Even though today no one’s gonna take a shot at your stockpile, its value is going to skyrocket post-collapse. Suddenly, a lot of people are going to have urgent needs for water, food, shelter, tools, and gear. If you’re not careful, you can easily become a target.
Sure, you might be an ace when it comes to COMSEC (communications security) in that you kept your mouth shut about your preps but,
what if someone discovers your stash by mistake? Or if they have a hunch you might be hiding something? Or if they break into your home out of desperation, hoping to find something?
I’m not saying you need to booby-trap your home our your bug out retreat like an ancient Egyptian king but you do have to do your best to protect it. Before, during, and post-collapse.
So let’s make a list with all the ways to guard your supplies.
#1. Get Guns
When people find out or see you have a firearm, they’ll think twice before attempting to take something away from you. Enough said here but you can read more about them in the weapons category.
#2. Keep Your Mouth Shut
Obviously. I know the bigger your stockpile, the more you feel the need to tell someone about it. After all, you read a lot on the matter, you dedicated a lot of time, and you want people to know you’re prepped and see you as a role-model.
Not all people think this way, unfortunately so, please, whatever you do, do not say a word to anyone unless he or she is living under the same roof as you and is part of your survival dream team.
#3. Keep Your Stockpile Hidden
Since you won’t be there to watch over it 24/7, you need to make sure no one else finds it. This is even more important when we talk about the stuff you have at your bug out location.
I wrote an article on where to hide your guns a while back and most of the suggestions there apply to your stockpile. Hide it in places like:
- under the floor
- inside your furniture (sofas, coffee tables, desks etc.)
- inside fake air vents
- in your barn, tool shed, or your chicken coop
- buried in your back yard
- inside a false drawer bottom
- under your treadmill
- inside a subwoofer
- inside a stuffed animal
- inside your attic (no food, water, or medicine there, please)
- in your pick-up truck
- and so on.
Speaking of burying things, if you put your food into a bucket, when you unbury it, all you have to do is dig the earth right above the lid, enough for you to take it off, get what you need without taking it out the ground and then cover it back with dirt.
#4. Keep It In Reinforced Areas or Structures
If you’re looking for strong cases for some of your valuables, I recommend pelican cases. You won’t be able to stash food or water in them, but rest assured they’ll protect some of your other valuables, including your guns.
Depending on the type of disaster you think will hit, you need to figure out which structure will best suit your needs. For instance, if you fear tornadoes or hurricanes, storing your supplies in the attic is a big mistake. If the roof gets swept away, so will your stuff.
Another good idea is to store as much as you can in work boxes. These aren’t easy to crack open.
By the way, if you have a safe room, it’s probably a good idea to fill it to the brim with supplies. Just keep in mind that a safe room should only be used a last resort. It’s better to abandon your home in a disaster or a crisis if you can than to lock yourself inside and risk being trapped.
More stuff in your safe room doesn’t mean more reasons to stay is what I’m saying.
#5. Improve Your Home Protection
Logic dictates that if you improve the security of your house, the supplies you have inside are also safer. Lots of things to be done, here, including:
- reinforcing your doors and windows,
- keeping them locked,
- installing door barricades,
- installing an alarm system or, at the very least, put up stickers on your windows that say you have one (even if you don’t),
- getting one or two dogs,
- installing video surveillance systems
- and much, much more.
#6. Protect Your Stockpile From Fire
The obvious way to keep prevent your stash from catching fire is to get one or more fireproof safes such as this one. In addition, you can get these fireproof envelopes (that are less than 10 bucks a piece) for your most important documents.
However, since space is limited with these safes, the kinds of things you can store inside are very limited. Some of the things to consider storing in small spaces such as these include:
- your IDs (driver’s license, passports) or copies of them
- insurance policies
- tax returns
- bank account, debit card and credit card numbers
- external hard drives and USB sticks with important data
Keep in mind that even these safes can melt if kept under fire for longer periods of time so, to further reduce the chances of this happening, you should keep them on the ground level. Remember that fire always has a tendency to go up so the lower level is where they’re safest.
Tip: if you can bury your safe in your back yard, you’ll be 100% sure that no fire will ever touch it.
#6. Protect It From Rodents
What most people don’t realize is that rodents can chew plastic, meaning those 5 gallon buckets used to store food are not sufficient. The best way is to put these buckets into larger, metal ones (Amazon link).
#7. Protect it from water
The most obvious thing you can do if the possibility of a flash flood is real, is to keep everything away from your basement. The other thing you can do is, of course, to store everything in waterproof containers.
In addition, you should consider doing this with most if not all of the items from your bug out bags.
By the way, you can make your own DIY containers at home, here’s how:
#8. Keep Your Stockpile In Cool, Dark, Dry Places
Moisture, high temperatures, and light are three of the biggest enemies you can have when it comes to your food, water, and your meds. A rule of thumb is to keep everything that goes inside your body (such as water, food and medicine) in a place that is:
- 100% away from light
- in a dry place (this is why it’s never a good idea to store you meds inside your bathroom)
- in low temperatures (65F – 70F is ideal) but go even lower than that and you increase shelf life
There are many things to do to keeping your stash cool, particularly if you don’t have a basement. You can insulate the area AND install a small cooler inside but avoid doing this in your attic. Due to temperature variations, it’s best to not gamble with your stash. Only store non-edible things up there such as books, clothes, gear, etc.
#9. Protect Your Valuables from an Electromagnetic Pulse
There’s been a lot of talk about EPMs lately and no one is really sure what works and what doesn’t because no one’s done any tests (except for the obvious phone call test where you put your cell phone inside a microwave and dial the number; if it rings, the radiation just went through).
Here are the things that don’t work as Faraday cages to protect your electronics from EMPs:
- steel cages
What should work:
- Wrap your item with plastic, then with tin foil, then plastic again, tin foil again and so on (creating multiple Faraday cages). Even better, put everything inside one of those Faraday bags from Amazon.
No one is really certain what effects there would be if a nation-wide EMP were to happen, though.
#10. Insure Your Valuables
Take photos or even video recordings of your valuables and store them either in print or electronic form somewhere safe so you can give them to your insurance company.
#11. Never Put All Your Eggs In One Basket
Diversification is just another form of insurance. If you keep all your things in one place and something happens to them, you’re done. But if you split your stockpile in more than one location, you’ll still be left with a lot of it when the emergency has passed.
Consider these places for splitting your supplies:
- in your car
- at your bug out location/off grid home
- inside a container that you’ve rented
- inside a safe deposit box
- in your barn, tool shed
- buried in your backyard
I think the best piece of advice I can give you goes against everything we talked about in this article. Here goes:
When your life is on the line, you should give up all your preps really fast. I don’t care if you’re in a riot or if someone’s broken into your home and is holding you at gunpoint. If they want food or water, just give it to them. Hopefully, they’ll leave you alone. But if you did most of the things in this article right, they’ll never suspect you’re home is full of goodies and that they’re standing a few feet away from them.