Did you ever think about what your life would be like if the stores were closed? I’m not talking about a post-apocalyptic scenario or a nuclear holocaust that clears the shelves. I’m talking about a long-term disruption of services caused by an economic collapse.
What if you couldn’t run to Wal-Mart to get soap? What if the grocery store had supplies so limited that they were rationed out to people in such small amounts that the food you got was not enough to meet your needs? What if there were no diapers for your baby or aspirin to cure a headache?
Unfortunately, the people of today are even less prepared than their ancestors, especially here in the US. Family farms, once an archetype of the American way of life, are now a rare and increasingly limited thing of the past. Storing extra food or keeping a well-stocked pantry is practically unheard of, especially among the younger generations.
There are also more people now than ever before, living more densely in cities. Most people have never tended a garden in their life, let alone grown their own food crops or own the land necessary for it, so you can imagine the chaos and panic that will ensue in the face of any serious financial calamity.
There are many ways you can prepare yourself and protect your assets from the likelihood of an economic collapse or serious breakdown of civilization as a nuclear war , though. One of the best ways you can protect yourself is to invest in hard assets that are tangible and retain their value despite the test of time. Owning arable land, and/or operating a farm in the spirit of our homesteading forefathers, is one good way to invest your wealth and protect your family.
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Whether paper and/or hard currencies are still used, if history is anything to go by they are probably going to be hard to acquire and/or highly inflated and relatively worthless as a result.
Although a more reliable currency may be developed, during the period of chaos and upheaval there are many tried and true alternatives to traditional and fiat currency that can be used in trade and barter. Some of the most common things that have been (and still are) used as alternative currencies include:
- Tobacco and cigarettes have been used for decades as a substitute (or commodity based) currency for trade and barter. Whether or not you smoke, loose tobacco and tobacco products are a very good store of value, and are likely to be worth quite a lot more than you paid for them in the event of a serious crises.
- Alcohol, like tobacco, is always in demand somewhere, by someone, and can be used to trade and barter for many goods. Grain alcohol stores practically indefinitely, while high proof rums, vodka, gin and other liquors are very good for storing and trading. In addition to storing alcohol for trade or barter later, learning how to brew mead and beer or to distill your own alcohol can be an invaluable skill.
- Gold, silver and copper are some of the most common alternatives for those who wish to keep their wealth in a store of harder currency. Tried and true, precious and semiprecious metals have been used as a store of wealth for thousands of years. Older US coins, minted in 1964 and earlier, contain ~90% silver and are a good way to start a small silver collection. If you opt to invest in solid gold, silver or copper bullion, be sure to get chips or bullion in many smaller weights, including 1/8th, ¼, ½, and 1 oz. for ease of trade.
- Ammunition in a variety of calibers can not only save your life, but will also give you a rather powerful bargaining tool if SHTF and all hell breaks loose. Aside from stocking up on as much ammo as you reasonably can, be sure to purchase plenty of the most common calibers (9mm, .45, .22lr, 12 gauge, etc.) for use as bargaining chips and in trade. It probably won’t be like the days of the Wild West, but ammunition will likely be in limited or strictly controlled supply, so your stockpile will become valuable fast.
Those who own land or farms in the countryside are generally going to be at an advantage in the case of widespread societal collapse. Although a certain percentage of people will try to flee from cities and developed urban areas, thus posing a potential threat to your countryside location, the fact is that most of the masses either won’t leave or won’t get far from the cities they live in.
When it comes to a social collapse based on a nuclear crisis, mushroom clouds created during a ground based incident may well come to mind.
Even though most people think they know what an exploding nuclear device may look like, there are actually many sources of based nuclear contamination. Each source of nuclear material will cause different visual, auditory, and other effects.
Therefore, when it comes to preparing for a nuclear incident, you must be aware of where the radiation will come from as well as how to deal with it as safely as possible.
Steve discusses how we still have time to prepare despite the past and current Weather Wars as carefully documented in his book Weather Wars . Steve also reviews Holly Drennan Deyo’s book, Dare to Prepare. Steve has dubbed this book “the preppers encyclopedia” and rightly so.
Faced with social collapse or a nuclear war on such a massive scale, it was predicted that the population would simply not follow official advice. People would try and escape rather than staying at home and hoarding food, in line with government guidelines.
It was also predicted that the majority of the population would suffer from clinical depression after a nuclear attack and be mentally unable to follow instructions.
There are some other key ways that you can increase your chance of surviving, and potentially even thriving, in the event of widespread chaos and societal collapse or nuclear holocaust These include:
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- Where Should Your Water Come From?
You can buy purified water in the grocery store and stockpile it for emergencies, but that’s not the most cost-effective way of stockpiling water. At about one dollar per gallon, you’ll end up spending a lot of money to have enough water. It’s even worse if you buy bottled water, because you are paying for the individual bottles.
The advantage of buying pre-packaged, purified water is that it is probably purified to a more stringent standard than that which comes out of the faucet. However, there are ways of making it pure yourself. Two popular purifiers on the market, the Berkey and the Sawyer, will both purify water for much less than it costs to buy purified water from the store. In fact, they are even cheaper than buying your purified water from the corner water kiosk.
Purifying your own water may seem like a lot of extra work, but if you’re putting the purified water into some sort of tank, it’s really not that bad. I’ve done this for years and it really doesn’t take all that much time.
- Should You Bother With Purified?
However, you don’t even need to purify your water before storing it. If your tap water is good enough to drink, then why wouldn’t it be good enough to use in a survival situation? For that matter, about three-fourths of the water you need in a survival situation doesn’t need to be purified, so purifying everything else is a waste of time.
Non-purified tap water can be stored for a prolonged period of time, just like the expensive bottled water. About the only difference is that you do stand a risk of algae growing in the water, especially if it is kept somewhere that sunlight can get to it. However, this problem is easily solved by adding a small amount of bleach to the water.
I keep most of my water stockpile in 750-liter tanks. That’s about the biggest size you can carry in a pickup truck, which is how I ended up picking that size. Every six months or so I add eight drops of bleach per gallon of water to the tanks. Since the standard for measurement is 20 drops per cubic centimeter, that works out to 80cc of bleach. That’s enough to kill any bacteria or algae which have gotten into my water.
- As you are selecting foods for your emergency stockpile, you need to consider the following:
- You may not have electrical power, so your refrigerator and freezer may not work.
- Most foods aren’t packed for long-term storage, with the exception of canned foods.
- You want foods that will give you the maximum nutrition for the minimum bulk.
- Avoid all types of “snack foods” as there is no way to store them for long periods of time.
- Develop a close community when possible. In the event of any serious breakdown in society, when the police and local law enforcement, and potentially even the military, are overwhelmed or disbanded entirely, there will be greater safety in numbers. You need to be able to trust the people around you, though. In the country or another rural area, you should do your best to be on good, friendly terms with your neighbors so that you can watch out for one another. If you live in a city or another suburban area, try to keep your family and friends close, stay informed and make contingency plans together.
- Store spare parts and specialty oils, lubricants and other commonly needed tools for repairing various machinery. In the event of widespread chaos or the breakdown of society, production of these materials will decrease or stop entirely. Since stores, warehouses and storage facilities will be robbed and looted in short order, you will put yourself in a more powerful position to remain independent and self-sufficient by stocking up on needed supplies ahead of time. Spare parts, and general mechanical knowhow, will also give you powerful bargaining chips for barter and trade.
- Stock up on antibiotics and other pharmaceutical medicines, both over-the-counter and prescription. Medicine can become very hard, even impossible, to obtain in a crises and no one wants to die (or lose a child) due to a bad cold or the onset of diarrhea. Pain killers, anti-inflammatories, Imodium, iodine and other medicines can be purchased in most shops and local pharmacies or online. If you can’t get additional prescriptions from your doctor, one good alternative for sourcing antibiotics is to check with the vet. Antibiotics for pets, including penicillin (Fish Pen), amoxicillin (Fish Mox), and ciprofloxacin (Fish Flox) are available from the vet without any prescription and are identical to those used for humans.
Whenever possible, you should also stockpile extra food, water and other basic necessities of life, but these recommendations will put you in a stronger position to trade and barter for whatever you may need after a collapse but didn’t have a chance to stockpile. Perhaps more important than any other preparation you make, though, is your level of mental preparedness.
Disasters and crises situations exert a huge toll on humans psychologically and mentally; stress and fatigue can wear down even those who are reasonably well prepared in a material sense. Prepare yourself mentally and psychologically by developing a firm plan of action in the event of a critical emergency, and review your plans with your family and/or close friends.
Panic in a critical situation can be deadly, so by preparing ahead of time and knowing your plan of action by heart you’ll be calmer and have a clearer mind in the event of a real emergency.