Survival & Preparedness
Imagine a Food Garden That You Only Have To Plant Once in Your Life-Time, That Takes up Very Little Space Tags: Prepper Survival Gardening Vegetables

Imagine a Food Garden That You Only Have To Plant Once in Your Life-Time, That Takes up Very Little Space

by AMY S.

Imagine a food garden that you only have to plant once in your life-time, that takes up very little space, that will provide food for you and your family for the next 30 years; that can grow five times more food per square foot than traditional or commercial gardening; and where you never have to weed, never have to use fertilizers and never have to use pesticide– ever.— This book will show you how!

In a future world where there is potentially no electricity or refrigeration, no super markets or seed stores, and no fertilizers or pesticides, it makes sense to look at people who have managed to live successfully for generations without these “conveniences.” Studies of native indigenous people around the world—people who have lived off the land for generations without electricity, refrigeration, commercial agriculture, pesticides, or insecticides—showed that these people lived primarily on perennials (plants that grow year after year without replanting) as opposed to annuals such as typical grocery store vegetables (crops that must be replanted each year).

Here are some of my favorite canning recipes. I guess they are my favorites because I grow many of these items myself in my garden and orchard. You can also find literally hundreds of canning recipes, and more information on canning techniques in The Lost Ways

9 Perennial vegetables that keep on giving, year after year:

 

food garden

1. Asparagus: This slender spring beauty is probably the most well-known perennial vegetable, and one of the most coveted early spring vegetables (and the relatively high price in the produce section to prove it). It’s not a quick producer, such as many annual vegetables are, but asparagus can end up providing tasty green treats every year once they get established. Although it’s possible to start asparagus from seed, you can speed up the harvest timeline by at least a year or two by planting crowns that are several years old, which are usually available in garden centers every spring (or if you know someone with a large asparagus patch, you may be able to convince them to give you some crowns when they divide their plants).

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2. Sunchokes: Also known as Jerusalem Artichokes (even though they don’t resemble artichokes at all), sunchokes are a relative of sunflowers that produce an edible tuber that is crisp and sweet. This perennial vegetable can be eaten raw or cooked as you would a potato, and is often described as having a nutty flavor. The sunchoke plant itself can grow rather tall, as a sunflower does, so it’s well suited to planting as a border or along an edge of the garden. The tubers are harvested in the fall, with some of them left in the ground (or replanted after harvesting) for next year’s plants.

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3. Groundnut: The American groundnut (Apios americana), also called the Indian potato, is one of those perennial vegetables that doesn’t get much attention, but could be a great addition to any garden. The groundnut is a perennial vine that produces edible beans and large edible tubers (more properly “rhizomatous stems”), and is native to the eastern portion of the US. The vines grow to about six feet long, and can be grown up a trellis (or up other plants) for dense plantings. The groundnuts are harvested in the fall, and as with sunchokes, some should be left in the ground for next year’s growth.

 

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4. Artichoke: These thistle relatives, properly called globe artichokes, aren’t the most soft and cuddly vegetables, but yield a large tasty flower bud Eeyore would absolutely love. Growing artichokes does take a bit of room in the garden, as they can grow to 6 feet or more in height, and like most perennial vegetables, a couple of years of growth is often necessary before they’ve matured to the point that you can harvest enough flowers to grace your table. While they can be started from seed, artichokes can also be planted from dividing an established patch, or from starts available from the garden center.

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5. Rhubarb: This perennial vegetable is not only edible, but is also a colorful addition to the garden, and comes in varieties of red, pink, and green (the color of the stalks). Rhubarb is best planted from a crown, which can be acquired from a garden center (or a neighbor whose rhubarb bed is out of control), and should be allowed to grow for several years before harvesting the stalks for that perennial summer favorite, strawberry rhubarb pie. Only the stalks of the rhubarb are edible, but the leaves, which are toxic to humans, make a great addition to the compost pile.

 

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6. Horseradish: While it’s a stretch to call horseradish a vegetable (it’s more akin to a condiment that you either love or hate), this perennial plant from the mustard family is a must-grow for the spicy crowd and the sushi lovers. The leaves of the horseradish (also edible) are rather plain and unassuming, and the small white flowers are nothing to write home about, but the large root of the horseradish is source of the strong flavor that can bring one to tears. In some areas, horseradish can take over the garden with the invasive growth habit of its roots, so when harvesting them in the fall, it can be good practice to remove as much of the roots as possible, and to only replant enough of the root sections as you will need for next year.

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7. Jerusalem Artichokes: In the same family as sunflowers, Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus, also called sunchokes) are grown like potatoes for their underground tubers. You can eat them raw or cooked like potatoes. However, because their carbohydrate breaks down to fructose instead of glucose, Jerusalem artichokes can be a better choice than potatoes for people with diabetes.

Plant the tubers as soon as the ground can be worked in spring in fertile, well-drained soil and full sun. Place them 3-5 inches deep in rows 36-42 inches wide and leaving 15-24 inches between plants. Hand-weed to avoid disturbing the plant while it is growing.

By August, the plant will be more than 6 feet tall with yellow flowers. Tubers about 4 inches long and 3 inches in diameter begin to form in late summer. Wait until after frost to harvest. Handle them carefully as the skin of the tubers is very thin. You can leave some tubers in the ground to grow into plants again the following spring. Zones 4-9

Note: These are vigorous plants that spread by underground rhizomes and may become difficult to eradicate. Some gardeners consider them invasive.

garden

8.Radicchio: This sharp-flavor vegetable is technically a hardy biennial, meaning it grows for two years. It is a type of chicory and is related to Belgian endive. Dark red leaves with white veins form into a tightly clumped head that resembles cabbage or romaine lettuce.

Grow radicchio (Cichorium intybus) in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. Sow seeds in spring or autumn, then harvest the inner heads in late fall when they are firm and have the deepest color of white and red, leaving the roots in the ground to produce another crop. Avoid picking it too early; immature leaves taste bitter. Add olive oil and salt to the fresh leaves to cut the bitter flavor.

garden

9. Sorrel: Sorrel is a perennial herb with a tart, lemony flavor used for soups, stews, salads, and sauces. The two main sorrels grown are common sorrel, Rumex acetosa, and French sorrel, Rumex scutatus. They are relatives of rhubarb, and the leaves contain small amounts of oxalic acid that’s not harmful when consumed in small quantities. The leaves are a good source of vitamin C.

Sorrel tastes best in early spring; it becomes bitter as the weather warms. It’s hard to find in markets because it wilts shortly after harvest. To grow sorrel, sow seeds directly in the garden in full sun and average soil 6-8 inches apart in rows 2 feet apart. Established plants may be divided.

One of the biggest benefits of this type of garden is that it is almost no work to maintain, compared to gardening with annual vegetables. And in a doomsday scenario, preppers are going to have enough work to do, without having to tend to a garden every day, while exposing themselves to potential enemies. Further, by planting primarily perennials- and a large variety of them- you will always have food for you and your family each year, no matter what the short term summer weather brings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udqIcS2w--E

 

“MY SURVIVAL FARM”
…and it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before… An A to Z guide on survival gardening that is easy to read and a joy to put into practice, full of photos, diagrams and step by step advice. Even a kid can do this and, in fact, I encourage you to let the little ones handle it, to teach them not just about self-reliance but also about how Mother Nature works.

Here is just a glimpse of what you’ll find inside:

How to plan, design and put into action high-yield survival garden that will literally keep you and your family fed for life, no matter what hits you, even when everyone else around you is starving to death. No digging and planting year after year and no daily watering because you’ll have more important things to worry about when TSHTF.

How to set up highly nutritious soil for your plants. Do this before you plant anything and you’re on your way to setting your food forest on auto-pilot for decades to come. I’m gonna tell you this one “weird” thing to add to the mulch that’s not only highly effective but also 100% free (because you already have it in your home right now).

Step-by-step instructions on how to plant over 125 plants inside your permaculture garden. Plus, special instructions on choosing the right ones for your climate. From Arizona to Alaska, you can do this anywhere…

How to “marry” your plants. We’re gonna tell you which grow well together and help each-other survive and thrive, so they don’t ever compete for sunlight and nutrients. You get the full table of plants that work well with one another as well as the ones you should NEVER be put together.

 

Top 10 Critical Items You Must Have To Survive The Apocalypse Tags: Survival Preparedness Survivalism Tom Sheppard

Top 10 Critical Items You Must Have To Survive The Apocalypse

By Tom Sheppard

When it comes to survival, there is a fundamental fact that you need to know in order to be fully prepared.

It all comes down to the simple truth that the average human can live up to 3 hours in bad weather, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.

Once you understand this, you can easily develop survival strategies and pick the right gear that will serve you well if the time ever comes where you find yourself stuck in nature with no help in sight.

In this article, we are going to go over the top 10 most critical pieces of gear that you must have in order to survive in natural disasters or in situations where the world as you know it has ended.

 

A Word About Survival Kits

Before we jump right into the gear, it’s important to get our bearings on the different types of survival kits that are popular today.

The first type is something called a Bug Out Bag, or BOB for short. This type of kit is intended to last you 72 hours, so that you can make it to a pre-designated bug out location, or BOL. A BOB is usually preloaded with a little drinking water and other necessities to get you through 3 days of a possibly long hike.

For example, my personal bug out bag, which can be found at Trek Warrior, is a backpack with gear that weighs 31.6 pounds, and includes 3 liters of water as well as 3600 quick energy calories of food. I have plenty of gear and backup gear that will take care of all of my survival needs for over 3 days. I give the entire list for my BOB in that article.

There are also kits called I’m Never Coming Home, or INCH for short. The INCH bag is set up a little differently, and focuses more on long-term survival in many different environments. It will also focus more on specialized tools for shelter building, as well as a means to hunt and fish for meat.

A third kit that is very popular is called a Get Home Bag, or GHB. This is a bag that you put together so that you can keep it at work, school, or your vehicle with enough gear to help you get home if disaster should ever strike. Items like a change of clothes, better walking shoes, and basic camping equipment are great choices in case you had to get home from where you are at on foot.

With those three kits in mind, there are actually some fundamental pieces of gear that you will find in all of them.  Combined with the right survival skills, you will be set for almost anything.

At the heart of each kit is the gear that you need to meet the core rule of survival that we discussed at the beginning of this article.

The gear addresses the needs of shelter, water, and food in their order of importance. Let’s jump right into the most critical items.

Survival Knife

If you could have just one item in nature, it would have to be a great survival knife. With a knife, you can make shelter, prepare fuel for a fire, defend yourself, and prepare food. It is the work horse of survival.

It turns out that you don’t want a knife that is too small or too big. The reason is that if it’s too small, you won’t be able to manipulate bigger branches for shelter, or even defend yourself against threats.

And if your knife is too big, you can’t use it for precision tasks like making proper tinder and kindling for your fire, or skinning an animal.

What is the proper size? An overall knife length of around 10 inches is ideal. Other features that you want in a survival knife are that it’s a fixed blade with a full tang, it has a tip point, the blade has a single sharp edge,  and the bottom of the knife is flat for crushing objects.

If you get a knife with these features, then you are guaranteed to be able to use it for all of the different types of tasks you might need in nature.

Some great examples include the Ontario Black Bird SK-5, KA-BAR Becker BK2, and the Buck 119 Special.

Fire Kit

You will definitely need the ability to make a fire in order to warm your body, purify water if needed, or even cook food.

There are many ways to create fire from a gear standpoint. The easiest way, believe or not, is with a cheap plastic lighter. The technology built into a basic lighter has made creating fire trivial.

Another method is by using waterproof matches. Regular matches are not a good option here, because most likely you won’t find yourself in a nice dry environment when you need a fire.

A sure-proof way to make fire when you know what you are doing is with a ferro rod and striker. This tool is the type where you take a piece of metal and strike it on a rod, which generates hot sparks. You must practice proper fire building skills here in order for this to work well.

A great fire kit will have all three of these items in it: plastic lighter, waterproof matches, and a ferro rod with a striker.

As for knowing how to make a fire under all conditions that you might find yourself in, remember that it’s a simple rule of three: tinder, kindling, and fuel.

Tinder is a very fine material that will catch a spark easily and help it ignite. Kindling is a little bit bigger strips of material that can help the fire burn longer. Fuel is the final burning material for the fire that will burn a long time.

The best type of material for tinder includes cotton balls, fine wood flakes, and dryer lint. If you can’t find any in your environment, you can always shave off some of your cotton clothes in an emergency. Otherwise, grab some of that old dryer lint after you do your laundry and put it in a zip lock bag to keep it handy with your fire kit.

Kindling is made easily by shaving off strips of wood for your fire. You simply use your survival knife and branches to make it. Your main fuel should usually include wood from trees, furniture, or any other source you can find.

You can build a simple pyramid type structure where you light or throw sparks onto the tinder, which is surrounded by kindling, which is surrounded by fuel. Blow on the sparks to provide fresh oxygen until you get the fire roaring. It takes practice, so it’s a good idea to go camping to test out your skills.

Some great examples here include a BIC lighter, UCO Stormproof matches, and the Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter.

Poncho

A poncho is something that most of us are already familiar with. It’s simply a plastic covering that will keep you dry when it’s raining.

However, all ponchos are not created equal. The really cheap ones that you often see are intended for a one-time use and easily fall apart.

It’s much better to invest in a good one that has thicker material and is big enough to cover you properly. A military poncho is a popular choice for these reasons, and it also has reinforced grommets in the corners. This will let you use it as a tarp if you need to.

Paracord

With the luxuries of the modern world and civilization, many of us have never learned how to tie knots for making shelter while camping.

It turns out that our ancestors used cordage back in the day extensively for almost everything, from shelter to ships.

Modern technology has produced some much better materials, which makes even better cordage that we have access to compared to those that came before us.

Paracord is the type that you want for survival situations. It gets its name because it is similar to the type of cordage used for parachutes. The typical high-quality stuff can handle 550 pounds of stress, which makes it plenty strong for survival needs.

Getting a good 100-200 feet of it should give you plenty to do what you need to do in a bad situation. Just make sure that it is 550 rated or better.

Tarp/Tent

Being able to put up a shelter to get out of the elements is critical so that you can avoid hypothermia, which is where your body temperature gets too low.

Depending on how big your carry space is for your items, two popular choices here are tarps and tents. There are some lightweight one-person tents out there that are extremely compact.

A great feature about getting a military poncho like we discussed earlier is that it also doubles as a great tarp that you can use to make a shelter if you use it with paracord.

Ideally, you can get a tent here, and use your poncho as a fallback shelter if something goes wrong.

Bivvy

Getting out of the wind and the rain is the first step in stabilizing your body temperature. However, you will also need something that you can wrap yourself in that will help you warm up if you need to.

There are many emergency blankets out there that you can wrap yourself with that will reflect a lot of your body heat back onto you, warming you up.

An even better option is something called a bivvy. It is like an emergency blanket, but usually thicker and more durable, and it also has a zipper so that it resembles a thin sleeping bag.

With a bivvy, you can get much better coverage around your body so that it won’t let too much reflected heat escape. This warms you up better. Plus, it’s waterproof.

A proper sleeping bag works here, too, but is much more bulky than a bivvy, so it can be harder to fit into a kit.

A great example here is the SOL Escape Bivvy.

Water Purifier

Water is something you have to have in order to live. You will definitely need the ability to purify water so that you can avoid some nasty critters that often inhabit drinkable water sources.

Our ancestors fell victim to bugs in drinking water, which often can lead to death. Modern technology gives us some great options for purifying water, though.

If you had to get just one item, it should be a drinkable straw filter. There are a couple of brands out there that do a fantastic job including Survival Straw and Survivor Filter.

Another option is water purification tablets. They usually come in small bottles of tablets that you can throw into a container of water and wait for several minutes to get water clean of bugs.

Finally, a more primitive solution is simply boiling water. It’s best to have a metal container for your water so that this is easy, which we will discuss next.

Some great examples here are the Survival Straw and Potable Aqua tablets.

Canteen

 

You will need a container to carry your drinking water. They come in different materials and many different shapes and sizes.

In order to give yourself the best options for purification, it makes sense to get a good metal canteen so that you can actually boil water if you need to.

A one-liter container is a common size. If you must have a hard plastic container, then make sure and get a metal cup that fits over the bottom of it so that you have something to boil water in.

You can also go for collapsible plastic containers as spares to be able to store even more water. Just try to get at least 1 metal container so that you can boil water. There are many great options out there, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding them.

Food

As for food, typically quick energy snacks are the best way to go for your kit.

If you want to be able to cook, you will have to not only carry cooking gear and eating utensils, but you will also need to bring actual food and more water to cook with.

Unless you are a great hunter and gatherer in your own right, you need to consider that it might be harder to cook food in nature than you are aware of.

An option that I like is ready to eat emergency rations. This is food that is ready to eat right out of the package and will give you quick energy.

The SOS Emergency Food Rations is the perfect choice here. It gives you 9 bars that are individually packaged and are 400 calories each. The package has a 5-year shelf life.

Multi-tool

Last, but not least is a proper multi-tool. There is a wide array of these tools out there that you can choose from.

You want to select one that gives you a few core tools like regular and Philips head screw driver, small scissors, and a file.

Depending on what you might be up against in an emergency, you can pick other features for your multi-tool that will serve you well.

The Leatherman Wingman is one of the most popular items, with over 14 tools included to give you the best options. The Schrade ST1NB is a cheaper option, but works well.

Conclusion

To wrap it up, we looked briefly at the three most popular types of emergency kits out there right now. They include a bug out bag, a I’m never coming home bag, and a get home bag.

At the heart of these type of kits are certain pieces of gear that support your fundamental requirements that you need to survive.

Again, you can live up to 3 hours in bad weather, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food for the average human.

We then looked at the 10 most critical pieces of gear that you must have in order to meet these needs for survival.

It’s wise to go gather up this gear into one place now when you have the time, so that it’s there if catastrophe strikes. That way, you are prepared to survive.

Tom Sheppard is a survival enthusiast. He has spent most of his life in the outdoors camping and hunting. Tom is always looking for the best ways to prepare for emergencies. He often shares his expertise over at Trek Warrior, which is a great place to learn more on the topics discussed in this article.

 

Are You Prepared for Lockdown? How to Stay Safe When Chaos Erupts in America Tags: PreparednessSocial Commentary

By Daisy Luther

This summer is like a movie about how corruption took down a once-great republic and sent it barreling toward civil war. It’s about how the powerful now use deadly robots to do their bidding and how two groups of people have been turned against each other at the whims of the wealthy and the powerful. It’s about chaos and  final straws and the shattering of our veneer of civility.

When the rose-colored glasses get ripped away from so many people at once, things are bound to boil over. So, in the manner of never letting a crisis go to waste, the politicians and the media and the powers that be have jumped on the Race War wagon and are flogging the horses to distract all of the newly awakened from the blatant corruption in our government.

Somehow, our beautiful, proud country has become a battle zone. Decades of abuses of power have pushed people to the boiling point. There is war on the streets of America as cops across the nation are the targets of violent attacks in response to the actions of officers who  abused their power.

It’s so bad that three countries have issued travel advisories to its citizens about coming to visit the United States. The government of Bahrain used Twitter to warn citizens to “be cautious of protests or crowded areas occurring around the U.S.” The foreign ministry of Bahamas issued a travel advisory that warned citizens to be cautious due to  “shootings of young black males by police officers.” The notice went on to advise, “In particular young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police. Do not be confrontational and cooperate.” And finally, the embassy of the United Arab Emirates urged caution. “Please be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places when possible. Exercise particular caution during large festivals or events, be alert and stay safe.”

Regardless of what you think about how or why the events of last week occurred, it seems that the potential for violence is spreading across our nation in a way that can only be described as a pandemic. While I sincerely believe that this situation is being manipulated for power and political gain, no rational person can deny that it’s happening and the risks are very real. (Last week’s Survival Saturday round-up discusses the how and the why of the breakdown.)

Going into the weekend ahead, there could be plans for protests, which, with emotions running high, could become violent. I wrote an article about the “Day of Rage” that was scheduled in many major cities across the country. In a rather baffling turn, the article I wrote met with cries of “Daisy, you’re a racist hatemonger poop-stirring meanie” as well of accusations that I was a) lying or b) deluded.  I know that I’ve hit the bigtime because I even got “debunked” on Snopes. My posts on Facebook were reported as “hate speech” and one woman, bless her fragile little heart, was so upset she claimed to have called the police about my blog. (More about that tomorrow on Survival Saturday.) Either way, you might want to check this list for places to avoid on the weekend.  As well, here’s even more evidence that points toward the potential for chaos this weekend.

 

Pretending that it isn’t happening or hoping to hug it out is not a rational response to the chaos that is coming.  I know that some cling to their misguided views on the way the world works with the ferocity of a mother bear protecting cubs, but for the rest of us, there’s this thing called reality. When we accept it, we can prepare for it.

Are you prepared for lockdown?

Which leads me to a very important subject. As the situation in the United States devolves, how prepared are you really? If you had to go into lockdown mode and keep your family safely at home, how long would you last with the supplies you have on hand? If the answer is “a few days” or “a couple of weeks” you need to work on that. Immediately.

By planning ahead, we can avoid the fear, panic, and confusion that leads people to rush to the store and clear the shelves like a horde of hungry locusts.  We can stay away from the angry masses, the rioters who will use any excuse to steal, and the hungry people who are determined to feed their kids no matter who stands in their way.

Whether the next few weeks lead to pandemonium due to violent protests provoking some type of martial law, a prepared mindset, a defense plan, and a well-stocked home can help to keep you and your family out of harm’s way.

Keep in mind that the decision may not be entirely in your hands. In a martial law situation, it’s not unusual for the authorities to force people to stay in their homes. Remember in Boston when law enforcement was searching for the young man who, with his brother, was accused of setting off the bomb at the marathon?  Residents were not allowed to leave their homes due to a “shelter in place directive.”  The directive was presented as voluntary, but if you didn’t wish to have SWAT teams pointing guns in your face during this period of de facto martial law, staying home was the only option. Some people ran out of supplies the same day. Don’t be one of those people.

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about the potential need to lock down. It’s a viable response to a variety of crises. For example, had the Ebola cases on US shores turned into a pandemic, a lock down period would have been the very best way to keep your family safe.

With situations of civil unrest, it isn’t as clear cut.  It depends on where you live. In a small town, far away from riots and protests, your lock down area could be much greater than your own home. It could encompass your immediate community, too, and life might go on as it always has for you, aside from the need to stay just a little closer to home than before.

However, if you live in a city or suburb, it may become essential to make a decision quickly. Do you lock your doors and stay home? Or do you get out of Dodge?  It is a question only you can answer. One thing that is very important is this: if you need to go, do NOT miss your window of opportunity to do so safely. If the entire city feels the same way, you’ll most likely be stuck in traffic and trapped in your car. Protesters have shut down the highways more than once in recent years, and you’ll be far safer behind the brick and mortar of your home than you will be in your car.

By the way, there’s always someone who chimes in with a snide remark about how cowardly it is to lockdown with your family in order to stay safe. If you want to go get involved in a battle to make a political point, that’s certainly your prerogative. However, my priority is the safety of my family, and as such, I hope to avoid engaging altogether.

First, get home.

If you happen to be away from home when violence erupts, your first task is safely navigating your way home. In a perfect world, we’d all be home, watching the chaos erupt on TV from the safety of our living rooms.  However, reality says that some of us will be at work, at school, or in the car when unrest occurs.  You need to develop a “get-home” plan for all of the members of your family, based on the most likely places that they will be.

  • Devise an efficient route for picking up the kids from school, camp, or daycare.  Be sure that anyone who might be picking up the children already has permission to do so.
  • Keep a get-home bag in the trunk of your car in case you have to set out on foot.
  • Stash some supplies in the bottom of your child’s backpack – water, a snack, any tools that might be useful, and a map.  Be sure your children understand the importance of OPSEC.
  • Avoid major thoroughfares.  If you need to go through the city, avoid the areas that are most likely to be the subject of unrest. Listen to the local news and traffic reports to help avoid the worst areas.  Take the safest route, not the shortest route.
  • Find multiple routes home – map out alternative backroad ways to get home as well as directions if you must go home on foot.
  • Find hiding places along the way.  If you work or go to school a substantial distance from your home, figure out some places to lay low now, before a crisis situation.  Sometimes staying out of sight is the best way to stay safe.
  • Avoid groups of people.  It seems that the mob mentality strikes when large groups of people get together.  Often folks who would never ordinarily riot in the streets get swept up by the mass of people who are doing so.
  • Keep in mind that in many civil disorder situations the authorities are to be avoided every bit as diligently as the angry mobs of looters. Who can forget the scenes of innocent people being pepper sprayed by uniformed thugs in body armor just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?
  • Know when to abandon the plan to get home. Sometimes, you just can’t get there. Going through a war zone is not worth it. Find a different place to shelter. Pay attention to your instincts.

Prepping for lockdown

Once everyone is safely home, you need to commit to your decision to lockdown. This could last a day, a week, or longer. There’s really no way to predict it. It’s most likely that you will have electrical power throughout this crisis, but you should be prepared just in case the grid goes down due to damage during riots or attempts by the authorities to gain control of the situation.

You should be set up with the following (at the minimum – hopefully you have these supplies and more):

If you are completely unprepared for this type of thing, order some buckets of emergency food. Keep them in the back of your closet – they last for up to 25 years. This is absolutely the fastest way to create an emergency supply. Choose a high-quality product like the ones from Preppers Market – you don’t want to make yourself sick eating poor-quality food if you normally eat healthfully.

Try to stay under the radar.

Your best defense is avoiding the fight altogether. You want to stay under the radar and not draw attention to yourself.  The extent to which you strive to do this should be based on the severity of the unrest in your area. Some of the following recommendations are not necessary in an everyday grid-down scenario, but could save your life in a more extreme civil unrest scenario.

  • Keep all the doors and windows locked.  Secure sliding doors with a metal bar.  Consider installing decorative gridwork over a door with a large window so that it becomes difficult for someone to smash the glass and reach in to unlock the door.
  • Put dark plastic over the windows. (Heavy duty garbage bags work well.)  If it’s safe to do so, go outside and check to see if any light escapes from the windows. If your home is the only one on the block that is well-lit, it is a beacon to others.
  • Keep pets indoors. Sometimes criminals use an animal in distress to get a homeowner to open the door for them. Sometimes people are just mean and hurt animals for “fun”.  Either way, it’s safer for your furry friends to be inside with you.
  • Don’t answer the door.  Many home invasions start with an innocent-seeming knock at the door to gain access to your house.
  • Keep cooking smells to a minimum.  The goal here is not to draw attention. The meat on your grill will draw people like moths to a flame.
  • Keep the family together.  It’s really best to hang out in one room. Make it a movie night, go into a darkened room at the back of the house, and stay together. This way, if someone does try to breach your door, you know where everyone is who is supposed to be there. As well, you don’t risk one of the kids unknowingly causing a vulnerability with a brightly lit room or an open window.
  • Remember that first responders may be tied up.  If the disorder is widespread, don’t depend on a call to 911 to save you – you must be prepared to save yourself.  Also keep in mind, as mentioned earlier in the article – the cops are not always your friends in these situations.

Be prepared to defend your family.

If, despite your best efforts, your property draws the attention of people with ill intent, you must be ready to defend your family. Sometimes despite our best intentions, the fight comes to us.  (Have you seen the movie The Purge?)

Many preppers stockpile weapons and ammunition for just such an event.  I know that I certainly do. Firearms are an equalizer. A small woman can defend herself from multiple large intruders with a firearm, if she’s had some training and knows how to use it properly. But put a kitchen knife in her hand against those same intruders, and her odds decrease exponentially.

When the door of your home is breached, you can be pretty sure the people coming in are not there to make friendly conversation or borrow a cup of sugar.  Make a plan to greet them with a deterring amount of force.

  • Don’t rely on 911. If the disorder is widespread, don’t depend on a call to 911 to save you – you must be prepared to save yourself.  First responders may be tied up, and in some cases, the cops are not always your friends.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, some officers joined in the crime sprees, and others stomped all over the 2nd Amendment and confiscated people’s legal firearms at a time when they needed them the most.
  • Be armed and keep your firearm on your person.  When the door of your home is breached, you can be pretty sure the people coming in are not there to make friendly conversation over a nice cup of tea.  Make a plan to greet them with a deterring amount of force. Be sure to keep your firearm on your person during this type of situation, because there won’t be time to go get it from your gunsafe. Don’t even go to the kitchen to get a snack without it. Home invasions go down in seconds, and you have to be constantly ready.
  • Know how to use your firearm. Whatever your choice of weapon, practice, practice, practice. A weapon you don’t know how to use is more dangerous than having no weapon at all. Here’s some advice from someone who knows a lot more about weapons than I do.
  • Make sure your children are familiar with the rules of gun safety. Of course, it should go without saying that you will have pre-emptively taught your children the rules of gun safety so that no horrifying accidents occur. In fact, it’s my fervent hope that any child old enough to do so has been taught to safely and effectively use a firearm themselves. Knowledge is safety.
  • Be ready for the potential of fire.  Fire is a cowardly attack that doesn’t require any interaction on the part of the arsonist. It flushes out the family inside, leaving you vulnerable to physical assaults. Have fire extinguishers mounted throughout your home. You can buy them in 6 packs from Amazon. Be sure to test them frequently and maintain them properly. (Allstate has a page about fire extinguisher maintenance.) Have fire escape ladders that can be attached to a windowsill in all upper story rooms.  Drill with them so that your kids know how to use them if necessary.
  • Have a safe room established for children or other vulnerable family members. If the worst happens and your home is breached, you need to have a room into which family members can escape.  This room needs to have a heavy exterior door instead of a regular hollow core interior door. There should be communications devices in the room so that the person can call for help, as well as a reliable weapon to be used in the unlikely event that the safe room is breached. The family members should be instructed not to come out of that room FOR ANY REASON until you give them the all clear or help has arrived. You can learn more about building a safe room HERE.  Focus the tips for creating a safe room in an apartment to put it together more quickly.

Even if your plan is to bug in, you must be ready to change that plan in the blink of an eye. Plan an escape route.  If the odds are against you, if your house catches on fire, if thugs are kicking in your front door… devise a way to get your family to safety.  Your property is not worth your life. Be wise enough to accept that the situation has changed and move rapidly to Plan B.

Stay home.

If trouble comes to your neighborhood and you decide to stick around, stay home.

It’s the number one way to keep yourself safer from during a civil unrest situtation. If you find yourself in an area under siege, the odds will be further on your side for every interaction in which you avoid taking part. Every single time you leave the house, you increase your chances of an unpleasant encounter.  Nothing will be accomplished by going out during a chaotic situation.

 

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