Try to identify the aspects of your plan that are most likely to go wrong, and come up with viable alternatives. Take a hard look at any new problems you are creating, too: for example, if you want to store gas in your garage, it will probably help in an evacuation, but will also increase the odds of accidentally starting a serious fire. Or, consider a far more prosaic case: if you are planning to stockpile batteries or bottles of insect repellent, you should make sure they can't leak and spoil other, more vital supplies nearby.
Mary lives on what I would call a family compound, with 4 generations represented. Half of the food they consume is from produce and animals they have on their property, and they keep stores of preserved food along with other supplies in the basements or storm cellars of the five homes on their eighty-plus acres. Mary is mostly concerned about weathering some kind of general social collapse, whether economic or racial in nature. “I’m mostly just worried that things were just too good for too long,” she says. “We live in the best country in the world. Everywhere else you look, there are wars happening where they live or right next door. But we have it great here, and now it just feels like we’re getting ready to come apart at the seams.”
Growing your own fruits and vegetables is a slow and gradual process, requiring at least one growing season and one harvesting season. Approach this in a smart way by purchasing a packet of seasonally relevant seeds when you first begin, which can be as little as $1. Alternatively you could also buy one of our Heirloom survival seed vaults which contains hundreds of great seeds with 20+ vegetables. Grow them continuously and then jar or pickle them when the time comes to harvest. Pickled foods that are well-sealed and kept at temperatures below 75 degrees can last up to three years. In addition to this, grow herbs for medicinal and taste purposes. Once you invest a couple of dollars here and there to growing food—even small amounts in your kitchen—it is truly a great return on investment requiring only a few dollars and some sweat equity.
Heat: Emergency blankets made out of a metallic Mylar material are small and handy, and can double as ground cover or tarps for shelter. We like this pack of six Mylatech XL blankets. For a great bonus option, we love this indoor heater that uses the same small propane tanks as the camping stoves. Avoid cheaper ones that aren’t safe for indoor use — two weeks after first publishing this guide, a neighboring tent in our campground caught on fire because of a cheap propane heater that tipped over while a family slept inside.
Of course, while this approach reduces the odds of being blindsided by a painful problem, it does not make the risk go away: a chipped tooth or a painful abscess can strike with virtually no warning. If you can't see a dentist right away, OTC painkillers can offer partial relief, but no amount of ibuprofen will let you forget about an exposed nerve. Topical benzocaine ointments may work better in some situations, but they don't last very long. Sometimes, swishing some cold water in your mouth, or sucking in air through a carefully positioned straw, can offer decent relief. In the longer haul, amoxicillin can clear up many dental infections, while zinc oxide / eugenol cement can be used for emergency repair of damaged teeth. There are some reports that repeated treatments of cavities with silver nitrate can be beneficial, too - but be aware that the substance is caustic and tends to semi-permanently stain skin (and anything else it comes into contact with).
They are part of a burgeoning "prepper" movement that believes preparing for the end of civilization is more rational than ridiculing those who do. Once viewed largely as a practice by survivalists on the fringe, prepping has achieved cohesion and community in the Internet age through best-selling writers, bloggers, risk assessors, conspiracy theorists and companies that cater to preppers' needs.
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