Hurricane Sandy

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How Much Ammo do I Need for SHTF?

By P. Henry

A common question when preppers begin the process of accumulating supplies and knowledge is How much ammo do I need for SHTF? Of course, if you don’t have any firearms, the question is more likely, how much ammo do you need meaning the person like me? Because anyone with a gun in their opinion doesn’t need it and any ammo except maybe a single box is too much. That box should also be registered with the local sheriff and kept under lock and key preferably at the Sheriff’s office.

For the rest of us who are able to keep firearms (for now) and who don’t have a problem with firearms, I wanted to give my take on how much ammo to keep. The typical SHTF scenario is not a limited disruption in services or power like what you can expect from a weather event. Although, there are a lot of cases recently where Hurricanes disrupt a community for years. (Haiti, Hurricane Sandy, Katrina) so to some of you this could be a real SHTF scenario in its own right. I am not really speaking to this threat, but you can glean some information for those who do find themselves in a weather caused event I think.

My scenario for this post is a real SHTF type of scenario where for whatever reason, any resemblance of normalcy has been thrown out the window and there is no Rule of Law or Law and Order is severely diminished. Economic Collapse, Mutant Zombie Bikers from Mars, Global pandemic; pick one. The point I want to get to is if the stores never opened again, if you couldn’t walk down to Walmart ever and get more ammo; how much would you need on hand before the collapse?

Let me first preface this with the following. Everyone’s situation is different so this is just my idea of the recommended minimum amounts. If I haven’t taken into account some of your realities, please let me know. I think this post can be a forum where we can all get more perspective from others out there.

What are the recommended minimums in your favorite calibers?Next, this is not assuming you are going to bug out into the woods. I can already hear people saying “How are you going to carry all of that” and I completely agree that you would never be able to on foot. I am not planning on bugging out; this is my minimums for bugging in. Additionally, there will be people who say things like, what if you get killed and you have all of that ammo? The bad guys are going to get everything you have. True, but I could get killed falling down the steps or eating some bad spaghetti sauce and the bad guys would get it anyway. Any plans I make are for living, not dying. I think it’s stupid to plan for dying. Let the people burying you worry about that.

How Much Do I Need?

So, to get to the point, I mentioned in another post the Top Five Firearms You Need to Get Your Hands on, so that is my battery of arms. This included one Shotgun, One Battle Rife, One Long-Range (Hunting) Rifle, One pistol and One small game rifle. For these weapons, I have the following recommendations.

  • Shotgun
    • Small Game – 500 rds.
    • Defensive – 500 rds.
  • Battle Rifle AR or AK – 2000 rds.
  • Long Range Rifle – 500 rds.
  • Pistol
    • Defensive Hollow Point– 1000 rds.
    • Practice (Ball) – 2000 rds.
  • Small Game (.22) – 2000 rds.

I will go ahead and explain my reasoning for these numbers and please feel free to comment with your own opinions and suggestions. I am just like every single other person in the world out there. There aren’t any SHTF experts so it is just opinions all around. You may have a lot of experience in the Army, or the Police Force but that doesn’t make you an expert any more than anyone else.

Shotgun – This weapon has two uses so the count is fairly high. 500 rounds each for hunting game and defending your home should last a long time.

Battle Rifle – This to me is your go to weapon of choice in any type of SHTF scenario and your magazines will hold more than just about any normal magazine of any of my other choices. A decent combat load is 12 magazines at 30 rounds each (12 X 30 = 360) and that is just what you can carry on you in your vest or LBE. 2000 to me is the minimum I would strive for.

Long Range Rifle – Again, this pulls double duty along with the Shotgun. A well sighted .30-.06 or .308 can reach out and touch a lot of people at a respectable distance if they are handled correctly. This can be the weapon that bags deer for dinner or picks off a zombie at 600 yards.

Pistol – This weapon is not as powerful as the battle rifle, but it will be on your side more often I imagine. Spare pistol ammo can be bartered in a pinch, but only if you have more than your minimums.

Small Game – This is my .22 and it can be used to practice with, take smaller game and varmints if you are a good shot. This ammo is still considerably cheaper than just about any other too.

Now that I have my minimums out there, how do you get started? I would download our Ammo Inventory Spreadsheet if you have Excel to keep track and budget. If you had all of these calibers and had zero ammo I would try getting a little of everything as your finances allow. Don’t stock up on rifle ammo and forget everything else. Use the spreadsheet to help you plan your shopping trips to the Gun Show or buy online from sellers like our sponsors Crossfire Ammunition or Ammo Club.

What should you do when you have the minimums? You can keep going to further ensure you will have enough or move on to your other preps that you need to check off the list. As long as you have the minimums I would spend my money on other necessities before I add more ammo.

How many magazines do you need for each weapon?

That is another excellent question. I would say 4 magazines for each pistol at a minimum and 10 for your battle rifle. You don’t have to worry about shotguns and rifle magazines are costly too. I would say 4 magazines for your long-range rifle too but that is only after you get everything else first.

Have some ideas of your own? Id love to hear them in the comments below. – The Prepper Journal


Editors Note: TheSurvivalPlaceBlog does not condone theft or doing any person any harm to get the supplies you need. It would be a better idea to be prepared for any disaster or collapse in society.

Remember “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”


Here is a guide to scavenging for food and supplies during a disaster. Most of the ideas stem from me wondering what I would do during a zombie apocalypse (a thought exercise that, granted, I probably think about way too much), but as we’ve seen lately in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, these are skills that could benefit anyone, even in the most developed of the developed world.

I will talk about the tools that are needed, as well as a step-by-step guide to where and how to scavenge.


A Vehicle: A functioning vehicle is a benefit when scavenging. If you come across a place with lots of supplies, you will be able to bring a lot more goods back home. You will also be able to take multiple trips to a place and back in a much shorter time. Vehicles require fuel however, so know where the good potential targets are before hand to use your fuel as efficiently as possible.

Having someone guard the vehicle while loading is a good idea as well, to prevent someone coming by and swiping your goods.

Bags: You know all those plastic bags you’ve been storing under the sink, wondering when you would ever use them? Well, now is the time. These will allow you to carry many more items home, especially if you are on foot. Double-bag them to avoid breakage. Other bags such as backpacks or duffel bags can be used as well.

Forced Entry Tools: When scavenging during a disaster, you may need to resort to less-than-legal means to enter a building with the supplies you will need. Here at Prepared For That, we don’t condone breaking and entering, but as a thought experiment we will list some of the tools that would be needed in such an event: Bolt cutters, crow bars, a lock pick, or even a cutting torch or explosives can be used to enter a building that would otherwise be impenetrable.

A flashlight: In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, you never know when you will need a light source. Even during the day, the inside of some building may be pitch black without a supply of electricity to power their lights. Always have a flashlight on hand with an extra set of batteries.

Path Markers: When in an unknown area, it is important to have a way to mark your path. This will let you know where you have been, and allow you to escape an area quickly. Chalk arrows, duck tape, spray paint and glow sticks all work well.


1)      Grocery Stores: Food and water are the two most important things that need to be secured in a disaster. As such, grocery stores should be your first target (and they will clear out fast). Grab water (at least a few litres/day for each person) and food (the average adult will require 2000-2500 calories/day). You can prepare ahead of time by creating an emergency water supply and an emergency food supply.

Look for high-calorie, high-nutrient, non-perishable food that will last you a long time and give you the most bang for your buck (ie the most calories for your space they take up).

Grocery stores also often have things like first aid kits, batteries, lighters and matches and toiletries, all important items to secure.

2)      Hospitals and Medical Clinics: These can supply you with first aid kits, painkillers, antibiotics, and various medications and protective equipment. All of these would be very valuable for use or trade should society ever collapse.

3)      Gas Stations with Convenience Stores: A convenient spot during good times, these are now your best bet for securing gas, the next most valuable item once food, water and medicine are taken care of. Siphon off as much gas as you can store (these too will run dry fast).

Raid the convenience store for water, food, cigarettes (for barter, of course- we at Prepared For That don’t approve of smoking), candy (while not very healthy, it does pack a high-calorie energy punch), and anything else that can be helpful for use or trade.

4)      Military Surplus and Camping Stores: These places will have things like guns and ammo, as well as a host of other goods: fishing equipment, camping stoves, tents, animal traps, binoculars, fire starters, water purification tablets, flashlights, knives, crossbows, etc. The list goes on and on. A true gold mine.

5)      Gun Stores: These can supply you with guns and ammo. Make sure they are empty before attempting to enter though, as anyone inside would probably be the most well-armed guy in ton.

6)      Hardware Stores. Another source of valuable items. Tools for carpentry, plumbing, gardening and farming can all be found here. Gasoline and propane may be on hand as well.


Here is a step-by-step guide to scavenging a building for supplies:

1)      Reconnaissance. It’s a good idea to scope out an area before entering with your guns blazing. Are there people in there? This is good to know, so you don’t barge in and come face-to-face with the business end of a shotgun. Have many floors are there? Where are the exits

2)      Form a Plan. Create a plan with your group for the mission. Who’s going in? Who’s watching the car? Where is the meet up spot if things go bad? What are some contingency plans if certain situations arise?

3)      Enter the building. If it is locked, some of the forced entry tools may be needed (as a pure thought exercise, of course). Learning to pick locks would give you a valuable skill during the apocalypse. Consider entering through the backdoor, to draw less attention to yourself. If you set off an alarm, it’s usually best to leave immediately, unless you are particularly desperate.

4)      Gather Supplies. Once inside, quickly check the area and then start gathering your supplies. Stay in groups and never end up alone- you’ve seen the horror movies. Grab as much as you can, as you never know what will be available in the future.

5)      Be Quiet! Keep your profile as low as possible.

6)      Get Out Fast! Don’t stay for longer than you need to. Pack up and head back home as soon as you’ve finished what you came to do.

If these guide lines are followed, your scavenging missions should last much longer, and you just might get to fight another day.


Good luck and stay prepared! – Prepared For That

By Daisy Luther

If you’ve been watching the news, you’re well aware that a winter storm is bearing down on most of the United States.  We’ve been warned of plummeting temperatures, ice, and lots of snow, even in places that don’t normally receive such weather.

Are you ready to be snowed in for a few days?  If not, there’s no time like the present to get prepared.  Once you see how well you fare during the upcoming storm, you’ll be hooked on the feeling of security that you get from planning ahead.  This article is written with those who are new to preparedness in mind, so for the more experienced readers, please chime in with your tips in the comments section!

Keep in mind that with the holidays approaching, you could get snowed in with extra guests. Be sure you have enough supplies to keep everyone fed, hydrated, and warm.

Often, heavy snow, high winds, and ice can take down power lines and it can take a couple of weeks to get it restored, so plan for a two week emergency.  What would you need if the power went out and you couldn’t leave your home for 14 days? Once you begin creating your plan, you may be surprised to discover that you already have most of what you need to batten down the hatches for a couple of weeks. It’s just a matter of organizing it so you can see what you need.

Use the following information to create your personal 2 week preparedness plan.  Modify the suggestions to adapt them to your particular home, family, and climate.


Everyone knows that clean drinking water is something you can’t live without. In the event of a blizzard and power outage, the water may not run from the taps.  The pipes could freeze, or, in the event of grid failure, an electrically driven pump will not work.

Each family should store a two week supply of water. The rule of thumb for drinking water is 1 gallon per day, per person.  Don’t forget to stock water for your pets, also.

You can create your water supply very inexpensively.  Many people use clean 2 liter soda pop bottles to store tap water.  Others purchase the large 5 gallon jugs of filtered water from the grocery store.  Consider a gravity fed water filtration device and water purification tablets as well.

Food and a way to prepare it

There are two schools of thought regarding food during a power outage.  One: you need a cooking method that does not require the grid to be functioning.  Two: you can store food that doesn’t require cooking.

If you opt for a secondary cooking method, be sure that you have enough fuel for two weeks.  Store foods that do not require long cooking times – for example, dried beans would use a great deal of fuel, but canned beans could be warmed up, or even eaten cold.

Click HERE for a short term food storage list

Click HERE to find a list of foods that require no cooking.


The need for heat is a given in the midst of a winter storm. During the first 24 hours after a power outage, you can stay fairly warm if you block off one room of the house for everyone to group together in.  Keep the door closed and keep a towel or blanket folded along the bottom of the door to conserve warmth.  You can safely burn a couple of candles also, and in the enclosed space, your body heat will keep it relatively warm.  As well, dress in layers and keep everything covered – wear a hat, gloves (fingerless ones allow you to still function), and a scarf.

Click HERE to learn how to stay warm with less heat.

However, after about 48 hours, that’s not going to be enough in very cold weather. You will require back-up heat at this point. If you are lucky enough to have a source of heat like a fireplace or woodstove, you’ll be just fine as long as you have a supply of dry, seasoned firewood.

Consider a portable propane heater (and propane) or an oil heater.  You have to be very careful what type of backup heat you plan on using, as many of them can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if used in a poorly ventilated area.

Learn more about off-grid heat options HERE.

Sanitation needs

A common cause of illness, and even death, during a down-grid situation is lack of sanitation.  We’ve discussed the importance of clean drinking water, but you won’t want to use your drinking water to keep things clean or to flush the toilet.  If the pipes are frozen or you have no running water for other reasons during a winter storm, you’ll need to consider sanitation needs.

For cleaning, reduce your need to wash things. Stock up on paper plates, paper towels, and disposable cups and flatware.  Keep some disinfecting cleaning wipes and sprays (I don’t recommend using antibacterial products on a regular basis, however in the event of an emergency they can help to keep you healthy.)  Use hand sanitizer after using the bathroom and before handing food or beverages – there may be a lot more germs afoot in a disaster.

Look at your options for sanitation.  Does your toilet still flush when the electricity is out?  Many people discovered the hard way that the toilets didn’t work  when the sewage backed up in the highrises in New York City in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  At our old cabin, the toilet wouldn’t flush without power because the pump was electric.

If you are on a septic system, with no risk of the toilet backing up into the house, simply store some water for flushing in the bathroom. At the first sign of a storm, fill the bathtub for this purpose.  Add the water to the tank so that you can flush.

If this is not an option, another solution is to stock up on extremely heavy duty garbage bags (like the kind that contractors use at construction sites) and kitty litter.  Place a bag either in your drained toilet or in a bucket.  Sprinkle some kitty litter in the bottom of the bag.  Each time someone uses the bathroom, add another handful of litter. Be very careful that the bag doesn’t get too heavy for you to handle it.  Tie it up very securely and store it outside until services are restored.


Lighting is absolutely vital, especially if there are children in the house.  Nothing is more frightening than being completely in the dark during a stressful situation. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest things to plan for, as well as one of the least expensive.

Some lighting solutions are:

  • Garden stake solar lights
  • Candles
  • Kerosene lamps
  • Flashlights (don’t forget batteries)
  • Hand crank camping lantern
  • Don’t forget matches or lighters

Outdoor tools and supplies

In the event of a winter storm, you’ll need some special supplies in order to keep walkways and steps clear and less hazardous.

  • Snow shovel
  • Snow blower
  • Salt

Exercise that you’re unaccustomed to is one of the most frequent causes of death in the aftermath of a snow storm. Many people drop dead of a heart attack shoveling their driveways.  If you aren’t in shape, be sure that you use good sense when performing strenuous tasks. Take frequent breaks, stop when your out of breath, and do only a little bit at a time.  Be sure also to dress appropriately for the weather.

Other tools and supplies

Some basic items will make your life much easier during an emergency. Here are some things that are essential in the event of a power outage:

  • Lighter/waterproof matches
  • Batteries in various sizes
  • Manual can opener
  • Basic tools: Pliers, screwdriver, wrench, hammer
  • Duct tape
  • Crazy glue
  • Sewing supplies
  • Bungee cords

If you’d like to expand on the basic supplies, a more detailed list of tools and hardware can be found HERE.

First Aid kit

It’s important to have a basic first aid kit on hand at all times, but particularly in the event of an emergency.  Your kit should include basic wound care items like bandages, antibiotic ointments, and sprays.  As well, if you use them, keep on hand a supply of basic over-the-counter medications, like pain relief capsules, cold medicine, cough syrup, anti-nausea pills, and allergy medication. Particularly important if sanitation is a problem are anti-diarheal medications.

If you want to put together a more advanced medical kit, you can find a list HERE.

Special needs

This is something that will be unique to every family. Consider the things that are needed on a daily basis in your household. It might be prescription medications, diapers, or special foods.  If you have pets, you’ll need supplies for them too.  The best way to figure out what you need is to jot things down as you use them over the course of a week or so.

Stock your car

You should always keep an emergency kit in your vehicle but it’s especially important in bad winter weather.  Your kit should include:

  • Extra hats and gloves
  • Dry socks
  • Weatherproof footwear
  • Winter coat and snow pants
  • Food
  • Water (this will most likely be frozen and you’ll have to thaw it to drink it – it’s best to bring water with you each time you leave the house)
  • Backpack
  • Matches or lighter
  • Candles
  • Space blanket
  • Heavy duty sleeping bag
  • Flashers
  • Sand or salt (to help you get unstuck)
  • Shovel
  • First aid kit
  • Map and compass
  • Windshield scraper

Preparedness is just common sense

Don’t feel like you are crossing over to the tinfoil hat side by preparing for all eventualities during a winter storm.  This doesn’t mean you’re loading your car with gas masks and decontamination suits. It doesn’t mean your house is stacked to the rafters with ammo and body armor. It’s just plain old-fashioned common sense to keep a naturally occurring event from becoming a crisis.

It’s far better to have your supplies and never need them than to need them and not have them.

As for us, we can’t wait to have a snowball fight and make cocoa on the woodstove!  Bring it on, Mother Nature!

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at

water filter

By Rich M

While stockpiling food is an important part of preparing to face a disaster, your stockpiling shouldn’t be limited to just food. Experience has shown that in the face of a major disaster, much more than the food supply line is severed.

If we look at Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, we find that pretty much all of the infrastructure goes down in the face of a major disaster. The people living in those areas were without electricity, fresh water, sewage service, communications, police protection and much more. In a sense, it was if they were isolated from the rest of the world. Many things that we depend upon daily were lost to them.

Those things didn’t come back quickly, either. Probably the first part of the infrastructure to return was electric service. Power companies from other parts of the country sent in emergency crews to help with restoring power to the people affected by the storms. Even so, most of the people didn’t have electrical service for more than two weeks. The other services couldn’t begin to be restored until then, because everything depends upon electrical power.

Remember, those were regional events. Should we have the misfortune of being struck by a nationwide event, it would take much longer to restore electrical service; which means everything else as well. It has been speculated that in the case of an EMP attack, electrical service will take eight months to restore.

Just like with your food, you want to have enough other supplies to get your family through the crisis, should a major disaster eliminate the infrastructure we depend upon. Essentially, your food supplies and your other supplies should parallel. In other words, if you have a year of food supplies, you should have a year’s worth of as many other supplies as you can. For some types of supplies, that may be extremely difficult to manage.

Produce Boiling Hot Water, Anywhere, Anytime With Absolutely No Power Whatsoever…

The other option, instead of having a year’s worth of supplies, is to have an alternate plan. Let’s take electrical power for example. It would be cost prohibitive to have enough battery backup power to last a year. Likewise, trying to store enough gasoline to run a generator for a year would be impossible. Gasoline doesn’t store well over long periods of time. So, instead of having enough batteries or gasoline, you need a plan to get by without electrical power or with the power that you can produce with your solar and wind power generators.

Determining everything you could possibly need to survive a disaster is a monumental task. No matter how hard you try, there are things you are going to miss. Nevertheless, the more you manage to prepare, the easier it will be for your family, when that time comes.

  1. Fuel – Gas pumps don’t work without electricity, so having some extra fuel on hand is a great idea. Not only will you need it for your car, but for your lawnmower and tiller, as well. While you can’t store gasoline for long periods of time, you can store some by rotating your stock.
  2. Heating fuel – In addition to fuel for the car, you’ll need fuel to heat your home, especially if you live in a colder climate. There are many ways that a home can be heated, such as by using a fireplace or a kerosene heater. Whatever method you choose, make sure you put in a good supply of fuel for it.
  3. Cooking – Your gas or electric stove probably won’t work when the power is out, unless you have a propane stove. You’ll need an alternate way for cooking, as well as fuel for it. That means both something to cook on and the fuel to run it. Gas-powered camp stoves (not the kind that use little propane tanks) are great for this; so is a barbecue grille. The fuel for cooking might be the same fuel you are using for heating your home, but if not, be sure to have an ample supply.
  4. Means of producing electricity – Our lives depend so much on electrical power that you’ll need some way of producing at least some. While you probably won’t be able to produce as much as you currently use, you can produce enough for your “critical systems.”
  5. Batteries – We use many devices that run off of batteries. Fortunately, one of the major battery manufacturers is now producing standard size batteries with a shelf life of 10 years.
  6. Water – You can count on needing a minimum of one gallon of clean drinking water per person per day. If you live in a hot climate, up that to two gallons. This is just for cooking and drinking, not washing. You can’t have too much water.
  7. Water purification system/supplies – There’s no way that you can store enough water for your family. A family of four needs a minimum of 120 gallons of water per month, just for drinking and cooking. You’ll need five times that much for washing, if you are extremely frugal with it. Be sure you have ample means of water purification, with a backup.
  8. Heirloom seeds – In the case of a prolonged recovery period from a disaster, your food stockpile may not be enough. Heirloom seeds are the old kinds of seeds, before GMOs came about. They are totally natural, excellent sources of nutrition and produce seeds to perpetuate your garden.
  9. Gardening equipment – Having a stockpile of seeds isn’t going to do much good if you don’t have the means to use them. Be sure you have the tools and the knowhow to turn those seeds into food bearing pants.
  10. Oil lamps and candles – With the electricity out, you are going to have to revert to lighting your home in the old-fashioned way. Don’t just depend upon flashlights (although you should have them), as your battery supply is finite. Candles and oil lamps store well, are inexpensive and provide adequate light.
  11. First aid kit and common medicines – Medical services are usually overloaded in the aftermath of any disaster. This won’t be the time to go to the doctor because the kids have the sniffles. Not only would you have to wait for hours, but you might have trouble getting there. Being able to treat injuries and minor ailments at home can be a lifesaver.
  12. Tools – Many disasters cause damage to homes. You may have to do extensive repairs to your home. Be sure you have what you need.
  13. Cleaning supplies – Many types of disasters bring general destruction, including making a mess of your home. If you are going to try and live in it, cleaning it up will be important; not only for comfort, but for health.
  14. Home repair materials – If you have to make some basic repairs, it’s a good idea to have the materials on hand to do them with. You’d be amazed by what you can do with a few sheets of plywood and some tarps.
  15. Personal hygiene items – Keeping yourself clean is another important part of maintaining your health. With the shortage of water that you’ll probably encounter, that’s going to be extra challenging. Soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toilet paper will be worth their weight in gold. Be sure to stock up on anti-bacterial hand cleaner as well, the kind where you don’t have to use water.
  16. Barter goods – In addition to the supplies your family will need, it’s a good idea to have a stock of goods just to barter with others.
  17. Firearms and ammunition – Unfortunately, social disorder attends many disasters. Looting, vandalism and general violence are common. You may have to protect your home and family. Don’t just buy guns, become proficient in their use.

I realize that this list covers a lot of ground, and it will be hard to gather all of this stuff, as well as gather the food you’ll need. Don’t expect to do it all in one week, or even one year. The point is to start on the journey. Every step you take brings you one step closer to being self-sufficient. Many people take years to build their stockpile to the point they want, build their alternate power supply, drill a well and learn new skills. This is an investment in your family’s future; as such, it takes time.

Don’t just stockpile the food and supplies either; learn how to use them. You should test everything you have and become proficient in its use. If you have an alternate method of cooking, try cooking that way. Better to make mistakes and learn before a disaster hits than to wait until it’s too late. – Off The Grid News


By Daisy Luther

Will your teen behave like…well, a teen…when the SHTF?

I watched the National Geographic show American Blackout on Sunday night with a friend.  This part in particular got us thinking about the psychology of teenagers and young adults.

Let’s be realistic about teenagers.

If you have one, know one, or have been one, you know that they are a breed apart.  Most of this is a mixture of biology and psychology, and it affects different kids to different degrees.

Some merely find their parents to be rather embarrassing, others think mom and dad are complete idiots, and then you have teens who are outright rebels.

If your child attends a public school, watches television, hangs out with other kids, or has any exposure to popular culture whatsoever, you can be assured that society is trying to create kinder, gentler children, aka sheep who will be easily led to slaughter.  They are taught to fear the very word “gun” through the ridiculous zero tolerance policies, like the one at a Texas school which recently punished a student for wearing a t-shirt with a Bible verse and the words, “God, Guns, Country” on the sleeve, because it might “incite fear” among the students.

Furthermore, those of us with a liberty mindset spend a great deal of time teaching our kids to be critical thinkers and not to blindly follow orders just because someone is an “authority figure.”  We teach them to stand up for what they believe is right, regardless of the consequences.

When the SHTF, that “think for yourself” mentality can be a real Catch-22 that can backfire, as is illustrated in the clip above.  Later in the program, the young man snuck into the food supply and gave away rations to the neighbors under the cover of darkness.  This resulted in an armed attack on the compound by the same people to whom he was dispensing charity.

Now, in all fairness, the boy in the clip is the daughter’s boyfriend and was not raised by the prepping dad. However, can’t you easily imagine an idealistic young person intent on “doing right thing” taking a similar action?

Instilling the Preparedness Mindset in Young People

This is why it is so very vital to teach the preparedness mindset to the young people in your life. It isn’t enough merely to tell them WHAT they should do.  The nature of the beast – ummm…I mean teenager…is that you must also impress upon them why you should take these actions.

This requires a great deal of attention to consequences and to the study of disaster and unrest scenarios.  There is another fine line to draw here – you don’t want to terrify your child, but you must impress upon them that during an unusual scenario, unprepared people behave in predictable ways.  The media tries very hard to downplay these predictable behaviours, but incident after incident has shown us that when disaster strikes, you can anticipate  the reactions of hungry and frightened people.

Some of you may have raised ideal teens who are completely in line with everything you say, and I salute you for this and would love to hear how you’ve accomplished this feat.  In my own parental experience, though,  as wonderful, intelligent, beloved, and well-adapted as my daughters are, this has not been a perfectly smooth journey. Between hormonal surges, the psyche’s struggle for separation from the parent, the traumatic and shocking death of a parent, and the yearning for independence, sometimes our own home has been like a cross between the floor of Congress and a post-disaster looting party.

Despite this carnival of fun, we can’t lock them safely away from the world and slide food through an opening in the door until they reach an age where their judgement is unimpaired by all that is teendom.  It falls upon us to teach our kids:

  • The importance of secrecy regarding preparedness supplies, bug out locations, and prepping in general (OPSEC)
  • How and when you can safely help others
  • How to assess a disaster situation and predict the next move of the unprepared people that may be around you
  • How to get home or to a designated meeting place if they are away from home with the SHTF
  • How to deal with the most likely disasters in your area
  • Mob psychology in the event that they are with a large group of people or in a public place when disaster strikes
  • Basic survival skills like finding safe water to drink, foraging for food, using a compass, and self defense

Here are some teaching methods that seem to work well with my girls:

Watch current events unfold together.  When Hurricane Sandy struck one year ago, we watched the events on different news sites on the internet.  We saw the terror in people’s faces, heard about their hunger, discussed the fact that folks were urinating and defecating in the stairwells of their apartment buildings, and then “toured” the devastation the day after.  We witnessed the unprepared shoving each other and fighting over a jerrycan of gasoline and saw them standing in line for hours to receive nothing more than an MRE and a tepid bottle of water.  This opened up a lot of discussions about why we do what we do in this household, as well as talks about how some of the problems we were watching could be solved with some simple critical thought.

Involve them in preparedness.  Take them with you for a fun-filled day at the LDS Cannery.  (Okay, bribe them if you have to!)  Teach them to garden or can.  Find ways to share your off-beat skills with your kids by zeroing in on the things they most enjoy, like target practice or caring for livestock.

Discuss the mob mentality every time you see it happen.  This is one of the best ways to emphasize the importance of OPSEC.  By watching people riot and pillage through the city streets in the aftermath of a disaster, you can clearly illustrate the thin veneer of civilization.  When the EBT cards failed a couple of weeks ago, I happened to be at the grocery store with my youngest daughter. We watched as a woman harangued the cashier relentlessly when her card didn’t work, and then stormed out of the store when I said something in the young man’s defense.  Her cart joined a dozen others which had been angrily abandoned, shoved into a display of salsa and and sending some glass jars to shatter on the ground.

Practice your prepping skills.  Center your recreational activities around learning handy skills.  Go camping, hiking, or orienteering. Learn to wildcraft and forage for food.  Teach your kids needlework and other crafts.  Let them have their own patch of garden for which they are responsible.  Have a “lights out” weekend to drill for off-grid scenarios. Go to the range for target practice. Learn archery and martial arts. Play laser tag and paintball.

Find apocalyptic movies, books, and television shows.  Even fictionalized depictions of societal breakdowns can really help to illustrate what happens when disasters occur. American Blackout, although unrealistic in places, opened up several discussions with my youngest daughter. Shows like , The Walking Dead, and Revolution, books like Lights Out and One Second After, or movies like The Grey, Red DawnContagion, World War Z, and 2012 can open the door to some very interesting conversations and concepts. Actually watching the dramatic events occur, complete with characters to whom you can relate, even when it’s occurring fictionally, can make it more real to your youngster.  This has the added benefit of proving that maybe Mom and Dad aren’t quite as crazy as the teen squad may have thought.

Ask them to predict what they think will happen.  When some startling event occurs, even one on the other side of the world, be sure to ask your teen’s opinion on the matter.  For example, when the Fukushima disaster struck, we spent time researching ways to protect ourselves from radiation and discussing how much better it would be if people could stay in their homes drinking their stored water and eating their stockpiled food instead of standing out in the open air, waiting in line to get something to eat and drink.  Talk about safety in those events and ask what they would do to stay safe if they happened to be present during such an occurrence.

Find examples of when failed OPSEC caused problems.  Like in the episode of American Blackout cited above, the boy broke OPSEC and let the neighbors know that the family had stores of food that they were not willing to share.  There are many events in which someone tries to help, only to become a target for desperate and unscrupulous people.

Communication, as you can see, is the key to all of these tactics.  Make it entertaining and interesting, and be sure to always ask their opinions.  Even if their theories on how to deal with a problem are not the same that you would suggest, be careful not to shoot them down – instead, go deeper into the discussion and point out the pros as well as the cons.

How have you mentally prepared your teenagers to be an asset instead of a risk? Please share your ideas in the comments below. – The Organic Prepper


(Pictured: Help is not coming. Sandy victims rummage through trash for food in Bayonne, NJ)

By Mac Slavo

Over coming weeks millions of Americans will be tuning in to NatGeo’s new American Blackout film about surviving in a post-power grid collapse environment that lacks electricity, fresh water and the normal flow of commerce.

For most it will be nothing more than standard evening entertainment, but what if such an event turns out to be a future American reality?

Such a scenario may seem improbable, but just in the last several years we’ve seen it play out time and again all over the world, albeit in situations limited in time and scope. Hurricane Katrina and over 50,000 people stranded at the New Orleans Super Dome with no water, Hurricane Sandy and starving individuals rumaging through garbage cans to find a morsel of food, and various other natural and man-made disasters are an eye-opening testament to what happens when the improbable becomes reality.

Just a few weeks ago we saw what the panicked hive mentality can lead to when thousands of people stormed Walmart grocery stores following a breakdown in the Electronic Benefit Transfer system for food assistance.

We’ve become so dependent on others – namely our governments – to assist us when crisis strikes, that this “learned helplessness” in our society has left people in major cities totally unprepared to cope with disasters.

Via ABC News Australia:

“What people have got to know is that they’re on their own, literally on their own,” he said.

“We can’t have a truck or a car at your door when you ring triple-0 in a disaster situation.”

Experts say people should be prepared to look after themselves for at least three days after any major disaster.

But Mr Winter says most people have no plans in place.

“If we turn off power and water, how long will you be able to survive?” he said.

“When we put to people, ‘Can you survive for 72 hours without external help?’, the reaction is their jaw drops.”

Such a disaster could mean a loss of refrigeration, no tap water or air-conditioning, as well as transport failures and traffic chaos.

Mr Winter says cities are particularly vulnerable to these failures.

“We are more vulnerable in our big cities because we’ve got transport, we live in high rises, evacuations – talk to people about Katrina, in New Orleans, getting people out of the city,” he said.

In 2009, a heatwave in Melbourne killed more people than the Black Saturday bushfires.

Triple-0 emergency lines were overwhelmed, hospitals overflowed and the ambulance service was near breaking point after 12 days of temperatures above 28 degrees Celsius.

“When flooding was occurring, people went to the grocery store and bought frozen goods,” he said.

“Frozen goods are the first things that you have to throw out. You want people to understand that they’ve actually got to live without the capacity to flick on the light switch or the electric stove or the gas stove.

“People misunderstand what is likely to occur when they are affected by the disasters.”

Mr McGowan warns that the Government’s emphasis on cash handouts after disasters is part of the problem.

“Some of the more recent concentrations on hardship payments and those things have actually started to increase the learned helplessness that many feel during these issues,” he said.

Just 14 per cent of compensations payouts after the Brisbane floods was spent fortifying homes against similar disaster in the future.

Given the number of natural and man-made disasters that strike areas of the globe on a yearly basis, there’s a strong likelihood that one day it may happen to you, too.

Hopefully the disaster will be limited, but even in those cases the government is often overwhelmed. If you think about the possibility of a larger scale emergency, for example a cyber-attack that cripples our power grid as former DHS Secretary Napolitano suggested will happen in the future, there is simply no possible way for first responders to assist everyone who will need help.

Consider that FEMA has stockpiled at least 140 million emergency food rations in their regional emergency response centers. If a large earth quake, Tsunami or rogue terrorist attack struck a population of 1 million people, those supplies would likely be gone within a month – and that’s a best case scenario because FEMA would have to tap regional distribution centers to acquire supplies from all over the country.

It took them 3 days to get water to the Super Dome, if that gives you any ideas of how disorganized emergency response will be.

Given that the United States has over 50 metropolitan areas with populations exceeding 1 million people, you can see how the situation would quickly become untenable if disaster struck just a single major city or region. If it were to go national, striking multiple cities simultaneously, we’d have complete and total pandemonium within a few days.

The only plausible solution, and one that FEMA and DHS fail to support in any significant manner, is personal preparedness. Every household in this country should be urged to develop a personal preparedness plan by stockpiling food rations, potable water, survival tools, and even precious metals like silver bars to help them cope for at least a few weeks should our power grid go down and traditional commerce exchange mechanisms become inoperable. Those who fail to do so will have to deal with the horrific consequences.

Americans have been given a false sense of security through the learned helplessness of government assistance programs and the belief that the billions of dollars being invested into emergency planning is somehow going to provide the necessary supplies they’ll need if crisis strikes.

It’s a recipe for disaster.

We’re not immune from a massive destabilizing event. In fact, we’re likely more vulnerable now than ever before. –


By Ken Jorgustin

Survival prepping can be taken to the extreme, especially if one has enough financial resources and physical space. However lets look at the scenario where you have limited resources and are on a tight budget, but you are convinced and motivated that you need to begin prepping for an uncertain future. How do you prioritize your preparedness purchases as it relates to your expenses, what is the plan, and what do you do first? First of all let me say that survival preparedness is not solely about having preps stored away, although this is an essential step. Preparedness really is a way of life, a way of thinking in your every day life. It is a mind set that is significantly different from the typical brainwashed citizen worker bee. Okay, having said that, lets look at the situation. Number one, look at your budget. Assuming there is debt being serviced, be it credit cards or loans, take a hard look at your monthly essential payments for your expenses. Really strip it down to the basics. How much take-home do you need to survive in your present situation. Keep in mind that paying minimum payments on credit cards will not get you out of debt anytime soon. Have a quick read of my post that talks about credit card debt. There is always a way to trim your budget by giving up one convenience or another. Decide how much money you are willing and able to designate to prepping each month, and begin, even if it is not all that much. You will probably want to make a few mid-priced purchases that I describe below, but you can save for that if you are motivated.

With limited money and space, what should I purchase first for my survival preparedness?

Lets be smart about this and start with the necessities of life, Water and Food. IN THAT ORDER.

Water is First Priority for Survival Preparedness

water-barrel-55-gallonsWater is a resource which often gets ignored or overlooked because of it’s seemingly endless supply. Every day, we need to intake about 2 to 3 quarts of water. Some of this comes from the food we eat, maybe twenty percent, but the rest is from what we drink. Think about this… If the regional power goes out, it may not take long before the water pressure may drop, depending on your location, situation, and the municipal backup generator situation . You will not survive more than 3 – 5 days without any water. Period. Water sources are often readily available, so long as you don’t live in the desert. Maybe a nearby reservoir, a river or stream that is not far away, or the lake or pond nearby will all provide alternative sources of water. That is all good and well, but remember that you will have to transport the water, so be sure you have the means to do so (simply storing water ahead of time will be easier and healthier). You will definitely need to have a filtration method to screen out any ‘bad’ stuff from collected water. I highly suggest investing in a good water filter. I personally have several – the main water filter that I use is a counter top filter named the Berkey. My secondary water filter is a smaller portable filtration system named Katadyn that I keep with my vehicle 72 hour kit as well as a spare at home just in case. Depending on the size of the Berkey water filter that you choose, the price range is between $200 – $300 as of my last online check. The smaller portable Katadyn filter looks to be around $65 at this moment. If you solely depend on a municipal water source, and you do not live right near a source of water, then you need to make other preparations. Either you need to be prepared to leave your area completely and during the first sign of trouble, or you need to be prepared by physically storing water. A potential problem with storing water is that it is quite heavy. One gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds making storage in large volumes nearly impossible to move (which may not be a problem for you if stored in a good accessible area).

How Much Water Do I Need for Survival Preparedness ?

A 200 pound person will need about 3 quarts of water per day, strictly for consumption. Lets add one more quart for a safe margin and make it a gallon of water per day, or 7 gallons per week per person, strictly for consumption. Do the math and figure out what you will need for your family and the length of time that you are preparing for. As an example, 2 adults for 4 weeks will require about 56 gallons of water. Water storage for the same two people for 3 months will require 168 gallons. Remember, even more water will be needed for cooking and sanitary reasons. For example, without water pressure, how many gallons does it take to dump into a toilet to flush it out? Answer, probably between 2 and 3 gallons. Add up all of your use-case scenarios and factor them into your water storage calculations. For those that live where you can count on rainfall throughout the year, you can utilize rain runoff from the roof and gutters into collection barrels. This would be great for secondary water usage requirements, but you will need to filter and purify this water for drinking.

How Do I Store Water ?

A guideline to storing water is to mix one eighth teaspoon (1/8 teaspoon), or about 8 drops of regular unscented bleach to each gallon of water for purification. You can safely store water in clean containers that had consumable liquids such as milk jugs or soda bottles. Best to store in a dark place away from heat. It is generally recommended to drain and refill the water containers every six months or one year. This is not critical because water will basically last forever, but a periodic check for impurities or problems is a good idea. To store enough water for several people for one month or more, it may be practical to purchase water storage barrels, commonly available in 55 gallon plastic drums. Be sure that the plastic barrel you choose is food grade (HDPE #2). Although I’m sure these barrels can be purchased at many locations, here is one example of a 55 Gallon Water Barrel that might fit your plan. Looks like approximately $100, or a bit less, for a 55 gallon water storage barrel. You will also need a hand pump for the barrel, which sometimes bundled with the purchase. There are quite a variety of hand pumps ranging from $20 and up. The bottom line is to start with your water preparations so that you will live to utilize your next prep which is food.

Food is Second Priority for Survival Preparedness

canned-foodBeginning your food storage preps is actually pretty easy. Instead of starting off by ordering cases of MREs or 50 pound bags of rice and beans, it is far better to begin by simply buying a few more of the same items that you buy at the grocery store every time you visit. The point here is to buy what you normally eat. If you have searched around other sites, I’m sure you’ve heard this before, and it is absolutely true. Also, another great idea to keep in mind is to think ‘variety’. In addition to buying what you normally would eat, pick up some treats and sweets too. Storing the extra food is also pretty simple, even in a small apartment. You can buy just about any size plastic storage bin these days, which make perfect containers for any food item. We also found some perfect sized bins that fit and slide right underneath your bed, which perfectly holds the typical size canned food. When determining how much food to store, you can calculate using 2,000 calories per day per person as a minimum requirement. Simply look at your food container and multiply the calories per serving times the number of servings in the container to give you the total for that item. I put together a food storage inventory spreadsheet that keeps a nice organized list of your items along with the survival day count based on calories. You can download it here. Once you have built up a base supply of the foods you normally eat, then you can venture into other things like that 50 pound bag of hard red wheat. However you will need to learn proper ways to store it for long term, and you will need to be sure that you know what to do with it when you need it (making your own wheat bread for example). Also it will be a good idea to try these other foods first, to be sure you don’t have allergies and that your system can handle it. So, there you have it. For your survival preparedness plan, first get started with water storage and then food storage. Then and only then, should you move on to other things. If you begin this way, the resource burden should not be too heavy or too expensive. Go at your own pace as your budget allows. Stick with water storage and food storage before you are tempted to purchase other preparedness items. Remember, you are doing this for you and your own liberation. This process will begin to change the way you think. Like I said, it is a way of life, even in good times. – Modern Survival Blog