Dealing With The Unprepared (Level 2 Prepping & Preparedness)

Level 2 Preparedness. A period of time up to 1 month at home.

Most disaster or emergency situations are short lived. One’s survival is reasonably likely in today’s modern world under these circumstances. Most will find a way to survive or be helped by others. That is, short of immediate life threatening injury.

From Week #1 to Week #4

I defined Level 2 preparedness intentionally to span a period of time between 1 week and 4 weeks.

In my estimation, week #1, #2 are fairly manageable (with some exceptions). Especially with help for those who need it – though potentially difficult and uncomfortable for many.

By the time you reach week #3, #4, you’re getting into a threshold where things will likely start to get pretty “squirrely”. Iffy. Shaky. Get my drift?

So Level 2 goes from not terribly bad, to maybe getting pretty (potentially) bad.

At Level 3 (1 month – 1 year) things definitely take on new meaning and concerns! However week #3 & #4 could begin to get that way too – depending on where you live and what your local community looks like. I just wanted to set the stage with that explanation…

Dealing With The Unprepared

So, dealing with the unprepared. I’ve written on this a number of times. Though usually the context had been strictly SHTF, worst case scenarios. Within Level 2, I believe (with some exceptions) that it’s not going to go “Mad Max”.

Exceptions include a Level 2 that is obviously headed to a Level 3 time frame due to the cause and results of event. In this case, the realization that it’s truly SHTF will likely result in early descent into disorder.

Okay. So most regulars here know that a high percentage of the population is definitely NOT prepared at Level 2. Disturbingly, many are also not prepared at Level 1! With that said, the percentages of unprepared are variable. And only YOU know your own locality. Your neighborhood. Your neighbors. That’s what you need to evaluate.

The way to deal with the unprepared? First, have an idea how many are not prepared! And then to what extent… Do you know the clues to look for? Have you talked to your neighbors? Generally, it doesn’t take long to form an opinion of their readiness.

Some Will “Go Gray”, Others Will Engage

Alrighty then. The event is underway. There are two trains of thought. One, go “gray” and maybe pretend like you’re “one of them”, unprepared. Two, engage with your immediate neighbors and help them where you can.

Personalities come into play. Some here will never help their neighbor(s). Others will, to varying extents. Some will lock the gate and bar-the-door (even during a temporary Level 2 event with a positive outcome end in sight). Others will reach out to their neighbors to discover what they may need.

You know what? There really is no right or wrong “blanket” answer here (how to deal with your neighbors – if, at all). Why? Because there are so many individual variables. Most people view life narrowly from their own personal perspective. But others may be quite different.

My Circumstances, My Plan…

If I say what I might do, some of you will likely disagree, because you don’t know my situation. My region. Neighbors. My locality. The resources here. Etc..

Here’s what I would do during a Level 2 event in my locale regarding “dealing with the unprepared”.

I would reach out and visit all of my immediate neighbors. I don’t have many close by, but I know who they are and we’re friends with some of them. No, I wouldn’t go around saying that I had all sorts of “stuff” to go around. But I would try and find out if everyone is alright or needs anything.

Why? Because I’m not afraid of my neighbors. I’m not suspicious of them. I know that I would appreciate my neighbors help if I needed it. So I’m not afraid to offer help if I choose to do so. I also know there is strength in numbers. Circling the Wagons, so to speak – great for security too.

Given that it’s a Level 2 time span with a probable positive outcome, and given my present location/circumstances, I would be out there checking on my immediate locale and offering help where I can. That good will is going to become a good thing in the future…

Your Circumstances, Your Plan…

Now my circumstances may be different from yours. Hypothetically, or in actuality, you may live in an urban area or densely populated suburban region where you don’t know your neighbors (or very few of them). You may be reluctant to reach out. Maybe that’s your personality, regardless of where you live.

Then there are those who are simply paranoid or have those tendencies. So the door gets locked while you wait it out.

Others may peek out the window or tip-toe out into the street to get a sense of what might be going on out there.

Still others will go knocking on doors of their neighbors home to see how they’re fairing.

What Will The Unprepared Need?

What are the things that the unprepared might need in this situation? I haven’t defined the circumstance. Obviously a grid-down is going to be infinitely worse during these weeks. It’s probably a reasonable assumption that a Level 2 event will encompass a black-out.

The basic survival needs will be the same as it always was. Shelter. Water. Food. Security.

Winter? No heat? That’s a problem. Summer? Wicked hot? That could be a problem. No power? No water pump? That’s a very big problem. The unprepared ran out of food? That’s a big problem too! Security? Well that will depend on where you live and your own local situation.

You preppers already know the various ways to deal with these problems. Or you should… (Search this blog for solutions). Are you prepared for the unprepared in your immediate neighborhood? One way or the other, it will be a reality (dealing with the unprepared).

Again, Level 3 (to come later) will be VERY different in my view. However during a Level 2 with a likely positive outcome end-in-sight, I will be in a mindset of helping and giving to the extent that I decide is appropriate, though with caveats.

I hope this has been food for thought.

[ Read: Preparedness Level 1 – 4 Series Overview ]


  1. As far as unprepared goes, I do not have to look too far as my spouse chooses to not be on the preparedness wagon. When something does happen, she tends to withdraw into herself and our home. ( I tend to be more outgoing than she is.).

    This is both good and bad because she will point out things that have been in our inventory for years and are due for rotation. Years ago, I got quite upset at her for throwing out good food that was recently expired. ( canned food.) so she now knows that setting aside supplies is a priority with me.

    Between my wife and I , we strive to find a balance point. ( like most married couples do I suspect.)

    1. Calirefugee
      Finding that balance can be tough.
      As with everything in life, it is so important if you want to make it work.
      Im in the same boat, im doing it and the significant other tolerates it.

  2. To get my wife on-board I told her to look at what our grandparents did. What would eat or do if rough times came knocking on our door. She got behind that and is now helping (or at least not bitching at me) when I store food and supplies.

  3. “And only YOU know your own locality. Your neighborhood. Your neighbors”

    So true, so necessary. If you don’t “know” your neighbors, you’re leaving a gaping hole in your preparedness. Doesn’t mean you have to be best buddies or social acquaintances. No, it means you have paid attention to them and made some attempt at evaluating their character. Do you recognize them when you see them? Do you sense that they are a friend, a threat, or a benign entity not to be worried about?

    I live in a sparsely populated area. Scattered as we are, folks who live in the area, as a rule, know each other. Maybe not intimately, but at least recognize each other on sight, and can identify them with where they live. If I see a stranger driving around, I make note of the vehicle, attempt to get a license plate number, and location I saw them. I’ll ask around to see if others might know who they are. If the stranger is walking, you can bet that I will stop and engage them in conversation. Call me nosy, but so be it, guess it goes back to when I worked a beat. And, yes, I consider my scattered community my responsibility to help protect.

    I have a gate at the entrance to my drive that I seldom close. I’m sure folks around know that it’s almost never closed. They also know (or suspect) that someone is always home. We seldom ever all leave at the same time. In a “level 2 event”, I will probably close that gate and post a sign saying:

    “Due to the present uncertainties, I’ve closed this gate. This gate is not for my protection, it is for yours. If you know me, please climb over and visit. If you do not know me, please do not challenge my resolve to protect what is mine.”

    1. “Due to the present uncertainties, I’ve closed this gate. This gate is not for my protection, it is for yours. If you know me, please climb over and visit. If you do not know me, please do not challenge my resolve to protect what is mine.”

      Awesome sign on the gate Dennis!

      (With your permission of course… :)

      I may have to use that sign on our gate as well…)

      1. I dig it! Although on some level, you can certainly expect “challenges”.

    2. That sign says I have stuff! Very dangerous advertising that. My opinion, just shut the gate, your neighbors will know why you did.

      1. Oldman,

        Totally agree on not advertising what you have. We live in America. No matter how little you think you have, everyone has something. Even the poorest among us have quite a lot. A thief, and/or, a taker, receives pleasure from the act itself as much as they do from the gain.

        I worked an area of a big city that was home to the poorest residents in the city. The overwhelming majority lived at or below the poverty level. Yet, they suffered a burglary/theft rate 4 to 5 times that of the more affluent areas.

        Years ago I got to knowing an old man named John. John lived in a small frame home in one of the poorest neighborhoods in a poor area of town. John kept his yard tidy, his house in good repair. Seldom a week would go by without several of his neighbor’s homes being burglarized or being vandalized. John liked to sit on his front porch at varying times of the day with an old, single barreled, 12 gauge shotgun cradled in his lap. That shotgun had the longest barrel I believe I’ve ever seen on a shotgun. He called it his “goose gun”. I doubt John ever shot a goose in his life.

        I would occasionally stop and visit with John. We would sit and talk on his front porch. He would tell me how bad his neighborhood had gone down. He would talk of the good old days when kids were courteous and parents worked hard to make a living and raise their kids right. He would show me his shotgun, tell me how it was his Dad’s before him. I would hand him a couple of buckshot rounds, saying “just in case.” John would smile and wink back at me.

        To my knowledge, John’s house was never burglarized, even though it looked to be the home of the most prosperous man on the block.

  4. Living in the deep South, most who surround us are of the Christian Faith, thus are trusted Brothers n Sisters. During the last hurricane I went to two homes of “new” people and offered help to them. Our Church regularly feeds 140-150 families every two weeks so I would expect that we would do so until the supplies run out. Many folks around here are both Farmers and Beef cattle Ranchers, have generators and wells, so I consider us blessed.

    ” May the Lord Bless YOU and keep YOU”

  5. Good article and great comments on the marriage aspect of it all.

  6. – In the community where I live, we had a minor event a couple of years ago. A hurricane blew up to West Texas and stalled out over us, dumping 10-12 inches of rain in a few hours. Although it doesn’t really look like it, our community is built on a low hilltop. The resulting flooding cut us off from the world for more than a week. although it was possible to get around in the town itself with care. (if you didn’t mind kids playing on Main St. with paddle boats),

    I asked a friend, the manager of our one store, if we had had anyone complaining of any shortages on anything and was told that we hadn’t even sold any batteries. Milk, bread and eggs sold at about their normal rates and were low, but still available. Gas was available, and more people than normal buying gas in cans at the store and our gas station.

    Most of the community had power throughout all but the first couple of days; a truck outside of town damaged one of the powerlines coming into town and it was able to be repaired temporarily by an electrical lineman with a bucket truck at about 50 hours. They couldn’t get into the town itself. Even eighteen-wheelers were flooded out. The funny part was, there was an eighteen-wheeler stuck in a draw on a road about two miles from my house; I had taken the pickup through there when the rain began, relocating a skunk I had caught in a box trap.

    As a general rule, I am not too worried about my neighbors or community.

    – Papa S.

    1. Papa Smurf, That’s great! Sounds like you’re in a good place with prepared people.

  7. I would help family with whatever in spite of no prep on their wife is somewhat on board though I feel the need to justify purchases. Unfortunately I have no trustworthy neighbors, knowing they don’t abide by hunting regulations during normal times, and are only concerned for themselves, in any they would probably need to be under close scrutiny therefore no help from me.

  8. Ps. 3 weeks ago I lost the 4 legged love of my life,the Maggie of Maggie’s farm .Choc lab.and I’ve never been in more emotional pain in my life.

    1. Maggie’s farm;
      I am so very sorry for your loss, there are few words to help, I will only suggest your Maggie will be there for you at the Rainbow Bridge, and yes I truly believe in the Bridge.

    2. – Maggie’s farm,

      You have our sympathies. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned losing my yellow Lab to a hive of Africanized bees, when they attacked my DW and she was biting them off of her. We took the dog to an emergency vet in a nearby town. She died in my lap.

      The vet and I counted over a hundred stings in her mouth. DW and I both also had over 100 stings, but Cherry was barking and screaming at the bees trying to drive them away. I know she had other stings on the rest of her body. It’s been a couple of years now, but I still miss the dog. Our two dogs now will never be the dog she was, but it’s not for lack of trying.

      – Papa S.

    3. I am so sorry to hear of your loss of your Maggie. Our hearts break so they can wriggle right in there and stay loved forever. I wish you peace. In time it will come.

    4. Maggie’s farm,

      My deepest sorrow, our dogs are such a huge part of our family too.

      Be well and my very best to you.

    5. So sorry for your loss. Pets ARE family. I know Maggie will be waiting there for you just as assuredly as I know my dogs and cats will be there for me when I pass on.

    6. Maggies Farm;
      I am so sorry for your loss. Been there myself in the last couple of years and it really hurts. Praying for your peace.

    7. Maggie’s Farm,
      So very sorry for your loss. Nothing can help with the empty feelings you have now. I still have the pictures of my black lab/Rotty we lost 23 years ago in my fridge. Miss him every day. They live on in our hearts and memories forever.
      Peace be with you.

      1. Thank you all so much for your condolences and kind words. It means more than you know to me and my wife. We are truly ❤ broken.But you folks are really like family. Thank you.

    8. Maggie’s farm,
      I empathize with you 1000%. We are never prepared for the loss of our dearest 4-legged friends. I’ve lost several over the years and when my present 4-legged goes, I know it will be unspeakably difficult. Sorry for your loss. I know exactly how it feels. Know this… That pain will fade, but it will take time. One day at a time. Hang in there…

    9. Maggie’s farm
      Our condolences.
      Is hard to lose a close pet and a comrade.
      They know us better than we know ourselves, at times.

    10. My sincerest condolences to you. Losing a member of your family is always tough, and yes I truly believe in 4 legged family members. I’m an old man and I have had a few exceptional dogs in my life. Losing each one has been a huge loss to me and my young’uns. I hope this pain you feel lessens with each day.


    11. Maggie’s farm,
      So sorry to read about your Maggie. Our beloved pets are family and best friends, and their loss is so painful. Like NRP, I also believe in the Rainbow Bridge, and expect all my fur babies to be there to greet me when I arrive on the other side, as I believe your Maggie will be there for you. Until then, I know lots of tears will be shed. Take care.

    12. I am so sorry for your loss!

      Maggie sounds like a wonderful girl!

      Our four legged friends are also family.

      I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    13. I can relate I lost my best friend Gemma a Boston Terrier And Two weeks Later Buddy My Pug.

  9. A concern I would have, and do most of the time when the lights flicker. How do you know if “It’s” going to be a Level 1 or Level 4? Hence the immediate need for Communication and the whereabouts of how to react to a particular ‘event’.

    In a Lever 2 situation, I would agree there would be a huge tendency to help thy neighbor…. BUT and that’s a huge BUT, we are talking a time frame from 1 week to 4 weeks, the differences in peoples attitude and aggressions will change 1000% in a very short time. Don’t eat for a week and tell me I’m wrong.

    So let’s say we’re in week one, Level 2 and everything seems to be going just Hunkie-Dorie and your helping 4-5 families, what happens at 3 weeks when those 4-5 families start tell their friends and neighbors that NRP has been helping them, and there “seems to be an endless supply at his access”?

    Back to Information, will the crises be over right at 4 weeks? Or is it going to stretch into 6-8 weeks, remembering that no one knows for sure how long the duration will be. Do you know for sure that FEMA is on the way to bring water to the Super Dome? Is the Grid going to come back on in another short week or be out for 20 more days? Are you going to run your supplies totally dry and hope that “it’s” over at week 4 or 5 or 10 maybe 20 weeks?

    On the other hand, what happens when the Lever 2 is over in 2 weeks and you decided to not help thy neighbors? People scorned have very good memories and WILL let you know one way or another that you were NOT there to help the community, or to offer Granny down the street a bucket of clean water or a breakfast bar so she did not go hungry. Maybe you happened to have some antibiotics that would have helped the guy ½ mile away from losing his hand to an infection?????

    Something one had better remember and think very hard on, A Man (even worst a mother) will do absolutely anything to feed his/her starving little girl. Are you really willing to “defend” your stuff by offing that Man so you have your “stuff” and the next day FEMA rolls into town with 20 trucks of goodies and the “event” is over…….

    Ya know, if this Preparing/Survival/Lifestyle stuff was easy everyone would be doing it……

    1. I agree NRP. The difference between a level 2 and level 3 are huge. And, make a wrong decision and there could be dire consequences. We can all write about various ideas and theories, but until it actually happens, and the circumstances unfold, it’s pretty tough to know what the right thing to do will be.

      I sure hope all my preps turn out to be for naught, and that I (and none of us) have to face these decisions.

  10. We live in a small, rural town where many people farm beef and dairy cattle, some hogs, and many small farms. These people will be able to care for themselves for weeks on end.

    But there are still a lot of local people who go out for many of their weekly meals. Most that live this lifestyle work in the next town over and are “too tired” to cook and clean up after working an 8 hr desk job (pretty sad). These are the ones who will be a drain on those who keep a pantry or live a lifestyle that feeds their family on their farm.

    While I have been encouraged by the numerous young people coming back to their roots or finding new roots that include a homesteading lifestyle, they are not just around the corner to me. But we have done what we can to help and encourage them.

    We will check on our immediate neighbors and assist as we are able, but they will not be aware of the extent of our preparation.

    1. “We will check on our immediate neighbors and assist as we are able, but they will not be aware of the extent of our preparation.”

      I agree

  11. I’m at a loss over this question right now. After 5 years of ‘community building”, helping neighbors, and getting along just great…many have snapped over Trump! It’s crazy. Our closest neighbors now aren’t speaking to us (like 5 year olds) over some yard improvements they want to do that will actually be on OUR property (they don’t have the room on their property). Told them no. Now they HATE us! Anyway, I’m re-evaluating just how, more like ‘if’, I would go about helping others here. No one will starve out here in the country where we are. So not sure now how to answer this…. Time will tell, actually.

    1. A difficult situation indeed!

      I would be cautious.

      Listen to your gut who is a danger or trustworthy and truly needing some help. Don’t be taken in by how they act or how they talk. Listen to your gut.

      If you help, remember that you don’t have that much yourself.

      Don’t be obvious about anything you do, except looking for the supplies that you don’t have. Just don’t push too hard on that :) :)

  12. Have your “hungry” neighbors grabbed a fishing pole? Did they even try to kill a squirrel or a rabbit? Are they making an effort to feed themselves? Do they have food in their homes that maybe they don’t like? Something that takes some effort to cook?

    Some folks will sit back and whine, until someone comes to “save” them. I will not help those who are too lazy to help themselves. My first suggestion will be the fishing pole or shooting a squirrel. If they are too lazy for that, they’re not really hungry.

    I always try to help my neighbors, but I’ll not be taken advantage of. The very elderly or those who physically can not provide for themselves, will likely have things magically appear.

    We had a power outage about 15-20 years ago, that lasted for 13 days. It was an ice storm. Ya quickly figure out which neighbors can deal with things and which ones become helpless. I’m fortunate to have good neighbors. We tend to help each other. There are too many variables to know how much help, I could provide. I’m sure I’d help with some things. I’d much rather loan out a fishing pole than give a man my catch of the day.

    As others have mentioned, communications will be important. Might give ya an idea of how long it’s gonna last. Might have to turn on the ham radio. You know, just to be sure it really is a short term thing.

  13. This article really hits on a concern of mine. It’s one thing to put up supplies, acquire skills and prepare the best you can for you and yours… those are manageable tasks.

    But, when something goes wrong, then what? In suburbia, we know several of our neighbors, including two single women, a couple of families and an elderly couple. All of them would need help. A true level 2 would be okay, but if it dragged out longer, I could not possibly keep feeding all of them. So what to do?

    In not suburbia, people are much better prepared, but there are a lot of much older folks who may not need food or water, but may fall ill, or be in bad shape without meds… or struggle with warmth in the dead of winter. We would certainly help anyone we could. And this is a tight-knit community where not helping others would turn a person into a post-emergency pariah.

    But again it depends: is this weather related, disaster-related, or something more isolating like a biological problem?

    And how do you give someone help without everyone in town knowing? Or, how do you go from helping to stoping if the emergency drags on?

    Tricky stuff, this level 2 – not as cut and dried as level 1 or level 3.

      1. Ken,
        Great point. Good info will be vital in making good decisions. I bought a couple of portable radios after an article you wrote a year or two ago, but I don’t know if they have shortwave capability. Shame on me for not spending more time practicing with them. If neither have shortwave capability, I need to get 2 of these (one for each location). Thank you!

        1. So Cal Gal, While Shortwave & HAM bands may provide good ‘discovery’, it sounds like you’re okay (most people don’t own a portable radio at all). Awhile ago I did a short article on the Best “Cheap” AM/FM pocket radio. I bought one of them and it performs well versus its price! (minus the shortwave band)

        2. 2 sistas
          My sister and I are roomies. She is present oriented. Not preper. I have enough for us for maybe two weeks. No way to protect us. We barely know any neighbors after 10 yrs in neighborhood. Its sad. We are in 60s. I try but need to do better with supplies. I feel like a target after reading this. What can I do? How would we protect ourselves? What would be first suggestions. My sons live quite a ways away. Should ee leave our home and try for there’s. I have a bugout bag with 3 days supply. But folks could attach and take. I have no solution to delimma.

        3. Two Sistas
          I’m not sure where you are so some of that is difficult to answer.
          Should you get something to protect yourself? Yes
          Should you get some kind of training? Yes
          Go to your sons place? absolutely and make sure he knows that in an emergency you are going to try to make it to him. Since he lives a ways a way you will need to get moving soon into an event if not before the event. You need to have a load plan. Make a list of what you are packing then actually try it out to (A) make sure it fits, (B) know how much time and energy is needed so that can be taken into consideration when preparing to leave (C) look at how much extra fuel it will take to carry that load especially if the main routes are blocked.
          Look at maps, read the atlas posts on here and make that your next project. Get your sister involved with it. Hopefully picking alternate routes isn’t too far out of her comfort zone and she can help with that. Look at resources along the way like water. Water is heavy and the less I can carry and obtain along the way the better I might be IF it’s safe enough to do so.
          None of us are prepared for everything. We do the best we can with what we have. Having a 3 day supply and a bag to move quickly or a few weeks if you bug in is commendable.

  14. Seems like a level 2 event (week 2 thru week 4 duration) would most likely be weather-related or geologic – earthquake or volcano. If I could get out of the impact area to family/friends I might just go, and would expect the neighbors might do so as well.

    If grid is down into second week, including no fuel, closed stores in town, no disaster management showing up, would go gray. Most of my neighbors are unprepared for hunkering down for any length of time.

    The dilemma of how do we know it’s a level 2 or level 3 is as NRP comments. If I knew I could easily replenish supplies after a short period, then could offer some help. But would it set me up as a target in a future long-term event?

    1. You are right.

      Go gray.

      Have it in you plan and follow it from the time you gather any supplies. Don’t keep anything out that could be seen. Don’t go around talking about it before a situation occurs. Otherwise you’ll have people lined up at your door.

      Where can you keep the supplies you do have that won’t be easily seen?

      It would be good to be able to help neighbors, but who is really safe to help? What kind of help can you give that won’t give too much info away?

      1. In a situation where we don’t know what’s happened, including grid or commo down, the group knows to gather here at the farm. Out in the sticks near the end of a dead end road. Group does include a couple households on the road. Definitely gray to the outside world, but near neighbors would see what’s happening with folks gathering in. Again week 5 and following . . . back to normal or the new normal?

  15. I know only 4 of the neighbors in the subdivision as no one seems to be around Go walking and there’s no one to be seen, kids maybe.The two directly across the street and an old friend further in and the new people to the west of us, he works for same grocery that Son2 does. Like DJ I am also pondering the IF because of the Jerk behind me who thinks what’s ours is his. I have a standby generator and couldn’t figure out why it was sounding like it was straining when it went on some time ago during a power outage (DH had gone to visit a friend down south). The Jerk behind me had plugged a cord to my outlet outside without asking to run His house. I’m fairly reasonable, but he didn’t even ask if he could. SO I turned off the outside lights and plug boxes by the breaker box. Didn’t take him long to send one of his kids to unplug the cord, he was too chicken to do it himself.Told the young kid tell your father to ask next time. Had to keep the outside off until power came back on. Our problem is the original builder of this house tied BOTH bathrooms to that circuit.We didn’t know it til that outage. We’ve looked into rewiring but just can’t afford it right now, there are other issues we have been dealing with. Good thing I had (and have) a few alternative ways of getting light in there, bathing by candle light was fun by the way. And it seems talking with our neighbors same thing happens in the subdivision all over. People here are either yuppies with bratty spoiled pups or dinks that don’t care about the neighbors. It’s a sorry state of affairs now a days.

  16. Things have changed. Now instead of knowing your new neighbors they mostly want to not know you. I am afraid that if a Level 2 event occurs again(Katrina was the first, near a 2 anyway) in my area it would be ugly indeed by week 4. The local druggies would not have had their usual fix after the first week and the cry of “where is the Government” would be loud. Be careful offering help to those not family or well known friends and acquaintances. Helping through your local church, perhaps anonymously, may be the way to go. Individuals may be reasoned with crowds not so much.

  17. Our little Gated Dirt Road only has 3 landowners and well over 1000 acres. 1 of my neighboring land owners are Weekend Warriors and use their land for recreational activity. They have a nice little cabin/barn and are good folks and like minded prepared people.

    The 2nd neighbor mainly uses his “barn-dominion” during hunting season and a few times in the summer to get ready for deer season. His family rarely accompanies him.

    Both would be very helpful if a major SHTF occurs. I plan on helping them out by doing what I can to provide security, but if the SHTF event is bad enough and I don’t see them in a year I guess I’d “borrow” their stuff, leaving an I.O.U. of course.

  18. I’m fairly certain that the households in my area would be fine for Level 2. There are several generational families here who are living separately (separate homes and property), but live next to each other. No doubt they would help each other. The family ‘heads’ would probably reach out to other households, ours included, after a week or two — more or less out of curiosity and as a check-in. At that point, neighbors would ‘get by’ and wouldn’t impose. We all tend to keep to ourselves. Some of these neighbors are involved in preparedness because of their religious beliefs and because they grow some of their own foods. More than likely every neighbor within a 1 mile radius has 2-4 weeks of supplies, but preparedness conversations have never taken place with us.

    The ‘transplants’ are neighbors that I can’t vouch for and they would be at the top of the “don’t trust” list. They came from the suburbs and have a different point of view than most of us here. They might try to help one another but I seriously doubt that they become trusted community members with those of us who have lived here 15 years or more. Trust is earned.

    Our immediate community is changing though. My next door neighbor died 6 months ago and the wife (not the biological parent of the children) has defrauded the family’s Trust, leaving the husband’s children with nearly nothing. Legal documents have been forged or destroyed and financial accounts have been emptied (savings, IRA, money market, stocks). The family (and Trustee) is overwhelmed and I’ve been helping as best as I can to guide them on how to proceed. They’re living a real SHTF financial event, but it’s bringing some of us in the immediate community together — through trust and concern — to help them work through the Estate mess.

    When the time is right, I am going to open up some discussion about preparedness. Some live on adjacent property, so they are within the community. Approaching the subject must be carefully introduced, though — loose lips sink ships, right?

  19. This level 2 you speak of is for testing your character judgment.

    This is when your reputation should carry you. People should know without asking what your stance is.

    Most people know I’m a softy. But only for those people that help themselves first. I am also a fairly risk adverse person, which I imagine is why I hedge against fairly improbable events.

  20. Buy huge quantities of Ramen Noodles of every sort and size. Keep this Ramen stockpile separate from your private reserve foodstuff, which is never to be given away.

    If you decide to feed the unprepared during the short-term crisis, the Ramen is what they all get. Easy to carry. Easy to cook. Hot food. Keeps a long time and is so cheap, its cost barely recovers the cost of its wrapper. Toss those noodle packets at the hungry like square frisbies.

    Let people see the pile of Ramen get smaller and smaller as time passes and keep it in your garage, or patio…not inside your living quarters. Should the crisis outlast the pile of Ramen, drag out a 20 pound sack of rice and dole it out by individual cups of uncooked grain, until it is all gone. You have done your best, you have given away all of your emergency food, but…you are now completely out. Sure hope this crisis comes to an end soon.

    Then, shrug and go inside and lock the door of your hardened house. The sharing has ended.

    1. I really like this idea w/ the Ramen! We have small glass jars that have been put to use as jars filled w/ several types of beans. They have been made as giveaways. Add to that, the give-away Ramen!

      As a note — we have some Ramen stored away and I wanted some quick-cook noodles. So we opened two stored packages of Ramen a few days ago. They were going to be eaten w/ a stir fry so they weren’t eaten in the Ramen ‘soup’ base.

      Expiration date? July 2012.
      They were edible, but they tasted lousy. At least to me, they did. My husband ate them without hesitation and went back for seconds — so he finished them off. lol

      When he isn’t around, I’m going to bag them all up and toss them out. I wouldn’t give those noodles to the dogs, so out they go. I don’t mind doing it and since each of those boxes of 12 packages was only $2 at the time, it’s not a big loss. I’ll buy some more to keep on hand, and for give away. But next time, I won’t prepare 7-year old Ramen…

      1. I always wondered about Ramen… and how long they “really” last. Sounds like we have a solid data point – 7 years is yuck! Do I have anyone with a 5 year beyond ‘expiration’ taste test? ;)

        1. I threw out many boxes of ramen last month, they acutally had a rancid smell to them when sniffing the boxes–I mean like a truck load!!! I didn’t really let it go bad intentionally, but I cook well and didn’t need it–it was bought just for survival eating.
          I bought 4 boxes of 6 pack and am watching due to the best by date online is only one year. Will buy 4 more boxes a month this time around.
          I bought the cups of chicken by mistake and sampled one–it has a better taste than I remember for the packets. Great lunch meal when I’m busy watering all my plants and water here for three weeks now.
          I’ll be sure to eat the ramen in one year and replace.
          Yeah, 7/8 years storing ramen noodles didn’t work for me.

        2. If I’m still around and so are you, in one year, I’ll let all know about the taste.
          Like next August.

        3. Matt — that’s what I thought, rancid. But I didn’t read the ingredients so I didn’t want to use that word. Smelled like old brown rice gets — rancid.

          So there we have it: 7-8 year old Ramen will be rancid. If it’s the oil that went rancid, we could reasonably assume whatever the use-by date of that oil is.

          I had an old canister of Crisco in storage. Since I don’t use it (it was bought for possible SHTF backup), it was another toss out because it was many years past it’s expiration date. I opened it up first, and I gave it the sniff test.
          Oh gross! It really smelled rancid.

          I have 2 old jars (57 fl oz) of Nutiva organic extra virgin coconut oil and one is being used now. The expiration date is July 2013. It tastes perfectly fine and it smells so nice!

        4. Reaffirms my rule. Store what you eat, eat what you store. If you normally don’t eat Ramen noodles, but buy them only for shtf storage, don’t be surprised if they go bad.

          We store a couple of cases. They aren’t one of our favorites, but they ain’t bad either. We rotate them into our normal diet in order to refresh our stocks.

        5. A rodent and pest problem. Ex father in law was on a submarine at the start of WW2. They were depth charged off of the Philippines shortly after the war started. POW until the Philippines were liberated. As we all can imagine, it was rough. Catching a rat was high point in their diet. We had a wood rat get in the garage. Not a problem as traps were in my preps. Rat trap screwed to a tree trunk will also work on squirrels.

          The despondency that follows abrupt cessation of most anti-depressants can be overwhelming. Many suicides will follow. It is likely that some of the readers on this site are on them. They need to be tapered off. Check with your doctor on this. I would recommend going from a tablet a day to a tablet every other day for a week. Then a half a tablet every other day for a week. Then a half a tablet every third day for a week then stopping. You also need to be ahead on your meds to allow sufficient tablets to do this. Skipping one dose a week will probably be okay and allow you to build up a supply over a few months. Illegal but saying you lost your prescription on a trip will usually work to get an extra prescription. Please note, this will not work for an extra prescription of a controlled substance. It has been tried way too many times!

          Check with your health care practitioner on the above as my recommendations could be construed as prescribing and I’m not allowed to do that.

  21. I live in outten the woods. I chose my place after careful planning and several years of reading the lay of the land. My neighbors are similar to me. We all have a mixture of pine forests, improved pasture capable of supporting cattle, and good water sources. The “new neighbor” has been here for 12 years. One little oil top road holds a passel of good people. With that said, we’ve lived through some trials and tribulations. In my part of Texas it’s usually hurricanes that give up the most trouble. Rita knocked out power to our part of the world for 14 days. A few years later Ike knocked us out for 11 days. Our little church house at the beginning of the road is our house of worship. Every time we face adversity we all meet at the church and discuss our plan. We have made sure everyone has what was needed. Old folks and the people with children get first priority. Then we make sure everyone has power to keep freezers and fridges cool. After that we like to meet and fellowship with one another. Rita made a lot of people uncomfortable around these parts. So by the time Ike rolled through we had a goodly number of people that had their ducks lined up for such happenings. I’m fortunate that I live near resilient people. I live where people still keep chickens and cows. I live where people pressure can their harvest and save their seeds. I live where neighbors help neighbors. I hope each of you can find that place as well.

  22. Dear Maggie’s farm:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Please accept my late condolences for the passing of your furry child.

    I have become a dog companion late in my life in addition to the many cats that are my “WELCOME HOME” brigade. They all bring me much joy and lower my blood pressure each and every day.

    My dog is the ambassador for me when I am out walking. I am the old bald fart walking the adorable spaniel. Nobody remembers my name, everybody remembers my dog though.

    When my first dog passed away some years ago, I walked the neighborhood for exercise afterwards. People I saw on those walks would ask me where my dog ____ was? I was not able to answer the question without crying or breaking down in tears.

    I got myself an early am walking companion within a year but I wanted to have enough time to grieve the loss of my first dog who lived a bit over 10 years. You will remember her/Maggie. Take this time to grieve and allow time to heal your heart.

    I also believe in the Rainbow Bridge although it is getting mighty crowded at the far end considering all the older critters my wife and I have adopted through the years. We have taken on the older cats in an effort to make the last years as comfortable as we can for them. Older cats are the Humane Society/pet store rejects because everybody wants a kitten.

    Peace and God be with you during this difficult time.

  23. Much like Ken commented I would reach out to my neighbors as I know them. Better to have folks working TOGETHER than a bunch of loosely connected folks responding piecemeal unaware of what others are seeing. Nice to know if a “nice single mom with baby” is a thief making the circle route.

    Even normally nice people under stress can act badly.

    As Ecclesiastics 3:12 says , While one can be over powered, two together can resist and a cord of 3 strands is not easily broken.

    Communications is important. Until the situation gets too crazy nobody wants to abandon their home to a stronger defense location. My neighborhood has whistles for emergency communications. A simple laminated code card covers most needs.

    My neighborhood has weathered more than a few floods and Nor’easters that took out power for a week at a time. We share labor clearing fallen trees, help plow each other out, share pantry items and use a mobile generator as needed.

    Learn who your neighbors are. Make a point of helping them and NOTE who Helps Back. Avoid angry (highly political) folks that want to “Start Something”

    Proverbs 22:24 Make no friendship with a man given to anger or go with a wrathful man.

    90% of your assistance and also sad to say 90% of your Troubles will come from a 20 mile of your location. Talk to your local police, buy them a cup of coffee now and then and chat. You will learn a LOT that never gets into the local news. That information could be very useful if events get spicy.

    As to pets, I know your sadness Maggie’s Farm, even today I seek out the soul of my old cuddly beagle in a new dog. The next dog is never the same but will give you far more love than we ever really know.

  24. Week #1 and #2 – no trouble with the neighbors >>>> but you need to take into account the looters and the displaced refugees with absolutely nothing – you’ll be needing to organize the neighborhood/subdivision/town into a blockade force to keep out the trouble – isolating yourself won’t be getting it done – and interacting with the looters & refugees will be strait out death ….

    1. I think barricades will become quite common to keep strangers out of neighborhoods, as will internal defensive strongholds and layered defenses. Just history repeating.

  25. We live out in the country and my gates are always closed and locked. My friends and neighbors think it is because of the 11 dogs that roam the property. I have an alarm on the drive to the house so I know when someone comes and I will go out and greet them. The delivery people are afraid of the dogs so they leave the package at the gate and high-tail it out of the area. Most of my friends call or text me before they come over.

    I am not worried about any of my neighbors; I will help them. It’s their lazy, selfish kids I am concerned about. When an event happens, they will try to get to their parent’s house. Once the kids arrive, the help stops.

  26. Was rereading this article and looking up sanitation and dealing with drug abuse-alcohol abuse in MSB’s search engine.

    Depending on situation water can be a bigger problem than food. Lack of access to wells due to power outages, fuel shortages for Boil Water situations, lack of sanitation like washing hands, dishes (need cook pots even for Raman), flushing toilets (for those hundreds of TP rolls NPR *smile*) and garbage management.

    3 days with out safe water your in trouble or well on the way to dead.

    Dirty hands spread nasty diseases like maybe E Coli from your last visit to the toilet?

    A weeks worth of garbage piling up out back is a rodent and pest banquet.

    Look at San Fran’s homeless situation with medieval diseases erupting even for city workers inside City Hall.

    A second issue is what to expect from drug abusers suddenly cut off by this disaster. Same with alcoholics although that should be a lesser issue. When Ken said things could get “squirrely” around the 2nd or 3rd week about food sharing and such.

    DRUG Withdrawal will make some of our neighbors potentially “squirrely” well before that timeframe. Their NEED for drugs may cause conflict as they search for more Drugs (like in YOUR Bathroom?)

    You MAY be unpleasantly surprised at who is drug dependent when the supply runs out.

    Even loss of Anti-Depressants and other “Legal” drugs will cause issues once their supply is gone. Most prescriptions can be just for a 30 day supply thus they can run out well before this Level 2 event resolves.

    Thoughts and opinions from those in the know welcome. Yes I am asking for the “Cat Spinners” professional thoughts here too.

    1. Hey me2

      Heading to town today. Because of you just added more hand soap and nail brushes to my list.

    2. Thank you Anony Mee I’m honored! Clean hands are good!

      Ken I didn’t use the proper keywords when I searched for Drug issues during SHTF. Thanks for reminder.

  27. I did a mental exercise a year ago or so. I mentally walked down my street, counting how many ppl lived along the way. How many had a garden, how many might have a gun or two. And how many I thought would have more than a few days worth of groceries in the house.

    Came to around 50 or so, with about 10-15 children. Only two big enough gardens to feed their family. Most everybody else would be paycheck to paycheck types.

    If my resources were known-they would be gone in two days. Not sure how we’ll handle this. It’s a conflicted card in the game for sure.

  28. We live in a small town. Most of the people in our neighborhood are elderly. When we had an ice storm several years back the power was off for 2 weeks. I went to check on the neighbors and offered to go to the store in the next town that had power if they needed anything. Most of them were prepared. I always go check on the elderly neighbors any time we get snow. I offer to go to the store for them. I do not offer to give them my stuff. For a short term event with a foreseeable end I think our little town would do fairly well. For a long term event with no end in sight my plan would change. I would still check on the elderly neighbors but I would have no patience for BS, I would be armed toe the teeth at all times, and would be suspicious of everyone. Strangers would not get a warm welcome. Many that I know would not get a warm welcome.

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