What The Iran Conflict Means For Preparedness

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The conflict with Iran has many people very fearful. To be honest the whole thing has made me do a lot of thinking. I don’t want to go over the politics of the situation with you because guess what: there are a lot of things that all people have in common if they want to stay safe and protect their families from hardship on all levels.

A lot of the things I am going to talk about are things that you may already have covered and honestly should be prepared for anyway. One of the beautiful things about well planned prepping is that you can use a lot of the things that you put back even if you are lucky enough to never experience any major event. As the old saying goes, better safer than sorry.

Some of you may have read my article about Iran during the tanker attacks. I hoped that I was wrong about a strong escalation but time has proven that things are at a dangerous point.

There is a lot of conflicting information out there at the time regarding the most recent attacks on US bases. Hopefully, we know more today.

If the Strait of Hormuz is closed to oil trade, this could lead to rises in fuel costs.

There doesn’t have to be a war for this to happen.

The Saudi Arabian oil tanker company Bahri has already suspended any oil tankers from traveling through the Strait of Hormuz. Other major companies such as Petrobras have followed suit. It is too early to know how long this will continue to be the case.

Even though the Strait is not technically closed, companies are not able to get their shipments insured easily at this time so the risk of financial loss is too great to send tankers through.

The cost of oil went up 2% briefly and then came back down. That doesn’t mean it is not possible for prices to spike again as the situation in the Middle East plays out.

Experts are predicting that if the Strait of Hormuz is closed to oil shipments, the price per barrel will go over $100. To put it in perspective, this morning, January 8, 2020, the price of a barrel of crude is hovering around $62.70.

I can’t tell you for sure what is going to happen but I would say that we should expect to pay more at the pump. It takes a little time for these prices to start percolating through the American economy, but the laces will start to tighten on the budget of Americans if this happens.

Any economic strife in the USA will affect a lot of countries that rely on our economy for revenue on any level.

Rising Anti-American Sentiment and Terrorist Acts

The effects of this can be far-reaching. In modern times people travel a lot for not just pleasure but for business. This conflict could cause vast reaching economic consequences for the entire world. Business relations may be strained and many Americans may choose that it is not safe to travel for any reason.

In America itself, the fear of sleeper cells of terrorism combined with porous borders makes for a situation where people will be on edge due to the possibility of attacks within the USA on infrastructure, business, and other civilian areas to make their point.

The economy will be affected on all levels from a continued conflict. Let’s hope cooler heads prevail and all this calms down as soon as possible.

When people are more fearful it can lead to people being fearful of attending public events or even being in cities. That means a drop in people buying goods and services. Someone may think twice about going to a festival with 10,000 other people if there is fear of terrorist activity. Hey, I get it. To be honest with you crowds were getting more dangerous well before all this.

Increased Cyber Attacks

hand on binary numbers cyber computer

The Department of Homeland Security issued a warning to businesses and individuals that Iran is capable of cyber attacks that could have an impact on infrastructure. You can read the full announcement or download the pdf by following this link.

Texas officials are reporting a very high number of attempted cyberattacks originating from Iran. Over two days they counted over 10,000 attempts.

While cyber-attacks on your own computer may be a temporary annoyance, a cyber attack that has an effect on the infrastructure of the USA or disrupts economic activity could have a ripple effect across many areas of daily life.

Supply Disruptions and Delays

I am not going to predict the major reasons for any supply disruption but I think it is very possible that we see shortages or at least delays in some deliveries. My basis for this is that people regularly report this happening at many brick and mortar stores now.

The “Death of Retail” is a common headline already across both mainstream and alternative media. I hope I am wrong about this but nearly a year after my bare shelves article over at The Organic Prepper, I have seen countless reports of supply disruptions and bare spots on shelves from people all over the country. I just can’t see how a conflict in the Middle East and rising gas prices couldn’t make disruptions at least slightly more common.

Don’t let your gas tank get below half full.

Some people say that everyone buying gas at once is the real problem when there are shortages. I don’t see it as that simple. For starters, it is always good to keep your tank topped off so you can either get out of dodge if needed or at least make it back home if the pumps are not working.

The Biggers’ live at the end of the gas supply chain in the USA so while it is easy for some to write in and say “all this seems to happen to other people and not me”. Well, I think it is best to plan what is best for you and your loved one’s unique situations and I am going to do the same for mine.

Have 7 days of food and beverage on hand.

I think a person should ideally have a few months of food even if they live in an apartment but that is a lot for someone that is just starting on preparedness today or is new to it. Start with 7 days of food and beverage and then add extra food as you can afford it. Everyone has to start somewhere and 7 days is twice as much food and beverage as most people keep around. Just a little encouragement there.

Consider what you would do if there was a power and internet outage that lasts more than 3 days.

You can make your life and that of your family. I advise doing some or all of the following depending on your personal situation and preferences.

  • Buy a small battery bank for keeping a phone or small device topped off.
  • Load some e-books, music, video, etc, onto a device to provide entertainment
  • Purchase some flashlights and small emergency lighting. These are useful for many different disasters.
  • Consider buying a system to charge AA or AAA batteries. Small solar chargers are inexpensive.
  • Larger power centers are more affordable than ever and when combined with a small solar panel, they can provide you with some reliable power for an extended period of time. I have a Jackery 500 and it is great.
  • Are you comfortable with having no method of contacting others if your cell phone can’t make calls or internet communication is not possible? Options include radios and HAM radios. Anyone can buy a radio but HAM is more complicated. For more info on HAM, follow this link.
  • Make sure your emergency radio for getting info is charged or has batteries. If you don’t have one, Kaito offers some great options.
  • Consider what you have for entertainment and morale if you have to sit at home without power and the internet. I have a small library of used books that I am working through. I am just in that habit now. You may have a favorite hobby or pastime that is doable without power. It is a bonus if your hobby is something that can really help out during tough times.

I have an article about entertainment and morale during hard times that has more detail on putting together a few things to get you through.

Check and make sure that you have a supply of any prescription medications you require and a decent first aid kit.

There are a lot of reasons this is a good idea, especially if you are the type that waits to the last minute. I used to live in Ketchikan. Alaska and I remember that sometimes some meds had to be substituted for people. They just ran out of some strengths and some pills in particular. I say this because it shows that it can happen even in good times with modern fast shipping.

Some medications are very harmful to come off of suddenly.

You can get a decent small first aid kit for 1-2 people for very little money. I recommend the First Aid Only Kit and that you add Benadryl and Ibuprofen Liqui-Gels.

Purchase a water filter or several different styles of water filters if you don’t have one already.

water glass pouring drink

A Sawyer Mini is often less than $20. For family use, you can use a Sawyer inline with a hydration bag or buy a combo system like the Hydro Blu. I recommend these brands for their affordability and versatility for individuals and families as well as their proven reliability out in the bush.

Consider your heating needs and how you would stay warm without electricity.

In my area, it is the cold season. What if electricity was not available? How would you stay warm. Kerosene or propane heaters are one option. If you have a wood stove and some wood on hand than you are in a good position. Those without these things may consider some mylar emergency blankets and maybe a sleeping bag. It is amazing how good of a sleeping bag or bivvy you can get for your money nowadays and they store in a very small space.

If you are already a prepper, now is the time to go over your preps and see what you are lacking.

Everyone should go through their preps occasionally. It can be easy to lose track of what you have. You may be better or worse prepared than you might have thought. Little things can make a big difference in your comfort and survival during a very short or long term emergency alike.

Think before you speak.

We all have things we would like to say but that doesn’t mean it is a good idea to do so. I have to think about that many hours of the day. Emotions can run really high during a time like this. This is not to say the country was not already on edge before and divided in many ways. Consider that despite differences, there are some core basic needs that we all have to address and that matters a lot.

Ask yourself it is worth it to say something controversial on any level. What is the end goal? Will it achieve anything besides fueling pride and ego? Is now the time to have petty disagreements with loved ones? You may need each other more than you realize.

Consider what you can do for defense.

I get a few emails in my line of work. Sometimes they are from older ladies that say they are alone and sometimes they are in countries where SHTF is in motion and a firearm is impossible or only for the very wealthy. I wrote an article on using everyday objects for self-defense. There are things you can use all around you without even spending anything. A lot of being prepared is being resourceful.

Like I have told the ladies before, some of the women in my family have used a frying pan to great success. A lady in Chili told me that young people sharpen screwdrivers for weapons.

Consider if it is worth it to be in large crowds if you don’t really need to be.

People are on edge and that can lead to panic. You can get trampled in a crowd. Also, larger places are more likely to be targeted.

Related Article: Panic: Staying Safe In A Society On Edge.

Consider shopping at smaller local stores rather than the huge big box stores.

Large shopping centers and Wal-Marts have been the scene of more than one dangerous situation.

Keep living your life. Events are in motion that we have little control over.

For the new reader, I will tell you that I am a homebody anyway. My farm and all my work are done from my property. Matt and I started out up here in a tent and built a house. We choose to avoid highly populated events and areas as much as possible anyway. At the same time, this is not possible for everyone due to work or school. I do think it is a good idea to take some precautions during these trying times.

Some may feel the need to accuse me of spreading fear during this crisis or overreaction but as I said before, many of the things I recommend are preparedness basics that are valuable to your comfort and survival during all kinds of other situations. It is just that now is a time to reinforce these ideas and for us that have been at the preparedness thing awhile to consider what we are lacking.

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Updated Jan 8, 2020

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8 Responses to “What The Iran Conflict Means For Preparedness”

  1. I don’t know how common sense preparation is spreading fear! What you’re doing is spreading information that we need, along with a calming dose of encouragement! Thanks for the info!

    Reply
  2. “ Keep living your life. ”

    That is some of the most important advice. Prepare for the problems you foresee, but don’t forget to enjoy life. Prepping should be about reducing stress by knowing we are reasonably prepared, not about hiding from life and its problems.

    Treating prepping as a hobby can help take some of the grim edge off: learn to do things because the learning is fun, satisfying, while knowing that some of the skills and supplies may someday be very useful.

    Knowing that the small issues almost certainly will occur from time to time but the biggest ones i.e. TEOTWAWKI could but probably won’t should be comforting.

    I’m old enough to remember Nike missiles in on the waterfront in downtown Milwaukee and in the suburbs a few hundred yards from my grade school, ready to blow incoming Soviet bomber fleets out of the air. Imagine: we were so worried about all out nuclear war that we had missiles with nuclear warheads in the financial district, and Milwaukee was far from alone. We were ready to detonate nuclear warheads over our own country to prevent those bombers from getting to the big cities.

    It didn’t happen.

    Same with the late 1970s and 1980s: global nuclear war had a lot of people scared silly, and with some reason. Still, it didn’t happen. It could have, but it didn’t.

    Worst case scenarios are possible, but they are far out on the bell curve of probability. So we prepare pretty well for the most likely -for us that’s hurricanes and to a lesser extent earthquakes- which also leaves us at least reasonably prepared for the less likely, and keep living our lives.

    Reply
  3. I can say the iran news story, and other stories like it, do not affect my life. 1. I am child of God, saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus who is my Lord and Savior. If I die, I go to be with him. If I live I continue to serve him here. 2. Being prepared to stay here takes a lot of stress out of situations like these. A lot of peace of mind.

    Not that I do not have gaps. Everyone has gaps. But I have sufficient knowledge, tools, supplies to give it a good run. I don’t freak out every time someone calls the “sky is falling” or the “seas are rising”. I stick with the plan I already have and keep plodding along, one step at a time. I learned this along the way.

    That was not true when I first started prepping. I felt the urgency and worried what if it happened today or something soon. I you are new, and feel that way, good. That should keep you motivated to keep working on it. But not make you panic. You can get to the point you can have peace of mind — to some extent — that you have done as much as you can reasonably do in the amount of time you have and resources available.

    The worst reaction is to freak out and spend a lot of money. Especially that is not in your budget. It is tempting to just buy buy buy. But a lot of bad purchases are made this way. The prepping community, just like all others, has its share of used car dealers and hucksters. They will sell you a backpack full of junk that will break the first use. This false sense of security can be worse than nothing at all. Acquire things slowly, one at a time, with research and trying alternative available at home if possible. Test your equipment. Even if you camp out in the backyard. If they say it is the “perfect” ___. It probably isn’t.

    This becomes a way of life, not a one time goal. Once you master one skill (ie water filtration) learn another (ie fire starting) then another (map and compass) then another. The more you learn, the more you learn you don’t know. But learning new things keeps your brain young and is fun. Most of what we do can be described as a hobby. I like to backpack and primitive camp. I don’t tell people I am training to bug out. I like to garden. I don’t say I’m prepping for civil collapse. Keep talk of emergency preparation to what the government recommends. Great cover.

    Anyway, I hope this is helpful.

    Reply
  4. Thanks for a balanced and calm presentation. I backed away from prepping a few years ago. Had let food go bad, used up a lot of other stuff and haven’t replaced a lot of it. Makes me rethink what I’m doing, to see the global situation flare up like this. I especially have things to think about because I’m a great-grandma with custody of a toddler. There are a number of things I need to look at that I didn’t really focus on before. Like diapers for a growing child. I will be doing inventory and shopping lists over the next couple of days. Thanks again!

    Reply
  5. Have to say, I fully agree with Penrod, as well as with Jeanne. You are not fear-mongering. You simply remind us why we prepare and light a fire to make sure we have not gotten too complacent.
    I was a little bit concerned yesterday, but not so much today. Iran had to ‘save face’, it all went down without a hitch, and they are the scared ones now. I will leave the politics at that. Doesn’t mean we won’t still see further retaliation, but I kinda doubt it.

    Reply
  6. Good information, but maybe too much of an incremental approach? DHS guidance is to have supplies for a minimum of 14 days now:
    https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/NIAC%20Catastrophic%20Power%20Outage%20Study_508%20FINAL.pdf
    and to plan & prepare for as much as 6 months without utility power.

    Whatever you want to call the changes in weather manifesting now, it would be wise to plan on long term shortages and grid down/SHTF type scenarios. Much longer terms of months to years, yes? Likewise, for many people there is just way too much to think about (or afford) to truly prepare on a catastrophic scale – for individuals and single families. Staying with the theme of taking the wisest approach, it is high time to align with like minded people in your family and community. In the majority of catastrophic events in history, it always resolves to neighbor helping neighbor. The government is NOT going to have the best solution, and they seem to have fostered an environment where people don’t trust their neighbors.

    I would humbly suggest that the top priority should be given to forming networks of like minded people, and taking a team approach to disaster planning. Generally, groups of 60-100 do the best. Smaller groups don’t have the skills and security features to thrive, and larger groups tend to start growing government again. Then groups can form strategic alliances for trade and security.

    My recommended formula for SHTF prepping:
    – Be fully informed
    – Align yourself with like minded (fully informed!) people
    – Take preparations as the situation dictates

    Reply
  7. Two parts of prepping often overlooked are voting and religion. Not everyone feels the same about their choices but we still live in a free country.

    Reply
    • Larry I agree wholeheartedly. If we don’t have standards to live by our civilization will deteriorate. also if we don’t vote our country will be hijacked by special interests

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