Hopefully, as a prepper, you will have some food set back and stocked in case of a disaster. You will have water stored, as well as a few purification methods. You might have a weapon or two stored, and some extra ammunition. (Click the links to find out about water storage, weapons for SHTF, and storing ammo long-term). You might have extra gear and supplies on hand. But could there be items out there you haven’t thought about stockpiling for a long-term, grid down scenario?
In this article, I want to cover some items that you might not realize you should have plenty of in case of a long-term disaster, and some reasons why it might be a good idea.
So let’s jump in.
Being clean (or at least feeling clean) is a great boost to morale during a SHTF situation. And during a grid down scenario, you might not have enough water (or fuel to heat the water) for a hot shower. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep yourself clean. So having some extra hygiene items is probably a good idea.
Things like toothpaste and shampoo have a shelf life of about 2 years from the date of manufacture once they are opened. (They can last around 3 years if unopened.) Things like soap, mouthwash, and deodorant have a 3 year or so shelf life.
Keep in mind that the shelf life listed is for items stored at room temperature. Things like temperature extremes and direct sun light can degrade these products much more quickly.
If you cure your store-bought bars of soap (by removing the wrappers and letting them sit in the air for about 6 weeks) they will harden and last much longer.
Before I get started, please know that this is NOT going to be a Public Service Announcement for driving sober, wearing your seat-belt, or not texting while driving. All of this is common sense stuff you should know and be following.
Instead, this article is about how to deal with other drivers’ with road rage, how to spot/avoid a potential drunk driver, and how to protect yourself while on the road.
Yes, this is important. It may not be as glamorous or exciting as reading about preparing for the zombie apocalypse. But to date, there have been ZERO reported deaths due to zombies. NONE!
The same cannot be said about motor vehicle accidents. In 2014, there were almost 30,000 fatal car accidents in the US. This resulted in 32,675 deaths.
In 1988 there were 162 million licensed drivers in the US. In 2010, that number had grown to over 210 million. See a trend here? That number is only going to go up. As the number of drivers grow, so too will the number of car accidents. And so too will the number of road rage incidents and DUIs.
All this means that the chances of you being killed or injured in a car accident are astronomically greater than dying in a zombie swarm. Hence you need to pay attention!
I regularly talk about EDC (Every Day Carry), and the importance of being armed. Being ready and prepared to defend yourself from the “wolves” of this world is something that everyone should be willing and able to do.
Fortunately, I live in a state that allows its law abiding citizens to carry a weapon in public to protect themselves from deadly situations. However, there is more to having an EDC weapon than simply packing some heat! There are rules that everyone should follow when carrying an EDC weapon. Here are my 7 rules for carrying your EDC weapon:
#1 – Know your state laws and local ordinances
I cannot stress this enough. Too many times I see people that carry a weapon but do not fully know or understand the laws in their area governing this. What can you legally carry? What are the laws governing self-defense and the use of your weapon? Know these, and help save yourself a potential legal fire storm should you ever find yourself having to use your EDC weapon to defend yourself!
If your state allows you to get a carry conceal permit, then by all means get it!
Also keep in mind that what is legal in your state may not be legal in another. So check firearms/self defense laws in any other states you might be traveling to. Click here for an excellent source for learning about the firearm laws in your area and across the nation.
#2 – Get a quality firearm
Just recently, my parents went through a free, carry conceal class that my police department puts on 2 or 3 times a year for city employees and their family members. The morning section is in a class room setting, and the afternoon portion is out on the range.
When the proverbial “poop” hits the fan, should you ride out the SHTF event at home? Or should you hit the open road for safer areas? This question has perplexed preppers for years, and understandably so. Many preppers prefer the safety and comfort of home, and make their plans accordingly. Others have a sense of adventure and excitement, and yearn for the day that SHTF so they can take off and leave civilization (or what remains of it) behind!
In reality, both have merits that we will cover here. Let’s take a look…
For most emergency and disaster scenarios, bugging in should be the preferable way to go. The vast majority of emergencies are localized, and you can ride out these events by simply being prepared at home. FEMA recommends having a 3 day supply of food and water, though most preppers will have much more than that. With enough supplies and equipment on hand, staying home during a disaster is typically the smart thing to do.
Bugging in during a disaster has numerous advantages to bugging out:
- Familiar resources – you know the layout of your home, and the areas where your gear and supplies are located. Storing supplies and gear is WAY easier than trying to move it! You should also know about local sources of water (lakes and streams), grocery stores, etc that are close by
- Familiar location – you should have detailed knowledge of the area around your home and neighborhood. Where is the closest grocery store? Hospital? Police station? Are there side streets you can use to avoid heavily congested main roads?
- Familiar People – you should at least have working knowledge of your neighbors and people living in close proximity to you. Neighbors you can trust and/or have useful skills. You should also keep in mind about neighbors or people who could be potential problems in larger, more dangerous emergencies.
- Safety and security – During times of disaster, movement is not without perils. And I’m not just talking about roving bands of marauders. Things such as torn up roads and buildings can present dangers and unseen hazards. So to can the outside elements. Freezing rain is a lot easier to deal with when you are inside! And it is should be easier to defend yourself inside your own home as opposed to being out on the open road.
If you do not have a bug in plan, start developing one now. As I stated, a vast majority of emergencies can be ridden out safely by simply being prepared at home. If a tornado hits your area (but misses you house) and you are without power for a few days, staying home with your preps would seem like the logical thing to do. A sudden snow storm leaves you home bound and without power…now you put your bug in plans into place.
My review of the Smith and Wesson Sport model AR-15 as a budget AR is one of this site’s most popular articles. A lot of people want to buy an AR style rifle while they still can. But for many, money is tight and they may not have the cash needed to buy a decent AR. So to these folks I say, “Then buy the parts you need over time, and build it yourself!”
Before you completely dismiss this idea because you believe it is too hard, too complicated, and you just don’t have the know-how, stop! Putting together an AR is really NOT that hard. You can do it in about 30 minutes or so. And you do not need a wide variety of tools. In many cases, you can purchase a completed upper and lower receiver, and simply connect them together yourself in mere minutes.
At the end of this article I have all sorts of links and resources available to help you buy the parts and build your own AR, including a video showing you step by step how to completely assemble an AR. So if you don’t need any further convincing, skip to the bottom of this article to get started! Be sure to check out part II of this series, Premium Builds!
Now if you still aren’t sure, let me give you some reasons why I think now is the time to get this project started!
Regardless of whether you build or buy an AR, if you want one I strongly encourage you to get one now! This site is not a political site, as I believe that being prepared transcends political parties. But the “gun control” drum is being beaten loudly, and it would not surprise me to see some in our government try to strip away the 2nd amendment rights of its law abiding citizens.
These rifles have been banned before, and it can happen again. This despite the fact that a majority of Americans are opposed to banning these types of rifles. So if money is a concern but you want to own an AR rifle, then start buying the pieces now while you can!
For the purposes of this article, I will be talking about building an AR-15 that is calibrated to fire the 5.56/.223 round. You can build variants that shoot the 300 blackout round, the 6.8 mm round, 6.5 Creedmoor, or the .308 round. (AR-10) But these builds are generally more expensive than the standard AR platform. So I am just focusing on the 5.56 version for the purposes of this article. (Although there is no real difference in building them, just different part sizes.)
While I was writing my article on being prepared for terrorism and mass shooting events, I touched some on having situational awareness. And after writing that, I realized that I need to expound on situational awareness even more. This subject is so important, it warrants its own article.
In fact, I’d rate the skill and ability of situational awareness as one of the most important skills you can have as a prepper. (If not the MOST important!) So I decided that I needed to expand, and really take a look at this truly important and potentially life saving skill!
Situation awareness is, according to the USCG, the ability to identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening to the team (you) with regards to the mission. More simply, it’s knowing what is going on around you.
By reading this, I hope to make you aware of the varying stages of situational awareness, ways to improve your awareness, things to be aware of and look for/habits to get into, and developing potential plans of action. All of these will increase your situational awareness, which will in turn increase your odds of surviving a dangerous scenario.
I have taken bits and pieces of the mass shooting article and used them here. So if a paragraph or two looks familiar, that is why. 🙂
Stages of Awareness
First, awareness can be broken down into 4 different stages. Some people may have already heard about these four stages, but if not they are as follows: