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  • Home Defense: What you can learn from those doomsday preppers

    Everyday, more and more Americans are preparing for a doomsday scenario. They’re storing supplies in garages and spare rooms and even go as far as to build self-sufficient, underground bunkers.

    They’re worried about terrorist attacks, economic collapse, electromagnetic pulses, the list goes on and on—but they’re not all just paranoid, gun-toting, “lone-wolves”—they’re your neighbor or friend—and maybe they’re onto something.

    In the aftermath of hurricane Sandy many residents of the New England states wished they were more prepared. Martial Law was declared and for, in some cases, weeks there many people were unable to find gas, communicate with the outside world, or power their home’s furnace. Since then, the many are beginning to prepare for the next disaster.

    Regardless of your stance on prepping, there is a definite correlation between preparing for a hurricane, wildfire, tornado—even a zombie apocalypse—and preparing to defend your home from a criminal intruder. When it comes to home defense, we may be able to learn a few things from these “preppers,” as they’re called.

    Stock up—just do it privately

    Well-organized, experienced preppers rarely stock up on supplies without having a secure, out of sight location to store everything. Improvised storage results in haphazard piles and stacks created around the home, often visible to prying eyes. In a prepper’s eyes, the supplies accumulated can prove very desirable for those without the means to fully prepare. Just as you should try to hide any valuables you have, you should also ensure you properly stow these goods and materials away. Finally, don’t broadcast your family’s precautionary steps by alluding to the five-years worth of non-perishable goods and arsenal of weapons in your house.

    Image courtesy of: thetruthwins.com

    Build a bug-out bag

    A “bug-out” bag is a portable kit that contains all the items necessary for one individual to survive for 72 hours when evacuating from a disaster. Here are the typical contents (all items marked with an asterisk are optional)

    • Water:

      This is a must—One liter per day, per person, minimum.
      Bring: drinking water (3 liters), collapsible water bottle*, water purification tablets*, and a canteen.

    • Food:

      Always try to plan for food to be scarcer than you expect.
      Bring: Energy/protein bars (6), dehydrated meals (3), can opener, metal utensils, pot scrubber, portable stove*, stove fuel, and a metal cup.

    • Clothing:

      Your selection here will weigh heavily on your location and climate. It’s a good idea to evaluate your bug-out bag every few months.
      Bring: underwear (3), wool hiking socks (3), work gloves, rain poncho*, zip-off pants*, lightweight long sleeve t-shirts*, and a medium weight fleece.

    • Shelter:

      Being well rested, both mentally and physically, when surviving is extremely important.
      Bring: tarp, tent, sleeping bag, ground pad*, and a wool blanket*.

    • Heat:

      Carry three different means of starting a fire.
      Bring: ignition source (3), tinder (3), waterproof storage

    • First Aid:

      Building a proper first aid kit is an entire topic unto itself—here’s general guideline from the Red Cross.
      Bring: First Aid kit, insect repellant, and a Mylar survival blanket.

    • Tools:

      Every once counts in your bug-out bag so determine the “must-haves” and leave the rest.
      Bring: survival knife, multi-tool, and a machete*.

    • Self-defense:

      The level of weapon choice here is completely a personal preference.
      Bring: pepper spray, handgun*, rifle*, and ammunition* (25 rounds min.)

    • Miscellaneous:

      Bring: $250 minimum in small bills, quarters (8), compass, local map, cell phone, crank power charger, emergency radio with hand crank, LED headlamp, batteries, duct tape, and 550 parachute cord (50 ft.).