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Nickelless
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USA
5580 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2009 :  22:59:55  Show Profile Send Nickelless a Private Message
I think Jim Rawles from SurvivalBlog.com makes very good suggestions on taking the first steps toward being prepared, so I'm posting his suggestions to newbies here. The content below can be found at You must be logged in to see this link.


quote:
I often get e-mails from folks that have just found SurvivalBlog or that have just finished a copy of my my novel "Patriots" , that they received as a gift from a relative or a friend. Their response is surprisingly uniform: People feel overwhelmed by the enormity of what it takes to get a family prepared.

First, take a deep breath and relax. Just realizing that you need to get prepared has already put you ahead of 70% of your neighbors, who are sadly little more than clueless sheeple. If you accumulate a one-month food supply then elevates your preparedness into the 80th percentile of preparedness. And by the time you work your way up to a one year supply, you'll be in the 98th percentile. It's not very difficult, its not very expensive, and its not very time-consuming. Just do it one step at a time.


First Things First

Before you begin to prepare, pray. As a Christian, I put my trust in God's guidance, providence, and protection. You can and should do the same. (See my Prayer page.)

Then consider, Survival Isn't About Stuff, It is About Skills. You should take advantage of low-cost and no-cost training.

Read my Precepts page, to see the basics of what it means to be a modern day rational survivalist.

Now you are ready to embark on an adventure that will result in not only greater logistical preparedness, but also in learning valuable skills that you can use throughout your life. These skills will build your self-confidence and when combined with acquiring the requisite tools, you'll develop genuine self-reliance--regardless of the adversities that you might someday face. By being well-prepared and well-trained, you'll also be in a position to share your skills and some of your extra supplies with less prudent relatives, neighbors, and friends. (Charity is is one of the bywords of SurvivalBlog.)
Start with a "List of Lists"

As I described in my novel "Patriots" , you should start your family preparedness stocking effort by first composing a List of Lists, then draft prioritized lists for each subject, on separate sheets of paper. (Or in a spreadsheet if you are a techno-nerd like me. Just be sure to print out a hard copy for use when the power grid goes down!) It is important to tailor your lists to suit your particular geography, climate, and population density as well as your peculiar needs and likes/dislikes. Someone setting up a retreat in a coastal area is likely to have a far different list than someone living in the Rockies.

Your List of Lists should include: (Sorry that this post is in outline form, but it would take a full length book to discus all of the following in great detail)

Water List
Food Storage List
Food Preparation List
Personal List
First Aid /Minor Surgery List
Nuke Defense List
Biological Warfare Defense List
Gardening List
Hygiene List/Sanitation List
Hunting/Fishing/Trapping List
Power/Lighting/Batteries List
Fuels List
Firefighting List
Tactical Living List
Security-General
Security-Firearms
Communications/Monitoring List
Tools List
Sundries List
Survival Bookshelf List
Barter and Charity List

JWR’s Specific Recommendations For Developing Your Lists:


Water List
House downspout conversion sheet metal work and barrels. (BTW, this is another good reason to upgrade your retreat to a fireproof metal roof.)
Drawing water from open sources. Buy extra containers. Don’t buy big barrels, since five gallon food grade buckets are the largest size that most people can handle without back strain.
For transporting water if and when gas is too precious to waste, buy a couple of heavy duty two wheel garden carts--convert the wheels to foam filled "no flats" tires. (BTW, you will find lots of other uses for those carts around your retreat, such as hauling hay, firewood, manure, fertilizer, et cetera.)
Treating water. Buy plain Clorox hypochlorite bleach. A little goes a long way. Buy some extra half-gallon bottles for barter and charity. If you can afford it, buy a “Big Berkey” British Berkefeld ceramic water filter. (Available from Ready Made Resources and several other Internet vendors. Even if you have pure spring water at your retreat, you never know where you may end up, and a good filter could be a lifesaver.)


Food Storage List

Store the essentials, in quantity:

Salt: Salt is very important to store, both for preserving food and as a practical means to attract wild game. (It is noteworthy that in many locales, natural salt licks are off-limits to hunters, since hunting there is too easy and hence not considered sporting. That ought to tell you something.) I recommend that you store several times more salt than you think that you'll ever need.
Unless you literally live next to a salt lick or salt marsh, I cannot overemphasize the importance of storing salt. The Memsahib and I formerly lived in the Upper Clearwater River Valley in Idaho. In that region, deer and elk would walk many, many miles to get to natural salt licks where they would congregate in large numbers. Salt is cheap and plentiful now, but in the event of TEOTWAWKI it will be a scarce and valuable commodity in most inland regions. Salt also has a virtually unlimited shelf life. Do some research on natural salt deposits near your intended retreat. That could be quite valuable knowledge in the event of TEOTWAWKI.
Lay in a supply of 10 pounds of salt per member of your family. (This figure may sound high, but again it includes extra for attracting wild game.) The portion for cooking and table salt should be iodized.

Rice:I prefer brown rice, even though its storage life is shorter that that of white rice. The combined weight should be about 30 pounds per adult, per year. Storage life is +/- 8 years.

Wheat (or substitute grains, for celiacs): Grain storage is a crucial aspect of family preparedness. Grain will soon no longer be cheap or plentiful, so stock up! Buy 220 pounds per adult, per year. (Part of this can be in the form of pasta.) Storage life is 30+ years. Buy plenty for your family and your livestock. I also recommend buying plenty of extra for barter and charity. You'll soon be glad that you did.
I do not recommend storing flour, since it only keeps for two or three years. Whole wheat stores for 30+ years with 80% or more of its nutritional value. Buy whole grains and a hand wheat grinder.
Don't overlook the easiest preparation method of all: soaked wheat berries. By simply soaking whole wheat for 24 to 36 hours, it plumps and softens. When then heated, wheat berries make a nutritious breakfast cereal.

Corn: Whole corn stores much longer than cracked corn or corn meal. (Grind your own.) Get 50 pounds per adult, per year. The storage life of whole corn is 8 to 12 years, but cracked or ground corn stores only 18 to 36 months

Oats: Lay in a supply of 20 pounds per adult, per year. The storage life of oats is 3 to 7 years, depending on variety and packing method.
Fats and Oils: I recommend storing primarily olive oil (frozen, in plastic bottles), mayonnaise, canned butter, and peanut butter. The combined weight of these should be about 96 pounds per adult, per year. (Four gallons is about 24 pounds.) The canned products must be continuously rotated, or else donated to charity bi-annually. The frozen oil should be rotated or else donated to charity once every four years.

Powdered Milk: Buy the nonfat variety. Store about 20 pounds per adult, per year. For the longest storage life, it is best to buy nitrogen packed dry milk from a storage food vendor. That type has a 5+ year shelf life.

Canned Fruit and Vegetables: It is most economical (and good practice) to can your own. As long as you rotate continuously, you should lay in a two year supply per family member.

Canned Meats: Again, you must rotate continuously, and don’t store more than you would use in two years. I like the DAK brand canned hams.

Sugars: I prefer honey (except of course for infants), but depending on your taste, you will also want to lay in a supply of sugar, molasses, sorghum, maple syrup, and various jams and jellies. The combined weight of these should be about 50 pounds per adult, per year.



Other important items for your food storage:
- Canning lids and rings—buy plenty of extras for barter.
- Sulfur for drying fruit.
- Vinegar-Buy a couple of cases of one-gallon bottles.
- Spices.
- Baking soda.
- Yeast.
- Food storage (freezer and vacuum) bags.
- Aluminum foil (Buy lots! 101 uses, including making improvised solar ovens.)
- Deer bags.


Food Preparation List
Having more people under your roof will necessitate having an oversize skillet and a huge stew pot. BTW, you will want to buy several huge kettles, because odds are you will have to heat water on your wood stove for bathing, dish washing, and clothes washing. You will also need even more kettles, barrels, and 5 or 6 gallon PVC buckets--for water hauling, rendering, soap making, and dying. They will also make great barter or charity items. (To quote my mentor Dr. Gary North: “Nails: buy a barrel of them. Barrels: Buy a barrel of them!”)
Don’t overlook skinning knives, gut-buckets, gambrels, and meat saws.

Personal List
(Make a separate personal list for each family member and individual expected to arrive at your retreat.)
Spare glasses.
Prescription and nonprescription medications.
Birth control.
Keep dentistry up to date.
Any elective surgery that you've been postponing
Work off that gut.
Stay in shape.
Back strength and health—particularly important, given the heavy manual tasks required for self-sufficiency.
Educate yourself on survival topics, and practice them. For example, even if you don’t presently live at your retreat, you should plant a vegetable garden every year. It is better to learn through experience and make mistakes now, when the loss of crop is an annoyance rather than a crucial event.
“Comfort” items to help get through high stress times. (Books, games, CDs, chocolates, etc.)

First Aid /Minor Surgery List
When tailoring this list, consider your neighborhood going for many months without power, extensive use of open flames, and sentries standing picket shifts exposed in the elements. Then consider axes, chainsaws and tractors being wielded by newbies, and a greater likelihood of gunshot wounds. With all of this, add the possibility of no access to doctors or high tech medical diagnostic equipment. Put a strong emphasis on burn treatment first aid supplies. Don’t overlook do-it-yourself dentistry! (Oil of cloves, temporary filling kit, extraction tools, et cetera.) Buy a full minor surgery outfit (inexpensive Pakistani stainless steel instruments), even if you don’t know how to use them all yet. You may have to learn, or you will have the opportunity to put them in the hands of someone experienced who needs them.) This is going to be a big list!


Chem/Nuke Defense List
Dosimeter and rate meter, and charger, radiac meter (hand held Geiger counter), rolls of sheet plastic (for isolating airflow to air filter inlets and for covering window frames in the event that windows are broken due to blast effects), duct tape, HEPA filters (ands spares) for your shelter. Potassium iodate (KI) tablets to prevent thyroid damage.(See my recent post on that subject.) Outdoor shower rig for just outside your shelter entrance.


Biological Warfare Defense List
Disinfectants
Hand Sanitizer
Sneeze masks
Colloidal silver generator and spare supplies (distilled water and .999 fine silver rod.)
Natural antibiotics (Echinacea, Tea Tree oil, …)


Gardening List
One important item for your gardening list is the construction of a very tall deer-proof and rabbit-proof fence. Under current circumstances, a raid by deer on your garden is probably just an inconvenience. After the balloon goes up, it could mean the difference between eating well, and starvation.
Top Soil/Amendments/Fertilizers.
Tools+ spares for barter/charity
Long-term storage non hybrid (open pollinated) seed. (Non-hybrid “heirloom” seed assortments tailors to different climate zones are available from The Ark Institute
Herbs: Get started with medicinal herbs such as aloe vera (for burns), echinacea (purple cone flower), valerian, et cetera.

Hygiene/Sanitation List
Sacks of powdered lime for the outhouse. Buy plenty!
TP in quantity (Stores well if kept dry and away from vermin and it is lightweight, but it is very bulky. This is a good item to store in the attic. See my novel about stocking up on used phone books for use as TP.
Soap in quantity (hand soap, dish soap, laundry soap, cleansers, etc.)
Bottled lye for soap making.
Ladies’ supplies.
Toothpaste (or powder).
Floss.
Fluoride rinse. (Unless you have health objections to the use of fluoride.)
Sunscreen.
Livestock List:
Hoof rasp, hoof nippers, hoof pick, horse brushes, hand sheep shears, styptic, carding combs, goat milking stand, teat dip, udder wash, Bag Balm, elastrator and bands, SWOT fly repellent, nail clippers (various sizes), Copper-tox, leads, leashes, collars, halters, hay hooks, hay fork, manure shovel, feed buckets, bulk grain and C-O-B sweet feed (store in galvanized trash cans with tight fitting lids to keep the mice out), various tack and saddles, tack repair tools, et cetera. If your region has selenium deficient soil (ask your local Agricultural extension office) then be sure to get selenium-fortified salt blocks rather than plain white salt blocks--at least for those that you are going to set aside strictly for your livestock.

Hunting/Fishing/Trapping List
“Buckshot” Bruce Hemming has produced an excellent series of videos on trapping and making improvised traps. (He also sells traps and scents at very reasonable prices.)
Night vision gear, spares, maintenance, and battery charging
Salt. Post-TEOTWAWKI, don’t “go hunting.” That would be a waste of effort. Have the game come to you. Buy 20 or more salt blocks. They will also make very valuable barter items.
Sell your fly fishing gear (all but perhaps a few flies) and buy practical spin casting equipment.
Extra tackle may be useful for barter, but probably only in a very long term Crunch.
Buy some frog gigs if you have bullfrogs in your area. Buy some crawfish traps if you have crawfish in your area.
Learn how to rig trot lines and make fish traps for non-labor intensive fishing WTSHTF.

Power/Lighting/Batteries List
One proviso: In the event of a “grid down” situation, if you are the only family in the area with power, it could turn your house into a “come loot me” beacon at night. At the same time, your house lighting will ruin the night vision of your LP/OP pickets. Make plans and buy materials in advance for making blackout screens or fully opaque curtains for your windows.
When possible, buy nickel metal hydride batteries. (Unlike the older nickel cadmium technology, these have no adverse charge level “memory” effect.)
If your home has propane appliances, get a “tri-fuel” generator--with a carburetor that is selectable between gasoline, propane, and natural gas. If you heat your home with home heating oil, then get a diesel-burning generator. (And plan on getting at least one diesel burning pickup and/or tractor). In a pinch, you can run your diesel generator and diesel vehicles on home heating oil.
Kerosene lamps; plenty of extra wicks, mantles, and chimneys. (These will also make great barter items.)
Greater detail on do-it-yourself power will be included in my forthcoming blog posts.

Fuels List
Buy the biggest propane, home heating oil, gas, or diesel tanks that your local ordinances permit and that you can afford. Always keep them at least two-thirds full. For privacy concerns, ballistic impact concerns, and fire concerns, underground tanks are best if you local water table allows it. In any case, do not buy an aboveground fuel tank that would visible from any public road or navigable waterway. Buy plenty of extra fuel for barter. Don’t overlook buying plenty of kerosene. (For barter, you will want some in one or two gallon cans.) Stock up on firewood or coal. (See my previous blog posts.) Get the best quality chainsaw you can afford. I prefer Stihls and Husqavarnas. If you can afford it, buy two of the same model. Buy extra chains, critical spare parts, and plenty of two-cycle oil. (Two-cycle oil will be great for barter!) Get a pair of Kevlar chainsaw safety chaps. They are expensive but they might save yourself a trip to the emergency room. Always wear gloves, goggles, and ear-muffs. Wear a logger’s helmet when felling. Have someone who is well experienced teach you how to re-sharpen chains. BTW, don’t cut up your wood into rounds near any rocks or you will destroy a chain in a hurry.


Firefighting List
Now that you have all of those flammables on hand (see the previous list) and the prospect of looters shooting tracer ammo or throwing Molotov inappropriate languagetails at your house, think in terms of fire fighting from start to finish without the aid of a fire department. Even without looters to consider, you should be ready for uncontrolled brush or residential fires, as well as the greater fire risk associated with greenhorns who have just arrived at your retreat working with wood stoves and kerosene lamps!
Upgrade your retreat with a fireproof metal roof.
2” water line from your gravity-fed storage tank (to provide large water volume for firefighting)
Fire fighting rig with an adjustable stream/mist head.
Smoke and CO detectors.


Tactical Living List
Adjust your wardrobe buying toward sturdy earth-tone clothing. (Frequent your local thrift store and buy extras for retreat newcomers, charity, and barter.)
Dyes. Stock up on some boxes of green and brown cloth dye. Buy some extra for barter. With dye, you can turn most light colored clothes into semi-tactical clothing on short notice.
Two-inch wide burlap strip material in green and brown. This burlap is available in large spools from Gun Parts Corp. Even if you don’t have time now, stock up so that you can make camouflage ghillie suits post-TEOTWAWKI.
Save those wine corks! (Burned cork makes quick and cheap face camouflage.)
Cold weather and foul weather gear—buy plenty, since you will be doing more outdoor chores, hunting, and standing guard duty.
Don’t overlook ponchos and gaiters.
Mosquito repellent.
Synthetic double-bag (modular) sleeping bags for each person at the retreat, plus a couple of spares. The Wiggy’s brand Flexible Temperature Range Sleep System (FTRSS) made by Wiggy's of Grand Junction, Colorado is highly recommended.
Night vision gear + IR floodlights for your retreat house
Subdued flashlights and penlights.
Noise, light, and litter discipline. (More on this in future posts--or perhaps a reader would like to send a brief article on this subject)
Security-General: Locks, intrusion detection/alarm systems, exterior obstacles (fences, gates, 5/8” diameter (or larger) locking road cables, rosebush plantings, “decorative” ponds (moats), ballistic protection (personal and residential), anti-vehicular ditches/berms, anti-vehicular concrete “planter boxes”, razor wire, etc.)
Starlight electronic light amplification scopes are critical tools for retreat security.
A Starlight scope (or goggles, or a monocular) literally amplifies low ambient light by up to 100,000 times, turning nighttime darkness into daylight--albeit a green and fuzzy view. Starlight light amplification technology was first developed during the Vietnam War. Late issue Third Generation (also called or “Third Gen” or “Gen 3”) starlight scopes can cost up to $3,500 each. Rebuilt first gen (early 1970s technology scopes can often be had for as little as $500. Russian-made monoculars (with lousy optics) can be had for under $100. One Russian model that uses a piezoelectric generator instead of batteries is the best of this low-cost breed. These are best used as backups (in case your expensive American made scopes fail. They should not be purchased for use as your primary night vision devices unless you are on a very restrictive budget. (They are better than nothing.) Buy the best starlight scopes, goggles, and monoculars you can afford. They may be life-savers! If you can afford to buy only one, make it a weapon sight such as an AN/PVS-4, with a Gen 2 (or better) tube. Make sure to specify that that the tube is new or “low hours”, has a high “line pair” count, and minimal scintillation. It is important to buy your Starlight gear from a reputable dealer. The market is crowded with rip-off artists and scammers. One dealer that I trust, is Al Glanze (spoken “Glan-zee”) who runs STANO Components, Inc. in Silver City, Nevada. Note: In a subsequent blog posts I will discuss the relationship and implications to IR illuminators and tritium sights.
Range cards and sector sketches.
If you live in the boonies, piece together nine of the USGS 15-minute maps, with your retreat property on the center map. Mount that map on an oversize map board. Draw in the property lines and owner names of all of your surrounding neighbor’s parcels (in pencil) in at least a five mile radius. (Get boundary line and current owner name info from your County Recorder’s office.) Study and memorize both the terrain and the neighbors’ names. Make a phone number/e-mail list that corresponds to all of the names marked on the map, plus city and county office contact numbers for quick reference and tack it up right next to the map board. Cover the whole map sheet with a sheet of heavy-duty acetate, so you can mark it up just like a military commander’s map board. (This may sound a bit “over the top”, but remember, you are planning for the worst case. It will also help you get to know your neighbors: When you are introduced by name to one of them when in town, you will be able to say, “Oh, don’t you live about two miles up the road between the Jones place and the Smith’s ranch?” They will be impressed, and you will seem like an instant “old timer.”


Security-Firearms List
Guns, ammunition, web gear, eye and ear protection, cleaning equipment, carrying cases, scopes, magazines, spare parts, gunsmithing tools, targets and target frames, et cetera. Each rifle and pistol should have at least six top quality (original military contract or original manufacturer) full capacity spare magazines. Note: Considerable detail on firearms and optics selection, training, use, and logistic support are covered in the SurvivalBlog archives and FAQs.

Communications/Monitoring List
When selecting radios buy only models that will run on 12 volt DC power or rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery packs (that can be recharged from your retreat’s 12 VDC power system without having to use an inverter.)
As a secondary purchasing goal, buy spare radios of each type if you can afford them. Keep your spares in sealed metal boxes to protect them from EMP.
If you live in a far inland region, I recommend buying two or more 12 VDC marine band radios. These frequencies will probably not be monitored in your region, leaving you an essentially private band to use. (But never assume that any two-way radio communications are secure!)
Note: More detail on survival communications gear selection, training, use, security/cryptography measures, antennas, EMP protection, and logistical support will be covered in forthcoming blog posts.

Tools List
Gardening tools.
Auto mechanics tools.
Welding.
Bolt cutters--the indispensable “universal key.”
Woodworking tools.
Gunsmithing tools.
Emphasis on hand powered tools.
Hand or treadle powered grinding wheel.
Don’t forget to buy plenty of extra work gloves (in earth tone colors).
Sundries List:
Systematically list the things that you use on a regular basis, or that you might need if the local hardware store were to ever disappear: wire of various gauges, duct tape, reinforced strapping tape, chain, nails, nuts and bolts, weather stripping, abrasives, twine, white glue, cyanoacrylate glue, et cetera.


Book/Reference List
You should probably have nearly every book on my Bookshelf page. For some, you will want to have two or three copies, such as Carla Emery’s "Encyclopedia of Country Living". This is because these books are so valuable and indispensable that you won’t want to risk lending out your only copy.

Barter and Charity List
For your barter list, acquire primarily items that are durable, non-perishable, and either in small packages or that are easily divisible. Concentrate on the items that other people are likely to overlook or have in short supply. Some of my favorites are ammunition. [The late] Jeff Cooper referred to it as “ballistic wampum.” WTSHTF, ammo will be worth nearly its weight in silver. Store all of your ammo in military surplus ammo cans (with seals that are still soft) and it will store for decades. Stick to common calibers, get plenty of .22 LR (most high velocity hollow points) plus at least ten boxes of the local favorite deer hunting cartridge, even if you don’t own a rifle chambered for this cartridge. (Ask your local sporting goods shop about their top selling chamberings). Also buy at least ten boxes of the local police department’s standard pistol cartridge, again even if you don’t own a pistol chambered for this cartridge.
Ladies supplies.
Salt (Buy lots of cattle blocks and 1 pound canisters of iodized table salt.)
(Stores indefinitely if kept dry.)
Two cycle engine oil (for chain saw gas mixing. Gas may still be available after a collapse, but two-cycle oil will probably be like liquid gold!)
Gas stabilizer.
Diesel antibacterial additive.
50-pound sacks of lime (for outhouses).
1 oz. bottles of military rifle bore cleaner and Break Free (or similar) lubricant.
Waterproof dufflebags in earth tone colors (whitewater rafting "dry bags").
Thermal socks.
Semi-waterproof matches (from military rations.)
Military web gear (lots of folks will suddenly need pistol belts, holsters, magazine pouches, et cetera.)
Pre-1965 silver dimes.
1-gallon cans of kerosene.
Rolls of olive drab parachute cord.
Rolls of olive-drab duct tape.
Spools of monofilament fishing line.
Rolls of 10 mil "Visqueen", sheet plastic (for replacing windows, isolating airspaces for nuke scenarios, etc.)
I also respect the opinion of one gentleman with whom I've corresponded, who recommended the following:
Strike anywhere matches. (Dip the heads in paraffin to make them waterproof.)
Playing cards.
Cooking spices. (Do a web search for reasonably priced bulk spices.)
Rope & string.
Sewing supplies.
Candle wax and wicking.
Lastly, any supplies necessary for operating a home-based business. Some that you might consider are: leather crafting, small appliance repair, gun repair, locksmithing, et cetera. Every family should have at least one home-based business (preferably two!) that they can depend on in the event of an economic collapse.
Stock up on additional items to dispense to refugees as charity.

Note: See the Barter Faire chapter in my novel "Patriots" for some lengthy lists of potential barter items.


Where to Buy

Many of the items on the preceding lists are available locally. Some of the more exotic items are available from SurvivalBlog's advertisers. (They would appreciate your patronage. BTW, please mention SurvivalBlog when you contact them.)

If you want to stock up on a large quantity of food and supplies all at once at low cost, then get a copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, which focuses on buying storage food and household consumables at "Big Box" stores such as Sam's Club and COSTCO. The course binder has several very useful appendices including one that details the shelf lives of various foods, depending on packaging.

Don't Overlook Searching the Archives

Many of the questions that I get in e-mails are repetitious. Most of these questions are covered in my FAQs, especially my Original FAQ. Read that first. Also be sure to take full advantage of the SurvivalBlog Archives. All of the more than 6,000 articles and letters posted since late 2005 are in a fully searchable relational database, that can be accessed with the "Search Posts on SurvivalBlog:" window at the top of the right-hand bar on the SurvivalBlog main page. You can use "and" as a modifier, to get the right responses. For example, to find out how to use five gallon food grade plastic buckets and mylar liners to store grain at home, you could type in: "Bucket AND Mylar AND Wheat" in the Search box, and it would return this list of SurvivalBlog posts.

This information is all in the Archives, and it is all free of charge (but copyrighted). Take advantage of it!


The TEOTWAWKI Weekend Experiment

As I often mention in my lectures and radio interviews, a great way to create truly commonsense preparedness lists is to take a three-day weekend TEOTWAWKI Weekend Experiment” with your family. When you come home from work on Friday evening, turn off your main circuit breaker, turn off your gas main (or propane tank), and shut your main water valve (or turn off your well pump.) Spend that weekend in primitive conditions. Practice using only your storage food, preparing it on a wood stove (or camping stove.)

A “TEOTWAWKI Weekend Experiment” will surprise you. Things that you take for granted will suddenly become labor intensive. False assumptions will be shattered. Your family will grow closer and more confident. Most importantly, some of the most thorough lists that you will ever make will be those written by candlelight.

The Ultimate in Preparedness--A Rural Retreat

The ultimate in family preparedness is having a well-stocked rural retreat with a plentiful water supply, located in a lightly-populated agricultural area that is well-removed from major population centers. Less than 1% of the population has a dedicated survival retreat. It is an expensive proposition, but it can be a practical alternative that can double as a vacation home or as a place to retire. (For any readers that have the flexibility, I recommend relocating and living at your retreat year-round.) Rural retreats have been discussed at length in SurvivalBlog. I have a lot of good general information on the criteria for selecting a retreat locale available for free access in my Recommended Retreat Areas web page. For even greater detail, see my nonfiction book "Rawles on Retreats and Relocation".



Visit my new preparedness site: Preparedness.cc/SurvivalPrep.net
--Latest article: Stocking up on spices to keep food preps lively

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Be prepared...and prepared to help: http://www.survivalblog.com/charity.html

Are you ready spiritually for hard times? http://www.jesusfreak.com/rapture.asp

Edited by - Nickelless on 05/30/2009 23:00:50

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jonflyfish
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Posted - 06/02/2009 :  18:38:50  Show Profile  Send jonflyfish a Yahoo! Message Send jonflyfish a Private Message
Just want to say "Thank you" Nickelless. What you have done here is beyond measure. Your efforts may save many who may have been previously unprepared when facing any situation that would otherwise lead to a shortage. I hope others see this knowledge base. What a treasure trove of useful and needed information. Much appreciated

The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; second is war. Both bring a temporary (and false) prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunities.
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Nickelless
Administrator



USA
5580 Posts

Posted - 06/02/2009 :  23:09:35  Show Profile Send Nickelless a Private Message
Hey man, thanks. I just try to remember that beans, bullets and metals won't solve everything WTSHTF, so I try to look for tips that take the "big picture" into consideration.


Visit my new preparedness site: Preparedness.cc/SurvivalPrep.net
--Latest article: Stocking up on spices to keep food preps lively

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Be prepared...and prepared to help: http://www.survivalblog.com/charity.html

Are you ready spiritually for hard times? http://www.jesusfreak.com/rapture.asp
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theo
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Posted - 06/02/2009 :  23:10:40  Show Profile Send theo a Private Message
Ditto. Never think that your efforts here go unnoticed or unappreciated.
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CopperFinder
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USA
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Posted - 09/24/2009 :  05:26:49  Show Profile  Send CopperFinder an AOL message  Click to see CopperFinder's MSN Messenger address  Send CopperFinder a Yahoo! Message Send CopperFinder a Private Message
Just printed the whole thing out. I figured my valuable ink was worth it. I will be starting this and I want to thank you for letting me know what you know.

It's always amazing to find out what I didn't know before.
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Nickelless
Administrator



USA
5580 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2009 :  05:32:54  Show Profile Send Nickelless a Private Message
Hey man, thanks for the encouragement. I'm just passing on the tidbits I've gleaned from others who are much, much more wise, savvy and resourceful than me.


Visit my new preparedness site: Preparedness.cc/SurvivalPrep.net
--Latest article: Stocking up on spices to keep food preps lively

---------------

Be prepared...and prepared to help: http://www.survivalblog.com/charity.html

Are you ready spiritually for hard times? http://www.jesusfreak.com/rapture.asp
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Nickelless
Administrator



USA
5580 Posts

Posted - 10/01/2009 :  01:21:05  Show Profile Send Nickelless a Private Message
Here's another pretty useful link on prepping on a budget:

You must be logged in to see this link.

The thing I've discovered by stocking up on what I normally eat anyway and eating from my preps is that once you stop and make a written inventory of what you normally buy and/or need and then stick with that list, your money will go much further than you expected. And keeping a written budget in general is the best way to go anyway (yes, I'm a Dave Ramsey fan)!


Visit my new preparedness site: Preparedness.cc/SurvivalPrep.net
--Latest article: Stocking up on spices to keep food preps lively

---------------

Be prepared...and prepared to help: http://www.survivalblog.com/charity.html

Are you ready spiritually for hard times? http://www.jesusfreak.com/rapture.asp
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Nickelless
Administrator



USA
5580 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2009 :  23:22:24  Show Profile Send Nickelless a Private Message
Here's a pretty good primer on how to get started prepping, if it seems overwhelming--take baby steps and start with the basics:

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quote:
Once you realize the importance of being prepared for coming hard times, you may ask yourself, “How can I possibly prepare for any scenario?  This is an insurmountable undertaking.”  The more you ponder this, the more the reality of this seems to be confirmed.  Let not your heart be troubled.  As with almost any endeavor, the road to success begins with the first step and continues one step at a time.  Consistent, prioritized, careful preparation over a period of time, preparation built around what your personal situation (budget, job, family, medical needs, etc.) will allow, can get you in a position in relatively short order to weather the scenarios that are most likely to occur.  The mere fact that you have considered the possibilities of what may lay ahead can very quickly put you ahead of the vast majority of the population.

Consider the possible scenarios whereby preparedness would prove to be literally a lifesaver.  These scenarios range from very geographically localized events, either natural or man-made, to the proverbial TEOTWAWKI.  The likelihood any of these events occurring generally becomes decreasing likely in a given time frame as the geographical scope and severity of the event increases.  Therefore the occurrence of a total multi-generational societal collapse, requiring the maximum amount of preparation is far less likely to occur over the next year or two or five than relatively local, relatively short term events such as tornados, hurricanes or floods, or even some major terrorist events, all requiring far less preparation than TEOTWAWKI situation previously mentioned.  This should be considered in the early stages of preparation as priorities for investment are made.

Therefore, your preparation should follow a well planned, measured, prioritized process that enables you to be positioned to go through the most likely scenarios first followed by progressively increasing severe scenarios.  Ongoing preparation will build on the past.  No effort goes wasted.  This should be encouraging to the beginning prepper.

How should you start?  Start with a careful analysis of the most likely localized events that may occur in your area or region, or events from another region that may impact your local area (remember passenger air service after 9/11).  Shutdown of transportation systems, especially trucking and rail should be of paramount concern.  What is the probable time frame that these events may cause you to rely on your own resources?  Make a list of all the items and quantities you will need to get through that period of time.  This constitutes the Phase I physical resources preparation plan.

Prioritize the list and within the constraints of your budget begin to acquire the items you have listed.  Keeping an Excel spreadsheet makes this task much easier and allows you to see at a glance exactly how much physical resource preparation you have achieved, how much you still need, the value of those resources, the cost to complete your initial Phase I purchases, etc.  Your spreadsheet should include rows listing each item with columns for:

* Priority
* Category or subcategory
* Quantity Needed (for the given preparation Phase)
* Quantity on Hand
* Difference Needed vs. On-Hand (Calculated Value)
* Cost Each
* Acquisition Cost (Calculated Value)
* On Hand Value (Calculated Value)
* Total Value (Calculated Value)
* Percent Complete for the Item (Calculated Value) – you can color code this Red/Yellow/Green for and at a glance dashboard view
* Subtotals as you feel appropriate for each Category or Sub-Category


In the same way you used Excel to track your Phase I resources preparation status, use your spreadsheet to list categories, sub-categories, items and quantities that you wish to acquire for future Phases, up to and including a Phase for TEOTWAWKI.  This allows you to systematically build your level of preparedness a Phase at a time.  As you start with Phase I, you can also see how well you are gearing up for future Phases as well.  Remember, on-hand quantities, pricing, etc, can carry from the Phase I sheet to the Phase II through Phase “n” sheets so redundant data entry isn’t required!  Don’t forget to make hard copies of your files and save them in a three ring binder.

Additional Tips for getting started.

So you have determined what you need to acquire and have begun to do so.  But prepping isn’t just about acquiring tangible goods. 

It is also about skills.  It is especially about skills.  Even what I have called “Phase I” preparation should include training in the plan.  A diversity of skills within your group (which may start out as just your family) is important.  Take advantage of any relevant training available to you at low or no cost.  Programs available in many communities include CERT, First Aid, CPR and similar.  Use these opportunities to increase your skill base.  These are great skills to have in normal times and are great skills to build upon.  Even these basic courses could prove to literally be lifesavers in “normal” as well as tougher times.

Learn to garden.  Even if you don’t have a retreat with the space, perfect soil, and water supply, you should garden on a smaller scale in your city or suburban back yard.  This will give you a head start in knowledge and experience (i.e., harvesting and saving seeds for future years) when you are able to move to that retreat location.  Plus, fresh garden vegetables are healthier and taste so much better than what you purchase from the store, especially if the store bought vegetables are poured from a can!  Nothing beats enjoying a hand picked, vine ripe tomato fresh from the garden (and I confess, I take the salt shaker out back with me!).

Put away the foods you eat today.  Nitrogen packed survival foods are expensive and likely should and may be a part of your plan.  However, many foods that you eat today can be more immediately utilized to kick start your storage pantry at moderate cost while you save for other more expensive longer term options.  You can buy or easily build out of plywood a FIFO rotation canned goods rack, set it in a pantry or closet and start loading it up today with the foods you already eat.  This accumulation can be done for little perceived cost if done over time.  Simply buy a little extra of what you already purchase each time you are at the store.  You will be amazed at how quickly you can build up a 30, 60, 90 day supply of canned goods that will never go bad because they are what you currently eat so you rotate them via the FIFO system into your daily meals.  Canned vegetables, meats, soups, fruits and sauces can all be stored in this simple way.  All at very moderate expense.

Learn about your firearms.  Practice with them as much as you can afford to.  Get professional instruction.  Basic courses for novices are available at moderate expense.  There are NRA sanctioned courses for basic safety, handling and shooting skills.  Work toward completion of an NRA course or equivalent in self defense in the home and self defense outside the home.   If you are or once you get to be more advanced, get even more advanced training.  If your budget doesn’t initially allow this, do the best you can but plan for more advanced tactical training in a future Phase.  The key now is to get what you can afford and build on that.  Practice, practice, practice.

Don’t think you must necessarily purchase a complete set of new firearms right out of the gate for your survival armory.  Conventional wisdom suggests .45 ACP pistols for carry, .308/7.62 NATO semi-autos for your MBR (with expensive red-dot optics), a good .308 bolt action for long range and / or large game hunting, and perhaps a more expensive shotgun than you have budget for.  If you already have 9mm pistols, that AR-15 you bought a few years ago “because you wanted one”, the scoped .303 you inherited from Dad and an old but functional Remington 870 Express in 12 gauge, you are good to go for now, as a beginner prepper.  Make sure that adequate ammunition is part of your plan, but with this or a similar adequate set of calibers and shotgun you are set for your initial Phases of preparation.  Early on, food, water, medical supplies and the like are likely a higher priority than new firearms.  You can upgrade in a future Phase.  Focus on firearms training at this stage.  It’s about prioritization.  Besides, later phases prepare for scenarios that will be more likely to require the capabilities of upgraded firearms.

A basic principle.  Standardize.  If you pick .45ACP for your personal carry weapon, it is advantages for all members of your group to do the same.  The same principle applies for your MBR, self defense and hunting shotguns, etc.  Ammunition and magazine plans will appreciate this.  Try to standardize on 1 or 2 battery types for your battery operated devices.  Or more correctly standardize by using devices requiring only 1 or 2 battery types.  You don’t want to have to store and/or maintain charges on AA, AAA, CR123, C, D, N and CR2032 batteries, when you could be more efficient and effective with perhaps using only AA batteries.  This principle applies to anything that you have more than one of.  Radios, flashlights, etc.  Remember the axiom, two is one and one is none.  Standardization means simplicity, efficiency, spares.  There may be exceptions, but take standardization into consideration when you develop or modify your plan.  Initially, you may have to have a wider assortment of devices depending on the devices you currently have, but have a strategy to standardize.

Plan to read or more correctly, to learn by reading.  Whenever you come across a useful article, print it out and save it in a three ring binder with other useful articles you have saved.  Even if it is something you can’t purchase or do or use until a future Phase, save it now and add it to the plan now.  There is an incredible amount of useful information in SurvivalBlog.com.  Read and save (and purchase through Jim’s site when you decide to purchase goods from one of his advertisers).  Jim helps us so we should help him where we can.

If you have relatives or friends in a rural location that you can get too and who are willing to take you in during appropriate events, have a G.O.O.D. plan.  This includes hard copy maps with routes and alternate routes.  Practice all routes before the big day.  Practice your load out plan, again, prior to the big day.  Search SurvivalBlog.com for loads of information on G.O.O.D.  There are many concerns related to evacuation in certain scenarios.  Educate yourself and make educated decisions.

This article is the tip of the iceberg with regards to beginning prepping, but hopefully it has a few pointers to get you thinking and to get you started and is an encouragement that this can be done, that you can successfully prepare for the future.  You don’t have to purchase all nitrogen packed long shelf life survival foods or the perfect arsenal with one of every conceivable firearm type for every circumstance (in fact limiting (standardizing) models and calibers has some clear advantages) in order to successfully prepare for the likeliest of scenarios.  Remember, methodical, prioritized preparing is the way to go for those of us on a budget.  Start small, build your knowledge base, supplies and skills, and very soon you will be in the enviable position of weathering the most likely calamities to occur in the next few years.   If you continue this methodical, ongoing process, you will continue to improve your situation and continue to put your self in a position to weather increasingly more severe and longer lasting scenarios.  The important thing for those on a budget is not to wish you could do it all now by immediately trading cash for all the tangibles and training you need, but to start and to start now and to consistently build to our plan as we can afford to do so.




Visit my new preparedness site: Preparedness.cc/SurvivalPrep.net
--Latest article: Stocking up on spices to keep food preps lively

---------------

Be prepared...and prepared to help: http://www.survivalblog.com/charity.html

Are you ready spiritually for hard times? http://www.jesusfreak.com/rapture.asp
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Nickelless
Administrator



USA
5580 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2009 :  12:58:06  Show Profile Send Nickelless a Private Message
Just thought I'd bump up this thread with a link from Coinflation--it looks like the U.S. budget deficit is nearing 40 percent of its GDP, the point at which most other countries that have experienced hyperinflation find themselves falling off the cliff of economic collapse. Having said that, keep your eyes on what's going on but don't become afraid--just keep prepping diligently and double up your efforts. Crunch time is coming.

You must be logged in to see this link.



Visit my new preparedness site: Preparedness.cc/SurvivalPrep.net
--Latest article: Stocking up on spices to keep food preps lively

---------------

Be prepared...and prepared to help: http://www.survivalblog.com/charity.html

Are you ready spiritually for hard times? http://www.jesusfreak.com/rapture.asp
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Nickelless
Administrator



USA
5580 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2009 :  22:42:10  Show Profile Send Nickelless a Private Message
Here's a link with info on University of California disaster preparedness videos:

You must be logged in to see this link.


Visit my new preparedness site: Preparedness.cc/SurvivalPrep.net
--Latest article: Stocking up on spices to keep food preps lively

---------------

Be prepared...and prepared to help: http://www.survivalblog.com/charity.html

Are you ready spiritually for hard times? http://www.jesusfreak.com/rapture.asp
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Nickelless
Administrator



USA
5580 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2009 :  23:14:37  Show Profile Send Nickelless a Private Message
Here are two great links:

Why Bother To Prepare?: You must be logged in to see this link.

10 Components of Emergency Preparedness: You must be logged in to see this link.


Visit my new preparedness site: Preparedness.cc/SurvivalPrep.net
--Latest article: Stocking up on spices to keep food preps lively

---------------

Be prepared...and prepared to help: http://www.survivalblog.com/charity.html

Are you ready spiritually for hard times? http://www.jesusfreak.com/rapture.asp
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Nickelless
Administrator



USA
5580 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2009 :  23:24:35  Show Profile Send Nickelless a Private Message
Here's another link for newbies:

You must be logged in to see this link.


Visit my new preparedness site: Preparedness.cc/SurvivalPrep.net
--Latest article: Stocking up on spices to keep food preps lively

---------------

Be prepared...and prepared to help: http://www.survivalblog.com/charity.html

Are you ready spiritually for hard times? http://www.jesusfreak.com/rapture.asp
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Nickelless
Administrator



USA
5580 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2009 :  20:25:13  Show Profile Send Nickelless a Private Message
Here's another link:

You must be logged in to see this link.


Visit my new preparedness site: Preparedness.cc/SurvivalPrep.net
--Latest article: Stocking up on spices to keep food preps lively

---------------

Be prepared...and prepared to help: http://www.survivalblog.com/charity.html

Are you ready spiritually for hard times? http://www.jesusfreak.com/rapture.asp
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Nickelless
Administrator



USA
5580 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2009 :  23:00:41  Show Profile Send Nickelless a Private Message
For those of you just getting started with food storage, here's a great thread that Jadedragon started:

You must be logged in to see this link.


Visit my new preparedness site: Preparedness.cc/SurvivalPrep.net
--Latest article: Stocking up on spices to keep food preps lively

---------------

Be prepared...and prepared to help: http://www.survivalblog.com/charity.html

Are you ready spiritually for hard times? http://www.jesusfreak.com/rapture.asp
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caridad
Penny Pincher Member



USA
227 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2009 :  03:20:02  Show Profile Send caridad a Private Message
WWW.FOODSTORAGEMADEEASY.NET baby steps to getting prepped for the newbies!!!

ARE YOU READY? ARE YOU SELF SUFFICIENT? ARE YOU GREEN????
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Nickelless
Administrator



USA
5580 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2009 :  23:19:51  Show Profile Send Nickelless a Private Message
Here's a thread that hopefully will encourage prepping newbies:


You must be logged in to see this link.


Visit my new preparedness site: Preparedness.cc/SurvivalPrep.net
--Latest article: Stocking up on spices to keep food preps lively

---------------

Be prepared...and prepared to help: http://www.survivalblog.com/charity.html

Are you ready spiritually for hard times? http://www.jesusfreak.com/rapture.asp
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Nickelless
Administrator



USA
5580 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2010 :  22:55:14  Show Profile Send Nickelless a Private Message
Here's an interesting thread...

You must be logged in to see this link.


Visit my new preparedness site: Preparedness.cc/SurvivalPrep.net
--Latest article: Stocking up on spices to keep food preps lively

---------------

Be prepared...and prepared to help: http://www.survivalblog.com/charity.html

Are you ready spiritually for hard times? http://www.jesusfreak.com/rapture.asp
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Nickelless
Administrator



USA
5580 Posts

Posted - 06/21/2010 :  23:01:44  Show Profile Send Nickelless a Private Message
Another great reason to start stocking up now: Food and other necessities aren't getting any cheaper:

You must be logged in to see this link.


Visit my new preparedness site: Preparedness.cc/SurvivalPrep.net
--Latest article: Stocking up on spices to keep food preps lively

---------------

Be prepared...and prepared to help: http://www.survivalblog.com/charity.html

Are you ready spiritually for hard times? http://www.jesusfreak.com/rapture.asp
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