THE UN-THOUGHT OF
The author has collected a small group of like- minded and recently moved from a major metropolis to the country six miles from a small rural agro-city. The retreat has multiple water sources, a solar system, several back-ups and an Aquaponics fish farm. The other members practice food storage and pre-positioning. He does not believe in bugging-in for no other reason than the high risk of fire in the cities, thus this information leans to the retreat.
Not the unthinkable, the un-thought of. The potential many things that become over shadowed by the mainstream items required in a survival situation. The item that you discover you do not have, but certain that you had addressed, when caught between that rock and a hard place.
Over the last year or so I have written a number of “reports” for our small group that have guided food and water purchase and storage, meds, weapons and ammo, finances, communication, etc. In each of these I have usually tried to look ahead, seeing both the disaster period, survival and then the recovery, if we are skilled and lucky enough to get to that shore. If you manage to survive but are not prepared for the long term recovery what are you going to do, wait for FEMA?
Some of the un-thought of items and ideas that I have addressed:
Yes, we all have filters. Some have wells. But have you addressed the loss of power and how you are going to get that water out of the ground? I have slaved a pitcher pump into my pump plumbing with two valves that allow me to switch between the pump and the hand pump. We have solar and a battery bank, but motors are a big drain to any solar system, so why not use elbow grease instead if not in a critical situation.
The nature of the water here at present is high in iron (since corrected with a green sand filter, BTW do you have the chemicals set aside to service your pumps and filters over an extended period?) As such I have collected a ton of plastic water bottles. Why not fill these with potable water and store outside, under cover, to be used as give a ways. I am not big on survival charity to the masses, but if giving them water will keep them moving on, I am all for it. It may also help your neighbors whose pumps are no longer running. They could be your closest allies in a crunch.
A difficult subject. How much is enough? There is never enough medical supplies. If you have ever spent any time in combat or an ER you may have some idea of the quantity of supplies used up dealing with a moderate trauma. In studying this subject I have become aware of how woefully inadequate our supplies are and have begun to remedy it with a level of supplies to provide for a small community ER room. If possible have a Doctor or at least a Paramedic or EMT in your group. If you don’t, still get the supplies, as one may come along later. Better to have the supplies.
My recent additions: Antibiotics (fish and bird meds) buy an assortment and all that you can afford. Do not forget to take into account those with penicillin allergies. Local anesthetics and pain killers. (If anyone has a source for Lidocaine with and without Epinephrine, please let me know, very useful and difficult to obtain drugs.) Diarrheal meds and rehydration salts. Ambu breathing bags, laryngoscope, nasal and laryngeal tubes chest seals, scalpel blades, catheter needles, IV set ups and IV fluids, quick clot, burn meds. Irrigation and fluid vacuum pump items. Many medical books, stay with nursing and EMT level books so as not to overwhelm you with terminology. Sutures and surgical tools (many hemostats, think of the dozens on the tray in the hospital TV shows), tons of 4×4 pads and lastly a body bag to double as a casualty litter. I cannot stress this area enough. Money is better spent here than on Gold. We now have four very large bags of supplies. Do not forget to bag, label and list your inventory for each bag to make finding things faster. Time is a commodity in crisis.
Yeah you have spare batteries for your flashlights and cell phone chargers. What about down the road? When your stuff starts to break down and you need to diagnose and repair it? Got spares for your multi-meter, water tester, solder iron?
Some thoughts on batteries; many put up standard alkaline batteries, and yes I am guilty also. But think about your battery usage seriously in light of NO resupply. The standard use ups take space and are short lived. EBay is a great source for cheap bulk rechargeable batteries and chargers. Buy all of the sizes available, even those you may not use (down the road you may be offered a useful device whose battery has gone dead and is now useless to its owner. If you have batteries for it, you are set up to make a great deal, to either trade off the batteries or get a great deal on the device.) As to your communications, Holo sights, NVDs, etc., think!, these will be in constant use over multiple shifts of watch and patrols. Be sure that you have enough that you have hot batteries in the device while the depleted ones are charging, then double that amount. (Charging? How? Solar chargers. BTW, always have at least TWO chargers for each type of battery)
In regards to all those battery types that do not come as rechargeable (coin cells, button cells, etc.) Look at your devices, Holo dot sights, laser bore sighters, small instruments, thermometers. Buy a large quantity of these, as when they are gone it is unlikely you will ever see them again. The loss of power to these devices will diminish your combat multiplier effectiveness.
Car batteries, good if you have nothing else (you can actually weld with them given some welding rods) but the battery to own is solar or marine deep cycle, they will last much longer. Remember to store info on proper maintenance. Don’t scrap your old batteries. Recover the acid, break the case and you have lead for bullet casting. Please use the proper personal protective gear to do this. Something else un-thought of.
NOTE on the light faced comment above: DO NOT follow this recommendation, it can damage equipment and also be a serious health risk. A better lead source is old wheel balance weights, mixed 1 lb. leadless plumbing solder to 19 lbs. of wheel weights. There are numerous uses in WROL situation for the components of batteries, but they require a knowledge of chemistry and proper lab procedures as regards toxic substances. If you wish you can research this on your own. D.
A collection of useful tools should take into account all of the machines, both manual and petrol based that you have and plan to use. Do you have all of the tools to not only service them but tear them down and over haul them? A short list:
Mechanics tool set in metric and SAE, as well as screw drivers, pliers, vise grips, clamps, hand saws and drills with extra blades and bits, Hammer, Levels and a plumb bob, Bleeder bottles.
Shovels, rake, hoe, hand tiller, post hole digger, trowels, sledge, crowbars, slide hammer, cable come along.
Look at what you have and what you may have to do with it and adjust accordingly. Many of these items you can get used at flea markets, as cheap manual tools have gone out of vogue.
You may wish, or need to take on some construction projects and Lowes will be stripped bare.
Lumber; 2x4s, fence posts, plywood, concrete blocks, bagged cement, an assortment of machine screws washers and nuts, wood screws, and nails, PVC piping, valves and connections in a few sizes, as well as a PVC cutter and glue, Tapes, sealants and glues. Spare parts for your Coleman items (pumps, mantels, etc.). Tarps and plastic sheeting, Chains, cables and rope of various sizes.
Your machines require lubrication and maintenance as well as fuel. Do not overlook these items. Transmission and brake fluid, various oils and grease, Cleaners, starter fluid, Stabil or similar to protect your fuel storage from spoilage.
SOME PATROL AND FINAL THOUGHTS:
I use the Marine Corps four man fire team as my smallest core unit. It lends itself to watch and patrol shifts and can be self-supporting in a number of ways. Three fire teams can effectively deal with a 24 hour security plan. On patrols to scavenge: spread the following items among members; Chain and lock, bolt cutters, pick/shovel and handle, Slide hammer, machete and cable come a long. These will get you into many places, allow you to secure fences behind you, move obstacles and cache finds without one member carrying too great a load
Save your brass. If you do not have the capability to reload, someone else may. Your brass will be a valuable commodity to such a person. You may be able to barter a lot of brass for a few loaded cartridges. Also scavenge lead for bullet casters.
Learn a little practical chemistry and collect chemicals (read labels on things, many brand names are just common chemicals relabeled) get a 19th century book of formulas and you will be able to make a surprising amount of things yourself.
Keep prepping and try to think beyond the obvious. Here’s to recovery after the fall. D.