Posts Tagged ‘preparedness planning’

040310_0154_TheSOGPower1.jpgTo begin with today’s post, I will repeat the last paragraph of my last post: The bottom line here is that if your roots are not healthy and strong, neither will your tree of life be. Make sure the roots of your preparedness planning are strong, and diverse enough to withstand any potentially devastating event.

As we look at the illustration of the tree of life and survivalism, we find that there are several ingredients that  allow a tree to become big and strong, living life to its fullest expectancy. One of those criteria requires that the tree have a strong and healthy root system, so too must our preparedness and survival planning also have a strong root system.

One of the trends I have witnessed over the last few years in this arena is the marketing of gimmickry and neat gadgets to the prepper community. They may be cool items and we are all too frequently drawn to them because of what we think they may provide us in terms of disaster readiness, but they do not replace good old fashioned common sense preparedness.

For instance, one company is promoting a combo-tool type of product that will supposedly allow you to survive any disaster, against all odds. At least that is what the advertising leads you to believe. However, reality says that while it is a neat gadget, it does not do anything better than the tools you probably already have at hand, and in fact will most likely be less than able to compete with what you already have when the crap hits the fan.

Why is that? Well, one of the things i have learned about multi-tool gadgets is that while they may look cool, and perform a lot of tasks, it cannot perform any one task better than a tool that was specifically designed to do that task. In other words, while the gadget might be able to get you out of a quick bind, will it do the job better, and will it do the job longer that a tool that was designed for the job? The answer is simply; of course not.

Don’t get me wrong here, i am not against using multi-tools, and in fact own a few myself. Nevertheless, I do not rely upon them as my main survival tools. I use them as quick fixers in a situation where i just do not feel like getting out the big guns. When I want the job done right, I use the right tool. They might get you out of a jamb, but they will not carry you through a long-term survival situation.

Imagine if you will a widespread devastation and the world goes dark. No power, no fuel, no job, no cash, and even if there was, no place to buy anything. You can cook food and sterilize water by boiling it over a fire. Imagine cutting enough wood to live by with one of those little muti-tool  saw blades. See what I mean about planning? Do not get caught up in the gimmickry of today’s marketing and expect these quick fix items to be you main solution in any preparedness and survival situation.

Collect an ample assortment of real tools to do the job with for when the unexpected actually happens. Use your workshop as one of your roots to grow your tree of survival.

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Roots, the base of all life

071011_2337_Survivingth6.jpgIn my last post, I touched upon new beginnings and the differences/similarities between preparedness and survivalism. Today, I want to look at some of the base concepts that fuel each stage of reaction that we take in this process we call preparedness.

Many years ago, I came to realize that while much of what we see and hear through various media outlets is just plain fruitcake talk. Nevertheless, I also realized there is indeed an aura of “conspiracy” that attaches itself to at least a small portion of this rhetoric. Moreover, upon investigation, we can see that there is indeed something going on behind closed doors, and we do have cause to fear for our futures.

Whether you believe in any one of the seemingly endless theories floating around or not, the world around us is indeed involved in what seems to be a slow speed crash and burn cycle. It has happened before, in various stages of extent, and if we are smart, we will examine these prior crashes and learn from them as we prepare for the coming times.

Let us take the last “great depression” as it has been named. In fact, there have been times when the economy has been worse for this nation, but this long standing event can teach us the most recent lessons to be learned.  Take a moment and consider who survived this era the best.

There were actually two groups of people who came out as last best survivors of that economic collapse, and these groups were millionaires, and those who had land and business interests that were of a sustainable nature. By using the term sustainable here, I am not talking about the corrupted definition that the enviro-worshipers use today, but the classic definition which simply means; able to be maintained. For instance, many of today’s businesses are wildly successful, but in the event of a collapse, can those businesses continue on in a successful manner?

For example, telemarketing call centers are good places to make a quick buck, and they can provide you with a good income, but look into their history and see how many of them enjoy a well grounded platform that they can use to continue on from should some major event bring the world to a halt. There are none that I am aware of that could continue to provide you with an income should something cause an environment to occur where they would not be able to function.

Telemarketing relies upon telephone service, but if we get hit with a large-scale and widespread EMP event, manmade or otherwise, would these companies be able to continue operations? The answer is of course, no. No telephones, no telemarketing. It is a simple concept, and yet many people fail to see the significance of this concept in real terms.

For us to rely upon one single source of income leaves us in a situation whereby we have nothing, should that source of income suddenly become interrupted. Therefore, part of our preparedness planning needs to include an ability to have a secondary source of income.  This does not mean that we need to have two jobs, but that we need to have skill sets that allow us to have alternative means of income production  that will allow us to pay our bills and put food on the table when things go belly up.

No matter what the financial condition is, some means of transfer of wealth needs to used if we are to survive, long-term.  We are used to the presence of cash for that wealth exchange, and many are foolish enough to pretend that credit can be used for that exchange. If we need a pound of flour to make a loaf of bread to feeds our hungry family, where do we get that flour? We have to buy it, or we have to
grow and process our own wheat to obtain that pound of flour.

To buy it, we need money, and if the government fails, there is no money, since money today is merely a promissory note based upon the government’s good word, and nothing more. We call that fiat currency, and many of us believe that this fiat currency may well be soon coming to an end. The alternative is to barter some tangible goods or service we have for that flour.

Herein lays the rub of survivalism, those who have, survive, those who have not merely exist, and are destined to fail. If we study the last great depression, we learn that the only people who survived with any degree of self-respect were millionaires, simply because they had enough tangible wealth whereby they were able to buy themselves survival with extremely debased currency.  And there were those who had land and businesses that provided necessary commodities that everyone else had to have, i.e. food clothing, shelter and other absolute needs for survival. Everyone else had to make do with what they had, and for far too many, this was nothing.

The bottom line here is that if your roots are not healthy and strong, neither will your tree of life be. Make sure the roots of your preparedness planning are strong, and diverse enough to withstand any potentially devastating event.

071011_2337_Survivingth1.jpgSurviving the times, these end times, can be very difficult, and in many ways, that difficulty may well create a scenario of failure instead of success for us.

I have not written a great deal of late regarding survivalism and preparedness, for many reasons, but I believe now is the time to get serious, and for us all to get down to “the business at hand”. What is “the business at hand”? That would be getting ready for the coming times, of course.

So, I guess the best way would be for me to return to the beginnings of my prepper activities and look at the changes that have occurred over the years, and maybe help at least a few of my readers learn a thing or two about prepping and survivalism.

First of all, what is survivalism and preparedness? Many people believe them to be the same thing, but they are not. Preparedness is a proactive action that allows us to survive in the future, whereas the survivalism aspect is simply reacting to the environment at hand. Preparedness is what happens before an event, survivalism is what happens after the event, whatever that event may be.

Skills and knowledge gained at any stage of the game can be used interchangeably, of course, but we must bear one fact in mind at all times: once an event occurs, we can no longer prepare for that event.

The bottom line here is that if you fail to prepare to survive after whatever event you expect occurs, when that event occurs, you are all out of planning time. Everybody gets old and retires, and many people plan for those years when we live without employment and a paycheck. But some people fail to plan ahead. Once you retire, there is no retirement planning available, only surviving retirement. And how you prepare for retirement dictates how well you are going to survive retirement. Simple enough?

To start with your preparedness planning, we need to look at where you are now, and where you want to be in the future. You need to know what you have for assets, and what your goals are, if you will. As goals change, so won’t our assets, and part of planning for the inevitable catastrophe is to acquire the assets you need to achieve your goals, and to prepare for the possible loss of those assets.

When I talk about assets here, I am not just talking about money and financial instruments. I include things such as food, water, property, tools and the like, and especially about knowledge. Believe it or not, knowledge can be one of your greatest assets. However, there may be occasions where some of these things may be lost, with or without our consent.

Over the years, I have sustained several life-altering events that came along unexpectedly, but because of the knowledge I have gained, I have been able to survive the aftermath, even though I have lost valuable tangible assets, including several years worth of storage food and other property.

I survived because I developed a mindset that provokes me forward, in spite of the obstacles. Sure, I could have given in and become just another welfare puppet licking the boots of my government, but I didn’t, and I will not, no matter what happens. After a few years of struggling, I am climbing back into the driver’s seat of my own wagon, and intend to direct this wagon in the direction I want it to go.

In the coming days and weeks, I will be sharing some ways that you too can climb into the drivers seat and direct your own wagon in the direction you want it to go, in spite of all the distractions and obstacles you may have to face along the journey.

Surviving The Times is available through my Amazon page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0056SXP3K

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!

One of the things you may have noticed is the incremental, but steady rise in the cost of consumer goods, without any corresponding increase in your paycheck (at least for most of us.). It’s a subtle, but necessary part of the times we live in.

Both PepsiCo and Coca Cola have come to a point where they have no choice but to raise prices, but they have the problem of how to do that without risking market parity. A 4 July, 2011 article from Adage.com says that PepsiCo “vowed to increase beverage prices from July 4 to offset higher commodity costs, with rival Coca-Cola also saying prices would increase 3% to 4% in the second half…” They accomplished that with little fanfare or outrage, with the prices I paid at my usual C-store stops rising from $1.29 per 20oz bottle (Coke, I don’t drink Pepsi, normally) to $1.38 per bottle, with Pepsi being sold at the same price.

So, now we come into the closing period of the fourth quarter of 2011 and we see yet another price increase in the making, but this one is more subtle. The price is rising not in the way you think, by simply changing the price tag, but by changing the size of the product available. I normally buy one six pack 16.9oz bottles of Coke for my home, which had normally cost $3.33 per pack, every week. This works out to .031 cents per ounce. A few weeks ago the six pack disappeared from the shelves, only to be replaced last week with a new price of $3.98 per six pack, making it now cost .039 cents per ounce. It’s not much of an increase when you look at it in this light, but what used to cost .56 cents a bottle is now .67 cents a bottle. Still not much of an increase, but it is still an increase.

Meanwhile, both PepsiCo and Coca Cola seem to be removing their 20oz bottles that now cost $1.38 each with a smaller sized 16.9 oz bottles at a projected cost of $1.25 per bottle. The change has not actually occurred yet, so I am going by unverified quotes from the distributor reps. That makes the new price work out to .074 cents per ounce as compared to .069 cents per ounce. It appears cheaper to the impulse buyer, suggesting that the product is now cheaper because the price per bottle went down from $1.38 to $1.25 per bottle, but the bottles are smaller and in the end actually cost the consumer more.

Soda is not a product high on the preppers list of needed survival items for long term food needs, so why is this price change such a big deal to me, and why should it be a big deal for you, as a fellow prepper?

The reason is the bottom line reasons for these price increases to have, or will, occur. Natalie Zmuda also writes in that same Adage.com article that; “In communicating with retail customers, both bottlers cited rising costs in ingredients, with Coke Consolidated saying that, in the last year, corn prices are up 110%, aluminum is up 24%, plastic is up 42% and crude oil is up 43%.” These are the same ingredients that go into much of our long-term food storage products, MRE’s and other products we tend to eyeball for our prepping needs.

There are several problems that culminate in determining a price for any given product. One of those problems is the sticker, or target price to be placed on an item. That is the cost we need to be concerned with, unless you are purchasing strictly from a real wholesaler.

By the way, when you look at businesses you should take a moment here and remember that many retailers claim to be selling their products at wholesale cost. These advertisements and claims are not really correct in the greater scheme of things. True wholesale cost is always lower than what you pay, not matter what the vendor claims you are paying. The vendor needs to make a profit to stay in business, and therefore has to charge you a higher price than he paid, and so the price the vendor paid to the manufacturer or distributor is his true wholesale cost. You may be paying a lower cost than you would at a conventional retail outlet, but you are still not paying true wholesale costs.

At any rate, no matter where you buy your supplies, the manufacturer or producer needs to include in his calculations all of the costs required to get that product into the retail environment. This includes many things, such as the cost of labor, production and facilities costs, acquisition of raw materials, commodities prices and taxes, et al. Herein lies the problem with our preparedness planning.

Over the last couple of years, the pricing of the commodities that go into producing food products as well as consumer packaging has been steadily increasing along with the steady decline in the value of the US dollar in the worlds markets. Simply put, it costs on average 10 to 15 percent more to make a can of dehydrated food today than it did a couple of years ago. Many of the producers of long-term food product have tried to keep costs low by absorbing much of these hidden costs of business, but we have seen that the bottom line retail costs have still increased. There was a huge across the board increase this past January (2011) and it appears as though we need to expect another one this coming January (2012). Beyond that, as we creep closer to the coming worldwide economic depression we can expect even greater costs, along with a decreasing availability of these products as producers and distributors crumble under the weight of the declining economy.

My suggestion to you today is that you do whatever it takes to fast track your acquisition of these long-term food supplies to avoid having to pay substantially more in the coming years. How much of an increase can we expect? If I had the answer to that question I could solve the problems facing our economy, and since I don’t have the answer, the best I can do is to guestimate what we can expect for pricing increases over the next few years.

Short term; expect an overall increase in all prepper category products combined of about 8 to 10 percent over the next 12 months. I believe we will see a food product increase of about 4-7 percent in January of 2012, and increases in other categories of between 3 to 8 percent, with the highest increases in products such as generators and solar power modules. Of course, these guestimates are dependent upon the fluctuations of the commodities markets, and therefore can change quickly from day to day.

Long term; expect an increase over the next decade of anywhere from 40 to 210 percent over today’s pricing of all prepper related products. This includes generator and solar power products, long-term storage foods, seeds, tools and gardening supplies, shelter products, camping supplies, and water and sanitation categories.

Probably the best way to maneuver around the issue of long term planning is to develop a preparedness planning binder, divided into different categories of needs and areas of concern. By doing so you can keep track of pricing and availability of products, thereby gearing your purchases to suite your needs, and not give into the temptation to buy based upon the fear of the moment instilled by many marketers of prepper geared supplies and products. A person never thinks best when under the strain of an immediate emergency, and if you have paid close attention to advertising as long as I have, you’ll find that there are many companies that urge you into a quick purchase based upon a current emergency

Remember the wheat scare of 2010, where Russia banned exports of their wheat crops to compensate for the droughts that caused the reduction of available domestic supplies of wheat in that country? Advertising said that wheat based products would increase in price exponentially and that we would soon see bread in the grocery stores at ten dollars a loaf or more? Didn’t happen, did it? I suggested at the time on Surviving the Times that you either buy your storage wheat the week of that post, or wait a few months until the speculative flurry of investments calms down and prices get back to serious levels.

You need to be aware of what is going on around you, not only locally, but globally as well. Remember to ADD to survive in the coming times. Analyze and Assess, Develop your plan, and then Deploy that plan for success.

~~~

Save 20% on Surviving the Times and A handy Guide to Disaster Preparedness until 9 Sept, 2011! Simply enter the code SEPTEMBER305 when asked for coupon at checkout! Both are also available as downloads for your e-reader by going to my bookstore here. The same discount applies to all products at this site.


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Surviving The TimesBy D.L. Soucy

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Surviving the Times takes you through the steps to make your own preparedness planning binder. You’ll learn how to guage the… More > level of various threats as they relate to your preparedness planning by using the three P’s of preparedness, the SaWaFo pyramid and more. We will look at some of the main issues such as gold and silver for survival, and the basic survival arsenal as well. < Less

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A Handy Disaster Preparedness GuideBy D.L. Soucy

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A compilation of tips and how to’s on developing an emergency preparedness plan, and how to get ready for natural and… More > man-made disasters. Also includes a comprehensive listing of state and federal agencies to contact for more help and assistance in dealing with emergency planning and dealing with the aftermath of a disaster. < Less

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