monetary collapse, three semi-automatic pistols
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Mel Tappan suggests nine categories of gear needed during and after a monetary collapse

The kind of disaster that you expect to occur is going to affect the way in which you adapt this outline to your personal needs. I have drawn it with a monetary collapse in mind, since the odds presently favor that event by a substantial margin. If you see nothing more than a severe inflationary recession, you may want to eliminate or reduce the emphasis on several points. On the other hand, if you foresee a nuclear confrontation as an adjunct to the monetary collapse, there are several additional categories that you will need to consider. These recommendations reflect my own judgments; your personal circumstances may well change some of the priorities as I have set them down. I do think, however, that the first seven items on the list are all “”priority one” and should be pursued concurrently, to the extent possible.

  1. You

The most important factor in the survival equation is you: your physical health and the way you handle stress. However you feel and whatever state of health you think you enjoy, get a complete physical from your doctor. You should be comfortable enough with your physician to discuss your survival concerns frankly, or he might not order all the tests you should have if you can’t be completely frank with him. If you are dissatisfied with him, now is the time to look for another doctor. You are going to need his help for a number of other things, for example, helping you acquire portions of your medical kit and appropriate medical books.

Discuss with your doctor the management of any chronic illnesses you have in detail. If possible, buy your prescription drugs in quantity and rotate them to keep fresh supplies on hand. See an eye specialist who can assess the health of your eyes. Teeth, too, should get their share of scrutiny.

Once you have embarked on a program to improve your physical health, you may want to give some thought to what the current vernacular might term “where your head is at.” How you react to stress, your personal hang-ups, the way in which you interact with other people—these factors, perhaps more than anything else, are likely to determine whether you survive a crisis. Unless you are seriously mentally ill—and sometimes even then—you can see your own mental shortcomings, if you are willing to undergo the rather painful experience.

  1. Develop Necessary Skills

Next to physical and mental health, the most important considerations for the aspiring survivalist is the development of vital skills. Make a list of what you consider the minimum number that you would need to keep yourself and your family alive over a protracted period with no outside help and start leaning them at once. Then, if time permits, make another, including areas of expertise that are desirable, if not essential. At a minimum, your basic list should include the skills pertaining to emergency medical care, hunting and foraging for food, practical defensive shooting, practical unarmed combat, basic wood craft, using tools and making essential repairs to your shelter, firearms and other indispensable items. If your present job seems an unlikely profession after the collapse, you may want to consider learning a new trade that is almost certain to be in demand, such as carpentry and repairing machinery.

  1. Start Collecting Reference Materials

[Note: Mel wrote this before the days of the PC or Internet. To the following, I am certain he would suggest making PDFs of helpful information on the web.]

Books and magazine articles on practical subjects will be among your most valuable survival assets. “How to” books in a variety of fields are a must, especially carpentry, repairing and maintaining machinery, farming, trapping, raising animals, cooking game, sewing, leather- and woodworking, reloading, making tools and the like. Don’t forget homely topics such as repairing water pumps and cleaning septic tanks. Make certain that you buy the shop manuals published by the manufacturer for repairing your vehicles. Your survival library should also provide entertainment as well as the mean of educating your children and stimulating your own intellectual growth.

  1. Guns and Ammo

With the exception of your own skills and mental preparation, nothing is likely to be more important to your survival than your firearms. The criteria for selecting arms to be used for sporting purposes are quite different from those that pertain to choosing survival guns. It is especially important that you do not try to make hunting arms substitute for proper defensive weaponry.

  1. Food and Water Storage for Monetary Collapse

Anyone who depends on public utilities for his water supply now should have—at a minimum—one week’s water ration put up in containers made for the purpose or else in plastic bleach bottles, together with a few drops of chlorine bleach as a preservative. Small portable water purifiers should be considered an integral part of any storage program. Water storage should not be neglected if you have a well. Pumps do break, streams become polluted and springs often fail during droughts.

Food storage is a complicated matter and one of the most vital aspects of survival preparedness. Do not settle for any company’s prepackaged “one year’s supply.” It makes no more sense to buy your food storage in this manner than it does to have the supermarket bag boy select your weekly groceries. I recommend that your supply—plus vitamin supplements—be designed to meet your own tastes and physical requirements. My own contains a three-month supply of ordinary canned goods that we rotate regularly, a three -month’s supply of compressed freeze-dried foods, and the balance in air-dried vegetables and fruit. Freeze-dried meat rounds out our program.

Practice using storable foods in your daily menus now—later is not the time to learn either their eccentricities or the threshold of your gag reflex. Do not rely on the old saw that if you’re hungry enough, you will eat anything. Don’t forget the hand grinder for wheat and learn how to preserve the food you grow and hunt for now. A few vacuum sealed cans of survival seeds are good insurance.

  1. Retreats

Whether you prefer to call it a retreat, refuge, or haven, having a safe place to go—away from the cities—during a major crisis is one of the two most important factors in a realistic program of long-term survival preparedness (the other is having the means of self-protection and food gathering.) During the aftermath of a major catastrophe such as a monetary collapse or a nuclear exchange, the cities will contain the greatest concentration of the most desperate, dangerous, systems-dependent people.

  1. Tools for Self-sufficient Living

This category properly includes all of the equipment useful or necessary to making your way without outside help—such obvious items as knives, axes and other edged tools; those for construction and repairing machinery, for maintaining a farm and gardens; hunting, fishing and general outdoor gear; communications devices.

  1. Alternate Energy Sources

This topic can be of great or little concern, depending upon your personal retreat plans, requirements and taste. It may be as uncomplicated as substituting wood for whatever you now use for heating and cooking or as complex as building a solar energy home with wind or hydroelectric power as a backup. Some will want to consider converting their cars or trucks to run on alternate fuels, while others will turn to bicycles or horses.

  1. Trade Goods

Such items as ammunition, fishhooks, knives and needles are likely to be of much greater value for some time after the collapse than any of the traditional forms of money, including gold and silver. Small, useful manufactured items such as these that require heavy industrial equipment to fabricate and for which there are not easily improvised, efficient substitutes should be your first choice. Rimfire ammunition is a good example.

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