How to Survive Societal Collapse in Suburbia

Preparing for a world stripped of conveniences has always appealed to cranks and extremists. But can it be sold as plain common sense?

Comments: 95

  1. Let's hope there is no war over who gets a piece of the dove pie.

    I will stick with the traditional four-and-twenty blackbird pie.

  2. Plan A: catastrophe happens and you survive for a while longer then the rest of us. Plan B: it doesn't happen and you don't survive your heart attack.

  3. Indeed.

    [[venti double-chocolate-chip Frappuccino]]

    Looking at that gigantic belly on a 38-year-old man, I'm sure that's not the first time he's ordered that.

  4. Imgaging a post-apocalyptic world with these wackos running around with loaded guns is enough to make me hope I don't survive.

  5. With that attitude why would we care?

  6. Looks like preppers are living their own dystopian novel. My advice - read one instead and learn how to avoid a real and dangerous future rather than conjuring up your own fantasy world and living it needlessly. My fear is that this dystopian lifestyle makes it more likely that the rest of us will be forced to eventually live it because these preppers actually will welcome its arrival.

  7. There are shades of gray to all of this. There are some who are planning for armegedden and all that entails, but many others who just want to be able to live more comfortably if the power is out for a week and the stores are closed. I think that being prepared in the sense that one has adequate food, water, shelter, heat and other necessities for a certain defined period of time is not dystopian but rather responsible. I would guess that many of the folks hit by Sandy, and not just those whose homes were destroyed, but those who lost power, wish they had prepared more. And the more people who are better prepared, the less the burden on the Red Cross, FEMA and other entities who are spread so thin after a disaster of any magnitude.

  8. One unfortunate aspect of many legitimate concerns and movements is they are often co-opted by radicals and cranks. The far right "owns" the survivalist movement. However, due to increasing unpredictability of weather events, increasing supply problems, and huge power grids that can go dark with one small event, everyone should take the issue of preparedness seriously.
    Several years of drought, tornadoes, fires and super-storms and their aftermath should be enough proof for any skeptic.

  9. How about working for a better society today?

  10. No waterproof/ fireproof Bible?

  11. The Douglas family is Mormon. They wouldn't want a Bible, rather a copy of the Book of Mormon, and perhaps a collection of Mitt Romney's best election year quotes.

  12. The above stockpile is missing a TON of things:
    a) tools (shovels, picks, mattocks, rakes, etc for planting the heirloom seeds, axes, wedges, sledge hammers, mauls and saws for harvesting firewood, etc).
    b) medical supplies for EMT cases up to surgery
    c) 1000 rounds of ammunition per firearm plus LOTs of extra magazines, gun cleaning material (solvents, patches) plus repair tools
    d) library of books (about 200) for all the skills you don't have (military, farming, medical, auto repair, etc.)
    e) stockpile of gold, silver and other stores of wealth
    f) shelter, means to repair/maintain shelter, wood stove for heat
    g) gallons of permethin to repel disease carrying insects, mosquito nets
    h) several 50 gal drums to store water, bags of chlorine producing tables to purify water, two wash tubs and washboard for laundering clothes
    i) large supply of extra clothes plus needles, threads,etc to repair them. stockpile
    of spare boots and awls,cord, etc to repair them
    j) bedding (sleeping bags, wool blankets, etc.)
    k) communications ( cell phones, landline phones, coins for pay phones, weather radio to receive emergency government warnings, cell phone set up to receive emergency alerts/warnings, am/fm/shortwave radio, laptop computer with internet capability, solar cells and rechargeable batteries for above, plus deep cycle marine battery
    l) clothing for extreme weather (cold,etc)
    m) advanced economy to resupply all of the above
    n) competent government to manage the advanced economy

  13. coins for pay phones. I like that one!

  14. o) don't forget condoms!

  15. Douglas is obviously anticipating that his physical surroundings will remain intact with that flood, storm, fire, nuclear weapon somehow passing him and his place by. I'd say he's nuts but, hey, lets look at his reality, he's making a living off selling this stuff to others. Gotta keep up appearances, eh.

  16. PS You also need some way of transporting several tons of survival supplies (food,water,tools,etc.) PER person across several hundred miles of hostile terrain in the event your homestead area is overcome by murderous bandits, hordes of hungry desperate cannibals, mobs of starving children, clouds of lethal radioactive
    fallout or a cholera or smallpox pandemic.

    Or you could do the sensible thing and vote for Democrats. Who believe in competent government. public health system and Civilization as opposed to incompetence, plutocracy, corruption, theocracy, and a mythical, primitive state of Nature.

  17. I'd just point out that nature is the primary state of things here on this planet. Not mythical, and quite primitive except in a few hot spots.

  18. How will ....oh, never mind, you are treating a serious subject like it is a joke. That is not good for a real conversation.

  19. You forgot the zombies.

  20. I think this is really interesting, but there is one thing the article didn't address that I have always wondered. If The End doesn't come within 5 years or so, what happens to all that rice, etc.? I assume it does not go to waste but gets donated or something and then restocked again...? Sounds expensive.

  21. 'scuse me. Meant to type 21 days last year without power and 8 this year.
    A failure of the grid isn't at all far-fetched and the infrastructure havoc we experienced last year during the hurricane/blizzrd showe du that it's prudent to be prepared. Our local government sent out warnings to have on hand at least a two week supply of food and water.

  22. You rotate your stock.
    Our local government recommended being prepared with at least two to three weeks of food and water on hand. After las year's blizard and subsequent 11 day power outage when so many roads were impassable, having a two week supply of food and water made sense.
    We're not talking apocalypse. We're talking loss of power. A major loss of power for a prolonged period is not at all impossible, ot even unlikely for any number of reasons, not the least of which is extreme weather.
    I noticed very little panic buying where I live before the last hurricane. People already had their stock of food and water in.

  23. My idea of disaster thinking is to consider the possiblity of the reversal of the magnetic fields on all electrical power supplies. As the matriarch of a large family, I have always been prepared and my neighbors already know where to look for aid when the weather turns sour or all stores are closed for the holiday.

  24. Interestingly, the radical transformation of the sales pitch for the survivalist industry -- shifting from scare tactics ("the end of the world as we know it") to that of "no more doom and gloom" -- has an exact historical precedent. In the early 1950s, when Americans feared atomic bomb attacks, government Civil Defense campaigns initially used scare tactics to tell people what to do during a nuclear attack. People were still terrified, so the government put into place a campaign based on a top-secret think tank study which recommended a shift in message. Don't concentrate on WHEN the bomb drops (apocalyptic disaster); instead, prepare now for life AFTER the bomb drops.
    In both cases, the messages were "domesticated." In the 1950s, the motivation was political; now, in 2012, the motivation is profit.
    I am the author of "Bomboozled: How the U.S. Government Misled Itself and Its People into Believing They Could Survive a Nuclear Attack (Pointed Leaf Press, 2011).

  25. fashion style of the office need clothes norms, not necessarily expensive, but must schedule service and clean
    I think that's it

  26. The Achilles Heel of survivalism is the lack modern medical treatment. Medications expire and cannot be stored forever. What if you need a physician or operation at a hospital when there are none? With no vaccinations, major epidemics would return. If we look at earlier eras when people did not have the things we do today, the lifespan was around 30 or 40.

    I find survivalism related to American gun culture. Both are examples of fear that someone or thing is out there to get them. I keep extra food in my apartment in winter in case of a a major storm when I may not wish to go out. There is, however, a line between prudence and paranoia.

  27. Over here on the east coast, there is a growing movement toward organic agriculture, along with seminars and workshops on topics like saving heirloom seeds and passive solar construction. In general, these workshops are more community based and avoid the "grab a gun and head for the hills" mentality of the survivalists, although occasionally I've heard paranoid talk about big corporations controlling agriculture, etc.

  28. Could this industry also be tapping into the Zeitgeist for nostalgia? You can take Americans out of the frontier, but you can't take the frontier out of the Americans. We're a frontier culture still in our minds, even though I think, the Old West officially closed around 1890. Perhaps it's similar to a mid-life crisis, when one looks back halfway through the journey of life rather than toward an uncertain future.
    I'm not into the survivalist movement. It was my year in Vietnam which convinced me I was definitely a hardcore civilian. I have never taken indoor plumbing for granted since that year, which is right up there with Guttenberg's printing press. And having reached the cusp of old age, I am still amazed how much I have gone through in my life.

  29. Maybe you remember the cold war drills also. Schools taught duck and cover. I was in first grade and required to demonstrate that I could walk 3 miles through the woods home, in case there were no school buses.

  30. There's not much I can do to live a self-sufficient lifestyle when my home is a high-rise apartment in a large city. It would be great to live in the country and grow and hunt my own food, but I need to work, and that means inner city living for me.

    I don't even have a balcony to grow vegetables. I keep enough shelf-stable food and water to last a few weeks without access to a grocery store, and I have radios, batteries, landline and cell phones, and a few small bills and coins. I also try to maintain my basic physical fitness so that I can run quickly, walk for long distances and lift myself up. However, after a genuinely civilization-destroying event, I would not survive long-term, and I'm not sure I would want to anyway.

    By the way, what do you do about toilet facilities?

  31. This is exactly what I think. I have no interest in merely "surviving" when the quality of life would be brutal. Civilization is what makes life worth living.

  32. My inlaws in australia run their house on solar panels and rain water, neither of which us unusual even in maindtream suburban neghborhoods and both of which are encouraged by government. These strategies are driven by practical necessities of resurce availability and reducing costs related to energy. Many american communities could do the same, irrespective of the dysyopic paranoia og survivalism. However, for urban dwellers these options jusr are not practical as we see in the difficult reality for high-rise dwellers and other new yorkers post Sandy.

  33. Douglas has the right approach. Chase off the tinfoil-hat types and mainstream the idea of preparedness. Though some preppers subscribe to post-apocalypse living, everyone should keep enough supplies to survive a month in case of emergencies. Hurricanes, earthquakes, long power outages (common in the West) and other short-term events should be good reasons to have food, water and other needs on hand.

  34. Stockpiling six children? Your own private army or labor camp?

    That high birth rate (as high as in SubSaharan Africa, and higher than Bangladesh) coupled with first-world style consumption patterns, is the reason for the environmental armageddon, . If people moderated their lifestyles we wouldn't be facing these times.

    But people drawn to extremist lifestyles seem to be wired not to 'get' that, and would find something else to be extreme about.

  35. You are complaining about someone who is providing the means to pay your social security in your old age? All those people not having children are going to bankrupt the "social safety net".

  36. There are two publications, which my local library has, which have fueled my interest in this subject. They have polar opposite philosophical leanings: Mother Jones, and Backwoods Home, the left and right, respectively, of published self-sufficiency. I reccommend reading both, for the different "takes", and the wide variety of advice.

  37. Nothing wrong with some disaster-preparedness. But there's a limit to its scope and depth before sensible precautions become rank absurdity and a kind of demented cover-all-bases lunacy. One simply can't anticipate the timeframe, let alone every catastrophic contingency.

    I still recall the backyard atomic bomb shelter building craze of the late 1950's. People who built and stocked those shelters with canned goods and whatever else were prescient. They correctly assumed the likeliest threat to their existence was a war between the USSR and USA. Even so, had the Cuban Missile Crisis gone nuclear in a civilization-busting way few of those shelter-builders would have survived for very long. They simply couldn't hoard enough canned beans and peaches, forget the horrible illnesses from inhaling radioactive dust and drinking dust-contaminated water.

    The simple fact is we're too interdependent, our civilization too far-flung and deeply rooted to escape unless you already live in a remote corner of the Third World. If civilization collapses, and it will someday, most people will perish. The handful who do survive will curse the darkness and those already dead from within its ruins.

    There's no way under, around or through this short of creating a kind of terran Spaceship Earth. It might be feasile if you're a multi-billionaire. Larry Ellison bought Lanai Island for a reason. But even he probably believes surviving catastrophe is mostly chance, not that he will actually admit it.

  38. Everyone should have enough supplies to get through a week or two without electricity. I live in a hurricane zone, and we always stock up at the start of each season. But this would be a tough climate to live in if the power went out for good. There is a reason very few people lived in Florida before air conditioning became common and cheap and before widespread mosquito control. It's hot, the rainfall is seasonal and we can go months with very little, most of the good agricultural land has been covered with housing developments, and the state could never support the current population.

  39. The fact is that none of us can sustain much interruption over two weeks.

    The lessons of Japan, Katrina, Sandy, and other disasters are
    1. work now to spread out people with policy changes
    2. move as many millions away from locations unsustainable, particularly coastal areas prone to earthquakes, hurricanes, or both
    3. stop investing in infrastructure that will be eventually destroyed
    4. set up sister cities where evacuated populations can go in a preplanned fashion - efficient and most rapid and with the best chance of limitation of chaos
    4. distribute health care services and resources so that no point of contact disaster can take out the 1% of the land area with 50% of health care workforce and resources - especially ERs which are closing and concentrating together in very troubling ways for any number of acute health conditions and for disasters

    Human survival is about planning ahead of time and the strength of the human race is in its ability to form and establish relationships conducive to stability and best health.

    The instability of the United States is about failure of planning and failures in relationships. The path of restoration is made clear with chaos because humans have the ability to learn.

  40. Bob - your point to macro (policy) rather than micro (individual) approaches to dealing with disasters. So true. Douglas in the story is focusing on micro approaches, which is appropriate for him (he can make money out of micro but not macro) but not appropriate for society. I don't agree with your four points--but I do argue that your approach is what the country needs right now. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

  41. The most likely disaster in this guy's backyard is a tornado which will make a nice mess of all that stuff. Next to that maybe a very unusual blizzard that might keep the power off for a week or so. By the time the snow melts and he can plant his veggies and long before they grow big enough to eat, he'll be able to drive to the grocery store.

    I have nothing against preparation and some level of self sufficiency but they need to be rational and reasonable for the part of the country where you live. Most importantly real planning isn't about stockpiling stuff for a year. When exactly has a part of the US been cut off for a year in recent memory? What we need is sane planning for our actual emergency needs, not planning for Armageddon.

    If we want to avoid the real tragedies that occur, we need to do solve the real issues. In tornado country we need reinforced rooms in houses that people can retreat to. We need to stop building in flood plains and close to the shoreline. We need evacuation systems for vulnerable people who cannot get out on their own or who no longer have the capacity to evaluate danger. We need to expand small scale home sized solar and wind energy so people can keep power when the grid is down. We need to build houses that are more resistant to fire in the mountains. Those are the kinds of things that would actually help people in emergencies. Douglas is selling fear and nonsense and fantasy. It's not 1850 on the frontier for most of us.

  42. Recent disasters have given us a taste of what this warming century will be about. There is nothing wrong with raising an overall level of preparedness. There are organizations such as that try to get people (ex: in the Bay Area) to be prepared for what would happen if they faced 72 hours without services/rescue in the aftermath of a disaster such as an earthquake. The Red Cross has been pushing basic first aid courses for years -- and frankly everyone should have some basic knowledge of at least CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. Yes, it's obvious (from this article and from others I have read in a similar vein) some people take things to extremes --- but the reality is that most people don't even do the basics and they are just too trusting that things will work out when situations go wrong. The result is often disastrous. I welcome articles such as this and hope that a way can be found to upgrade everyone's survival skills. The result will be an overall safer society in which we can do what a society is supposed to do . . . learn to work together as a well prepared unit to help each other through life's trauma's and tragedies.

  43. Ok, but the folks in NY & NJ survived - they had a rough time for a day or two, but water and food showed up (I know many will rough it for a long time, but stores in their houses would have been washed or burned away anyway) along with aid workers.
    Will all those canned goods not expire?
    How long can one keep potable water?
    What happens after a year when the supplies run out?
    It would seem very expensive to keep, rotate (things do expire), and keep track of all those supplies
    Folks who live in apartments or small houses have no place to store a mountain of goods.

    It seems rather a shame to spend so much time, energy, and money focused on the tragedy that likely will never happen (or for which all that prep would be useless).

    'thanks in part to Barack Obama’s presidential victory four years ago, which alarmed many on the right worried about everything from his economic policies to his middle name. “The day after the election was one of the best sales days we ever had,”'
    Policies and middle name are not all of it, there is also his race.

  44. I think survival will depend on group action - which war band you choose to join.

  45. Reminds me I grew up experiencing drills at school of hiding under my desk, in preparation for the Russians. As I think back not sure what that would have accomplished if the did drop a H bomb on my little town. Then there was WW 2 and the local air raid warden in my the small Indiana town. He would come to the corner and blow his whistle so we knew we had a air raid drill and all the lights went out , including in everyones home. Now I know a Gold Bug and that is all one needs to know. They advise stocking Spam, Freeze dried Veggies, bottled water, and gold bars in your safe, which is best buried, so Obama won't seize it one day when the state runs out of welfare money.

  46. Sheesh. Cut down on the chocolate-chip frappuccinos and your thoughts on being ready for the post-apocalypse might be more worth listening to, Douglas. Why do Americans fall for the idea that they'll live forever if they just buy all the right stuff?

  47. It is amazing that people who are so worried about threats to their safety overlook the most obvious: their health. This guy should just lose some weight. Mr Douglas is more likely to die from heart disease than from an apocalypse.

  48. Mr. Doulas looks like he could hibernate for at least a couple of months.

  49. It does no good to stockpile a ton of survival food and supplies unless you have the guns and ammunition needed to defend it. Unless you can do so, someone stronger or better armed will be able to take it away from you and all your preparations will be for nothing.

  50. It's perfectly reasonable to have supplies on hand in case of disruptions of some sort. I have about two weeks of food and water (the emergency food is the same stuff I eat anyway, and I cycle through it so it doesn't get too old).

    But in a true, long term catastrophe -- the kind the Douglas family seems to be prepping for -- there will be starving people EVERYWHERE, they will vastly outnumber the preppers, and they will have LOTS of guns! What security there is will lie in numbers, in joining the right militia, and even then it will be iffy. I just don't see how a single isolated family can prep for that. I think the Douglases and Mr Douglas's customers are wasting their time and money.

  51. The Brooklyn bridge was completed in 1883 and the the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869.

    Without computers......

    I think American society would be just fine. And yes, someway..somehow..there would be a Starbucks somewhere.

  52. why are there virtually no weapons / guns in developed countries like:

    and many many other places and yet tens of millions of weapons in USA.

    despite the various disparate laws in these countries there is an emotional issue here in USA that doesnt exist elsewhere - why?

  53. Smoke 'em if you got them?

  54. The average American is so fat that even a month with no food would probably have no adverse effects!!

  55. People vastly overestimate their ability to recognize risk and underestimate what it takes to avoid it; thus, they accept risk unknowingly and in so doing contribute to its creation.

  56. Based on their supplies and lack of certain essentials, like potable water and water purification these people will, in my estimation, be dead with-in the week from dehydration, but I guess they will be well fed.

  57. Pie centered comment once again.
    Driving with a ten year old Mexican boy, newly reunited with mom and step dad and half brother and sister , I too was in culture shock. Upstate NY and Mexico it seems are both home to the dove. Gustavo generated wonder in the eyes of classmates with his sudden appearance in class one Spring ,in me too I too. Newly arrived ,the sight of doves on telephone wires would bring the boy to circle his stomach with his hand and say mmmm. Again some weeks later driving the doves again had him sharing his opinion: " Look, good for eat ! "

  58. Twinkies would be an excellent survival food - they don't require water to prepare, they lost forever, and look at all of those calories! Oh wait.

  59. I've always taken preparedness seriously from living here in the Ozarks (with ice storms & a tendency for severe weather); more so after the EF-5 tornado hit Joplin, Missouri in 2011.

    With that disaster, it proved that a person has to be ready as much as is practical--I was having to try to cover gaping holes in a badly-damaged house & secure it against looting. One scalper nearby was selling 4 X 8-foot tarps out of a vehicle for $100 cash, & supplies like roofing nails, plywood, & plastic sheeting were commodities that could be bartered among neighbors. Opportunism was ever-present; I had to tie my exposed extension ladder to a porch railing with a bicycle chain to keep it from disappearing in the days/weeks that followed.

    As the article mentions, the preparedness movement is indeed clouded by a fringe element of wackos & gun nuts, which is unfortunate. And as proven by Superstorm Sandy, disasters are nonpartisan, & it's distasteful & misplaced whenever you have folks talking about ammo stockpiles.

    Lesson #1 of recovery after a major disaster: you have to immediately hit the ground running & look after yourself & family--a hammer & staple gun are VASTLY more valuable than a pistol in regard to protecting your home in those situations. Money that could be spent on a firearm & ammunition can go a long way toward self-suffiency by stocking up on basic tools & materials at your local hardware store & lumberyard.

  60. Growing up on Long Island, we had a bomb shelter: it came with the 1963 house. My mother was very clear on the subject of post-apocalyptic America. "I don't want to live in a world where I'm supposed to keep my neighbors away from my food and shelter," she said. We stored Christmas tree ornaments in it.

  61. Let's not kid ourselves. This whole movement received a huge boost when Obama was elected, and most recently when he was re-elected. It's amazing how many of my right-wing Facebook acquaintances started talking about moving to Idaho and living off the grid the morning after Obama won re-election.

    And I have one question: you can load up on all this stuff -- but what do you do when all your ammunition for your twelve guns runs out, and the next "intruders" shows up at your property? When the gasoline to run your generator runs out?

    This is a nihilistic movement and philosophy which is a manifestation of the extreme right wing of the Republican/right-wing philosophy: government is bad, we're on our own, society can't do it, it's every man for himself.

    If you're fortunate to be able to afford a $50,000 SUV and lots of weapons, you may last for a while. But ultimately you can't escape the reality that we all survive because society runs as a cooperative, organized enterprise with rules.

  62. I think absorbing a hit like Sandy shows how well and tough our interconnected world actually is. Nobody wants to hunker down in a shelter--except maybe survivalists. The rest of us would rather do our level best to quickly repair any frays in the fabric of the matrix. We are social creatures, and we've built a tremendously resilient social network, made stronger by a decentralized internet. I don't see us giving that up anytime soon.

  63. Excuse me, but the disintegration of society is due overwhelmingly to human overpopulation. And Douglas has SIX children? What's wrong with this picture?!!!!

  64. You don't need to stockpile all that stuff. All you need to do is write down the name of someone who lives near you who stockpiled all that stuff. Now this guy's name is Douglas, right...

  65. Not long ago most people kept a garden and pantry as a way of life. It's healthy and guiltless to know children are not slaving away to produce fresh veggies for your table. When you at least sew your own clothes you take better care of them, kids wear hand me downs and patch their play clothes. Sustainable is goodness.

  66. Two thoughts: (1) Here we go again. This takes me back to the '60s when people were digging bunkers under the front porch in case of nuclear holocaust. (2) I'm not reading anything this time about the ethics of shooting a less prepared neighbor who comes knocking on your door. We used to worry about things like that.

  67. I guess everyone has to have some kind of hobby.

  68. Can't help but think of a book I read about how people assess risk, worried endlessly about stuff that is not even remotely likely to happen, while ignoring very real risks that are right in front of their faces.

    A perfect example... I watched a show about some extreme preppers who go to incredible lengths like sinking tanks with 6" steel walls underground to protect themselves from nuclear fallout.

    The irony was that the particular guy describing all these measures he had taken had to be over 500 lbs, barely able to walk 10 feet without breathing hard.

    I look at his situation and see the glaringly obvious risk that he seems to totally ignore in his passion to "survive": that he'll likely die of cardiovascular disease WAY before he'll ever need that bunker and all that stored water and food.

    Proportion people. Yes, do obvious stuff to weather a crisis. But as one commenter said, I'm not sure I'd WANT to live if a crisis that some of these nutjobs are prepping for were to occur!

  69. I don't think the answer is total self-reliance. Is that even possible? How about accepting that we are inter-dependent? Let's help each other in times of crisis. Remember: People...people who need people...are the luckiest people in the world!

  70. A survivalist drinking a fancy coffee drink from Starbucks, that's just priceless.

  71. Here's my advice to prepare for the end of the world: Don't have six children and thus rely on so many natural resources that you make the end of the world inevitable.

  72. Seems there is both a prophet and a profit motive in Mr. Douglas's scenario. One thing about the consumerist, conspiracist U.S. you can always sell something to somebody

  73. And just how does Mr. Douglas plan to deal with 6 feet of water/sand innudating his stock and crashing his house down on it (that is if he's lucky enough it doesn't burn down as well, doing a quick job of cooking all that wonderful stuff)?

    Why is it survivalists like him tend to think they will survive given the destructive power of events like Sandy? Kind of an arrogance to his thinking, eh.

  74. You have people eating out of dumpsters over there only three days after sandy! You condemn a man who would rather try to be a little more prepared than depend on government assistance?

  75. I am one person who lives in a nice but very small apartment. No way I can stockpile 2 weeks of extra supplies even for myself. Barely have room for my day to day needs, which are modest. Where would I put all this stuff? At least we now know where to go for food if "the end" hits. Or we we could do what @rcmkuramo says instead.

  76. Unlike Doug, I am happy to be the "go-to guy" in my small local area. My program is bumped up from the next level to growing your own food with manual labor inputs. If you are up in the NW corner of the Pacific NW, come up to Ferndale and we'll talk. [email protected]. Put F.A. Farm in the subject header so it gets through my junk filter.

  77. It's ironic that this very "me-first" survivalist mentality is one of the biggest reasons humankind is unlikely to survive on this planet much longer. Should the time come when I need to start shooting neighbors to survive, I'd rather be dead.

  78. We are the "Teachers" for the suturing classes held at the Self Reliance Expos. My husband is an M.D. and I am an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner. We have also written a book for medical preparedness when there is NO Help on the Way called the "Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook". Our website, has over 250 articles on medical preparedness, herbal medicine, gardening and general preparedness topics like "hurricane preparedness''. We are not about frightening people, only providing good, sound education for families. We also have medical kits available with full disclosure of the contents for DIYers. We don't care if you buy from us, we just want the public to have a list of important medical supplies to have on hand. Please feel free to print out any of our articles or medical lists for yourself and your family.
    We have done podcasts for 2 years now, Doom and Bloom Hour, which is now on

    We are about being prepared, but not being scared. Life is about living and helping others, not hiding and being alone in the "hills".
    Nurse Amy

  79. Self-promote now while there's still an Internet.

  80. How come so many of these people who think things will fall completely apart have so many children?

  81. You can only prepare for so much and for so long. Honestly, if the worst happened and the world was thrust into a pre-industrial landscape, I wouldn't even want to survive to live in it. Certainly not after knowing how much we've lost and I'd live the rest of my life hoping I didn't get a cold or always watching my back for marauders. Some food, water, medical supplies, weaponry for about a month is a good idea. Any more time and odds are you're really screwed (in the U.S).

  82. Can opener? They haven't even got a Swiss army knife or a leatherman.

    And seriously - hot cocoa mix? You can't live w/out hot cocoa mix?

  83. ceilidth,

    I think you completely missed the point. A year supply of food isn't for a natural disaster or Armageddon. Douglas isn't selling fear, in fact he says that in the article. A job loss and need for food is more likely than dealing with a tornado. Read the article before you ramble on...

  84. What's saddest about this is that those with the "survivalist" mindset are always convinced that a) they cal always do it alone and b) they're the "best." To hell with everyone else, they were the "responsible" ones who thought ahead. It's only a short jump to saying that we don't need a socially responsible government.

    I say let all the nutcases get what they want. Let a big part of the country near North Dakota secede, wall it off, cut off the utilities, and let the Rambos live out their survivalist fantasies.

  85. According to the good ol red/blue map there are a lot more of us than you. So how about we stuff you in N. Dakota and let you live out your socialist fantasies?

  86. No toilet paper? I have never seen a list that included birth control, either. Or tampons.

  87. No need to stockpile food -- most Americans would be a lot healthier if they ate nothing at all for 3-6 months. Based on the picture, Mr. Douglas could go about a year without food and be better off from it.

  88. For those afraid of "these people" after the coming apocalypse: the pioneers were judged to be just as crazy as "these people" for leaving the old country and the security therein and coming to America.

  89. Interesting article: For you nay sayers out there and from the comments there seem to be plenty, especially those of you from NY and NJ, just look around you. What do you see happening 'without' modern technology and convince? If you are not prepared to at least take care of yourself for 3-7 days then I say your not responsible. In Florida in 2004 we went through two hurricanes within 30 days, two direct hits, the eye of Francis and Jean went over our house at Cat 3&2 respectively. For both storms we went a total of 27 days without power. NO PANIC, because we were prepared for the storm. If we had been told to evacuate we had a plan. We had water and food for up to 3 weeks. I had gas for a generator (stored safely), the house was boarded up (now have easy close accordion shutters) and lots of bottled water and pool full to flush and bath with. Now that was not the end of civilization as we know it. But, in Florida State Emergency Management and County government preachs being ready. In the event of massive power outtages, tech outtages, first responders may not be able to get to you. Who ya gonna call. Yes, I saw the homes on the Jersery shore I was there with Red Cross, and some of that 'prep' would have been for naught, but do you have a plan to evacuate? Do you know where you would go?
    Do you have out of area relatives listed for contact?
    Think ahead folks. You don't have to be a 'prepper' or nuts to be responsible.

  90. I find it funny that most of the criticism is coming from a part of the country that just a few weeks ago was crying on TV begging for FEMA and Red Cross help and eating out of dumpsters. If we had more Douglas's that could take care of themselves, we would need less handouts. We would also have more people able to assist in a time of need.

  91. I'm not on either side of this argument but some of what Mr. Douglas is saying makes a lot of sense. Part of the disaster preparedness for major urban areas is for you to be prepared to survive on your own for at least 72 hours. How many of you can say that you are able to do that?

  92. I often see people talk about "surviving the end of the world". Huh? How would one go about surviving the end of this planet exactly? ;) I think people would be seen as less "out there" if they said instead, "surviving societal collapse" - unless of course thy have a spacecraft ready to take them off to some far flung Eden. ;)

  93. It USED to be the American way-of-life to garden, harvest and can foods for Winter usage. With the abundance of grocery stores today, we've gotten away from that. What people don't realize is that there's only 3 days' (at most) worth of food in a grocery store. Everything they have is out on the shelves. It's a wise and prudent thing to set back some food!

    There's a deeper explanation at the internet grocer, if you'd like to know more.

    Bruce H.

  94. Pretty sure those fire skills at the shows were taught by Equip 2 Endure.