to risk leaving your shelter/property from time to time (e.g., to barter; to get news; etc), but you need to be smart how you do it. Always go in pairs, at least. Always go armed. If someone has discovered your shelter, they may lie in wait to take a hostage to trade for supplies. Teamwork prevents this, and may save your life.
Priority #5: Currency and Barter
Nobody can plan for every contingency. The best laid plans will reveal deficiencies once they are implemented. In such cases, it will be necessary to buy or barter for the things you still need. What you need to understand, however, is that, depending on the type of emergency that should befall you, cash may be of little (or no) value. Therefore, as a general rule of thumb, if you are fortifying against depression, unemployment, or short-term non-economic calamities (e.g., natural disasters), you will want to keep a cash supply on hand. In these types of events, cash will have retained its purchasing power, just as it does today. On the other hand, if you are preparing for hyperinflation, the crash of the US Dollar, the collapse of society for any lengthy (or permanent) period of time, then cash will not be worth the paper it is printed on. Why? Because the essence of inflation is that there is an influx of currency without a corresponding increase in the number or value of goods available for purchase. This has the effect of proprietors demanding more and more cash for the same goods. You could soon find yourself in the ridiculous position of burning piles of ash for heat in the winter, much the same way Germans of the Weimar Republic in the early 20th century.
In such cases you will need real money: Gold and/or silver. Men have always placed value on these metals precisely because they could not be manipulated in the same way cash supply can (e.g., Through the printing press and deliberate monetary expansion and contraction that arbitrarily increases and decreases the value of the dollar). But in the case of metals, not only is their weight fixed, but their value usually increases in inverse proportion to the dollar (i.e., Because it is perceived as a safe-haven, and a good store of value). For this reason people flock to it in times of economic uncertainty, which explains why silver hit its 2.5 year high today, and gold has been parked just short of its all-time high for a few days now.
The bottom line is that in crises of this nature, people will not accept your worthless cash for their goods. They will want metals. The questions then become: Which do you buy? Where do you buy it? In what form should you buy it? Let’s take these one at a time, because they are all very important considerations.
My personal preference is to buy silver over gold. First, because it is cheaper. Second, because it is nowhere near its all-time high of over $50 USD/oz. Third, because although gold comes in different sized allotments, it is generally too valuable for small barters and purchases: If gold hits $2,000/oz, how are you going to divide that coin to buy a loaf of bread? Fourthly, you can’t buy (or sell) very much gold without triggering the $10,000 reporting mandate, which means someone knows what you have, whereas with silver, you can buy several hundred ounces (for the time being) for under $10,000, and nobody will be the wiser.
In any case, whichever you choose to buy, you need to purchase from a reputable company. I myself have purchased from a couple different internet companies, and will reference them below. But the way it works is that you will place your order at their on-line website, and will be given a real-time quote. If you accept it, you will have a certain time limit within which you must send payment (Confirmed by postmark). Once your check is received, and your check cleared, your order will be processed. You will be nervous, but be patient: It takes a while to fill your order. Usually, you will be given emailed updates to calm your nerves. One day, your metals will arrive by discreet (but heavy) postal delivery, which will normally be 3 weeks from the day you first placed your order. Most companies will give you tracking information, so that, if you preferred, you could intercept the package at your local post office, thereby eliminating the potential that the mailman leaves a very expensive package on your doorstep! Usually, they would not do this, but it did happen to someone I know.
Once you have chosen your metal, you will need to further decide what form you want it to take: Bars, bullion (i.e., non-legal tender coin), junk silver/gold (out of circulation coinage), numismatic collectibles, etc. My own advice is to go with bullion coins. If you go with bars, it may be that people possessing the goods you want to purchase/trade for could doubt the content or purity of the silver, and refuse the transaction. In other words, bullion is more liquid. It’s weight and purity are recognized by most persons, but most people have never seen a 10 gram gold bar. Silver bullion is ideal for small and large purchases because of its moderate value. Some people will try to convince you to pay extra to get pre-1933 numismatic/collectible coins, but I think this is a waste of money (I.e., You have to pay extra). They will tell you that it is less likely to be subject to confiscation because back in the President Roosevelt confiscation regime, those coins which pre-dated 1933 were exempt. What these people don’t tell you is that there is no reason the government couldn’t arbitrarily change that date, or simply demand the surrender of all precious metals period. The smart money will stick with bullion versus bars or numismatics. Finally, so far as junk silver is concerned (i.e., out of circulation legal tender coinage of various dates), I also don’t waste my time with this, simply because I don’t want to have to worry about mathematical calculations in my transactions: Junk silver was not pure, and depending on the year and denomination of coin, only yields a silver content of between 40-90%. This means that if you want to buy something that costs 2 ounces of silver, you will have to get your pencil and paper to figure out how many coins to surrender (and the seller will too, which may hamper liquidity a bit).
One final note: Though metals will be the most highly sought, and widely used bartering instrument, they will not be the only acceptable form of currency. Anything with a practical or desirable use can be traded to get you the things you want and need. Things such as tobacco, alcohol, ammunition, medical supplies, food/water, and tools will be in high demand. If you do not stock up on metals, these could be a fall-back preparation, but you will have to accept that not everyone who has what you need will want to take beer or band-aids for what they have to sell.
PS: If anyone should suggest to you that buying gold or silver is worthless, because you can’t eat gold and silver, please be sure to see the you tube video (referenced below) taken in 2008 Zimbabwe, which was ravaged by hyperinflation (for many of the same reasons, such as deficit spending and money printing, we are experiencing in America presently). You will quickly come to understand that, in hyperinflation, if you do not have gold or silver, you will be a dead man.
Priority #6: Medical Supplies
You will need to come to terms with the fact that medical care as you know it may cease to exist (at least temporarily), and that you could be on your own. The grim truth is that, with the collapse of the medical establishment, people will begin dieing of things that have not killed us for over 100 years: Dysentery, infections from cuts, labor in pregnancy, etc. For this reason, I advise all preparedness plans to include medical supplies
There are websites from which you can customize your own self-built medical kit, complete with sutures, scalpals, disinfectants of all kinds, bone splints, pain relievers, bandages, burn sprays, allergy/sting kits. I built my own deluxe kit for only $100 USD. Pick and choose what you think you will need.
It is also prudent to keep a couple home remedy medical books around, and also a couple books for diagnostics (If there is an Amish store in your neck of the woods, they seem to have the best of these).
This installment has introduced you to some basic considerations you will need to entertain if you desire to conceive a preparedness plan. Though crises vary, they all seem to have common denominators we can prepare for. I have tried to list these only, in order that this article appeal to the broadest possible audience. These common elements were: Mental preparations/justifications; water; food; shelter; security; currency and bartering; medical care. Obviously, there are many other (less important, but not unimportant) things to consider, such as heating, cooling, lighting, washing, cooking methods, energy, etc. These can be the subject of a follow-up article, if there is sufficient interest.
For now, I will conclude this installment with helpful references from which you may obtain many of the items mentioned in this article.
Hyperinflation, Gold, and Silver:
1) http://321gold.com/ (Gold as insurance against currency crash and inflation)
2) http://jsmineset.com/ (Gold as insurance against currency crash and inflation)
3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ubJp6rmUYM (Gold for Food in Zimbabwe)
4)http://www.learcapital.com/gold-coin-content/storefront/_storetype/Coins.html (Reputable Precious Metal Dealer)
5) http://www.gainesvillecoins.com/ (Another excellent precious metals dealer)
6) http://inflation.us/ (Excellent info site on inflation, monetary policy, and economic collapse)
7) Dry Bulk Food, Food Storage, and Shelf-Life Info, and Misc. Survivalist Accessories:
7.2) https://www.usaemergencysupply.com/ (Also includes medical supplies and other survivalist needs)
7.3) http://beprepared.com/Default.asp?bhcd2=1284079277 (If it isnt here, you dont need it)
7.5) http://www.providentliving.org/location/display/1,12568,2026-1-4-39290,00.html (Mormon Food Center locations; cheapest bulk food on the planet)
7.6) http://www.providentliving.org (Mormon home website: Click on home storage centers to see selections, prices, and order forms; take to location nearest you). Site also contains storage calculators to help you see how much you will need for a 1 year supply.
7.7) http://survivalacres.com/information/shelflife.html (Shelf life and storage charts for dry bulk goods)
1) http://www.katadyn.com/usen/ (Water purifiers of all kinds)
Safe-Rooms, Bunkers, Shelters, and Clandestine Construction:
5) http://www.hiddenpassageway.com/?gclid=CJzXgJLa36MCFeI55wod9jmObQ (Trap doors and secret doors)
How to Bury Your Gun:
1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLISsCyi5EI (Prevent confiscation of your lifeline)
1) http://www.gunbroker.com/ (Best gun purchasing site on the web)
2) http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/default.aspx (Cheapest ammo prices in the world)