Much of the nation is on lockdown with "stay at home orders" as Coronavirus spreads across the US. Our borders are closing, work is shutting down, and many find themselves sheltering in their homes to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As a Prepper, this is a terrible event and we hope for the best for everyone. Our goal is not to watch the world suffer, but to make sure our families and communities are protected in case of such an event. Consider Prepping as an insurance policy that we hope we never have to cash in.
Leading up to this crisis, Preppers worked hard to envision such an event and prepare appropriately. A global pandemic has always been in the cards. In 1918 the world witnessed the massive destruction caused by a single virus and recently caught glimpses of possible pandemics that never reached the same worldwide disaster level (SARS, MERS, Ebola).
Well here we are, stuck (or soon to be stuck) in our homes. Let's take inventory of the state of affairs, and what a Prepper should consider doing to be as prepared as possible.
- Freeze dried food is sold out everywhere - what should you do?
- Banks are closing branches - Do you have enough cash at home?
- Online retailers are stopping service - What should you get before they close in your area?
Food and Water
As we wrote about recently (What to Stock Up on now that Things are SOLD OUT) - the prices of traditional Prepper food have shot up dramatically over the past few weeks. So much so, that I would no longer recommend that you buy any freeze dried food or MREs online. Wait until the price goes back down to normal levels to replenish or build out your supply.
In the meantime, be sure that you keep picking up supplies at your grocery store to keep your pantry stocked. Your fridge and pantry should provide 1-3 weeks of food. I would encourage you to keep stocking a back closet with an additional 2-3 weeks of food as well. Consider purchasing items that have a longer shelf life - canned goods, peanut butter, crackers, pasta, mac and cheese, trail mix and more.
The idea is to have enough that you won't need to leave your house. We are not hoarding here - these supplies will of course be used. You are simply making sure that you are covered in case you get sick and need to stay at home to quarantine, or things get really bad around you and staying at home is the best course of action.
Cash and Precious Metals
I was actually pretty surprised to see the news that banks are closing branches in reaction to the Coronavirus. The largest bank in the country Chase is closing 20% of its branches.
With such a move from banks, you should look again at how much cash you have at home and consider making sure you have enough to cover 1 month or more of essential living expenses (food, water, gas, and others).
I would not worry about having enough cash to pay your mortgage right now. The way things are going, we will all probably have some sort of loan deferral program on our major debts including student loans, mortgages, and credit cards.
As far as silver and gold - prices have surprisingly gone down over the last few weeks as investors look to swap everything for cash/dollars. Being the contrarian that I am, I immediately checked out prices for physical gold and silver to hold in my stash.
Unfortunately, everyone else is also looking to buy physical gold and silver! Most online stores have seen such high demand that they are either shutting down new orders, or slowing their fulfillment of any new orders.
Also the premium you pay over the spot price has shot up with demand! $13 an ounce silver now costs $23 to buy the physical asset (~75% premium). Not such a bargain if you ask me!
The same thing happened in 2008/2009 - see below. Lesson learned here - buy physical gold and silver when things are calm, and consider selling them when things get really bad!
Ordering Supplies Online
One of the more troubling headlines I saw recently was this "Amazon.com to stop shipping non-essentials to consumers in Italy and France."
Let that sink in for a moment... In places under strict stay at home orders, you can no longer use Amazon to order most items. According to Amazon they consider baby products; health and household items; beauty and personal care; groceries; and industrial, scientific, and pet supplies as essential products.
Many of the standard emergency supplies are either sold out (LifeStraws) or demand crazy prices these days (Emergency NOAA Radios).
Thinking 2 steps ahead, the Prepper in me wants to double check my stash to make sure I have everything I need before the US Amazon makes a similar decision. Amazon Pantry recently shut off sending routine supplies here in the US.
Checking my own gear, I would look to add the following:
- Water filtration items that are still in stock,
- Beefing up my knives and hatchets since I am a bit under supplied in that area,
- Portable generator for your home as backup in case the power ever goes out. You may have a medical condition that requires power - in such case make sure you are prepared ahead of time!
- Medical kit just in case something comes up and you want to avoid heading to the doctor to expose yourself!
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Dig Your Well Before You are Thirsty!
As a Prepper, hopefully you find yourself well supplied to weather this storm. While COVID-19 is not the most deadly disease to spring up - the sheer scale of its impact globally is a once in a generation type disaster.
Make no mistake, this disease is serious and the economic damage will be tremendous. Be sure you consider your next move and plan ahead to keep your family safe.
Take this time to focus on what is important - your family and try to work through this together. Building stronger bonds and deeper relationships. Hopefully it blows over soon and we can look back in the future and think about how crazy 2020 was in retrospect.
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