Preparation Is Key to Adapting to Future Events, and Those Without Resources Will Reap a Bitter Harvest as they Struggle to Survive

Those that are aware of the EMP commissions report have probably also heard the statement that this type of event would suddenly transport everyone involved back to the 1800’s almost instantly. It is also possible that up to 90% of the population could die within 2 years due to the sudden lack of modern technology. It does not matter if it is an EMP, CME, cyber attack or terrorist attack on the grid, the results will be largely the same.

This is a sobering notion that you can either believe or disbelieve. If you think it is all hype you need only to go back to your daily activities and hope it never happens and leave your survival to someone who will do something if it ever happens. For those hardy souls that take responsibility for their own fate and that of their family, it falls to you to determine what this type of event will mean for you. An event of this magnitude will affect different people in different locations in different ways.

It is important to first realize what changes you will likely see following this event. To understand this you must look at what a 19th century lifestyle would look like to you. Understanding these differences will help you to determine what plans you need to make ahead of time to adjust to these changes in a way that will allow you to survive. Here are some of the things you will face with a collapse in modern technology and this does not even take into account problems you will face from the ill prepared.

Nineteenth Century support systems included the following:

Sailing ships for cargo and human transport

Steamships for cargo and human transport

Steam locomotives for cargo and human transport

Horses and wagons for cargo and human transport

Horses, mules and oxen for cultivation and harvesting

Root cellars for common storage

Ice houses to store ice cut in winter

Open pollinated seeds for planting

Livestock manure for fertilizer

Local mills for processing grains

Shallow dug water wells for fresh water

Manual tools for building and repairs

Developed systems for kerosene, whale oil and candle making for lighting

Mechanical power systems for factories and machinery

Telegraph lines for communication

Local craftsmen to build and repair items

Human and animal means to produce coal

Wood stoves for cooking and heating

Outhouses for sanitation needs

Buildings designed for natural ventilation

Limited clean water systems

Limited hospitals and doctors

Limited drugs, medications and medical equipment

Limited firefighting capabilities

Limited law enforcement capabilities

Physical currency of silver and gold

Banks utilizing paper records

Many of these systems exist today only in museums or historical sites and in insufficient quantities to support the population we now have. So simply going back to 19th century living standards would be impossible for the vast majority of people even under the best of circumstances. This brings to light the conclusion that 90% of the population would not survive long term under these conditions.

Assuming this type of event did occur, what would you need in advance to insure your survival? That is a question many people need to ask but most will not simply because their belief system would be shattered if they acknowledged potential threats and that they need to be responsible for their own lives.

There is the potential for many types of catastrophic events that we may never see but the potential should be enough to cause reflection on the individuals part to at least ask the important questions for their own survival. To prepare mentally as well as physically is important to survive the worst of the potential events we could face. You may not find yourself living in the 19th Century tomorrow, but what if?

Many people have read the reports that claim we would be sent back to 19th century living levels following an event and many simply think they could bear that for a short period until things get fixed. The problem is we no longer have 19th century infrastructure to support that level of existence. We do not have the transportation systems based on horses and steam locomotives, the ability to grow, harvest and process food the 19th century way, the local water sources to support populations, the sanitation systems or the medical systems that do not rely on technology or the ability to heat and cook the 19th century way. We have the knowledge to build these systems but that takes time and resources we may not have especially in the large cities. Without these types of systems waiting on the sidelines to be readily put into action, society as it is would collapse into tribal warfare as groups fight for the few resources that still exist. Even with these systems we could not support the number of people we now have. In short, many people would die even in the best of circumstances. Those that have these types of systems would have the ability to survive if they could protect these resources long enough.

If you own a large boat and suddenly sink for some reason many miles from shore, there is an easy way to survive this situation and a hard way to survive. You can have a good life boat, supplies and a radio to call for help and wait in relative safety or you can float around in the ocean with nothing but a life jacket hoping somebody finds you in time.

Any type of disaster can be looked at in these terms. Preparation makes all the difference when things happen. With all of the talk about a possible EMP happening it is important to think in these terms and provide yourself the best possible way to survive events should they happen. This means realizing what could happen and what supplies you need that can survive the initial effects of the disaster.

An EMP has its own special problems when it comes to storing supplies, especially equipment, to survive the aftermath. The special nature of an EMP make many types of equipment unreliable following an event without proper storage. Even with proper storage the use of a super EMP could overwhelm many basic storage devices such as homemade faraday cages. The U.S. hardened some of its military infrastructure to withstand a pulse of 50 kilovolts/meter. The problem is that Russia has weapons that can produce up to 200 kilovolts/meter which would likely overwhelm our most hardened components. Until it actually happens you don’t really know what will survive. This is the crux of the problem trying to decide what to store to survive an EMP.

I go about this in a twofold manner. I store electronic devices in the safest manner I can but I also have a non-electric backup system in the event that fails. As with any preparations, two is always better than one. This means if one system fails you have another to go to you can be sure will work when needed. This means preparing systems in depth to assure availability.

Just as an example, if you know you will need transportation following an event you could have an older vehicle stored in a metal building to protect it and certain electronic components for that vehicle stored with additional shielding in the event the vehicle is damaged. This will allow repairs following the event. Then you could have a secondary mode of transportation such as horses, a bicycle or a boat depending on your circumstances. This provides you with many options no matter how bad the event was. Just keep in mind that the simpler the system, the more likely it will still work when needed.

You need to determine what critical systems you will need or want following an event and determine what you will need to store to have those capabilities. This prior planning is essential so you do not waste time and limited resources on items you do not need or will not survive the initial phases of the event.

If you want power following an event you need to do a good assessment and determine what components will give you the most bang for the buck. A generator is good but you would also want to store electronic components that can break or burn out as well as items like carburetor kits and spare spark plugs. You would need a good fuel supply on hand and possibly an alternative fuel source like propane or wood gas. If this system fails to work following an event you would need a secondary energy source. Solar or wind is good but you would need all of the components to make a complete energy system including charge controllers, batteries and power inverters.

If you have solar panels and batteries and these are the only things to survive you will still have generating and energy storage capability. Having panels hooked directly to batteries would require close monitoring to prevent damage and a simple voltage meter would be helpful in this regard. This would give you 12v or 24v power to utilize in an emergency and there are many products out there that run on these voltages. This would provide you with a viable energy system as a backup and some capabilities even if you only had a 12v lighting system and a 12v absorption refrigerator to use. Planning ahead and breaking it down to the most likely components to survive will avoid wasted time and money.

Propane appliances are a good way to go when planning for electrical disruptions. Old school propane appliances that lack a lot of electronics will insure operability when you need it. A good supply of propane is also easy to get at this time allowing you to run appliances for months or years depending on your storage capacity. This can give you the time needed to survive and adjust to long term realities.

At the bottom tier of your alternatives should be manual tools and equipment that can replace electrical and energy dependent devices to accomplish the tasks you deem necessary following an EMP event. These are the systems you can depend on to work no matter what happens. This is your last line of defense in a worst case scenario. When planning systems I try to buy the manual items first simply because they are usually cheaper and if something happens before I buy everything I want, I know what I have will work.

Thinking ahead and identifying the weak links now will allow you to survive much easier than the general population will if such an event comes to pass. Having even a handful of backup systems that still function following an event will give you a definite edge when survival becomes a daily task. Every capability you have following an event gives you that much more to insure survival. Surviving an EMP event will be no piece of cake by any means but would you rather be afloat in relative safety or simply fighting to keep your head above water?

What’s the Limit of Your Morality in a Crisis? To Survive You’re Going To Have To Adapt Your Morals To The Situation

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As preppers we usually focus on practical steps that will give us a better chance of surviving whatever crisis comes down the road. We talk about what kind of food to store and how much of it, where our water is going to come from, and the best weapons to have available. These are all important points, and if we don’t get them right life will be a lot harder post-SHTF. But is there something else, maybe just as important, that we’re all overlooking?

Being prepared is about being ready to survive in a world that’s radically different from the one we live in now. Most of us are pretty well equipped to deal with the physical differences – not being able to go to the store for food, or the mains power going out – but what about the moral differences?

The moral standards we use in everyday life are going to be stretched to the limit, and far beyond, if the SHTF. Our standards of right and wrong developed in a safe, organized society where most essentials are easily available. How well are they going to cope in the chaos of social collapse? Probably not very well – and that means we all need to think about our personal moral values, what limits they put on our actions, and how we might have to adapt them when the situation changes.

Most people’s moral code says “don’t steal”. It says “help people who’re in trouble”. Unless you’re a psychopath it says “Don’t shoot at anyone except in self-defense”. It probably includes beliefs about marriage, relationships and what’s acceptable in those areas. You can probably think of a list of other rules you live by. Have you thought about how those rules will work in a crisis situation?

Obviously some of them will still work just fine. Don’t rape; don’t kill for the fun of it; don’t abuse the weak and helpless. All of these things are simply wrong, in any situation. Other things fall into more of a gray area though. You’ll have to be a lot more willing to use violence than you’d usually be comfortable with. Other people’s property rights will often take a lower priority compared to what you and your loved ones need to survive. Helping others has to be balanced against the impact it will have on you – if you give a starving child a meal, you can’t just head down to Walmart to replace the food you gave them.

Madly Murderous

Modern society has strong taboos against killing unnecessarily, and that’s basically what murder is – killing someone without legal sanction. Soldiers on operations are legally sanctioned to kill within their ROEs; a homeowner faced with an intruder is legally sanctioned to kill under self-defense laws. But if you kill someone because they took the parking space you wanted at Safeway, or because you saw them grab an ear of corn from your field, there’s no legal justification for that and it’s murder.

But what happens if law and order have collapsed? In a serious crisis there won’t be any legal sanction, because who’s enforcing the law and making that kind of decision? In that situation you have to look beyond your personal morals and consider what knock-on effects there will be.

Shooting someone for taking a parking space is still wrong; just because it’s the end of the world doesn’t mean you can’t walk an extra ten feet. Shooting someone for taking a single ear of corn is probably also wrong – if they’re taking a single ear. But what if they’re systematically harvesting your crop?

A lot of preppers grow their own food in normal times, and like anything valuable sometimes crops get robbed. Usually, unless they threatened you with a weapon, you wouldn’t be justified in killing someone for stealing your crop. They’re committing a crime, but you can replace the lost food from the grocery store. In a crisis it’s different. Let them take that food and, come winter, you and your family could be starving to death. Will your personal morality let you shoot to keep hold of that food? It’s something you need to consider.

Are you going to make a moral judgment based on who is taking your food? A lot of us would feel justified in opening fire on a group of armed looters, but might be more hesitant to pull the trigger on a starving woman with kids in tow. Are you willing to face a bit of personal hardship to keep someone else alive?

Fair Shares? Forget it!

Most of us do what we can to help the less fortunate. Whether it’s handing some spare change to a homeless person or volunteering for a local shelter, we generally do what we can for others. That’s fine when only a minority of people need help, and the majority can carry them without much of a sacrifice. It’s totally different when only a few are prepared for a crisis and almost everyone else is looking for a share of their supplies.

With the best will in the world, you can’t help all your unprepared neighbors. You just don’t have enough food, fuel and medicine to keep them going for more than a couple of days, and in the process you’ll wipe out your own supplies.

Recently we looked at your options for what to do if someone asks for food during a crisis. That decision has moral dimensions too. You might find it morally unacceptable to leave others hungry when you have food – but is that a realistic approach? Simple – no it isn’t. To survive you’re going to have to adapt your morals to the situation.

Finders, Keepers?

If I find lost property, I do everything I reasonably can to return it to its owner. It’s theirs, not mine, and I don’t have any right to keep it. I never steal, either; property rights are the foundation of any decent society. But when the SHTF I’m going to have to evaluate my positions on that.

In a crisis there’s going to be a lot of lost stuff lying around. When refugees start leaving urban areas, expect their path to be littered with things they got fed up carrying. A lot of these things will be useful to you, and it’s obviously impractical to collect them and return them to their rightful owners. It makes no sense to leave them lying around, either, so I’d say it’s morally acceptable to scavenge them and take anything that improves your own chances.

Stealing, on the other hand, is still wrong. If someone else has something you want, that’s tough; it’s theirs, not yours. If you think you’re justified in taking it from them by force you’re not a prepper; you’re just a bandit.

I’ve looked at three of the biggest moral issues that we’re likely to face in a major crisis, but there are many more. For example a lot of us have religious beliefs that disapprove of sex outside marriage. What happens if a collapse is permanent and there’s nobody left to register marriages? Are you going to let humanity die out because there isn’t a pastor handy? You might think alcohol is immoral – but will you have the same opinion when you need a broken arm reset and a bottle of rum is the only effective painkiller you have left?

The end of the world as we know it will throw a lot of challenges at us. Surviving them is going to take work. Don’t put yourself in a place where that work becomes harder, and you and your loved ones are put in unnecessary danger, because of moral values that don’t fit the situation. You need to look at where you can redraw the limits to survive the crisis and still be a decent person at the end of it.

What Will You Eat When The SHTF? Neither FEMA Nor Any Other Governmental Agency Is Prepared To Take Care Of You In The Aftermath Of A Major Crisis

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Neither FEMA nor any other governmental agency is prepared to take care of you. If you believe that they are, and you are depending on that just take a glance back at any of the recent weather events and think of the chaos during Rita or Katrina .People were affected not just at the storm center of the hurricane but for a hundred or more miles around the perimeter.

Think of the Mayor of Baltimore, speaking about the rioters and looters running wildly through the streets of Baltimore when she said, “It’s a very delicate balancing act, because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.”

This confusing statement was broadcast live as the rioters were wantonly destroying and burning businesses, churches, apartment buildings and toppling over police vehicles and taunting police. The mayor was saying ‘give the rioters space to destroy’!

Individuals and families should prepare to be self-reliant in times of personal and widespread tragedy.

In the aftermath of a major crisis, just about anything can happen to your food supply. This may include unexpected spoilage, theft, or other factors that cause your food supply to go dangerously low or run out.

You will need to be successful at hunting and foraging at least two weeks before supplies run out.

Basic Nutrients and What Happens When you Miss Them

There are 6 main nutrient areas required for good health: proteins (used for building and maintaining the body), carbohydrates (used for energy), fats (used for storage), fiber (no nutritional value, but keeps bowels healthy), and vitamins and minerals (used in just about every bodily process for signaling, beginning, and ending processes).

When you don’t have enough food, and those basic nutrients disappear from your diet, your body will react, as soon as the first signs of starvation appear.

Week 1: You become very hungry, angry, grumpy, irritable. You will begin to lose water weight, which triggers the body to start using fat reserves. Fat will burn immediately if you do not get enough carbohydrates to fuel the body.

This can set up a dangerous situation early on that causes kidney damage. Even if you are catching animals or consuming fish, it is extremely important to find a reliable source of fruit, greens, grain, or other plant based foods that will provide adequate carbohydrates since meat and fish tend to have little, if any usable carbohydrates.

Week 2: You start to get very depressed and begin to feel useless. There is an obvious loss of weight and a noticeable decline in muscle mass because the body is using muscles for protein to keep major organs functioning. Kidneys and liver will begin shutting down, eating will produce stomach pain and nausea.

Week 3: People start acting very crazy and would consider doing things that they normally would not do. Some may have starvation euphoria or other hallucinations at this stage, and perhaps even sooner depending on body weight at the beginning of the starvation period.

The body begins to swell from fluid under the skin. Victim may have bad diarrhea, and the stomach becomes unable to digest food due to decrease in stomach acid production.

Week 4: You have no energy. All that is left is to hang on and hope that you will make it. Most victims have hallucinations, go into convulsions, have horrible muscle pain, and unbelievable cramps through-out the body.

How to Survive for Two Weeks if Your Food Supply Is Gone

Once you enter the first day with reduced food, there will be less time to hunt or preserve food, and more time will be spent recovering from exhaustion and other problems.

Then what is to be done for the survival of the group?

Send out hunting, fishing, and foraging parties

These parties must be sent out as soon as possible before the first week of no food begins. These groups may have to travel long distances into new hunting, fishing, and foraging areas where they may encounter other survivors that will be hostile to them.

When assigning food, you will have to balance the needs of those left behind with those who will go out and forage. Be aware that if they are not successful within the ration limits, they too will suffer from starvation and lose their ability to bring back food.

Search for edible plants, edible insects, and edible reptiles

When people are very hungry they will eat almost anything that they would never think of eating  under normal conditions.

Plants, insects, and reptiles when eaten can keep you alive and in good condition. However, don’t forget to test any new food if you are not absolutely sure that it is edible.

What to Hunt  and Fish 

When you go hunting, always use appropriate caliber bullets or pellets. Ammo that is too large will destroy the meat while ammo that is too small will not kill effectively and make it possible for prey to escape.

Also, being successful hunting certain types of game depends on your experience and the available equipment.

Hunting and foraging parties should be out searching for food long before the stockpile is over, than you should be able to preserve food so that it will last without spoiling.