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News for week of 2023-02-20

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News for week of 2023-01-23 (all current event convos go here).

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News for week of 2023-01-30 (all current event convos go here).

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News for week of 2023-02-06

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News for week of 2023-02-13

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News for week of 2023-01-16 (all current event convos go here).

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News for week of 2023-01-09 (all current event convos go here)

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Favorite source for storm warnings?

There have been some extreme weather effects in the US lately and San Francisco is about to have an another one. The National Weather Service’s Bay Area office issued “a frank and dire warning to citizens”:

“To put it simply, this will likely be one of the most impactful systems on a widespread scale that this meteorologist has seen in a long while,” the warning read. “The impacts will include widespread flooding, roads washing out, hillside collapsing, trees down (potentially full groves), widespread power outages, immediate disruption to commerce, and the worst of all, likely loss of human life. This is truly a brutal system that we are looking at and needs to be taken seriously.”

I find it helpful to get a “heads-up” about storms like this and sometimes they will appear in my regular daily news (The New York Times), but I’d like a more specialized source to check regularly.  My built-in iPhone weather app is pretty good at providing forecasts when things are normal but it didn’t warn me about the artic blast we received in December.

What’s your favorite source to check for storm forecasts?

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News for week of 2023-01-02 (all current event convos go here)

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News for week of 2022-12-26 (all current event convos go here)

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News for week of 2022-12-19 (all current event convos go here)

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Just another reason to be prepared!

News story this morning out of North Carolina where a massive power outage hit….deliberately caused by gunfire. 

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/intentional-vandalism-leaves-40-000-without-power-in-n-c/ar-AA14SalO

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News for week of 2022-12-12 (all current event convos go here)

This is the replacement for the twice-weekly news roundups I stopped publishing last week. Instead of all the content coming from me, we’ll instead make a blank forum thread like this every Monday, and then anyone can chip in the news and thoughts they have. We’ll keep this weekly thread going for as long as ya’ll find it useful.

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How to avoid losing your entire digital life in an instant

TL;DR: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Download all your data and store offline regularly.

A New York Times article this week, really got me thinking about how I organize my digital life. Sorry it is long but please take the time to read this, the lessons learned from this person’s experience can apply to 99% of us and there are things we can do now to prepare and be resilient against losing our entire digital life in an instant.

Here’s a brief summary of the article. A dad noticed a rash occurring on his toddler son’s genitals and took pictures with his Android smartphone to document the problem and track its progression. The parents contacted their doctor who requested the photos so they could review them in advance to their doctors appointment. The husband texted the photos to his wife’s iPhone and she then uploaded them to the doctor’s patient portal. The doctor prescribed antibiotics and the rash cleared up for the toddler.

Two days later, the dad’s phone received a message stating that his Google account was suspended because of “harmful content”. He then thought about it and realized that Google probably thinks he was sharing child porn. No big deal though, he could just contact Google and clear it up, he did nothing wrong. He filled out a form requesting a review of Google’s decision and explained his son’s infection and that the doctor requested those pictures. A few days after that, he received a response stating that they will not reinstate his account.

It gets worse… Google then contacted the authorities and the San Francisco Police Department opened up a case against this dad. He received a letter in the mail stating that they were investigating him, and served warrants to Google and his internet service provider. This would include all of his internet searches, location history, messages, documents, pictures, and videos. The dad contacted the investigator and tried to clear his name, the investigator responded that they have already closed the case because they could tell that no crime had occurred (and clearly had common sense).

The dad appealed his case to Google again sharing the police report that he is innocent, but Google was not going to budge. The New York Times also reached out to Google and asked if this dad could have his account back and they said no as well. He then got a notice that all of his information with Google was going to be permanently deleted. The sorta happy ending to all this though is that because the police had served that warrant with Google, they had a copy of all his data. They are in the process of getting this dad his information.

What a headache right!? Let’s look at all the real damage that was done.

This Google account was decades old and contained all of his emails for all that time. His contacts were stored with Google. All of his appointments were in his Google Calendar. All of his phone’s photos and videos were stored in the Google Cloud. His phone’s service plan was with the Google Fi provider so he lost that as well. He received is 2 factor authentication codes through text messages tied to that Google Fi phone number

This dad really put all his eggs in one basket and got sucked into the convenient ecosystem that Google has set up. Look up at that list and think about what you would do if you could no longer receive, send, or view old emails, could no longer receive calls or texts, couldn’t get into your accounts that needed a text message verification code, lost all your calendar appointments, and years of pictures and videos of your family. I personally would be devastated! It could be even worse if you took important notes in Google Keep, bought lots of apps, music, movies, and books through your Google account, subscribed to various YouTube channels, and more.

The lesson here is that you could be totally innocent and did nothing wrong and get your entire account banned, and even if you plead your case and any normal person with common sense would be on your side, they can still have your account banned.

Below are my tips on what I do and want to do better to avoid situations like this from totally disrupting my life. Please share your thoughts and advice as well, I want to hear if there is some better or different approach I can take to make things better.

Email – This actually happened to me last month. I was switching email accounts and for a weekend didn’t have access to my emails. It made me feel vulnerable that I could no longer contact certain people, receive notices from my bank, or get important medical test results that I was waiting on. Email is vital.

Easy step – Download a copy of your emails through Google Takeout. This will give you an offline copy of your existing data.

Medium step #1 – Have all of your emails automatically forward to a secondary Google or other email account.  That way if you got banned from one account, a copy would exist in another account.

Medium step #2 – Switch to another email provider that isn’t able to see the content of your emails. ProtonMail is a great solution.

Advanced step #1 – POP/IMAP your emails to your computer for offline viewing.

Advanced step #2 – Set up a custom domain. If your main email gets banned, you can then move it to another service and continue as normal.

Calendar –

Easy step – Export weekly/monthly your Google Calendar or any other calendar service you have. This offline file can then be imported into another Google account or pretty much any other calendar service and be rebuilt without losing all your appointments.

Medium step – Move to a totally offline calendar solution and don’t sync it to the cloud. Still keep your regular backups though in case your device gets broken. I like the app Simple Calendar for Android.

Photo and video storage – This all might have been avoided if he hadn’t set his phone to automatically upload his pictures and videos to the cloud.

Easy step – Turn off cloud sync with Google or iCloud. Yes, Apple also scans and flags potential bad pictures on their service too.

Easy step – Plug your phone into a computer monthly and download all your pictures and videos to it.

Medium step – Move to more secure cloud storage like ProtonDrive or Sync.com where they cannot access or see what you store with them.

Phone service –

Easy step – Having a different phone provider like Tmobile or Verizon will make it not as life disrupting if you lost you Google account.

Medium step – Create another Google account and use it solely for Google Voice, which gives you a free additional phone number that you can use to make and receive calls and text messages.

2 Factor Authentication – 

Easy step – Prioritize software based 2FA over text or email based 2FA. It is commonly an option everywhere except for banks in my experience. That way if you lost access to your phone number, you can still get into accounts. An easy solution is to use Authy.

Easy step – Many sites will offer backup recovery codes if you don’t have access to your authenticator app, store these to get in again.

Medium step – Move to a totally offline 2FA application like Aegis for Android or OTP Auth for iOS. Back these up manually on a regular basis in case your device is ever lost or destroyed.

Advanced step – When setting up 2FA with each service, download your seed codes into your password manager. Then if your authenticator app breaks or whatever, you can manually rebuild.

Contacts – 

Easy step – Download and backup your contacts offline monthly.

Medium step – Request alternative phone numbers and emails for each of your contacts and set up alternatives for yourself and give those to all your contacts. Make sure everyone can reach everyone at any time by any means possible.

Medium step – Print off your contact information and store in your emergency binder.

Good tip for all the above and everything else – 

Download all your data regularly and store offline. If that’s through Google Takeout, or manually for each service, this is the best thing you can do to prevent total loss. Then back that up again somewhere else, preferably at a friend’s house.

Gone are the days you can take pictures of your kid running naked in the sprinklers without having to worry about getting your account suspended. There are many other situations where you can fall victim to such things like driving past a house where someone is getting murdered and your location data is on and police think you are the murderer, or someone uses your unlocked device and looks up bad things that then gets tied back to you. Don’t fall into the thinking that “This will never happen to me” because that dad probably was thinking that and look at what he has had to go through now.

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Prepper demographics updated with 2020 FEMA survey data: over 20M people in the US alone!

Editor’s note: Colonel Chris Ellis, PhD, directs a disaster cell for the US military at India-Pacific Command. In part via his fellowship as a Goodpaster Scholar at Cornell University, he’s spent years analyzing data about the preparedness community.

The last time we analyzed FEMA survey data, it caused a bit of a splash, becoming #1 on google for “prepper demographics” and leading to a wave of mainstream press coverage about how this community has grown and moved into the mainstream. (Such as today’s 60 Minutes episode about the market growth!)

But that was using 2018 pre-Covid data (which is released years later), and we’ve since been anxious to get hands on the data FEMA collected after the pandemic changed everything.  Everyone’s been expecting that Covid — and everything else that’s made ’20-22 so much fun — did nothing but continue to pour fuel on the fire of this growing community.

I’ve finished crunching the numbers using FEMA phone surveys collected in the first half of 2020, comparing it with annual data from the National Household Survey (NHS) going back through 2017.

So this does capture the Covid effect, but perhaps may have been too soon to really reflect the long-term changes, as people were still caught in the chaos the first months of 2020, just trying to figure out how to get toilet paper or not be a cat on their courtroom Zoom.  The future batch of data that covers ‘20-21 should be more telling.

Key takeaways:

The number of people who can handle >31 days of self-reliance grew 50% over the 2017-20 period. The 20 million US preppers mark has solidly been crossed.  If you use the broader definition of a prepper as someone who can handle at least two weeks of disruption, the number gets even higher. That means around 7% of all US households were actively working on self-reliance in ’19-20, solidly increasing from 2% to 3% then 5% in recent years.  10% is only a matter of time. While the “basic preppers” segment was consistently growing year over year before Covid, the “advanced preppers” segment had been flat or even shrank a little — but that trend reversed in 2020, showing that many people saw the need to go beyond the basics in response to world events. Nothing major changed around geography: the same states that prep a lot (eg. Montana) and those that don’t (eg. Washington D.C.) stayed in their relative rankings.  Islanders, such as people in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, continue to prep at rates 50% higher than mainlanders. Rural households are still more likely than urbanites to prep, but we continue to see strong growth among city dwellers. Asians disproportionately embraced prepping in ’20, which perhaps makes sense given what they may have been hearing from friends and family back in Asia during early Covid combined with some of the anti-Asian racism that grew in the US in ’20. Perhaps most surprising: the trend in recent years was that preppers were getting younger. But that trend reversed in 2020, with the average age actually increasing a little to 52.6.  The number of younger preppers still grew — 25-34 year olds are still the largest segment on The Prepared — but there was even more growth among the older crowd during this period. There’s some weird results in this data, though, which show there’s still a disconnect between reality and how a typical household thinks about risk.  But we’ve started getting a peek at the ’21 data, where FEMA changed some of the survey questions to be clearer, and I think it will result in better data going forward.  

While the term “prepper” is ill-defined quantitatively, in my research I use a simple heuristic from the NHS: how long can you survive at home without publicly provided water, power, or transportation?  I quantify anyone with 31 days or more of self-reported preparedness as a Resilient Citizen.  Those with 30 days or less are Regulars.  Highly Resilient Citizens (HRCs) have 90 days or more and Ultra-High Resilient Citizens (UHRCs) are at 97 or more days (the maximum allowed response in FEMA’s survey).

Preparedness trends

Americans collectively have increased their levels of disaster preparedness from 2017 to 2020.  For Regulars, the effect is small – an average of seven days in 2017 to just over eight days in 2020 – but still measurable.  For this group, each year saw a slight increase.  When including Resilient Citizens and averaging all Americans, the mean jumped from just under 10 days of resilience in 2017 to 12.4 days in 2020.

The overall number of Resilient Citizens in America has also increased every year.  In 2017, approximately four out of every 100 people was a Resilient Citizen. In 2020 it had increased 50% to nearly six per 100.  In sheer numbers this means 14.9 million Americans had 31 days or more of at-home preparedness in 2020.  Ultra-Highly Resilient Citizens (97 days or more of preparedness) jumped from four million people in 2017 to 6.7 million in 2020.  There is still a heavy stereotype against “preppers,” but as more people prepare from across the political spectrum – and in various ways – the stigma appears to be slowly eroding.

Geography

Where do these households reside?  I analyzed the data in two different ways.  First was by US state or territory.  Generally speaking, lower population, rural states have the highest rates of preparedness.  Montana, Idaho, Alaska, New Hampshire, Maine, Utah, Wyoming, West Virginia, Delaware, and Hawaii make up the top ten, in descending order (i.e. Montana had the highest average).  The lowest average states were, with the exception of Texas and Illinois, all east coast states or the District of Columbia (Washington, DC was the lowest, followed by Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, and North Carolina).  A cursory look at yearly changes, by state, yielded no discernable pattern.  California and Florida saw annual increases in Resilient Citizens all four years, but Texas and New York saw random fluctuation.

Another pattern that held from my previous research was that of higher aggregate rates of preparedness in US islands (Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands).  The four-year average of residents of island locales indicates preparedness rates ~50% higher than those on the mainland (15.7 days versus 10.8 days respectively).  I maintain my original conjecture that primary drivers of this disparate finding are a “fear of state failure” coupled with an inability to easily flee larger disasters for island residents.

A second way to geographically analyze the data is by an urban-rural delineation.  The US Department of Agriculture bins zip codes into one of ten population density categories (1 = an urban area with 50,000 people or more, 10 = rural at less than 2,500 people).  There is a positive correlation between ruralness and higher levels of preparedness across all Americans.  80% of Regulars surveyed lived in an urban area.  However, a sizable two-thirds of all self-identified Resilient Citizens and 56% of UHRCs lived in an urban area as well.

Race

In regard to race, the four-year aggregates of all Americans yields that the category “Alaskan or Native American” had the highest average at 14 days of preparedness.  After this was Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, then Whites, Hispanics, Blacks/African Americans, and Asians, in that order.  Whites and Blacks saw yearly increases while the other races had fluctuations.  Asians were very stable from 2017-2019 but saw a major jump in 2020.  Several possibilities explain this latter finding: increased discrimination, higher cultural or social transmission of preparedness, news consumption patterns, or affinity to stories emanating from China and Asia writ large at the beginning of COVID.

The story among Resilient Citizens is slightly different.  For four-year aggregates, Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders topped the list at 92 days, followed by Alaskans/Native Americans (79 days), then Hispanics (77), Whites (76), Blacks (71), and Asians (65).  A large word of caution is in order here though, with all races other than Whites, the number of minority resilient citizens is quite low in any given year.  There are not enough respondents in these categories for me to confidently depict any racial patterns among Resilient Citizens on a yearly basis.  Relatedly, when conducting multi-variate analysis and controlling for things such as income, education, and an urban vs. rural home location, the variable of race was a poor indicator of being a Resilient Citizen or not.  The maximum observed impact across numerous calculations was only 2%.

Age

Resilient Citizens are slightly older (52.6 years old) overall than Regulars (51.7), but this difference is less than a year.  Interestingly though, the steady growth in Resilient Citizens is NOT among the young.  The 35 and under crowd make up a much smaller percentage of Resilient Citizens in 2020 (14.4%) than they did in 2017 (20.6%).  Comparatively, growth in those aged 36-49 is nearly 50% and for those 50+ it is 62% from 2017 to 2020.  Isolating those 60 and over saw a near doubling; the increase was 92%!  Some of this differentiation between young and old could be due to income levels and overall net worth.

 

Other variables

In all of the data analyzed, the most shocking finding to me was the reported rates of experiencing a disaster.  FEMA asked, “Have you or your family ever experienced the impacts of a disaster?”  Among all respondents, the 2020 data – in the midst of COVID – was slightly down as compared to 2017.  Among all Resilient Citizens, it was down nine full percentage points.  The 2020 survey was conducted in the summer of 2020, at the height of the first lockdown and several months before any vaccines were developed and available.  

A higher percentage of women reported being Resilient Citizens in 2020 than in 2017, but the numbers were too small for any statistical significance.  Another interesting jump was in the number of Resilient Citizens with a disability.  There was a 50% increase from 2017 to 2020.  Of note, the FEMA data indicated, at best, only a 3% rise in disabilities in the overall population during the same timeframe.  

Among preparedness circles is the concept of “bugging out”.  That is, quickly leaving your home at – or just prior to – disaster onset with an already assembled bag of emergency supplies.  Among Regulars, even though they reported higher rates of at home preparedness, their reported ready-to-go rates saw no discernable patterns among the four years studied.  By contrast, Resilient Citizens reported a 35% jump in bug-out readiness in 2019 and maintained that new high in 2020.  

Homeowner’s insurance levels increased in both groups slightly, however there were just three years of data, so this could be observed randomness.  Money saved for an emergency increased among Regulars but decreased among Resilient Citizens.  My hunch is that Resilient Citizens converted cash into preps.

What didn’t change?  Education levels between Regulars and Resilient Citizens continues to be nearly equal across all four years.  Income levels were relatively stable with Resilient Citizens on average earning a few thousand dollars more per year than Regulars.  Resilient Citizens still report higher levels of confidence in their ability to take the steps necessary to prepare for a disaster than Regulars.  Resilient Citizens also maintain they are far more likely to have had a disaster plan for at least a year. 

Looking forward to 2021 data

FEMA has just released the 2021 National Household Survey raw data.  The survey instrument has undergone some substantial changes.  First of all, it’s a larger query of America.  2021’s sample size is around 7,200 people versus the roughly 5,000 per year in each of the 2017-2020 datasets.  Secondly, some of the key questions have been modified.  For example, people are no longer asked their monthly income, but rather their annual income.  I personally think this will yield clearer results. 

Another question modification that will have significant impact on comparing 2021 to previous years is my key variable of days of total survival at home.  2021’s new survey instrument no longer asks about how long one could last at home without power, water, or transportation.  It now breaks these down into separate questions.  For example: “How long could you live in your home without power?”  And, the answers are no longer discrete numbers, but rather chronological heuristics such as “More than one week” or “More than three months.”  If you assume that those who answered at more than one month and more than three months, combined, for both the power question and the running water question are analogous to Resilient Citizens, then the percentage of Americans in 2021 at this higher level is now 8.3%, or roughly 21.5 million Americans.  Analysis is ongoing and I hope to release findings in 2023.

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Preview of whole new TP website launching soon

Timing update: The person building the website got sick with the ‘tripledemic,’ so we’re delayed at least into January.

Crossposting this from the blog since some people only visit one or the other (which we’re fixing in the new site, haha!) 

This first version is more about cleaning up the existing site/experiments and laying a solid foundation for faster future improvements. For example, the current site tech prevented us from improving the way threaded convos happen here in the forum / how you could track what was the newest comment. The new foundation will let us do that.

More details and sneak peeks here. Example:

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2022-11 forum index

Giveaway: New survival guide book from Alone’s S9 Juan Pablo Quinonez

Edit: All copies are spoken for

To spread the news about the books release, current Alone season contestant JP is sending out 3 free copies to the TP community, with the expectation of a fair review shared here later! (Your help is how we keep the best books list updated too!)

The book is THRIVE: Long-Term Wilderness Survival Guide. (It’s 120,000 words, so you’re not expected to read the whole thing. Just a fair shake.) Seems like more of a reference guide “covering modern survival skills with bushcraft techniques, step-by-step instructions, and over 400 illustrations.”

First come first served. Reply here (we’ll email the address on your account) or contact us directly via email: hello@thissite 

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Hikers caught in a wildfire

Hi all,

Came across this article about how two hikers that got caught in a wildfire survived (no pay wall) and thought some of y’all might be interested:  https://www.khq.com/news/hikers-stranded-atop-mountain-by-bolt-creek-fire/article_d6cc054e-322e-11ed-9165-231473ca123d.html

They assumed the smoke was coming from the other side of the mountains. They weren’t able to be evacuated by first responders, came close to the fire several times, ran out of water, and nearly fell of a cliff, but were ultimately able to find their car and evacuate. I’m curious what, if any, different choices or preparations you might have made? I’d have avoided going outside in smoke full stop (it’s thick enough to coat my yard in ash, and I’m several towns over!) and would have checked the fire map (again, thick smoke).

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Study: scientists should research possibility of human extinction from climate change

A study was published on August 1st (Edit: 2022) in a collaboration from researchers from various countries and universities, including the esteemed Oxford and Cambridge. It doesn’t assess the likelihood of human extinction, but instead looks at how much research has been done on this crucial topic. And a popular news broadcaster in the UK even took up the story.The authors conclude that science is sorely lacking. To quote the paper directly: “The closest attempts to directly study or comprehensively address how climate change could lead to human extinction or global catastrophe have come through popular science books”. Not scientific, peer-reviewed research. Pop-sci books.

As far as I can tell, the closest current science actually gets is examining individual risks (e.g: how food production will be affected by rising temperatures) rather than taking them together, let alone looking at how risks might cascade into or exacerbate each other.But I suppose what surprised me the most, and why I’m writing about this, is this. Exisitential risk is actually making the news in a highly-regarded, mainstream news outlet, and is becoming the subject of serious research from respected academic institutions. The fact that Cambridge University actually has a Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at all I think shows the beginnings of a step change in attitudes. Naturally, we have a way to go. I laughed out loud at how the news article described the study: “The researchers said that seriously studying the consequences of worst-case scenarios was vital, even though it might scare people.” It would seem that most are (understandably) still of the attitude ‘we shouldn’t talk about scary things because it paralyses people’, but things may be beginning to change.

What do you all think about this? The study is here, and the news article talking about it is here.

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Free FEMA webinar with TP and myself

Excited to share that FEMA has partnered with The Prepared to improve their public content and training! (How many other “prepper websites” can say that?!) 

Our first webinar is in a week, Wednesday July 13th from 1-2:30ish US Eastern. A recording will be available after, which I’ll share here.

Update: Link to recording.

Registration: https://fema.connectsolutions.com/theprepared/event/registration.html

Their announcement: 

I’ll teach/soapbox for 45 mins or so, then up to 45 mins of Q&A. We’ll cover the modern preparedness framework TP’s credited with popularizing, show specific gear examples, talk about skills and next steps, and so on. Basically a crash course for both personal prepping and how to teach others / be a community leader.

If you’re already familiar with TP’s teachings, there won’t be anything new (I’m essentially teaching what’s already on our website), but you’re of course welcome to join anyway — there will be a few hundred leaders from various CERT organizations, leaders of big FEMA chapters like New York City, and so on. 

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2022-07 FEMA TP Webinar

Prepping in old German barracks, an article about trying to stay positive about a collapse of the food supply

Yesterday I read this interesting article by The Guardian about a prepper who bought an old German barrack

Change is coming’: Meet the Englishman prepping for climate apocalypse in an old German barracks

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New affordable online pharmacy saves people thousands on life saving medicine

You may have seen Mark Cuban on Shark Tank as the famous billionaire investor/businessman. He recently opened up an online pharmacy that is trending all over the news right now with the amazing cost savings that it is offering to people. Instead of selling drugs for ridiculous amounts, they only mark it up 15% (still a healthy profit for them). A traditional pharmacy may charge you or your insurance company $9657, but at this place it is only $39. Isn’t that insane how much of a savings that is for you? Important medications are now accessible to people who may have just gone without, rationed, or went bankrupt trying to stay alive.

If you need a lifesaving prescription medication, check out costplusdrugs.com and see if you can get it cheaper on there. 

They don’t take insurance cards to pay for the drugs, but the savings are still so incredibly good that you might end up paying less for the same medication then you were with your co-pay or deductible.

It is easier to store up some extra $40 medication than it is a $9500 one. Hopefully this allows people to not only have what they need, but save some up for a rainy day if there are supply chain issues, job loss, etc.

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How has rising gas prices influenced you?

I really thought that we would see a small spike in gas prices with the conflict in Ukraine and then level out, but it doesn’t seem to stop.

Chart from Gasbuddy.com and is the national average. 

How has the rising gas prices affected everyone? Are you driving less? Have you bought a more fuel efficient vehicle? Did you switch jobs to commute less?

I’ve been driving much less often and combine all my errands into one trip so that I don’t have to go out. It changes the way I prepare because I need to store more items on hand and sometimes just go without something like bread for a couple days until I build up enough reasons to go out again. I don’t visit family or go out for entertainment as much as I used to either. It feels like I am back under quarantine and is starting to affect my mental health like during covid. 

I also rotate through my stored gas cans every 6 months so I don’t have to buy fuel stabilizer, but maybe it would be cheaper to stabilize the fuel because 6 months from now it might be much higher.

Stupid me is going to laugh and be wish for $4.90 gas in 2 months time when it’s then around $6.25 or something. 

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Be aware of infectious disease outbreaks near you with this free map tracker

Wanted to link a resource I was recently introduced to that lets you track health including: animal diseases, environmental disasters, hospital acquired infections, vectorborne diseases, STDs, respiratory infections etc across the world. You can narrow it down to your local area and see what is in your region that you can think about preparing for.

https://www.healthmap.org/en/

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Cost-of-living crisis changes Brits’ shopping habits: Hard-pressed shoppers are bulk buying

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10712489/British-shoppers-resorting-bulk-buying-amid-cost-living-crisis.html

Ala Prepping style:)

British shoppers are bulk-buying groceries to save money amid the ongoing cost of living crisis, a new report has suggested.

The Barclaycard consumer survey found that 35 per cent of card users were stocking up on everyday items such as tea and coffee, tinned tuna and hygiene products such as shampoo and hand soap.

Buying in bulk can equal less trips to the supermarket – meaning less money spent on increasingly expensive fuel – while there are often savings to be had in buying products at wholesale. 

According to the report, gathered using data from March, 13 per cent of shoppers are stocking up on canned tomatoes, baked beans, tuna, pasta, flour, rice and grains. 

Meanwhile, 11 per cent are bulk-buying household supplies such as toilet roll, while 10 per cent are stocking up on laundry detergent and shampoo. 

At least 10 per cent are also getting extra supplies of tea and coffee.  

Shoppers also admitted to bulk buying over-the-counter painkillers (8 per cent), pet food (7 per cent), fizzy drinks (6 per cent), alcohol (5 per cent), Easter eggs and chocolate (5 per cent) and baby supplies (3 per cent).      

José Carvalho, Head of Consumer Products at Barclaycard, said: ‘Many sectors saw strong growth in March compared to the same period in 2019, as sunnier weather encouraged Brits to socialise at pubs and bars, book staycations and update their wardrobes for spring and summer.

‘However, rising fuel prices and household bills are clearly starting to influence consumer behaviour, with many Brits changing their travel and shopping habits to save money. 

While this may dampen growth in the months ahead, we shouldn’t overlook the expected heatwave later in April, and the fast-approaching Easter holidays, both of which are likely to boost non-essential spending.’  

The data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, revealed that spending on essential items grew 18.1 per cent in March, the highest uplift since September 2021. 

However this was largely driven by spend on fuel, which soared 26.1 per cent as prices at the pump continued to climb.  

Card spending in general grew 17.7 per cent last month compared to the same period in 2019, as Brits took advantage of the sunnier weather and lifting of all remaining Covid restrictions to visit pubs, dine out, and update their wardrobes in preparation for the months ahead. 

However, the cost of living is causing increasing concern for most UK adults, with travel plans and shopping preferences changing in response to rising fuel and food prices.

Some two fifths of drivers (41 per cent) said they are changing the way they travel. 

Of these, over half (54 per cent) are walking more often, almost two-fifths (38 per cent) are cutting back on long car journeys, and 22 per cent are opting to cycle instead.

Supermarkets saw a 16.9 per cent jump in card spendings – higher than the growth recorded in both January (15.5 per cent) and February (16.0 per cent) this year – but much of this was likely due to inflation and rising food prices. 

Spending on essentials was also boosted by a demand for convenience and the popularity of local shopping, with food and drink specialist stores (butchers, bakeries and online meal-kit providers) up by 76.9 per cent compared with three years ago.  

Barclaycard made comparisons with three years ago because consumer spending was so heavily affected by the lockdowns in March 2020 and March 2021. 

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