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Fans of fiction, particularly prepper fiction, know very well the 299 Days series from Glen Tate. For the uninitiated, 299 Days is not a typical post-apocalypse tale akin to the Mad Max movies. It’s not about 95 percent of the population being dead and the rest fighting over water. It’s different.
Tate envisions a partial societal collapse where millions are put in peril but many, the rich and politically connected, use their power. They use their influence and money to remain well-fed and insulated from the starving masses. I won’t spoil the books for you, but 299 days is meant to indicate the amount of time that it will take for the people to correct the evils that brought about the situation and “right the ship” so to speak.
299 Days: Time to Follow the Model?
After witnessing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina first hand, I wrote about the Bronze, Silver, and Gold plans for preparedness. The Bronze plan was for 3 days of total self-sufficiency. The Silver plan was 7 days and the Gold plan was 2 weeks. At the time, I thought that was a fair assessment of preparation given the state of the nation. Surely, a family or a community prepared to be self-sufficient for two weeks would fare well until things got back to normal.
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It has been 14 years since I wrote out that plan and I must admit that the situation in our modern world is not normal. I do not write this with joy, but I must admit that the old plan must be swapped out for one more in tune with what is happening in our nation.
Faithful Mormons have followed their church’s admonition that every family should have one year’s worth of food and supplies on hand at all times. To aid the followers, bulk food stores have abounded in areas where the Mormon faith is practiced.
I have many friends who have made a practice of keeping at least six months of supplies on hand as far back as the Y2K scare. Even our government, after 9/11 and then again after Katrina, and again after Hurricane Sandy, advised people to prepare to be self-sufficient and not rely upon outside help.
We are now past the time for families and communities to adopt the 299 Days model. In case you think me paranoid or a fringe kook, let’s consider the signs and clues that are being presented daily.
Signs and Warnings – A Case for the 299 Days Model.
We have mentioned previously that, thanks to the bar code scanner technology, grocery stores that used to buy produce and meat locally and maintain warehouses, now instead order from central supply depots. Rather than purchase and stock extra inventory, stores are in a constant reorder cycle. This is super convenient and cost-saving, right?
How does your local store receive products? The answer is trucks, not electric cars. Thanks to reckless and arguably criminal incompetence, our trucking industry is hurting and hurting badly. New trucks cannot be built for lack of parts and the existing fleet suffers from a lack of parts to repair vehicles. Shipping times are increasing everyday. Now, two or three day deliveries are taking 5 days to a week or more.
Not only are parts in short supply and high demand, truck drivers and the men and women who sort the product and load the trucks are also hard to find. Fewer people loading trucks means longer wait times for deliveries. Also, the US Postal Service cannot keep up and delivery times are getting longer and longer.
Meat processing plants have had their business damaged and their production capability slowed dramatically. Speaking with a close friend, he told me the turkey processing plant for which he works is down 70 employees and cannot meet demand. Rather than run two shifts to produce meat, they are down to only one shift a day.
Grocery stores nationwide see the writing on the wall and are attempting to stock up in anticipation of higher prices and shortages. This does not even take into account the nationwide shortage of employees due to extended government handouts and welfare programs. Amid all of the aforementioned, the Biden administration is moving ahead to pay farmers NOT to grow food.
The Looming Shipping Crisis and Rising Costs.
Thanks to many bad decisions that harmed American manufacturers, a large amount of the products that we buy and use everyday come from China. As these words go to paper over 40 cargo ships filled with goods are lingering off the coast of California because there are not enough workers to unload the ships and there are not enough “chassis” (read trucks) to take away the containers in the yard. This is the worst back up in history.
Additionally, a bit over a year ago, the cost of shipping a container filled with goods from China to the United States was $4000 per unit. Today, that cost has more than quintupled. American companies now must pay over $20,000 per container. These businesses have two choices; pass the increased cost on to the consumer or go bankrupt. Also, China is shutting down factories and even one of their largest ports for a single diagnosed case of KungFlu. The latest report we received is that, if a factory in China has a single case of the Vid, the facility closes for two weeks.
Maybe you don’t consider how food or other goods end up on your local store shelves. An honest assessment of all of the above does not bode well for the average person who relies upon a once a week trip to the store to keep their families fed or for those who need to buy a variety of “low cost” items from China. Very soon we may face a time when it does not matter how much money or credit you have, if shelves are empty, they’re empty. Either that, or you will find yourself spending what was once disposable income on basic necessities. Are you ready to pay $3 for items that cost you $1 last year?
Back to the Basics.
When faced with tough times or a crisis, we need to go back to the basics and work up from there. The head of every household must take stock of “needs” versus “wants”. A great place to look is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow created his needs pyramid to address not just physical, but psychological needs of people. He understood that we cannot grow psychologically unless the physiological needs come first.
Regardless of all the conveniences of our modern world; smartphone apps, Wifi, 24-Hour stores, next-day delivery, humans in 2021 are the same as humans in 1801. We all must have clean water, food, shelter, warmth, etc. An iPhone is not going to fill your children’s bellies or heat your house in the dead of winter.
As you should already understand, just because the supply of food and goods is being cut in half does not mean the demand is being cut as well. When you have a diminished supply, but steady demand, you come face to face with either skyrocketing cost or shortage. This is the reality of the world in which we live.
Needs versus Wants.
Getting back to needs versus wants. Priorities must be based upon what the family truly needs to live everyday as opposed to things that are fun or nice but not truly necessary. One thing I learned from living in a hurricane prone area was that there were always people who waited until the last minute to run to the store and panic buy. My family and I made the choice that we would be prepared and thus had no need to join the panic buyers who were fighting over the last can of soup or the last case of water on the shelf.
You can do the exact same thing that we did regarding storm preparation. There will be people standing in line to get the last remaining whatever, or people who are paying three to four times the normal price because supply is low. You can choose not to participate in the panic because you are already prepared.
Nutrient Survival – 299 Days.
When preparing and stocking food, many people count calories. To endure an emergency or crisis comfortably, the average person will need to consume around 2000 calories per day. What many folks will do is take the number of people in the household and multiply that number times 2000 to figure out what they have or what they need.
That system works to a point, but humans need more than just raw calories. If you stocked your storm shelter to the rafters with cases of Twinkies, you would have tens of thousands of calories, but very little useful nutrition. Your body needs protein to rebuild muscle or at least maintain muscle mass. Your brain needs animal fat to function properly and help you to make good decisions. We use carbohydrates for energy.
Fortunately enough, I found the Nutrient Survival company because they do not just focus on calories as many dehydrated survival foods do. This impressed me. Nutrient Survival’s long term storage food contains protein, Omega-3 and 6, vitamins, minerals and fiber in most cases. I have tried several of their selections and I would recommend them.
Diet is just as important as your total daily calorie intake.
You are Not Alone: Patriot Fire Team.
For the average person, all of the above can be daunting and depressing. It might seem like too much needs doing and you don’t know where to begin. Many of you have already begun your preparedness plan, but might be wondering if there are areas you have neglected.
The Patriot Fire Team Manual is a great place to begin. In this book there are chapters, not only about physical preparation, but also how to work with friends and neighbors. How to talk to your families and get them involved. Additionally, we need to provide our families with security from outside threats as well.
The second and third books are the PFT Equipment Guide and the PFT Mission Planner. The Equipment Guide is am examination of the physical tools you need to keep a community safe from threats. The Mission Planner is a comprehensive text that focuses on many of the aspects of security that the average person may have overlooked.
The most important takeaway from all three books is that you are not in this situation alone, nor should you be. Your greatest asset in a crisis will be other like-minded individuals who are ready to take on any emergency. The American people, you and I, are stronger than China, stronger than an inept and corrupt government, stronger than a virus. Nonetheless, we cannot deal with hard times through Facebook posts and tweets. We need to take deliberate and purposeful action.
You have the facts, the warnings, and the signs. We offer information, education and training. It is up to you to decide that you are ready for true preparedness and to stand up for your family. We can weather the next 299 Days, and all come out on top.