Sometimes ideas for stories pop up because I discover my own deficiencies on subjects. That’s what prompted this article when I realized I had not made a paper copy of my address book. In a world where we can look up the names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, and email addresses of pretty much everyone in our lives on our phones, many of us couldn’t tell you every family member’s phone number from memory.
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But it’s not just a best practice for losing your phone. Prolonged “digital apocalypses” of various sorts could be on our horizon. A massive cyberattack that takes out internet access for the masses is something that has concerned me for years ever since learning just how easy it would be for those with the resources. We’re not talking about a multinational conspiracy or globalist cabal of billionaires who are the only ones capable of taking down the internet. A motivated group of a dozen people with a few hundreds thousand dollars of equipment and the right expertise could prevent internet access for weeks, months, or even indefinitely.
Then, there are even worse threats. One atmospheric EMP attack could cripple half of the nation. Attacks on our energy grid could create a domino effect of devastation. There are many ways to take us back to the days of analog and far too few Americans are ready for such an event.
Here is an extremely incomplete list of seven basic paper items we all should have prepared immediately if we haven’t already. The bad news, as I’ve laid out, is that we’re vulnerable to possible “digital apocalypses.” The good news is it’s not too difficult to get the basic preparations done quickly.
With that said, here’s a list of seven paper items to make sure you have prepared today:
- Full Address Book: As noted, this is what prompted me to write this article. I had everything else on the list but not paper record with ways to reach everyone I know. The more detailed the information the better. If phones are disabled we may only be able to contact friends and family buy going to their homes. Printing out a few copies of a spreadsheet should keep it down to a few pages, depending on how many friends and relatives you have.
- Maps: Our map pack is pretty impressive. We have everything from very detailed local maps all the way up to a nationwide highway map. Considering how little space they take and the low costs, it’s best to have a couple of duplicate map packs in separate bug out bags as well as one pack in the safe.
- Cash and Metals on Hand: We aren’t rich but we try to keep some money in the safe for just-in-case. I’m not a fan of fiat currency but the bad part about cryptocurrencies is that in a digital apocalypse even the wealthy can find themselves suddenly broke. That applies for those with all of their money in the bank. Those with the means should keep silver and gold coins, the smaller the better, in the safe as well. My gold guy, Ira, can help if you need.
- Books: For a prolonged or even permanent digital apocalypse, having physical books makes a lot of sense. They can take up a lot of space and aren’t exactly easy to carry around in a bug-out situation, but for bugging in they can be a mind saver. As a Christian, having Bibles available is paramount for us. How-to manuals and survival guides can be very beneficial as well. As difficult as it may be for some of us to understand today, there could come a time in a post-apocalyptic society when books are as valuable as gold.
- Pens, Paper, Pencils, Tape: Call me old school but I still write things down. If there’s nothing but a blank screen on our computers and smartphones, having pen and paper in abundance will be more than just a luxury. As for tape, one never knows when they’ll need to write something down to leave notes for people in visible places.
- Photos: A prepper friend told me about this little tip a couple of months ago. Everyone she knows, she takes pictures of and prints them out on paper. When I asked her why not have them developed into pictures, she said she wants them to be weather- and at least partially time-proof so printed and laminated images are her preference. She makes multiple prints of people she knows so if she needs to hand one or two out she’ll still have copies. Many of us have the bulk of our images in digital format. In a digital apocalypse, all of our photographic records could be lost forever.
- Deeds and Other Important Documents: If things go very far south in a hurry, having paper records of ownership can protect our property. But it’s more than just deeds and receipts. We should keep all of our paper records such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, passports, and the like in very safe places that are easily accessible and can be made travel-ready in a bug-out situation.
None of these things take a ton of effort. Only #3 can cost a lot of money. Having food, water, shelter, medicine, and ammunition are staples of good preparedness, but don’t let missing out on basic paper-based needs slip through the cracks.