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Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF

Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 1496915
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08/09/2011 06:44 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF

A Debris Hut

OK, the worst has happened. You're forced by circumstances to leave the relatively cozy environs of your home and supplies and must bug out to a new location. Let's imagine further that somehow you've lost your tent, or had it stolen. There are ways of coping, but the best one for making shelter in just about most climates in the US is the debris hut.

There are many websites and books which describe the best way to make one. The first one I ever read was way back when, eons ago, the first Tom Brown book on Surviving in the Wilderness. The video listed above is just about the best one I've seen. It's highly practical knowledge, and can be taught to children as young as seven, and easily constructed.

It takes time, as the video details. It's not like the rapid popup tents we have now, but then, it will keep you extremely warm due to the insulated structure, and of course is ideal since it's camouflaged.

I won't go into specifics since the video is so excellent. The main thing is NOT to make it too big. Make it precisely big enough for no more than two people (one is better, but then sleeping with your honey is worth a little extra work). You can easily make a ring of these and have a very cozy spot for a couple of days. They hold up well, and can last far longer, but if that's what you have to do, it's far better to make a mud and wood structure rather than a debris hut.

If the very worst happened, and you had to travel the back roads to get to your destination, you could easily construct one or more of these, and then after resting, continue on your journey. Based upon the depth of the upper insulation you put upon it, the structure can be pretty waterproof.

I highly recommend this as a family project to be attempted while actually camping or hiking. The kids will love you for helping them make a "fort" and will have the most fond memories of making one.

If the weather is clear and warm, it's overkill to make one. Realize though that a forest can get quite chilly at night due to dense shade. There can be dramatic temperature variations when camping, something a greenhorn is always surprised by.

If security is an issue, and it is not possible to build a fire, having a warm burrow to sleep in will greatly assist you in drifting off to sleep.

Mike goes into the construction over several videos which can all be seen on youtube.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/10/2011 10:23 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Evaluating what to do

Riots are like a fire. A fire becomes a living breathing consuming entity. The mindless zombies that once were rioting for a purpose will be supplemented with the angry, rage filled, formerly powerless folks who are just looking to settle some old scores. They'll be joined by the mentally ill. People looking for kicks will join. People who are evil sociopaths, but pretend to fit into society will join since it allows their shadow-selves to emerge.

It all seems far away on the television screen. We eat ou slice of pizza, and take a swig of beer, and get bored, change the channel, and go back to being sheep. Our favorite program is coming on next, and we're rather be distracted then face reality.

Parents don't have this option. Young children would be the most vulnerable if the raging flames started licking at the edges of your towns.

How do you evaluate what to do?

Riots cannot easily occur. They are intentional ramped up by a combination of factors. A fire needs three things: a spark, fuel, and oxygen.

Usually a centering idea is put forth by the original impetus. Listen for it. It will be whispered, and then the hum will be heard. The media will amplify it.This idea is the spark.

Communication must occur for them to become organized into a mob. Communication is the oxygen. Flash-mobs can seem to suddenly appear, but they're a calculated phenomena based on intentional communication.

Is there internal rage already there in your town? Are there lots of unemployed people? Are racial tensions already at a critical mass? Are people hacked off and vocal about it? These are all red flags. The rage is the spark.

Fire spreads. What fuels it beyond it's localized area? The same factors in other towns. The idea takes hold in other areas. It's re-communicated to other people. Other people have similar rage.

A major factor is the location of goods worth stealing. While riots often happen locally in very poor areas, the mob is a dynamic mutating mass of entirely different kinds of people ultimately. It changes into something radically different that is base and dark and hungry. Usually these are folks that become entirely feral and want to steal and even the score.

If there are rich places in a concentrated area that offer a "fuel" to keep the fire going, then that's where the fire will migrate. Otherwise it will die or move and look for other "fuel".

That "fuel" may be your property.

Worse things can happen. Some people don't care about things. That doesn't motivate them. Hurting and humiliating other people...that motivates them. Do some research. Rape is seldom about sex, it's about hurting people on the most profound levels and humiliating the perceived cause of their lack of power.

This should not be ignored. If riots spread, the fire could mutate and be joined by these depraved wretches of society.


When should you leave?

A fire can be controlled or extinguished. Generally it's controlled by burning. If you remove the fuel, then you can keep it controlled into one area. It can be extinguished, but in this case it requires extreme political will. There will be consequences to extinguishing this kind of fire. How many politicians do you know will that kind of WILL?

When the firefighters are in danger, they will either feel a surge of adrenaline and act, or they will flee if it is too volatile or hopeless. If the firefighters are not allowed to respond, then they will be regulated to merely passively resisting the fire. When that becomes apparent, that the leadership is not allowing them to fight the fire, then you should wake up.

How to exit

Do you know the ways to leave your city? Most of us think we do, but in reality we know the main pathways we normally use to travel.

Some pathways are the biggest and easiest paths to travel on with the fewest interruptions. These will be the primary paths that EVERYONE will take. How will that pan out? Ever been on a major highway, and been stuck because of an accident? They generally are not constructed to remove stalled vehicles, and so special help must be called, dispatched, routed, and only then can the stalled vehicles removed. Sometimes that can snarl up traffic for miles.

If you chose these kinds of paths, there is a high probability that this could happen. Why?

In a SHTF scenario, many people will be extremely ill-prepared to bug out. They won't know what to take. They will get lost. They will lose their heads. They will run out of gas. They will not be paying attention. They could have accidents.

Can you imagine a worse scenario that a rioting city and being stuck in a stalled car on a highway that may or not be located in urban areas? That could get dramatically ugly.

How far can you travel?

Think about this logically. How many gallons of gas can a full tank take you? How many of you have a full tank? Where is the first place you will go? Like most people, who are departing on a journey, the last thing you do is fill up your tank. This is precisely why you must fill up you tank today. If a situation become untenable, and you foolish don't even have a full tank of gas, you could get stuck very easily either waiting in line at a gas station, or run out in a bad location.

If the SHTF, it may be very difficult to acquire gas. Most of us use debit cards or credit cards. If a SHTF situation happened, and prices are dramatically in flux, store owners will not know how much to charge. Worse, they may wake up, and realize they need to bug out, and that foolishly running their gas stations while everyone is fleeing is a doomed proposition.

Multiple the gallons of gas in your vehicle times normal mileage. If you're the kind of person prone to becoming lost, subtract at least a couple of gallons since you may certainly be re-routed.

This is the maximum you logically can bug out. See why bugging out is such an iffy idea? If you've got a 250 mile radius of transportation to bug out too, and you're in a zone of highly urban cities, and you're thinking about taking the highways to re-supply gasoline, then you're screwed.

Forewarned is forearmed

Knowing this, you cannot wait until the last minute to bug out. If you're married or have a partner, then bugging out is not a last minute decision. It's a logically calculated decision based upon evidence (not fear) and planning. It's every bit of an expedition. Nobody says, "Hey, let's climb Mount Everest today Honey, whadda ya say?"

Evaluate your situation
If you had to score your city on a scale of being flammable, how high would you rank it? Look at the London riots. The most urban areas had the initial fire, and then it spread throughout the city, in the most opportunistic ways, then it spread to other places. Rank your city.

Where will you go?
If you go where 1 million other panicky folks are going, even if you get there first, you've chosen the wrong destination. Can I get an amen? Go somewhere remote, where you know someone, and where the mob most likely won't go. It goes without saying that arriving at your friend's place without bringing them supplies is not only foolish, but pretty selfish. You should ask what THEY need, and what you can bring, and even if they say nothing, bring something of significant value to add to their supplies.

How to get there?
If you've decided to leave way in advance, you can take the fastest route that doesn't take you ANYWHERE close to another fire zone. This ultimately means considering those residents in other cities based upon their own 250 mile restrictions. Other smart people will also leave, and they too may have the same ideas about a place to go.

Try to take extremely well though out paths based upon research. Know alternative routes. You life may depend upon it.

What to take?
Water. If you're traveling 250 miles with an average speed of 30 miles an hour, then you're probably not thinking about too much water. What if you can't go that fast? What if you end up holing up somewhere? What is there are no places to re-supply. Count on this last one to be true.

Food. You don't want to stop for any reason whatsoever until you arrive.

Camping gear and backpacks. For everyone. If the worst happens and you're stuck, you might have to travel on foot. This means carrying things, and hand luggage is terrible for crossing over land. You might very well be traveling across country and want your hands free to help your children and or spouse. You very likely will be carrying some of their supplies. You must have backpacks.

You need an emergency shelter, and weight is crucial. Sure you can make a shelter as I have detailed, but it takes time to construct, especially the first time, and considering being exhausted by walking and being out of shape. A very light tent, and sleeping bags are essential.

Last thoughts
I hate the idea of bugging out. I live in a rural area, but right next to city of some size. I'm in an area that is very safe, but my guess is that any fleeing folks will come right here, if only to keep moving. I'm counting on them to keep moving as it's not far enough down the road.

This may be very flawed thinking on my part. I'm not remote enough. I've got places to go, but not towards any civilization, but across wooded areas into low populated farmland. I could be just as stuck too if I don't keep an eye on any mass movements. A migrating mob can just as easily strip a town of supplies that they are deploying across.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/10/2011 12:05 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
What is the Source?

It cannot be adequately described. All language fails to define it. How can you define Perfect Love, if you cannot define Love itself or Perfection?

A wise man, sent by the Source, said that the Domain of the Source was within us. NOW. It is not some future event. It is not some sad, now broken place, that has fallen into a crumbled civilization. The Kingdom of the Heaven is now, if and when we do the Source's will.

What is that Will? It is so hard to define. It is not just doing good deeds, though that is surely part of it. Do not be confused or distracted by those who say good deeds are enough.

We do not know what is good. We are selfish. We often think we're doing what is good, and impose our ideas on others. Imposing our will is not love. In the worst way, it can be rape, the absolute perversion of Love. The antithesis of a Perfect Love.

If you had to ask your children to define something, their answer would always be imperfect. We are children of the Source, and so our ideas will always be imperfect and imperfectly communicated.

That wise man, sent by the Source, said that the Kingdom of Heaven was like yeast. That yeast was taken by a woman. She received it, and she hid it, in sixty pounds of flour. She mixed it, kneading it, so much that all of the flour was touched by it, and transformed into dough for bread.

The yeast does not make more yeast. The Source does not ask us to make more. The yeast can transform the most basic elemental stuff necessary for life. It is an agent of change. A catalyst of the most profound Love. It cannot on it's own do much without our help. The Source can and will do miracles, but the messenger sent by the Source, asked US to help.

Yeast is present almost everywhere. Did you know that? We are surrounded by it.

It takes someone who is willing to work, to kneed that yeast, to be the hands of the Source, to make flour into dough that can feed many.

Not everyone wants to be transformed. Most people who could knead the flour don't want to do it. Most don't care. Ever knead a LOT of flour. Sixty pounds is a huge batch of dough. It takes muscle and planning and determination.

Will you do it?

Will you be someone who will be the agent of the Source? There is so much flour to be kneaded.
Anonymous Coward
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08/10/2011 01:12 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Bible predicts people will be eating their kids so stock up on seasoning.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1495430

1rof1 lmao C'mon over here & READ !....Lev.26:29....Deut.28:53-57...2Kings 6:28,29...Jer.19:9...Lam.2:20...Lam.4:10...Ezk.5:10 :damned: I'm no longer laughing ! & then Jesus tops that off w/this...Mt.24:19 "And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those (trib.)days!
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/10/2011 01:36 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
The Destroyer

Some don't believe in the Source. I understand. The surprising thing is the very ones who most doubt the Source, will often most recognize, even serve the Destroyer.

Who is the Destroyer?

Whatever exists has a counterpart. Everyone knows this. We feel it, blame it, like it's some kind of cosmic boogeyman. Nope.

We give it power. We submit to it. It need not rob us. Some will utterly hand over not only themselves but their families. They will delight in it.

The mob will do this. In our selfishness to have what we do not possess, we'll willingly serve the Destroyer since it only seems natural to do whatever will help us survive.

Every time we give in to serving it, it makes it stronger.

In the darkness, when other serve it, remember this. A light casts out all darkness. The smallest illumination is never quenched by the darkness. Light dispels the darkness.

This life is not important. Not much at all. The only point to life is to give back in every breath. Lavish love on the ones you love. Forgive those that despise you. Never risk trying to foist your beliefs on others. The goal is to make yourself better, unselfishly, and love without expecting anything in return.

The smallest kindness and tenderness, is the sweetest most precious gift.

All of us have skills inside that allow civilization and make survival easier. The price of that organization is tolerance. Be tolerant, but don't be a doormat. Don't waste time helping those who don't want you help.

Be the agent of the Source. Your children are watching.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/10/2011 03:30 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Currency post-SHTF

This has been written about numerous times. Gold is priced so high now, and silver is getting higher all the time. Huge amounts have been bought up by governments as they are historic ways to preserve wealth.

You cannot eat gold or silver. It's always good to have some. If the goal is to become wealthy, then maybe in the long run it will be worth something. Personally deflationary periods happen post-Depression, so I don't think that dumping all of your money into them is a great idea.

What will become valuable? Bullets. Standard issue common ammunition will be extremely valuable. While of course some people have stockpiles of reloading materials, it's not like making gunpowder is a typical survival skill.

Bullets are practical, small, and portable. Ammunition for hunting rifles is extremely important for sustenance. I've discussed carrying capacity and the dearth of small game after a major event. I've touched on security too, but in the most oblique terms. Bullets are vital for both.

Most of the game you take will be small. Most of the successful meat that you harvest will come from trapping. You walk, find runs where animals are moving, look for where they feed or get access to water, and then make a route to look for the trap locations that are most successful. Naturally you move the traps around when they don't play out, or after the amounts that you get start to drop off.

Still despite this, larger game will still need to be hunted. Small caliber ammunition is not adequate to take them down. Pistols are not accurate over long distances. The rifling spins the bullet, can be sighted easier, and is more accurate for longer distances. I think hunting rifle ammunition and regular pistol ammunition will be a very good barter item. It will be needed by all, and makes for a trade item that you can use as an interim means to convert into whatever you need.

When things get dire, and/or people get worried, people buy guns and ammunition. In a SHTF scenario, when things are being bought up, and supply is limited, prices could dramatically rise.

People watch tv shows and think they have some faint concept of a gun battle. A lot of ammunition is used, and most often very wastefully and unsuccessfully. Don't have any illusions that you're going to use a magazine of bullets to take down an intruder.

For hunting, you don't get many chances with something so loud as a gun. Miss the killing zone, and the animal might very well wander off, not to be found for a long time, and may simply spoil. Miss altogether, and you might just spook off any other animals in the area. Hunting is an advanced skill that takes practice, not thrashing through the woods and coming back with tons of game. It doesn't work that way.

In the end, expect the animals to drop down to almost nothing in your area. Too many people will harvest them.

Medical skills will be a very good barter item. You're not going to have a lot of equipment or pharmaceutical items to help you practice your trade though.

People who can successfully raise vegetables and animals will naturally have valuable skills. While theft will always be an issue, as a community comes back together, it will become everyone's responsibility to protect the crops and animals. I foresee that people will band together for this. I hope so.

It takes a long time from planting to harvest. Most of our seeds are hybrids. It's not like the old days where you could save back the seeds from harvest. Unless people plant heirloom crops, most likely seed availability will be extremely limited.

Some crops can be produced over the seasons in successive ways. There are waves of plenty, and then nothing for a period. Succession planting helps, but the change in temperature often results in bolting when plants suddenly get too hot and seed. Leafy vegetables grow and can be harvested in a short time, and they do provide important vitamins, but very low calories. Starchy vegetables give great calories, and store well, but mice are always a problem. Root cellars will allow you to extend your usage since they are kept at a lower temperature. Cold frames will allow you to extend your seasons too.

The biggest concern I have is that we'll strip out what few animals that the farmers have. Panicking people do not act thinking long term. A lot of the animals might be killed foolishly or needlessly. What do you possess that a farmer might need so much that they would willing trade off their animals? Especially consider that they have to feed their families, and so those animals are their lifeline.

Other abilities fit in progressively lower tiers of importance. People who can build things, understand carpentry, and are creative, will thrive.

People who understand power generation and water purification will do well. Electronics people and communication experts will have marketable skills.

People who are popular, are good at organizing, and motivating people will be needed, but in very low amounts. We have too many bosses now already.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/10/2011 04:17 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Frontier House can be watched on youtube. The six episodes can be found here:

You'll see how very hard pioneer life was and is. Watch all six episodes if you can. It'll give you a realistic portrayal of the difficulties and triumphs. Realize that all of us can do it, but most likely far less than 30% of us would succeed. We sure wouldn't be as well outfitted in any fashion.
Anonymous Coward
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08/10/2011 04:19 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
In addition to the long term survival issues kids especially need prepared for sudden emergencies. Most that I have met adults too are unprepared with a strategy for when something sudden happens. They haven't ever thought of it before so don't have the info to respond.

For instance an earthquake. Many have been taught to hide under furniture. Most just stand watching events and then reacting if they see something start to fall towards them. Hiding under furniture can result in death. An entire class of schoolkids years ago in Mexico where killed with this faulty strategy. The roof falls and crushes the desks or beds or tables and the people underneath. The kids huddled NEXT to the desks were not crushed because the desks held up the roof enough to survive.

What I do is when my kids are busy with play or tv I announce sudden emergencies and they have 10 seconds to find a strategy or I proclaim they have DIED! They love that game. If I announce earthquake the child who finds the correct location in immediate reach to enhance survival wins. Because of this they often choose the worst possible location so they can be proclaimed as DIED but at least in picking the worst spot they understand it is a bad choice.

When taking walks in the woods or at home I may announce armed attackers, bears, moose, angry dogs, tornados, sudden floods and other events they may see in their life. I also announce firestorms. They now know if they are near a public street a strong stick can wedge up a city drain pipe cover quickly and they can dodge an incoming combustible or explosive event that way.

So I would recommend this game with your kids. Sitting at dinner and a home invasion happens what should the kids be doing to survive? What about if they are walking and an attacker approaches? What about an large carnivore which we have where I live. Should they run or not? With some running will increase your chances of dying and with others it will not the kids need to know. Anyway your kids will love the game if you keep it at their level of fun.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/10/2011 07:12 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Final words

Thanks for listening. There are so many smarter men than me. I hope some of my tips were helpful despite any failings I had in communicating.

I'm getting ready now. There's no more time to write on forums.

You are never alone. You may feel that way. You may feel horribly discouraged in the days and dark nights ahead. The Psalmist sings, "I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn."

We are the sentries. The darkness will feel so close. You can be certain of that.

God is always there. You can always talk to God. God is always present and listening. You can always invite God into your life.

You don't have to say special words. God doesn't care how bad you have acted. God doesn't care who you are. God doesn't care how long it's been.

God is real. Jesus is God's son. Jesus will always intercede for you. You only have to ask and believe in Him.

Imagine that. There is no other person in the whole world who will love you so unconditionally, so profoundly, so lavishly.

He's waiting for a few small words so he can help you. It's up to you.
Carol B.

User ID: 1265827
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08/10/2011 07:15 PM

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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
I want to thank you, OP, for this thread. I have it on my favorites for future use. A lot of really great, usable information. Again, thanks.
General Troll, US Shillitary

User ID: 1259833
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08/10/2011 07:40 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Great thread OP. As a father of 2 young boys, their safety and well-being are paramount to me as I prep. Great post hf
"What you have just said, is the most insanely idiotic thing I have ever heard. At no point, in your rambling incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul."
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/11/2011 08:37 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF

I thought I was done, but after glancing at a well meaning post on using banana peels to purify water by another poster, I thought you might find this much more helpful. Not too many people will have a lot of banana peels lying around post-SHTF! :)

[link to www.cd3wd.com]
This weblink is free. There is no cost whatsoever involved in getting this information. It also can be downloaded legally via torrents.

Many volunteers from agencies that served third world countries have created pdf files. This information is used to assist those countries and their citizens in doing things like digging a well, starting a chicken farm, growing crops without chemical fertilizers, etc.

There are over 13 gigabytes of FREE information. It would be an enormous help to you, a massive practical library of information after is the SHTF.

If you had a laptop, and the solar battery charger that I detailed earlier or something like a Kindle, then you'd easily be able to access this information. Can you see how important that would be?

Another great resource library can be found here:
[link to www.gutenberg.org]

This collection can also freely be download since all of the copyrights have expired. This huge collection would also be of enormous value if the SHTF.

Good luck everyone. Use the Internet for something useful. Having both will give you a huge boost. It might also be an enormous trading resource for any leadership post-SHTF. If several of us have these, we can rebuild, and spread the information. The old information that we once spent enormous effort sending to 3rd world nations will now be used to help us rebuild society.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/11/2011 08:45 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Another free resource, this time medical. It's distributed to help folks without access to a physician.
When there is no doctor by the Hesperian Foundation.
[link to www.hesperian.info]

They have many free pdf files. These will save lives.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/11/2011 09:48 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
[link to en.howtopedia.org]
The simplest rainwater harvest method. This requires the following items. Things you absolutely must have, and for minimal cost:
A plastic tarp
4 poles (you could use 4 strong branches)
A funnel
a clean, closeable collection vessel.

Anyone can make this. It can be setup as needed, though leaving the poles up and using waterproof rope like strong cheap nylon is the easiest method. Keep the plastic tarp pristine. It's easy to use a mild bleach solution to do this. You'll be surprised how much rain you can catch based upon the length of tarp, but of course, the structural integrity due to weight will determine how far you should stretch it.

The whole point is to funnel the falling rain into the vessel. You should have multiple vessels as water is heavy. 1 gallon = 8.35 lbs. You'd hate to spill that precious water. Ideally you have several people switching out the vessel, taking turns.

This method is only for drinking water. For all other water, you're going to catch the rain from your roof.

Do a weather check on typical rain levels in you area. This will serve as a guide to how much you can reasonably catch. Realize that any method will be subject to evaporation. You must catch it, and store it, in such a way to minimize evaporation. Obviously, a lot can easily be lost, and you've got to do creative things to minimize the effect of sun on the container.

Catching rainwater for your crops is simple. You're going to modify your downspouts by simply cutting them to the proper length, insuring that it is rigidly held in place, and then placing a vessel underneath the downspout to catch that water.

1 inch of rain on a 2,000 square foot roof = 1250 gallons. You'll never catch all of it without careful planning. This is not drinking water, not without a lot of purification. It will however be great for watering your garden.

Don't be fooled into thinking you can simply use a clean metal garbage can as a means of catching the water. There will be too much water, and it will be too heavy. A standard 30 gallon galvanized metal weighs around 250 lbs. Try dragging that around without help and then putting another in place, and so forth.

You'll be rigging up some way to open and close a valve to multiple stationary barrels or vessels, most likely a pvc plastic system of pipes to them.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/11/2011 10:00 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
[link to www.survivalblog.com]
Simplest list that details many important things to have on hand.

LDS preparation manual
[link to www.abysmal.com]

It has a lot of LDS material in the front of it. I'm not an LDS person by the way. It's one of the most practical pdf files to have though. It covers many things in simple language on how to prepare completely.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/11/2011 11:50 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
A Rocket Stove made only using bricks

A rocket stove is the simplest and most efficient wood burning stove for cooking. It uses a minimal amount of wood, which is crucial when the whole neighborhood is scavenging wood. If you don't help organize this post-SHTF and teach people, then THEY will use up all of the available wood. Meditate upon this.

Anyone can make it. Bricks are easy to find. Many people have left over bricks laying around, or use them with brushed-in sand to make a simple patio. You can harvest them easily with a simple chisel and mallet.

Solar Ovens
Solar ovens are used in many 3rd world nations to keep the villagers from stripping out trees for cook stoves. This is a far superior way, but getting people to use them is problematic as it requires longer cooking times and planning and sun exposure and patience. When the wood is stripped out, then you can expect a switch to this.

The easiest solar cooker using scavenged materials.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/11/2011 12:40 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Pretty decent video on fish trapping. Normal fishing is too passive for catching enough fish to survive. This method involves making a basket. The basket has an opening that narrows. The fish swim in, and then have difficulty swimming out. Most traps don't think of this, but naturally you want to make a latching door to retrieve the fish, and then fix a way to open and close it without messing up the basket. It takes time to build. You do these sorts of things in the evening around the fire.

Making rope
Rope is the easiest craft there is. It looks hard, but the main thing is finding a natural material from something like weeds or grasses that has fibrous bendable material. I don't know why, but young boys aged 7-10 seem to like doing it, and they quieten down while doing so, so it's a great way to put them to work, and get something accomplished at the same time. Great for say a just after lunch activity when it's hot. They do it for an hour, get tired, nap, then get up and finish it. It doesn't take long to make quite a length, and that material can be used to make traps, both normal snares, but rope for the fish trap.


Making Rope

This is the best video as he shows what he means by twist away and then back. He's sloppy, and introducing a lot of gaps. When you splice in, it's easier if you splice in one length in, and then alternate another quite a bit down from the splice. Otherwise, introducing two splices in at once will make you cordage or rope weak.

I like flexible fibrous weeds as it makes a finer produce versus using flexible bark. I've had issues with the bark breaking on me from left over wooden pieces I neglected to remove.

Both activities can be made my children, and they appreciate being involved and responsible for making and checking the traps later. Wet cords break, so mending will happen often. Naturally you can make a long lasting chickenwire and wood basket that will last far longer. It will be analogous to a crab trap. You can bait with any material you don't want to eat, or simply something like some grasshopper pieces.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Making a snare

The easiest trap to make. Not technical at all. I like the 2nd video since the boy can't be more than 12 that's teaching you. Young teens make great snares, and will improve on their design since they are naturally curious.

The spring aspect is very helpful for stunning the rabbit or squirrel. I personally use a heavier sapling since that will jerk them harder, which I think is better.

You must check traps often to be humane. It is very cruel to make the animal suffer. They will chew off any limbs caught. You're going to make a circuit of checking the traps, probably twice a day. Trapping is about numbers. It's a probability based upon how many you set, and how often you check them, and how well you bait them with something that makes them curious as bait. The snare will work in any "run" area regardless of bait though, but of course bait will help. A squirrel will naturally be curious, and setting up a log against a tree where known squirrel activity is going on, say an oak with acorns present, will be an excellent place for several snares attached to the log. They'll climb, get snared, and fall off and be suspended.

It would be very foolish to make a trap and NOT de-scent your hands. Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap works well. Mint grows everywhere and disguises human scent well.

The spring snare
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Field Dressing a Squirrel

The main thing after is checking the liver. It should be bright red, if not the animal may be sick. There are good and bad times to gather. Naturally late winter, or early spring will have a higher percentage of sick weakened squirrels.

It is hard to do the first time. Squirrels are beautiful creatures. I thank the animal since it sacrificed it's life for me. Respect is vital for you in any trapping or hunting. We've lost this when we go to a grocery store and acquire meat that came from overcrowded animals that were cruelly treated.

Soaking the squirrel meat overnight in a brine will remove gamey taste as will outside grilling. Hungry people will easily eat squirrel.

Make certain you don't contaminate the meat by puncturing any organs. Cook all game well done.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young had it so right. How did we lose it? We got to get back to the Garden.

Really listen.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Sometimes when walking across the fields, woods, and hills, you're going to run into obstacles. If you have children, older folks, or simply greenhorns, you must never assume that people will use common sense to traverse a rough area. People are NOT used to taking any trail, much less crossing though a forested region without a trail or uneven ground.

If it's possible, have an experienced person in the front and the back. The person in the front is noting all of the things that might be issues like low lying branches at face level that can hurt your eyes when bending back and forth, rocks that people could trip on if they are clipping along, holes where they could twist an ankle, etc. That person tells the person immediately behind them, and so on. Teens can really help here, and can be taught so well, that they might see the obstacle before you do.

The person in the back is making sure people are not straggling which will greatly diminish your speed. If being quiet is an issue, they're reminding them. They're also observing who is behind them, and noises they hear.

Crossing water is always an issue. It is very easy for someone to be foolish or play, and a twisted ankle or injury could become a disaster. You need to show them how to cross, and in the most practical way. Having a large branch or staff to help balance themselves will really help. Swift moving water can knock someone off their feet, and often mud can make people lose their shoes or get into a dangerous predicament. Wet mossy rocks are horribly slippery, and no doubt someone will take a spill.

If you lose your footing in a river crossing, and get carried downstream, lift your feet up in front of you always. Teach them to move parallel with the river bank, and inch towards it, rather than make a swim directly across. It would seem that swimming right for it would be smarter, but not in fast moving water.

Going up a hill, lean into the hill. Be cautious about grabbing on to branches. I've seen people do this, and fall a great ways with a nasty scrap. A staff can often be used if the soil is lose to plant it a little, giving you far more steadiness as you ascend.

When going downhill, if it's too steep, go down on your butt. Inch along until the terrain doesn't have loose rock and flattens out some.

Sometimes you have to traverse a rocky cliff. If so, lean into the rock and look straight across. There are often lips and handholds. I've taught 7 year olds to rock climb. Sometime they pay attention better than adults. It is extremely hard to rock climb with a novice child. Try to have them practice in an area that is not too high at first so you can watch their technique. Teach them to use their thigh muscles, not relying upon upper body strength that much.

Chimneying is a technique where you press your back against a crevice and then press with your feet on the opposite side. You inch your way up or down when there are no hand holds and you must go either direction. Anyone can do this as strength needed is not as important as the crevice opening. It's like kids do in doorways to inch up the door opening and ascend to the top. That's a great way to teach children.

Any crack that potentially could be a great handhold in a public park could have glass in it. There's always some nutty person who might have thrown a bottle. Teach people about this. More than once, I've reached into a crevice for a critical handhold, and gotten cut by broken glass, and still had to hold on. I've never gotten cut when I watched for it and paid attention.

If someone freaks out on a cliff due to fear of heights, talks to them calmly. Everyone has the potential to get a bout of anxiety. Have them look immediately ahead, and not down. They can tense up, building lactic acid in their muscles, and it can go horribly wrong. Watch for trembling if they stand in one spot too long. Better to walk ten miles out of your way, then lose them.

Older folks can lose feeling in their feet. It's called neuropathy and affects many people. It can be the reason they lose their footing since they cannot tell when their feet are touching the ground very well. You must watch out for this as they will be embarrassed and not reveal this.

In any ascent, it can be very helpful for the experienced person to go right behind anyone you think will give you trouble. Sometimes the strongest person who's full of bluff and bluster will not listen at all. Watch for this.

Better to take your time and guide every single person through a tough place to navigate, then an injury that could lose you days in hiking.
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Finding your way in the woods

Most everyone who hikes in a strange place for the first time gets lost. It's the easiest thing to do.

Now that we're experiencing a change in the Earth's magnetic field (for whatever reason), a compass is no longer the best way to find your way. In fact, you could get really screwed up going over a long distance using a compass. Hopelessly lost.

The easiest and I think best way to find your bearings is this method:
[link to www.wikihow.com]

Some old school survivalist please set me straight if this is teaching people wrong. I'm pretty old myself.

Basically you're going to mark the location of the shadow of the stick, wait 15-20 minutes, which is a good thing to do if you're freaking out anyway, and then mark the shadow again. Drawing a line that connects the shadow marks, will make a East/West indicator.

This is most accurate across the Midwest.

There are a gazillion cray ideas about how to find North or another cardinal point. Most of them are not based on any kind of science whatsoever.

The Sun still rises in the East and sets in the West, but of course, you can be really hungry, low on water, stressed out, and make crazy decisions walking around when the line-of-sight is limited, and get lost.

Most people favor one leg more than the other. When you walk, since you favor that leg, you tend to veer in that direction. What happens is that this can cause you to walk in circles. It's the most natural thing in the world.

If you're in the woods, and walking through all manner of brush and trees, and can't see the sky very well, you have to stay vigilant in your heading. Often, while you may need to go one direction, you have to double back because of an obstacle. It may be dangerous to press forward, or the terrain is too difficult.

The main thing is stay calm. Medieval illiterate people with no maps, and will power, walked from France, to Croatia, to Constantinople, to Jerusalem during the first Crusade. They did this leaving in Winter, and ill-prepared to do so. What one person can do, another person can do.

Lost people get very erratic. Panic sets in, and the direction they take is based upon a gut hunch, and it is most often wrong. People do not have a natural sense of direction.

Walking in the woods is not like walking on flat paved roads. It takes a lot of exertion at times. Pacing yourself and staying alert but relaxed is essential. It's a great time to say a simple prayer.

Going up over a mountain and then back down again to save time, rather than skirting around the base which has more miles, is foolish. The weather patterns on a mountain can rapidly and radically change. It is the height of folly to attempt this with children.

When you walk, you are constantly checking for any sign that you're on the right track. The natural inclination is to chat, and if do this, you can get distracted with a false sense of well-being. A very good thing to do is cup your ears to listen better. I know it sounds like common sense, but people fail to do this all the time. Cupping your ears is exactly what it sounds like. You place your hand behind both ears, and stop, and with no one talking, really listen. You'll be amazed how much you can hear, and it can alert you to distant sounds like running water, animals, people, or vehicles. All of those things may be important if lost.

On survival shows they say to follow water. Let me tell you, that if you're in a wetlands, that crisscrosses a marshy area for acres, you can get hopelessly lost. Yes, water flows downhill, and generally small streams lead to larger bodies of water. Most of the time. That stream may simply flow underground.

The whole point of your unexpected hike is to get somewhere specific, and hopefully you have a map with you, with a clear plastic cover, and you're following it precisely.

If it's a topo map, it will tell you the elevations of the terrain. [link to earthsci.org]

The smaller the elevation lines are in width to each other, the bigger the ascent or descent. It means it's abruptly changing, and we've discussed how difficult that will be to hike earlier. Wider widths generally mean the opposite, gradual changes.

You should always, always, always know where the bodies of water are. If you lose your water, which is very easy to do, then re-supply will be the first order of business every day. One person losing their canteen can be a big problem.

No water should be drunk without purification. It is a classic error since it's flowing rapidly and seems pure. Well, the water can look fine, and a dead animal is laying in it not more than 200 yards away. Iodine pills are cheap, purify well, and keep you healthy, no matter how the water tastes. Talk to someone who's had Giardia before. It's a several month process taking special drugs to kill the amoeba that lives in your blood afterwards giving your dysentery. Those drugs most likely will not be common if the SHTF.

The only time you should walk at night is in the desert, and then only if you can see well from moonlight. Stumbling around, crashing through the woods at night, is insanity.
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If hiking to your destination, you'll be building a fire. The reason for doing it may not be readily apparent to the non-camping folks reading this.

Fire is not only used for cooking. In fact, if you're bugging out, and it's warm out, you might not want a fire for cooking anyway. It will give away your location, as sure as the smell of your food. It's far better to eat something quick, then waste time building a fire to cook on. A cooking fire is usually done on coals. That takes time. Most cooking fires are small, as you don't want to waste a lot of time looking for wood to build a roaring fire.

A small cooking fire made in the morning is far better. By morning, I'm talking 4:15 am, not 8:30am. Hopefully you're well on your way hiking by 7am at the latest when the light is good.

You have to think about this, because realistically, you're not going have a pan of bacon to fry up. Maybe some hot coffee in your belly will help you cope though. You can buy coffee in singles, very similar to tea bags, and they are great. That cook fire may be boiling your water to purify it too.

Fire at night gives us well-being. That's the main reason, other than warmth. People relax around the crackling fire, and taciturn folks with a lot of their mind will spill out whatever is eating them. It works as surely as alcohol.

A few stories and memories shared over a flickering fire will be a healing balm for your soul.

If you're not used to making a fire, like most greenhorns, you'll most likely starve the initial fire (spark) with too much wood (fuel)and also starve it of too little oxygen. That's why it smoulders, and not bursts into flame.

Start small. Tiny really. Have everything separated out by size. I know a handful of suburban adults who can stat a fire with minimal matches.

The easiest way is to cheat. You're not being graded. Get a small firestarter block made of wood shavings and paraffin. Cut the block into tiny pieces, and store these in a soap box or something similar. They light very easily, and you merely slowly add tiny pieces of tinder on them, and then form a teepee structure around them. This kind of fire burns very easily, but forms poor coals.

Outside of the teepee, form a series of branches in a stacked square. This is called a log cabin fire, and makes great coals. It all depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

Leaving a gap between logs will make it burn better and breathe.

I carry several things to start a fire: wooden matches, a couple of lighters, a magnesium firestarter, a magnifying glass, and a firestarter block. Compressed wax paper works well too. None of this is heavy. All of it is essential.

Starting a fire from a magnifying glass is nutty. Try that at home. It's possible, but not practical. The magnifying glass is much more useful for identifying plants or pulling out a splinter.

Having a pretty big pan to heat up some water, a skillet, and something to wash them in, are all great things to have. Everyone likes to clean up. The only way you can do this is to heat a lot of water, so that means timing it so you're near to a large body of water, have the time to heat it up, taking turns, the wood to heat up that much water, etc. As you can imagine, it's quite an undertaking, if you're talking about enough water for a family of four to wash their hands, faces, and sponge off.

Moist towelettes are much easier. WAY EASIER. Wives don't feel too sexy after a week without a bath though. Ahem.

Think about how you plan to clean your pans. A little soap on the outside of the pan really helps get off the soot. A little water and soap heated in the pan afterwards will loosen up food debris.

Racoons love water. They prefer to dip their food before eating it. If you have water and food present, they will come around. Not a great thing at 1am after finally falling asleep. Raccoon meat is pretty greasy, not much worth eating. I do know a wild character who set up a crock pot and made some barbecue, and everyone ate it, without knowing though.

A fire can be very useful for other things like tool-making. If you have a piece of wood that you would like for a spear, placing the wood near the fire, but not burning it, causes the wood cells to shrink, and it gets very hard. This makes it much more effective. You might want to do this to your walking staffs as it will make them less likely to break. It's pretty easy to find a piece of sandstone to polish them off.

If you need a bowl, you can fish out a small coal, place it on a wooden blank, and blow on it. Slowly the coal will burn a spot in the blank, and through a combination of sanding it with a rock, and burning it with the coal, you can make a bowl. A spoon is a handle with a blank that someone burned into an oval bowl. See? This will save a lot of time versus whittling.

Cooking on a campfire is complicated. Pioneers used a tripod. A chain is suspended from the tripod, and the kettle hung on the chain. This means you'll need special insulated tools to retrieve the kettle. Naturally cooking everything in one pot is smarter than a lot of kettles. Having some kind of wire grate helps. You brace it against a ring of stones, that hopefully you didn't gather from a river. Such rocks can explode from the steam builds up.

If heat is what you're after, you want a reflector. An open fire wastes most of the heat. You want a natural structure on one side of the fire to deflect it back towards you. If things are wet, they can be placed near by, but gosh don't get your boots too close. Putting your boots on a stick upside down drains sopping wet boots well.

It goes without saying (I hope) that critters can crawl into boots at night. I could tell you a wild true story about an enormous spider from the Caribbean, but I digress. Always shake out your boots before putting them on!

If you're staying for more than a day, then naturally you can preserve some of the hot coals at night, uncover them, and make a fresh fire from those coals. In a SHTF situation, matches will be priceless. People actually carried coals with them to get a fire going again in their new camp location.

Now is the time to practice making a fire. Being soaking wet close to winter and trying to make one rapidly is the worst time to learn how.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Pretty good backpacking list
[link to www.utahwild.com]

Would really help for bugging out. Realize you're going to split up some items, but having some duplicates helps. Imagine carrying all that?

Getting your shoulders sunburnt and then carrying a backpack sucks.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Put an ACE bandage on the medical list. It will bail you out. Works for a sore knee or twisted ankle or a whole lot of other things. Naproxen (Alleve) is generic now, works great, lasts long for aching muscles, especially your back.

Sleeping on the ground is tough on some people. Digging a small sized scooped out hollow for your hips will save your back. Your hips fit into it under the tent floor. If in a shelter, a small smooth quickly fashioned back support will work wonders. It'll support the small of your back. Your extra wool socks can fulfill this function.

Ideal food list for bugging out

Bugging out is not leisurely camping. You may be eating on the run, and unable to start night fires. You want simple food that you can eat quickly. The weight of the food is important.

The standard is 72 hours. You can go really far by car in 72 hours figuring driving constantly and switching out drivers. You can go 30 miles by foot in 72 hours if we're talking adults hiking on pretty flat to moderate terrain. This is an enormous range.

I like to think in terms of what I could carry. This really limits the list. If I minimize weight, I can carry more. Rehydrating foods is a pain when water is not available. Water is heavy. Carrying 1 gallon of water per person for three days(none for washing very much) would be 25 lbs alone per person. If you have kids, they cannot carry that much. Bugging out stinks.

Foods that are filling and high in calories are important. Foods that give you high energy are important. Fatty foods give twice the calories that carbs or protein do. This is not diet time. Anything salty is more satisfying but makes your thirsty. Salty things store well. Most thing on this list can be eaten without cooking. Even potatoes in a pinch.

1. Summer sausage,Tuna, Spam, Vienna sausages (regardless of what the heck they're made of!)
2. Cliff bars (I think they taste better, filling, and good source of calories. It's a dense food like a survival bar).
3. Ready to go soup/stew is easier but heavier.
4. Beans take a long time to hydrate. Canned pinto or black beans easily mix with other items on this list.
5. Rice cooks easily, but you'll need water. This is iffy. A little hard to cook over a fire.
6. Velvetta cheese is more stable and less runny and high in calories. Obviously better in the fall or early Spring.
7. Canned peaches
8. Raisins/Prunes/Apples (not too many, could cause a stomach ache)
9. Bagels are high calorie, filling, and won't crush
10. Baking potatoes (way easier to cut up and cook than to try to bake them well)
11. Onions/Carrots
12. Ramen noodles take a little water, but worth it since they're light and filling. Letting them soak will make the noodles absorb the liquid. Add in other things to make a pretty decent mix.
13. Cooking oil. Boosts calories.
14. Instant oatmeal is fast to prep and minimal water. Irish oatmeal tastes way better.
15. Peanut butter. Pita bread works well.
16. Tea or coffee (in tea bags). There's a product called Throat Coat Tea, not jokes please, and it contains slippery elm and licorice. It works amazingly well when sick with a sore throat, and is a very fine thing to pack.
17. Instant hot chocolate.
18. Sweetened condensed milk is high in calories, stable, and filling.
19. Sugar/Salt/Seasoning. This all packs small.

Worthless things
Fruit juice. Too heavy for the calories.
Granola bars. No nutritional value. Might as well eat a cookie.
Chocolate. Most melt. Too much trouble.

If a diabetic is with you, having something that they can eat immediately that gives them a rush of sugar, and a slow delivery of sugar too is important. Plan this if this is an issue. Diabetes mostly reveals itself at puberty under heavy exercise. Not sure on this, but I think dehydrated pineapple might be perfect. So is peanut butter.

There are lots of creative ways to cook outdoors when backpacking. Cooking in a covered pit with coals and a dutch oven is one such idea. The problem is you're moving, not screwing around, and coming back to the site. If you were having to live outside, then yes, a covered pit is perfect as it cooks while you go check your traps, see if there's anything in the fishing basket, go collect material for cordage, get wood for the fire, collect some sumac berries to make Native American lemonade, collect water and filter it, etc.
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Last minute preparations

In the event of a SHTF scenario, I think the average American thinks they run down to the hardware, grocery, pharmacy, bank, sporting good store at the last possible minute as it become evident that it's finally here. So then will all of the other folks in your town doing precisely the exact same thing. How do you think that will that play out?

You cannot wait until the last moment. As a situation becomes gradually unstable, some stores, particularly large retain discounters will realize that it's a selling opportunity. As a situation occurs in which they might be able to sell large volumes, and realizing that their profit margins are low, they'll order supplies to increase based upon their anticipated selling. This will very important to their business as sales volumes have been low due to a down economy.

When this occurs, it will create some possible supply disruptions as inventories are routed, particularly to larger metropolitan areas that may have higher volumes sold than your small town. Waiting until the last minute will almost guarantee not being able to buy certain items that will be in high demand.

All industries use Just-In-Time inventory practices. Nothing sits around in warehouses very long. Most suppliers deliver raw materials to factories, and as much as possible, they'll make goods to order as quickly as possible to minimize their own internal warehousing, while maximizing output.

Because any global economic collapse will affect all countries, and because so many items are made in foreign countries, we can expect much more of a supply problem than say the recent Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami. If you're a government official in China, and collapse looks possible, do you ship finished goods to the USA, or do you stockpile some within your own country. What would you do if a Chinese government official?

As concern grows about the strength of the US dollar, we might very well see these issues in small ways, and they should be a major red flag to any GLP person reading this. We certainly will see rapid price increases that will dramatically be higher than what we're used to.

The standard survival protocol has been to purchase items that you might conceivable utilize over a year's time. Since inflation is rampant, this actually saved people money, that had enough cash flow to purchase items, often in bulk, at prices that now seem much cheaper than if they waited at the last minute. The only time there might be a downside would be if you purchased things you didn't need, and then they were wasted. There's something to be said for making a single trip to a major retailer than making ten trips, and saving both gasoline and time.

Of course you need room to store these things, and so storage can be an issue. There are lots of ways to find space, and as long as they're in climate controlled unused areas, the worst that could happen would be a loss of some living space, or that the extra material could be unsightly in your home. Big deal.

In a perfect world, you wait until the last minute, and the gleaming shelves of supplies are waiting there for you, right up until the last moment. What then? Imagine the chaos as you and your neighbors rush in to certain aisles in those store, strip out the supplies, and all try to check out at once. It will be madness.

All of that last minute purchasing hinges on debit and credit cards working properly. Personally, I don't think they will. I think a gazillion electronic transfers going on, even in a perfect world, will be problematic. If it's a global economic collapse, how much more of an issue will electronic funny money be? Honestly, I think most people think that they'll buy it on credit, knowing that they can never pay that credit card bill. So will the banks. So will the retailers.

Imagine cash transfers only. Presently, $1 out of 100 is a cash transaction. How many cash transactions do you think your largest retailer could handle in such a situation? How will they make change? Imagine customers anticipating this, going to the banks for cash, and then buying things at the retailer. Chaos.

Last minute purchases of supplies assumes that the workers show up. What do you think they'll be doing when they see the SHTF on television?

Last minute preparations are no preparations at all.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF

When the SHTF, no more income will be generated for a time.

Income is generated from various sources. These sources allow us to buy goods and services in order to purchase the things we need to survive and extra items that go above and beyond to add variability to our lives. This income almost always is in fiat money, a pleasant illusion we all accept in order to make things easier.

Of course not everyone can or will work. Children don't generally work. They rely upon older adults to care for them. Retirees rely upon government retirement and pensions. Students wait on income generation while attending college full time, especially ones in graduate school. They sublimate their desire to work in order to achieve greater income some time in the future. Handicapped members of our society, whether physically or mentally challenged, rely upon government assistance. Unemployed members rely upon government benefits that they paid for.

The remainder of our society receive income from a variety of sources.

A very large portion receive income from government sources. They may be soldiers, government workers, politicians, or work in institutions that receive government support, and hence those places are able to provide income.

Many used to work in industry. These numbers have been dwindling as industrial jobs have transferred to other countries. Some work in the service occupations. Some work in prisons: either the custodians of the prison, or the inmates who work in a variety of industries or services at wages you would not believe. A very few work on farms, the vast majority on corporately owned ones. Some own small businesses. Many of these rely upon government contracts to stay in business.

Some work in spiritual enterprises, and their followers cede over income to pay their salaries. Some work in similar organizations that provide a centering focus, and income is similarly allocated to pay for their salaries.

Some generate income off the books. They perform illegal activities which generate income, for essential goods and services, due to demand from the rest of society. They only can generate income because people are willing to use their goods or services.

Almost all of these will be gone in a SHTF scenario.

In the absence of a central government in control, the most likely scenario is an exodus of refugees without income and supplies to progressively less urban centers in search of goods and services. They'll leave because of a lack of security.

In an absence of control, leadership will change and mutate. Now we seek leadership based upon popularity, eloquence, money, and advertising. Sometimes our leadership have unique ideas or they are brilliant, but generally leadership exists based upon a calculated political path of negotiation, education, and communication. Speaking in generalities, people cede their power by willing it over to other individuals or organizations in return for goods and services or for the perception of a transfer of goods and services.

Some people believe in an idea sometimes, and they will cede their power due to their passions, but these make up a very small subset of society. Even those people will generally lose their passion as they age, so that this number decreases in time to a very miniscule portion of society. These people are sometimes called altruists.

Leadership in a SHTF scenario will be the individuals and organizations who are the strongest. The most likely organizations are criminal ones and the military. Both require numbers of strong individuals to generate their strength, and we can expect some will willingly follow either in order to achieve goods and services.

The average individual is not strong enough based upon their natural abilities to protect themselves and project power. In order to do so, they acquire items which will enhance their natural abilities. Those who have both will be formidable. They will overcome any reticence from those not willing to cede their power, and they will take power by force of arms, or the perception of a loss of life or property.

Items which enhance power will be the most valuable goods in a SHTF scenario.

When one doesn't possess power, they feel or are weak. Those who are without income: goods and services, will feel powerless. Powerless people will cede power easily for a diminishing amount of goods and services.

Since goods and services are not being generated, their value will increase. Prices rise as demand stays constant, but availability decreases. Since there will be a severe curtailment of organized income generation, the amount of goods and services will drop precipitously.

Items which formerly had to be transported long distances will be entirely unavailable since it will be impossible to create them locally. These items often require the transportation of other specialized components in order to assemble the completed product. They will be the rarest items.

People who can repair local goods by cannibalizing or altering available parts will be able to generate income.

Everyone will cope in the best way that they can.

Those who are strong, have things which will increase their power, feel more secure, are altruistic, have skills which will generate income in a post-SHTF world, will do better than those who don't have these attributes.

Those without these attributes will be the majority of refugees.

Most people have not ever been hungry, not truly. I dare say that most people have not missed more than three meals, let alone not eaten for a week at a time. When one is hungry, the immediate feeling is only annoying. When it lasts a few days, it can either diminish or become accentuated. Weakness follows, then altered thinking patterns, then panic.

In the absence of supplies, for most the immediate response is to gorge on supplies. Denial creates desire. When reality sets in, rationing occurs. Hunger must be staved off. Hunger will increase as progressively less food is available and rationed. The normal progression changes as an attempt is made to slow down the progression, and altered thinking become constant. Panicking people will do wild and unpredictable things. Refugees will fit into many of these progressive categories. The gorging and wild category...the most volatile and dangerous.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
How did the larger urban areas come to be?

The first individuals hunted and gathered. Both were based on chance and skill. Those who learned where the edible plants were that could sustain them, and animals that could nourish them, thrived. Since this was based upon the weather, season, and chance, some decided it was easier to feed certain animals, and grow those plants, rather than constantly move to different hunting and gathering grounds.

Individuals banded together into small farming communities for security from those predators who would take property or life. The agrarian society was limited by two main factors: carrying capacity and disease. As crowding occurred, individuals relocated further from the initial village, like the runners of a strawberry plant. Moving increased the carrying capacity as it decentralized. More plants could be grown, and more animals could be raised.

Some individuals grew tired of the agrarian life. They specialized their abilities, honing them into a better income generating occupation that would increase the number of goods and services and offer more stability. These individuals were sought out, especially by any centering force that brought cohesion to the collection of villages. The most powerful person, who could organize and control the other members, would gather these specialists into his immediate area. This generated value and income to that central village. Others, seeing that specialization brought more security and income, followed suit, especially young people. In many cases parents promoted the idea to increase the security of their children.

Chieftains and Kings arose. They needed specialists who could protect the leadership and extend it's power, or specialists who served the King. That group of specialists were considered more valuable than the others who did generalized labor. The latter was valuable and became a commodity. The former was considered more valuable and essential, the critical infrastructure of its day.

Populations shifted to the growing areas. The carrying capacity of that urban area though was greatly diminished. The only way that the urban area could exist at all was to ship in supplies from the outlying areas that were less densely populated and hence had greater carrying capacity. They were limited by the types of transportation, roads, ships, and the animals or people who could power them.

Some harnessed the wind, and these could transport the goods the furthest, but the cost was high in sailors. Many died due to weather, drowning, illness, nutritional deficiency, or hunger. A lack of wind to fill the sails could be disastrous. Most of these items were rare. They came from far away, and were priced accordingly.

Some grew tired of being in the second tier, and less valued. Their role was just as essential. In a sense it was more essential since the only way that the urban area existed, was through the cooperation of the villagers.

Threats though kept them quiet. Those threats didn't come very often. Most often the villagers were attacked since they had much of the wealth of essential supplies and since the power of the King and his soldiers was far away. Retribution occurred from the King, but rarely if ever did those goods return.

Some grew tired of this arrangement. Who was stealing from whom? Some dreamers wanted freedom from this kind of slavery. They moved further and further from the urban centers, away from the King and his control. The further away they moved, the more they became their own chieftains.

Income dropped off though. So did rare supplies. Loneliness set in. Communities allow goods and services to flow between its members.

Other came to the new areas seeking the same freedom. The same old patterns emerged. Specialization grew.

Kings saw the loss of income. The new areas could be new sources of power though. They declared that these new areas would be extensions of their kingdom. They couldn't easily impose their power though, not with the distance and transportation issues. The same issues of ship travel precluded the King from easily asserting his power.

There was only one solution: move the soldiers to the outlying areas. By doing so, the King could increase his income by imposing his power through military occupation.

Freedom is infectious. The taste of autonomy was far more powerful than any good or service that the King could tempt with. Chieftains and their followers resisted. Having lived and provided their own security for so long, and knowing the terrain, and being better supplied , they could fight more efficiently and successfully.

The King lost his battle with the Chieftains. It was expensive and unsustainable based upon logistics alone.

The Chieftains grew in power. They forgot why they came, seduced by power and greed. They redefined their role, and excused their behaviour. They imposed restrictions on freedom.

Those who loved freedom more than goods and services moved West across the great river that separated the new Kingdom. They were distant to the Chieftains. No threat to them. They helped the new urban areas by increasing the carrying capacity to stabilize. All was well.

The old King, inspired by the idea of colonies, started his own in Asia and Africa. It worked for a time.

The Pioneers in the West had difficulty. It was not unoccupied land. In fact, a separate group of Chieftains lived there in a stable way prospering. At first only minor skirmishes occurred. The population density was low, and hence the carrying capacity high.

More people got tired of the Chieftains and restrictions on Freedom. They knew that life out West could be prosperous. They lied to themselves that it was difficult. They ignored the fact that two-thirds of the people who traveled Westerward failed. Only a third stayed long enough to achieve land claims for five years. Disease, accidents, starvation, and boredom took the majority. Some dejected citizens returned to the new Kingdom's urban areas penniless.

Not only did the new Kingdom's citizens feel the pull of Freedom, people from other Kingdoms traveled to the New World, hungry for the promise of the West. Some lingered in the new Kingdom's urban areas, lured by its uniqueness and new found freedom. Much relocated Westward establishing their own villages, but banding together to be communities identifying with their former Kingdoms.

The Chieftains wised up. They were losing income. There were new markets that they could use to generate income. There were new modes of transportation that could safely move goods Westward, and purchase goods from those locations and bring them back East. These railroads allowed the movement of goods and people Westward.

Again a tiered society had been created. Western citizens were considered lesser than Eastern citizens. The Chieftains promised Statehood to the Western Chieftains. They were invited to send their own representatives to the East urban areas. By doing so, they could join with the Eastern Chieftains in determining the limits of Freedom. Sounds like an oxymoron to me.

Native Chieftain grew alarmed. Larger and larger influxes of migrating citizens encroached upon their hunting and gathering areas. Carrying capacity plummeted. Only by switching to agrarian villages or relocating to ever decreasing hunting grounds, could people cope, and most could not.

The income generated and the migrations served the Eastern Chieftains well. Imposing their power was difficult across the great River. The realized that sending military troops to occupy and support the Western States would be in their best interest. The railroads had a new function.

In the end, those with the most powerful goods that could project power won.
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08/12/2011 12:00 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
bumping for future reading. Great thread btw. Priceless information. Thank you.
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08/12/2011 12:17 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
The Military

There have always been tiers in military organization. In the earliest forms, that separation was based upon experience in the field and outside of it during peacetime. As time progressed, higher and higher levels of tactics and strategy developed, all of increasing complexity. Some could lead well; some could procure the items that the organization needed well; some could educate and motivate well. Some were the sons of Chieftains, and assigning them roles as officers increased their loyalty, diverted it from their own villages and fathers, and assisted the King. These original Knights might possess better equipment that protected and helped them impose their power. They also might be better educated.

In the old days, a man might easily rise into the ranks of an officer, through fortune and exploits on the battlefield. Sadly, that has gotten better and worse through time.

Some of these men were altruists, a great number actually. You might not think so, but that would be imposing your own definition of that word onto medieval men, and that will always be flawed.

Some believed in a vision. Some sought to fill their bellies. Some wanted plunder. Some sought to hasten the kingdom of heaven, though they had little concept of what that meant.

Some of them have been the greatest of my friends. There is something very noble in a willingness to sacrifice one's life for a cause. One's life is not just implying the idea of death. One's life is the totality of one's existence. For anyone who knows the military life, has family who serves, or believes in them, you know that they make sacrifices every minute at reduced wages than they could ordinarily make in any occupation. We must not ever diminish their continual sacrifice moment by moment.

The military is good at two things as Rush Limbaugh says, killing people and breaking things. Anything that detracts or diverts that focus is doomed. Rush may be right about some things. He is hopelessly wrong about others. That is the way of all people.

The idealism and patriotism of our soldiers should never be betrayed. It is so precious a gift, that it is a complete sacrilege and perversion of their trust. In a SHTF scenario, our military may be called in to reestablish order against our own citizens. This is the greatest perversion I can possibly imagine.

Moving and maintaining an army is expensive. It has bankrupted kingdoms that invested too much of their resources and people's lives into it. When the SHTF, supplies, lives, and anything ancillary to the military will be a priority. It will be a big drain on whatever available resources there remain.