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                "Doomsday Preppers" Critiques - (SEASON ONE) (2012)

 

For the 2014 season - click on the tab above - 

 

This page is where I take a long hard look at each episode and give my thoughts......

This was brought on by a gathering at my home where a group of us watched an episode, an interjected various remarks about the particular episode. We also tended to disagree quite often with NatGeo's 'expert assessment' and wondered just who these 'experts' were. 

We don't plan on covering every episode, but hopefully we will hit on some more memorable ones.

Now, an additional disclaimer - Due to the sites expanding popularity, it was inevitable that some of the featured people run across it.  These critiques are not intended to disparage anyone or put them down. They are intended to point out things that I think might be missing, so that others might think about it as well. 

Yes, I know that the feature is only 12 minutes, that not everything filmed was shown, that there are bits and pieces we just don't know because either the segment was cut out, or the prepper just did not want to reveal all of his cards. That's Fine. But I can only judge what I see on the episode, and that keeps it fair. 

Each of these episodes is a teachable moment. let's accept it as such.......

 

 NEW RATING SYSTEM

 To enable this critique to be more useful, I am breaking down the "Overall Rating" into subcategories-

 These will be as follows:

 Preparation to meet the specific perceived threat,

 Preparation against any threats arising from the perceived threat,

 Food & Water Preparation,

 Shelter Preparation,

 Plan B Preparation .

 There will no longer be any "Overall Survival Rating", that is up to you to decide...

 

 NOTE - There will not be a follow up to this critique of future episodes. After watching them, little worthwhile was there to add. 

 

 

Episode Air Date: 4/24/12

 

Topic(s):This episode was a rehash of the highlights of the previous shows. Nothing really to comment on here.

 

 

Episode Air Date: 4/17/12

 

Topic(s): All topic subjects tonight focused on economic collapse, from various causes.

 Remarks: While all were concerned about an economic collapse, none of the people interviewed seemed to have identified the root cause of such a collapse, and therefore were reacting to symptoms of the cause, and not the cause itself.

 Given as reasons for this economic collapse were :

  • Inflation
  • Poor economic performance
  • Rising debt incurred to the Chinese.

 

NatGeo’s expert assessments downplayed these various symptoms by stating that the Chinese would not be interested in calling the debt, since it would damage their own economy in the process.

 This assessment misses the root cause entirely. It is a well known fact that the rest of the worlds economies are currently attempting to have the US dollar removed as the ‘world reserve currency’.

“ NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The International Monetary Fund issued a report Thursday on a possible replacement for the dollar as the world's reserve currency.”  http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/10/markets/dollar/index.htm

 Still not convinced? This from March , 2012,

 (Reuters) - China's yuan could become a reserve currency in future if the country undertakes further economic reform, International Monetary Fund managing director, Christine Lagarde, said in a speech on Sunday. http://www.reuters.com/article

   We, as Americans, do not have to convert our currency to another form to purchase goods, as all traded goods are purchased in US dollars.

If another world currency was established, then to purchase goods, one would have to first convert US dollars to that currency, by way of an exchange rate, and then purchase the product.

This is why gasoline seems so cheap in the US compared to other countries. This is merely an illusion however, caused by the rest of the world having to convert their currencies to US dollars.

Rather than try to explain currency exchange rates and what happens when the dollar loses 'reserve currency status', take 30 minutes to watch this video, while it's purpose is promotional, the facts it presents are absolutely true, and will give you a great insight into how quickly and easily our economic collapse can come...

www.http://crisis12.com

 

If this happens, it will happen suddenly, if not overnight. This would be instant inflation of such a magnitude that the US economy would become immediately stalled. 

Note that removing the dollar from 'world reserve currency status' does not remove the US debt obligation to China, it simply revalues it. There would be no destruction of the Chinese economy as a result, in fact, the valuation of the Chinese economy would increase!

 The move is already underway to do this, and big Wall street players are already switching stocks to raw materials, (copper, lead), because anything valued in China will become more valuable here as well. 

This is also the underlying motive driving people to invest in precious metals, because the value is not linked to paper money, but has intrinsic value.

 “ As George Washington wrote Thomas Jefferson on August 1, 1786, Paper money has had the effect in your state that it will ever have, to ruin commerce, oppress the honest, and open the door to every species of fraud and injustice.

Paper is poverty, Jefferson, in turn, observed in 1788. It is only the ghost of money, and not money itself. In 1817, the author of the Declaration of Independence wrote that paper moneys abuses also are inevitable and, by breaking up the measure of value, make a lottery of all private property.

Paper money is unjust, declared James Madison, chief architect of the Constitution. It is unconstitutional, for it affects the rights of property as much as taking away equal value in land….”. http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=44573

 
 Okay with that teachable moment behind us, lets examine our preppers –

 

Prepper #1:

 He goes by the name of “Mr. Wayne” from Texas, (John Wayne I suppose?).

In a nutshell, Mr. Wayne proposes to barter homemade wine for other goods and services in a post economic collapse world. He has constructed an underground wine cellar to store his wine and food, and possibly serve as a Plan B exit.

 Mr. Wayne has loads of handguns and rifles and 14,000+ rounds of ammunition for them, and plans on reloading these weapons by using scrap lead.

His defense plan is to shoot people crossing over onto his property, or to funnel them into ‘kill zones’ so he can blow them up.

 

Observations:

Mr. Wayne has more weapons than people. This seems to be his primary defensive posture. His homestead is fairly open and therefore quite visible. I see him easily forced from his house by a group of determined people. Explosions are impressive, but they are onetime use items. The next person to occupy that spot will be quite safe. It seems he assumes attacks will come from the same direction and in single file. I see no provision for all around defense.

In addition, the most prevalent kind of "attack" will be from unarmed, starving citizens, women, and children. Is he really going to shoot them when they 'cross his property'?

His weapons consist of old Western guns, lever actions and revolvers, neither of which are ideal for his situation. 

His plan on barter would be feasible in a stable world, but when chaos reigns, there is no barter. If you cannot go outside to tend your grapes and harvest them without fear of being shot at, then there will be no wine to barter. (This problem is present with would-be gardeners also).

Lastly, assuming he could make it from his house to his Plan B wine cellar with all his guns and ammo, the building appears to be of wood, with one entrance, consisting of a wooden floor.

One well placed Molotov would incinerate Mr. Wayne and any other inside.

 Preparation to meet the specific perceived threat -

 Preparation against any threats arising from the perceived threat -

 Food & Water Preparation -

 Shelter Preparation -

 Plan B Preparation -

 

 

Prepper #2:

 This is a biker (former bikers it appears) couple in Pennsylvania.

Their plan is to stash silver for future barter use, and have a Storage unit container, (presumably to be buried) as a Plan B. The Missus, who appears to be a nurse, already has a good collection of food put away (although she did say she had soup cans, I’ll forgive that).  Their location appears to be well situated and defendable. Their firearm selection was again, rather large for just two people, and did consist of some revolvers. While only prepping for a year or so, they did have a good jump on things.

 

Observations:

 Assuming these people bury and conceal the entrance to the storage unit, this appears quite workable. Barter, even silver, can only be done during a relatively stable period, as I discussed before.  The NatGeo analyst recommended a garden, but as I pointed out earlier, growing vegetables requires a relatively long period of stability. Storing seeds isn’t much better, as germination rates can decrease up to 10% per year, and that’s during ideal storage conditions. Exposure of seeds to heat, humidity and sunlight can kill germination rates very quickly.

  

Preparation to meet the specific perceived threat -

 Preparation against any threats arising from the perceived threat -

 Food & Water Preparation -

 Shelter Preparation -

 Plan B Preparation -

 

Prepper #3:

 

This is the furniture store guy and his family. He intends to move from his house to his city store basement as a Plan B. He has put away some food and medical supplies, but it appears he keeps the bulk of these at his store. His family is not entirely on board, something that affects probably close to 50% of preppers.

In addition, he makes a hobby of panning for gold, and seems to even find some. Apparently this will make up his bartering stash.

 

Observations:

I noticed the entrance to the store basement was from the sidewalk side of the street. Not much chance of getting in there and staying undetected. The store above is wood, so fire would be a major concern. His plan of moving into the city, and assuming others are moving out is probably not feasible. While everyone is streaming out, how does he intend to get in? Once in, how can you be sure ‘everyone’ will leave? I think it more likely, some opportunists will hang around, after all, there is more concentrated food and supplies in those stores, not out in the countryside. I saw no evidence of any weapons, or any plans to defend himself or his family.

Props though for his astute analysis that those who didn’t prepare, even relatives, would be a threat to his family’s survival. He is 100% correct.

Lastly , panning for gold takes time and effort. Time when you will need to be looking for food, or staying out of sight. After gathering several nuggets of gold, what do you do with them? Trying to pass them off as a barterable item  will be difficult indeed. It would take an expert to recognise the quality of the gold, and the expert always sets the price , not the other way round. Using coin, or pieces of coin offers the ability to confirm the authenticity, whereas gold "raisins" could be 10k, 14k, 18k, etc.  Here you are stuck in the same quandry as having diamonds. Only a very select few will know what you have, and they will determine what they are worth....

 

Preparation to meet the specific perceived threat -

 Preparation against any threats arising from the perceived threat -

 Food & Water Preparation -

 Shelter Preparation -

 Plan B Preparation -

 

 

 

Episode Air Date: 4/10/12

 

Topic(s): Concerns were as follows: Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) from a rogue nuclear detonation, and an Avian Flu Pandemic outbreak.

 

 

Prepper #1

  In a nutshell -

The Barry and Pink family live near Puget sound. They have been able to construct an underground “pod” which is hidden under the concrete floor of their garage. In it they have stockpiled enough food to survive for 60 days, at which time, if order is not restored, they intend to hike throughout the night to a marina on the sound, where Barry has a sailboat moored. Upon reaching the boat, they will take to the sea and search for a small uninhabited island in the sound, where they intend to live in safety.

 

Observations:

 

The underground “pod” was very impressive. I have seen units like this manufactured back in the 1980’s by a company called ‘[name removed]’.  I believe at the present, they only supply these units to the military. An immediate problem that concerns me, is that the metal access hatch is squarely in the middle of the garage floor. This is camouflaged by some pieces of cardboard, placed to appear to be soaking up oil drips from a vehicle. This will work fine as long as someone remains outside the ‘pod’ to cover it back up. Otherwise it will be plainly visible, and to me, screams “I have something valuable hidden here!” . Whenever you are confined in a box you are at a disadvantage. You have limited supplies of food, water, and air. The besiegers have time. They can simply wait you out, or spend much of that time breaking in. Any defense can be breached given enough time.

The food supplies seem to consist of mainly commercial prepackaged survival food, the sanitary facilities are high tech as well. There is no emphasis here on simplicity, rather than just buying commercial solutions. There appears to be enough room in the ‘pod’ to stock a years’ supply easily, but their long term plans do not include that option.

 They also plan to leave a person on ‘watch duty’, outside the ‘pod’ during this time. This appears to be overly optimistic. If a marauding crowd descends on the house, I suppose the watcher has to make a run for the pod, which hopefully is open and ready to receive someone quickly. The rope type ladder descending to the floor of the pod will make a speedy entrance more like a high dive. The camouflage cover cannot be replaced, so now they know you are there, and have something worth protecting.  I predict a house burning would follow fairly quickly.

Can you exit the ‘pod’ with a pile of burning debris on top?  There does not appear to be another way out. 

I saw no defensive provisions whatsoever, either built into the house, or carried personally.

Assuming they could escape the ‘pod’, they plan on hiking several hours throughout the night. Thoughtfully, they have stashed food supplies along the way.

Needless to say , a family out hiking through the night, along what appear to be highways, would be in a very dangerous position if there was no social stability. Again, no personal weapons or alternate modes of travel were shown. I am thinking the trip would take several days, not several hours, since you would effectively be sneaking from cover to cover, one person at a time.

Lets’ assume they survive to reach the marina, why would anyone think the boat would still be there? It has been at least two months of chaos, chances are good that the boat has been trashed, sunk, or burned, or simply stolen by someone who didn’t want to wait two months before sailing off to the islands.

Lastly, there were no explanations given of how they intended to survive if they did manage to find an uninhabited island.  

This scenario was very scary to me, as it appeared that they had no alternate or flexible plans. They are betting their lives on this one plan going off without a hitch.

That’s quite a long shot.

 

 Preparation to meet the specific perceived threat -

 Preparation against any threats arising from the perceived threat -

 Food & Water Preparation -

 Shelter Preparation -

 Plan B Preparation -

 

 

Prepper #2

 

In a nutshell:

 Steve & wife from Missouri. Steve has moved into a small town (population 2300) and is prepping for an EMP from rogue nations.  He has some stored food, and 80 gallons of water in his hot water tank, which he estimates will last them about 2 months. He has filters available to filter urine in an emergency. He is equipped with a civil defense radiation meter, and Israeli gas masks, as well as a contamination suit. He has practiced his marksmanship in his suit to familiarize himself with it. He has built a Faraday cage to house his communication equipment, and has demonstrated how to improvise a cage from a garbage can.

Steve intends on organizing his community to function as a self sufficient group, and has built an EMP proof vehicle to ferry supplies around the town.

 

Observations:

 

While Steve has many elements of a good prepper plan, he has not linked them together in a cohesive way.  His stored food and water will not provide for long term survival, but he seems to believe the community will pull together and either share food or procure it from somewhere. The police chief of his town summed up a bit of wisdom when he stated that “Goodwill is the first thing to run out”. Hoping the community will pull together is not a strategy.

 Secondly, if food is in short supply, he expressed concerns that surrounding communities would attempt to invade their town. It is unclear whether he thinks the town will form a militia to defend against such invasions.

 Food would be in short supply in his scenario, since 90% of all vehicles, (anything with a computer) would be fried in an EMP. This include trucks hauling food.

Steve is not clear on what he intends to do if he detects radiation with his meter. Out in the open , he would be absorbing radiation the entire time, his suit only keeping out inhalable particles. He doesn’t appear to have a “radiation plan” or shelter.

Lastly, assuming an EMP did knock out power for the long term, protecting his radios seems like a futile effort, since most power supplies for them would be useless. No one would be broadcasting, and very few could possibly receive anything. The static introduced by an EMP and the resulting radiation makes communication impossible even when there is power available. His EMP proof vehicle, which travels at 12 mph empty, would simply be a moving target.

An additional observation – Purifying urine can be done, and is done by astronauts in space, but it is subject to the laws governing perpetual motion. The amount of urine is less than the amount of water you drink, since your body absorbs the water, and replaces it with toxins. While you can filter out the toxins, the water recovered is considerably less than what you drank. So eventually your own water supply will dry up.

Steves wife doesn’t appear very much in the interview, and one gets the impression that she is simply tolerating his behavior, and not supportive. (See Preppers Dilemma page)

 

 Preparation to meet the specific perceived threat -

 Preparation against any threats arising from the perceived threat -

 Food & Water Preparation -

 Shelter Preparation -

 Plan B Preparation -

 

 

 

Prepper # 3

 

This woman is preparing for an Avian Flu Pandemic. Her strategy is to stockpile enough medical supplies to exist inside her house, converting it into a ‘clean room’, where they can exist without airborne contamination. A secure ‘quarantine zone’ has been created to allow access in and out of the house, and she has the equipment to perform decontamination showers outside the house.

 She owns/operates a prepper store where she sells water filtration devices, which she demonstrated. She intends to use this filtration equipment to provide safe drinking water for her and her family.

 

Observations:

 

It did not appear that she had the full family support in her endeavor, (see Preppers Dilemma page), but that has not deterred her any.

My personal thoughts on this lead me to believe she has not taken an objective look at the situation, or what she is preparing for.

An Avian Flu Pandemic of the type she expects would be similar to conditions in Europe during the Plague.

The breakdown in infrastructure systems, consisting of Food, water, gasoline, electricity, and civil control would be extensive. I saw no provisions for dealing with any of these issues, with the exception of the water, which she does not stock, but will obtain and process as needed.  This is an unworkable plan. Someone must leave the sanctuary of the house to obtain water, bring it back, and filter it. Then, to return inside, they must be in her quarantine room for two weeks. It would seem by that time, they would need water again. This assumes it would be safe to move about outside, which is unlikely. A rock through her window would effectively end her ability to seal the house against contamination, and infected people would be likely to risk anything, since they have nothing to lose. She seems to be isolating the pandemic problem to just one compartment in her mind, and ignoring the fact that it would affect every aspect of society. She also ignores the standard operating procedure of authorities in these cases which imposes ‘house arrest’ during this time, so running out to grab some water would not be possible, (see ASG page 31).

The tendency of government organizations in these cases is to quarantine the area and let the infection ‘burn out’. If you are caught in this area, you will either become infected, or stay hidden and survive.  Those are your only options. You will not be able to leave.

 

 Preparation to meet the specific perceived threat -

 Preparation against any threats arising from the perceived threat -

 Food & Water Preparation -

 Shelter Preparation -

 Plan B Preparation -

 

 Episode Air Date: 4/03/12

 

 Topic(s): Concerns were as follows: Dirty Bomb fallout, Conventional nuclear attack, CME and EMP

 

Prepper #1

  In a nutshell -

John has moved to Utah with his family. They live in a log house in the middle of what appears to be an open field.  John is concerned that a series of dirty bombs would cause the food supplies to be contaminated, and has taught his children to eat bugs and plant seeds, as well as marksmanship.  He has a two week supply of food in his house, and has materials to seal the house against radiation inside it. He has an NBC suit to go outside and retrieve food caches he has buried on the property. From outside he can retrieve seeds and sprout them, contributing to their food supply. After two weeks, his Plan B is to load everyone in a converted school bus van and drive north or south, presumably into the mountains.

 

 Observations:

This appears to be another poorly linked plan. Several things are wrong here. The house itself is out in the open, with no cover or concealment. The food supply is only for two weeks, which is far to short, unless you believe that the only disruption to your life from a dirty bomb is a lack of good food. He does not explain why he thinks radiation from a dirty bomb would affect him in the wilds of Utah.  Dirty bombs have a far smaller footprint than a conventional nuclear bomb, and would need to be triggered in a densely populated city for maximum effect.

As such, windblown radiation on dust and dirt would be minimal, and only in the direction of the prevailing wind. It is unclear how this could affect the nations food supply, however, since he is selling "survival seeds", maybe this is more of a marketing ploy.

He does not appear to have any stored water, again, apparently relying on all utility services to be up and running. His selection of weapons was clearly designed for hunting, and I suspect that would be his plan B method of survival.  

While eating bugs is a credible and convenient source of food, they are seasonal also. There are few bugs available in the winter, ask any hibernating bear, they eat mostly grubs. 

His radiation plan, to retreat to the upper floor of his house and seal it, is entirely unworkable. While sealing it will prevent radioactive dust from getting in, the radiation itself is not stopped by wood. By being above the ground, he puts himself in the direct path of any radiation coming from the dust outside. I must therefore assume the house does not have a basement , which is the only way to block the radiation.

Overall, his plans are poorly thought out, hastily thrown together, and a poorly disguised marketing scheme for his seeds. (see ASG page 61 - Guerrilla Gardening). 

 His wife did not appear to be joining with the family in eating any bugs, I must assume she is mildly intolerant - (see Preppers Dilemma).

 

 Preparation to meet the specific perceived threat -

 Preparation against any threats arising from the perceived threat -

 Food & Water Preparation -

 Shelter Preparation -

 Plan B Preparation -

 

 

Prepper #2

 

Janet is from Montana, and her concern is about a nuclear strike on the ICBM base near her town.  Janet believes that her town will experience refugees fleeing radiation and destruction, and she believes her town will pull together and become a staging area for disaster relief efforts. She intends to feed these refugees through food she is stockpiling in her house. Her husband is not really thrilled with this approach, so she does her prepping while he is out. She estimates she has enough food to feed a thousand people. She has stockpiled communications equipment to provide authorities in the event their gear is disabled by an EMP from the blast area.

 NatGeo analysts reviewed her case, and suggested she contract for some off site storage in case she is overwhelmed, and a radiation meter to monitor levels around her home.

 Observations:

 

 This is a strange case to me. It is the most narrowly defined prepping I have seen as yet. Janet is prepping for one specific disaster, to perform one specific function, under very specific circumstances.  Based on that, I am not sure she really falls under the prepper category.

 To redefine her issue: She is planning to feed refugees from a nuclear exchange in conditions of full civil control.

 I am not sure how far these refugees will have walked to get to her town, but being she describes it as ‘over the mountain’ . My mapquest indicates it is about 90 miles. Now, it would take me about 30 hours to walk 90 miles, at a fairly brisk clip. I imagine that shellshocked, irradiated stragglers may be able to make the trip in about 50-60 hours.  After walking for four days, the people that would arrive would be semi-starving. Have you ever seen footage of UN troops distributing food to starving people?  There is usually a contingent of armed troops trying to prevent violence as the people ravage the food people. Picture the same scenario without the troops, and that is what Janet faces.

 Under conditions of war, which is the scenario she describes, troops would not be available on the home front to help distribute food. This would be left to the local authorities, if any are left. How local authorities propose to deal with thousands of starving people is beyond anything they have ever trained for. Civil control would simply not be possible.

 Let’s look at the obvious problems, she has the majority of the food tied up at her home, which is wood, conspicuous, and flammable. Storing food off site makes better sense, but you still need to be able to access it. Storage units would be a looting target, maybe not first on the list, but still on the list. There are generators, clothes, and weapons in many storage units.

 She has no defense plan whatsoever. She assumes the community would ‘pull together’ to keep order. We have heard that echoed in preppers before. By assigning the community the responsibility of ‘pulling together’, she absolves herself of her own responsibility. There is an old saying, “If it is ‘somebodys’ job, then it is ‘nobodys’ job.”

 Janet has a good heart, and I believe most preppers do, but the desire to help others must be tempered with the cold, hard facts.

And these facts are – Look out for you first, because without you, you cannot help others. She has placed others above herself, and while a noble gesture, it is an empty one.

 

 Preparation to meet the specific perceived threat -

 Preparation against any threats arising from the perceived threat -

 Food & Water Preparation -

 Shelter Preparation -

 Plan B Preparation -

 

 

Prepper #3

 

This last person in this episode is Jack from Colorado. Jack fears an impending Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) and the accompanying Electro-magnetic Pulse (EMP) as a likely possibility in the near future.

His analysis of the possibilities extending from this event is objective, and although he is just starting out as a prepper, it is evident he has given this some thought.

He has begun to get in shape (a good idea for all of us), and he is not letting his age slow him down too much (Jack is 65).

He is concerned about being cutoff due to the unpredictable nature of CME’s, and carries what he calls a ’72 hour bag’ , what we would term a personal Bugout Bag (BOB).  This bag contains what he needs to survive to allow him to walk home if an EMP knocks out his car, and other forms of transportation. It appears he carries a handgun as well, indicating that he has thought out the wider scope of such a disaster. 

At home, he has started putting away food and water, and has built a safe room which apparently is his ‘last stand’. He has a shotgun is the safe room, and knives throughout the house, and practices some awareness scenarios, which seem to have helped him coordinate and plan.

He is involved with his community, but it is clear he is not depending upon them for any support himself, unlike some others we have seen. He has correctly interpreted the threat presented by former friends and neighbors, and is prepared to deal with it.

 

NatGeo’s assessment was very deceptive here, and bears close examination. The disclaimer they presented from NASA was typical diplo-speak, and was quite revealing if we look at the choice made in the way it was presented.

Basically, they said that there was only a 12% chance of such an event happening in the next decade, and that such an event would not present a threat to life on earth.

 

Well, maybe they think we are dummies. The fact is, the Sun goes through what is called the sunspot cycle, which peaks every 11 years. Ask any trucker when the peak is, and he will tell you, because the static and noise on the CB radios increases dramatically near the peak.  Likewise, the Sun throws us these CME’s during the peak activity of its cycle. NASA’s own reports anticipate an unusually violent peak to this coming sunspot cycle, which, by the way peaks in late 2012 and into early 2013.

 

I will not point out the similarities between NASA’s predictions and the Web Bot theory, or the Mayans, or Novelty Theory, you can read about those on another page in this site, instead think about this, the cycle is eleven years long, and the peak begins this coming winter. NASA used the term ‘decade’, ten years.

So what they are saying is really this, there is a 12% chance of a major CME occurring by the end of this year. You see, in the next ten years, after this winter, sunspot activity will be declining. The next peak is 2023, past the magical ‘ten year’ mark NASA is setting.

Now, look at the choice of presentation. NASA uses a percentage. Why?

Because 12% looks and sounds like a minimal amount compared to the same percentage said another way, one-in-eight!

That’s right, NASA is on record admitting that the chance of a major CME in the next year is one in eight. I would play those odds all day!

What if they told you there was a one in eight chance of an asteroid hitting the earth in a year? In eight years, (or less), we would be hit. Chances are 50/50 we would be hit in 4!

But, not to worry, NASA says that it will not present a threat to life on earth. Well, what are they saying here? Simply that we will not be killed solely because of the CME.  What they are NOT saying is that there will be no cars, no planes, no phones, no electricity, no water, no food, and total and complete mass panic. But that is the fallout from the event they say will happen with a one-in-eight chance.

 

Like I said at the start, Jack did his homework.

 

Observations:

 

I will cut Jack some slack here because he is just starting out, and also because he has made such rapid progress in two years.  Continuing at this rate, he stands a chance, although there are some issues.

Fortunately his wife has come around, (see preppers dilemma page), and she is able to assist.  I almost gave Jack a thumbs up, which as you know is rare for me, but he is just not there yet. There is really one basic issue he doesn’t seem to have a plan for.

Jacks safe room is a great idea, and if it is well stocked, and well defended, may hold up for awhile. I could not help but notice that although the door looked plenty sturdy, one could simply kick the sheetrock in on the sides of the door, and walk right through the wall. There would need to be steel panels bolted to the inside walls to prevent this.

His only defense in the safe room was a shotgun, which was a good choice, but two people in there need two guns. His wife must learn to shoot as well. Secondly, there is no escape from there, which brings me to my beef with his plan.

Jack has no operational Plan B. he states himself that he will make his last stand in the safe room.

 Survivors are survivors because they know when to run.  Jack needs a plan to get outside the home and to a safe location.

 Jack must join up with a group like the APN and plan a way out of Dodge. Only then does he stand a chance as a survivor.

This site is devoted to that one missing or unavailable plan that many of us do not have – The Plan B escape.

 Preparation to meet the specific perceived threat -

 Preparation against any threats arising from the perceived threat -

 Food & Water Preparation -

 Shelter Preparation -

 Plan B Preparation -

 

 

Episode : March 27, 2012

 

 

Concerns: Full scale nuclear exchange , peak oil, Avian Bird Flu Pandemic

 

 

Prepper #1

 

Bruce, from Ontario, Canada, has built an amazing complex of school buses, all buried under 18 inches of concrete, and 14 feet of dirt. His plan is to open up an ‘orphanage’ for refugee children fleeing from nuclear devastation. He has calculated that his complex can hold up to 500 refugees. He has stocked food and water to feed them for over two months.  Bruce has a very narrow vision of his role here, to provide food, water and shelter to children for a few months until the radiation hazard is diminished. He is organizing other complexes like his across North America. He plans to link them with his own radios. The entrance door/decontamination rooms are sturdy and massive, and there is another door in the rear of the compound that appears to be steel. 

 

Observations:

 

Like other preppers we have seen before, Bruce has cornered a niche market in survival, protecting children through the radiation storm following a nuclear exchange.  Several assumptions have to be made here.

People will arrive in an orderly fashion, and not raging mobs that would force him to close the massive blast door.

After a few months, civil authority would be restored enough to venture outside.

The exchange would not drag out over an extended amount of time.

 

As far as the basics go, Bruce has it covered. But if anything challenges those assumptions, he needs some backup plans.

My first concern – I saw no defensive provisions at all. If you are locked in an underground bunker with food and water, people outside are pretty much free to spend their time trying to get at you.

Given enough time, they will succeed.  

 I suppose Bruce could sneak everyone out through the steel back door, but then what?

I think he is missing a golden opportunity here. With 500 kids, and the adults that will be performing all the housekeeping duties, it seems he has the makings of a very good defensive militia already there. Even if he used only 100 of the 500, training the oldest kids and adults, that would be a formidable force.

The benefit of that force is that you can move outside the bunker complex, and be free to garden and raise animals.  By developing an “outside the castle walls” living area, the group could continue to grow in size, and really be well on the way to re-establishing a community.

My other issue is that he appears to have a limited amount of food storage for an extended period of time. I am sure he could feed 500 people twice a day, but for only 2-3 months? That would barely get you through the winter.

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Prepper #2

 

This next feature is Jeremy and Kerry. Jeremys concern revolves around ‘peak oil’, which he foresees as a sudden and out-of-reach price rise due to supply shortages.

He has prepared by identifying a water supply (his hot tub), packing up some gear, and purchasing a old deuce-and-a-half to transport it all. His truck is multi-fuel capable, and he has, or plans to, stockpile enough waste motor oil to allow them to travel 1500 miles across the country. 

Kerry states that she started out as a denier (see Preppers Dilemma page), but it took her a year to come around.  So there is hope, for all you people in the same boat.

They live in a suburban neighborhood, and Jeremy stockpiles antibiotics which he buys at pet stores. He has practiced his bugout plan, and has prepared bags ready to go. He has taught Kerry to drive the truck as well to be more prepared.

 

 

Observations:

 

In order, lets’ start with the concern about ‘peak oil’. This is really a subset of something else, and the source may be variable.

An oil embargo, such as occurred during the early 70’s could very well trigger a scenario which he envisions. Those of us who lived through that will tell you it was no fun at all. For the first year, there was virtually no gas at all. Stations just closed up. We purchased gas in five gallon cans from a man we knew who owned a Sunoco station. He would pump it into cans at night, and his best customers could stop by and purchase them, I believe it cost about 1$ per gallon to do that. That may sound cheap, but at the time gas was in the 60 cent range when it was available. Then there were the lines. There was usually a ten gallon limit, (which back then, was less than half a tank), and you waited in line all day long just to get your ten gallons. Businesses operated on a 3 day week to work around it.

Eventually the government imposed gas rationing, and the ‘odd-even’ plate system came into play. This move just reduced the lines some, it made no difference in the amount of gas used.

While this event was extremely inconvenient, the situation did not become dangerously unstable. I suppose in combination with other factors, it could.

The real reasons that could stop the flow of oil are more complicated –

·         War, or a terrorism act that aligns the oil producing countries against us.

·         Sudden, rapid inflation caused by bad monetary policy or a loss of the dollars status as world reserve currency.

·         Or even war between oil producing countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.   

 So, does Jeremy’s prepping help him here?

His purchase of a multi-fuel truck is a good step, he could use anything to power it. But where would you go with it? The truck is only a transportation device, to get you from point A to point B. We are not told where he intends to go, but from the sound of stockpiling all that oil, it seems he is taking to life on the road. Evidence the bunkbeds built into the back of it. If that is true, that is a highly questionable tactic indeed.

Lastly, the truck obviously doesn’t fit in his garage, nor can he keep it on the property. I take it that it must be stored somewhere off site. In an emergency, getting to the truck and getting it back to the house could be a serious problem, especially considering that he intends to use it as a Plan B bugout scenario.

The Hot Tub could provide drinking water, it is already chlorinated, it needs to be filtered and is ready to go. This would work. No provisioning for food was shown or discussed, not sure how he intends to eat. From a few of the pictures showing him loading the truck, he is pushing a propane cylinder into the back. This scares me. From that, it seems he may be relying on limited supplies and higher tech items (a camp stove? BBQ grill?) to survive rather than getting the basics under control.

 The antibiotics from the pet store is a good idea, serious preppers have been doing just that for decades. I work in a career that involves quality control and management, those medications are prepared under the same guidelines as those for human consumption, in many cases, they are manufactured on the very same production lines. The only difficulty a prepper has using them, is calculating a human dosage, since animal meds are usually given in milligrams/pound. A good prepper will mark the human dose on the storage container once it is calculated.

Overall, for someone just starting out, Jeremy is heading in the right direction, but he still has a long way to go to pull his plans together.

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Prepper #3

 

This is Brad, the psychiatrist from California, with his Cambodian wife and their daughter.  Brad’s concern is Avian Flu Pandemic, and he has stockpiled antibiotics along with food and water to enable him to stay out of the infection zones during a crisis.

 Brad has taken some steps to fortify his house against general looting by installing ballistic glass on his patio doors, it is unclear whether the entire house glass is protected this way, but from what he demonstrates, the shield appears to be fairly effective.  Brad recognizes that even this kind of defense is no protection against fire, or general mayhem, so he has formulated a Plan B. 

Is bugout plan is to drive two and a half hours to an abandoned gemstone mine and ride out the pandemic there. He has a four wheel drive vehicle that seems like it will do the trick.

Throughout the interview, his wife seems openly hostile to his plans (see Preppers Dilemma Page), and his daughter is only marginally supportive.

 

 

Observations –

 

Brad has clearly thought things out well. He has a plan for each eventuality which, at least on the surface, appears workable. Getting his family to take part and assist will be a big challenge for him, and will put him at a disadvantage in organizing and planning.

There are a few more things Brad needs to address better, (see Rule of Threes, page  51 – ASG tab) , such as what to do about quarantine enforcement (ASG tab page 31) if such a scenario does unfold, which may seriously interfere with his bugout plan.

His bugout location is not prestocked, which again, means he will have limited food, water and supplies, even though he has plenty at his house. Being unable to move the food is a problem.

Brad’s concern about Avian Flu is played down by the NatGeo experts, reciting to us old information that it can only be spread primarily among birds.

 Now that the virus has been weaponized (see Links page and How & Why page) , there is a very real possibility that it will be used against humans, whether intentionally, or by escaping, so Brad is quite right to be concerned about it.

All in all, Brad has covered his bases, and while I think he needs more planning for alternate actions, he has built around a very workable strategy.

 

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Episode Air Date : March 13, 2012

 

 

Concerns: Economic collapse &  Environmental disasters

 

Prepper #1

 

This would be Doug. I didn’t catch the location, although it appears to be Northwest US.  He is concerned about a total economic collapse, causing food and energy shortages and destabilizing the country. Doug has a 240 acre ranch and a large greenhouse with which he intends to grow his own food supply. He has several storage cellars (‘root’ cellars here in the NE) stocked with provisions, mostly canned and stored vegetables and preserves were shown. Doug is special forces trained, and has about 30 ghillie suits, (camouflage suits) made up to represent the different terrains he may have to operate in. His intent seems to be to sit tight, but if overrun, he intends to bugout into premade ‘spider holes’. These are designed to conceal him during the day, and he intends to emerge at night to ‘take back’ his house and food supplies. He has constructed several of the spider holes along a 200 mile stretch , “up to 9000 feet”.  Doug is active in his community training teenagers in basic survival skills, some of whom he intends to help him at his ranch.

 

 Observations:

 

There is far more here than meets the eye.

While Doug seems to have been objective about the big picture, he has not addressed his primary concern, economic collapse. Odds are that an economic collapse would take some time to reach disastrous proportions. In the meantime, barter would become extensive, until civil authority collapsed completely. Doug does not have any silver, gold, or barterable items except his food supply. It is unclear whether he intends to barter with his food, and if so, what would he need in return?

He has addressed the secondary effects of civil disorder, but in a narrow ‘military’ way of thinking.  Yes , his house may be overrun, but not by the thugs and punks he expects, but by hordes of unarmed, hungry civilians, made up largely of women and children.

He claims his intent is to hide in his spider hole until dark, then rise up and battle the intruders. Really? What is he going to do? Shoot women and children?

That of course is assuming that during the day, while he hides in his spider hole, that his house is not looted and then burned.

His root cellars have no real defense either, just big wooden doors, which a determined mob will certainly breach.  Maybe his other root cellars are hidden?

Why, on 240 acres, he does not have a suitable underground shelter fully stocked is beyond me.

And where are his 30 ghillie suits? In the house? Not much good being there.

The spider holes are where this really gets interesting, and I suspect this is a deception on Doug’s’ part. We learned in a previous episode that an adult human requires 80 cubic feet of air per hour to breathe. From the size of the spider hole shown, I will guess it was about 3ft deep, 7 feet long, and 5 feet wide. That’s 105 cubic feet, for those inclined to research it.

So Doug has enough air for just over an hour.

The cover is tightly fit, and camouflaged with gravel and dirt. (Who is going to do the camo work when Doug crawls down in there is unexplained).

Air infiltration is practically nil. If Doug goes to sleep in this, he is not waking up. What about a rainstorm? Lying on your back staring up at a wooden trapdoor pouring muddy water all over your face does not sound well thought out.

What about snow or ice? Will you be trapped in there? There are no provisions inside.

I suspect we are being misled here.

Doug indicated in the segment he has these spread out over 200 miles ,”up to 9000 feet”.  That is his real plan. He intends to bugout to the mountains, and live a loners life. These spider holes are just his concealment during the day, as he admits “he owns the night”.

I also suspect that his intention is simply to hunt and live off the land at 9000 feet, but it gets real cold up there in the winter.

Spider holes are great media, but they are really fighting positions, not shelters, and rarely are covered, just concealed with good camo. The middle of the road is a poor choice for any position, so again, who is kidding who here?

 

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 Prepper #2

 

This is Diane and husband, who live somewhere in Canada, in a suburban subdivision. Diane has a generic concern about some type of environmental catastrophe. They have stockpiled food and water over the past three years, and have enough for their family to survive on for about a year. Her husband has been researching and learning about various useful homemade tools and techniques, and demonstrated how he can put together a carbon activated air filter from some readily available materials. They have practiced bugging-in with their small daughter, and plan to retreat to the basement in a hurry if things go ‘bad’.

For self defense, they have purchase two handguns and practice using them.

 

 

Observations:

 

While it doesn’t seem like she has done much, in reality she has covered most of the bases.  While she has targeted solutions to the expected disasters, she has not thought much beyond them, so I suggest  a vertical application of the ‘Rule Of Threes’ to fill out the missing items. (ASG tab page 51).

One of these items would clearly be the threat posed by the close proximity of the houses in her neighborhood.  By bugging-in, they will be based in the basement of the house, usually an area with limited visibility to the outside, which means it is hard to defend. Starving neighbors who think they might have food inside will waste little time in checking it out.  While they may feel little remorse in shooting looters and people threatening them in the basement, one wonders how they plan to handle starving neighbors.

The second big problem is typical of these areas, no Plan B to get away from the area. Essentially, they are trapping themselves in the basement where they will make a valiant last stand, but that is the best they can hope for.

One person with a Molotov could simply burn them out.

There is no barter provisions put aside, other than the skills her husband is learning, which could indeed have value.

On the plus side, she does have cooperation with the entire family, and that helps tremendously. If she addresses a Plan B, they may stand a chance.

 

NatGeo’s expert suggests starting a neighborhood community action plan, but they indicated that the neighbors are not very receptive, (which should be a Plan B warning sign).

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Prepper #3

 

This is Ed and Diana from Kansas.  They have purchase an old Atlas missile silo, and have converted it into their home.

Ed’s concern is about economic collapse, which he believes is well underway.

They have stockpiled food and water, and Ed implies they have arms and will defend the silo. Ed’s plans include bugging-in with a number of selected people and riding out the upheaval on the surface. The complex is surrounded by an eight foot chain link fence, is gated, and Ed has installed security cameras to warn him of any encroaching bad guys.

 

NatGeo’s analyst recommended a more defensive posture inside, which Ed dismissed, and the acquisition of a shortwave radio to monitor events going on outside.

 

 

Observations –

 

 

This was a memorable episode for all. The hippie commune in an underground bunker. 

I do have a few questions though. The year of food they have stockpiled will not feed all the their friends they have invited in for the end of the world. I must assume that the friends will bring food with them?  What makes me question this, is that later in the episode, he remarks about (during the crisis), people walking down the street carrying a bag of groceries. Where would one get groceries during a crisis?  It is almost as if he expects stores to be open for business as usual during this disaster. I hope I am wrong on this, but that is the way it came across.

Bugging-in with a setup like this makes sense. No need here for a plan B, unless there is a loophole. And there is.

 All of his security cameras will require power. So will his lights, radios, and beloved hot tub. Apparently he expects the power to stay on somehow. There is no way he could store enough fuel to run generators for a year.

With no power, he is sitting in a hole in the ground in the dark.

At least his friends are all carefully chosen for their expertise in various fields. NOT.

For someone preparing for an economic collapse, Ed and Diana do not have any barter items set up, nor have they stocked Silver or Gold.  It is unclear how they intend to recover from this collapse.

In reality, the fence will not keep anyone out, one good smash with a car, or simply cutting the wire, will allow easy access. The security cameras are also easily neutralized by anyone who sees them. While the blast doors may keep people out, he is trapped inside. It is just a matter of waiting him out.

At the end of the episode, Ed is showing us the large wooden doors he built at the other end of the bunker complex. Apparently the complex is not all sealed behind blast proof doors, portions must be accessible through more conventional means. So his illusion of security may be just that, an illusion.   

 

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Episode Air Date : 2/28

 

 

Concerns:  Overpopulation, "everything bad", Martial Law

 

 Prepper #1

 

This is Michael Douglas, (not THAT Michael Douglas), from Augusta, Maine.

Michael is ex-military and lives on a farm in Maine. He teaches students in primitive skills, and wears self made buckskin clothes as well as making tomahawks from railroad spikes. Michael is shown collecting roadkill from the highway, placing the dead animal in a handmade basket. Michael has three children and is married. Not all of his children are quite on-board, but that is what we have come to expect. (See Preppers Dilemmas page).

Michael is concerned that the growing population will outstrip the planets resources and cause the people who cannot pay the rising prices to lose control and riot. He practices defensive scenarios with his children, and when they are old enough, he tests their skills in making fire and shelter as a “rite of passage”.

He has taught his children to throw tomahawks and blunt sticks for hunting and defense.

 

 

Observations:

 

Well, where to start?

Lets start here, hunting with sticks and tomahawks is clearly not what contributed to the buckskin clothes he is wearing. Who is fooling who here? While Michael professes to be against defense with guns, (since bullets are a finite resource), it is unclear how he intends to survive up in Maine without using firearms. While the sticks and tomahawks may work on small animals, it will not do well against a moose, or bear, or even a deer.

Even if one believed that bullets were of limited value, it would still be the most efficient way to defend yourself.  A few boxes of buckshot and a 12 gauge would be far more effective than throwing an axe.

It is also unclear whether he is serious about eating that roadkill he brought home. Any hunter who has hit a deer with a car knows the large amount of meat rendered unusable by the impact, how much more so with a squirrel or badger?

His wife looked like she believed the roadkill bit to be a joke, no attempt was made to process it or eat it.

I assume Michaels concern about overpopulation is addressed by living in a remote area where the climate is cold. Apparently he thinks this will reduce the population infiltration to his area, and he may be right.

Michael has not stockpiled any food or water, considering his concern about overpopulation, that is probably not necessary, as long as he can procure it by other means.  Whether he has the means to hold off the secondary effects he believes will happen is what is debatable.

 

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Prepper #2

 

 

Meet “Larry the Condo Guy”.  Larry is a contractor who has found a unique way to keep the building business booming during this housing recession. Larry develops old missile silos into luxury condo apartments that are blast proof and disaster proof. Apparently, he is doing okay at it, although at the time of filming he had no completed units to show.

 Larry intends on living in one of the units himself, so that does qualify him as a prepper, and not just a developer.

When completed, his units will feature a 25,000 gallon water storage tank, and a full supermarket with groceries. While extremely pricey, there appears to be some market for his units.

Larry has no particular threat in mind, he is satisfied knowing that whatever is thrown at him, his complex will survive it.

 

 

Observations –

 

 This one is a bit different from the rest. He has built a complex in a remote location, (most missile sites are located in these areas), and expects pre-registered people to reach it if and when things get bad. I am certain in a bad scenario, his occupancy rate will be quite low, as getting there will be difficult. You would think he would provide an airstrip on the property for more direct access.

 I assume someone would have to guard the gates, letting in only those who are supposed to be there. Using the “gate card” will only work if there are not crowds of people swarming the gate, waiting for some guest to inadvertently let them in.

 The ‘supermarket’ concept is unique, and beneficial for Larry, as he gets to sell food to a (literally) captive market. I suppose fresh food is out of the question, since it would not store long term.

 The NatGeo assessment included a telling point, they suggested he select people of various professional backgrounds that would help with the units survival, (doctors, ex-military, etc). Larrys response was telling, essentially he said that those people did not have the ‘economic means’ to purchase the units.

 So it appears that Larrys complex will be inhabited by wealthy people who are more than willing to pay for all services needed.

 I don’t think that approach will pay off for Larry. These people believe they can ‘buy’ being prepared, rather than preparing themselves.

They may buy some time, but not their lives.

 This approach also suffers from the “siege effect”, in that while waiting below ground with limited food and water, those waiting for them to come out, have essentially unlimited food and water.

 I question the strategy of giving up mobility for security, especially given the probable types of people that will make up the complex.

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Prepper #3

 

 

Meet Becky from Salt Lake City. Her concern centers around surviving Martial Law. To that end, she has stockpiled 5000 packages of freeze dried food and 200 gallons of water. She has prepared a bugout pack with food and water, and plans on carrying one of her 17 pound bugout pails of food with her if she needs to bugout.

She has shared her views with her friends in an effort to convince them to start preparing themselves. She has also enlisted the help of a military sniper to teach herself weapons handling. She proved to be a fair shot with a .308 rifle, but not so much with the handgun.

Becky lives near the capitol building of Salt Lake City, and states that she will know fairly quickly if and when martial law is declared.

 

Observations –

 

Well, for someone who admits to spending much of her time prepping, she seems to preoccupied with some aspects, and completely ignores others.

She has plenty of food for herself, mostly freeze dried, and she is short on water, only 200 gallons. Needless to say, all those freeze dried foods need to be mixed back with water. In addition, most preppers seem to forget that water is actually needed to wash things as well, bodies AND plates.  She would be better advised to install a rain barrel system on the gutters to collect rainwater, that should double her capacity. That also assumes she owns the house and is able to do that.

 Her concern over Martial Law, is really a secondary one. A primary cause must occur for martial law to be put into effect, she implies that this could be economic collapse. I see no provisions put away to deal with that issue (barterables).

I also question the location of her dwelling, right in the heart of the city, next to the capitol, where such martial law would presumably originate. Why not further out towards the suburbs?  I assume it is because she has no vehicle.  She talks of grabbing her bugout bag and a pail of food and “running down the street”.

Where is she going to go?

Under martial law, no one would be allowed in the street. No one is going anywhere.

A better recommendation from NatGeo would have been to obtain a vehicle to preserve her options in the event of an emergency. Even a compact car would carry far more of those pails than she can.

When you give up a vehicle, you give up some of your freedom, and turn it over to a governmental authority (mass transit, trains, planes, etc), who then decides where you can go, if you can go, and what you will take.

It appears that although she is learning weapons handling, she did not indicate she would be obtaining any. If she thinks that the fireplace poker, or the stungun will keep anyone at bay, she has much to learn. Using a .308 rifle in the heart of the city is equally foolhardy. What she really should obtain is a good shotgun.

As mentioned, her plan B consists of ‘running down the street’.  Nothing more need be said about that.

Natgeo's analysis at the end of this segment states " Martial Law has not been declared in recent history".

I guess the American citizens of Japanese descent who were rounded up and sent to internment camps during WWII do not count?

 

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Episode of  2/14

 

 

Concerns:  ElectroMagnetic Pulse (EMP), supervolcano, genetically engineered crops and pests

 

 

Prepper #1

 

This is Tim from Arizona.  Tim has been stockpiling extra items for many years, and is now close to pulling it all together. His concern, like many other preppers, is about an EMP event, triggered by a rogue nuclear device.

 NatGeo failed to point out that a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is a much more likely candidate for an EMP pulse of the kind that Tim expects.

Tim has prepared supplies of food and water, and is currently building a retreat using the standard shipping containers many are using.

His wife has come to terms with his obsession and supports him, and he practices his bugout option with his children. He has taught them to use weapons out in the desert. This episode is memorable because it is the first time we see an actual accident happen. For some reason that is left unexplained, Tims thumb receives a bullet as he places it over the end of a rifle. After surgery, his thumb has been shortened but reattached.  Tim has not let the accident slow him down, but it would have been interesting to see the wifes reaction to the injury.

 

 

Observations

 

Tim has identified his perceived threat, and has prepared for it. In addition, he has a bugout plan in place and practiced, as well as a place to go. It is unclear whether he will store supplies in his remote retreat.

His children are well practiced and appear to be quite capable of helping him out.

The accident brought the most interesting things to the surface.

Tim was helicoptered out and was in surgery within an hour. Because of this, his thumb was able to be reconstructed, and he will have some use of it.

In a real survival situation, this type of injury would not be uncommon. Bullets would be old, possibly dirty or corroded, or even loaded improperly. Combine these factors with the fact that many people would be using weapons would are not thoroughly trained in their use, such as Tims wife, who did not appear to be part of any of his activities with the children.

The survivalist must have enough medical supplies to cope with these types of injuries.

  Had this been a real survival situation, someone (not Tim obviously), would have had to amputate that thumb, cauterize it, sterilize it, and bandage it. While not the ideal situation, it is what we would have to expect. Infection could easily be deadly in these types of scenarios. The importance of a medical pack containing enough items to do this cannot be overemphasized.

I didn't approve of his use of a trailer, for my own reasons, I admit, but it would work under ideal circumstances.

Off road, it could cause some serious trouble.

His shelter, while being built, is currently not complete, so I had to judge on that fact.

 

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Prepper # 2

 

 This is Jason, from NYC.  Jasons primary concern is centered on the threat of a supervolcano , (see How & Why page), and the effects it would produce over the entire eastern half of the country. Being in the city, handguns are notoriously difficult to possess, so he has taken a different strategy, knives.

 In addition to learning how to fight with a knife (something, incidentally, very few people really know how to do), he has also taken Krav Maga self defense.

 Jason has a good stockpile of MREs and other foodstuffs, and has a water storage unit fitting his bathtub, which can hold 100 gallons.

 He practices his defensive posture with his family, and has made his apartment semi NBC proof. If he runs low on food supplies, he has cached additional food off site, and has an NBC suit he can wear to retrieve it.

 

 Observations –

 

Jason, like many others, has elected to bug-in at his apartment in the city. He correctly foresees mass panic causing trouble in the streets, and has taken good precautions in defensive measures.  Given the small storage space he has, I am more concerned about the amount of his food supply, and the fact he feels he may have to leave the relative safety of his apartment to reach his additional food storage through streets that could be extremely hostile. If the ash conditions were as he expects, this may not be an issue, since people could not survive long exposed to the ash, but for any other scenario, this would be problematic.

 Benson points out in the book “Urban Survival” that the urban prepper needs to put away twice the amount of food and water that the rural prepper needs. This is due to the sheer density of the population in the cities. Jason would need about 3-4 months of food put away to meet this requirement. For water, at only ½ gallon per person per day, one would need 60 gallons per month. During the summer months, (or very dusty conditions?), one would probably need even more.

 To his credit, Jason is exploring networking with other preppers, and has not limited his plans to staying in the city at all costs.

 In the Ashes series of books, there is a segment on New York City, with a group having taken control of Central Park and surviving very well. Things like this could be done.

 It is unclear whether Jason has a vehicle, so his transportation options may be limited, which will affect his plans.

 His defense position, even with all of the options he has equipped himself with, should include at least knowing where he can get his hands on a weapon if need be.

 NatGeo downplays the significance of a supervolcano, again resorting to percentages, (we saw that before in episode 4/03, prepper #3, remember?) , but the current facts say some different things.

The government scientists have equipped the Yellowstone caldera with ground sensors precisely because they are worried about such an event. More worrying is the fact that these sensors are showing that the pressure is building fairly rapidly.

Also not mentioned, is that an eruption could be triggered by other events as well.

Earthquakes would be a prime trigger, as would a nuclear detonation in either a nuclear exchange, or a rogue blast. For that matter, a gravitational pulse (galactic superpulse), or a comet swinging by close to Earth, or even an asteroid impact could all serve as event triggers for this.

 

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Prepper #3

 

This is Jules from California. Jules is concerned about genetically modified vegetables and crops generating ‘superbugs’, which would cause crop failures across the world.  Jules grows an immense amount of food in his backyard, using a variation of ‘square foot’ gardening. He has attempted to become as independent as possible, even to the point of using self-processed waste vegetable oil in his car as biodiesel. Jules points out that he can live on two dollars a day in the summertime, feeding a family of four. His daughter raises goats, chickens, and ducks somewhere in the backyard as well.

Jules plans on feeding himself and his family when these crop failures occur.

 

Observations –

 

Okay, lets be clear on this one. Jules is not a prepper. Jules is a ‘homesteader’, or a primitive skills man’, or something, but NOT a prepper.

If Jules has food enough growing in his backyard, what is to keep the starving mobs he envisions out of it? By his own admission, he can feed everyone during the summer. What about the winter? I see he has animals, but I also see that they are pets, not food sources (with the exception of eggs from the chickens and ducks).  Will he eat the animals?  If so, he clearly does not have enough. While vegetables can be preserved, most require a good deal of preparation to make them last for any duration. How would you can tomatoes without electricity to heat and boil water?  NatGeo recommended a diesel generator that he could run on his biodiesel, which actually makes a good deal of sense. But what happens when his free supply of used veggie oil disappears because of his perceived crop failures?

 Jules has no defense plan at all. He does not appear to have any water put away, nor does he have a source for it shown.

He has no Plan B withdrawal either.

He is in a densely populated neighborhood (he is on a one tenth acre plot). Needless to say. I wonder how he has all those animals in there with his gardens and in such tight zoning. I am on almost two acres, and I am only allowed 10 chickens (all hens, no roosters) OR 1 small farm animal (a sheep or goat).  His collection would get a zoning violation in my town, its hard to imagine in a one tenth acre zone he can do this.

 But that is all irrelevant to the task at hand.

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Episode of  2/07

 (This is a double episode)

 

 Concerns: EMP , Economic Collapse , Earthquake , Runaway Inflation - Economic Collapse, Pole Reversal-Earth Changes,

 

 

Prepper # 1

 

 

 This would be David, an ex-trucker, I didn’t catch where he was from. Davids concern revolves around an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse), with the associated effects cascading from this type of event.  He has stocked enough food supplies for a family for a year, and has moved to a farm where he grows his own food and raises animals. David has a ham radio setup with which he intends to communicate with other preppers after the disaster. David hosts his own you-tube channel on which he shows people how to improvise water filtration, and other survival items.

He has several dogs, and a plan to defend his home with barbed wire and a rifle.

 

 

Observations –

 

While David is not in the best of health, he has not succumbed to the attitude that he cannot survive. This is called the ‘survival mentality’, and is a key ingredient in overcoming obstacles.  David has thought out his plan very well, and has most of his bases covered. He has observed the ‘rule of threes’ in his defensive strategy, and while it may not keep out a determined group, it will certainly slow them down.

David has not prepared a Plan B, so it appears he will ‘Bug-In’ and ride it out. While this is a perfectly acceptable and rational plan for his situation, to survive, one must plan for any eventuality, so I believe David should have some sort of Plan B devised, even if he never has to use it.

Looking at the defense plan, I do not think it would hold up for very long, but maybe he is far enough out in the boonies where it wouldn’t matter, this is something we do not know.

NatGeo once again plays down the significance of an EMP, but as we saw in previous reviews, this is a highly likely event with far reaching consequences.  Other than the food and animals, I did not see any barter materials, so he has a need to fill there. (see episode 4/03 , prepper 3)

All in all, a decent , workable plan that needs some tweaking here and there.

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 Prepper # 2

 

Meet Kellene and Scott from Salt Lake City, Utah.  Kellene has stockpiled an incredible amount of food in her suburban home. She is active in her community as a recruiter and organizer, teaching and training women in marksmanship and self defense. 

Kellene is concerned over an impending economic collapse, and she is storing food and water for it. They intend to Bug In for such an event, and have practiced some defensive scenarios within their home. They have even addressed the communications issue by learning and using Morse code as well as becoming fluent in the Taglog language.

She ends the segment by hosting an ‘end of the world’ party utilizing only prepared, prepackaged foods for her guests.

 

NatGeo’s analyst, for some reason, seems to think she needs more water storage, (she has a dozen 60 gallon drums in the spare bedroom).

This is more stored water than I have seen on any of the episodes to date, so I am completely baffled as to how this concern surfaced.

 

Observations –

 

Kellene and Scott have actually done a good job of assessing the issue and building a good plan. They obviously have plenty of food and water, know their defensive plan, and covered a communication plan as well.

My concerns here would run along the following lines:

No Plan B. They live in a suburb. While their home defense is plausible for a few individual intruders, they do not stand any chance against a determined group.  The home is vulnerable to fire, smoke, & bullets. They need a way out if such a situation develops.

They profess to be concerned about economic collapse, but like others we have seen, did not show us any preparations to deal with barter, such as coins, skills, etc.  Perhaps they will barter their food?

What would they need that they would exchange food for it? Safety?

I see an extortion plan in the works.

As a last comment, we see them scouting the house for intruders with handguns, but for multiple assailants, I would think a shotgun would be preferable. There is no indication that they have other weapons other than the handguns.

To her credit, she states that they are not showing all their cards, lets hope so.

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Prepper # 3

 

This would be Kathy from ‘New England’.  Kathy is concerned about the New Madrid fault zone, running up the Mississippi valley from new Orleans into the Ohio area. This zone was active in a major way during the 1800’s, actually causing a shift in the river itself at New Madrid.

 Kathy feels that renewed activity along this fault will split the country in half, as far as transportation is concerned, cutting off food supplies to the northeastern half of the country.

To prepare, Kathy is preserving food from her garden, and has put away a sizable supply of meats, fruits, and vegetables.

In addition, they have a few beehives, with which they intend to collect honey for medicinal and bartering use.

They have some property located near a creek to supply them with water, which I presume they intend to filter and drink.

Kathy and her husband demonstrate primitive skills such as making apple cider to their local community. They have practiced various primitive skills as well as current ones.  Kathy was demonstrating sewing, while her husband was cutting wood and making furniture.

NatGeo’s analyst suggested some form of defensive measures were lacking,(which they discounted). The assessment also stated “ every 50 years the fault has a 1 in 50 chance of becoming active”.

 

Observations –

 

Wow. Where to start? Once again, I do not believe that Kathy is a ‘prepper’ just because she preserves food and practices primitive skills.

The current skills they demonstrated, (sewing and making furniture), all involved the use of electrical tools (sewing machine, table saw), which would not be of any use if there was no power.

 Canning tomatoes as sauce  doesn’t qualify as food preparation in my book, who would want to live on tomato sauce?  To be fair, there was meat and fruit preserved as well, but how much had been stocked was not mentioned. Could they live for a few months on their preserves? A few years? We don’t know.

This form of preparing, gardening and beekeeping, rely heavily on a stable environment over a rather long period of time. This is why primitive peoples hunt rather than farm. If society is unstable, gardening and beekeeping will not be possible.

 They intend to barter the honey, but it is not clear what they will need to exchange for it. They imply that they will use those items to barter for security. Uh oh.

Lets play this out. Armed hungry person confronts them and wants food. What position are they in to barter? Here, take this food, just don’t kill us?

They have no defensive plans or weapons.

They have no Plan B.

Their home is vulnerable.

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Prepper #4

 

This is Dennis from Colorado. (We seem to be seeing a lot of Coloradians lately). Dennis lives on a ranch in a fairly rural area, and his concern centers around economic collapse due to hyper-inflation.

Today , as I write this critique, the European Union has just asked the US to institute Quantitative Easing, round three (QE3), which is simply the same as ‘printing money’, just laundered a bit to not ‘look’ like printing dollars. This, of course, is the underlying cause of inflation, and I predict a swift rise in gold prices this morning.

 Dennis has an extended family either staying with him on the ranch, or living nearby. In the event of an emergency, they will congregate at the ranch as a unit. Every member has a particular duty assigned, from manufacturing items (his daughter Ricki, to “IT specialist”, to energy gatherer, to fire and rescue.

 Dennis has stocked a good amount of food, and I saw a river in the background of a shot, so I assume that is where his water will come from. Or the windmill could be pumping water, we were not shown.

The family meets together regularly to discuss tactics and strategies, and to plan ahead.

His sons together have taken security duties, one (the IT guy), installing motion alarms, the other demonstrating how to manufacture a bow from PVC pipe and fiberglass, and his prowess with a shotgun.

 

 

Observations: -

 

At least Dennis really is a prepper, unlike some other recent features. Lets address this logically. Dennis believes that economic collapse will result from hyperinflation. What does this entail?

First , food shortages and energy shortages as both are rationed by the distributors, then rioting and loss of local control. Infrastructure, such as power and water could be lost. A barter economy would surface.

Well, Dennis has food, and probably he could obtain water as well. As for barterable skills, the episode showed skills that were almost totally dependent upon electrical power being available. (Welding, IT). Unless he has a wood fired generator (a good idea I would think), he is out of luck in the electricity department.  His ‘security’ system of a driveway alarm depends upon batteries, which he would need a good supply of, considering the detection range (not the transmission range) of these devices is in a fairly narrow beam. (I had one on my driveway). One would need several of these devices to make a perimeter alarm, if I remember correctly, a nine volt receiver battery (one receiver per unit), and 3 or 4 AA batteries in the sending units.  I would be more impressed with the IT specialist if he had converted the units to rechargeable batteries hooked to a little solar panel.

 His defense plan is not well thought out, I always return to the “starving women and children” example, because if do not know how you will deal with them, then you have not thought it through enough.

There is no plan B for Dennis, although the family members that do not live there have one , (get to Dennis’s place). No word on how anyone will accomplish this.

Dennis has a good start, but I feel more development of his plans is necessary.

 

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Prepper #5

 

Paul and Gloria from Texas –

 

Pauls concern is a bit unique to the show so far, he is preparing for a ‘pole shift’ which he believes will trigger earthquakes, resulting in accelerated continental drift. To that end, he has devised a ‘house’ of sorts, in the plains of Texas, built in the style of a western fort. It is made of 40 shipping containers, welded together into a square, with an open courtyard in the center. Outside he keeps goats and chickens, along with pigs, who power his methane bio-digester which provides cooking gas.

On the roof he has several small wind generators and a solar array. He appears to be entirely “off-the-grid”.

Paul shows us how his choice in housing is bullet resistant, and how he has accumulated 15 years of stored food supplies, along with plenty of water. He has a full defensive plan, and if that fails, he intends to enact a Plan B bugout with two school buses and some trucks and trailers. He has a rendezvous point picked out, and a plan to travel 12 hours away if he should have to.

NatGeo’s analyst could not find much to say about this plan, except that he should split up his food supply to make it less vulnerable to loss, (a good assessment).

 

Observations –

 

Paul is playing with us a bit here, but who can blame him. He demonstrates that his home is bullet resistant by shooting .22 caliber rifles at the corner supports of the shipping containers. I assume this is a bit of propaganda on his part, since I am sure he knows, as we do, that the corners of the containers are the only reinforced structural members in them, and that saying the .22 caliber is ‘the most commonly used caliber’ does not mean that people use that caliber for attacking a hard target like his ‘house’.  The exterior metal of the shipping containers is very thin, and easily punctured by a .22.

If he was serious about this, he could weld a sheet of 1” steel plate to the outside, filling between the corrugated panels with cement. He would then truly have a bullet proof building.

Even with his extensive preparations, he has still incorporated a Plan B, making his survival plans complete.  With the additional crew members he expects in a time of emergency, Paul and Gloria have about the best setup I have seen so far.

Other than reinforcing the exterior, I could find no flaws in his planning.

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 Prepper #6

 

 

This would be Christopher from Los Angeles.  Christopher is a preparer who runs some farmers markets in the LA area, and has some experience in primitive skills. His main concern is a normal one for this area, a large earthquake along the San Andreas fault. He plans on living on the streets in this type of emergency, eating natural wild food, and making fire with his fire drill. For shelter, he plans on living under various makeshift shelters such as bridge abutments. For barter, he has a roll of ‘Eisenhower Dollars’, which he plans to ‘buy’ sleeping privileges among the homeless population with. He also has some hand made arrowheads for trade purposes.

NatGeo’s analyst did pounce on an obvious concern, which was a total lack of defensive measures,  but Christopher indicated he would be networking with his community, and this was unnecessary.  This is something we have heard before.

 

 

Observations:

 

Christopher hardly ranks as a prepper, in that he is not really prepared for anything. His primitive skills will allow him to forage for wild foods, but he will be competing with hundreds of thousands of others doing the same if his concern about an earthquake comes to pass.  When a major earthquake hits, people must head out of the cities, away from buildings that are damaged and could fall at any time, and into the surrounding fields where there is less danger. This is precisely where Christopher intends to forage.  Since he has no stockpile of food, he will be constantly foraging just to stay alive. I assume he will not be drinking any water either, since he lacks a container to collect water in, or a filter for it. He would have to boil it using an old hubcap.

 His barter items are laughable, the ‘Eisenhower dollars’ contain no silver, and as of today (June 6) have a melt value of 18 cents. To a coin collector, they may be worth $10 to $20, depending on condition, but I do not envision the homeless collecting coins. Neither do I envision anyone valuing his collection of arrowheads.  So all Christopher intends to do to survive is to run for it, and eat leaves.  How he made it into this series is beyond me, I know non-preppers who have better plans than that.

He got his 15 minutes of fame, it appears that’s all he wanted.  

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Prepper # 7

 

Meet Megan from Houston, Texas.

Megan is concerned about an oil embargo crippling the country’s infrastructure and resulting in chaos in the streets. She has managed to tuck away 4 weeks supply of food and water in her tiny apartment, and has a bug-in/ bug-out plan to get out of the city. She has been training in weapons use, and has a good amount of physical training as well. Her plan involves staying in her apartment until her food runs low, hoping that the situation will stabilize enough in the streets for her to hike 10 miles through the city to her car, where she will drive to Mexico.

 

 

Observations –

 

Megan is one of the more memorable characters featured in this show. Men may remember her as the ‘hottie from Houston’, women will forever remember her as the person who would shoot her cats.

Either way, there is a lot to learn from Megan.

Megan certainly has the ‘drive to survive’, and she freely admits she has a long way to go to be better prepared, so she is well on the way.

It occurred to me, that the major hurdles Megan faces are self imposed.

Living in the heart of the city of Houston, planning to walk out after dark completely through the city to a car on the other side, and then running away to Mexico are all personal choices. 

What she could do to greatly increase her odds of survival is simple. Move to the outskirts of the city, get a bigger place where she could store more items, and be closer to her car. This eliminates many of the biggest threats to her.

As far as the cats, this is something that deserves to be talked about. Many preppers have pets, yet I do not believe they have plans to deal with pets in a survival situation. Cats can simply be set loose, as they stand a fair chance of making it in the ‘wild’. Dogs can also be set loose, as many will be anyway, but only the biggest breeds will really survive any amount of time. (They will be eating the cats).  If you have pets, some type of plan will be necessary to deal with them, bringing them along if not a good choice. When your personal survival is at stake, do not give it up for a pet.

Like many preppers, Megan has not thought out her plan B. Her strategy to ‘cut and run’ leaves her without food, water, or shelter. On her own, in unfamiliar territory, she may exist for awhile, but that is hardly the purpose of being a prepper.  Megan needs to join up with more people and plan a destination.

Frequently called a ‘retreat’, this is a place where the prepper has mutual support, shelter, food, water, and can start being productive again. These types of retreats usually require a group of people working together for the survival of the entire group, and these people will thrive. Do not ‘run away’ to scratch out a miserable existence on your own, humans are communal creatures. See the “MISSION” page for an explanation of this.

One final note –the NatGeo experts wrongly state that a “total oil embargo has never occurred before” , I guess they missed the early 70’s. While Mexico and Canada still supplied us with oil, there was simply not enough to go around. It was a tough time, as anyone who experienced it can tell you.

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