Preparedness 101: The Very Basics – By ZMalfoy

From yesterday’s thread…..to an idea……to ZMalfoy’s resourcefulness and writing skills…and here we go!  Thank you to all the creative hearts and minds.  You guys are something else (a very nice “something else”).  This thread will be like Our Treehouse, The Chapel, Our Mission and Heroes Contact List: a permanent place to come any time you have ideas, questions or comments that fit within what follows, which was prepared by  ZMalfoy. Thank you all!

~~Admin

Preparedness 101: The Very Basics

by ZMalfoy

Since there was some interest in the subject of preparedness, let’s start a thread for reference for the Tree Dwelling Community.

Since we all have different info, I’ll start with the basics.  There will be some (optional!) homework.  Anyone who has any tips, advice, corrections, stories, links, etc., is invited to share them in the comments.  There will be questions, too, for the community to answer, which may become posts of their own in the future.  One caveat:  Since the writer and blog are based in the U.S., it will be written from a U. S. point of view.  If you live elsewhere, adjust the information and feel free to share with us the variables in things you are dealing with.

So we begin:

1) What are we supposed to be preparing for?

2) Where do I start?

What are we preparing for?

Short answer: Life.

Slightly longer answer: Anything that could happen to disrupt our fun–anything from house troubles to sickness to The End Of The World As We Know It (aka TEOTWAWKI).  Maybe economic collapse, maybe natural disasters, maybe an epidemic or terrorism.  This can be a bit hard to handle, so a few things to keep in mind as we begin:

1) The emergency you face will not be the one you prepared for.  This is the prepper’s corollary to Murphy’s Law.  If you’re ready and waiting for the next flu epidemic, you’ll get an earthquake.  If you’re ready for an earthquake, you’ll get terrorism.  If terrorism, you’ll lose your job and live off your food storage for a few months while working at Starbucks to pay the mortgage.  Luckily, much in the way of prepping overlaps–it’s just the details and the particular tinfoil-hat designs that differ.  So, if you’re prepping with Economic Armageddon in mind, and you see someone freaking out about the New Madrid Fault line, it’s okay–you’re both getting ready for things going pear-shaped.

2) Sometimes, the asteroid hits your house. Sometimes, even if you prep to the nines, all that work will go up in smoke.  Realize that.  Even if you have a “retreat location”–it’s the retreat that gets hit.  In other words–don’t put all the eggs in one basket.  But have the humility to realize that still, sometimes, The Schumer Hits The Fan (TSHTF).  It’s for this reason that many people consider skills to be the most important part of preparing, with stockpiling coming after.  If circumstances make you a refugee, knowing how to sew, grow crops, preserve food, work with wood or metal will be far more valuable than great skill with Excel.  Not that Excel isn’t useful–but in a grid-down situation, your ability to grow tomatoes and weld metal will be far more valuable.

3) Never stop enjoying life. You know the stereotype, and maybe you’ve run into the real thing.  Guys who get so into the mode of preparing against the horrors of the future that they forget about living today.  Don’t be that guy.  Do what you can, as you can and enjoy the blessings God showers you with every day.

4) You will never be entirely self-sufficient.  No man is an island, it is said, and this is true.  One desires to become as self-sufficient as possible, but you will always need someone else, for some reason or another.  As a single chick myself, I’m really coming to appreciate how much I can get done in one day–even on a Saturday.  One more person could double that workload.  A Team would be invaluable.  So talk to your spouse or your family.  This is sometimes hard–people don’t understand it.  But many preps result in frugality–so talk about the economy, look at the fate of northern Japan.  Get a team, if you can.  Network with neighbors, with people online, with extended family.  On the other hand, remember Operational Security (OPSEC).  Don’t tell the neighbors about your food storage, and make sure the kids or spouse don’t either.  Instead, try to subtly nudge the neighbors in that direction without letting them know where the food will be if it all goes to crap.  Talk with them about gardening, the price of groceries, etc.  You know your neighbors–you’ll know the best balance.

5) Every little step helps.  Just go, one thing at a time.  Do what you can, as you can.  Every small thing put away for an emergency, every bit of skill, it all adds up.  Every bag of rice, can of tomatoes or tuna is one more meal that you and yours won’t be hungry.  Every skill is one more thing you can do, not just for yourselves, but for others if needed.

So what should you prepare for?  Well, there are (0verall) two different types of emergencies: Acts of God and Acts of Man.

Acts of God: Look at your geographic region–what is your area prone to?  What weather or other phenomena happens or has happened on record?  Drought?  Hurricane?  Tornadoes?  Blizzards?  Floods?  Earthquake?  Dust storms?  If it has happened on record, it can happen again.  Do you live near the New Madrid Fault line, or any of the West Coast fault lines?  Is there seismic activity anywhere within a 2-3 day drive?  If a local volcano blows its top, where will the ash fall?  If your house may be affected, this is something to prepare for.  Granted, if the Yellowstone Caldera up and explodes (as it has in the past) everyone in the U.S. east of Yellowstone is screwed.  But this is not the most likely scenario.  Start with the most likely event, of whatever scale.

As for the Acts of Men: What dumb stuff can people get up to around where you live?  Is there a government or military facility which might be subject to terrorist attack?  Is there a plant or other places that houses toxic chemicals that might spring a leak (deliberate or accidental)?  I live just Northeast of DC, which is often downwind from the city.  Therefore, I have a stash of Potassium Iodide, just in case Iran finally gets the bomb and gets it into the hands of a bad person who gets it to DC.

Finally, what particular vulnerabilities do you or yours face?  Asthma?  Diabetes?  Physical impairment?  Mental impairment?  What happens if you lose electricity?

Homework Assignment #1) Make notes on three potential areas of concern: Likely/possible Acts of God, possible Acts of Man, and Personal Vulnerabilities.  Let’s look at this danger and face it head on.  Keep in mind, however, there are some things you cannot prepare for.  (See #2 above)

Now this can start getting overwhelming real fast.  If you know what the vulnerabilities are, how do you even start to address preparing for these things?

There are two ways to help organize:  The Rule of Threes, and Start with Short, Move to Long.

The Rule of Threes

You can survive:

  • 3 Minutes without Air
  • 3 Hours without Shelter
  • 3 Days without Water
  • 3 Weeks without Food

I would add, you cannot survive a moment without God.  This rule gives a good hierarchy for where to focus your efforts.  When I was starting with preparedness, this rule helped me focus on what to get first.  Let’s look at each one:

3 Minutes without Air–when would this come into play?  Well, if your car is sinking in water, if a tsunami is hitting, if there’s a chemical attack near you.  Also possibly involved in air–biological attack or natural pandemic.  So, how do you prepare for these things?  Have a device in your car to get you out should you find yourself in this situation–Mythbusters had a great show on this, and I recommend you find it on YouTube.  If it is possible that your area gets hit with a tsunami, the best thing is to be ready to run like hell at a moment’s notice.  In the case of Chemical attack, first, know the direction of the wind, and get out of “downwind.”  Second, a wet bandana is ok as a line of defense if you’ve got nothing else.  Even better are N95 masks with respirators.  Or, you can go truly survivalist and get some gasmasks with filters.  It’s up to you how hardcore you go.

3 Hours without Shelter–this really has to do with keeping your body temperature right.  Cody Lundin has an entire book dedicated to this one thing–98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive! I don’t have this one myself, but I was impressed with another of his books, When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes.  In short, however, this includes clothing, housing, bedding, air circulation and even water.  How do you stay warm?  How do you stay cool?  Naked in a blizzard on the plains is not the situation you want to be in.  What shelter backups do you have?  Tarps?  Tents?  Sleeping bags?  Do you have a way to heat your shelter in winter?

3 Days without Water–FEMA (and others) recommends one gallon of water per person per day.  Some people debate between water storage and water filters.  I say both.  Store water–the water in parts of Japan is testing for high radiation, so stored water would be better in that situation.  On the other hand, you can only store so much water.  There are filters (kinda pricey) that will filter out almost all known biologic problems, and many chemical.  Even so, do you have a backup way of boiling water to be sure it’s safe?  In a longer case scenario, will you be able to water your garden?  Will you have clean water not just for drinking, but for cleaning wounds?  Will you be able to keep your surroundings moderately sanitary?

3 Weeks without Food–Food storage is a Big Deal right now, and I’m thankful for it.  Lack of food can cause real social problems–the more people have even a slightly bigger buffer, the better.  How long will the food in your pantry last you?  Can you prepare it without electricity?  Does it need refrigeration if opened?

Assignment #2) Inventory what you have on hand, right now, that addresses each of the parts of the Rule of Threes.  You may be surprised at what you already have!  Add a Medical Inventory to those lists as well.  This inventory will give you a good idea of where you already are, right now.  This will show you your holes–so many people forget about water!–and will help you get a handle on where to focus future efforts.

Finally, when thinking about what you need, start with short term emergencies.  If the car breaks down, if the power goes out in a storm, etc.  Use these preps as the foundation for longer term preparation.  Start with 3 days food backup, then a week, then a month, then 6 months, etc…..Remember: Every little bit helps. Get CPR Certified.  Take a First Aid course.  Learn to can food.

A last word for this post: When you are prepping, you start by prepping just for yourself and your family.  But ultimately, you are preparing for everyone.  You prepare to ride through emergencies, but also to be able to help people–your neighbors, your friends, your community–when it counts the most.  Knowing that, but for the Grace of God, it could be you that was the refugee, you prepare to be able to offer some measure of assistance when TSHTF.  Be ready to be a shelter for others–but to do that, you need to have a shelter to provide!

Final Assignment! Identify one skill you would like to learn that would be of use in a long or short term emergency.  Following posts will go into more detail on various subjects.

Good resources on the net are Beprepared.com. YouTube, FEMA.gov., Redcross.org., survivalblog.com, the survivalmom.com, and the forums at 222.mrssurvival.com.

Please share any info, questions, tips and links in the comments below.  Your input is essential.

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207 Responses to Preparedness 101: The Very Basics – By ZMalfoy

  1. Patriot Dreamer says:

    I admit I know next to nothing about canning.

    How do you start canning? An op/ed by Frank Belcastro

    http://www.glennbeck.com/2012/03/14/how-do-you-start-canning-an-oped-by-frank-belcastro/

    Like

    • freedom1781 says:

      I can a lot. I have both a pressure and water bath canner. I can’t use my water bath canner on my ceramic glass cooktop so I’ll have to buy an electric burner. I’ve canned beans, sweet corn, zucchini relish, pickles, salsa, sweet tomato relish, salsa, and tomatoes. My quince tree is finally bearing fruit so I plan to make quince jelly in the fall. Canning is a lot of work but it’s so worth it!

      Like

    • freedom1781 says:

      Community canning centers are making a comeback, especially here in Virginia. Unfortunately, there are none near me. Maybe there’s a canning center near you:

      http://frugalliving.about.com/od/canningfoods/a/Community-Cannery-Locations.htm

      Like

    • stellap says:

      I used to can with my mother – jelly, jam, tomatoes, pickles. These are good things to start with, because they can be done in a water bath canner without worry of poisoning your family! I bought the canner I have now at a garage sale for 50 cents; it has calcium deposits on the inside, but it works just fine. I still can jam – peach and cherry are my specialties. Maybe I’ll do tomatoes this year too. We’ll see. It’s not difficult, but it is important to be precise about measuring ingredients, and sterilizing your equipment, jars and lids.

      Like

      • solaratov says:

        Calcium deposits come right out when you soak them in vinegar.
        I use the cheap. store-brand white vinegar, and once a month run it through my coffee maker to keep it running fast. Then, I use that vinegar (preferrably while still hot) to remove any calcium deposits on pots and pans.

        Works like a charm!! :D

        Like

  2. You can make an emergency candle out of a can of Crisco and a piece of string. It can last around 45 days!

    http://lifehacker.com/5827780/make-an-emergency-candle-out-of-a-tub-of-crisco

    Like

  3. Max Yemet Tells About Living In Hyper-Inflationary Ukraine–03-27-2012

    http://kerrylutz.com/max-yemet-tells-about-living-in-hyper-inflationary-ukraine-03-27-2012/

    Direct link to Max’s site:

    http://www.howtobepoor.com/

    Like

  4. Rainwater Collection System Series [Youtube videos]

    Like

  5. solaratov says:

    Knowledge of the proper knot can save your life. Learn a few and practice them.

    http://www.animatedknots.com/

    Like

  6. solaratov says:

    Before you invest in an AR-15 type rifle as your primary MBR (main battle rifle), read this……………..

    http://madogre.com/?p=174

    In fairness, there are a couple of manufacturers out there turning out reliable 15s – but they are not ‘entry-level’ guns. They cost a bit more than a brand-new shooter – or someone new to the AR platform – wants to spend.

    :evil:

    Like

    • Caliber and load and cost issues aside, I stopped looking at AR-15 types permanently after hearing first-hand stories of action problems out of the box. For example, a gal I know bought a Colt recently, and is still proud of it, but she talks about the action not being quite right, jams on the range under IDEAL conditions and having her gunsmith polish the action parts to get it working right. What kind of piece of shit battle rifle costs a grand and a half and doesn’t sh00t right, out of the box? What kind of workshop-queen rifle needs to be at the gunsmith twice for every day it spends misfiring at the suburban rifle range? I’m sure some of the other makes are better, but no thanks. I’d rather have a lever action that shoots when it’s dirty.

      Like

      • solaratov says:

        At this point, the only Direct Gas Impingement ‘battle rifle’ that I’d trust to run for me would be one from Crusader Weaponry — and you’re talking about spending north of $2000.00. But each one is custom built to your specs and has a permanent Slipstream application.
        Other than that, I am a Piston Operated kinda guy. I prefer the AK-47, FAL, M14/M1A, LWRC (REPR), and others – both new and old. They just are more reliable. And the “extra” weight is only a matter of a couple of ounces – which isn’t going to make a lot of difference in a 9 – 10 lb. rifle. I’ll carry the extra ounces if it means that the gun’s gonna go Bang! every time.
        The piston guns also seem easier to clean — and don’t get as dirty in the actions and chamber areas in the first place (all things being equal).
        And, I like my battle rifles in 30 caliber or better. I don’t want to have to waste time or ammo on a “make sure” shot. I want an enemy down and out when he’s hit the first time – as long as I do my part.

        Yeah. I know. I’m old-fashioned. But then, I’m still alive…aren’t I?

        :evil:

        Like

      • chuckles49 says:

        I own an AR 15, but it’s definitely not a grab-and-go gun. It must be cleaned after every use, and the ammo and magazines much be carefully matched up if jamming is to be avoided. It’s cool-looking, light, and a great target shooting gun, but I wouldn’t bet my life or my family’s on it.

        An SKS or an AK47 is a much better rifle. They have a robust design, will shoot under the worst of conditions unfailingly, require little maintenance, and can be had for under $500.

        Lever action rifles are a good choice too, but are limited by their ammo capacity, and in time of crisis, ammunition will not be as plentiful as .the 5.56 or 7.62×39 rounds which are NATO standard.

        Like

  7. Patriot Dreamer says:
  8. solaratov says:

    Like

  9. diane says:

    Another great site Re: How To Survive In Hard Times

    http://www.grandpappy.info/indexhar.htm

    Like

  10. 1harpazo says:

    If you seemed overwhelmed or behind in prepping, start now! My DW and I felt that way about two years ago until a coworker gave me a list of what disappears first when the SHTF. So we purposed to buy something on that list nearly every time we went shopping. We’re way ahead of where we were two years ago. The list is here: http://www.thepowerhour.com/news/items_disappearfirst.htm

    Like

  11. doodahdaze says:

    Now I got my Stove Tec Rocket stove. It is really cool. It is a wood burning camp stove you can cook on or distill fresh water. The 2 main problems in the coming breakdown. I made my distiller out of a pressure cooker and stainless tubing coil. I got 200 lbs. of salt too. They ain’t got us yet.

    Like

  12. doodahdaze says:

    I am thinking we have to plan on permanent survival. These Bug Out plans are for the birds. We should learn to live off the land permanently. If it comes that far temporary plans will fail.

    Like

    • chuckles49 says:

      Sheltering-in- place is a good idea, especially if you have compromised health, elderly members of your family, or small children. But eventually, you’ll need to become mobile to avoid getting overrun by looters, scavengers, and the dregs of society. A bugout bag for each family member is a great insurance policy. Plan your route ahead of time and where exactly you’re going. On foot will probably be your best mode of travel. Roads will be death traps for the unwary. People, like electrons always choose the path of least resistance, and the predator types will know that. Ambushes will be set up for those lazy enough to use them.

      Like

  13. 22tula says:

    Arm Yourself With Knowledge – Read Along

    U.S. Historical Documents – audio

    http://archive.org/details/united_states_documents

    Charters of Freedom – text

    http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/charters_of_freedom_4.html

    The Federalist Papers – audio

    http://archive.org/details/federalist_papers_librivox

    Federalist Papers – text

    http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/fedindex.htm

    “On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill – audio

    http://archive.org/details/on_liberty_librivox

    “On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill – text

    http://www.bartleby.com/130/

    “The Law” by Fredrich Bastiat – audio

    http://archive.org/details/FredrichBastiatTheLaw

    “The Law” by Fredrich Bastiat – text

    http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html

    “The Law of Nations” by Monsieur De Vattel – text

    http://www.constitution.org/vattel/vattel.htm

    The Philippics – Marcus Tullius Cicero – audio

    http://archive.org/details/philippics_cicero_0907_librivox2

    “He who knows only his own generation remains forever a child.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

    Like

  14. 22tula says:

    “Democracy in America,” Volume I & II – Alexis de Tocqueville – Audio
    “The Spirit of the Laws (Volume 1) – Montesquieu – Audio

    http://archive.org/search.php?query=alexis%20de%20tocqueville%20AND%20collection%3Aaudio_bookspoetry

    “Democracy in America” – Alexis de Tocqueville – Text

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Fperson=4007&Itemid=28

    “The Spirit of Laws” Vol. 1 – Text

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=837

    Democracy in America – old time radio – Audio

    http://archive.org/details/DemocracyinAmericaOTR

    “The Predictions of Hamilton and De Tocqueville” – Text
    or Computer Voice – upper rt. corner – speaker symbol
    By James Bryce, M.P. – 1887

    http://archive.org/stream/predictionshami00brycgoog#page/n4/mode/2up

    Like

  15. 22tula says:

    “Old Family Letters” – Alexander Biddle

    Old Family Letters: contains letters of John Adams, all but the first two addressed to Dr. Benjamin Rush; one letter from Samuel Adams, one from John Quincy Adams, and several from Thomas Jefferson addressed to Dr. Rush; “Letter of credence to the king” and “Letter of credence to the queen” by George Washington as president. Series B contains letters of Dr. Benjamin Rush to his wife written during the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, in 1793
    Series A

    http://archive.org/stream/oldfamilyletter00rushgoog#page/n6/mode/2up

    Series B

    http://archive.org/stream/oldfamilyletter01rushgoog#page/n6/mode/2up

    The Biddle Family Papers

    http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/findaids/biddle.htm

    Like

  16. 22tula says:

    Publius Huldah on the Original Intent of the US Constitution
    Published on September 8, 2012

    The Biblical Foundation of Our Constitution

    http://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/the-biblical-foundation-of-our-constitution/

    Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary

    http://www.1828-dictionary.com/

    Samuel Rutherford – Lex, Lex

    http://joshuaredivivus.wordpress.com/lex-rex/

    The Federalist Papers: Modern English Edition – Amazon

    Mary E. Webster

    http://50.6.225.201/gpage.html31.html

    Constitutional Study Group – For New Members
    Scroll Down & **Please Read** Publius Huldah April 25, 2010 Post

    http://www.teapartynation.com/group/constitutionstudygroup/forum/topics/1-for-new-members-others

    Like

    • Sharon says:

      22tula, boy, you are creating links for a lot of great stuff. I’m trying to capture some of them in a list I’m building in my documents files, so that I can access it when I can plan time.

      Our son and dil have requested time with me to share things I’ve been reading and studying in the last year or so, regard the issues we’re facing. They are very busy people with a daughter still in h.s. and a son who works with them in their successful business….they certainly don’t have the luxury of time for soaking and reading and thinking like I do…so want me to synthesize things. They are both thinkers and paying attention and very very concerned. I’ve locked into much of the stuff out of Hillsdale, but some of the things that you’re linking are very practical and useful.

      There’s no way we will all have time to take it all in, but anything we can internalize/understand a bit better we can make use of with friends and family. It will help folks feel more oriented. I think a high % of people truly understand that “there’s something very wrong” but because the national conversation has been dominated by the loud election year arguments (as opposed to conversation and education between citizens) many of us lack a reference for things that need to be discussed.

      I appreciate your contributions.

      Like

  17. howie says:

    I be preppin up. The death spiral is unstoppable now. 4 more Obama years…..cain’t work.

    Like

  18. ed357 says:

    Here’s another site that may help. Many cheap and easy to do survival type things……..

    http://www.instructables.com/tag/category-outside/channel-survival/?sort=POPULAR

    Like

    • doodahdaze says:

      I prefer a shotgun over a bow. Tried to shoot one and jus could not get it right. But I got a good recipe for wild game the other day. Now I am figgering how to keep bug’s away. I was trying to burn Spanish Moss to see if it would run off the skeet’s.

      Like

      • chuckles49 says:

        Shotguns are great, but they’re very noisy and will draw attention to you and your camp quickly. A silenced .22lr or a crossbow is much stealthier. Learn how to set traps and identify edible plants in your locale. These two skillsets provide you with more food than hunting will, and you’ll expend less energy and resources.

        Like

  19. ed357 says:

    Need a good garden and meat source?

    Check out aquaponics……

    Aquaponics is growing a garden above a tank of edible fish……

    build by using common throw-away discarded (real cheap) IBC’s (Industrial Bulk Containers)….see IBC’s of Aquaponics………

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=ibc+of+aquaponics&qpvt=ibc+of+aquaponics&FORM=VDRE

    You can even get a pdf how to section.

    Like

  20. doodahdaze says:

    I just re-piped my well. I got a new Pitcher -pump and set up my well where I can quickly uncouple the pump, move it out of the way, and screw on the Pitcher-Pump. I also ordered online EPIVIR. Anti-Viral that may reduce the fatality rate of Obola. I have plenty of fish and game all over the place but I got a couple salt licks at the feed store to put away. Salt is good to have extra. I got a 5 gallon bucket full if rice and beans and gallon of soy sauce. I got a bunch of fish penicillin too. I will be able to bunker in for a good while even with no power. I got a new campfire grill and some cast iron cook ware too. Slowly heading to defcon 4. I got a new axe from walmart that is awesome. From Finland. it can make short work of a Cabbage Palm to get the hearts out. Slowly getting it right. Rocket stoves are great i got 2 of em. Just sharing some of my ideas. Plenty of batteries too. I don’t have to worry about meat or fish just the side orders. I am looking for a nice freshwater Mussel bed I heard of nearby too.

    Like

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