Apartment Prepping: Not Optimal BUT Possible

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I recently helped someone set up their apartment,  someone who understood the value of preparedness but was just not at a point in their life where a home away from things on some land was possible.  Let’s face it, some might not even want that in their lives or other circumstances could force them to live in an apartment.  Personally I had to live in an apartment just outside of Washington, D.C. for a year, it was not optimal but I made it work the best I could.  I had several systems in place in my apartment, routes identified locally for egress and a storage unit within walking distance which had quite a few necessary supplies contained within.  Making due with what I was given, it’s what we do right?

Let’s take a look at some of the problems apartment living poses to the prepper.


Literally surrounded by people, living above / below / next to you.  Parking usually open to the public and at any given time who knows what type of guests (invited or univited) might be in or around the facility.  Some complexes strictly regulate what you can and cannot do, cameras or even a simple security system could be disallowed.  Other folks (read: maintenance) have the keys to your door, not exactly a castle on a hilltop if you know what I mean.

Population Density

This is what I always cringe at and it bleeds over into the security and privacy aspect, the fact that apartment complexes are literally a place where the most people are crammed into the smallest areas in order to maximize revenue for the management group.  Depending on the type and caliber of complex you could have multiple families living in one unit, usually foreign nationals.  When I lived in D.C. I bet there were 1000 people within one square block, here in the mountains there might be 20 people within 1 square mile but I highly doubt it.


This is the biggest issue,  at any given time a notice could go out for whatever reason and there will be folks coming into the apartment to repair something, check something, whatever….and there is nothing you can do about it.  “Make sure dogs (if allowed) are secured, maintenance will be in the change filters and genereally snoop around between 9-5.”  I hated it but there was nothing that could be done, think about any preps or even firearms that might be secured or otherwise.  Not an optimal situation.

So What Can Be Done?

I have made the best of a bad situation and have helped others to do so as well.  Sometimes living in an apartment is a necessary evil, here are a few tips that I have passed along.

Security System:  If possible and allowed try something easy to install like Simplisafe or others.  Many of these systems have duress signals which can be enabled and panic buttons, great for notifying the authorities.  Also use those door bars that go under the knob, truly prevent unwanted entry and are around $20 at Home Depot.

Dedicated Parking:  If possible pay extra for the garage or carport.  Having to drive around looking for a space, especially at night which might include a long walk is not optimal.

Dog:  Get a dog and put a beware of dog sign up.  Dogs are wonderful companions but also great deterrants for the average crackhead.  Nobody, myself included wants to get bitten by a dog.

Off Site Storage:  A small storage unit will typically run less than $100 a month and can be very useful in the event of a natural disaster or simply a backup plan.  Extra clothing, food and water, your imagination is the limit.  Piece of mind is what the storage unit is all about and if things went sideways and the apartment burned to the ground what would you need in the storage unit that was absolutely essential?  Take it from there.

Detectors:  This is the easy stuff and by that I mean don’t trust your neighbors.  In this other apartment I set up I installed CO2 detectors, additional Smoke Alarms and added things like fire extinguishers.  When you live around 50 other people in one building you never know what could spark off especially in the middle of the night so additional detectors are a must.

Firearms:  Use your best judgement, obviously one of those things that someone must be comfortable with.  Personally I prefer 00 Buckshot over trying to beat an intruder with a wooden spoon.

Egress:  Know how to get out and more than one way to do so.  Know were to go (read: rally point) if it’s the middle of the night and you are clad in boxer briefs and sandals.

The Bottom Line.

I have to believe that given the option there is no prepper out there who would willingly live in a crowded apartment complex versus a home out on some land.  However life happens and there are instances where apartment living is necessary and unavoidable.  Given that we have to make due with what we have, doing the best that we can.  Take some of the tips listed above and add your own, it will only make the experience more manageable.


Thanksgiving 2017: Prosperity, Collapse and the Future

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I’m sitting here on my deck looking out over thousands of acres of wilderness, a cool breeze blowing and my dog at my feet.  Today being Thanksgiving I sat here for a while pondering what I am thankful for, and also wondering why we need a specific day to remind us to be thankful altogether.  Nonetheless I thought back over the last couple decades and the ebb and flow that my life and that of my family and I consider myself very fortunate to be where I am today.  As a matter of fact I am thankful for that fact every single day, although sometimes the rat race clouds my vision and things that probably don’t really matter at all get way too much attention.

I shot a text to my family earlier and mentioned that although there are many issues, we are blessed to live in the greatest country in the world.  Our freedoms are unparelled, our ability to succeed or fail is tied (mostly) to our own willingness to grind.  This allows for great success but also provides none if not very little in the way of a backstop when failure occurs.  I prefer it that way actually, having been on the serious struggle and hustled into a better position (no doubt not totally of my own volition, I believe in Divine help as well) over time.

The Calm Before the Storm

With the exception of a few outliers the audience for this type of publication is rather narrow I would suspect, this because folks are enjoying the times of plenty.  The harvest is in so to speak, the barns are full, the outlook is promising.  Yet throughout history times of plenty are always followed by times of want, need and desperation.  Folks get lured into thinking that prosperity will last forever and when it stops they are left wondering how things crashed so quickly.

Who among us even considers that what happened during the last crash could happen again and maybe even to a greater extreme?  Could the market continue to rise without end?  Consumer confidence and the economy forever expanding?  Limitless profits and prosperity for decades to come?

To believe the above is rather foolish in my opinion, but who am I as I certainly do not fall into the economic expert category.  Granted I do not have a crystal ball but we all know the best indicator of future performance is past performance.  Or…what goes around comes around.  Or….what cannot go on forever, WILL STOP.

Decisions Decisions

Here’s what not to do:

1- Live every day in fear of what may or may not happen.

2- Completely ignore the future and the potential for disaster that it holds, with no plans / preps in place.

What do to:

1- Be the squirrel, stack the nuts.  Supplies, monetary items, etc.

2- Educate those you live with and care about, as to the potential that exists.

3- Control what you can, what happens 1000 miles away in Wall Street certainly is out of the span of control but the 2nd and 3rd order effects can and will eventually trickle down.

4- Enjoy the good times because they could last for another year, 5, decade or more.

5- Understand when the bad times come, it will be every family for themselves.  Have a backup plan, and then a backup to that backup.

Final Thoughts

There is a great amount for all of us to be thankful for on this day, of that I’m certain.  I have often stated that our greatest threats are localized distasters and stand by that statement.  Yet another “big one” is on the way, when it actually occurs is anyone’s best guess.  Today take the opportunity to reflect on where you are and where you want to be if/when things go south and what actions you can take to mitigate those risks.


91 Gallon Gasoline Storage Project for Emergencies

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Preparedness is always about improving your foxhole, going from where you are to the next level bit by bit based on prioritization and available resources.  I currently have multiple 5 gallon containers on site which I cycle fuel storage through, but with three vehicles with a total tank capacity over 70 gallons plus two generators I need more improve my position.  We all store food, water, medical supplies and more but tend to neglect fuel which is a life source for many in times of need.  Granted unless one has a thousands of gallons on site it’s not a long term solution but for immediate needs when faced with natural disasters having a fuel source beyond that of the standard 5 gallon can be an enabler.  Here are a few factors that I considered when building my fuel storage plan.

  • Affordable (Less than $1k total).
  • Mobile, not buried in the ground.
  • Relatively easy to build, instead of buying a more expensive all inclusive option.
  • Minimum of 50 gallon storage capacity which does not require cycling through every few months.

My plan involves taking my existing 5×8 trailer which I bought from Lowes a number of years ago and adding a tank and pump to it.  This 91 gallon tank will weigh around 675 lbs full and that’s easily accomodated with the 1600lb trailer capacity, it will be a unit I can keep on the property or take with me if I need to go mobile.

The Trailer


The Fuel Tank


I plan on mounting this fuel storage container to my trailer, but only after laying wood down on the trailer to create a more sturdy surface.  This container will be able to provide a reasonable amount of fuel storage on site and will also be portable in case we have to bug out with multiple or even one vehicle.  In instances were gas stations are out of fuel or lines are long this would be a a huge advantage, along with having more storage on the trailer for other items.

Bottom Line

Self reliance is a massive advantage when it comes to preparedness, whether it be generating one’s own food or having a fuel source on hand.  While not the best solution possible this project will provide my family with some piece of mind knowing that we do not have to rely on local sources (in the short term) in times of need, and should the power go out for a few weeks at a time we will be able to run our generators with no problem.  Anyone else have a fuel storage plan or project?  Let me know!


Your Bugout / Survival Vehicle Achilles’ Heel

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I have a large truck, it’s capabilities are extensive.  I can haul people and gear with the full size cab and large bed, I can tow or even winch my way out (or others) of trouble.  The powerful V8, 6 inch lift and large tires have gotten me through all sorts of mud, deep snow and even difficult off road trails where airing the tires down was a necessity.  Large steel bumpers with beefy mounts on the front and rear not only improve the look of the truck but are much more sturdy than the standard plastic / thin aluminum near worthless bumpers that come standard on most trucks.  Yet with all of this, my truck has a major vulnerability that has showcased itself 3 times in the past year: flat tires.

Yes, I have a full size spare and the equipment to change it out but that takes time.  Also if you are on a slope or any sort of area that is not flat pavement it can be a huge challenge to jack up a lifted truck with all that weight.  The point being that all of our vehicles, to include those with run flats (yes, I’ve owned a car with run flats that actually caught a flat) have this similar vulnerability.  In a bugout or survuval situation, all the prep and planning can be stopped short by a simple roofer’s nail.  What if there is a fire, flooding or some other natural disaster and you have to make a quick exit and whoops…tire sensor comes on and now you are on the side of the road at a stop where every minute is precious.  You need to be able to recify this quickly in order to get moving, here are a few items that I have in my vehicle which can help with this.  You will notice some redundancy built in here, that’s intentional.

Slime Flat Tire Repair Kit:  All the basics to repair / seal flats with a small compressor to assist in airing up the tire.  Relatively cheap and good for most vehicles, easy to use.

ARB Tire Repair Kit:  I found that I needed a much more robust tire plug kit when I snapped the handle off of my cheap plastic kit trying to plug a tire.  Trying to ream and subsequently plug a 10 ply tire required the use of a rubber mallet and some force, better to have this kit on hand when the chips are down vs something of lesser quality which could (and probably would) fail.

Smittybilt  5.56 CFM Air Compressor:  This is my primary compressor and it is very powerful, easy to use and quite handy.  My wife messaged me via her satellite communicator that she had a flat tire (no cell service) a while back.  I hopped in the truck and went to her location, an obvious hole directly in the sidewall of her tire which was not repairable.  I looked at my watch and knew the tire shop was 15 minutes away and would be closing in about 25 minutes.  I had 10 minutes or less to make something happen, as we live in the moutains it is not like our options are that of those who live in the city or suburbs.  I quickly plugged the hole and pulled out the compressor, it aired the tire back up in seconds…we were on the road very quickly headed to the shop.

The Bottom Line

This isn’t a new topic and almost borders captain obvious territory, but I know everyone who has been driving for a while has caught a flat and there is never a convenient time for this to happen.  I would also guarantee that a few choice words accompanied the realization that a tire was flat, because it always sucks.  Folks in Houston had to evacuate under duress, I was discussing the possibility of having to evacuate our location if fire ever threatened.  In times like these calling for AAA, waiting for a tow or even taking the time to jack the car up and swap to a spare (that might be buried in the trunk under lots of gear or supplies) isn’t optimal.  Time is of the essence and having the right kit to deal with a flat quickly can make all the difference.  I’ll leave you with this with respect to a spare tire, should you need it…when was the last time you checked the psi on that bad boy?


SHTF Mystery Gear Box: Worth It? Maybe.

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If you are like me you’ve spent countless cumulative hours in various big box stores, outdoor stores, dollar stores and even at swap meets looking for useful or even just cool preparedness items.  It can get to a point where you are once again standing in front of that vending machine in the break room, you know everything that is in the machine but you stand there anyway pondering your next move.  Boring.

Why not let someone else make that choice for you with respect to your next move?  Granted I wouldn’t roll the dice and let a stranger mail me my next firearm (even if they could) , but for smaller less “big decision purchase” items why not give it a go.  There is something to be said for anticipation and the unknown and at the price points offered by SHTF Club one really can afford to take a leap of faith…besides you can cancel at any time per their website.  Here are the plans they offer as well as some additional information.

A new mystery box every month. (Usually ships around the 15th.)

Three tiers – Basic: $19.99, Pro: $49.99 and Elite: $89.99.

The $19.99 box is guaranteed to be worth more than what you pay.

The $49.99 box is guaranteed to be worth more than $80.

The $89.99 box is guaranteed to be worth more than $120.

Cancel or renew at any time.

So your next question is probably going to be, what’s in the box?  According to their website it’s some variation of (but not limited to): knives, fire starters, emergency prep (SOS), hydration, survival gear, hard use tools, paracord and other accessories.   You are probably thinking, well that’s cool but how good is this stuff?  I’m glad you asked because I should be receiving a box from them in the next few days and will be reviewing the contents inside.  Some of my thoughts are:

Are the contents worth the price of admission?

What about the quality of the contents?  Good knife or $5 OTC at Ace Hardware type knife?

Relevant to preparedness?

Presentation:  How packaged, as in neatly with applicable instructions for those who may need them or dumped in a box?

I am fairly confidence that I will be pleasantly surprised with this product, after all they have good reviews out there and seem to be serious about advancing the preparedness message.  I will follow up shortly with a review but in the meantime, check out their website for yourselves and see if anything strikes your fancy.


SHTF: High probability low impact vs Low probability high impact

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What are you preparing for and how do you prioritize accordingly?  There are some very real threats out but all of us are limited on time and resources.  Even the independently wealthy prepper with all the time and money in the world could not prepare for and mitigate risk for every potential disaster which exists in the world today.  With that in mind there must be a calculated balance, prepping for threats in a common sense way which does not over extend our resources or take up too much time (read: getting bogged down).

I see this two ways: High Probability / Low Impact vs Low Probability / High Impact.  Where you are in the world and you current state of readiness determines how you break the threats out and prepare for them.  A few examples follow.

High Probability / Low Impact

  • Bugout necessary because: forest fire, flooding, train wrecks and spills chemicals etc.
  • Storm causes power outage for a few days or even a couple weeks
  • Job loss
  • Stuck on the side of the highway broken down in winter storm
  • Droughts cause water shortages

Low Probability / High Impact

  • Supervolcano in Yellowstone erupts
  • Total financial collapse globally
  • Asteroid strike on earth
  • WW3 with nukes
  • EMP Strike destroys the grid

From the list above (and there are many more) you can see that “impact” to us is relative, you might think a job loss is tough but indeed it is relatively low impact compared to the Supervolcano erupting (especially if you are in the fallout zone).

I’m sure at some point most of us used to watch the OPSEC fail show Doomsday Preppers, where people would state which disaster they were preparing for.  Countless time and efforts were being poured into prepping for that one thing but what if that one thing never came to fruition?  What if all that time and money toward an underground bunker could have been redirected toward something(s) which would have a better impact to mitigate more plausible scenarios?  Granted there is some definite crossover with respect to preps but all of those hand crafted Faraday cages probably won’t come in handy as supplemental income if a job loss happens.

There are no guarantees with respect to preparedness.  You could be that guy with seemingly everything going right: community, preps, land, crops, animals, et al and that flood / fire comes through and wipes it all out.  With that in mind I think it is important to strive for excellence but also have the mental agility to be flexible, to adjust and prioritize as necessary in order to remain effective.  All of the items I listed above could happen so I’m not discounting any of them, yet as stated time and resources are limited so use them wisely.  Make your own high prob / low impact vs low prob / high impact list and plan accordingly.


Travel Preparedness: Airports and TTP’s

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Traveling is something that millions of people do every day and while not as frequent I too suck it up and play the airport / airline game.  Herded like cattle through various checkpoints, lines of people hustling to one location or another.  Stand here, sit there, and don’t move unless you are told to do so.  If you comply all is well, if you do not comply or even give the perception that you might not feel like complying well then…it could be a bad day.

Most of us carry a gun for our own personal protection and while traveling with a gun inside checked baggage is allowed outside of that firearms are a huge no-no inside airports and airplanes.  Combine that with the fact that parts of the airport (in my opinion) are extremely soft targets and the stakes rise when traveling to grandma’s house.  A quick threat assessment would reveal a most likely course of action:  Single shooter as we saw in Florida.  Most dangerous course of action:  Coordinated attack as we saw in Belgium and Turkey.

I believe there are two components/concepts which we can harness when traveling which would greatly increase chances of survival should a worst case scenario occur.

  • Situational Awareness. Should go without saying but it’s an important one.  Paying attention to one’s surroundings, avoiding grouping together in areas like baggage claim, understanding where the good guys with guns are and the exits nearest your location.  If you are with family or small ones, having a plan to get them out quickly if a stampede starts.
  • Trauma Kit / Training. How many lives could have been saved post event in the examples I listed above if a few survivors had an improved first aid kit (IFAK) and the ability to employ the equipment inside such kit?  Think CAT Tourniquet, Quikclot Combat Gauze, Israeli Bandages, Gauze, NAR Field Dressings, chest seals and more.  Hemorrhaging can kill quickly and the ability to stop it only in the short window between the event and when First Responders arrive could save others (or your own life).

Back in the day I never used to travel with an IFAK but thankfully I made the transition and it’s standard on the packing list these days.  I keep the components on our near my person in a carry on bag at all times.  I should stress once again that proper training on how to employ these items is crucial, otherwise you’ll have people attempting to TQ a neck or wipe blood away with combat gauze.  A good place to source many of these items is North American Rescue, check them out when you get a chance.


I’ll wrap it up with some final thoughts.  Many of us tend to be action oriented in that if there is a threat we feel as if we could / would do something about it to mitigate the threat or even eliminated it.  The reality is that some will slip through the cracks, some will get past the gates and into the village and maybe even get away.  It’s at that point where we have to remain action oriented but now it’s about saving lives until help arrives.  I strongly urge everyone to seek basic training with respect to utilizing the components in side of an IFAK and to stay aware and safe when traveling through airports.

4 Things Wrong With Your BugOut / Survival Bag

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I recently spent a few days out in the backcountry wilderness living out of my bag, miles away from the nearest town and long out of cell phone range.  It was myself and my dog hiking a few miles a day at over 10,000 feet in elevation, getting in touch with nature and evaluating some gear. When out in that sort of environment one figures out really quickly what is essential and what is fluff with respect to gear, what works and what doesn’t.  Since the bugout / survival bag is what we rely on to hold all of our essential equipment it stands to reason that this piece of kit should be near the top of the list with respect to how well it is taken care of.  Unfortunately that isn’t the case in many instances, so here are 4 things that might be wrong with your bugout / survival bag.

1- It hasn’t been unpacked in 6 months

Cooler temps are approaching so does the gear in your bag reflect that?  How long has it been since you completely emptied your bag, took and inventory and re-packed it?  Far too often gear is packed and then allowed to sit which means folks forget what is where and items often expire.

2- It doesn’t have hydration bladder pockets

Water is everything out in the wilderness and you must have a good way to not only carry it but access it while on the move.  Many good packs have built in hydration bladder pockets on the sides allowing for a 2 or 3 liter hydration bladder to be stuffed down in them.  Run the hose down over the shoulder and drink while on the move, hook up a mini sawyer in line water filter for drinking river/lake water.  The days of strapping canteens to a belt or the back of the pack are long gone for most, as there are much improved methods for carrying water.

3- The gear inside it has been chosen based on theory, not practical application.

Folks tend to buy gear based on other people’s opinions and there is nothing wrong with that, but has that gear been tested out in the field?  Has the tent actually been set up, fire starting material tested, stove been used to cook food?  Maybe there is a hatchet or other cool looking tool in there that is completely unnecessary, only way to find out is to get out there and test the gear.

4- It was purchased wholesale for $25 online.

It’s true, you get what you pay for.  To build a quality pack you need quality materials and folks who know what they are doing.  Time for design, R&D, manufacturing and advertising.  All of these things are built into the cost of the product (a good bag in this case) so that the company can remain profitable.  I know this seems like basic information but it stands to reason that a bag that runs $25 on the rack cannot possibly hold a candle to a pack that runs $350 or more.  The type of materials in the more expensive pack will be more durable, the zippers and fasteners will be better, the internal frame and shoulder straps will be much more comfortable and on it goes.  There are some good compromises out there which folks on a budget can look into but one must be careful when choosing a good bag.  Go cheap and by the time mile 5 arrives you’ll be sorry you did.


Split Operations: Separated from your home base.

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Home is where the heart is and for most of us where our preparedness stash is.  Should some localized or regional disaster (or worse) take place I’d like to think we would feel better about addressing that situation surrounded by what is familiar to us (read: having loads of preps and self sustaining infrastructure in place).  While this does not guarantee our safety or survival it truly is a best case scenario, the opposite end of that spectrum being 1000 miles away from your home with a paperclip and pack of bubble gum if T-SHTF.

There is a sobering reality to all of this and that is the fact that being in and around home base constantly is not practical for many.  Travel dictates that we need to be away from home and in some instances for months (or more) at a time.  That is what I will address in this post, running split operations with the reality that you just might not be able to get back to your home and family if something bad happens.

Here’s the Setup: Split Operations

I’ve lived apart from my home, preps, family for months at a time.  Usually work related, it means that we could be hours or even days away when it comes to drive time.  While I’d like to believe that if something bad were to take place I’d be able to drop what I was doing and rush to my wife’s side in a flash that is simply not the reality of the situation.  When living apart necessary steps must be put in place to ensure sustainability for the short and potentially long term.  What does that mean?  It’s like this, if the power goes out for two days because of storms have I set my wife up for success with our backup power situation?  What if a snow storm cuts power and access to basic necessities for 2 weeks, will she be able to get through it with minimal stress and discomfort because of preparedness steps previously put in place and rehearsed?  These are highly probable and relatively low impact events.  Yet what about a truly worst case scenario which would mean us hoping to reunite at some point but being forced to make it on our own in the near term?  Who truly knows how things would play out as there are so many variables but I have to be confident in the fact that I’ve done everything in my power to set both of us up for success.

Tips for Split Operations

Essentially this boils down to common sense and understanding that one cannot guarantee success for any given scenario, but putting measures (and backups) in place certainly increases one’s chances.  Below are some tips that I’ve come up with over time for running split operations.

90/10:  When I roll out I usually take the equivalent of 10% of my preps with me, leaving the majority back home with my wife.  Those preps that I have are usually what I’d need when mobile and once I get to my destination I can supplement by purchasing new.  This usually means snagging enough supplies to sit out a localized disaster for a few days or even weeks (at most).  Again the majority stays back home with my wife as she would need it, it’s not practical for me to haul around and should I be able to make it back to my place I’d want all my supplies waiting on site for me.

Rehearsals:  It’s one thing when I’m home and am able to do most of the heavy lifting but what about when I’m not?  This is not to say that my wife isn’t perfectly capable of doing some hard labor but let’s face it, I’ve spent more time doing it and she doesn’t mind that.  A perfect example would be when I was almost 1000 miles away and a storm hit knocking power out.  We had rehearsed the procedure for moving the generator out, hooking it up, starting it using the choke and fuel shutoff valve and operating the transfer switch.  When the time came she was able to accomplish this task and all was good.  Had we not rehearsed it the task would have been exceedingly more difficult I’m sure.

Worst Case:  In a worst case scenario it’s understood that we’ll simply have to make due in our own set of circumstances.  That is a reality that many fail to acknowledge and as such they never prepare for it.

The Bottom Line

There are folks out there who haven’t spent so much as a weekend away from their spouse or kids, I am not one of them.  If you are like me and travel for work or have to live away from your family for months at a time because of other circumstances put some thought in to your split operations plan.  Set yourself and those left behind up for success with the understanding that you might not always be there for them.


Prepper Mentality: Good Samaritan? YES.

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I pondered writing this article because I absolutely do not want this to come across as a “hey look at me” moment.  Yet I think if we can examine what happened today it will shed light on what I believe is another slice of the proper prepper mentality: the good Samaritan role…something I do not excel at but am constantly trying to improve upon.

The Caveat 

Allow me to toss in a clarification paragraph before relating my story, in that there are two sides to this assertion: that being the PRE and POST SHTF role of the prepper good Samaritan.  Pre SHTF when times are good is one thing, post SHTF when everything could be in short supply would demand a tighter hold on things and extreme justification of action (especially if one’s own family is at risk).  Heck I’ve even written articles which borderline endorse taking necessary items after SHTF if the circumstances are right and absolutely all other options are off the table.  It’s all dictated by METT-TC, for now I won’t overthink this and get right into it.

The Situation

I was to meet my wife at the supermarket this evening, she was going to grab some supplies to cook one of her fantastic dinners.  These are one of those dinners where you can smell the aroma of the food and it’s like oh my….delicious is right around the corner!  I got to the supermarket first but as I was pulling into the lot I saw a family of 4 standing on the corner holding a sign which had something about money needed for food on it.  This struck me as strange, while I don’t live in what I would consider an upscale area sights like this are very uncommon.  That combined with the fact that the whole family was sitting there which included two small boys.  Not exactly the “crackhead begging for cash” situation, it weighed heavily on my mind as I parked and entered the store.

My wife linked up with me in the store about 10 minutes later, the first thing she mentioned was the family standing on the corner.  At that point I knew I had to do something so I excused myself and went outside to assess the situation.  I knew that if this was legit there was absolutely no way I could in good conscience drive away and leave an entire family in need.

I approached the family on foot, they appeared to be foreign and my initial instinct was middle eastern although the woman did not dress in this manner.  I introduced myself and tried to start a conversation there on the busy street corner.  The man said that they were from Romania and on their way to California and in need of food, he pointed to their old beater minivan (with Cali tags) and indicated it was theirs.  I took a look at the wife and two boys who were now sitting in the grass and knew that I had to take this at face value and do something about it.

The Outcome

Language barrier aside I had them follow me into the supermarket, pulled a cart out and gave it to them.  I spoke and motioned with my hands while indicating that they should go shopping and that I would pay for everything.  They nodded and went about their way and I went to find my wife to make sure she didn’t forget the COFFEE.

I linked up with the family at the other side of the supermarket and knew that their story was legit.  What was in the cart?  Lots of bread, sandwich meat, various cheeses, a balloon for one of their boys.  This was a family clearly on the road and one who did not want to take advantage of me and for that I was thankful.  We checked out and I think the total was around $70, I selected the debit option and pulled out another $40 and gave it to the husband because I figure he might need gas.  They thanked me over and over again, I told them no problem and wished them good luck…and that was that.

Key Takeaways

Once again please don’t take this as me tooting my own horn, believe me when I write that I’m no perfect person and I honestly know that many of you would have done the same thing. I felt compelled to do this for those people, not because I was seeking anything in return but because it just seemed like the right thing to do.  I’m not sure what will happen if SHTF but as preppers we are likely to be in a situation where we are able to help those in need much like how I helped that family.  Now this doesn’t mean that I line the entire neighborhood up and disperse MY family’s supply of storage food just because I’m a nice guy, absolutely NOT.  Yet I think we have to keep some form of positive intent in our minds, that willingness to be someone’s helping hand if needed and if only briefly.  My efforts surely did help the family but only for a few days at best, yet I feel like I was able to fulfill my part…one that was placed in front of me and I recognized (as opposed to the potentially hundreds of people who drove by that family before I got there).

The Bottom Line

For me being a prepper means being both ends of the spectrum: I can be kind, helpful and more than willing to give someone the shirt off of my back.  Yet if tested I will flip the blinders down and become the epitome of ruthless and calculating, especially if my own family is involved.  I’m not perfect but I can tell you that when presented with the right set of circumstances I think it only serves us right to remember that being a good Samaritan is something we need to hold ourselves to…if only because it seems like the right thing to do.