Preparing For Chaos! [ Part II ]

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 ]

8 comments to Preparing For Chaos! [ Part II ]

  • GoldSaver

    On communications, there are several methods depending on the distances that you want to cover:

    0-3 miles: Although you can purchase run of the mill vhf radios for this, I have found that motorola push to talk phones can be easily reprogrammed to the moto-talk mode requiring no cell service. The phones do not need to be activated and just need a sim card. These phones have a range of 3-5Kms in suburbia (outdoors) and give you 10 channels, 15 privacy codes and the ability to have complete privacy one-one (unlike walkies) with another moto-talk phone.

    3-500 miles: HF (ham) band radios can be set up to speak beyond line of sight by antenna configuration. Laying out the antenna horizontally creates a cone of communications that extends out to about 500 miles. Affected by sun spots and time of day but very useful.

    Beyond 500 miles: HF band radios (again) set up with vertical or directional antennas can reach thousands of miles.

  • CaptainHarley

    It is my intent to ignore ham radios, primarily because they are monitored by the FCC. You can rest assured that they will be even more closely monitored when there is social unrest.

    I currently own a set of hand-held radios which are good out to about 30 miles over even terrain, but your comment about the motorola phones definitely has merit. Thank you! : ))

  • Country Codger

    Hi Goldsaver Hi Captain Harley,

    There are several levels of communications. We use Family channel in “good Times” and switch to “point to point” in our maneuvers. Thesee you can pick up at Radio Shack. Any low wattage communication for 1/4 mile or less. Hams are good and you do not have to register them if you do not transmit “in the good times”. When everything fails all bets are off. CB works well, especially if you go to a CB shop at a local truck stop. They will boost you up. Buy a CB with upper and lower sideband. This is a cheap form of commsec (Communications security). You can build your own HAM’s if you go to and look for the Impoverished Radio Experimenter Series. These are great for the beginner and the pro. Keeps you sharp. Also, you can use old touchtone telephones and hardwire them and use car batteries or just 9 volt transitor radio batteries.

    Next, try the TA-1 or the 312’s. The TA-1’s us just sound and the 312’s use D-cell radio batteries. Use a solar powered battery charger.

    Also, why is there no mention of solar power? My whole home is run on solar power and has been for years. Solar power is cheap and getting cheaper. I built a system a few years ago that works great and still fills our needs. Also, try the Solar Living Sourcebook from Real Goods. you can find really neat shit to live by. Use Sunnelco or Kansas Wind Power too. these are great companies and have been in the business for more than 20 years each.

    Go to the Batteries Plus store and buy your batteries. They are much cheaper and just as good and the Trojans. This is how i live. Catch up or shut up.

  • CaptainHarley

    Thank you so much for that valuable input. I didn’t go into solar power because I consider the tech still in its infancy.

  • Country Codger

    Captain Harley,

    I want to apologize. I have lived off the grid in 4 continents, stuck my finger in bleeding holes and survived by my wits for 40 years. I am old and I get cranky. You are doing right to try and wake people up. Hope you have more luck than I have. Good luck and God bles in 2012.

    • CaptainHarley

      No apology necessary, bro. I love it when people call me to task for things I have written. It keeps me sharp. : ))

  • higherview

    What do you mean by a radio phone? I assume you are not talking about Ham radio? Also if you are talking about the hand held radios, they do not have much service distance and are line of sight reception. Are you speaking of something else? Thanks

  • CaptainHarley

    Nope. Not talking about ham radio. Some of the better handhelds work fairly well beyond line-of-sight. The point is … we will have to work with what is available, not what we might prefer.

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