Our lifestyle living on the Wyoming/Montana border and being over 14 miles from the nearest asphalt road is just a bit different than the average urban dweller. It is a fact of life up here that the power could go off at any time, we could get snowed in for weeks, roads have been taken out by flash floods and mud season is a problem all unto itself. Our nearest general store is 15 miles away, the closest pharmacy is 45 miles and the closest WalMart is 65 miles away. Heck, we usually go into town every couple of weeks just to keep fresh bread and fruits about whether we need to or not. This geographic isolation is certainly problematic at times but is actually an asset as you will see later.
How did I get this way? As a past vice-chairman of the Wyoming Chapter of the American Red Cross, a past Chairman of the Jackson Hole Chapter of the American Red Cross, an active EMT/First Responder, an ex-COP, a firearms/self-defense instructor, a seasonal grass fire fighter, and a “CERT” (Community Emergency Response Team) Instructor, you might imagine I have had a few hours of training related to disaster preparedness/response. You would be correct of course. This training has led me to integrate a “ready for anything” mentality into our regular daily routine. Don’t get me wrong, I am not afraid of anything, because I am prepared for anything. (I think).
Naturally a hard core survivalist comes to mind but the reality of having to interact with the rest of the world prevents that. We actually interact with the surrounding population, have friends out in the community, do business with locals and don’t shun authority figures. I suppose this precludes our membership as a true survivalist. Short of buying your survival retreat in the remote wilderness there are some things you can do to make yourself more secure, comfortable and safer.
Of course we keep a garden, have the ability to farm, raise livestock and generally feed ourselves here on our ranch. You probably don’t. We actually have some limitations but generally if the national supply chain is disrupted on our end we will do just fine. I really don’t expect the government to help us out here (Are you kidding!) I consider having to go to town for any small part that I might need an unnecessary/expensive trip. Therefore I keep a really large selection of spare parts, nuts, bolts, oil, filters, and general repair materials for all of my necessary equipment and machinery that I rely on. I keep at least two years of spare parts on hand for all mission critical components of my operation.
You must remember that the rules have changed. It used to be that the Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Administration used to tell you to have three days of food, water and supplies on hand to “wait out” any possible disaster. That has certainly changed. Since this “rule of thumb” changes weekly, look it up for yourself. Now my suggested general rule of thumb is to have as many supplies as reasonable on hand to wait out any reasonably expected extended event. Of course the three day rule never applied up here but is still followed (at best) in urban situations. (The worst thing I can think of happening to this country is a high altitude nuclear detonation by a terrorist state or group. Look up EMP on google). Why would they just take out a city when they could take out a whole coast by shutting down all the electronic goodies we (as a society) rely on?
I’ll cut to the quick. Lets assume that either locally or nationally, the supply chain is disrupted by either a natural event or terrorist action. You know, the worst case situation. The following is a BASIC list of things that need serious attention.
Living in urban surrounding with population around you that is NOT prepared with enough food, water and supplies to support themselves is an ugly situation. I suggest to you that that is the situation for over 250,000,000 of our fellow countrymen. When they can’t get food after the local grocery store runs out (most stores have only three days supply on their shelves as they operate under a just in time ordering system), they will stop being good neighbors. My suggestion to avoid this is to get out of town into a very rural setting if your situation allows. If it doesn’t, give yourself options and train with firearms till your understand them instinctively to protect yourself, your family and close associates under your care. Train them too. Your second amendment rights are vitally important to this and vote accordingly to keep those rights. Have at least one good shotgun, a .22 rifle, a .22 pistol, a 38 pistol, a .223 rifle and a .308 rifle with plenty of ammo about. All of which are useful for different purposes and have enough ammo around for their extended use. Here is where geographic isolation is a plus, no refugees from the city to deal with.
Prescription drugs should be kept in three month minimum backup reserve with stock rotation being the rule. Other necessary over the counter remedies such as Ex-lax, Immodium, Pepto Bismol, cod liver oil (rotate every two years), an emergency dental kit, Tylenol, aspirin, a complete first aid kit, a poison kit and take first aid training to know how to use all of the above.
More obscure things to gather up:
Potassium iodide which is used in the event of a nuclear plant disaster or a nuclear attack are optional but store nearly forever and are impossible to get if you actually need them. The iodide will flood the thyroid with regular iodine preventing the thyroid for absorbing radioactive iodine and thus prevent thyroid cancer down the road.
Vitamin C from the store only has a shelf life of a few years. Buy crystalline vitamin C (do a google search) by the kilogram (a years worth for one adult) because scurvy kicks in after 6 weeks. Vitamin C might be worth far more than gold if there is a major supply chain interruption.
Oil, sugar and flour: If you have a lot of these things along with a source of heat, your eating pretty well. The problem is, only sugar will store for extended periods of time. The other two will need to be rotated.
Food is easy, water is way more important. Getting your self an expedition level water filter is a necessity in my humble opinion. You can always find water but if you drink it, your probably done within 24 hours unless it is properly filtered before your drink it. There are numerous types of filters out there, get one. Water storage is another option but takes room, has to be rotated regularly and is not an easy option.
Sanitation: I have always said, “if you have a years worth of toilet paper and there is a disaster, you will have a lot of other things you need because you can always trade”. Nuff said. Paper products should be kept in at least a 3 month supply on hand for all parties that you think might be staying in your abode.
Clorox is an obvious must and should be rotated every couple of years. Plastic trash bags of all size are never in enough supply. Have a toilet cover that uses a 5 gallon bucket under it. Put a small sized trash bag or each use and add a teaspoon of clorox to the mix. Throw away each into a place designated for such use.
Insect products may be quite useful too. Use your own preferences but have them on hand if you need them. Ask any hurricane victim how bad mosquitos get after the storm passes.
Pet foods: You don’t want your pet to be without during any disaster so have a portable kennel so if you have to bug out, you can take them. Also have enough food in store for them to have the same backup you do. Rotate the stock religiously. Same applies to their prescriptions and any treatments. An unhappy pet doesn’t make a good companion. Hopefully you have a well trained dog that is protective of you and yours.
Games/entertainment: With little or no communication, have card games and kids activities handy and have plenty of variety. Learn to be a ham radio operator. You don’t have to know Morse code these days and you can take sample test (that have the actual test questions) at www.qrz.com. The test costs 15 bucks and the local ham club will help you through the process. If the internet isn’t there, ham radio will be. At a minimum have a good shortwave radio and learn how to find news and other information. Have a BIG supply of batteries and rotate them regularly.
Tools: A pretty good basic tool kit with screwdrivers, wrenches, crescents, pliers, vice grips and hammers with a good supply of duct tape, nails, 1X2 boards and plastic to cover broken windows. A nice supply of various nuts and bolts is also a good idea. Some sharp utility knives may also come in very handy. A really nice hunting knife, hatchet and a way to sharpen same may be handy. In fact, all camping supplies from tents to lanterns are highly suggested in your bug out kit.
To boil all this information down in a nutshell….. Think 1880’s technology! If it worked then, it will work now with no power or modern conveniences. I firmly believe in the power of ropes, horses, a few log chains, axes, firearms, canvas and some fire making supplies. With such things along with a wood stove, there are very few places you can’t survive in if you take the time to learn how to do it. With the world teetering on the brink of this or that problem from day to day, don’t you think it might be worth your time to look into the subject a little bit?