Biking on public roads? Wear a helmet and bright-colored clothing, stay well clear of the doors of parked vehicles, move in a straight line instead of weaning in and out of the traffic, and watch for cars trying to make right turns. Scan for cross traffic at intersections and signal all turns. Don't run red lights - it's not worth the seconds shaved off your commute. Don't ride without holding the handlebars; it makes you look very hip, but when you do that, a single rock or an unnoticed pothole can throw you right under the wheels of a passing bus.
Why do our dystopian urges emerge at certain moments and not others? Doomsday—as a prophecy, a literary genre, and a business opportunity—is never static; it evolves with our anxieties. The earliest Puritan settlers saw in the awe-inspiring bounty of the American wilderness the prospect of both apocalypse and paradise. When, in May of 1780, sudden darkness settled on New England, farmers perceived it as a cataclysm heralding the return of Christ. (In fact, the darkness was caused by enormous wildfires in Ontario.) D. H. Lawrence diagnosed a specific strain of American dread. “Doom! Doom! Doom!” he wrote in 1923. “Something seems to whisper it in the very dark trees of America.”
Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.
In trying times, people always come together and find strength in local communities. Even if you don't expect it, you will almost certainly be able to count on the kindness of strangers. But your odds can be greatly improved by getting to know your neighbors ahead of the time, by cultivating trust and mutual respect, and by getting a sense of each others' toolkits and skills. In a grim situation, being on good terms with a doctor or a veterinarian can quite literally save your life. And heck, some rural communities in the US even maintain communal stashes of emergency supplies!
This is by no means an exhaustive or comprehensive list of the items available for your long term food storage program. You can tailor your program to your tastes and your budget. Remember the key elements are calories (LOTS), nutritional value (Vitamins and Minerals), storage life, storage space, and flavor. By consulting this list however, you can get a pretty good idea of how to get going on your program.
Prepping does represent an element of hope, but it’s a “selfish” hope: that you and yours will be able to survive and make it through because you were ready, even if it’s at the expense of everyone else. There doesn’t seem to be another option, though, when our government itself, with trillions of dollars at its disposal, never seems to be prepared even for emergencies that have high probabilities of occurrence, like Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in New Orleans. Perhaps, as prepping becomes more mainstream, the ideas it brings with it, of self-sufficiency and self-reliance, will provide some positive effect on society overall.
Preppers Survive gets quite a few emails each month. My favorite emails are from newbie Preppers because they have an intensity and an urgency in their comments and questions. This intense urgency is how I felt when I first started prepping. I laboriously looked for articles on prepping for beginners. It felt like it haunted my every waking thought for months. I have been prepping for eight years and have learned many lessons over the years. Perhaps a universal lesson I’ve learned is that there is no magic formula!
In my home county, one of the most rural in Maryland and roughly an hour’s drive outside of Washington, DC, I organized a small meeting of a few people who consider themselves preppers and/or survivalists. The county might be described as 70% conservative and primarily Republican, and 30% liberal and primarily Democrat. Calvert County is a peninsula, 30 miles long and 9 miles wide, no point further than 5 miles from a navigable body of water (the Chesapeake Bay to the east and Patuxent River to the west). It’s mostly farms, parks and deer-filled woodland interspersed with a number of town centers and housing developments.
Bare hands. No deterrent effect, but surprisingly effective when a confrontation can't be avoided - especially when facing a single assailant. Reserved for people who are physically fit and willing to invest a fair amount of time into training. One of the most pragmatic and widely-taught schools is Krav Maga, and there's certainly no harm in checking it out.
Generally speaking, the more outdoor experience you have, the fewer items you’ll need in your survival kit. Those who are quite skilled at starting campfires may not need to bring matches and emergency tinder; as a simple fire starter will suffice. Similarly, experienced outdoor enthusiasts may elect to bring items like garbage bags, rather than ponchos, as they can be used for a variety of different purposes, which outdoor novices are unlikely to have mastered.
I went home, shaken and shaking, all of the adrenaline flooding me at once. I slept uneasily, tossing and turning in my bed. I wanted my partner to sleep next to me, but also couldn't bear to be touched. I had nightmares that lasted for weeks: dizzying, confusing dreams where I was struggling to breathe or see but could hear pain all around me, and I would wake up panting and sweating.
Still, if you are worried about the situation changing for the worse, repellents such as DEET and picaridin can provide the first line of defense. Beyond that, more radical solutions may include electric bug zappers (especially when coupled with mosquito attractants, such as octenol or lactic acid), permethrin or pyrethrin insecticide sprays (applied to clothes or to the perimeter), mesh jackets, window screens, and bed nets. For crawling insects, borax and diatomaceous earth can act as a deadly barrier, too.
The next area of the book is on water. Every good prepper knows you can only last about 3 days without water. I promise you, you won’t want to go that long. Jim has some great information on finding water sources as well as filtering, purifying, and properly storing it. The next rule of 3 is “3 weeks without food”, so aptly enough, chapter 3 is on food, and how to avoid a starvation diet. Of course food storage is covered, but Jim also talks about the importance of diversification. If water is not in large supply, you’ll need foods that are easily eaten without having to add any water. He also talks a little about gardening, foraging, fishing, hunting and trapping, and how to preserve what food you find. It does you no good to get a deer if you can’t preserve some of that meat to eat at a later time.
Because of its very high value-to-volume ratio, physical gold is stored and moved around very easily, but keeping substantial amounts at home can be ill-advised; theft is a very real risk, and most insurance policies will not adequately cover the loss. Safe deposit boxes at a local bank, available for around $20 a year, are usually a better alternative - although they come with some trade-offs; for example, the access to deposit boxes was restricted by the government during the Greek debt crisis in 2015. Non-bank storage services do not have that problem, but cost quite a bit more.
This obviously means you’ll have to balance your use of redundant items with your carrying capacity. However, you can address both of these competing forces by trying to bring along items that serve multiple purposes. This way, you aren’t really bringing items that are duplicates of each other, but you still benefit from having some backup options. For example, duct tape is often included to repair clothing or camping gear, but you can also use it as a band-aid in a pinch. Safety pins are another good multi-purpose supply, as they can be used for clothing repairs, bent into fishhooks or used to sew up a wound if need be.
In tropical areas, a survival kit may have mosquito head netting, additional insect repellent, anti-fungal cream, a machete, water purification tablets, foot powder, matches, a flint strike, a compass, a wire saw, a space blanket, medical equipment (gauze pads, elastic gauze bandage, antiseptic creams, anti-malaria tablets, anti-infection tablets, bandages, etc.), salt tablets, a fishing kit, snare wire, extra socks, a candle, a signal mirror, flares, a sewing kit, safety pins, tinder, tape, a whistle, and rations.