Well Doomsday Preppers is back for another season!
If you have read my past reviews of the show, you know that I am no fan of the shows producers, in this man’s opinion, they would sell their mother to put something on the air that shocks people, I guess it’s what sells. Well not on this homestead.
However we can and should take from the show what makes sense and what we can use everyday in our preparedness!
First up is Jeff Mann and his compound in Central Florida. Jeff, along with fellow survivalists John Milandred and Bill Hennessey, work to make Jeff’s compound into serving 25 members and their families. The compound is also the base for Jeff’s business (Survival Warehouse) and you can’t miss that because it’s scrawled over everything. Jeff has his daughter living in the compound and brings son Colton back to ranch to see if he is worthy of taking over the ranch once he is gone. He and Colton has not seen eye to eye for years and Colton left at age 16 to get away from Jeff. But he returns and is told by his father, he has a lot to learn and needs to show his stuff.
Called “THE COLONY”, it’s a fenced place where they prepare to spend years living after the Economic Collapse they are preparing for. They have some 800 animals on the property with a lot of them being exotics that I would guess is part of the business, and well worth it. So John is the survival teacher, he is a great choice for that role. Bill is a US Marine that is in charge of security, weapons and combat training. Oh and he is in charge of executions, but we will come back to that.
With a million rounds of ammo on hand, and over 200 firearms, they could well defend “The Colony” for years. They also have the two part explosive, probably Tannerite that you can buy that will explode when fired into. They used it to blow up cars to simulate IED’s that they will use against attackers. Colton had to go to the car, place the explosive and then low crawl back to them while they fired over his head. This was to simulate stress, it may have have only stimulated a stain in his tiddy whities…. Can you say STUNT?
Water was in pretty good shape with two wells that fill 1,000 gallon holding tanks. At the minimum of 1 gal per day/per person, that would be 40 days. I believe that the wells needed power to run and I did not see a generator but my guess is they would have that covered along with fuel. They also had water catchment from the roofs that added to the storage capability. I can only assume with the survival business inventory being stored there, food is not an issue.
I kept having this nagging thought about the order to be kept in the compound, something did not and still does not feel right. Bill had Colton built a gallows for the ultimate punishment. Jeff had announced that their would be a small town government and that major offenses would be dealt with severely, well I guess so. Bill then tested the gallows with a dummy and then John stepped in. Now John hates this idea from the get go. Are we really going to hang our own people? Bill seemed to love the idea as he has obviously taken the role of “Executioner”. So he and John get into it and Colton makes peace. I respected John for this and wished he had stood his ground a little more.
The GOOD and the BAD:
- Food and Water are in good shape with a replenishment on water planned for.
- Weapons and ammo for defense are excellent.
- Organization and training are evident.
- Protein source of animals if needed.
- Living quarters in Conex, one per family.
- No gardens exist to supplement their existing food or stand as a replacement once it runs out.
- More water storage. A thousand gallons stored for 25 folks is really not much.
- Perimeter security such as video or motion sensors or roving patrols to monitor an attack were not present.
- Living quarters. I see the Conex for habitation. Where’s the bathroom….sink….
- “Colony Justice” a real possibility. We could become prey with our own group.
- Central Florida does get major storms and hurricanes that flood and do lots of damage if not fully prepared.
Summary: The “Colony” approach to preparedness is a huge undertaking. Just the logistics of families, food, water…… is amazing large. Also along with that is any government to be used, can often create it’s own set of problems with individual differences. Do we have King Jeff, a democracy, socialism or a republic. Given all of these options, to often groups fail due to just the government used. If you are willing to hang your people instead of exile, what other rules or rights get implemented and enforced. If you have read the fiction book, “Lights Out”, a great read, the lead character, “Karate Man” is approached before the event to become a part of a compound outside town. If you read that, you know that group ended up being a total mess with the group now robbing and killing for supplies. This was due to the “Head” of that compound laying down the law and the people ending up the victims.
So I do not support Compounds or Colony’s at all. The dynamics of such a group along with the individual agendas are just to much to overcome. I do support communities banding together. If you look at the same book (Lights Out), the karate man gets almost the entire track house community to work as one, and it works. Individuality has to be maintained in a group situation and rights must be maintained at all cost. John, you should have stood on your principles and walked. Bill, I don’t trust you at all. You are to much “Enforcer” and the with you the end justifies the means is your playbook! I do think that this episode was bought and paid for by Jeff for his company’s benefit. It was total product placement and advertising was everywhere and frankly, made me want to puke. It was very clear that they did this show for, wait for it……$$$$$$
Next up is Tony C and his wife and daughter: Tony is preparing for a spaceborne disaster. Asteroids brother, not spaceships! While this is a possibility, not a probability in my view, although the ones that fell in Russia sure make you think…. Tony lives in Indiana and we don’t get to see where he lives full time, I assume it’s not the bunker. Tony took a unique approach by building a 1200 sqft space by digging out a hill and then building a structure from wood. Then putting his RV into the space and covering the top of the structure with dirt and native cover. It just looks like a big termite mound, with a door.
So Tony was not finished yet. He built shelves to store 3-4 years of food, mostly in cans from the look of things. Water stored is 1,000 gallons in the large 55 gallon blue poly drums. He constructed a make shift air filter to keep out ash particles that would be in the air after the impact of an asteroid. He also took a good look at making Co2 and making greens to eat, hey grow your own food! Grow lights and medium to facilitate the seeds to plants will add quite a bit to the diet and air quality.
I was never clear on Power to run all of this. With the bunker described as “Deep in the Woods”, it sounds like power is solar? I am not sure why they did not talk about the need for some sort of power. The trailer has two batteries max and an inverter but where does it get the charging power from?
The GOOD and the BAD:
- I like the bunker for getting out of the weather and the fallout. Well sealed and doors that would be problematic for anyone attempting to get in.
- The RV adds a ton of comfort for staying there for a medium to long period.
- Carpentry looks first rate.
- I like the 3-4 years of food.
- Water is good for just the three of them. That’s over 300 days for three people/1 gal day each.
- Power, Power, Power. Where is it and what is it?
- Grow lights take a lot of wattage. Typically 12o watts for 4 lamp fixture and they run for at least 12 hours/day, everyday.
- Canned Food. Since they don’t live there, how does that food get rotated? Most of that food will not last 3 years, a lot won’t last 6 months. If you don’t use a rotation system and date everything you store, you can never be sure it will be there when you need it. This is a major problem.
- Human waste. The holding tanks on most RV’s is 40 gallons. What happens after that?
- Exterior cameras or security observation port?
- Weapons and non lethal defense?
Summary: I have to give it to Tony. He unlike most people do not back up their fears and concerns with facts. Most folks listen to the crap that comes on the internet as fact without checking to see if it’s true. By going to an observatory and meeting with someone who knows about these things, you actually did some reasoning on your own. I run across stories everyday that don’t hold water, kudos Tony! I think his plan is sound, still not sure about how possible this is but….
Last up is Cheree, leader of a Christian Camp in Northern CA: So here we have a Christian Camp in the mountains of Northern California, I will try not to hold the CA against them.…. 27 year old Cheree is in charge of the camp and has decided to get some of her close friends together to do a drill at the camp for a Mega Earthquake. Since CA is in the top three for earthquakes in the US along with Alaska and Nevada, sound prudent. So they break out the cots and set them up in the dining hall, they are planning on housing and taking care of 50 refugees of the event.
Updates at the camp include adding 3-250 watt solar panels, a hand pump added into the well for water along with testing out the scenario. Now the solar panels are a good idea, the camp uses 1200 watts to run it, so where does the additional wattage come from. I also doubt that this includes the well pump which pumps to the 5,000 gallon storage tanks.
Adding the hand pump to the well will give them water and can be done for a few hundred bucks depending on depth. I have installed one of these and they actually work quite well. With a water level at 65′, it’s not hard to pump that depth. However, it does take more work than you think and you will need to trade off with others to pump enough water. Since the gardens need 800 gallons/day, you will not be able to pump that much with that pump.
Next was security. Since Cheree does not believe in violence and therefore no guns allowed on the property. So Cheree mentioned that she will die instead of hurting another, this will probably result in her and those around her meet their maker early…. One close friend had a sidearm and he mentioned that he intended to carry it to defend himself and others from harm if needed. This was met with resistance and then everyone promptly voted him off the island…… Sleep well baby sister.
The food supply appears to be a bunch of cases of MRE’s, and that’s it. No way this is going to work.
The GOOD and the BAD:
- 5,000 gallons is lot of water and I like that. Given the friends and 50 people, thats about 90 days at minimum use.
- The MRE’s will last for 5 years if properly stored for optimum quality, less once they start to decay.
- Safety in numbers but not sure of the camp/compound/colony direction.
- Out of the city, out where you can do other things such as chickens and livestock.
- Water pump. 56 people and this pump will not work. Why not install a solar pump to keep the 5,000 tanks topped off? That’s what I plan to do at my homestead.
- Food. MRE’s get old to eat. You need a variety of canned, deydrated and fresh food.
- Why are you not gardening?
- Defense. Not even non lethal defense means you will meet your maker sooner, rather than longer.
Summary: I like the camp, buildings, water supply and the friends that go along with it. Problem is I cannot turn the other cheek and simply die, no sir. The solar pump is a great add and should be done. More solar with battery storage would be nice. An off grid system that could be tied into the main system once the grid is disconnected. Just putting the well on solar would save a bunch of $$$ on utility bill.
Just a note: I am not sure how the “practical Preppers” come up with a score, but it’s ridiculous at best. They are all over the map on what THEY consider adequate and what is not, hence most disagree with them. I know people that I could give 3 days of food and a knife and will live a week on it easily and then there are those who will fall apart in 24 hours. It’s the people more than the gear in a true survival situation. Prepping is personal and so is survival!