Saturday, April 4, 2020

50 Prepper Tips for the COVID-19 Pandemic

It's a pretty crazy time right now.  The global coronavirus pandemic has brought out the best--and the worst--in people.  Here's some prepper tips to keep in mind...

  1. Pay cash for the stuff you buy and shred the receipt when you get home.  The government can't confiscate what they don't know you have.
  2. Instead of shopping at only one store, shop at a variety of places.  It pays to be consistently inconsistent.
  3. Don't shop at membership clubs like Costco or use grocery store apps.  These places track your every purchase and can cough up a list of everything you have ever bought from them.
  4. At this point in time, wearing a mask, gloves, dark glasses and a hat is considered a safety thing and not a 'planning to rob the place' thing.  These items can also thwart facial recognition programs.
  5. When you return from shopping, pull into your garage and close the garage door before unloading your vehicle.  This keeps the neighbors from seeing what you have bought.
  6. If you are storing your survival gear/guns/food in your garage, consider covering the shelves with black curtains or other material to conceal what you have.  Whenever I drive by an open garage and see a gun safe I shake my head and the person's lack of awareness.
  7. Shop at different times, on different days, instead of on the same day and time every week.  Again, consistent inconsistency is a good thing.
  8. When you do shop, buy a little extra of everything (like you are shopping for a family of four instead of two) instead of filling up three carts a la many hoarders.  People notice shoppers like this, often take pictures of them, and blast these photos out in viral social media posts.  You don't want to be the face of a viral social media post.
  9. Don't post photos of yourself with your stockpiled food/toilet paper/firearms, or in your bunker.  This will make you and your home a huge target for needy neighbors/relatives and/or burglars/robbers.
  10. Better yet, don't use social media at all.  Dropping all social media at once may be too obvious so you may want to slowly disappear from social media (and delete/cancel your accounts) over a period of time.
  11. If you do decide to help others, do it discretely.  If your mom needs toilet paper, drop her off a four-pack when needed.  If you drop off five mega-packs of toilet paper at once, both neighbors and relatives will talk about you.  This pertains to food, difficult to get medications, etc.
  12. When you do go out, leave your cell phone, smart watch, etc. at home so your movements can't be tracked.
  13. When you go out, look like the most ordinary of ordinary people.  Leave the Rolex at home, the flashy clothes and jewelry at home, drive the beater truck instead of the Mercedes, etc.  People may also remember you for the unique glasses you wear, the memorable cologne you wear, the jewelry you wear, etc. so plan accordingly.
  14. When you have the option to buy gear in basic black or tacticool camo, choose basic black every time.  Looking like Rambo makes you an obvious target for the marauding hoards.
  15. At the same time, you don't want to look like a weak target when out in public.  Walk with purpose, keep your head up, pay attention to your surroundings, etc.
  16. Always make your home look lived in at all times of the day and night, this is a good burglar deterrent.
  17. Never tell anyone about your BOB, BOV, BOL, or anything else that would suggest your prepper skills go way beyond having a couple week's worth of food at home.
  18. Also, never talk about money (or the precious metals you have in your safe, your investment accounts, your firearms, etc).  The more average you seem, the better.  As is the case with most Americans, average is broke and semi-desperate these days.
  19. You may want to teach your kids and spouse as many prepper skills as you can, yet keep other information (your precious metal stash, your cash stash, etc) private so they won't inadvertently "spill the beans" about your actual situation.  Hopefully you can trust your spouse with this information.
  20. Be careful with purchases you make that are delivered to your home.  Doing a major home renovation with workers and materials coming in and out of your home may tip off your neighbors that you aren't as desperate as everyone else in the neighborhood.
  21. Instead of having Amazon deliver to your home on the regular, consider having the deliveries sent to your office or an Amazon lock box if this is a safe option.
  22. If you do buy large and/or expensive purchases, be sure to discreetly dispose of the boxes.  Cut up big TV boxes into small pieces and put them in your recycling bin instead of leaving the giant box in front of your home on garbage pick up day.
  23. Strive for a minimum of garbage that goes into your waste bin each week.  Neighbors and other people interested in your activities will find your garbage most informative if you toss out everything without taking security precautions.
  24. Shred all documents and other sensitive info before throwing it in the garbage.  Ditto medication disposal (grind pills and dissolve in water to make them unusable), disposing of cell phone boxes (some have the IMIE number on them), etc.
  25. Consider having sensitive mail and packages sent to a secure, off-site location such as a PO box, a PMB, your office address, a mail forwarder, etc.
  26. When you send outgoing mail, instead of putting it in your own mail box to be picked up by the postman, drop it off at a stand-alone mail box.
  27. In very difficult times, you don't want to do things that draw people to your home.  If people are sitting in the dark, hearing your generator run, can draw attention to your home.  If people are hungry, barbecuing steaks on the grill will have the same affect.
  28. The more self sufficient and off grid you want to be, the more you should consider locating your homestead WAY off the beaten path; somewhere that only the most hardy souls will travel to get to.  Currently there is a major exodus from NYC to Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and even Maine by people "escaping to the country".
  29. Depending on where you live (and your firearms laws) I highly recommend concealed carry.  While open carry is legal in many places, there are very few situations in which I would recommend this.
  30. Secure your home, but do so in a way that doesn't draw attention.  A home surrounded with a six-foot fence topped with razor wire and a 24-module security camera set-up draws way more attention than a more subtle security system.
  31. Consider getting a dog.  They make good companions and, depending on the dog, a good security alert system.
  32. Look at the situation you are in then determine how NOT to draw attention to yourself.  For example, right now, people driving cars with New York license plates in surrounding states are drawing a lot of negative attention to themselves.  Better to rent a car with local plates if you find yourself in this situation.
  33. Whether you are buying food or ammo, or in recent days, toilet paper, spread your purchases out over time.  Buying an extra package of toilet paper each time you shop or a couple boxes of 50 rounds of ammo is less memorable than the guy that buys 10 cases of toilet paper all at once or 1000 rounds of ammo all at once.
  34. If people do happen to comment on your purchases, feel free to make up a story to mislead them.  One guy was buying a dozen gallons of bleach a couple years ago and a lady commented on this.  He said he was buying all of the bleach to donate to the local animal shelter.  Whether he was actually doing this or was keeping it all for himself, being able to deflect someone's curiosity with a reasonably believable story is a good skill to have.
  35. Don't be a panic buyer during a crisis like people who wait in hours-long lines at the gun store/Walmart/Costco/etc.  You should be purchasing your firearms (or food, or toilet paper, etc), one at a time, over a long period of time (and maybe in places where the "gun show loophole" is still a thing when it comes to firearms) in order to deflect interest in what you are buying.
  36. When it comes to a bug out vehicle, a bug out motorcycle, or a bug out bicycle, keeping it on the down low or disguising it to make it less memorable is a good idea.  A Sprinter van draws attention, an old Ford Econoline does not.  A Harley draws attention, a Suzuki doesn't.  A Cannondale draws attention, the same Cannondale covered with stickers, mud, and scuffs looks less memorable.
  37. Speaking of vehicles, pre-1994 vehicles don't have black boxes in them.  Imagine driving and not having your every movement tracked (note that license plate readers still apply).
  38. If you must travel under the radar, try to travel via country roads.  Freeways, toll ways, and similar high-traffic roads generally have Automated License Plate Readers.
  39. Always be polite to neighbors but direct the conversation to them and away from yourself.  The less you say about yourself the better, besides people generally like to talk about themselves.
  40. When talking to people, avoid contentious topics.  Politics, religion, being a prepper...these are things you don't want to talk about.  The weather is a good topic, showing basic concern about the current situation also makes you sound like an "average" person.
  41. If you must travel, whether by car, bike, or on foot, either do so at night under the cover of darkness, or do so along with everyone else (ie: if you are scouting an area in your neighborhood, walk in the morning when all of the neighbors are out walking.  Wave and keep up a brisk pace, heading to your destination while looking like you are just out exercising).
  42. One of your best options during the pandemic (barring extreme social unrest in some cases), is to stay secure in your home (and yard, of course).  Being out with the infected crowds is generally a bad idea.
  43. Be prepared to change your usual activities.  It's popular to go out shooting in the desert near where I live.  With every wannabe Rambo who just stood in line for hours to buy a gun and now wants to try it out...needless to say, I've got enough practice under my belt that I can skip a month or so in order to not be around these people.
  44. Try to avoid the crowds at popular places in your area.  During the quarantine, a lot of people want to go out and socially distance themselves by getting back to nature.  Unfortunately half the city has the same idea and they all tend to end up at the same popular outdoor spots.
  45. Consider gathering your food and supplies from unconventional sources.  Some restaurant supply places are now selling restaurant-sized food products to the public, and bartering your bread for a neighbor's eggs is another good idea.
  46. Now may be a good time to consider foraging for wild food in your area.  This is a skill that takes a bit of effort to learn (avoid foraging for mushrooms unless you go with someone who knows what they are doing) and, of course, it's always a good idea to be stealthy about this.
  47. Gardening should be one of your top hobbies, especially at a time like this.  If possible, hide your garden as much as possible from the public, ditto your bee hives, chicken coops, etc.
  48. Take excellent care of your health, especially at a time like this.  The last place you want to end up is in the emergency room at a hospital mixed in with a sea of covid patients.
  49. This also goes for accidental injuries.  Taking physical risks is questionable on a good day but highly inadvisable when emergency medical care may be impossible to access or significantly delayed.
  50. Protect your health.  Wear a mask if you go out in public, wash your hands, avoid people, etc.  Monitor your symptoms if you fall ill and take care of your illness at home unless you are seriously ill and need professional medical care.

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