Updated: Feb 7, 2021
Let's cut through the crap first. Everyone's going to say, well, if there's an EMP that thing is toast. But what if there's not? I prep for more than one type of disaster, don't you? I gotta get that out of the way because it's always the first comment when this comes up. "What if there's an EMP?"
If we can all be honest with ourselves for a moment, this is the 21st Century. The balance of our very beings these days seems to hinge around technology. We are information driven and media hungry. Parents that need that constant stream of YouTube videos and Disney+ access to keep the kids from destroying the house. For the rest of us it's Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Spotify/Apple Music, Steam, Xbox Live, Kindle, Audible, Stitcher. Regardless of what your vice is - my question to you is this.
What would you do if power was cut and access to services like power, tv, internet??
Yes, there's obviously bigger problems to think about if these services have failed. But imagine trying to solve the food crisis while your 7 year old wont stop asking you questions because they're stressed out about this situation.
This is a contingency plan to help you maintain sanity or morale during the crisis. It goes a LONG way.
Aside from the entertainment value something like this is intended for, it's also a vital tool in helping you during the crisis in so many ways. Being a hub of information that would otherwise be inaccessible can be lifesaving at time. It could be looking up first aid information to treat an injury when no first responders are available, or long term care for someone that is ill. Perhaps checking dosing requirements for medicine.
There's value in the communication realm, and I mean that in a very broad sense. You've likely heard me harp about the undeniable importance to information/intel. With out the normal means of knowing what's going on around you, there has to be some other established form of gathering and processing data about the condition of the situation around you. This bleeds into radio territory, but the right tools included with your kit might allow you to receive and process and great deal of information when you need it the most. This info might be the only way you learn that the situation is deteriorating and the time to bug out to another location has come.
PICTURE THIS... "I'm scanning the SDR radio on my tablet a few weeks after it all went down. I'm able to monitor some of the local emergency bands, and ham chatter from my area. Today I heard that that nearby areas are dealing with a lot of crime/violence because food is already getting scarce. Hearing about daily break-ins while people are home. Yesterday, someone was robbed and hurt badly in their garage in broad daylight just for a few cans of food. I haven't really left the neighborhood in a few weeks since it all started and it's been quiet here. Thankfully, this was news to me and I haven't experienced it first hand great! So far, I've made it unscathed yet it's clear that I'm in the path of danger. It's also clear that it's time to get out before my family falls victim to this. But I still think, what if I didn't get the early warning, what might have happened to us?"
A good survival library is important to every prepper. Let's be honest, you don't dedicate as much time to learning new skills as you'd like. Plus, there's just too much to know. Supplementary knowledge never hurts anyone.
I use an older Samsung tablet in an Otterbox case to act as a backup library to my paper backs. This is carried in my Comms Go Bag because aside from containing over 3k books on Kindle, it is used for a number of communication purposes including acting as an SDR display/controller and scanner. Beyond that, with a USB drive, the list below contains a ton of other things this Tablet is used for/provides access to.
What's On It?
🎬 Huge collection of movies & TV
📹 Hundreds of downloaded YouTube videos to teach me how to do things I haven't leaned yet but may need to know in the future
🎵 Massive music library
🕹️ Quite a few android games as well as emulators and hundreds of ROMs for all the classic game systems
📓 Survival PDFs & Army Field Manuals
📜 Copies of important documents & IDs
📸 Backups of family pics
🎧 Audiobooks and audio/radio dramas
🔍 Kiwix coupled with a separate 64gb memory card gives me access to the entire Wikipedia library offline + a bunch of similar resources
📓 Maps and Arial shots of my neighborhood, BOL, Bug out routes, resource & cache locations, etc.
📱 Survival/navigation/first aid apps
How Do I Protect This?
If you have an optical hard drive, get a padded transport case - they're susceptible to damage from heavy vibration/impact. An SSD Drive is not, but will be more expensive. Look into options to password protect & encrypt the personal data that you'll have saved on the drive. If it's a phone or tablet, buy a heavy duty case. Consider building a faraday cage or purchasing a faraday protection bag. Cages can be built easily from DIY plans found online, but the bags are a bit harder to create on your own. There's some nice options available on our Amazon Idea List: EMP Gadgets
Gimme Free Stuff
If you already have a smartphone, tablet or eReader, this won't cost you anything to get started. Check out http://prepforshtf.com/free-kindle-books-limited-time-offers/. Every day they post links to 6 - 8 free survival/preparedness books on the Kindle market. Making a habit to spend 2 minutes each morning to check the site over the last year or so has amassed me a huge collection. Yes, the paper copies are also just as valuable. But try carrying over two thousand paperbacks and let me know how that goes. Don't wait another minute, start right away. Build your collection, doing this ever day for over a year has amassed me a collection of over 3k books.
There's many ways you can do this, a flash drive, USB hard drive, cell phone, tablet, laptop... but your task now is to start building one. Break out all your important personal documents and start scanning, begin saving articles, lookup online resources that can be saved but dedicate a little time to this each month so eventually you have a device you can rely on when the internet is not available.
http://prepforshtf.com/free-kindle-books-limited-time-offers/ (same as described above)
US Army Field Manuals
Survival Document Repositories