What If?

Your Util­i­ties Are In­def­i­nitely Dis­rupted?

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Contents - By Tim MacWelch Il­lus­tra­tions by Cassandra Dale

The baby was sleep­ing qui­etly and your spouse was catch­ing a much-needed nap on the couch. Your daugh­ter was try­ing hard to sti­fle her gig­gles as she watched her fa­vorite car­toon on tele­vi­sion. If Nor­man Rock­well were still alive to paint scenes of mod­ern do­mes­tic tran­quil­ity, your house­hold could be the model.

As you set­tled down into your fa­vorite chair and the dog curled up at your feet, the mood of the day was con­tent­ment. With­out re­al­iz­ing it, your eyes had closed for a mo­ment. Sleep was start­ing to take hold of you, un­til some­thing caused you to stir. It felt like the rum­bling of a truck, un­til you re­al­ized that it wasn’t a ve­hi­cle. The shak­ing in­ten­si­fied. The baby started cry­ing, and the dog be­gan to whim­per. The flat-screen TV fell off the wall and crashed onto the floor. Your daugh­ter screamed, and you were barely able to stand as the earth shook vi­o­lently.

Re­mem­ber­ing the “tri­an­gle of life,” you scooped up your chil­dren and pushed your fam­ily into the cor­ner of the room. The ceil­ing dry­wall be­gan to crack and vir­tu­ally ev­ery ob­ject that could fall over ended up on the floor. The chil­dren wailed in fear, and just as sud­denly as it be­gan — ev­ery­thing stopped, in­clud­ing the il­lu­mi­na­tion from your light fix­tures.

For this in­stall­ment of RE­COIL OFFGRID’s “What If?” col­umn, the ed­i­tors have asked for our prepa­ra­tions and re­ac­tions to a se­vere earth­quake that knocks out all your util­i­ties. In this sce­nario, we’re not tucked away in the coun­try­side at some self-suf­fi­cient cabin — no, that would be too easy. We’re smack in the mid­dle of a large city (just like many of you) and are now with­out power, gas, phone lines, and wa­ter. You have no idea how long this cav­al­cade of out­ages will last.

How do you pro­vide for your fam­ily’s ba­sic needs af­ter sud­denly be­ing thrust back into the dark ages? How do you keep your fam­ily warm with win­ter ap­proach­ing? What’s your strat­egy to deal with loot­ers and ma­raud­ers? Pay close at­ten­tion, there’s noth­ing that any of us can do to pre­vent Mother Earth from shak­ing like a wet dog, but there’s a lot we can do to be ready for the util­ity out­ages that fol­low.

The Setup: You’re at home with your spouse, your 2-month-old baby son, and your 9-year-old daugh­ter, and pet Ger­man Shep­herd, en­joy­ing a leisurely Satur­day when there’s a 7.3 earth­quake 67 miles north­west of your lo­ca­tion. Struc­tural dam­age has been mod­er­ate to se­vere in the ar­eas clos­est to the epi­cen­ter. Al­though

your home has only had min­i­mal dam­age, a byprod­uct of the earth­quake is that util­i­ties have been knocked out within a 150-mile ra­dius of your lo­ca­tion.

The power grid is dis­abled in­def­i­nitely, lo­cal cell tow­ers are in­op­er­a­ble, and land­line phones are also down. Nat­u­ral gas and wa­ter pres­sure have dropped to zero. Win­ter is ap­proach­ing, and it’ll be­gin snow­ing soon. A sit­u­a­tion like this can not only cause fa­tal­i­ties for those who suf­fer from cold, de­hy­dra­tion, food short­ages, over­whelmed hospi­tals, and other col­lat­eral ef­fects of the out­age, but des­per­a­tion in the form of loot­ing may quickly take hold.

The Com­pli­ca­tion: Since you have no elec­tric­ity and con­ven­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tion has been wiped out, your abil­ity to get me­dia up­dates on the restora­tion of util­i­ties is lim­ited. With­out wa­ter, your abil­ity to re­main hy­drated, bathe, have proper san­i­ta­tion, and cook is ex­tremely lim­ited. The pos­si­bil­ity of loot­ing is high, and you’re in a ma­jor city. Win­ter is com­ing and with­out gas and elec­tric­ity, the cold may wreak havoc. What steps can you take to en­dure this long-term util­ity out­age, feed and pro­tect your fam­ily, and en­dure with­out mod­ern con­ve­niences? Re­al­iz­ing that these out­ages may ex­tend to an in­def­i­nite ra­dius and road block­ages may be ev­ery­where, rather than at­tempt to leave the area in search of an­other place to hole up, you de­cide to bug in and rely on the sup­plies you’ve stock­piled. The grid is down and, just like hur­ri­cane-rav­aged Puerto Rico, may not be up again for months.


Since hav­ing a new baby, we’d have also made a point to stock up on a year’s worth of pow­dered milk and baby food.

Be­cause I live by the “not if it will hap­pen, but when” motto, my fam­ily and I have been pre­par­ing for long-term dis­as­ters for many years. When my wife and I de­cided to put money to­ward stock­ing up on sup­plies, we knew that pur­chas­ing a large quan­tity in one fell swoop is cost pro­hib­i­tive. On av­er­age, we go shop­ping ev­ery two weeks, so we started pur­chas­ing small essen­tials dur­ing our shop­ping trips to grad­u­ally in­crease our emer­gency sup­ply cache.

Over the last two years we’ve set aside $125 per month plus half of any re­main­ing dis­cre­tionary funds to help pay for items that we’d need for a dis­as­ter. Ev­ery two months we buy a bucket of freeze-dried food. Our bi­weekly shop­ping trips also lead to the ac­qui­si­tion of bot­tled wa­ter, pro­tein bars, hy­giene prod­ucts like an­tibac­te­rial soap, med­i­cal sup­plies, and vi­ta­mins.

Some of the larger items that would be use­ful in an event like this are a gas gen­er­a­tor with four months’ worth of fuel to power it, a small so­lar gen­er­a­tor, 20 small propane tanks, eight months’ worth of drink­ing wa­ter, 16 months’ worth of freeze-dried food, and four months’ worth of pet food. A CB ra­dio and hand-crank ra­dio would also en­able us to have an­other way of re­ceiv­ing in­for­ma­tion if power is out. Hav­ing paid at­ten­tion to how much fire­wood we con­sumed dur­ing an av­er­age win­ter, I’d also make sure we had at least a win­ter’s worth of fuel for the fire­place. In an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion where gas and elec­tric­ity are off, it’d make sense to have even more than that amount as we’d be us­ing it to do more than just keep warm.

Speak­ing of power and light, how many bat­ter­ies do you con­sume in a month? Tele­vi­sion remotes, game con­sole con­trollers, flash­lights, elec­tric turkey carv­ing knives ... what­ever.

Have you ever added it all up to see what your monthly bat­tery bud­get is? Know­ing this could help you keep some crit­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties up and run­ning dur­ing a time like this. Hav­ing can­dles and lighters would also be some­thing to keep enough of in case the bat­tery sup­ply be­gan to di­min­ish. We store most of our sup­plies along with our food and wa­ter in our base­ment since the tem­per­a­ture stays cool and dry all year, even with­out ar­ti­fi­cial tem­per­a­ture con­trol. Some freeze-dried food can last up to 25 years, but un­for­tu­nately we can’t say the same for our 2-month-old son’s baby food.

To ac­count for lit­tle ones, con­sider stock­ing up on a year’s worth of pow­dered milk and baby food. Since breast­feed­ing would be our baby’s ini­tial food source, it’d be im­por­tant to keep my wife (and thus the baby) well-hy­drated and -nour­ished in a sit­u­a­tion like this. My wife could ex­clu­sively breast feed him for 6 to 8 months, then start pro­vid­ing him with a com­bi­na­tion of breast milk and baby food. The shelf life of baby food is about 24 months as long as it’s un­opened and stored ap­pro­pri­ately.

An ad­di­tional prepa­ra­tion is har­vest­ing rain­wa­ter for tasks like show­er­ing and san­i­ta­tion, in­stead of us­ing our stored bot­tled wa­ter. The bot­tled wa­ter may be used as a last re­sort for bathing if san­i­tary wa­ter, es­pe­cially for bathing our baby, was in short sup­ply. We could po­ten­tially re­use bot­tled wa­ter nu­mer­ous times for cook­ing. An­other item worth

stor­ing is sev­eral gal­lons of Clorox bleach. This should be ro­tated reg­u­larly since it has a shelf life of one year be­fore it starts to break down. Mix­ing 1 ta­ble­spoon of bleach with 1 gal­lon of rain­wa­ter can be used as a clean­ing so­lu­tion. Hav­ing four peo­ple and a dog liv­ing in a home dur­ing a dis­as­ter can get pretty messy and un­san­i­tary. Be­ing able to clean sur­faces is es­pe­cially im­por­tant to help re­duce the po­ten­tial for ill­ness, es­pe­cially for chil­dren with weaker im­mune sys­tems.

We col­lect our rain­wa­ter in bar­rels con­nected to our gut­ter down spouts on the side of our house. We can also use the rain­wa­ter to ir­ri­gate any food we’re grow­ing. An above­ground kid­die pool could be emp­tied, fil­tered, and con­sumed if the sit­u­a­tion were des­per­ate, but it could also serve as a re­cep­ta­cle for snow and rain­wa­ter. Us­ing empty wa­ter bot­tles to col­lect rain­wa­ter could also be prac­ti­cal so we’d hang onto as many as we could make room for. Our rain­wa­ter bar­rels have a screen fil­ter over them, how­ever, when we col­lect the wa­ter we’d still run it through a LifeS­traw pump sys­tem for in­creased fil­tra­tion.

With the un­der­stand­ing that good peo­ple can be­come des­per­ate in bad sit­u­a­tions, my wife and I have spent years train­ing with firearms and tak­ing self-de­fense classes with our daugh­ter. We have a shot­gun and two pis­tols ready at all times. We keep a min­i­mum of 1,000 rounds of ammo in stock for the pis­tols and 50 rounds for the shot­gun. We rou­tinely run drills to prac­tice how to re­spond if some­one tries to break into the house. This type of train­ing be­came even more im­por­tant to us af­ter the birth of our son, who is too small to es­cape or de­fend him­self.

As an ad­di­tional se­cu­rity mea­sure, we put our Ger­man Shep­herd through Schutzhund train­ing so he’s able to carry out pro­tec­tion com­mands against any as­sailants. It’s been a long-stand­ing rule in our house that dur­ing a power out­age we all move to the liv­ing room close to the fire­place and stay there to know each other’s where­abouts. This also helps us eas­ily iden­tify any in­trud­ers, and keeps us close to what may ul­ti­mately be the only source of heat in the house.

Even with all these preps, safety comes in num­bers and we cre­ated an emer­gency sur­vival group with our neigh­bors. To en­sure easy con­tact among our neigh­bors we use GoTenna — a de­vice that al­lows us to create our own wire­less net­work in the ab­sence of an es­tab­lished cel­lu­lar grid. We all have small so­lar charg­ers for our phones to en­sure they stay work­ing if cell ser­vice is re­stored. Run­ning train­ing drills to­gether ev­ery so of­ten will make sure sur­vival skills re­main fresh and or­ga­nized so there’s no con­fu­sion about re­spon­si­bil­i­ties dur­ing adren­a­line-filled emer­gen­cies.

On Site

Af­ter the dis­as­ter hap­pened, we’d im­me­di­ately turn on our ra­dio to see the ex­tent of the dam­age, pay­ing par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to any­thing re­lated to in­fra­struc­ture con­di­tions (mu­nic­i­pal build­ings, hospi­tals, sur­round­ing homes, and nearby road dam­age). Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, we’d use the GoTenna to en­sure the neigh­bors are all OK and find out where they’re lo­cated. This could help lift some of the fog of chaos. We’d set a time to meet at my house that night to go over what to do and see if any­one needed any im­me­di­ate help. With the loss of in­fra­struc­ture there may be no waste man­age­ment and no im­me­di­ate med­i­cal or law en­force­ment sup­port. A neigh­bor­hood or fam­ily group would need to dis­cuss how to im­ple­ment an in­terim plan to deal with the lack of re­sources.

To avoid un­san­i­tary con­di­tions de­vel­op­ing in­side the house, I’d sug­gest con­vert­ing any sheds into out­houses and im­pro­vised bathing units with pas­sive so­lar wa­ter heat­ing sys­tems for the hot­ter months (dur­ing the colder months, we could heat the wa­ter over a fire). I’d also build a com­post site be­hind my house that we can use for food and hu­man waste, and we can build ad­di­tional ones if nec­es­sary to han­dle the waste gen­er­ated by our neigh­bor­hood.

For col­lec­tive de­fense, if you’re able to or­ga­nize to that de­gree, con­sider block­ing off the street with a cou­ple cars to make it harder for po­ten­tial loot­ers to ac­cess the neigh­bor­hood. I’d also sug­gest mak­ing a night­time se­cu­rity ro­ta­tion — one fam­ily would watch over the street each night for a four-hour shift to com­mu­ni­cate any­thing sus­pi­cious. Lastly, we’d put each house on ro­ta­tion for daily cleanup duty for the out­houses — it’s nasty, but with no mu­nic­i­pal refuse sys­tem or sewage ev­ery­one would have to pitch in so it doesn’t be­come a health haz­ard.


With all our com­bined prepa­ra­tions, and with the sup­port sys­tem of our neigh­bors, I es­ti­mate be­ing in good shape for at least a year with­out help and sup­plies. When grid-down sit­u­a­tions switch from short term to long term, though, food sup­plies will even­tu­ally run out. The un­pre­pared who’ve al­ready run out of food will be search­ing for it. When enough peo­ple join to­gether in des­per­a­tion, there’s a chance of be­ing over­whelmed by a force you can’t with­stand.

In the event that hordes of des­per­ate loot­ers start head­ing your way, I’d sug­gest also pre­par­ing a sep­a­rate bug-out lo­ca­tion well in ad­vance. Sev­eral years ago, my wife and I bought 60 acres of land. The land has a wa­ter source and is very se­cluded. We built a small shel­ter there with hid­den sup­plies and have so­lar power on the prop­erty. The abil­ity to hunt deer, turkey, rab­bits, plant crops, and har­vest wood for fires and other makeshift con­struc­tion pur­poses makes it a good long-term lo­ca­tion to hold up. The im­prac­ti­cal­ity of bring­ing other peo­ple with us poses a chal­lenge. To dis­creetly keep move­ment away from our neigh­bor­hood, we chose three routes to the prop­erty that are in wooded ar­eas away from the city and any com­monly-used roads.

It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber the old say­ing, “ac­cept the things you can’t change and change the things you can.” The most prim­i­tive things ev­ery hu­man needs to sur­vive are heat, wa­ter, food, se­cu­rity, and adapt­abil­ity. Prep­ping for these things by grad­u­ally ac­quir­ing sup­plies and train­ing bet­ters your odds. Know what nat­u­ral dis­as­ters may oc­cur in your area and get to know the peo­ple around you to build a strong sup­port sys­tem in ad­vance of any calami­ties.


This sce­nario is a great ex­am­ple of the con­cept of “pre­pare for one dis­as­ter very well, and you’re well pre­pared for most dis­as­ters.” As far as our fam­ily is con­cerned, an earth­quake tak­ing down our util­i­ties isn’t much dif­fer­ent from sev­eral other cri­sis sit­u­a­tions knock­ing out those things. Sure, there’s prob­a­bly more dam­age with a quake and it will take longer to re­pair than a cy­ber at­tack, for ex­am­ple, but we pre­pare for long-term util­ity out­ages (that may re­sult in civil un­rest) just like most other dis­as­ters.

Im­me­di­ate Pri­or­i­ties: There are plenty of sup­plies that you could buy in ad­vance that’ d help in this sit­u­a­tion. In the city, I’ d want to have a util­ity shut­off tool, avail­able at most hard­ware stores. This can shut off mu­nic­i­pal wa­ter and gas, both of which should be shut off right af­ter a quake for many good rea­sons. A top-shelf first-aid kit is high on my list too, since in­jury is likely in dis­as­ters. Wa­ter is my next pri­or­ity. We bought a large-ca­pac­ity home wa­ter heater for ex­tra stor­age, which can be drained as needed for drink­ing wa­ter for wash­ing.

I also main­tain nu­mer­ous 5-gal­lon wa­ter cooler jugs of wa­ter for easy ac­cess of ready-to-drink wa­ter. I keep mul­ti­ple dis­in­fec­tion tools, like wa­ter fil­ters and dis­in­fec­tion tablets, as well. I pre­fer two prod­ucts from Kata­dyn and one from Berkey for wa­ter dis­in­fec­tion. Kata­dyn Mi­croPur tablets are great for dis­in­fect­ing wa­ter on the go. They take longer to work than io­dine, but taste bet­ter (a key fac­tor for keep­ing kids hy­drated). Kata­dyn also makes a pump fil­ter called the Pocket Fil­ter, which even deals with tiny vi­ral pathogens. For the house­hold, we also have a Big Berkey fil­ter. This grav­ity-fed fil­ter is very ef­fec­tive and easy to use. Dump your raw wa­ter into the top and it fil­ters down into a reser­voir be­low. Even kids can use it with no prob­lems.

Prep For The Long Game: Safety mea­sures, first-aid, and wa­ter are needed right away, but soon enough we’d need to fall back on our sup­plies for the “long game.” De­fense, warmth, food, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, trans­porta­tion, and hy­giene are the next or­ders of busi­ness. Re­search­ing weapons and home-hard­en­ing should hap­pen well in ad­vance of a sce­nario like this where civil un­rest may soon fol­low. Have a plan for emer­gency warmth and cook­ing, too. We keep ex­tra propane tanks for the out­door grill, but never bring it in­side for warmth, as the car­bon monox­ide it pro­duces will kill. Keep an in­door heater on hand and nu­mer­ous camp­ing stoves with ex­tra fuel for cook­ing.

When the bud­get will al­low, I rec­om­mend home im­prove­ments that save or pro­vide en­ergy. In­su­lated or dou­ble-pane win­dows, blown in­su­la­tion in the at­tic, so­lar heat­ing and elec­tric sys­tems, wind power, and many other re­sources could be a God­send in a cri­sis like this. As far as tra­di­tional sup­plies go, we stock plenty of bat­ter­ies for flash­lights, ra­dios, and other equip­ment.

The bulki­est part of our stash is the food. We stock sev­eral months’ worth of food, much of it in easy-to-cook sta­ples like pasta and rice. Freeze-dried meals are even eas­ier to cook. I like to keep Moun­tain House meals, a Jet­boil stove, and plenty of fuel can­is­ters on hand. With these, we can cook in­doors by sim­ply bring­ing the wa­ter to a quick boil. This way, we’re not out in the yard cook­ing over a fire as much, which may ad­ver­tise our pre­pared­ness to those who are be­com­ing des­per­ate.

We haven’t for­got­ten about our pets. Dry cat food will feed both cats and dogs, and it can be stored in My­lar-lined buck­ets with oxy­gen ab­sorbers. Store items sen­si­tive to heat and sun­light in a cool, dark, dry place. Con­sider a satel­lite phone to com­mu­ni­cate with peo­ple in ar­eas un­af­fected by the cri­sis at hand.

One fi­nal is­sue is to make sure your kids are pre­pared for the earth­quake it­self.

Teach them about the “tri­an­gle of life” and ex­plain to them that their in­stinct to hide un­der a bed is dead wrong. When ceil­ings col­lapse on beds, the bed acts like a huge dead­fall trap — crush­ing any­one hid­ing un­der­neath. A safer, yet less in­tu­itive, strat­egy is to lie be­side the bed. So in the event that you are awo­ken in the night by an earth­quake, roll off the bed and stay be­side it. Don’t crawl un­der­neath!

On Site

Struc­tural dam­age and dan­ger­ous leaks would be my big­gest con­cerns in the ini­tial af­ter­math of the earth­quake and the be­gin­ning of the util­ity out­age. If I were in a sin­gle­fam­ily home or town­house, I’d look in the at­tic to see if there were any bro­ken trusses. I’d also take a look through the base­ment, check­ing for dam­aged floor joists. If I weren’t fa­mil­iar with mod­ern home con­struc­tion, I’d try to find a neigh­bor who knew some­thing and ask them to take a look. I’d also turn off all util­i­ties. With a non-spark­ing wrench, I’d turn off the gas. I’d also turn off the wa­ter at the street (the same tool of­ten does both jobs). I’d turn off the main breaker in the home’s elec­tri­cal panel as well.

If I, or any of my neigh­bors, have gas as a util­ity, there are some com­mon prac­tices that I’ll want to avoid right af­ter the quake. I’ d limit (or bet­ter yet, avoid) all open flames un­til I’m cer­tain that there are no gas leaks in and around the home and neigh­bor­hood. Light­ing a cigar or fir­ing up the propane grill could eas­ily spark a nat­u­ral gas or LP gas ex­plo­sion. I wouldn’t use can­dles for light­ing, ei­ther.

So how can one get in­for­ma­tion in lieu of the In­ter­net? The first thing I’d check is AM and FM ra­dio sig­nals and the NOAA weather bands. I could use one of our emer­gency ra­dios (we keep two in our home) or hop in a ve­hi­cle and flip through the ra­dio fre­quen­cies. There may be a sta­tion that could reach us, yet was un­af­fected by the quake or power out­age. A CB ra­dio may also pro­vide con­tact with the out­side world, if it was pow­ered by a ve­hi­cle, or we had a backup power source to run it. What am I try­ing to dis­cover? I’d want to know the size of the im­pacted area, the ex­tent of the dam­age, high­way and road block­ages, and the near­est area that still has power — just for starters.

The Cri­sis

Once the earth­quake is over and we’ve put out the fires (lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively), it’s time to rely on our prepa­ra­tions and get to work.

If a dis­as­ter knocked out the util­i­ties for sev­eral hun­dred square miles, and you even sus­pected the out­age might last a dan­ger­ously long time, get your spouse and kids the hell out of there. Leave as soon as you can. And in the event that you couldn’t leave (for one or more very good rea­sons), then you’ll have to de­fend and en­dure.

A sce­nario of this kind would un­doubt­edly in­spire aid to flood into the area from the rest of the coun­try, but the prob­lem with that is stand­ing in line to get sup­plies and pos­si­bly leav­ing your fam­ily un­de­fended to do so. With your own food stor­age in place and the abil­ity to dis­in­fect wa­ter you col­lect near your home, you can fo­cus on the pro­tec­tion of your prop­erty, fam­ily, and pos­ses­sions. Col­lect­ing safe drink­ing wa­ter would be a fre­quent task in the grid-down set­ting, and col­lect­ing ex­tra wa­ter for hy­giene is im­por­tant too.

Col­lect the rain and find small lo­cal wa­ter­ways, as needed. In the city, we could turn a plas­tic bucket into a toi­let. We could also use a sep­a­rate bucket of soapy wa­ter to hand-wash cloth­ing. We could even take sponge baths and wash our dishes too. Pre­vent­ing ill­ness be­gins with ad­e­quate hy­giene, and this can be just as im­por­tant as any of your other skills. And when the food runs out com­pletely, you’re go­ing to have to get cre­ative. Learn to forage for edi­ble plants in ur­ban and sub­ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments. Learn to hunt and trap qui­etly in these same lo­cales, though it ’s likely that there’ d be noth­ing lef t af ter a few weeks, once ev­ery other fam­ily gets the same idea.

With your own food stor­age in place and the abil­ity to dis­in­fect wa­ter you col­lect near your home, you can fo­cus on the pro­tec­tion of your prop­erty,

fam­ily, and pos­ses­sions.


Nat­u­ral dis­as­ters have been our nat­u­ral en­emy since the dawn of time. They try to lash us with wind, drown us with wa­ter, and shake our homes down to the ground. They’re pow­er­ful and deadly to be sure, but there’s one lim­it­ing fac­tor that these mighty forces can’t over­come. That fac­tor is size. This is a big planet, and the av­er­age nat­u­ral dis­as­ter can only af­fect a small part of it. Catas­tro­phes like earthquakes can strike lo­cal­i­ties and re­gions, but they’re not go­ing to dam­age large na­tions or en­tire con­ti­nents. And since the im­pact area is rel­a­tively small, this means that a mo­bile fam­ily, group, or in­di­vid­ual may be able to es­cape the stricken area.

Ide­ally, you could load up your gob­ags and drive to “greener pas­tures.” Dam­aged roads and high­ways may pre­vent an ex­o­dus by ve­hi­cle, but un­less there are great fis­sures in the earth, you may still be able to walk away from the af­fected area. And when bug­ging out isn’t an op­tion for your group, then you’d bet­ter be pre­pared. Stored food, wa­ter, and other sup­plies can get you through a cri­sis (if you’re able to hide or de­fend these pre­cious re­sources).

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