The subject of emergency preparedness is varied and complex. Actionable items will depend on what kind of disaster you’re preparing for and your individual circumstances. Maybe you live on a farm in Montana and want your large family to be ready in case you’re holed up during severe snowstorms. Perhaps you rent a little apartment in the suburbs and want to be ready if the Little Green Men from Mars land on the White House lawn, don’t detect any intelligent life there, and decide to invade your neighborhood instead. Obviously, the preparation strategies would be much different for each. One’s available budget also figures in, as it’s a limiting factor. I highly recommend not going into debt over it.
As we’ve recently seen, it doesn’t take much to disrupt a supply chain. There’s been a lot of that going on in recent times, of course. Moreover, there’s been an unprecedented rise in accidents in food production and distribution facilities. It’s debatable how much of that is attributable to random chaos, understandable consequences of extraordinary events, or malicious tampering in furtherance of dialectical strategies. In the latter case, globalist centralization of control would tend to make it easy to pull off a stunt like that. Since there have been plenty of times in history when starvation was weaponized against civilian populations, preparedness is necessary.
A thought experiment
Suppose I were a supervillain plotting how to bring the Americans to heel. We’ve got to teach those unruly peasants who’s boss! While in my posh Swiss lair, getting a tug-n-rub from Ukraine’s studly Volodymyr Zelenskyy as Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Brazil’s Lula DaSilva suck my toes like nursing puppies, a brilliant plan hatches out of my Space Lizard brain.
Forthwith, I get my buddy Tedros the Wanker at his big three-letter international health authority to cook up a new study and make some official pronouncements. When that comes in, I get on the horn with the guy in Washington who runs the White House teleprompter. Then I unplug my understudy from his uplink dongle to the Borg Collective long enough for him to chat with some bigwigs at the Teamsters union, smoothing things over and filling them in on some strategic details. The next day, there’s a new rule for the American trucking industry. Since Congress would never approve it, it’s written up as an executive order for Resident Bidet to sign. As a public health measure, all truck drivers will henceforth be required to insert a COVID Prevention Dildo (CPD) in their rectums while on the job, with compliance to be monitored electronically through an embedded microchip. After the announcement, the mainstream media and Big Tech work in unison to stifle any criticism of the CPD measure. This is for the safety of Our Democracy &trade, and the anointed “experts” are unanimously in favor. What kind of idiot could possibly object?
About 2% of American truckers simply change out their usual long-haul plugs for the mandatory high-tech hardware, and really like how the CPDs tickle while placing calls on their 5G phones. The few liberal truck drivers likewise cheerfully comply because they always obey the government’s orders, no matter how nonsensical or tyrannical. A few truckers begin inserting the CPDs without much comment; although the executive order makes no sense, they reason that they’re secure enough in their masculinity to take it up the wazoo without feeling violated. (After all, it’s not like they’re getting injected with inadequately tested experimental gene therapy products, right?) Among the remainder, some complain bitterly but submit anyway; they have families to feed, after all, even if the new regulations are a pain in the ass. But over half the truck drivers walk off the job in disgust.
This starts causing massive backlogs in shipping. The usual sort of conspiracy nuts say there’s been selective tinkering with prioritization. Shops for clothing, hardware, furniture, and so forth are observed to receive regular deliveries of wholesale merchandise, while grocery stores and restaurants haven’t had any new shipments since the executive order went into effect. My hired “fact checkers” insist that there is no shipping backlog, and moreover that the shipping backlog that isn’t happening has nothing to do with the CPD mandate, which also isn’t happening. In the real world that “fact checkers” do not inhabit, food inventories deplete quickly. A week into it, grocery stores in big cities start getting plundered and the first of the massive food riots begins.
Then I have a chat with the mainstream media executives. Soon, the TV talking heads are all babbling excitedly about a savoir in Davos and my plan to end the supply chain crisis. I promise that my digital currency plan will make everything go back to normal. It’s going to be a bit of a surprise to the peasants when they find out that the fine print says everyone is getting microchipped up the wazoo. If necessary, a little more starvation should take care of that morale problem.
One thing that all preparation plans should have is a way to provide emergency food and water. Nobody will last long without them. We’ll consider water first. Other than oxygen, this is your top biological need. If you have to go without it for three days, trust me, it’s no fun. After five days without water, you’ll be near death. Obviously you don’t want that to happen. Death is overrated!
This is important. There was an interesting story that California drained its reservoirs, dumping a five-year supply of fresh water into the ocean. (If I were a complete cynic, I might wonder how many millions of Swiss francs it took to grease the palms that opened the floodgates.) Meanwhile, new water storage was funded but not built. Oopsie! If all this is anything near what it looks like it might be, then readiness among the public could pay off greatly. Maybe all that was only incompetence, but if so, preparing for more of the same is prudent.
There are relatively few residences on or close to reliable sources of natural potable water. But if you live near one, then you’re covered in the event of a catastrophic failure of the water supply — unless you have enough neighbors to deplete the alternate source. Another solution, if you own property, is to install a water well. Hiring a drilling company to do so will cost a few thousand dollars, but the good news is that you might be able to eliminate your water bill after that, depending on your city’s regulations. Make sure that you have a hand-pump system as a a backup in case the power goes out, too. One day you might become the most popular kid on the block.
Storage is also something to consider. Your choices may include large-quantity barrels (which will get very heavy), five-gallon glass carboys (as long as it won’t freeze), or something similar — even plastic drink bottles, if necessary. Keep them in a dark place, preferably protected from temperature extremes. Filtration, distillation, and other purification methods can all be used to allow for the use of non-potable water.
Roof runoff is a potential water source, too. First you’ll have to ensure that collecting rainwater from a roof isn’t illegal in your area; some places have dumb laws on that. Very large quantities of snow can likewise be melted down usefully. Both will require purification. (Birds poop on roofs, and snow can soak up a lot of pollution on the way down.) That can supplement a water supply as needed, though nature isn’t always as cooperative as we might like.
Short-term food security
Having a decent food supply on hand is your next priority. Let’s get something straight right away: What I am proposing is not the same thing as hoarding, and neither is it panic buying. If you have your stockpile in place, then you’re not going to be one of the frenzied shoppers getting into a fistfight over the last can of pickled artichokes. Neither do I propose wasting food, which I actually consider rather detestable. You should be consuming everything you buy — eventually.
A fairly common milestone is to have a pantry stockpile sufficient to last for three months. Many emergency situations will sort themselves out by then. For this, you’ll want the sort of dry and canned goods found in a grocery store. Get lots of whatever you already like to eat. If possible, buy when those items are on sale. You don’t have to do this all at once; hopefully no catastrophe will unfold overnight.
These items’ shelf life will typically be a year. Food doesn’t really turn to poison immediately after the “sell by” date, but the quality will decline and eventually become inedible. Canned goods may have a favorable shelf life (it depends), but it’s better not to push it. If the can bulges or leaks, or the contents smell bad or are bubbly, get rid of it, as it’s probably infested with bacteria.
Note well: You’ll need to consume these in “first in, first out” fashion. That is to say, for your daily meals you’ll eat the oldest of whatever you have. Place all new purchases of any item at the back of the shelf. Thus, on a three-month rotation, everything should be getting consumed before the expiration date. Noting gets wasted or goes bad.
For pasta and grains in particular, you’ll want to take care to protect the food from hazards like moisture, excessive heat, insects, and rodents. In some cases, a bug hitching a ride can end up infesting a package. Sometimes those bitty bastards even can overrun the whole pantry. I’ve found rice weevils to be a common problem, though flash freezing should kill any of them so that your bag of rice won’t become a bag of bugs. Heavy plastic containers that critters can’t chew through, or even smell the contents therein, will also be helpful.
This is important: If you find a long-forgotten box of instant ramen packages, the last thing you want to see is hordes of little chupacabras crawling over your noodles. This is especially so if you’re starving and holed up because Skynet became self-aware, and now machines are roving the streets the likes of which you last saw in an article a few years ago about Google military robots. (Great idea, Big Tech!) Sure, you can think of bugs as extra protein, but personally I’d rather give all that a miss. The W6rld Ec6nomic F6rum already wants the peasants to eat bugs; don’t let them win!
Something else to keep in mind is your pets. No, I don’t mean for extra protein! They’re your friends, and if an emergency comes up, you’ll want to make sure they have food, too. Going a little off topic, if there’s any medication you especially need, it’s prudent to have extra. The same goes for vitamins.
Grow your own
If you happen to be a farmer, you’re already in the food business. If you have a back yard, gardening is probably an option. Also, you might consider planting one or more fruit trees, nut trees, or berry bushes suitable to your climate. All that will take some research and work, but it might pay off someday. Even in an apartment, you might have some options for small-scale gardening.
Some city-dwellers may need a gentle reminder that horticulture is a skill. It’s not just a matter of sprinkling some seeds on the ground and waiting for autumn to arrive. I recall a certain scene from the CHAZ/CHOP/Tofudishu uprising in Seattle during the Long Hot Summer of Floyd. One of the anarchist kiddos tossed a plant onto a patch of bare dirt that they called their community garden, beaming with satisfaction at a job well done. Don’t be that guy! Granted, later there were some radicalinskis with greener thumbs who did a better job of it, but the point is that a little research will help avoid the clueless newb phase.
Obviously, the results won’t be available all year round. You can’t count on this being a complete solution to your food requirements, even if you’re growing crops in the back yard. Still, something will be quite a lot better than nothing. If you find yourself with more apricots or persimmons than you know what to do with, these could become valuable trade goods during a severe food shortage. Even if nothing particularly bad happens in the coming years, your efforts will be rewarded: You’ll save on grocery bills and have garden-fresh fruits and veggies that taste better than the store-bought variety.
Long-lasting dry goods
Another milestone is to be prepared for a year, or perhaps even more. You can acquire food supplies with a very long shelf life, such as 25-30 years. There are a few items that will last more or less forever, like salt, sugar, and honey, as long as they’re packed in a way to keep out moisture, las cucarachas, las ratas, los chupacabras, etc. Canning is another possibility. Also, there are ways to make dry goods last longer, such as vacuum packing or oxygen absorbers. If this isn’t done, then, for example, beans older than a year can’t be boiled to al dente and will have an unacceptably hard center. In a survival situation, tough beans may be the least of your concerns, but still . . .
There are durable dry-goods supplies available for purchase. Some may last for ten, 25, or even 30 years until opened. (After that, they should be consumed within a year.) Eventually, you’ll want to count on consuming it, but you’re in no rush to do so. Freeze-dried meals in particular are convenient for camping trips.
For one thing, the Mormon cannery program might be an option if you’re near a distribution center. We don’t bite, I promise! Just let them know in the beginning that you’re there to purchase from the bulk supplies; you can do that no matter what your religious affiliation is. (The free food program is for members only.) It’s sold at cost, so it’s hard to get a better deal. The limitations are that hours may be irregular, the inventory availability can be rather dodgy, and the selection only includes basic staples: mostly grains, other starches, beans, and noodles. It’s not Wally World, but the program isn’t bad for what it does.
There are online shops where you can purchase long-term dry goods that are fancier than that, if you happen to like a little flavor with your carbohydrates. Prices vary quite a bit according to what you’re going to get. Some of them I’d even call a ripoff. (Even my favorite store has a few items that don’t seem like bargains, or that I could get for less at the grocery store.) I recommend doing some comparisons to check out the price per calorie, especially since some shops may short-sheet you on what they call a day’s rations.
Other than that, quality may vary between one company and another. Before you make any big purchases, you can get a two-week supply to see what it’s going to be like in terms of preparation, flavor, and overall quality. You can compare brands to determine what you like best. Remember that in an emergency, you might be eating quite a bit of it. Then again, if one day the streets are crawling with hunter-seeker robots commanded by Maximum Overlord Rosso’s Open Mankind Foundation Governance, you’ll have more to be worried about than mediocre chow.
Note that these shops will have sales from time to time, and some sales are better than others. If, for example, you’re going in for a year’s supply, then you might save a few hundred clams by waiting patiently for a deep discount. That’s also sensible for smaller purchases. If you go for a three-month supply, you might still say, “Whoa, I just spent 600 bucks on preps!” Now take your sweetie out to lunch. Did you just pay a $30 restaurant tab? That was 5% of the dry goods’ purchase price, for roughly 1% of its caloric content. Other than that, you can think of a long-lasting food supply as inflation or even poverty insurance.
And finally . . .
Prepping is like Fight Club: The first and second rules are that you don’t talk about it. Bragging about your large collection of things that slice or go “bang” is quite unwise, and might well get you some unwanted attention. This isn’t only from glowies concerned about your bad attitude, or any future gun-grabbers: Word can get around. If your friendly neighborhood burglar hears about your big stash of ballistic hardware, he might pay a visit the next time you’re out of town.
Similar precautions also apply for other preparations. Suppose you get the reputation in the neighborhood as the survivalist weirdo who wasted a bunch of money on a massive supply of dried goods. If a food shortage occurs, everyone will be on your doorstep with their hands out. If you give in, soon they’ll be hungry all over again, and so will you because you gave it all away. If you refuse them, eventually they’ll get froggy and ransack your place. In a food riot, shit gets real in a hurry! I should add that it’s a good idea to keep long-term foods and other essentials hidden away, preferably in more than one place.
Sadly, the same goes for friends and relatives. Remember that these are adults who are responsible for their own survival. Unless you own a farm, it’s unlikely you could help them all in an extended crisis. At most, you can drop hints and point them in the right direction if they’re interested in prepping. But if you run your mouth a little too much about your own preparations, their reply might be, “Oh, goody, now I know where to go if the grocery stores are empty.” Those are not words you want to hear! If you try to correct this misconception with the would-be moocher, it probably won’t go over well. Either way, the cat is out of the bag.
Imagine your annoying brother-in-law, the one who keeps trying to sell you on stupid Multi-Level Marketing pyramid schemes, pounding on your door while wailing and calling you an inhuman bastard for heartlessly refusing to let him “borrow a little food from your huge stash.” (Surely you wouldn’t want your hungry neighbors to observe a spectacle like this.) He may believe there’s just a temporary shortage occurring that will soon sort itself out. Maybe so and maybe not, but either way, he’ll think of you as a monster for not “sharing” your supplies. If you refuse him, he might return at night with some friends to help you reconsider.
If “every man for himself and let the devil take the hindmost” sounds too grim for you, that’s okay. Practically speaking, you may plan to be charitable if anything should happen and lay in some overage. As needed, you can dole it out to deserving parties as long as they don’t blab about where it came from. Even to them, you may legitimately withhold details about your stockpile; your personal property is your business.
Either that, or you can use your planned surplus to hire your annoying brother-in-law as a sentry who literally works for beans. Why not? Beans are good for the heart!
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