Innumerable texts and tomes have been devoted to the subject of crisis preparedness and survival. More Americans than ever before are concerned with the immediate future and aware of the dangers that their families will face. In this easy to digest report, our aim is to point out and elaborate the absolute minimum requirements needed to keep your family safe and secure during the outbreak of civil disorder and the societal breakdown that appears to be inevitable.

Please understand, this report is not meant to be exhaustive and all inclusive. We will also suggest several books that go into great detail about how to prepare yourself, your family, and your community for self-sufficiency. Direct links to these books will be listed at the bottom of the report. Feel free to leave your own book suggestions down in the comments section as well. This report is meant to be used as a resource.

Crisis Preparedness

Consider 14 Days of Food to be an absolute minimum.

Food and Water – Calories and Crisis Preparedness.

It is a well known fact that local stores stock only enough food to supply the regional population for three days without replenishment. Civil disorder and societal breakdown will threaten the resupply network for your local grocery stores. Simply put, if the trucks are not running, your local stores will run out of food in much less than a week. Panic buying will deplete the shelves rapidly. How long did it take your grocery store to run out of toilet paper?

14 Days Minimum for Any Major Crisis.

Basic calorie intake for human survival is 2000 calories, per person, per day. Calculate the number of people in your household and multiply that number by 2000 calories for 14 days. For example; a household of 4 people will need 8000 calories of food per day. That adds up to 112,000 total calories for 14 days or two weeks.

There are approximately 3000 calories per 5 pounds of cooked white rice. A 12 ounce can of cooked chicken from your local store has approximately 360 calories of protein or 6 servings of 60 calories each. These are the numbers you need to be calculating, not just the number of cans you need to buy.

Regarding nutrition, your body needs carbohydrates, fat, and protein to function and remain healthy. 100,000 calories of rice might seem like a cheap fix, but you will grow weary of eating rice three meals a day and rice only provides a portion of the nutritional intake you will need. Variety is the spice of life, so plan accordingly.

Hydration is King, and Water is Important.

Depending on the circumstances and the weather, humans need one-half to one gallon of water per day. If the weather is hot and you are exerting yourself physically, one gallon of water will go quickly. If you turned on the sink tap and nothing came out, what would you do?

Broken water lines cause tap water to become contaminated. Do you have a plan to supplement your drinking water if your municipal water system fails? Remember, bottled water will be one of the first items to disappear during a panic buying frenzy.

Plan ahead in the hydration and water storage department. Does your family have an alternative means to secure water? Outside of just drinking water, Do you have a sanitation plan? Remember, the French lost Fort Vaux, not because the German’s were tactically superior. They lost because their troops ran out of water.

Crisis Defense

A magazine-fed, self-loading rifle is the best fighting tool for adults.

Home and Community Defense in any Crisis.

While it might be psychologically comforting to have 10,000 rounds of .22LR ammunition buried in your backyard, what do you actually need to defend your home and your neighborhood? What is the most effective fighting tool that a physically fit adult can employ?

A self-loading/semi-automatic rifle, chambered in 5.56mm or 7.62x39mm is the best choice for defense of the home and community. Any firearm is better than no firearm. However, practicality demonstrates that a magazine fed rifle is the most effective fighting tool during a deadly force encounter.

How much ammunition should you have on hand for fighting? Notice, I said for fighting, not practice or competition or recreation. Purchase at least 100 rounds of the best quality ammunition you can find for either your 5.56mm or 7.62x39mm rifle. Purchase enough magazines to hold all 100 rounds. Make this a minimum at all times, and ensure other members of your community are doing like-wise.

If you can afford and store more, then do so.

Crisis Energy

Have a backup plan for both heat and energy.

Heat and Energy.

We must consider heat and energy. The name of the game when it comes to heat and energy is redundancy. Do you have a redundant backup system to keep your home warm during freezing temperatures? The residents of Aspen, Colorado just learned a hard lesson when an attacker, or attackers, tampered with the natural gas utility system at three separate locations. Thousands of residents who relied upon natural gas for heat had to scramble to stay warm during freezing temperatures.

In the event of an electrical outage, do you have candles, batteries for flashlights, electric lanterns, chem-lights? Do you own a portable electric generator that you can use to keep your freezer or refrigerator running? Remember, you will need to store ample fuel for that generator. Have you looked into solar panels and battery backups?

There are numerous options available for secondary heating and power systems. If you cannot put a wood burning stove in your house, a portable kerosene heater might be a good choice for backup heat. When you purchase a kerosene heater, remember to calculate how long it will run per fuel tank and plan accordingly to have additional fuel on hand.

A Prepared Community Can Survive any Major Crisis.

During a crisis or societal breakdown, your most valuable asset will be a prepared community. No man is an island and attempting to survive alone for weeks on end is a recipe for disaster. Men formed into tribes and communities for a reason. It works.

Long before any disaster or crisis occurs, talk with your neighbors and community members about their preparedness plan. Encourage others to have ample food, water, and emergency supplies on hand. If you are the only one in your community who has prepared, that will put you in a precarious position as your starving neighbors beat on your front door.

Encourage your community leaders to make disaster and emergency preparedness a focal point and a priority. Volunteer with your local church or community food bank. Teach a first aid or CPR class if you have the skills and certification. The main point of this section is that the better prepared all of the members of your neighborhood are, the better the community will fare during the coming breakdown. The time to get started was yesterday, but you still have time today. Go forward and do good things.

For more detailed information on preparedness and community teamwork, we recommend the following books.

For more book recommendations, check out The Patriot Bookshelf.

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.