Prepping isn’t just for the zombie apocalypse. I live in costal New England and you can bet that there will be at least two or three situations where you won’t have power or won’t be able to get to the store for a while. Blizzards, hurricanes, etc. Also personal crises like losing a job or unexpected car repairs can leave you looking at zero food budget. Always good to have emergency rations to live off of until things return to normal.
During a prolonged blackout, keeping flashlights, radios, and cell phones running can become a challenge of its own. The most cost-effective approach is to stick to devices that can take regular AA, AAA, or PP3 (9V) batteries; modern alkaline cells have very long shelf lives (10 years), can be bought cheaply in bulk, and will do the trick for almost all portable electronics you can think of. Of course, modern power-hungry smartphones are a notable exception to this rule. For that, you can always try solar chargers ($50) - they work well, but are a bit fragile and may not perform too amazingly in wooded areas or on overcast days. You can also go for hand-crank generators ($30, labor-intensive) or AA power banks ($15, mixed reviews). But ultimately, also allow for the possibility of not being able to call others for a while.
This is a very interesting premise, but the episodes get tiresome as the format is increasingly repetitive. Also, some really obvious mistakes that the preppers make are sometimes ignored: shelves full of glass bottles at eye level (no lip on shelves) in preparation for a major earthquake? Also, the one issue preparation (climate change, economic collapse, Yellowstone blowing up, etc.) seems tunnel-visioned, but apparently the shows' writers need that statement as a justification for their script. The fact is that most of the preppers and the needed preparations that each makes are very much the same in the outcomes they're working toward.
While lurking on a prepper discussion thread on Tea Party Community, a social network marketed as a conservative alternative to Facebook, I once saw a rousing discussion about navigating the tricky business of armed combat while confined to a mobility scooter. In that particular hypothetical scenario, individuals were discussing the best ways to kill NATO peacekeeping forces. These are real people, and they live in your city. You've seen them around, buying groceries or waiting in line at the DMV—just doing regular old human activities. The only difference is that these people look at society and see the death throes of something grotesque, and they imagine that it is likely enough that they will find themselves thrown into a new mode of living, something primal and vicious and, let's face it, potentially invigorating.
Gadget upgrades. If your older phone, laptop, or a TV set are still working fine, keep them for another year or two. Sure, it's fun to play with a new toy, but the excitement wears off quickly, and being a bit behind probably won't make your life feel hollow and pointless. All things considered, you are not impressing your friends that much by showing them that you had $500 or $1,000 to throw away.
At first, the falling dust will be extremely radioactive and even short-term exposure might be lethal - so your best bet would be to seek shelter in the basement, or near the center of mass of any other building. This maximizes the mass between you and the outside world, shielding you from the gamma rays produced by whatever happens to settle on the roof and the outside walls. The density and volume of the shielding material matters more than anything else. It does not have to be lead; mattresses and bulky furniture should do.
Tools may include cutting tools such as saws, axes and hatchets; mechanical advantage aids such as a pry bar or wrecking bar, ropes, pulleys, or a 'come-a-long" hand-operated winch; construction tools such as pliers, chisels, a hammer, screwdrivers, a hand-operated twist drill, vise grip pliers, glue, nails, nuts, bolts, and screws; mechanical repair tools such as an arc welder, an oxy-acetylene torch, a propane torch with a spark lighter, a solder iron and flux, wrench set, a nut driver, a tap and die set, a socket set, and a fire extinguisher. As well, some survivalists bring barterable items such as fishing line, liquid soap, insect repellent, light bulbs, can openers, extra fuels, motor oil, and ammunition.
For folks interested in getting a nice, compact Geiger counter, Radex One ($120) is pretty hard to beat; it is tiny, inexpensive, and can be hooked up to a PC to continuously monitor the environment (and send e-mail or SMS alerts). The one caveat is that similarly to many other low-cost units, this device maxes out at 1 mSv/h - enough to know that something is very wrong, but not enough to tell if you're going to receive a life-threatening dose in an hour or somewhere within the next six months. In other words, some of the more hardcore preppers may want to invest in a more capable unit, such as ADM-300 (which goes all the way to 100 Sv/h) or RAD-60R (3 Sv/h). Decommissioned military and civilian devices in excellent working condition can be found on eBay for around $200.
Though its light weight and long shelf life are ideal for navigating harsh conditions, freeze-dried food is probably most famous as a cultural curiosity: Like many Americans, I discovered it in a museum gift shop, gawking at the styrofoam-like ice cream that astronauts used to have for dessert. More recently, I encountered it at a disaster preparedness convention in Raleigh, North Carolina, where smiling, gray-haired preppers manned tables piled with plastic bags full of vegetables, meats, and stews.
Doomsday Preppers has received varied reviews. Neil Genzlinger in The New York Times condemned it as an "absurd excess on display and at what an easy target the prepper worldview is for ridicule," noting, "how offensively anti-life these shows are, full of contempt for humankind." Nevertheless, "The program has been a ratings bonanza, with a 60-percent male audience, with an average age of 44." "Doomsday Preppers is the network's most-watched series". Brooklyn Bagwell, casting director for the second season, claimed it was the highest-rated show in the history of the National Geographic Channel.
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