Pipeline Break Fuel Disrupted Updates

The recent fuel pipeline break in Alabama didn’t affect us much at our house.  We really mean it when we talk about being prepared for 90 days.

In the case of the pipeline break, price increases happened almost everywhere on the east coast, and there have been some places where there have been outright shortages.

Fuel shortages are often about a lot more than you running out of fuel or adjusting your lifestyle because you can’t drive around.  In this case, it was problems with gas.  The next time, it could be diesel.  Most of the 18 wheelers you see running up and down the highway run on diesel.  Those same 18 wheelers deliver groceries daily to your grocery store and fuel to your gas stations.

The impact of this pipeline break is expected to be over in a week, when everything is expected to be back to normal.  Of course they waited a week before they announced it, so that means that the impact was two weeks.

What does that mean to us?  You need to be able to make it for two weeks when nothing else is going wrong.  Two weeks of going to work every day, feeding your family, going to church on Sunday and essentially doing all of the things that you normally do.

So, how do we do that?

To begin with, you need to keep your vehicle as full of fuel as possible all the time.  Develop the habit of filling your fuel tank as it gets to half a tank.  Always.

Figure out how much fuel you use in two weeks.

  • One of my vehicles is only used for trips.  It needs 25 gallons of diesel for 400 miles.  One of my vehicles needs 20 gallons of diesel for 860 miles.  One needs 20 gallons of gas for 400 miles.  If there is a fuel shortage, trips get cancelled, so the first vehicle remains at half full at the worst.
  • The second vehicle becomes the “go to work” vehicle.  At 50 miles a day round trip that means that if it is full, I have 17.5 days of driving.
  • The third vehicle also travels 50 miles a day round trip.  If the tank is full, that means 8 days of driving.

Simple computations tell us the amount of fuel we need to have in storage.

  • Vehicle 1:  None required because trips are cancelled for the duration of the crisis.
  • Vehicle 2:  None required if the tank is full when the crisis starts.  Worst case it’s half full, so we need to have at least 10 gallons in storage.
  • Vehicle 3:  If the tank is full, we’ll need 20 gallons in storage.  If it is half full, we’ll need 30 gallons.

10 gallons of diesel and 30 gallons of gasoline is not hard to store.  I don’t consider this my long term storage fuel, so fuel stabilizers aren’t needed.  Once I created this amount of storage, I have the cans readily available.  I change out the 10 gallons of diesel every week, filling the tank with the fuel in the fuel cans and refilling the diesel fuel cans.  I do the same with the gasoline, except it takes 3 weeks to change it all out.  Fresh fuel every 3 weeks as the worst.

This planning is all based on the worst case.  Vehicle 3 is driven by my wife and if we adjusted our lives out a little, she could ride with me in vehicle two.  We could cut back on some of our driving.  Nonetheless, it is very doable with a little planning.

Note, we’re only discussing your day to day fuel storage plans.  In this posting, we’re not going to go into the concepts of long term fuel storage, nor discuss the pros and cons of E-10 fuel versus non ethanol blended fuel.  If you rotate your fuel stocks weekly like we suggest, the E-10 fuel will not be an issue.  We will discuss this in a later post.

So, how do you store it?  For the purposes of short term storage, most any of the readily available plastic fuel cans are ok.  Modern fuel cans are all required to be CARB (California Air Resources Board) compliant.  For those of us old enough to remember when gas cans were easy to use, this CARB compliance is what made them a pain in the neck.  No more venting, so you get to use a spout that while advertised as child safe is pretty much adult safe too.

There are some ways to overcome this with replacement spouts, drilling of vent holes and such, but the easiest way is to get a self priming siphon hose!  It actually makes filling your yard tools and camp stoves/lights much easier, and it is very inexpensive.  No more swallowing fuel with an old fashioned siphon hose.  Walmart, sporting goods stores, Amazon, you name it, they all sell them and a good one costs less than $9.

As I was about to finish off this post, I got a call from a friend who was checking on the availability of fuel.  Turns out he was up in Kentucky this past weekend and was trying to make his way home.  I did some spot checking.  Where he was, they were out of fuel.  I found him a route that got him around Atlanta (shortages listed all over the web), and eventually to some areas that still had fuel.

Well, this got me to thinking.  Short term storage of fuel is great if you are at home.  What happens if you are on the road?

I did some research.  Carrying a fuel can inside your vehicle can be dangerous and there are even a number of states where it is illegal!

Obviously a small diesel engine car (like a VW Jetta/Passat wagon) gets you 600-700 miles of range, which makes it easier to get home.  One of the other advantages of a diesel engine is that in an emergency, you can make diesel fuel out of gasoline if that is all you can find (the Army’s field expedient lists adding one quart of motor oil to five gallons of gasoline to make emergency diesel).

But if these aren’t your options, what do you do to safely carry fuel?

There are examples of people who have taken the space where their spare tire is and having a fuel tank fabricated to fit in the space!  For some vehicles, they are premade and for the $1700-$2000 price, are connected to your fuel system and are essentially auxiliary tanks.  Probably too expensive for most of us.  A fabricated tank that merely stores fuel is much cheaper.  Using the hose, merely fill your tank.

If you can’t do that, consider a fuel can inside your vehicle.  The only one that we would ever take a chance with inside a vehicle is the Scepter fuel cans that are made for the US Military.  These were originally designed for the off-road racing folks.  They are virtually indestructible, don’t leak, don’t break even if you drive over them, etc.  They are made in Canada.

A genuine Scepter fuel container will have the “Scepter” brand name, and “Made in Canada,” molded into the plastic on the side of the can.  (It will also say “U.S. Government Property” or “Military Use Only,” but don’t let that put you off.)  With the draw down of the perpetual wars, plenty of them are being auctioned off.

Well, when the CARB folks screwed up all the rest of the fuel cans, they screwed these up too.  They can no longer be sold new in the USA.  If we lived near the border, we’d go and buy them new.

They are very hard to find on the surplus market.  Used ones on EBay sell for well over $150.  At gun shows (when you find them) they are cheaper.  The spouts for them are also expensive, if and when you find them.  Another good reason to have the self priming siphon hose.

As with anything used, you face the challenge of finding repair parts (gaskets, adapters for using gasoline instead of the diesel that they were sold to the military for, etc.)  That problem too has been solved by creative capitalism.  jagmte.com carries and sells all of the parts you might need.  We don’t have any business relationship with them, but we love their motto, “just a guy making things easier”.  They even sell an emergency plug just in case the cap get’s broken.

A little planning ahead will allow you to smile at your friends who are wasting fuel driving all over the place to find fuel.  This peace of mind doesn’t have to be expensive either.  You are buying small amounts of fuel, just a little more than you usually buy.  If you need 30 gallons for your short term storage, you don’t have to buy all 30 at once.  Build up gradually buying an extra five to ten gallons the next time you fill up.  In a few weeks, you’ll have what you need.

  • PS # 1:  A quick caveat on fuel cans.  Scepter wasn’t one to lose out of the US market when they could no longer sell the military style cans here.  They make a US CARB compliant can for sale in the US.  The construction of the basic can is better than the “cheapo” cans you see for sale at the discount stores.  It is however hampered by the CARB compliant spout and is nowhere near as tough as a military style.  Do not confuse the two.  The commercial fuel can is ok for storage at home, but is not durable for in vehicle use.  There is another company called Specter that makes and sells fuel cans.  Again, don’t be confused by the similar sounding name.  They are inexpensive cans that are good enough for home, short term storage, but are not Scepters.
  • PS #2:  According to my sources at Colonial, it took three days just to get to the broken pipeline.  The thing that slowed down the response were the fumes of benzene and gas.  Even in suits, they were limited to minutes.  I’ve seen comments that folks wished they could have gone there to steal the spilled fuel.  The gene pool would have got smaller.
  • PS #3:  Colonial has recovered much/most of the spilled fuel.  They’ve pumped it into tanker trucks.  It will be sent back to the refinery to get it cleaned and then resold.
  • PS#4:  We’ve probably all noticed that diesel fuel wasn’t affected by the break.  That’s because the pipeline that broke was the one for gasoline.  The supply chain moved from pipeline to tanker trucks and the ports of Savannah and Charleston.  They cleaned out the diesel line and gasoline will be flowing through the diesel line for a day or two to get the gasoline tank farms full again.
  • PS #5:  Lots of conspiracy talk out there right now.  Maybe some are true.  However, according to my source at Colonial, people don’t realize how many thousands of miles of pipelines there are in the US.  Pipelines that need virtually daily maintenance.  He said there are leaks and breaks every day.  He laughs when he sees the post SHTF movies with clear barren land.  He says that if daily maintenance of the pipelines stops, there would be seas of fuel all over the US.

Surviving for 90 Days Part 2 – Food Storage

There are many different kinds of foods that you can stock up on.

There are five major categories of commercial food storage:

  • Freeze Dried
  • Dehydrated
  • Frozen (home freezer)
  • Canned Food  (commercial and home)
  • Plastic Retort Packages (AND Military Meals)

Deciding which is the best food for you to store depends on a lot of factors.  Cost is important of course, but so is shelf life, tastiness, ease of preparation and use, and ease of actually getting the stuff in your home.

Freeze Dried versus Dehydrated Food

How Do They Work And What Are The Differences

Moisture Content. The main objective with food preservation is to remove the moisture so that the food doesn’t decompose, grow mold, etc. Dehydration removes about 90-95 percent of the moisture content while freeze drying removes about 98-99 percent.  Foods that you dehydrate at your home will typically have a 10 percent moisture content level while foods that are dehydrated professionally will have a lower moisture content – which increases the shelf life.

Shelf Life. The moisture removal has a direct impact on the shelf life. Most dehydrated products like dried fruits, vegetables, powders and texturized vegetable protein (TVP), also known as textured soy protein (TSP), have a 15-20 year shelf life.  However, dehydrated items like honey, salt, sugar, hard wheat and oats have a 30-year shelf life – sometimes longer. Freeze-dried foods will have a longer average shelf life. Freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, just-add-water meals and real meats will have a 25-30-year shelf life.

Nutritional Content. According to research by the American Institute for Cancer Research freeze-dried foods retain the vast majority of the vitamins and minerals found in the original food. However, when compared to fresh fruits and vegetables, freeze-dried foods did lack in some vitamins – like Vitamin C – which break down very rapidly.  Dehydration doesn’t change the fiber or iron content of food. However, dehydration can break down vitamins and minerals during the preservation process and retain less of their nutritional value when compared to freeze-dried food. Dehydration tends to result in the loss of Vitamins A and C, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin

Cost.  Usually dehydrated foods are going to be cheaper than freeze-dried. If you’re on a tight budget, dehydrated foods are definitely the way to go.  We have a mix of both.

The Main Similarities

Storage Requirements. There isn’t a difference in storing food that’s freeze-dried or dehydrated. The cans or buckets are all the same size.

Pros and Cons of Using a Freezer for Food Storage

Pros of Freezing:

  • It’s fairly simple to do!  It’s very familiar to most of us.
  •  You get the most input into what you are storing.  It’s the best way to preserve the original freshness and taste.  You get to buy what you want to freeze and can even save your own fruits and vegetables from your garden.
  • You can freeze virtually any kind of food… solid or liquid!

Cons of Freezing:

  • You are limited to where you put your storage food to the size of your freezer.  It’s all in one place.
  • In almost every natural and unnatural disaster you are going to be without power.  Studies suggest that if you don’t open your freezer, food will stay frozen for up to two days.  A generator can solve this problem, but then you have to store fuel, and the noise of a generator can make you a target to those without food.
  • To achieve the maximum frozen food shelf life you will have to protect them from moisture loss and air exposure.

How Long Does Frozen Food Last:

Like with any storage method, how long you can store food for will depend on the specific type of food. Frozen foods can last only a few weeks in some cases, but more often then will be fine to eat after several months. After a year, most foods will start to taste “off”.

Storage Times Listed are for QUALITY ONLY;  Frozen foods remain safe indefinitely!

Here is a basic chart of storage times for keeping food in the freezer.

  • Bacon and Sausage 1 to 2 months
  • Casseroles 2 to 3 months
  • Egg whites or egg substitutes 12 months
  • Frozen Dinners and Entrees 3 to 4 months
  • Gravy, meat or poultry 2 to 3 months
  • Ham, Hot Dogs and Lunch Meats 1 to 2 months
  • Meat, uncooked roasts 4 to 12 months
  • Meat, uncooked steaks or chops 4 to 12 months
  • Meat, uncooked ground 3 to 4 months
  • Meat, cooked 2 to 3 months
  • Poultry, uncooked whole 12 months
  • Poultry, uncooked parts 9 months
  • Poultry, uncooked giblets 3 to 4 months
  • Poultry, cooked 4 months
  • Soups and Stews 2 to 3 months
  • Wild game, uncooked 8 to 12 months

Pros and Cons of using commercial canned goods for food storage

 Note:  This report isn’t long enough to discuss home canning in depth.  Watch for a future report which will discuss home canning in depth!

Pros of Commercial Canned Goods:

  •  It’s very easy to do.  You buy the cans at the grocery store and put them away for later use!
  • You are buying exactly what you like to eat!  Taste is a huge factor in nutrition!
  •  The food is already prepared, so your prep time is greatly reduced.
  •  Cans are usually smaller allowing for more variety in what you are eating.  You don’t have to consume an entire #10 can of something before you move on to something else.
  •  Commercially canned food is usually done at the peak of freshness, so the quality is usually very good.

Cons Commercial Canned Goods:

  •  The smaller the serving size, the more it usually costs.  Basing an entire families food storage requirements on commercial canned food will cost more than dehydrated or freeze dried food.
  •  The shelf life of canned food is much shorter than dehydrated or freeze dried foods.
  •  We recommend this web site for the best information on shelf lives, use-by dates, etc.  It’s an awesome site!  http://www.stilltasty.com/
  •  Storage Times are usually for QUALITY ONLY;  Although canned food loses its nutritional value over time, it doesn’t necessarily go “bad” merely because it’s old.

The bottom line:  Don’t be so quick to toss out or donate those canned food items sitting on your basement shelves just because they hit their printed expiration date.  When all else fails, open them and use your senses to determine if they are still edible (they probably will be).  (Swollen cans are the best indicator that something is wrong—bad food also smells bad)

When in doubt some high heat from your stove and an iron skillet can serve as another method by which to “cleanse” the food prior to eating it.

Plastic Retort Packages (AND Military Meals)

Note:  This report will be an overview of the various military meals (MREs and such). Watch for a future report which will discuss military meals in depth!

What Are They?

We’ve seen them all over the place!  Those who are veterans remember them as the pouch that holds the entrée in the MRE.  Most of us have seen them in the grocery stores as the “flexible can” in quick, ready to eat pouches.

In science terms, it is a heat resistant bag made of laminated plastic films.  It is then heat sealed and sterilized by pressure cooking in a retort (autoclave).  As a result, the retort pouch contains heat treated food that is safe from micro-organisms.

Pros of Plastic Retort Packages:

  •  Lighter than canned food.
  •  Because it’s flexible, it can take more “abuse”.
  •  Because it’s flat, it’s easier to store.
  •  It’s easier for individuals to eat as most of them are in single serving packages.


Cons of Plastic Retort Packages:


  • Convenience usually comes with a cost!  Individual serving sized food costs more.
  • Shelf life is very dependent on the temperature at which they are stored.  Not a good food to store in the trunk of your car in the summer.


So, What is the Best Food to Buy?


We don’t think any ONE type of food is the best.


We do think that a combination of all of them can be useful.


Storage of Fruits and Vegetables


Freeze Dried or Dehydrated are clearly the choices.  Price is the huge factor here, with dehydrated fruits and vegetables being very reasonable.


Storage of Meats


Canned meats are the tastiest, and we recommend home canning for meats (WATCH FOR A REPORT ON HOME CANNING OF MEATS SOON!)


Storage of Single Serving Foods


Retort packaging is the most convenient to store, carry and eat.


In part 2-A, we’re going to talk about how to achieve the cost savings of buying in bulk and still allowing you to achieve family happiness by having a variety of foods that they love to eat!

Surviving for 90 Days Part 2-B – How Much Food Do You Need?

For this post, we’re skipping ahead a little. We want folks to start thinking and start planning. Next week’s post will go into greater detail on the different types of long term storage food.

This is where preparing gets challenging. Most of the folks that sell long term storage food get you excited by the number of servings that they include in their price. Anyone who has had company for Thanksgiving knows that serving size is meaningless. Cousin Eddie eats like a horse. Aunt Sal eats like a sparrow. Heck, when the wife and I get a rack of ribs, she eats less than half and I eat the rest.

We’ve got to plan based on how many calories are required, not serving size.

So, how do we know how to do this? Well, our medical community has actually studied this for us. They have come up with information that has determined how many calories a person needs in a day broken down by age and gender, and how active these people are!


So, how do you use this information?

We’ve taken it one step further to figure out how many calories are needed for more than one person, such as a family!

If you take the chart shown above and add a few columns, you will have a sheet that computes your total family daily requirements!


Here is an example of a chart like this filled out. Let’s say for example that you are a family of four, with the husband being 32 years old, the wife 30, with two children, one 4 years old and one 9 years old.

Filling in the numbers of people, you see that you will need between 7000 and 8850 calories per day for your family.


If we take a look at #10 cans of some typical items, we find out that different things produce different calorie counts.



It’s interesting to see that different items provide very different calories per serving and even more importantly cost per calorie.

For those on a budget, you may want to explore recipes that make use of the higher calorie contents (like Red and Black Beans in this example) to be able to create adequate calorie counts with less money spent.

Once you have your basic essential food stuffs on hand, there are certainly other considerations, such as snacks, fruits, etc. These will be covered in a later chapter.

And these are just examples. You can create a spreadsheet like this, input the things you like to eat and/or already have in stock, and see where you need to adjust to create adequate calorie counts.

Now comes the fun part – planning your menus! If we go to a sample calorie count sheet, you’ll see that we took ten #10 cans of vegetables and meat and figured out the calorie count per serving. That chart also computed the number of calories produced by the total of the 10 cans.

These ten cans produce 29,152.75 calories.


Computing our from your daily requirements, you see that these 10 cans of food will feed your family for 3.29 to 4.16 days. Adding it up for 90 days tells you that you will need 216 to 273 #10 cans of food.

Of course this is based on a number of factors that can change. It’s based on you having nothing other than long term storage food. You might have other food options such as MREs, commercial and home canned food. For planning purposes, I’ve worse-cased it.

If you are on a budget, you can certainly adjust out higher calorie food for lower calorie food. Whatever food stuffs that are planning on, you can do the same computations.

It’s not serving size, its caloric requirements.

The beauty of using a “calculator” for computing your requirements is that you can “play around” with different menu items to increase calorie content and reduce costs.

Let’s see what the lowest costs could be.

We learned very early in our preparing process that the expensive part was meat. Freeze dried and other long term storage meat was very expensive. For example, in our scenario of a family of four, using “real” meat versus TVP meat increases your food storage bill by over $2000 over the 90 days! If there were no other options, it might make you want to become a vegan!

We tried TVP meat. Used in casseroles and stews, it actually isn’t bad tasting! The cost per calorie for TVP meat is far less than “real” meat.

We looked at different options. The first was to mix TVP and real meat on a 50-50 basis. It certainly works out, and cuts your food storage bill by $800 or so.

Another option was to home can meat! We practiced that and found it not only to be fairly easy to do and an incredible cost savings, but it is also very good to eat! Our challenge is to keep it in storage instead of using it and eating it regularly!

A later chapter will discuss home canning of meat.

We can’t state strongly enough that the key to planning for food storage is to first determine how many calories you and your family needs to survive.

Once you’ve figured that out, you need to explore different menus. If you have all the money in the world, you can pretty much replicate your day to day foods via long term food storage. If you are like most of us, you are on a budget, and some menu adjustments will have to be made to maximize caloric input versus cost per calorie.

These spreadsheets will make it easier to compute and adjust different items. In our examples, we only used dehydrated and freeze dried food. You can use these spreadsheets for any kind of food, be it canned goods from the grocery store or any other food. Input the serving and calorie count and you get the results you need.

The strongest recommendation that we can make is to try these menus now, before you have to live on them. There is nothing worse than having to eat things that you can’t stand. Most folks just won’t eat it, or won’t eat enough of it. Calorie intake is critical.

When we were in the Army, there was an old saying when you wrote plans and other instructions. People always referred to a concept that Napoleon used when issuing guidance to his subordinates. He would always have the instructions read to one of his corporals. He figured if they understood it, then everyone else would too. The notion became used in the Army as finding your “Napoleon’s Corporal” before you sent something off.

Well, we had this chapter read by our Napoleon’s Corporal, and we got some feedback that we figured we needed to address. He told us that he had read and understood the “storing by calorie” concept, but wasn’t sold completely on long term storage food. “After all, you are the one that said that commercial canned goods don’t really have an expiration date. Why couldn’t I just buy that?”

He raises a good point, so here is a little better examination of commercial canned food.

We went to Walmart’s web site and got some prices for some of the more common commercial foods that folks might eat. You can see that cost per calorie is very similar to long term storage foods!


Heck, if you got it on sale it might even be cheaper than that. So far, long term storage food doesn’t have a price advantage.

Let’s look at some other things. Fat content and sodium content generally is incredibly higher in commercial canned foods than in long term storage. We were shocked to look at the labels and see that many of these items had fat as almost 50% of the calories that you got from eating it! The sodium (salt) per serving, not per can was often as much as 30% of your daily allowance.

Long term storage foods have fat and sodium counts that are controlled by you. You make the meals and you get to choose. Advantage goes to long term storage foods.

When we talked about how long commercial canned food lasts, we were talking about how long it is safe to eat. Canned food can last a long time, but it does lose its flavor and nutritional value over time. Freeze dried and dehydrated food doesn’t have this problem.

We have always been adamant about the fact that there is no one single type of food to put in your storage. We have a mix of all of the types (except frozen) because all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Some commercial canned food can be useful, not only for how quick it is to prepare, but also its ease of transport if you are out and about.

You Must Be Able to Survive 90 Days

Most liberty-minded folks believe that the “bad times” are inevitable.  Most of us want to be prepared for whatever those “bad times” really mean.  A large number of us never prepare.

There are lots of reasons why folks don’t prepare.

  • Some don’t prepare because they aren’t sure what to prepare for.
  • Some (probably most of us!) are on limited budgets.
  • Most of us suffer from “prepping” fatigue.  (It’s funny – a well known site that promotes “Prepper Shows” suggests that we should call it “survivalism” because “prepping” has too many bad connotations!)  There is just too much information out there and much of it has virtually no application to most of us.  It is very easy to be overwhelmed and do little or nothing.

Many in the liberty movement don’t make it easier for us.  There are many web sites out there telling us what the one single thing is that will make us “winners” in the fight to restore liberty.

Some of what is out there is legit and good info.  Sadly much of what is out there is written by people who merely want to make money off the backs of us in the liberty movement.  On the one hand, that is kind of neat.  We’ve become a market that folks recognize and want to target us for sales.  On the other hand, there is a lot of useless junk out there that is incredibly overpriced.

No one knows what will precipitate the upcoming troubles.  No one.  Some ascribe to a huge government crackdown on the citizenry.  Others fear an invasion by a foreign power such as China, Russia, ISIS, the UN, etc.  The theories abound.  Certainly the actions of our Government in the last 50 or so years have driven us to the breaking point.

At the end of the day though, the threat that you plan for needs to be broken down into the short term, intermediate term and long term.

For most of us, we usually start with the long term threat, namely a complete breakdown of the government as we know it with either an internal civil war or a war against foreign aggressors on our homeland.  We try to plan backwards.

And for most folks, that’s where they stop.  It just looks too big to handle.

We’re all on limited budgets, have limited time, and quite frankly limited skills.  We can’t all move off the grid to some magical “safe spot”.  We can’t all possibly learn everything that is needed.

I suggest that we need to start with the short term threat.  If you can’t survive the short term threat, it really doesn’t matter that you were prepared for the intermediate or long term threats.

You need to survive for 90 days.

You need to have food, water and the means to protect it for 90 days. 

Until you have these basic preps, you shouldn’t spend a dime on any other preps.  Having a ham radio that allows you to talk to the world doesn’t help you if you don’t have food or water.  The best generator in the world is not edible.  An arms room full of tons of guns and bullets doesn’t help you if you run out of food and water.

So what does the 90 days look like?

I predict that an unnatural disaster will cause a nationwide breakdown of society.  Lots of things could cause it, but I think the most likely cause will be the loss of food.  EBT card breakdown would be the most catastrophic, but it could be massive rioting causing stores to stop resupply.

Note, this is just one of MANY possible reasons for societal breakdown.  Your threat analysis may vary!

No food will cause massive unrest.  Violence will be terrible.  Quite frankly those who will cause the violence will probably descend to killing each other very quickly.  Roving bands of violent thugs will wander throughout cities and they will destroy what they can in an attempt to get their own food and water.

And what of Federal, State and Local law enforcement?  Sadly, most of them will be used to guard what the Federal, State and Local governments want protected.  Much of it will be critical infrastructure.  Lots of it will be guarding the “elites” in government.


The first 30 days will be violent, with much random killing.  I estimate that anywhere as many as half of the population will be killed, many of them the thugs and the remainder innocent folks who got caught up in the violence.

Our mission in the first 30 days is to survive.  It’s time to “hunker down”.  Note, I don’t recommend “bugging out”.  We can discuss bugging out on a different occasion, but I believe that in the first 30 days the random violence will get you killed if you are out and about.

I don’t think anyone should leave their safe space during these 30 days.  Blacked out windows, decoy trash in the front yard, vehicles up on blocks, etc., will help keep you from being a target and victim.  Not looking like a target will increase your chances of not being a target.  Lights visible from the road, a roaring generator, the aroma of food cooked on the grill are all things that will attract attention.

The minimums you must have are non-perishable food, water for drinking and sanitation, a mechanism for handling human waste, and of course the means to protect these things.

EVERYTHING else is bonus at this time.

Yes, it would be nice to have IR wireless cameras to watch your perimeter.  It would be nice to have shortwave radios to listen to the news.  It would be nice to have ham radios to check on friends.  It would be nice to have solar chargers, storage batteries, inverters and the like to keep your phones and laptops operable.  The list of “nice” things goes on and on.

But, if you aren’t eating or drinking, it doesn’t matter.

DAY 31 TO 60

The second 30 days will be different.  The thugs that are left will be the stronger ones.  They survived.  They will be more violent and far more desperate.  They have run out of all things that they need.  They will be a little more organized, but probably in small groups/gangs.  By this point most of them will be on foot.  With no gas stations and roads/highways cluttered with wrecks, burned out vehicles and vehicles merely out of fuel, rapid transit won’t be easy.

These smaller gangs will target what they believe to be opportunities to get food, fuel, water and arms/ammunition.  They have the challenge of food and water just like we do.  Imagine a 20 mile hike with nothing for them at the end.

With the smaller numbers of thugs, the Government will begin conducting operations to restore law and order.  I imagine it will be with overwhelming force, city by city, with a combined State National Guard, State Police and Local Police.  They won’t be able to be everywhere at once, so the restoration will not be automatic.  A good percentage of these forces will still be used to protect what the Government thinks is important (important to them, not to you).

During these second 30 days, it may be possible for you to venture outside.  I would only do it in daylight and only in groups.  At least two vehicles with four armed people in each vehicle.  If your area is part of the restoration operations, I probably would stay off the streets.  Shoot to kill really means shoot to kill.

As in the first 30 days, our Government will not have the resources to target the good guys.  They will be struggling to survive and protect what is theirs.

DAY 61 TO 90

During the third 30 days I think we will see efforts to restore services.  Electricity will start to work.  Water will start to flow.  Stores that still exist will start stocking food, fuel and other essentials.  It won’t be universal, and it won’t be easy.

I recommend taking advantage of what is available and attempt to restock my supplies.  I still wouldn’t venture out by myself.  Perhaps smaller groups but still in multiple vehicles.  If you haven’t shaved or cut your hair in a couple of months, I probably would.  You want to look like a civilian who needs resupply, not an armed thug.  Just because we survived the 90 days doesn’t mean it’s going to get better.

Our country’s population will be smaller at the end of 90 days.  Merely cleaning up the devastation and dead bodies will take many months.  Heck, some places may never come back.

Our Government will make plans to insure that something like this doesn’t happen again.  Change will happen and as always many will attempt to take advantage of the crisis to make changes that we won’t like.  Our Government will have more time on their hands to screw with us, the good guys.  But, we’ll be alive to try and influence that change.

We’ll all have some serious “lessons learned” from these 90 days.  Things we wish we had done different or better.  Our mission remains the same.  Restock and work on the next 90 days.  Smarter, wiser and alive.  Armed with what we learned and with what others learned, we’ll probably do it a little different.  Resources will be shifted to the next phase of survival.

By the way, this 90 day plan is just that, a plan.  Unrest isn’t like a football game.  You won’t know when the game starts, there will be no halftime, and there are no four quarters.  The length of each phase will likely vary.  There may be overtime.  You can watch for indicators of when it will start, but based on experience of social unrest localized unrest can grow very quickly.

Part Two of this series will discuss food.  Part Three will discuss water and sanitation.  Part Four will discuss how to use deception to hide the fact that you are alive, well and capable of surviving.  Future parts after that will discuss how to accomplish the “nice” things on a budget.