Hall, in his late fifties, is barrel-chested and talkative. He studied business and computers at the Florida Institute of Technology and went on to specialize in networks and data centers for Northrop Grumman, Harris Corporation, and other defense contractors. He now goes back and forth between the Kansas silo and a home in the Denver suburbs, where his wife, a paralegal, lives with their twelve-year-old son.
You'll find staples like powdered butter, freeze-dried meats, cereals, grains, pasta, fruits and vegetables, and baking ingredients. They also offer a great selection of entrees, including popular Mountain House meals like turkey tetrazzini, rice pilaf, and sweet and sour pork. Many of these are included in their emergency kits that will keep you fed for days or months at a time.
A thermometer that won't run out of juice. Responding to serious emergencies can be stressful and physically taxing, making it easy to catch nasty infections along the way. To know how bad things have gotten, it's good to have a reliable way to take body temperature; keep in mind that many low-cost axillary thermometers use LR41 batteries, and that you probably don't have any spares lying around. One good choice is this ($35). A traditional glass thermometer will also work, but is more fragile.
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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!
All in all, it's OK to reject armed self-defense (or shun guns in particular) on religious or moral grounds - but doing so is probably not a particularly rational decision within the scope of this guide. From a rational standpoint, you should always pick the tools that are best suited for the scenarios you anticipate (provided that the state allows you to). Of course, a firearm is not always the answer, so let's take a broader look at some of the most popular options for shooing away looters or defending yourself:
Of course, there are many other high-tech gadgets popular among some of the more affluent and paranoid preppers - anything from satellite phones, to night vision goggles, to heated insoles. In all likelihood, none of that is worth the cost. If I had to pick two extravagant "doomsday" accessories that could conceivably be useful to some people if something truly awful happens to the world, I'd go with a waterproof hiking GPS unit and a portable Geiger counter. Both are powered by AAA batteries and cost around $140. (We'll talk about Geiger counters and their relative merits a bit later on.)
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