Prepare While You Have Time
An election on the horizon as the world wrestles with a pandemic, the political division between parties descending into shouting matches and shootouts, anarchists and self-proclaimed nationalists clashing in the streets; a not thoroughly tested vaccine being rushed to production to be ready as an October surprise; foreign governments attacking our voting processes; it sounds like the plot of Hollywood thriller, but it’s not. It’s the election year twenty-twenty, and it is happening right now. Will you be prepared if violence erupts across America? Do you have what you need?
In this blog, we will address the coming election and provide you a few practical things to do before the election to make sure you aren’t caught off guard and you are prepared to survive what could be the most volatile election of our time.
1- An October Surprise or Election Surprises?
Why is this election different from previous elections? Extremists in both parties believe that the other party winning will result in the death of Democracy. One side feels the other will bring fascism, and the other believes a win will result in socialism or communism. The likelihood of a peaceful, calm, and uncomplicated voting process is less than the very likely armed conflicts that may occur on election day and afterward in pockets throughout the United States. You may already feel the tension building in your area. Any conflicts may disrupt normal processes, if anything in twenty-twenty can still be considered normal. Stores could run out of items and the economy could slide down further causing wide scale panic buying. And don’t forget to be prepared for whatever natural disasters you still face. Those aren’t going away either.
In American politics, an October Surprise is an intentionally crafted and timely maneuvered media event to attract or distract the voters and influence an election result, particularly for the US presidential race. It’s become a staple of American politics. This year, however, I think people have had enough surprises, from wildfires to hurricanes to a lethal virus and more. This election year’s October surprises could be many. They could rush a vaccine and skip critical testing processes. The government could mandate vaccinations, and people are not likely to respond well to that. Mail or mail-in-ballots could turn up in trash bins creating doubt on the voting system. There have even been rumors on some internet channels of domestic and foreign provocateurs creating election day chaos to keep people from feeling safe going to the polls. The fact that nothing is that unimaginable is scary.
If twenty-twenty has stressed anything, it’s that you need to be prepared and have some level of self-reliance and self-sustainability. Expecting the government to come in and rescue you in your time of need may not be your best option. As a prepper, have a plan when the rest are scrambling for a plan. Be ready before election day comes, and start preparing now in this relatively quiet time before that day. Be prepared to spend up to a minimum of eleven weeks in your home following election day. This would be the eleven weeks between election day and inauguration day. That is the period where any ongoing violence and civil unrest is likely to occur, so it provides a solid base number for a conscientious prepper to work with.
2- Top-up Your Food & Water
First and foremost, make sure your food and water supplies can sustain you for an extended period in your home or apartment. Having a specific timeframe like this of eleven weeks actually provides you with a great opportunity to look at your food and water reserves with greater clarity. Write out eleven weeks of meals and water consumption with the stores you have on hand. Is it enough? Does it provide you with the recommended minimal amount of water of one gallon per person for seventy-eight days? We will link to other blogs in the description section for you to review other blogs we’ve done regarding water storage. As far as your food goes, will it go far enough? Does it have enough caloric content to allow you to survive even if you’re a little thin at the end of those seventy-eight days? Do you have enough water or liquid to rehydrate dried foods?
If you are bugging-in for any extended period of time, you are going to probably experience a pretty severe diet alteration. Having even one large multi-vitamin and a protein powder on hand can be a life saver. If you already have these items in relatively everyday use, this is simply a matter of checking, updating, and topping off your supplies. Pull out your calculator and a pen and paper and using the specific time frame of eleven weeks start making some calculations. Fill in the gaps where you can while you can and slowly in the days preceding election day. Even a little more preparedness will position you better.
3- Prep What You Know You Need
Beyond food and water, recent store shortages from the quarantines and lockdowns have revealed shortages of some primary items. Panicked shoppers cleaned stores out of a personal lifetime supply of toilet paper, feminine products, pasta, rice, beans, meats, and more. Stores were forced to limit quantities per customer. Suppliers could not keep up with demand. Some products like a spray disinfectant are just now starting to reappear on store shelves.
Perhaps you came to prepping from this event and are catching up on the items you now know you will need. Perhaps you have been into prepping for a while and recognize a possible gap in your supplies. We purchased a bidet before the pandemic and it has come in handy saving on toilet paper. We have done blogs on affordable items to have on hand to get you through an economic depression, and we would encourage you to take a look at those, as these same items can help you through a crisis of eleven weeks or longer.
The real positive about prepping is, when done right, you have that little extra to get you through rough patches and you’re not just storing it away but using it as part of your daily processes. Buy the cast iron dutch oven, but don’t just pull it out when camping. Learn to use it to cook tonight’s pot roast. Buy a rocket stove for cooking, but also give it a try on your balcony to cook breakfast. Just like your food, put your items into use. Obviously, you won’t be able to use your hatchet or axe much in an apartment setting, but look at the items you have on hand and the items you are still planning to get and start to put them into use in your life. Even the best of items will be useless to you if you haven’t taken the time to familiarize yourself with its use.
You won’t need every item you may have prepared for an eleven week bug-in, but take a critical look at your prepped items and use this opportunity to fill-in the gaps where you may be lacking.
4- Know Your Polling Locations
Beyond using this opportunity to bring your food, water, and prepping item supplies up to where they need to be, be prepared for election day itself. Know your polling locations. If tensions continue to rise up to November third, in some areas polling locations will be hotspots for conflicts. If agitators of any kind with any ideology seek to cause chaos on election day it will be at these locations or on the routes to these places.
It wouldn’t take more than a single crazy person to fire shots initiate a situation at a polling location to trigger an event causing the two sides that are protesting each other to launch into a conflict. All it takes is one provocative action and a call to action from the leadership on either side and you’ve got a real problem on your hand.
Get a good local map of your area and mark the polling places around you to raise your situational awareness on that day. City metro maps are great to have on hand to mark locations. In addition to knowing where these potential hotspots are, know the routes you need to take to get to and from your home base. Will you be working on election day or trying to vote yourself? Make sure you have more than one way to get safely home.
If you are planning on voting, we would encourage you to vote absentee, by mail, or as early as you can. Peak voting crowds begin around eleven AM, so that is the time most likely for chaos to strike. If there is any problem at polling locations on election day, being in your home is going to be the safest place to be, unless you are actually next door to a polling location.
5- Know Your Urban Escape Routes
As we mentioned, you may want to pre-emptively vote early and then leave the city for a few days, if it is within your capabilities to do so. Urban areas could have greater and more spontaneous flare ups of significant chaos. Whether that is from people calling themselves protestors, from outsiders driving into the city, or even foreign agitators and provocateurs, it shouldn’t matter to you how the violence chaos is sparked as much as how insulated and safe from it you are. There can be little doubt that if this election is contested, angry citizens will pour into the streets to protest while the votes are being counted.
One fire that the police or firefighters can’t respond to, could force you to have to flee your bug-in location. Make sure you have a seventy-two hour bag ready, filled with what you will need to grab and survive on if you are forced to escape your urban environment. Having a grab-and-go bag is critical in most disaster situations as well– hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and more, so you will be glad you have one ready to go.
Map out multiple routes and modes of leaving your urban environment should it be compromised. Have a plan to stay put, but prepare a plan to get out as well. Metro stations or areas where large groups have to congregate will decrease your safety in a civil unrest situation. Surviving any crisis or disaster comes down to choosing the best survivable option from many options. Your survivability drops as your options drop. When you are left with just one option, your survivability is at its lowest. While you can prepare, look at your various routes and rank them based on how safe they will feel during the current crisis you are planning for. If your first choice is blocked or suddenly unsafe, you will easily be able to fallback to a safer option through this method.
The chatter channels that we monitor are largely suggesting that election day is a great day to be on that camping trip or visiting friends or family in the suburbs, exurbs, or country. If that’s an option for you and your family, we can’t disagree. Barring that option, it’s in your best interest to hunker down and lock down until you know your area of the country is safe. Maybe this election will go off without a hitch. Maybe America will wake up on November fourth and have an uncontested popular and electoral vote winner, maybe while still being upset with the results, everyone will accept them. Maybe…but it is that “maybe” that, as a prepper, you need to plan for.
I would love to see a peaceful election process and a smooth transition or sustaining of power, but as you can probably see in your own communities, this isn’t likely to occur. Be rationally prepared now because by election day it will be too late. Use the timeframe of eleven weeks to look at your food, water, and equipment. Prep your grab-and-go bags for your family. Know your escape routes. Be safe and prepare while you can.
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As always, please stay safe out there.