Sunday, December 15, 2013

Squirreling Away Your Survival Assets

You don't have to be some sort of a right or left wing kook to think about caching  away some things to get you through hard times. As they say - don't carry all of your eggs in the same basket, or as is more appropriately said for most of us nowadays, diversify your assets. Diversifying your assets does not only mean to have several different types of financial investments but means having several different places to store them too.

Just like a bushy-tail (gray squirrel) that stores its various assets of acorns, seeds and nuts in several different underground hiding places, so too could you do likewise. Keep money in the bank, in the stock market in different funds, buy some municipal bonds and Treasury bonds, maybe stash some gold and silver in a safe deposit box along with some of those municipal and or Treasury bonds. Keep some bonds at home, maybe even a bit of gold or silver and of course some cash at home too - just not in your mattress.

Bear in mind though that money, in whatever form, is not your only asset. Take the hint from those squirrels, acorns are not all that the little bushy-tail hide for future use. Instead of just money, you may also want to stash away some emergency food supplies. You can store some at home in dry storage in your basement, maybe some in a freezer in your garage, or just in a pantry. Better yet, store some elsewhere too, maybe more in a storage locker or your second home. Store water too. Needed medical supplies, like your prescription medications, are another thing to consider stashing for future use.. You may also want to keep a small supply of other basic survival items in your cache in the event you have to depart your residence during a crisis.

I am not telling you to do any of this in preparation for a fantasy 
zombie apocalypse, or for the end of days, or a civil war, or revolution, or government takeover (although those last three are distinctly possible even if improbable). I am telling you to be ready for things like an economic collapse (a depression), bugging out in the event of local civil unrest (continued days long riots right in your neighborhood), a natural disaster that destroys your home and prevents aid from arriving rapidly (think Hurricane Katrina and Tropical Storm Sandy) causing shortages of food and water, or just something as simple as you losing your source of income even if temporarily. All of them could rapidly deplete your supplies of all the things mentioned above. So, it might not be such a bad or far fetched idea to have some in stock to fall back on.

If you do decide to store your survival assets, think a bit like the squirrel. You don't want to lose it all them in one fell swoop in the event of a flood, fire or theft. I am not telling you to run out, like a squirrel, to bury all of your assets but maybe burying some of them would not be too bad of an idea. What I am suggesting is to secure your survival assets in numerous places to assure a couple to few different things. First is that your items are not easy for others to find and steal or for a disaster to destroy, all at once. Secondly, you may not be able to get to only the one single location in which you stored them all, if you made only one cache. Your access may be blocked by natural obstacles or manmade ones and you may be forced to travel in a different direction.

So where else - besides your home - can you reasonably store some of your survival assets? There are several storage companies such as Public Storage (I used them because I think they are nationwide). They rent storage containers / rooms. You can easily find these types of storage units at offered by many other companies at many different locations. Self-storage locker(s). come in units as small as 5'Lx5'Dx8'H - maybe even smaller and some can be had for as little as about $20 per month plus tax. Others are much larger and could fit the furniture from a large house. You could rent one or more and rent them in different areas. Many self-storage facilities offer 24 hour, 7 day per week access to the renter. Check with the facility management to see what kind of security is furnished at their location.

Then there are banks that offer safe deposit boxes. Banks offer great security although that affects how and when you can access them. You only have access to them during banking hours. In the event of a crisis, the bank may not allow access even during regular banking hours. In addition, safe deposit boxes are all pretty much 
small sized containers. You may want check on the legality of storing certain items in a bank.

Then there are secret underground caches. Yep, you really could squirrel away some of your survival assets. That requires you to find a place where the items are not likely to be discovered or effected by a natural disaster, and it should be a place where you could locate the stash again easily. If you have some acreage, you could bury your things on your own property. Other site choices might be state lands or federal lands out in the boonies. You may or may not also want to consider your own backyard. The locations are up to you but make sure it is legal to bury your items where you do so. You have to consider that this option may be the least secure of all and you need to be able to take the loss should someone else discover your stash.

There are companies out there that offer ready-made burial containers for your valuables. Mono Vaults, manufactured by Store Guns (aka: Poly Farm, LLC of Meridian, Idaho),  are cylindrical containers that are manufactured to be buried and they come in a variety of sizes. While they are specifically designed to accommodate firearms, they certainly will also store a wide variety of other items. MTM Case-Guard also offers a single model of similar storage device, the Survivor Ammo Can. You could also make your own underground storage container from products available at places like Home Depot or Lowes.

I am sure you can think of other storage options. One other thing about rentals or containers you purchase,  no matter which one or more you decide upon, one type can by quite variable in price depending on the sources where you can buy it or rent it. So do some shopping around before making a purchase.

As to what you should be storing, the list is up to you but I recommend at least the following items in any survival storage cache:

At least three days of food, per person in your group, at each location where you have items in storage.

Water and or water purification tablets or a water filtering device.

A small first aid kit.

Prescription medications to last at least a few days to a week.

Necessary, and I do mean truly needed, over the counter medications.

About $50 cash per person in your group. This can be supplemented or added to in the form of a small amount of gold and silver bullion (maybe 1/4 to 1 ounce of gold and 10-20 one ounce silver coins).

A good quality pocket knife.

Small LED flashlight(s) with extra batteries.

Waterproof matches and tinder (small to medium sized household candles are great for this.

A few glo-sticks.

A legally owned pistol and about 50-100 rounds of ammunition for it. Make sure it is legal to store it where you do so.

A space blanket for each person in your party.

A compass and a map with prearranged meet-up locations marked in order of preference as accessible. This way if one family or group member gets to one storage spot, he or she can take the items and head to the preferred rendezvous spot. If the way is blocked to the first preferred location, then go to number 2 instead, or to number 3 if you also cannot get to the second choice. Of course, the storage area itself may serve as the initial meeting place but if you arrive their alone, and have to vacate for safety reason, you would then head to one of the other prearranged meet-up locations going in order of preference.

You can easily come up with others items you would want to have at the ready if you need them. Again, the options as to where and how to store them are up to you, I only made a few suggestions. The amount you store is also up to you as your finances and situation allow.

Even if you decide to only store emergency items within your home, each family member could have a grab an go bag, with the above items in it, at the ready to do just what the name says, grab 
and go. 

All the best,
Glenn  B
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