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Empty Shelves: Hurricanes, Disasters and Civil Unrest – a Contingency Plan

Tue, Aug 30, 2011

Food Storage

From SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

This article has been contributed by Kevin Hayden of Truth is Treason. Kevin is a former police officer who has seen what societal collapse looks like first-hand during Hurricane Katrina.

If you think that you’ll be able to simply drive to Wal-Mart or the grocery store and load up on food, water and supplies during an actual emergency, you are living in a fantasy world.  We now experience freak weather on a regular basis.  Oklahoma has experienced a record-breaking 53 days of 100+ temperatures, a massive hurricane is nearing Washington, DC and the New York City area, and NASA continues to amplify their warnings regarding solar storms disrupting our way of life.

What if gasoline hit $ 5 a gallon and unemployment was still hanging around the current ~15%?  What if there were a few small protests that turned a bit violent – not even on the scale of what we see in Europe – but a few townhall meetings that get out of hand?  The level of comfort in this country is quickly sliding downhill and it will only take a few provocations, a few simple emergencies and all hell will break loose.  When it does, I hope that you have taken the time to at least have a 30 or 60-day food supply, some water and basic neccessities (if not a full-blown food storage plan and the related tools, accessories and means to provide power, warmth and protection).

In 2008, the Pentagon announced plans to deploy a 20,000-soldier force inside the continental United States, set to be trained by 2011, specifically for civil unrest and quick response to nuclear, biological or chemical attacks, thus dovetailing into the current troop and equipment movements around the country reported by truckers, as well as many more troop sightings by everyday citizens.

Interestingly enough, this plan directly correlates with a 2009, Army funded, Rand Corporation study that called for an internal United States police force (Stability Police Force or SPF) to combat American civil unrest. 

JIT Supply and Trucking Services

Empty shelves are a common sight nowadays due to small-scale “emergencies” such as an ice storm, unexpected snow and other natural phenomenon.  But what if the power grid went down due to space weather, electromagnetic incidents, cyber-strikes or even overheating?  Imagine a man-made event or a crisis that spans half of the country.  Imagine having no power for three, four…even six weeks. Perhaps years, according to NASA’s latest threat assessment of solar storms in 2013.

These are very real things to think about.  It doesn’t take much to break that “Just in Time supply chain” that we all take for granted.  High diesel costs will bring those truckers to a grinding halt across the United States.  In 2009, several national trucking companies went into bankruptcy and many more could barely afford the high fuel costs.  What did they do?  They told their drivers to park the truck, walk away and to find their own ride back home.  Luckily, that was short lived and the larger companies pulled through, along with a lot of the independent owner/operators.  But their profits took a beating and I wouldn’t count on them spending their own money just to get supplies to your local store everytime.

The Problem with Paper Money

An important issue that needs to be understood before disaster sets in is that you will not be able to buy your way out of it.  During a hurricane or similar short-term event, perhaps.  But after a few days, you’ll quickly realize that your dollar bills either don’t go nearly far enough or people will flat out refuse them.  A fiat currency has no value in post-disaster realms.  During Hurricane Katrina, I was a police officer in New Orleans and it showed me that particular side of the economy and humanity.  It taught me a lot of lessons.  Not many people in America can truly understand the mentality and atmosphere during a total societal collapse like that experienced in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Unless you had fuel, food, alcohol or ice, you couldn’t really engage in many business transactions.  Several people were offering ammunition (due to their own ignorance, I suspect) but as often as we see the need for post-apocalyptic ammunition and hoardes of firearms in movies and books, it just didn’t exist unless you were one of the people looking for trouble.  Keep in mind, this was a short-term event with a light at the end of the tunnel.  The same does not apply for national, long-term collapse.

During those few weeks, I saw an incredible demand for fuel (mainly for generators), alcohol and 12v pumps of various types; those that could pump fuel from gas station reserves or those that could pump water.  Along those lines, five gallon gas cans were a hot commodity, as well.  In the downtown area (near the bars), I discovered that several bags of ice could be traded for alcohol, which could then be traded for just about anything, especially food.  I was amazed at how many National Guard soldiers would offer four or five cases of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) in exchange for one bottle of cheap booze.  What did they care?  They didn’t pay for the MREs and could always get more.  I could then trade that food to neighbors or contractors coming into town for any number of items that I desired, including more alcohol, toiletries or fuel.

In short term events, your silver and gold will not go far and will be wasted.  Most people do not understand the value of these metals, especially when they simply crave the basic essentials for another week or two.  Obviously, you should hold both of these metals in your inventory, but their advantage comes into full effect when it’s a national or long-term incident, along with simply preserving your wealth as the fiat currency crumbles or is refused.

So what does all of this mean?  Well, it’s time to start giving consideration to some of the food related items that I think would be valuable from a bartering standpoint in a long-term event, such as a full blown economic meltdown, hyperinflation, domestic war, massive stock market crash, martial law, large scale natural disasters, and the like.  An important note to remember when developing an “insurance plan” is that buying or acquiring most of these items when the event happens will be next to impossible.  That’s why you need to start your insurance plan right now.

For a more in-depth continuation of this topic, along with how to start an “insurance plan,” see this article:

Bartering, Inflation and Growing a Garden

Kevin Hayden is a former New Orleans police officer-turned-political activist.  He endured Hurricane Katrina’s chaos and societal collapse in the days following and after 5 years in New Orleans, he moved to Oklahoma.  Kevin currently runs and works on local politics and education about our monetary, food and foreign policies while building an off-grid homestead and helping people become prepared.  He can be contacted directly at or by visiting his website,

2 Responses to “Empty Shelves: Hurricanes, Disasters and Civil Unrest – a Contingency Plan”

  1. Kevin Says:
    August 30th, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    For someone new to prepping building a Bug Out Bag can seem like a big task. Everybody you read about has been tweaking theirs for months or even years and has a pile of gear built up. It’s hard to know where to start, but if you cover just all of the basics in a survival situation you will still be much better off that 99% of the people.

    We started with one of the kits (Expedition Extreme from and added copies of important papers, extra clothing and an emergency radio too. It takes only a few minutes to pick out a kit that works for your family and have it shipped to you, instead of driving all over town trying to find all the items you need for a good bug out bag. Then spend a day reviewing the contents and adding your extras. Put it in the hallway closed by the door and it’s ready whenever you need it. Total time spent probably 2 hours = Lifetime of Peace of Mind!


  1. Personal Preparedness, The Leibowitz Society, Coming Collapse and how long things will last… | askmarion says:August 31, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    […] Empty Shelves:  Hurricane, Disasters, and Civil Unrest – a Contingency Plan […]


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