Posts Tagged ‘long term survival’

The newspapers and television stations we get our current news from have a propensity to label every storm that comes down the road the greatest disaster since whenever. It is true that we have some terrific storms, but how do we really classify them as disasters? Many of the so-called greatest disasters of today become minuscule in tragedy compared to disasters of yesterday.

Hurricane Katrina was called the worst disaster since whenever, but the reality is that the hurricane that wiped out 1,836 people back in 2005. But the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane  caused more real damage, taking many more lives than Katrina did. The damage was just as extensive, but because costs have risen so much over the decades due to the decline in the value of currency worldwide, Katrina cost much more in cash to recover from.

Do not take me the wrong way here, Katrina was a tragedy, but in real terms, it was in fact a tragedy that really might have been prevented. However, that was then, Sandy Hook has come and gone and we wait with tingling buttocks the next media fed disaster of the century.

Let us look at our own disaster levels, and prepare for them by creating plans for each of the different levels of disaster. I have developed a personal tiered system of five levels of disaster/preparedness that we should be ready for. You can develop your own system as you see fit, but please develop prepping goals that help you achieve a permanent survival plan in case the worst does come to pass.

Here are my five stages:

  • Stage 1; Stage 1 is the simplest, and least stressful of prepping events. This would include any situation involving no more than one night without your usual or normal infrastructure in place. This could involve a thunderstorm creating a blackout of just a few minutes to a 24-48 hour time frame. At this point, you will be consuming the food in your refrigerator first, as it is likely to thaw and spoil in just a couple of days.


  • Stage 2; Stage 2 is a little more complex, with your infrastructure being interrupted for up to one week to a month. By day three you should have cleaned out your refrigerator, and begun to consume the contents of a deep freeze if you have one. Store bought canned and dry food in your pantry will be consumed at this point. You will want to save MRE’s and long-term food supplies for stage three and beyond. Batteries will likely have been used up by this point, and you would be on alternative lighting such as oil lamps, etc. cooking will be done with camp stoves, so you would need plenty of fuel on hand for this stage.


  • Stage 3; Stage 3 is a duration of from one month to a six months or so. You would have consumed all fresh foods long before the beginning of this stage, and would be utilizing your short-term storage foods such as canned goods and may have begun your MRE  program. Availability of foods and fuels in the marketplace is no longer an option, as there likely is no marketplace to speak of. Your fuel may be gone, and you would be utilizing wood for heating and cooking. The smart prepper would have developed a solar lighting scheme to recharge batteries for lighting and other needs.


  • Stage 4; Stage 4 is a period of from six months to one year. This is the time frame in which you would have mentally sat back and taken stock of the fact that we are really screwed, it is not just a bad dream. Short-term food supplies will be running low, and you will begin consuming your long-term food supply. A good prepper would have seen this coming and realized early on that your short and mid-term supplies would need to be rationed to avoid running out too quickly. By now you will be at the barter stage to obtain needed supplies as the government is obviously  dumber than we gave them credit for being.


  • Stage 5; Stage 5 is a period of survival lasting from one year to two years out from the initial disaster. You finally figured out that you were right all along, and there is no going back to the way things were. You will be on your long-term food supply, and will by springtime have planted that survival garden you thought you would never need. There are no jobs, no money, and transportation is now 100% people powered. Bicycles and animals provide the means of getting anyplace faster than walking. Your long term food is holding out, and in the fall, you will harvest and prepare for storage your food needs for the entire following year.


  • Stage 6;  Stage 6 is no longer a survival stage. If you have made it this far, you will find that this is the new normal. It had been over two years since the disaster that created the situation you are in, the government, the economy, and society have all crumbled into a sort of 18th century mentality. Roving gangs have moved from the depleted urban areas and are now roaming the countryside to take what they want. You have banned together with your neighbors to form militia groups for protection from these marauding gangs. You have found that life truly sucks, but that is OK, you will weather the storm.


That is a brief rundown of the stages of disaster preparedness. Most of us only have to put up with an occasional stage 1 setting, and a few of us go on to a stage 2 setting. Very few people ever come close to a stage three in these days, but it could happen. We owe it to our families to prepare for the worst, but pray that it never happens.

Happy prepping folks!


I do not really know who started the mantra of one is none, two is one rule of survival and preparedness planning, but it is a great notion to cling to. For instance, if you are hiking alone in the woods and you lose your compass, you are screwed. I know, some will say “but I use a GPS, those are almost impossible to lose”. Maybe so, but suppose the battery goes dead? Do you see my point? If you only have one of an essential item, and you lose it or it breaks, then what?

The same goes for any other tool or bit of supply you may need in your survival plan. I remember a couple of years ago I was opening a can for supper, and the can opener fell apart after a couple of cranks of the handle. I had another can opener in the drawer, and luck had nothing to do with it, so it was no big deal. However, if I had no backup tool in waiting, I would not have been able to simply grab the back up and finish preparing the meal.

I would have had to do without, compromise, or get primitive and open the can with a huge knife. That would have been a pity as the blade would have needed substantial attention after slicing through the metal can. One is none, two is one. It is a good rule to follow and should be a central consideration as you develop your preparedness and survival plans.

One drawback to this goal of having at least two of your essentials on hand is the added cost. You have to plan on double the cost of these essentials, thus doubling the size of your preparedness budget as it relates to these essential items. Is it really necessary that we have two or more of everything? Not really. There are times when we can get away with making concessions. We may be able to come up with alternative tools or devices to compensate for the loss of some of our needs.

One suggestion I can give here is to make sure that you keep these extra tools in a separate place. Have an extra box of additional tools, but keep it close enough that you can access it when the need arises. Unfortunately, far too many people utilize offsite storage for the excess baggage we consider as needs today. Personally, I consider offsite storage a waste of resources. The money that you spend on locker rental fees could be better used for buying the things you need to develop your preparations for the coming times.

The fees for these lockers can be pretty hefty, and in some cases may be enough to equal the cost of a good supply of long-term storage foods. A one hundred dollar a month rental fee equals 1200 dollars a year. How often have you seen food deals for several months worth of food for that price? Just this week, I received a flyer from a mail order house offering a six-month lunch and dinner supply for one at only $1,299.00[1]. That is not a bad deal, and you could afford it if you can afford to pay that much for a storage locker full of household goods that you do not use.

If you do use this arrangement, perhaps you need to include this aspect of your life in your overall preparedness plan. Seriously consider what you are paying storage fees for, and decide whether it really makes sense. Granted, there will be instances where there is no other option, but for the most part, much of what we have stored in these lockers have little real survival value. If the crap hits the fan and you become forced to shelter in place, will this locker be of any benefit to you? If you have to pack up the bug out vehicle and get out of town, what happens to the stuff you have paid all that money for in storage?

I know some people who have a rental unit as their central bug out command post, with a vehicle inside it ready to roll at a moment’s notice. They keep the truck and trailer fully loaded with MRE’s and long term storage food, along with all the tools they will need to survive if they have to leave town in an emergency. This is a good plan, and, providing you can afford it, and the unit is accessible 24-7, go for it. but it takes a certain level of ability as well as acceptance of the facts to be able to comfortably commit to these sorts of resources.

Whatever you decide to do, make certain that you are comfortable with your choices, that can afford your choices, and that you have considered all aspects relating to that choice.


[1] $1,299.00 for food for one may sound like a lot of money, but the reality is that it works out to only $216.50 per person per month, for two meals a day. A little over three bucks a meal. When was the last time you had a nutritious meal for that kind of price? It costs an average of eight bucks for a burger, fries and a drink in most fast food places today.

I’ve been asked a few times about building a safe storage room apart from a main house structure, such as root cellars and such. My recommendations have been to do it as the old timers used to do it, because time has proven their designs work with excellent results. With that in mind I came across this old article that gives step by step instructions on building your own concrete root cellar set into the side of a hill. If you have no hill you could even excavate a hole in the ground deep enough to build this into, and add a stairway down to the door of the structure. Just remember a couple of important points here; never build a root cellar with a floor lower than the applicable water table level for your placement of the structure, and always make sure the majority of the structure is under the level of the ground where you build it. Also make sure there is plenty of drainage around the structure to avoid water damage and leakage of the structure.



A Concrete Root Cellar of Practical and Inexpensive Construction and Attractive Design.


The outside cellar built into a bank or partly underground is only a development of the old system of burying potatoes, cabbages, and so forth, in a barrel or, as was sometimes done, in a mere hole in the ground for winter storage. The advantages of the new method are obvious, but unless the cellar can be kept dry and clean it is little more than useless. For this reason great care must be taken, first in selecting the site and second in the choice of materials with which to build. It is essential that the site should be well drained and dry under normal conditions, as continual dampness outside, no matter how carefully the building is constructed, will cause decay inside. The cellar may be built into a bank or may be partly underground. In the latter case a small cellarway with cement steps protected by a door should lead to the entrance.

Assuming that the site chosen is in a bank and that concrete is the material to be used, you will begin by digging a hole the size desired for the building, allowing six inches on all sides for the thickness of the walls. Arrange for your finished floor to be two or three inches above the natural grade at the front. Next dig trenches for the footings and foundations. The footings must always be below the frost-line, generally from three to four feet below the surface, and must be level. As the bank rises toward the back it will not be necessary to go down so deep for the footings in the rear as in the front, but the difference in level must be gained by a step and never by a slope. If the soil is firm and solid the “spread” of the footings may be omitted.

When the digging is completed mix the concrete for the footings. A mixture of one part Portland cement, two parts sand and four parts gravel will be required for the foundations, walls and roof, and a 1-2¼ -5 mixture for the floor. Mix the materials together on a tight board platform, using enough water to wet them thoroughly. Pour the concrete into the footing trenches and ram it clown. If the “spread” of the footing is omitted the entire foundation trench may be filled to the floor level, using the earth sides as forms, since the wall would be of the same thickness from top to bottom. Otherwise wooden forms will be required from the top of the footings up.

These forms are made of one-inch boards nailed horizontally to 2 x 4 uprights spaced two feet apart to form a box without top or bottom and with a space of six inches—or the thickness of the finished walls—between the sides. The uprights, of course, will be on the outside. It will be easier for a building of this size to build the forms on the ground and then raise them to position. Nail cross cleats to the tops of the uprights to keep them at the proper distance apart, and brace the forms in the center to prevent bulging. The forms should be held firmly while the concrete is being poured.

The simplest and surest way of forming the door opening is to set the door-frame in place when the forms are being built. Drive iron ties into the sides and top of the frame, two in each side and one in the top, so that they will extend into the concrete walls. If the ties generally used for this purpose are not available heavy nails driven into the frame will serve very well. When the wall forms are built and the door-frame is set in place pour the concrete in layers about six inches thick and tamp each layer lightly with a wooden or iron rammer until the water shows on top and no stones are left uncovered by mortar. If a spade is forced in between’ the concrete and the boards and worked up and down and sidewise it will force the stones back and bring a coating of mortar to the outside, thus giving a smooth surface to the face of the wall.

When the concrete is filled to a level of two inches above the top of the door-frame lay two half-inch iron bars or old wagon tires in the fresh concrete with the ends extending at least eight inches beyond the sides of the frame. This will form a re-enforced lintel over the doorway. The walls are then filled to the top, the end walls being carried to the peak of the roof. Before the concrete at the top of the end walls hardens ½ inch iron bars 18″ long must be driven into them to a depth of 9″. Place them 24″ apart. Next nail 2×4 rafters to the tops of the inside uprights of the side walls giving them the slope desired for the roof, ands spike them together securely where the meet at the peak or ridge of the roof.

Nail one-inch pieces horizontally across the building to the bottom of each pair of rafters. These pieces are called “collar beams” and are to prevent the rafters from spreading when the weight of the concrete is placed on them. Next nail one-inch boards on top of the rafters and nail a form for the cornice to the tops of the outside uprights. Bend the projecting ends of the half-inch bars down to within 1½ inches of the roof boards. Two one-inch iron rods should be laid on top of the wall outside of the upright bars and extend entirely round the building. Cover the entire roof with heavy woven wire fencing securely wired to the iron bars and extending to the edge of the cornice. Use pieces of drain tile to form ventilators.

Next spread 1½ inches of concrete over the entire roof, beginning at the cornice and working toward the ridge. The wire must be lifted as this concrete is placed, so that the wire will rest on top of it. On this lay 2½ inches more of concrete. Tamp it until the moisture comes to the top and give it a smooth surface with a trowel. The work of laying the concrete must not be interrupted, as a joint between the fresh concrete and that which has hardened would probably cause a leak. While it is drying the roof should be protected from the sun by canvas or boards placed a few inches above it, and should be wet morning and evening for a week to prevent cracking. Place galvanized iron hoods over the ventilators. The forms may be removed in a week or ten days and a four-inch concrete floor laid.

From Gardeners Chronicle of America May 1911

In researching the field of survival and preparedness, I have discovered that there seems to be an endless number of firms selling storage foods and supplies, but not that many go beyond the storage aspect of long term planning. While many suggest having three years worth of food on hand, will that be enough? What if the world never gets back to what we call normal after the coming collapse?

There are a lot of topics I plan to address as the months go by here, and I do hope they are being printed out and kept in a binder. After all, if the crap really does hit the fan and people like me are right, there won’t be any internet to fall back on for this advice. One of the topics I’ll be addressing from time to time will be food gathering, but today I’ll just touch on an overview of the subject. While making your plans and assembling supplies you should always consider a supply of seeds and maybe fertilizers for planting some crops during your first available planting season. While three years of food is a lot, by the end of your first year you will doubtless become tired of the same fare day after day, and fresh food will become much desired.

Figure out before hand how much space you have available to utilize for growing and plan out your garden from there. That is one of the reasons I advocate the need to live in the country if you can, or at least in a suburban area whereby you can at least have a large yard. Fast growing vegetables may be desirable, but make sure you bear in mind the nutritional value of your choices. Stagger your planting so that not all of you plantings ripen in the same time frame. That way you need not invest huge blocks of time trying to harvest before they go bad on you.

Part of this area of preparedness should be the materials and supplies for canning and preserving, as well. Learn how to can and preserve now, so you don’t have to suffer through mistakes and wasted resources later, when you will not be able to replenish those resources. Try planting so that you can achieve a high harvest rate with minimal area used, speaking of resources. Trellis and container gardening can produce some pretty high yield crops such as tomatoes, peppers and the like. Also, make sure you allocate a percentage of your crop to be used as seed stock for the following year. By using the tithing principle, you should estimate at least ten percent of your crops going to that purpose. If you fail to do this, where do you intend to obtain seed for the following seasons?

Meat is another issue altogether. Fowl will perhaps be the easiest and most abundant resource, so you may need to know, or learn, how to hunt birds. Chickens can be a good source of meat, and the eggs will be a refreshing treat as well. If you plan your needs right, you may be able to breed chickens and use them to barter for other things. Of course, if we suffer a major nuclear event, all bets are off on this subject though. Chickens may never recover from radiation poisoning enough to breed safely, let alone eat them or their eggs, so be forewarned.

Actually, in the event of a nuclear attack, there will probably be no meat safe to eat, and especially true will be the case of cows and their milk. But if that doesn’t happen, we’ll be able to hunt and harvest as usual, sort of. There are lots of things you can eat besides deer and elk, such as squirrels, rats and other rodents and so forth, by the way. Don’t narrow your hunting preparedness down to a field of the local big game offerings. Most people will, and there may be a good chance that herds may be exterminated from your area if there are too many people are hunting them, or more likely overharvesting them. A good rule would be to harvest only what you need for your immediate needs.

And learn to actually hunt, please. Today, many people seem to think that sitting in a tree stand and waiting for a deer to come along is hunting. Sure, there’s lots of pre-hunt work to do, like locating trails and likely spots to set up a stand, but that kind of hunting seldom results in sufficient numbers to put a steady supply of nutrition on your table. Learn to stalk and trail the game in your area. And you should also learn to hunt and trap a wide variety of game as well. Deer and bear may be good sources of food, but they may not always be available. Birds usually migrate and may not be available in your area all year round. Squirrels and other small animals are usually plentiful, and can be found year round, so don’t write them off as being puny little waste critters.

There are many wild plants that can also be harvested for food too. Learn what is in your area and where to find them. And when you do, take only what you need so the supply doesn’t become decimated and you find yourself without that food source. Things are happening amongst the world’s governments today that indicate we will be in for a sorry time ahead, so keep a watch on what is going on. plan and scheme for the long haul and you’ll make out all right. But above all, make sure your faith is anchored in the right place as we survive the coming times. Major food growers depend upon genetically improved seed crops, and without those the availability of new seed may well be at an end. Plan, plan, plan. And then you can go ahead and plan some more.