In my last post, I covered recommendations for preparation for the possibility of civil war in the categories of Defense, Water, Food, and Medications. Listed below are recommendations in other categories.
Energy: This is a tough one. With the power grid down, electricity will stop. We recommend a propane generator and lots of full propane canisters. Gasoline for gasoline-powered generators will be very hard to come by. Since most gas stations use electric pumps, all gas in the tanks will have to be pumped out by hand. This will only add to the cost of the gas and extend how long it takes to pump it. In addition, gasoline tends to degrade when stored for long periods unless you use an additive, such as StaBil in every storage tank. [ Stored fuel can go bad in as little as 30-60 days causing gum, varnish and corrosion to build up in the fuel lines and engine. ] Storing and dispensing gasoline can be hazardous as well.
Propane comes in small, self-contained canisters ranging in capacity from small tanks for use with many residential applications to the larger sizes of 500 gallons or more which have to be at least semi-permanently installed at a fixed location and refilled by gasoline-powered trucks. I recommend the small, 20-gallon size for two primary reasons: the larger tanks are going to be extremely difficult to get refilled, and the smaller ones can travel with you if you decide to relocate or “bug out.”
NOTE: for those of you who must have medications refrigerated, I strongly recommend that you buy a small refrigerator in which to store them, and that you buy a year’s supply of your meds, if at all possible.
Library: I strongly recommend that you begin compiling a paperback library of books on gardening, how to repair virtually everything you own, gunsmithing, shooting skills, edible plants for your region, emergency medical care, and any other subjects where you feel you could use more information.
Transportation: Obviously, any form of transportation should use as little gasoline as possible or none at all. If you’ve added StaBil to your gasoline, you can safely save it for emergencies and rely on self-powered transportation. Buy a bicycle if you don’t already have one. You might never have to use it, but at least you’ll have the option.
Clothing: Lots of socks, lots of underwear, several pairs of shoes/boots, and lots of very durable clothing appropriate for the climate in which you will live. Work gloves are highly recommended.
Communication: No telephone, no Internet, no functioning Post Office. How do you stay in touch with friends or extended family? Buy a hand-held radiophone for yourself, one for your significant other, and one for a family member or friend in each city or town where those you will want to contact live [ they can get the word out locally ]. Prepare a list of code words for all of you to use in an emergency. Make sure you include an authentication code with your list of code words so that the person you are trying to contact can send it back to let you know your message was received by the right person.
Use the radiophone to contact anyone willing to forward a message and give them the name of the person you want to contact and the code word. To insure your message has a chance to make it to its intended recipient you should send it out several times, to several different people who can forward it.
Yes, I know, this process will be very haphazard, but it’s better than nothing, which is what you will have if the communication networks on which we depend go down. If you have any ideas about how to communicate more efficiently, I’m definitely open to suggestions!
First Aid: Unless you have specialized medical training, I highly recommend that you not spend a lot of money on medical supplies or first aid kits. A good camper’s first aid kid should suffice for most people. Personal note: my wife was a nurse and I was trained as an Army Medic. Do your best to identify people who have medical training and keep track of their location.
Miscellaneous: This is the category likely to trip-up most people. It’s the little things that most people forget: rubber bands, twist-ties, garbage bags, flashlights, batteries, bug repellant, paracord, writing materials, waterproof matches, maps ( as appropriate ) … the list is virtually endless!
[ To be continued ]