American Survival Guide - 2012 Edition
2. Disclaimer (please read carefully).......................…………………............…………………………………..4
4. Buying Smart…………..……………………..…………………………………………….............……….6
5. Identifying the Threat…………………………............……………………………….........……………….7
6. Level One Event……………………………………………...………………………...........……………..9
7. Level Two Event……………………………………………...……………………………...........……….18
8. Level Three Event……………………………………..…….......……………………….........…………..24
10. The “CME”……………………………………………………..……………………………..............…..29
11. Epidemic and Pandemic…………………………………………………........…………........……………31
Compiled excerpts from various documents gathered over the past twenty years.
Modern Survival Retreat
10 Best Traps
Where there is no Doctor - David Werner
Art of War - Sun Tzu
1999, Who will Survive? - Stefan Paulus
Free for the Eating - Bradford Angier
Science and Survival - Barry Commoner
The Anarchist Cookbook (original unedited version) – William Powell, Peter Bergman
Out of the Ashes - William Johnstone
Hillbilly Cookin’ Mountaineer Style – C & F Sales Inc.
Deadly Harvest – John Kingsbury
Living Off The Grid – Dave Black
How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine, and Crafts – Frances Densmore
Healing Herbs – Michael Castleman
Special Forces Unarmed Combat Guide – Dougherty
Combat and Survival - Aerospace Publishing
Absurdly necessary legal disclaimer –
“The material, procedures, products, and concepts presented in this book are offered for educational and research purposes only. The authors and contributors to this work do not advocate, promote, or otherwise encourage the actual utilization of the material covered herein. Construction, possession, or utilization of these products or concepts, or the possession of components of these products, may be in violation of Federal, State and /or local laws.”
What this appears to mean – (I cannot resist interjecting comments, as usual…)
Basically, if you follow any of the advice given by the authors of this compilation, you risk getting into some serious trouble. Sadly, we have reached the day and age when even contemplation of the concepts can be illegal. This will be interesting research in the future, if we have one.
Keep in mind, this is not just about making weapons and dangerous items such as that. Hoarding is considered a criminal act in many cases, and is frequently declared during emergencies. For instance, hoarding gasoline was illegal during the gas crisis of 1974, for those that remember. Hoarding gold was illegal in the not so distant past as well. I am sure hoarding food or water will also be illegal during any future crisis involving those items, so never think this doesn't apply to you....
I am perfectly willing to bet, that if any of the Founding Fathers were alive today, they would be arrested fairly quickly for a violation of the mountains of regulations and laws we now have on the books. I am truly afraid that they would not recognize the country as the same one they lived in 200 years ago.
History repeats itself, and always will. It is part of the cycle of life, just on a bigger scale. The Founding Fathers knew this when they wrote the Constitution, and made frequent reference to fighting for it to maintain it. During that time, they were outlaws of the English Crown.
Enemies of the State.
Sometimes , if we abide by the law, we go down with the ship.
It was the courage of the Founders in ignoring and contravening the law that led to the formation of this country.
True Law is bigger than the State.
They became outlaws for a belief they held, that all men should live free.
Somewhere along the line, we have lost our commitment to liberty. And we are the worse for it.
FAIR USE and CORRECTNESS NOTICE: This document contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe herein constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this document is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/ If you wish to use copyrighted material from this document for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. In addition, I do not guarantee the correctness of the content. The risk of using content from this document remains with the user/reader.
This compilation has taken over two decades to assemble, and is in no way complete. The environment around us is changing, and we must continually modify our plans to address our immediate situation.
“Being Prepared” is the essence of life.
I have come across a very good indication of ‘common sense.’ It consists of the ability to think just one step ahead. We see acts of stupidity all around us, every day. These are people acting with no ‘common sense’. They are people who have not considered the ‘next step’ in a consequence of an action they have taken. With that in mind, maybe playing chess is an exercise of common sense.
By thinking just one step ahead… just one, the chances of success are increased dramatically. By thinking two steps ahead, they are increased exponentially.
One other thought, before you launch into this volume. Level one and two events are quite different from a level three event. In a small scale local event, there is no breakdown of authority. There may be a localized breakdown, but it is obvious that there is an external authority, even if it is temporarily unable to project ‘control’ into a localized area. (Think the recent floods from Hurricane Irene that isolated towns in Vermont.) Under conditions like these, you may reasonably be expected to come together as a family, neighbors, or a small unit of people.
Level three is different. The difference lies with the breakdown in authority. You must have a reasonably sized group to make it through this. I suggest a minimum of ten people, be they family, neighbors, or friends. This would probably be a smaller amount in actuality, as there may be difficulties gathering together, travel, roadblocks, road damage, any number of other variables will probably reduce your expected number by 50%. Plan accordingly if you have ‘common sense’.
This level must be anticipated and prepared for now, not during a crisis. Start with family and friends, and expand your network. You will all need each other when and if this time comes. Remember failure to plan, is planning to fail.
What events could trigger a need for these kinds of plans?
CNN has released an article called “7 threats to the economic recovery”. One or all of these could easily be catastrophic to civil stability in this country.
1. Default of Greece – this would lead to a possible disintegration of the European Union, (the Euro).
2. The Deficit, now 13 Trillion, and rising. This can only be brought under control two ways, less spending, or more taxes, you get to guess which one it will be.
3. Inflation – the Fed is currently printing money with no backing. This causes dramatic rises in consumable goods.
4. Unemployment – if this is not addressed soon, major changes to the social structure of the country will occur.
5. Housing crisis – Foreclosures are accelerating. Inflation will drive this even faster.
6. Erratic Stock market – less people willing to jump in and risk capital.
7. World Instability – ‘Arab spring’, Iran threatening to close the Gulf to oil, Nukes, the death of North Koreas leader and replacement by his 22 year old son. Many things are creating instability, as we get closer to a tipping point.
The following treatise discusses some options we have to consider to ensure our future, if we are to have one.
First, a bit of educational material.
When purchasing or gathering items indicated in these guides, avoid the temptation to use ‘seconds’ or ‘spares’. What do I mean by that? Well, we all have a drawer full of screwdrivers somewhere, don’t we? Some are bent, some have broken handles, others we just use as pry bars. When it comes to surviving, don’t bet your life, or the lives of your family or friends, on second rate equipment. Use only the very best.
This means not to bother throwing that old spare knife in your pack, or some old clothesline instead of a real rope. Get the very best you can afford.
When buying, be careful. There is inexpensive, and there is cheap. Steer clear of cheap. How can you tell? There are a few good ways. Look for giveaway words such as “Military-style”, “replica”, and such. These indicate right away that the product is designed for sales, not purpose. When possible, try to get real Army surplus items. This is because these items are produced under very strict guidelines, and must pass actual testing to prove they will work under a wide variety of conditions. That is what “Mil-Spec” means. Even if you must get a used surplus item, it will be much better quality than a new cheap imitation.
There is almost always a giveaway word hidden somewhere in the text that will help you identify ‘real’ from ‘similar to’. Not that ‘similar to’ is entirely bad. Just be aware of what you are buying. I have a package of those can openers, and I can tell you that they are not quite as strong as the originals, (but strong enough to do the job), and the plating has a tendency to flake off over time, being only plated, not solid material. I simply try to replace them all every ten years or so.
Note that it is easier to find foreign surplus than US surplus. This is due to recent legislation making the sale of certain items illegal, and results in surplus shortages in some items. ‘Real’ military MRE’s, Jerry cans, ammo boxes, etc are frequently banned for sale, the most recent example being after the Waco incident. Sometimes, the bans are lifted or expire, sometimes they don’t.
Identifying the Threat –
Much has been written and said about the need to properly identify the threats you may be faced with. After all, that is what planning is all about, preparing to meet an anticipated threat. And how can you plan to meet a threat if you have not figured out what it is?
Obviously throughout this document, we have discussed some general threats like, lack of power, civil unrest, breakdown of law and order, natural disasters, etc.
Now we must discuss specific threats to you personally.
There is one overwhelming source of threat that virtually every one of us faces, and it is this particular threat we are least prepared for.
This threat comes directly from your very own friends and your relatives.
How many times have you been the butt of a joke relating to preparedness. I know I have been, and I am sure you have been as well. In any case, you will usually end up in a discussion that ends with…”well, if things get that bad, I know where I am heading…” meaning your little retreat.
The problem is, they will.
If things do get bad, you may expect visits from all your friends and family members, and by that I mean extended family members, cousins, uncles, in-laws and out-laws.
Please recognize this for the threat it is.
You, by now, understand full well the amount of preparation needed for just your own family unit. Now the neighborhood decides that your place is where they want to be.
Will you willingly share your family’s very limited food with someone who has taken no pains to prepare themselves? Someone who has thought of all your work preparing as an amusing little joke?
By sharing your resources with those who have chosen to ignore preparation to save themselves, you are dooming yourself and your family to death by starvation.
But what can an honest, good to the core person do?
There are several things to do, but you must start now. If you do not, your life, and the lives of your loved ones are in danger.
First: Keep a low profile. Never advertise that you have stored food, shelter, or ammunition. Especially among family. This is pretty hard to do however, and most close families will know something is up. That’s okay, we will deal with that later. The point here is this – keep this information on a need to know basis only. Avoid all the bumperstickers about shooting terrorists and being the NRA. Become a “gray” man. Indistinguishable from the rest. Just blend in.
Second: For those who need to know – (very close friends, family not living with you) – Let them know in no uncertain terms that you will shoot anyone who approaches your house, especially if they do not come bringing all the food and equipment they need to keep themselves alive. It sounds very harsh, but it does get the point across. The best time to bring this up is after one of the jokes about them all converging on your ‘bunker’. It will make them think, and if you say it often enough, they may just believe you.
Third: For those non-confrontational folks , you could always move to a Plan B location and avoid them right from the start. (You haven’t told them about Plan B of course, go back and re-read number one. )
Fourth: Knowing there may very well be a few stragglers who do make it to your place, or maybe got robbed on the way, you could lay aside some extra rations and equipment for just such an occasion.
All these things require doing NOW, not then, when you really have no choice. After that, It will be very difficult to make a decision. It will be your life or theirs.
By far, this will be the worst attack on your little retreat, and if you can neutralize it now, so much the better.
It will be fairly easy to shoot at a raging mob that is shooting back.
On family and friends?
Not so much.
(The following is a rough rewrite of an article that originally appeared in the Millennium Monitor, 1999 and was transcribed in 2006. It has been further edited to bring in some current events and updates.)
There are three levels of ‘preparedness’, to use the politically correct term. Each level is an increase over the level below, and each responds with escalating solutions to the severity of the incident. Each level fully includes, and in some cases, supersedes, the level beneath it.
A quick reference here on Level determinations -
Level 1 - May be quite devastating locally , but regional control is still fully operational. Examples, Severe Blizzard, hurricane, tornado, earthquake. There may be periods of no-authority but will be brief and it is obvious help will arrive. This type of event occurs every few years to most people.
Level 2 - More severe, may be regional areas of no control, still federal control. Examples, hurricane Katrina, hurricane Andrew, Mt. St Helens, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the Chicago fire. This type of event happens 2-3 times in ones lifetime.
Level 3 - Federal control is lost, or limited to very small islands of control, (ie, military bases, government buildings). No regional or local control. One might argue that this has not happened yet, but some examples could be the Civil War in the 1860's, or one might argue, the internment camps of WWII (in the US).
Level 1 – Incident and response
This level corresponds to basic disaster preparedness. It covers incidents lasting from a few hours to a few days. This is the level most people find they are prepared to handle. The 7 basic needs are usually met in the following manner:
Need #1: Lighting
At this level, flashlights are generally employed, and most of us can round up a few extra batteries if we need to. Candles and oil lamps help as well. There is no immediate concern to restock fuel as the expectation is that supplies will be available very shortly.
Need #2: Heat
This is not normally pre-prepared, but access to a kerosene stove or a wood stove is more than adequate in the winter months. An incident lasting a few days would start to create some heating needs in the winter months, but could be survived using just extra blankets and sweaters. The average home would not lose all of its internal heat in that time unless it was unusually cold and windy.
Need #3: Water
Bottled water, sodas, juice, whatever is in the fridge, usually will cover this time period. Even if the power is out, you can still get a few gallons of drinking water by opening up your supply lines on the lower floors of your house. To flush toilets, get a five gallon bucket of water into each bathroom. To flush, dump about 1/3 of the bucket directly into the bowl.
Need #4: Shelter
Normally not a problem as most people would ride out an event like this in their home, or even in the car. However, high winds, wildfires, (smoke), hurricanes, and such could possibly cause damage to the house, so an alternate emergency shelter should be Plan B. Make sure you investigate this idea before you need to implement it. Most plan B’s at this stage would simply mean packing up the car and staying with a relative or neighbor.
Need #5 : Food
The treasure chest of food for most people is the refrigerator. The secondary choice is the pantry, where you may find some canned goods to get you by. Note that most people keep no ‘reserved’ food stocks. There is no shelf in the garage or pantry that is strictly ‘off limits’ unless it is an emergency. Fortunately for these short duration events, what you can find in the house will hold you. To heat or cook food, use a propane BBQ grill or a charcoal grill. Important: Do not operate the refrigerator doors as often as normal. Plan what needs to be removed and do it quickly. Refrigerators are very poor at retaining the cool air once opened. A closed refrigerator will hold most foods for about 12-20 hours, but only if they are not opened. Once the door is opened, 12 hours is about the most you can go.
Need #6 : Communications
In our technology dependent world, many of us carry a mobile communications device all the time. This has taken the place of more dependable forms of communication simply by virtue of its portability. This is quite a big mistake. If you depend on your cell phone as your communications link, you had better hope for a short duration event. Once your batteries are down, you become the proverbial toast. At least have sense enough to use your car radio to receive official news and weather. Buy a small portable radio that has a weather and shortwave band. This will last far longer in an emergency.
A word about cell phones. They are not the cure-all you may think. Reception is spotty at the best of times, and in a natural disaster, may be completely blocked. Cell towers can lose power, (just like your local area), they can blow down in a storm, and they can be damaged in an earthquake or fire. Satellites can be disabled and fried completely in a solar flare. Some cell phones can even be disabled remotely by the government! Charging is the big problem, when the power is gone, so is the phone. Yes, you can charge it off your car battery, but is that really efficient? What if you will need to use your car to escape to safer ground? Do you really want to risk a dead battery or low fuel because you were charging your phone?
Need #7 : Security
Very few people have a definite security plan in place. However, since the August 14 blackout [2003 Ed.], when we all watched as New York City slowly went to mobs, many people have thought twice about the capability of authorities to protect them. When everything goes out, Police, Fire and all the usual emergency services are overwhelmed. Remember, the Police are NOT required to protect you. Their duty is to uphold the law, and sometimes the two are quite different things. In an emergency, they will all be working at the high priority areas anyway. At this level 1 event, unless you are in a sensitive area, (like NYC in 2003, 1977 and 1965, Ed.), there is not much defensive posture needed. A little common sense and extra security precautions will fill the bill.
Recommendations: Level One Event
Need #1: Lighting
Good: Flashlights are great if you have good batteries in them, and spare batteries available. Most people simply do not keep the batteries fresh or have spares on hand. Make of habit of changing them once a year, along with your smoke detector batteries.
Better: A pump powered flashlight does not use batteries, and is always ready for use. There are also ‘shaker’ flashlights, but these do not produce much light. They are better than stumbling around in the dark though. Candles work okay, but be sure everyone knows proper handling and placing techniques to prevent a small incident from becoming a major one, like your house burning down. NEVER go to sleep with a candle burning. Chemical lightsticks are also good for this. The chemical illumination is fire-safe and bright, and will generally last through a level 1 event.
BEST: An oil lamp or kerosene lamp works the best in these situations. It is portable. It burns with a bright light for a long time. They get great ‘kerosene’ mileage, but it does require you to have fuel on hand if you need it. Another best option – a small generator. You can always hook up some Christmas tree light strings and have plenty of light around without using large amounts of current, that way the generator can run most efficiently.
Emergency lighting can be had by removing those ‘solar light’ garden accessories after giving them a good charge in the sun, then bringing them in at night as lights.
Need #2: Heat
Good: You MAY be able to run your heating system from a generator, depending upon the type of heat you have. Hot air furnaces are the easiest to power, then hot water. For this to work, it must be hardwired into your generator system with a transfer switch. A small generator cannot easily be hooked up to run your furnace, especially if you wait until the power is out. (but it can be done, see below).
A generator can also power an electric space heater, or even a pellet stove. At this stage, don’t even consider using a propane kitchen range for heat. Doing that is more dangerous than the ‘McGyver’ tip given below!
Also avoid using a contractors ‘salamander’ jet heater inside the house, unless it is an extreme emergency. The heat given off at the ‘jet’ end can ignite flammable materials many feet away. If you must operate one, never let it leave your sight. Operate it only while someone is specifically sitting there and watching it. It will produce a strong odor in use, and make sure to point the ‘jet’ end towards a clear space of at least 10 feet. Did I mention that they are extremely loud inside a house? Be warned.
Better: A kerosene heater is always a great backup. Sometimes they give off a kerosene odor when starting them up or shutting them down, but hey, this is a level one event! You can’t get too picky in an emergency. You need to have at least 10 gallons of good quality kerosene on hand in storage, and your heaters must be clean and in good working order. You can get scented additives to put in the kerosene, but they certainly would not be on my ‘must-have’ list.
BEST: OK, the wood stove shines here. But that’s why you have one already hooked up, right? If you do, I imagine that you have a supply of dry wood nearby as well, so you are golden. Pellet stoves do not count! Pellet stoves require mechanical feeders to move the pellets, and many have draft fans and circulating fans as well. None of this will work with the power out. (Yes, you can power it with a small generator, as long as you have gasoline to run it). A wood fireplace will also work fairly well, but is harder to cook on, or boil water on, and the heat given off is not as much.
This belongs in the “don’t try this at home, boys and girls…” but, this is an emergency, right?It is possible to buy a very heavy duty extension cord, and cutting the female end off, attach another male connector. Now, if you shut off your MAIN breaker in your circuit panel along with all other circuits, you can plug one end of the cord into a generator, and the other into a wall receptacle. You are now powering all the outlets on that circuit. Be very mindful of the capacity of the circuit you plug into, since this will effectively activate all circuits in the fuse box (that the circuit breakers are switched ‘on’) by a process called ‘backfeeding’. It is best to turn off every circuit in the panel including the one you are powering to prevent an overload. SAFETY WARNING – plug in the UNPOWERED end first, otherwise the prongs will be ‘hot’, and accidental contact with the prongs will result in electrical shock. In simpler words, plug into your household line first, generator last.
Need #3: Water
Chances are, you have a case of bottled water put away somewhere. If not, then here’s the list of things you will need to treat the water you will need to drink.
Good: Chlorine Bleach. The plain type, no scents, no additives, just bleach. One teaspoon per gallon and let it stand for 15 minutes. Then drink. This only applies to water of ‘uncertain origin’. In other words, not from your tap. Pool tablets (chlorine tabs, not potassium tablets), can be used the same way, and store better than liquid bleach*. Just scrape 1/3 of a teaspoon off the tablet and mix with 1 gallon of water, let stand 15 minutes and you are good to go.
McGyver Tip: Note: storing chlorine tablets is a bit tricky. The chlorine gases will corrode any metal containers, or caps. I have found the best solution is to wrap each tablet in plastic, seal the wrapped tablet in a baggie, and seal in another baggie. Store in an all plastic container, with a secure plastic lid. Keep this container away from metal. The gasses will still escape, but will be greatly slowed down. Best is to store them in a small plastic pail, like a cleaned out coffee container (plastic), or a spackle compound bucket. Do not store the buckets with your food supply, and by all means, keep it away from any firearms, ammunition, or knives.
Better: Water purification tablets. These are premeasured to treat 1 quart of water per pill. Just add one pill to a canteen of water (usually one quart) and wait 15 minutes. Then drink. Doesn’t taste quite as bad as the chlorine, but does have a taste. They can be expensive however. Twenty pills is the usual amount in a bottle, which is good for 20 quarts, or about 5 gallons. In an emergency situation, this will last one person about 5 days. One issue I have found with these, they do not keep long term. Figure on replacing them every 5 years. The caps corrode and the contents leak and corrode anything they touch.
Best place to store the tablets is in the pouch in your canteen holder!
Best: A portable water filter. Not the kind you put on the sink. Remember – no power = no water pressure. A ‘filter straw’ is the most convenient way to filter virtually any water. The benefit is that there is little taste difference. These are limited in the amount of water they can filter though, so either get several, or get ones with higher capacity. There are some replaceable cartridge hand pump filters that will work on up to 400 gallons of water.
NOTES: You can always boil water! It may taste bad and be the color of pudding, but the beasties are dead if you boil it well.
For extended water supplies, consider using an above ground pool. If it is located above any of your plumbing facilities in your house, you can connect a hose from the drain line of the pool, to your outside water faucet. Turn off your pressure tank water at the tank. Now when you open the valves, you will have a gravity feed water system that will allow showers (cold), and flushing water to any device that is located below the level of water in the pool. A rainbarrel system could be set up the same way. I do not advocate drinking this water, but it could be boiled and consumed in an emergency.
It is important to get any necessary adapter fittings NOW, so they will be right there when you need them.
Need #4: Shelter
Good: For this type of event, using your existing home is usually fine, and the best option. But if you are that poor guy who just had a 200 year old pine tree crash through the living room, you probably should have another option on standby. This is referred to as ‘Plan B’.
Better: Have one room that you set up as your ‘command post’. That way, even if part of the house is damaged, you can retain heat and stay out of the elements. It should be big enough to sleep everyone. You sometimes hear this referred to as a ‘safe room’.
Best: Set up an emergency room in another building, such as a detached garage or shed, or even better, a storm shelter type of cover. A small generator could cover all of your power needs, and the best part is much of your equipment and needs could be stored on the spot, eliminating the need to round up all the supplies and carry them somewhere.
You could also make up a prefab set of walls that could be stored in the garage, maybe along one wall. These panels could be placed and fastened together to create a ‘room in a room’ . Make the wall material from something light, but solid, like some leftover paneling. Roof it the same way. You can use plastic sheets in the walls (under the paneling) for insulation value, but do not use any on the ceiling. If you were to use a kerosene stove or candles inside, plastic directly above the heat source would not be a good idea.
Need #5 : Food
Good: Chest freezer. This will keep things frozen for quite some time with no power, just don’t open the lid excessively. In winter, items can be moved to outdoors as necessary as well. Just cover them well to keep other critters away from your dinner. The pantry should have a special area where you keep your reserved canned food. This should be comprised of high energy, high protein foods, which basically boil down to one common item, beans. Be careful here, as most canned foods are excessively high in water. What you are looking for here is a high ‘protein to can’ value. Yams, peas, and spinach are good choices for some variety, just to keep the essential vitamins up. Corned beef hash, Spam, any canned meat will be good also. Tuna and Sardines will even get some fish in your diet. These things will last years, but I suggest practicing some form of rotation to keep it as fresh as possible.
Better: Treat your canned goods to last longer. Don’t drop or dent the cans, and be aware that they will rust in damp or humid areas. This could lead to perforation of the can, and some severe poisoning, which is the last thing you need at this time. Try this with those metal cans – take an old pot, and several old candles. Melt the candles in the pot. Then dip the cans, one side at a time in the hot wax. This will prevent the cans from rusting. In an emergency, you could even reclaim the wax.
Best: Along with a large supply of canned goods, you need other alternatives. Just think, 2 cans per day per person is quite a lot of cans. There are dry alternatives too. Dried milk, rice, flour, cornstarch, peas, beans, all can be vacuum packed and dated and put in storage. I have used baggies to measure out and store one pound of rice, then double bagging it as well. If you know any welders, a quick purge of Nitrogen gas in the baggie will eliminate any chance of oxidation. I have successfully kept rice over 10 years this way.
Military MRE’s are top notch and fairly easy to transport, but they are very expensive. Currently, the real military versions cannot be sold to the public any longer (pictured above), and the civilian version is not as good, but costs the same. It is still a good idea to pick up a few cases of these if you can. They are a lot easier to carry than a tubful of cans.
Notice the one item that I did not mention here, your refrigerator –
Your refrigerator is poorly designed when it comes to retaining its temperature controls. A few seconds of opening the door will lose all the chilled air inside. Best bet, do not open your refrigerator for 24 hours after the power is lost. Then, if you must do so, open it and empty it. Either consume the contents, or if you are lucky, and it is the winter, move them to a colder area outside the house. In summer, consider moving the contents into a chest freezer. If you go the outdoors route, don’t forget to cover them and protect them from predators.
Need #6 : Communications
For a low level incident, such as a level 1 event, you should not require much exotic hardware. Regular phone lines should be up and running, although some areas may be temporarily rendered unavailable due to either traffic volume or physical damage to wires and lines. Cell phones are a good second choice here, although volume of traffic could still interfere with some areas.
A predefined emergency plan should be in place with your family, and it should not rely on good communications. Meeting in a previously determined area should be expected, whether communication exists or not. Never assign places that are contingent upon communication.
A reasonable backup could be CB radios (remember those?), ham equipment, or even two-way FM radios. Of course there are power requirements for such things, so plan on your power source first, then use what will work.
At the time of editing this document, we have just experienced a 5.9 ‘moderate’ earthquake, centered in Virginia. Even though this location is several hundred miles from there, cell phones up and down the east coast are out due to overloaded lines. In any incident, make sure you are NOT dependent on a cell phone to know what to do. All plans should be pre-thought out, pre-communicated, and then acted on even without communications.
Need #7 : Security
A level one, short term incident will not normally require much in the way of security measures, but there are a few cases where you should think about it. Tornadoes produce severe damage in very localized areas. If you are in an area hit by a tornado, there may be no emergency services that can reach you. While the immediate aftermath of the storm may be fairly safe, it does not take long for looters to realize that they have a chance for a free-for-all.
Earthquakes are also a real possibility, and although rare on the East Coast, tend to be more devastating due to the shallow underlying rock. Aftershocks will make continued rescue efforts difficult.
Some security/defense should be available should you need it. In the country, many people have hunting rifles and shotguns, both of which are proven to prevent looting problems. Be aware though, using them may subject you to more fines and imprisonment than the looters. Use them only if life is in immediate danger.
A better bet here is a dog & some signs…
This is a bigger deal. A level two incident will last from a few days to a few weeks. All of the preparedness items discussed in level one incident will be needed, but in more depth.
This type of incident could be brought on by a major storm such as a severe hurricane, F-5 tornado, major blizzard, volcanic eruption, civil unrest, epidemic, nuclear accident, space junk, CME, and a host of other disasters.
It may be difficult at this time, but you will need to try to determine whether the situation has an end in sight or not. In other words, will this become a level three, or will it end in a few weeks? This is quite important since a level three response is very different from the first two. If the situation appears stable, and you believe cleanup and help are on the way in a reasonable amount of time, then treat the situation as a level two, but always be prepared to raise your response to a level three at any time.
Chances are, if you are in a level two event, you started it as a level one. It is rare that the situation is obviously a level two from the beginning. This means that after a few days at level one, you need to switch gears completely.
Need #1: Lighting
By now your flashlights are probably dead or near it. Here is where it is important to have a more long term solution. You could still use candles, but candles suffer from portability issues and some safety concerns, especially around children and pets. Oil lamps come into their own at this point, and are a better choice. It is unlikely you have stocked enough gasoline for a generator for this long, unless you use it very sparingly.
Need #2: Heat
If its winter time, you had better have a wood stove or a large supply of kerosene. If you are in a mobile home, you may be using kerosene in your fuel oil tank. If you are, you have quite a supply and a kerosene stove will serve you well. Best solution here is to have a hand pump to recover the kerosene from the tank without disconnecting any fuel lines.
If you are a wood stove person, hopefully you have a good supply of wood put away. A fireplace will also work, but is inefficient for heating, and will waste much of your wood. If you go this route, cordon off the room with the fireplace in it to conserve heat. Hang blankets across openings and close all doors. You will have to move into this room to survive.
Need #3: Water
By now, you have used all your bottled water, or drained your pipes in your house. Now you need an external supply. If raining, put pots and pans outside and collect the rain. Use anything that will hold water. You should keep a supply of half a dozen 5 gallon pails, nicely cleaned, for this purpose. You can dip water out of a swimming pool, from a creek, pond, or lake. You will have to boil or filter this water, so figure that in the plans. In winter, you may have to hack a hole in the ice, and take water from there. Your emergency plans must include a plan of how you intend to get water. Rain gutters are a very efficient collector, just disconnect the downspout and run it into a 5 gallon pail. Empty often, it will fill quickly. Don’t forget about the pool trick.
Another variation of the 'pool trick', involves taking a 5 gallon pail, drilling a hole in the side, about 1" above the bottom. Screw a plastic pipe nipple in and seal it. Buy the nipple to fit a garden hose. Now , if you disconnect the downspout to your rain gutters, and run it into this pail, you can thread the garden hose through any window and into your home, (as long as it is below the level of the pail), or even into an outside (or inside) faucet. This will also give some running water for toilets and showers.
Need #4: Shelter
At this point, if it is winter, you must pull back into the smallest possible heated section of your house, assuming it is still habitable. In the event of social instability, you may need to leave your house. Have a ‘Plan B’ ready to implement if this is the case. Blanket off a small section to heat, and move everyone in. It will be cramped, but you will be warm. If conditions will not allow you to stay in your house, maybe you can set up an emergency area in an outbuilding. You may need to leave the house completely and take to the woods for a little camping. This may be true after an earthquake, where aftershocks threaten to take down the houses and buildings, or it may be dangerous because of looters. In either case, have camping materials available, ready to go, and know how to use them. Now is not the time to learn how to set up a tent.
If you are forced from your home –
You have a few options.
Easiest option - Move in with friends, relatives, or neighbors.
Next easiest option - camp on your own property, if its big enough.
Last option - camp where you can.
Nylon tents come in all sizes, and are light and easy to set up. The negatives are that the flexpoles break, and the nylon tents don’t hold any heat. Make sure you can cut some poles and tie the tent up reasonably well if the poles break on you. Pup style tents, although small, are the easiest to fabricate poles for. You can also make a superstructure of branches and cover it with pine boughs to break the wind, or hide a bright yellow color.
Canvas tents are generally smaller and heavier, but they will hold up better in the long run. These do not usually have a sewn in floor. Make sure a tarp is packed with them to serve as a floor covering. They hold the heat better than nylon, and tend not to get burn holes from drifting hot ashes. They will also resist claws of animals better!
A few big plastic tarps or sheets will make a great teepee. This is a perfect camping alternative, since a large teepee will hold several people and can hold a small campfire inside. Practice building one of these first. Getting the tarp around the top is tricky, if it is low enough for you to reach the top, it is too low for a fire inside. In general, it should be at least twice as tall as you are. Make sure the hole at the top is adjustable to vent the heat and smoke, otherwise you may not wake up in the morning.
A lean-to shelter is a good choice also. Make the rear of the shelter face north, and block the sides. Cover with pine boughs. It may not be very waterproof unless you have a plastic sheet. Build a small fire directly in front for heat and cooking.
Most of these options will require some practice. Just knowing won’t cut it here. This is true of most longer duration survival. There comes a point where common sense isn’t enough on its own.
You have reached that point.
Nuclear incidents –
This can be a ‘dirty bomb’, a damaged reactor from a natural disaster, or an all out nuclear exchange. The same basic information is true of all sources, but the intensity is different.
Where the ‘ground zero’ point of the radiation release is focused becomes very important.
With a nuclear weapon, the general idea is to detonate it in the air above the target, not too far, or the blast effect will not be optimal, but not so close as to restrict the blast radius either. With such a release of radiation, the focal point is actually in the air above the target, and this is where the gamma and x-rays will come from, all at once. Shielding from these rays must be extremely dense, (concrete or lead), as they will penetrate in a line-of-sight path to you. If over the horizon from you, you are protected from these rays by the earth between you and the focus point. You have very little time and even less warning to seek protection from these rays, (remember ‘duck and cover’ in school?). The blast wave will follow, traveling at the speed of sound, covering 600 feet per second. If you are 20 miles from the site, the blast will reach you in 3 minutes. Overpressure could reach over 10 psi, which would demolish a concrete building.
About half of the radiation given off at this moment has a half-life of less than 5 days. If you can stay under cover for a week, you will have gone most of the way towards surviving. The other half of the components have half-lives of up to 35 years, (Strontium-90, Iodine-131), so you will not be able to minimize risk from this without relocating away from the original source.
Dust and particles which will continue to fall out of the atmosphere over the next year will carry alpha and beta particles. These are easily shielded against, although great care must be taken not to ingest or inhale them.
A ‘dirty bomb’ or damaged reactor will partially eliminate the threat from the skies, as the explosion is much smaller, and there is usually no release of gamma rays or x-rays. You may encounter a large amount of alpha and beta particles however. Proper dress and washing routines can minimize this exposure. Even so, this type of radiation ‘tracks’ easily, like mud on your shoes, (literally). You may expect it to travel with groups of people almost like a virus. Prolonged exposure to these particles will cause radiation sickness, recognizable from the symptoms in the illustration.
The government stance on dealing with these types of situations is pretty simple, and I have attached some illustrations concerning it.(see original ASG pages for illustrations).
The 12 mile radius zone is still uninhabited and cordoned off.
“ Significant amounts of radioactive material have also been released into ground and ocean waters. Measurements taken by the Japanese government 30–50 km from the plant showed radioactive cesium levels high enough to cause concern.”
If you need to move- travel upwind and perpendicular to the source and the wind, generally either north or northeast. Take a look at the plume map. In general, the prevailing wind across the US blows from the Northwest to the Southeast. You want to avoid being downwind where the dust particles will be falling out on you in a constant rain.
For shelter, keep an earth block between you and the source.(if you know where the source is). A mountain, hill, stream bank, any kind of earth embankment, concrete, stone, will absorb any radiation being emitted from the source. If there is contamination in the air, try to get under a rock or concrete overhang. After a severe nuclear incident, you should remain protected for at least 24 hours. Then move out. Be aware the next few days will still have high radiation levels. Note that the radiation falls off rapidly after a day or so. After a nuclear attack, stay covered and don’t move for about a week.
Most people are unaware of the very limited nature of radiation from either a nuclear weapon, or a nuclear leak. If you are any appreciable distance from the source, (ground zero), you will be fine if you take proper precautions. The blast radius of the largest nuclear weapon is less than 30 miles in rolling countryside. The wilder the country, the smaller the radius. Obviously this is bad news if you live in Oklahoma.
Surplus cold war era radiation detectors are widely available at reasonable prices. They use 1 "D" size battery to operate , make sure to change it once a year.
Important Note: Surplus civil defense radiation detectors are designed to detect gamma radiation, not alpha or beta particles. Do not assume that because you are getting no readings, there is not significant low-level radiation present.
Need #5 : Food
Now you are probably dangerously low on food as well. Refrigerated food is definitely bad by now, and frozen food is at the end of its useful life too.
What you can do.
Any meat left in the freezer – hang up over a small smoky campfire for at least 24 hours. This will make a dried jerky out of it which will last much longer. Do the same with any fish, if you think it is still good. Read up on how to
do this now, there is a trick to doing it properly.
Depending on the season, you options will be limited. Many people believe they will simply hunt and fish.
Hunting and fishing take far too much time and energy. While you are hunting, you are slowly starving, and nothing is being accomplished at your ‘camp’. The fire is going out, there is firewood to gather and cut and a million little things waiting on you to get that big buck. Fishing with a pole is pretty much the same depressing story. It may be fun when you life is not hanging in the balance, but it just will not work when it is.
For those who think I exaggerate the issues involved here, just think for a minute. Hunting requires you to periodically move through the woods and brush. Then pass long periods of time waiting, trying to get a good shot, then track the deer if it doesn’t go right down, etc, etc. Try doing all that while avoiding other people who may be doing the same, or just looking to hunt YOU. Try shooting a deer ‘quietly’ so no one else will hear the shot and come running, to claim your deer for their dinner. (This happens now!) What if someone walks up and finds your camp, with all your supplies while you are out hunting?
OK ToTo , this isn’t opening day any more. So, how DO you obtain food?
This is the time to trap and snare. All animals can be trapped, but we as Americans are not used to getting our deer this way. But it is the most efficient way to go about it. A snare or trap is working while you are doing other things. Same for fishing. Set up some lines, or a fish weir, and let it work for you. Pickup a “YoYo Reel” . This is a set and forget automatic fisherman. Learn how to make squirrel snares, duck snares, deer snares and fish snares. Let the snares work for you while you are foraging, since foraging cannot be made 'automatic'.
Learn NOW. Put the ingredients for your snares in your bug-out kit, so you will have them when needed.
(For more on what should be in a “bugout bag” – see that section.)
Level Two requires learning and practicing, and you have to do it now. Just knowing will not help at all.
While you are learning, pick up an edible plant guide as well. For 6-7 months of the year, there is abundant food available, growing all around you, but you must recognize it and know what it is.
Any food you catch should be dried and smoked, and hung up fairly high to keep the animals from getting it, because they will be hungry too.
Ok, now we are into this for the long haul. If you are still in your home, or near a car, you still have a 12 volt charging capability. If you are out in the woods, you don’t. Not to say that you can’t, mind you. I have seen very good portable solar chargers available, and one of those puppies may just keep you going. Sooner or later though, your communications will go down. The most important thing is that you monitor the radio, commercial or ham, every day, just to find out what’s going on. Maybe nothing is, but at least you will know. And if your communications are down, most everyone else’s will be too. If you are in a group, use passwords for people entering/exiting your area. You may need to establish a lookout post as well, just to visually see what is happening.
7. Defense: (No longer can this be considered ‘Security’.)
Now the need for some kind of defense becomes necessary. Even if you are a pacifistic lover of all creation, if you are camped in the woods, there is a goodly amount of creation that may be stalking you. Wolves, Coyote , Bear, Mountain Lion, Feral Dogs, Feral Pigs, Feral Cats, Rabid Raccoons and squirrels, the list is pretty big without adding in other humanoid creatures.
The minimum you will need is a .22 rimfire rifle, of the semiautomatic variety, with at least 3000 rounds of ammo to go with it. While that may sound like an excessive amount, it is not. At least .22 ammo is relatively cheap and easy to carry. Be thankful you don’t have to carry 3000 rounds of BMG .50 caliber at a weight of 1 pound for two bullets! If you can only deal with one weapon, this is it. Like a Swiss army knife, it can do it all. Also like a Swiss army knife, it doesn't do any one thing exceptionally well.
Any .22 rimfire rifle should preferably be scoped, and have at least a 10 round clip, 30 is better. If you can make a silencer for it, so much the better. A handgun has limited use in this situation, and I wouldn’t recommend it except for its portability. Get a common caliber if you do, a 9mm or .45, and loads of ammo. Use it strictly as up close self defense. Its good for those charging coyotes, but a 9mm will only annoy a bear.
A good shotgun is your mid range defense weapon of choice. It will drop a bear or a deer and put a big hurt on a pack of wolves or coyotes. Get a pump version for reliability. Attach a sidesaddle ammo rig to the stock, and convert it to an extended magazine. You can carry 6 rounds in the gun and 6 more in the sidesaddle. Get a bandolier and fill it with 50 more shells. For ammo use a 60/40 mix of 00 buck and slugs. Some very nice specialty ammo is made for the 12 gauge including Flamethrower shells, flechettes, bolos and other interesting items.( see page 66) Use your imagination. Learn to reload at each shot, that way you can mix the shells as the situation requires. Again, 3000 rounds per firearm is recommended.
Lastly, you will need a reliable military rifle, capable of accurate shooting, with high capacity, and lots of ammo. This can double as a deer rifle, but its primary purpose is defensive. Once again, pick a readily available caliber. I suggest either Russian 7.62x39 (AK round) or the .223 (M16 round). These will be the most common calibers found. You will be able to carry more .223 than the larger 7.62 due to the lighter weight. For my two cents, unless you have been trained on the M16, avoid it and get a Ruger Mini 14, which shoots the same round but is a simpler rifle to care for. For the 7.62 crowd, there is nothing better than an AK for reliability and convenient access to ammunition.
The recommended firearms are listed as they are for a simple reason. You will have to carry them all. Therefore, a take down .22 rifle like the Feather or the old AR-7, (now being remade by Henry), will come completely apart and store in a pack. You will need slings for all of these however. You might be able to tie the shotgun on your pack as well, but that depends on what you have selected to use. You will absolutely have to carry one rifle on a sling.
One more note about firearms -
This was written primary from a suburban/rural point of view.
Your operating area and terrain will affect what works best for you. Out in the flat plains, long range weapons are a must, so first priority there may be a military rifle. In the cities, you could probably do well with just a shotgun and .22. Luckily keeping hunting weapons like this in the city is not impossible yet, although you may have to register them. Of course none of these limitations apply to the criminals, who will be quite heavily armed. Let your terrain guide you in your needs.
One more item I rarely see mentioned, and that is a good compound bow. Crossbows may be useful as well, being quite silent, but bolts can be expensive. Reloading time is a bit slower with a crossbow as well. The only issue I have with hunting bows is that they are difficult to carry, being very bulky to carry with everything else.
A lighter fiberglass field bow could be used, and would pack easier, but is not as powerful as a compound bow.
Some of these may actually have a place in your supplies. I am not talking about your old Daisy Red Rider here. To really be useful, the airgun needs to shoot BB's or pellets at least 600 feet per minute. The minimum would be similar to a Crosman 760 Pumpmaster. Many of the higher end guns will do this easily.
The benefits to airguns are many. They are quiet, ammo is easily available in large quantities very cheaply, and they will take out most small game.
I have seen these mentioned in other publications, and I really don't see how they could be helpful. The range is very short, and the projectiles are not deadly, (unless you are a small rodent). Skip them.
Throwing Stars (shuriken)
I do know people who believe these are deadly weapons. Only certain types in the hands of highly skilled masters would really have the potential to do serious damage. Skip these, along with the throwing knives and tomahawks.
Take this over a Blow gun. The kind that use surgical tubing are very powerful, quiet, and would make an easily packable item. For its size and portability, do not overlook this item. One drawback - the tubing will decompose and break over time, pick up spare tubing pieces, and change them out every few years.
Handguns - as discussed, do not place alot of faith in these to solve your problems. As portable self defense, they work well, up close. Thats about it. Semi autos are now extremely reliable and have large clip capacities, so favor these over revolvers, which carry limited shots and take far longer to reload, even with speedloaders.
Marlin Camp-9 - 9mm rifle. Nice intermediate weapon, using the readily available 9mm ammunition. Great rifle for kids, comfortable to shoot for women, extremely accurate. The clip interchanges with the Smith & Wesson handguns, which is great if you have both.
Marlin Camp-45 - 45 caliber version of the Camp-9 , but interchanges with the 45 Colt handgun.
Cobray 37mm - Available in either a separate complete unit, or an under the barrel version. Plenty of 37mm ammunition available, although no real military rounds. The mortal shells are actually M80 bird-bombs, and are extremely powerful. The usual assortment of aerial shells are also available.
It is possible to obtain a 40mm barrel, and if you are handy, you could replace the 37mm one with it. The availability of 40mm rounds is much more limited, but I have seen them at various gun shows.
There are also barrel 'adapters' which slide in the 37mm barrel to allow it to shoot 12 gauge shotgun ammunition. Doing this technically means you have created a shotgun with a very short barrel, see the warning on page 4.
Automatic, or select-fire weapons - Ammo wasters, don't bother. Learn to shoot accurately instead of 'spraying' bullets.
While we are on this subject – a few more words are necessary here.
I have a fairly large collection of automotive tools, and am able to fix many of the things that tend to wear out or break on my vehicle. I have socket sets in metric and English, in ¼” drive through ½” drive, various wrenches in all sizes, and tons of specialty tools like cylinder hones, vacuum gauges, A/C kits, etc.
If I was told that I had 30 seconds to pick some of those tools to go fix a car breakdown on the side of the road, what would I take?
I would grab the following:
Chances are, I would be able to ‘fix’ the car enough to either get it home, or move it somewhere where it could be fixed properly.
Preppers need to keep this mindset in sight at all times.
There are a million gadgets out there that would be useful to a prepper, but in the end, it comes down to what you can carry.
This applies to food stores, water, shelter and security.
We all know people with dozens of different weapons. While they each may have a specific use to which they are supremely tailored, what does one do with them all?
If you plan on ‘Bugging-In’, permanently, with a , then a selection of items like this may make some sense.
But then, are you a survivor?
Survivors are Preppers, but not all Preppers are Survivors.
If running away is your best option for survival, staying put is a conscious choice of suicide.
While this may be your ‘end-game’, it does not make you a survivor, just a well prepared martyr.
My point here is to choose your tools, (and weapons and food are tools), with extreme care, and plenty of thought.
Your choices may not be the best for some situations, but they should be the best for situations.
Remember, your most important tool is between your ears. Humans can improvise tools from almost anything.
We have done it for thousands of years.
When choosing the tool of a weapon, think about portability, reliability, range, and accessible (and lightweight) ammunition.
Think the same of food. Calories, Protein, storage, portability.
For wild food, learn the six most common edible plants in your region. Go out, identify them, eat them. Once you know those by heart, pick another six.
For shelter, learn how to make six different kinds of shelter. Make them, sleep in them. If in an urban area, pick the six most likely places you would go. Analyze them (use the Preppers Checklist tab). How would you get there? What would you bring?
How do you plan to cross rivers? How about mountains? What will you need to wear in the winter? The summer?
Make a list and then simplify it. Get items that can do double duty. I like canned food because I can also use the empty cans. You cannot boil water in a plastic MRE bag. You can collect Maple sap in a can, but the bag will blow around. I am not discounting MRE’s here, they have their place, but look beyond the product to multiple uses to maximize your survival.
There probably will be very little to distinguish a level three event from the previously discussed level two. In most cases, the level three will grow out of an existing level two event that has been in effect for a few weeks.
Over time, even a few weeks, the lack of authority will lead to increasing events of lawlessness. It will occur faster if the environment is damaged as well. When roads are blocked or impassable, the criminal element is fully aware of the benefit. The lack of power for any length of time means that monitoring alarms, cameras, and most other forms of communication will be nonexistent. The survivor must be prepared to escalate his plans to the next level as the situation deteriorates.
In rare instances, the transition to a level three event could be instantaneous. A nuclear event, whether intentional or not, could become an instant level three event. A biological event could also lead to a level three quite suddenly as well. At this level, most transitions to this stage will be gradual, not catastrophic. One things statistics teaches however, never rule anything out.
Alright, let’s suppose we are in week two of a level two event. It started as a category 5 hurricane, and another category 3 followed it a week later. Tornadoes from the system spun throughout the affected area. There is a 900 square mile area that has been completed decimated. No travel, no communication, and crowds of people are screaming for food. In the middle of all this, there is civil unrest, riots in the city, a terror attack - gangs of ‘neighbors’ are going house to house raiding food. You believe it is too dangerous to continue to stay around your home, whether you are inside it, or staying in an outbuilding or shelter on the property. You hear gunfire sporadically through the night. There is no news, no sign of any help.
OK, so on to the ‘Big one’.
Level Three –
This is where your Plan B comes into play, and possibly your Plan C. (See Rule of Threes section).
First, and most important – you
Is it off the beaten path? Hard to access? Hidden away out of sight? Fireproof?
A long hard objective look at your home base is necessary here. Look at it from the outside. How would you get in? It is vitally important not to gloss over this part of the analysis, your life depends on it.
If it comes up a bit short, proceed this way:
Move to a safer location. This could be in with others, it could be an old abandoned house well off the traveled road, a hunting camp, an old factory building, whatever you have designated as Plan B.
Be prepared to go immediately to Plan C if you find someone has beaten you to your planned destination. Unless you can join with them, keep on going. You will not be traveling light. Your Plan B and C should include detailed plans to get your supplies to where you are going. You may need a truck, several cars, you may walk, or some other way, but you need to get there, with all your supplies, safely.
Traveling now is not as easy as before. You must assume that any open roads are not safe. Traveling during daylight may not be safe. Even if you have a vehicle, walking may still be safer. Several trips may have to be taken to carry your supplies. You may have to transport everything in small batches at night, with an armed patrol to accompany you. Plan for these eventualities.
One last word on shelter. Your plan B should be big enough to comfortably house you, protect you, and retain heat. It should not be any bigger than you need. A group of 6 or 10 people will not be able to effectively hold a large building or factory. There is just too much area to cover. That sized group should be in a small 1 story house. Why? Because you need to cover all approaches, and in a small house that means 8 people tied up in observation. Grow into a bigger place as you need it, rather than occupy a bigger place and be forced out.
Now that you are established in your shelter, start with some minimal defense. Identify areas around the shelter that could be useful to your group, or an attacker. Booby trap any area that an attacker might use, and fortify the rest. Old wire fence can be strung tree to tree to make some areas impossible to enter at any speed.
Above all , conceal your location as much as you possibly can. Your survival at this point is going to depend upon your invisibility more than anything else.
Time Out for a little explanation here.
Of all that I have written in this booklet so far, this area is the part that generates the most controversy.
Let’s be clear.
In a Level 3 event, civil authority and control is non-existent. This may occur in a regional area, and not on a national scale, but the effect is the same either way.
For example, in the event of a full scale nuclear exchange, it is unlikely that the central government would cease to exist. Instead, it would exercise control from very specific bunkered control points, and conduct national defense from those. It would not be able to exercise control on the local level, and probably not on the regional level either.
The area of control would shrink to areas around the government operations areas, military bases, ports, etc. Outside of those areas, there would be no control at all. Eventually, one hopes, control would slowly be re-established, but this could take many years.
It is this time period that is considered a Level 3 event. Someday, control would be re-established, so all of your actions taken during the time of uncontrolled authority would eventually be subject to scrutiny by the authorities when local control (probably in a form of martial law), is re-established.
So why do I advocate burning up empty houses and stealing trucks?
First, these items would be low on the list of ‘crimes against humanity’. The houses were empty, and many more would be burned by looting mobs than you would be doing by securing your area. The vehicles you rescue will also be destroyed by these same mobs, or worse, turned against survivors as weapons by these same mobs.
What you are doing, in effect, is taking the weapons from the hands of people who will use them for destruction and using them to help yourself and other people survive.
Yes, you will have to overcome an internal moral barrier. We have laws that reflect our moral convictions. We believe stealing is wrong therefore we have laws that reflect that. The absence of the law does not change the moral obligations we hold.
We, to survive, must re-analyze these morals in the light of the results, not the actions.
Our highest moral obligation is to help others. We cannot perform that service if we are bound by rules that limit our ability to do that. The corollary of this obligation is that we must prevent the hurting of others, therefore we assume control of the potential weapons they will use so that we can do good, not harm.
It would be a fatal mistake for the survivor to remain bound to rules and laws that no longer exist, because the unprepared and the simply evil of society will not be bound by them.
Your defense, should the time come when order is once again restored, is simply that you did what you could to save lives, not destroy them. This is your highest calling as a survivor and a prepper.
Continuing onward -
To fortify your new retreat, cut logs and pile them up outside the shelter, cover them with dirt, rocks, whatever you can find. Drop trees and power poles across narrow points in roads to discourage access.
For more ideas on these items, see “David’s Toolbox” section.
A critical point will be reached about this time. Entering a Level Three means that society as we know it has collapsed, and no rebuilding it is in sight.
Level Three in many ways is a point of no return for the survivalist.
It has been at least three or four weeks, now things get desperate. Leave the wires on the poles, and drop trees first, this will keep the wires spread off the ground and be harder to get through. Work your way around your shelter, gradually moving further out with these blockades. You may think about starting to burn out any structures nearby that could be used as a staging area against you. Clean the houses out first, salvaging anything you can use, then light it up if your security requires it. Watch the winds , you want to be upwind from any fires. There probably will be literally tons of empty houses by now, and most will have been looted at least once.
Be aware that a fire (and smoke) may draw unwanted attention to the area and plan accordingly. Best to time these for a foggy rainy day to minimize visibility.
Be aware, before you go taking down power lines and burning up empty houses, you must be sure that help and organization are NOT on the way.
These are non-reversible actions. Should some form of local authority be re-established, you will be held criminally liable for the destruction of this property. Under these circumstances, or under Martial Law, you may be executed. These actions are extreme, and should only be undertaken in extreme circumstances. It is vitally important to ‘read’ the situation correctly from the start. There is no second chance here. This is why you need good communication and intelligence gathering from the start. I would think these types of irreversible activities would be delayed until it is obvious that no help is arriving for months or more. This may be obvious right at the start, but in most cases it will not be.
At this stage in a level three event, the best thing you can do is absorb people. More people mean less overall work for each individual. Somehow, you will need to be selective in your choices.
At this stage, you will need a minimum of 10 people to function effectively, and as the weeks go on, you will need to add 2-3 people per week.
Be aware that there will be a huge amount of people doing exactly what you are doing. Do not be too quick to assume they are hostile. Many of these people will be great assets. Pool your resources and work smarter, not harder. Best bet, join up with an preppers group now, and start building those contacts. Visit the American Preppers Network site for local chapters near you. (or see my 'who we are' tab for some links).
You still need to eat, drink clean water, and sleep out of the weather. Your food supply is much more critical now. You may pick up some canned food raiding empty houses, but even that will run out eventually. Start switching over to wild food, making up at least 50% of your daily diet. Then increase it to 75%. This will retain your limited food resources longer. If it is spring or summer, you are in luck. There is food available in the fall if you know what to look for. Winter will be the worst. Very little will be available in the way of greens, only tree bark and cattail bulbs easily found. Maybe some leftover nuts and berries. This is meat season. You will have to trap animals, or fish. The colder temperature will require more calories. Snow will shut down just about all of your activities, and make them much harder. Of course it makes it harder for everyone else as well. Take the good with the bad. The key to survival at this point is discipline and some kind of routine. The people that will do well are those that work with nature, not against it.
There are some foods available all winter if you know where to look...
Maintain regular patrols and sentries. These people are now your eyes and ears. Rotate people and train. Practice what you learn. Everyone in your group must know how to do everything. The really big decisions will need to be made very soon. To survive very long, you will need goals. Maybe your group needs a bigger place, and taking over that old factory would be beneficial, now that you can hold it. Maybe you want to relocate further south. These are the big plans that will provide a sense of hope in an otherwise seemingly hopeless existence. Maybe take over a small town , reopening the stores and providing a more stable, familiar lifestyle. Have a common goal, and make plans to reach it. This will provide the incentive and will power to hold on when everything looks pretty bleak.
Some goals may include:
Putting in a garden and growing vegetables -
This could be done on the flat roof of a large building for safety and maximizing your yields, it would be tough for the woodchucks to eat your veggies up there...
More on this at your local APN chapter , see the 'who we are' tab for some thoughts on this.
Lessons from Irene , August 2011
Hurricane Irene struck without much fury here in the northeast. The winds were very moderate, even the rain was not torrential during much of the storm. Because of these immediate effects, few people realized that the after effects would be so far reaching. The sheer quantity of rain caused trees to begin toppling after the storm had passed, and rising water would be another full day away. The delay influenced people to let down their guard, then to suddenly cope with rapidly rising water amid instant blackouts that eventually affected over one million people. As I write this, 6 days after the storm, 100,000 people are still without power, and many will not have electricity restored until another 4 or 5 days pass. According to the categories above, this would qualify as a class 2 event. It clearly started as a level one, and then, as power still was not restored, extended another level. Generators ran out of fuel, gas stations were closed, and food was in short supply.
And this was not even a category 1 hurricane at this point. It doesn’t take much, does it?
Lessons from Katrina , August 2005 –
One other important point to make. Survivors of Hurricane Katrina had some disturbing news to report. Even though their neighborhoods were not heavily damaged, they had communities near them that were. This brought in an official “Disaster Declaration”, which from what we are always told , “makes federal funds available”, and allows National Guard troops to be activated to ‘assist’.
It does more than that. But this is the part that is rarely reported on or spoken about.
In one community, not very hard hit, the people banded together to maintain order and begin cleanup. Since neighboring communities were hard hit, the authorities, local authorities, went door to door in advance of the ‘Disaster relief’, to ‘stabilize’ the community. They did this by asking each person to surrender any weapons they had in the house.
Now, if you live in a state like New York or California, virtually all firearm sales are registered, and handguns can only be held by permit. Authorities, whomever they may be, have this information. They know what you own.
In any kind of emergency such as this, they will be at your door, with a list, as well as some ‘inspectors.’ You won’t let them in? Good luck. Under a state of emergency, there are no rights. You will not have a choice. If you do not hand over what they are looking for, they will look themselves. And they will not be happy about it.
The person who wrote the article was incensed that the authorities would remove the only tools they had to maintain order and stability in such a desperate time. Predictably, as local control was disarmed, the community fell into violence, arson and looting. The people of the community had to flee the area.
A very hard lesson here.
Hide what they don’t know you have, but be fully prepared to surrender what they do know you have. If you have sold a firearm that you registered when it was purchased, be sure to have a receipt. They will certainly follow that up. It helps to have several receipts, for almost everything you own, especially if they are ‘sold’ to people who have recently died. HINT: Look in the obituaries for someone you may know, or went to school with. Keep in mind, they will need to take something! Surrender what is least useful, or what you may have more than one of, and by all means, forget trying to keep those licensed handguns, those are only in your hands at the authorities good will, which has obviously run out.
A quick primer on CME – “Coronal Mass Ejections”. While you may not have heard about them, they happen fairly often, the latest being only a few days ago.
Luckily, the size and strength of these vary greatly, and we have not experienced a ‘biggie’ in several decades.
This information comes directly from a National Academy of Sciences 2008 Report ,(NAS 2008).
“Civilization is at a higher risk to solar storms than at any other time in its history, due to the reliance on electrical power.” In 1859, a solar storm lasting 8 days disrupted world communications and caused the sky to glow with the ‘northern lights’ all the way into the Caribbean. In 1989, a small storm knocked out power to the entire Canadian grid for 9 hours. Today, and since 1989, the reliance on computers is almost total. An event similar to the 1859 ‘Carrington Event’ would decimate the entire planet. Avionics in planes would cease to function, most would crash. Almost every vehicle would immediately cease to function, the electronics totally fried. Computers, cell phones, all communication would be permanently damaged. The power industry itself states “the economic foundations of the United States, already badly cracked by chronic recession and the collapse of its’ financial institutions, would fall”.
They are not optimistic about an early recovery either , they further state, “ a contemporary repetition of the Carrington Event would cause…extensive social and economic disruptions…within a month the handful of spare transformers would be used up, the rest will have to be built to order, something that can take up to twelve months.”
The NAS report goes on to state “... recovery time at four to ten years.”
NASA scientists are predicting an unusually strong solar activity cycle, to peak near 2013. (Posted in Science, 16th June 2010 06:02 GMT)
"The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years, we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity," says Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division. "At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms.
The earth has been battered by solar storms before, but never has civilization been so vulnerable, since it's now so dependent upon both electrical and electronic infrastructure.
Fischer sees serious trouble ahead from the 2013 peak solar activity attacks. "I think the issue is now that modern society is so dependent on electronics, mobile phones and satellites, much more so than the last time this occurred," he said. "There is a severe economic impact from this. We take it very seriously.”
What I personally take from all this is that, should an event like this occur, we may be living in the stone age for a long, long time. Seriously, restoring power would take 4-10 YEARS. That’s a level three event if I ever heard one…
“In 1962 the United States government discovered nuclear EMP when the lights went out in Hawaii after a nuclear test detonation. 50 years later, we are no closer to hardening our infrastructure against such a devastating attack than we were then.
It's true that there are degrees of EMP. A solar flare will not produce the harsh aftermath of a missile blowing up in the skies above the United States. But a solar flare is not what we need to be worried about. Rogue terrorist cells can easily transport a dismantled missile off the coast anywhere in the United States, reach our waterways, and reassemble it for delivery into the sky above us. In fact, our politicians have a word for it – “SCUD in a bucket”. The entire power grid would collapse.
It would be beyond horrific. It has been estimated that within a year, 75% to 90% of the population would be dead because we no longer have a society that can take care of itself. (Just in food production alone, 2% of the U.S. feeds the other 98%.) Even our military bases within the U.S. are dependent on the power grid to function.
And things wouldn't get better quickly or at all. We only have enough transformers to replace 1% of those in operation. The rest are manufactured in South Korea and Germany, and take on average 18 months for delivery of one unit. In that type of catastrophic scenario, where major transformers in the power grid would have to be replaced, there wouldn't be enough to take care of the needs of the citizens. We would literally be thrown back into the 19th century at a moment's notice.
Would you survive?
Epidemics / Pandemics
These are far more serious, as they will start almost without much public notice, but may escalate extremely fast. Be prepared to respond quickly, moving your timescales up accordingly. What follows is a direct quotation from a pamphlet that was mailed to every resident of my county. If you thought the movie “Contagion” was full of Hollywood exaggeration, note that these quotes come directly from the county health commissioner of my county.
“ The XXX County department of Health encourages residents to stock at least a two week supply, preferably a , of essential household items.”
“Plan for the possibility that usual services may be disrupted. This may include services provided by hospitals and other health care facilities, banks, stores, restaurants, government offices, and post offices.”
“ and not exposing yourself to people who are sick is the best way to avoid pandemic flu.”
The following was copied directly from a county source as well, I have edited out the boring parts and the repetitious parts in the interest of saving space – I have put all notable actions in BOLD.
Pandemic / Avian Influenza Response (non-weaponized)
Pandemic / Avian Influenza Response
Level 1 - Pre planning, including confirmed cases of human-to- human transmission of avian / swine flu
Level 2 - Suspected case(s) or suspected/confirmed cases
Level 3 - Confirmed case(s)
[See the original site www.teotwawkin.webs.com for this table]
Every year we seem to get a new epidemic scare. Avain Flu, Swine Flu, HN1, fill-in-the-blank-here flu and all the hoopla that accompanies it. Expect it to get worse.
If you take anything from the above pamphlet, it should be these things:
1. The County will order all businesses closed. That includes the deli, the bank, and your job, people…
(needless to say, you must still pay your mortgage and all your bills…)
2. The County will enforce a quarantine. They may detain and hold anyone for any period of time. They may move people to other areas or facilities without their consent.
3. They can force you from your house and lock it up, destroy it, or utilize it themselves.
4. You will not be allowed OUT OF YOUR HOUSE. It is essentially house arrest for everyone.
An interesting update from recent news –
The World Health Organization has requested that the details of constructing the ‘weaponized’ Avian Flu strain not be published in the Journal ‘Science’, by the researchers at the University of Wisconsin. This was only a request, the information will be available to other scientists, and naturally will be hacked on the internet. What was a relatively mild flu strain has been intensified, and made transmissible through the air. Now it is extremely dangerous. And for all you know, your neighbor could be making it in his basement!
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