Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Day I Let My Freak Flag Fly: How Lack of Internet Cost Me OPSEC

Nothing says, "Hello, I'm a kook" to the average Joe like a prepper's storeroom

As I mentioned a bit ago, we've been having problems with our Internet service. We don't have a lot of selection in Internet providers. When we moved here, our choices were dial-up, satellite, or Canopy broadbrand. We chose the latter option and it has worked OK for the most part. It was really slow and frequently went down for 2-3 days at a time after a spell of bad weather.

Our Internet was down for nearly two solid weeks in January and that was the last straw. Something had to change. Hubby Dear did a little research and found that WiMax was now available to us through a local cable company. It would be much faster and surely more reliable, so we jumped right on it.

Here's the only problem: To hook up our new Internet, the service techs would have to work in my storage room. OPSEC would be out the window.

OPSEC, for those newbies out there like me, is short for Operations Security. You don't want to share information about your preps, food storage, etc. with just anyone. Some people will think you're a bit strange. Others will freak out and inform Homeland Security that there's another nut like Ted Kaczynski on the loose. Still others will quietly store your preparedness in their memory and if SHTF, they'll show up at your house.  

I've worked carefully to maintain OPSEC but now it was going to be destroyed. I wondered if I should I cover the mountain of buckets and Shelf Reliance unit with blankets. Hubby Dear thought that would make it obvious that we were hiding something.

We decided that I should just act friendly and think up something nonchalant to say to the techs if they asked about my preps. Here are some of the options I came up with:

Internet Guy: "What's up with all the food?"

Me: (Gesturing to my shrieking offspring) "I run a daycare. These darn kids sure eat a lot."


Me: "I'm a hoarder. You should see my closets!"

or my favorite:

Me: "You don't get a body this rockin' unless you have a lot of food on-hand at all times."

I finally decided that if they asked about the contents of the storage room that I would just laugh and say that I was worried about inflation and the price of food.

When the dreaded day arrived, the techs were extremely professional. They quickly went about their work and did not mention the 800 lb gorilla in the room. I didn't have to say a thing. I was kind of disappointed.

Obviously, I need to be prepared in case something like this happens again. Not only does the Internet connection run through there, but our main water shut-off valve is also in that storage room. We have had to have the water line into our house replaced twice since we lived here (remind me to tell you about that story sometime) and the workmen spent a lot of time in that room doing the repair. 

The Solution (Sort of):

We're going to have a garage sale/massive donation of baby clothes and toys this spring (sniff...), so I'll be able to clean out the area underneath the stairs. I plan to put as many of the buckets as I can in there. To me, the buckets are the most obvious evidence of the unusual amount of food we have stored. Once stashed underneath the stairs, I could easily cover up that area with some of the usual debris found in most people's storage areas. I'm not sure what to do with the rest of it.

How's your OPSEC? Are your preps hidden from casual view?


  1. I've written a few posts on this topic. I had the 800# gorilla too, when my house flooded (with water, and then with helpful people) and every nook and cranny was emptied into the garage. After we determined that the water was not rising, and was beginning to recede, I ran frantically around putting things higher up and out of sight. I had just bought two 55 gal water drums and hadn't filled them yet, so I stashed all my bagged staples in there. (hadn't put them in buckets yet- waterproof, but more conspicuous.) You'll have to go read it all... now where we're moved to, when the movers came in, I really did just cover everything with sheets. Like the furniture in old abandoned houses. whatever!

  2. I think the best thing to do with superpails is to store them inside big cardboard boxes, and then write things like "winter clothes" or "gardening supplies" on the outside of the box.

  3. Bitsy - That's a good idea. I'd have to get my hands on some boxes that aren't emblazoned with the Emergency Essential's logo, though!

  4. My preps are contained in a spare bedroom...the only ones who see it are close family. However, our den is full of my husband's collectibles...when the internet dude came over to replace our modem, we covered up the cases with sheets, set around paint buckets and brushes. "We are about to paint this room" was his explaination.

  5. You could always write "Paint - Living Room" on the buckets as well although I like the idea of hiding them in boxes labled "clothes" and "toys" as well.