We hope this series has given you a bit of a feeling for the underlying reasons behind the philosophy of prepping. What next?
Well, the good news is that you don’t need to instantly change your entire life. You can instead simply start taking small steps towards reducing your vulnerability to upsets. Perhaps the next useful thing to do is to understand our classification of upsets into Level 1, 2 & 3 type events, and then start to think about how you can plan to have solutions in place for these.
We give you fair warning – Level 1 planning is easy, and it is only ‘more of the same’ from what you are probably doing already, without even realizing it. But Level 2 and 3 planning – that becomes difficult, from both a time and money point of view. So let’s talk first about Level 1.
Level 1 Preparing
You may or may not know the ‘Rule of Threes’. It states that you can survive three minutes without air, three hours without shelter, three days without water, three weeks without food, and three months without hope.
Level 1 preparing is all about addressing the more immediate of these needs, and is intended to help you maintain a comfortable lifestyle during a temporary outage of something (commonly electricity).
So, for Level 1, you need an alternate form of electricity, and reasonable supplies of food and water to get you through a week or two of disruption. You can buy a gasoline powered generator from Costco or Home Depot or wherever for well under $1000, and if you also get a transfer panel, that enables you not just to run a wire from the generator to a few things connected by extension cords, but to feed the generator into your home’s main electricity box and have most or all of your house working the same as always.
Depending on the generator you choose, you’ll probably burn the better part of a gallon of fuel an hour, so you’ll need to store sufficient petrol for whatever duration of outage you’re planning for. Of course, you don’t need to run your generator 24/7, and possibly also your city has noise ordinances that may restrict your ability to run it late at night/early in the morning, too. Most people find they can run it for a few hours in the morning so as to power your heating (if you have gas heating with an electric blower system – a generator would not provide enough power for electrical heat), to allow your fridge and freezer to cool down, and to power any electrical appliances while you cook breakfast and do some chores.
Then leave the generator off until perhaps evening when the light starts to fall and you need light, heat, cooking, and other power uses – plus of course by then it will be time to cool your fridge and freezer down again, too.
A quick word about water. You can get by with no more than half a gallon of water, per person, per day, if all you use it for is drinking and assuming you’re not working very hard in very hot weather. But the whole idea of prepping is to enhance your degree of comfort during a problem event, so keep some more so that you have water for food preparation, for washing up, and for flushing the toilet too. You can of course re-use water that you’ve first used (as clean water) for washing or cooking) for a second use to flush the toilet. Make sure at least one of your toilets is a new 1.6 gallon per flush type toilet.
If you live in an area that gets very cold in winter, and if you use electric heat, then you should have an alternate form of heating – probably an enclosed pot belly type wood stove. Whenever you are burning anything indoors, you need to be aware of possible carbon monoxide (and, lesserly, carbon dioxide) build-up; fortunately CO (carbon monoxide) monitors are inexpensive and can be bought on Amazon or elsewhere for $30 or less.
Beyond a generator and fuel, water, and some food, for all intents and purposes, you’re reasonably done. Easy!
Okay, sure, you can continue beyond this point, and it is up to you how far further you go, but these few things – total cost under $1000 – sees you able to confront and comfortably resolve most Level 1 type events.
Now for the ‘graduate’ and ‘post-graduate’ studies….
Levels 2 & 3
Remember our earlier discussions about the unsustainability of cities. Levels 2 and 3 anticipate an event disrupting the smooth operation of city life for more than a week. Potentially for as much as a year or so (Level 2) or maybe stretching on beyond that point for who knows how much longer (Level 3).
A key feature of both these two levels is the need to have somewhere outside the city to go to. You need to have some sort of rural retreat to evacuate to when/if the city becomes unsustainable.
You can’t just rely on going into the rural areas around you city and relying on the kindness of the locals to put you up. Remember – there are five of you for every one of them. This would require each household of, say, 4 people, to now be able to take in and feed and support another 20 people. It just isn’t possible.
You’re on your own (but see below) in a Level 2/3 scenario. You need to have prepared in advance somewhere to live, and have the key elements of life stored there, to tide you over until civilization returns.
Now for a big difference between Levels 2 and 3. Level 2 anticipates the clear and certain return of civilization. Maybe not for a year or so, but there is a clear limit to how long you’ll be on your own. A Level 2 form of preparation simply revolves around somewhere to live and enough food and energy to survive for perhaps a year or so.
Level 3 is more open-ended, and not only has you set up an initial stockpile of supplies, but is focused more on creating an ongoing sustainable survivorship at your retreat. Level 3 says that sooner or later, you will run out of your stockpiled food, and at that point, you need to be growing and harvesting your own food to replace it.
Okay, there’s a lot more to it than just that – and we haven’t even started to talk about the whole ‘gun thing’ which seems to throw so many – suffice it to say that when people all around you are starving, and see you flush with food, they’re not going to just ask politely if you’d share your food, they’re going to demand and take your food from you if necessary, and if you don’t have the means to discourage such actions.
As far removed from our ‘kinder, gentler’ world we enjoy today as that seems, the unavoidable reality is that when a man – and his wife and children – are all starving and facing certain death, he of course will do anything he possibly can to get food, even if it means taking it, by force, from someone else.
Get the need for guns, now? The bad guy will almost surely have one. You need one too.
Creating a Community
There is a key element of proper planning for Level 2 and 3 events that is often overlooked. Perhaps because prepping is not a mainstream issue, preppers have started off from the assumption that they’ll be on their own when things go wrong. That much is correct, for at least the first few days. But what about beyond then?
It is not possible for a single family in a single retreat, by themselves, to create a safe and sustainable lifestyle for the future. They need to become part of a community, and it goes without saying that it is better to add other prepared people to their community; other people who bring assets and capabilities with them, rather than people who instantly become liabilities on their fellow community members.
A community of prepared people can between them create a small isolated pocket of sustainable civilization. They can share the costs of some of the expensive things that would be totally impossible for most ordinary people to otherwise consider, and they have the manpower and range of skills to keep all the many elements of their small society functioning smoothly.
You might choose to become part of a Code Green community, or you might have a group of like-minded people you are already planning to club together with. But your Level 2 and 3 preparations must be colored by the need to build not just a bolt-hole for yourself, but a community for 20 or 200 or more fellow souls.
Return to An Introduction to Prepping
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