Actually Building Your Plan – IV

J&J Rules for Prepping #2, part 2
Determine What Skills……

When Jack and Jill put their heads together to evaluate needed skills, their previous list stood as their guide. It wouldn’t cover everything, but it would direct their first efforts. Reviewing the list, they built yet another list based on their perceived needed skill set.

  • Shelter – Home and mobile, earthquake alternative and defensible against NBC attack

For shelter, they would need some way to secure themselves against hot and cold, dust and rain. A good tent, with solid anchors seemed like a natural choice. So did, however, a travel trailer. Since a tent wouldn’t cost anything near that of a trailer, they settled on that first. “Something with some room.” Not wanting to be caught short, and already thinking about a truck to satisfy the Mobility requirement, a nice 6 person tent, with vestibule, heavy anchors and a room divider made the list. They planned on taking it out and setting it up in their backyard once a week. From truck to yard, to full set up as quickly as possible, without going so fast that they damaged it or themselves. As soon as they had decided on that course of training, they recognized that they may lose use of the truck and all its equipment. J&J decided to pick up a 4-season tent for the hard task of being mobile on foot. The crown, though, would be a used travel trailer with large tank capacity, dual 6-volt batteries and lots of storage. Taking it out on practice bug outs would be fun! As an added bonus, and what would turn out to be its primary function, they would go camping semi-regularly for much needed R&R.

Their primary defense against NBC attack would be the bug out. Getting lost before a cloud of any sort reached their town would be a good short term answer to all three types of attacks. There was no shelter capability at home, except perhaps, against biological and chemical clouds using a method to seal their home and filter air. Fallout was just too much of a danger to try and harden their home. Maybe they could buy an in-ground shelter one day.

Skill needed? They didn’t know. It would take some serious reading to even try and boil down the possibilities. They decided to concentrate on what they could do discounting the NBC threat.

  • Clothing – 4 seasons capable for shelter and mobile use, sleeping materials

In the clothing department, they were fairly well set with the basics. They would need to add cold weather gear such as long underwear, waterproof boots, and since they didn’t see themselves becoming TV survivalists, some good over-sized pants and raincoats in lieu of the fancy camo parkas. The idea was to insulate themselves against wind and water, and have the ability to strip off layers as needed. Hypothermia protection! Warm caps and gloves would round it out. To help carry their things on foot, they would need 2 quality backpacks with the ability to size them to their owners. Thinking about packing, and their tents, they chose also to buy a pair of 10 degree sleeping bags and ground mats. Jack remembered reading about separating the bag from the ground via a good mat for insulation from the cold earth. The list was growing into a materials list, instead of a skill set list. “What do we need to do? We need to actually use all of these things often enough to be proficient.”

Added to the needed skill set was the ability to efficiently pack their backpacks, get into them without injury, and set camp from only what they had on their backs. Training for this would be at a local camp ground, so that if they became victims of a major oversight, it wouldn’t be dangerous.

  • Food – Capable of non-refrigerated storage

“We need food we can digest, carry well and prepare minimally.”  Freeze dried foods were lightweight but expensive. Solution…. The sale they saw at WalMart. The day before, Jill saw a section on clearance because of upcoming remodel work. Mountain House packs were at 70% off. Since she was attuned to shopping at a discount, she noticed it right away. “More sale shopping!” Jack rolled his eyes, but smiled. It was one obvious method. While reading on the net, Jack learned about the various pros and cons of food storage.

Freeze dried
was light but expensive, and had the longest shelf life.
Dehydrated was a bit heavier, since it had some latent moisture within it, and had a decent shelf life… a few years if stored properly.
Canned was heavy, and made sense mainly for home storage, since all the water was still with the contents.
Dry food in bulk, such as beans, rice, pastas and similar foods would store well if packed properly, but also were best for use at home (or in the trailer to a limited degree).

“We need to determine what we need for our diets,”
Jack said. “We don’t eat very well right now, and most of that stuff will eventually cost us our health anyway. We’ll need to straighten out our diet gradually, stock up on foods within that diet and use what we store.”

Their plan took on a two-prong approach initially. Freeze dried foods would keep for a long time, and hold their monetary value since spoilage would be nil. The first prong had to mimic their new diet, and would actually be sampled often enough to test their body’s ability to handle it. They would also be transportable from a weight perspective. The lighter it is, the more they could move, and the faster they could load it all. The second prong would be bulk foods. These would enable a long stay within their home in case of, well, anything that required staying home – from quarantine to civil disorder down in the valley. The rest of their larder would be made up from a combination of what they planned to eat anyway on a regular basis, such as canned beans, peanut butter, spices, sports bars, nut mixes and foods that could stand being frozen for a long time. The key to this “filler food” was that it had to be relatively healthy with decent caloric value if possible.

Skill needed? Packing food for long term storage, and food prep for all types while at home and on the road.

  • Water – Storage and water filtration capability

“How do we store water?” The answer came from more internet reading. Plastic containers. Jill knew of a feed store that sold “food grade” containers for $15. They were about 30 gallons. “We’ll wash them well, very well, and store water in them.”  Also on the list were 1 gallon bottles, on sale naturally, and some of the smaller 500ml singles purchased in cases of 24 bottles. For filtration, they knew they would need to read up on the various system by Katadyn, Berkey and others. There were small hand held units for camping, and table top systems portable enough to take in the trailer when not in use at home.

Skills needed? Basic operating knowledge of filters, locating water sources, and how to filter water with materials on hand if they found themselves without a good filter.

  • Air – Stationary filtering for quarantine, and portable for on-the-move

HEPA filters pull out almost all dust and dust-borne contaminants from biological, to chemical, and surprisingly enough – fallout, which is nothing more that radioactive dust. Being able to filter all air coming into the home through HEPA filters would be a huge plus. A strong fan blowing into the house through a home made filter box would pressurize the home and keep any contaminated air from entering through the scores of openings that all homes have. Jack would read up on that soon. He instinctively knew that the more powerful the fan, the grater the pressure differential between outside and inside air. The same technique could be used for a single room purposed for quarantine. . Fresh air goes into the room from an opening at the floor, and filtered room air passes to the outside through the window! They looked at each other knowing they needed to learn a lot more, but it was a start.

For mobile use, similar methods could be used in a trailer, but for on foot, things were a lot more concerning. They considered gas masks, but they were heavy and kind of bulky. They crossed that one off because it didn’t seem to fit. Maybe they would think about it more, later.

  • Medical – First-Aid, trauma, cold and flu

This one was simple. They would take a basic First Aid class locally, and see about attending a more advanced class later. They were not kidding themselves into thinking they could deal with battle field trauma – though that would be nice. No, they were more concerned about bad bleeds from automobile accidents, injuries from earthquakes collapses, and knife or gunshot wounds from home invasions. Maybe a good field medicine course really was in order. They might use that knowledge to help people on the road. Two for one! The cold and flu part was easy. They would buy two of what they need when they went out for one. The usual inventories would just have to grow.

Skills needed? Field medical training. More research required.

  • Defense – guns?

Yes. Guns. Jack was sold on getting a shotgun prior to all of this, and Jill came along. Yes, they would pick one after research, and learn how to use it. There were two trap shooting clubs in their area. They would go the whole route and learn how to care for it and shoot it. Hand guns would come later. A couple towns over was an organization that taught combat shotgun techniques. They would see about taking at least beginners’ classes there.

Skills needed? Maintenance, safe operation, effective use.

  • Energy – gas for cars, batteries, fire starters, propane for cooking

“We know how to use this stuff, we just need to get hold of more of it.” “Well”, Jack answered, “we will need to learn how to safely store fuel and propane, preserve batteries, and use fire starters. I don’t fancy using two sticks and a string to start fires.” J&J learned quickly how to use magnesium fire sticks, and fuel preservatives such a Sta-Bil and PRI-G. Quickly added to the list was a hand-cranked fuel transfer pump for moving gas from cans to vehicles.

  • Mobility – Truck? RV? (both) Boots?

“We’re going to need a truck, honey. That all there is to it.” Jack knew they would have to get a truck for all kinds of reasons. 4-wheel drive was a no-brainer due to where they lived. If the roads were washed out or blockaded, they would need to go overland. The trailer would need a good tow vehicle. Any supplies they took with them from home would best be carried in a good truck. Jill added that along with the main truck, they could get a beater as a second bug out vehicle. It didn’t have to be nice, just strong and reliable. They knew that it would be best to know basic maintenance procedures. It didn’t take Jack long to decide on a ¾ ton truck as a minimum requirement. A long bed would carry more in volume, up to the load capacity, but a short bed would maneuver better. ¾ ton is ¾ ton anyway you slice it.

The travel trailer requirement were already in their heads, but they added it to the Mobility section anyway. Large tanks… fresh, waste, and gray. Lots of storage… they need places to put things. Good battery power and perhaps a solar charger to keep the batteries fresh. Tools to go with it. It should be of a weight that would not max out the truck when the trailer was loaded to its maximum capacity. Jack had some math to do. Trailer weight plus cargo weight could not exceed the rating for that unit. If that max weight also maxed out the truck’s towing capacity, they would have no excess left over to carry supplies in the truck bed and cab. They decided to see if they could find a trailer that would not take any more than 50% of the truck’s load rating.

Boots. On foot mobility. They knew nothing of choosing good footwear. This would be a job for some outdoor stores, and maybe some “operator” recommendations from the net.

Skills needed? They would need to learn how to quickly hook up the truck and trailer rig for quick evacuation, from either a storage situation or a camp-in-progress condition.

  • Communications – Wind-up or solar radios, walkie-talkies or CBs? Scanner?

Scanners. They wanted a feature-laden and capable scanner to monitor police and emergency service communications. This was a must. To know what was happening, this would be an important part of their set up. To go along with it would be the usual emergency radio with weather alerts. Wind up, in case their was no power. If they were cheap, then more than one. For J&J communications they would start out with standard 40 channel CB radios. These would be cheaper units and serve for interim communications until they learned enough about other types to make a good decision. Some of the good stuff was expensive! No sense laying out a lot of money twice.

Skills needed? Mastery over what ever they bought, cheap or otherwise. Again, using them regularly would be important. At home, camping, on the road….

As their pile of information and questions grew, they became more comfortable with what they were doing. Coming to a realization of all that is involved had its own kinds of stress, but seeing the what, why and how made it easier to see the end of their work, or at least to define what that end might be.

Lists made everything easier.

J&J Rules for Prepping #3
Makes Lists for Everything …. next

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