People who believe in “Absolutes” have not been in enough danger.

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Lance (right) and I



Greetings, I consider myself to be a lifelong student because I firmly believe that once you stop learning you have stopped growing and have ultimately started your decline towards death. I do a fair amount of networking through electronic means and the old fashioned hands on approach as well and what I have come to learn is that there is no such thing as an “Absolute”.

 Nothing is ever certain. It is quite a challenge to become an expert in a field such as preparedness and defensive firearm tactics when they have an infinite amount of variables. The best methodology to achieve maximum amount of tangible comprehension is maintaining an open philosophy in your student brain. Don’t be shut off to what some people may consider unconventional or even sometimes against the rules. You are preparing for a disaster not preparing for an isolated incident. Do not become the stereotypical curmudgeon, shaking your fist at the neighborhood kid for some newfangled contraption because it’s unfamiliar to you. Living by absolutes has never been proven to work in any society; there will always be situations to where the rules are changed or broken. If you stay stuck to your absolutes while others around you adapt you will find yourself at a serious disadvantage.
Recently I was talking to my good friend Lance at ORS and we had a fantastic discussion regarding an article on trigger finger placement in a possible engagement scenario. We both served multiple tours in combat and have real world experience in these scenarios. Keeping your finger straight and off the trigger until ready to fire is a non-budging commandment of many of the various ranges we have all been to. Some of us may have even gotten a punch rod smacked off our hands a few time to have those rules reinforced. I follow these range safety rules like gospel when at the range.

When we were doing combat patrols and helo raids into CQB environments do you think our fingers were straight and off the trigger until ready to fire? Hell no! We cleared rooms and patrolled with weapons on fire and finger in the trigger-well. Does this mean that keeping your finger straight and off the trigger until ready to fire is wrong? No, the situation will dictate. Anyone who says any different is either lying or has not been in a close quarters firefight or ambush before. You cannot live a life of absolutes, whether it’s believing that nothing bad will ever happen here because it’s Murica’ or firmly believing that an economic collapse will happen and you will need to live off your preps for years to come.

The point of being prepared, not a prepper, is that you are prepared for a multitude of scenarios. Will you be able to prepare for everything? No, that is just stupid. But what you can do is be flexible and be willing to adapt to your surroundings and the situations that may arise.




Semper Gumby was an expression we used a lot in the Marines and it seems to be a perfect example of how to proceed with your preparedness. Be flexible and don’t let your pride or the lack of understanding to different methods impede your skill advancement to becoming a more complete individual.



Range time is key for consistency



Stay fit and keep a Warrior Mindset.

“Absolutism cost Spain the Dutch Netherlands and gave rise to Al Capone during prohibition—power is at the heart of absolutist thinking.  Either the subject of absolutist thought is too lazy, inexperienced or scared to try new ideas or tactics or the person pushing for their absolutist view is too weak and concerned about his authority and power being questioned that he pushes forcefully his ideas and rejects any kind of honest debate where facts rule.  Absolutists would rather hide behind make-believe fantasies rather than standing beside science.” – Lance Olmsted ORS

How to Make a Homemade Compass

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Homemade Compass
 
 

Now many of us may remember this from our childhood, boyscouts, etc. for those that don’t this is something to put away in your mental tool chest for a day when you might need it.

Mil Spce Compass

Now of course you should have a good compass, I prefer the Mil Spec Compass since it has Tritium in it for night use and is very durable.  However for situations where you might find yourself not in the most…advantageous position, you can create this makeshift compass that you can carry with you, all you will need to do is to have water available for it to float on whenever you want to get a reading.

 

ITEMS NEEDED

  • Sewing Needle (you can also use a paperclip, safety pin or hairpin in a pinch)
  • Magnetizer (Fridge Magnets work great, but you can also use steel or iron to rub it on, silk/fur, or even your own hair to magnetize it)
  • Bowl
  • Small piece of cork (wine cork or cork board is great, but a light wood can work as well just has to be very light and move easily in the water as the needle moves. Leaves can also work in the wild)
  • Water

 

STEP 1:

Rub the needle on the magnet, don’t rub it back and forth but in the same direction, like sharpening a knife.  After about 50 strokes the needle should be magnetized, repeat if necessary.

NOTE: I fyou are using a piece of iron or steel, stick the needle in a piece of wood and rap the top of the needle on the metal item 50 times

 

STEP 2:

Stick the need through the cork, insert it horizontally through the edge of the cork and out the other side.  Push it through until there are equal portions on either side of the wood.  If you are using something like a leaf just lay it on top with equal portions hanging over.

 

STEP 3:

Fill a Bowl with a few inches of water and place your makeshift compass in the water, the needle will align itself with the earths magnetic field and point north to south (that is magnetic north to south).  Now realize that wind will push it off course and you cant stick this in a lake or pond due to currents, however you could use a small still puddle.

 

STEP 4:

You can tell if it is working by if you set it in the work it will start to spin either clockwise or counter clockwise to point form north to south, if it doesn’t and just sort of sits there, then attempt to remagnetize it.

 

STEP 5:

Now you will need to see where North is, if you know the area and have a general idea of which was is north then use that.

If not put a stick in the ground, mark the tip of the shadow it casts with a rock, wait 15 minutes and mark the tip with a rock, the line between the two should be roughly East to West, using that you can tell which way NORTH is.  Stand with First rock on left, second rock on right, then you are facing north.

If it is night, Locate the Norther star, the last star in the handle of the Little Dipper, draw a line from the north star to the ground, that direction is due north.

 

 

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The Prepper Wardrobe: Why Low Key is Best

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Contractor Picture

 

Many of us (Mostly the Guys) like to buy some tactical gear from time to time, and have probably a decent outfit of tactical gear to don, if god forbid the time comes when it is needed.

Now I am not one to judge, I myself have acquired and bought quite a bit of tactical gear, most of this was from my days in the military and contracting, however we need to thing strategically and not tactically in all situations.

What do I mean by that?

Tactically speaking and using a tactical mindset we would look at every situation in a tactical way, which is fine, but dressing the part is where you can go wrong.

I remember a quote from the Great Marine Corps General James Mattis that he told us when I was deployed to Iraq “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”  Now this to the layman may sound harsh, but in combat it is a reality one must accept.

This fits perfectly with what this article is about, in a SHTF scenario you must be analyzing all situations at all times with an eye to being ready to use force to defend yourself.

That being said, dressing like you are  trying out for Zero Dark Thirty 24/7 is not being of the tactical mindset  it is looking a part that doesn’t need to be, you need to have the mindset not wear the gear.

Like I said having the gear for when the time calls for it is smart, but it is smarter to know when to wear it, there is a time and place for that but not the hour after an even starts, or even a month into it.

SO WHY SHOULDN’T I WEAR MY GEAR?

This is topic was brought up initially in a conversation  between myself in Glen Tate over a year ago in a telephone conversation.  We were talking about a part in his books where the “Team” first introduced themselves to the locals at Pierce Point, the bug out location for his semi-fictional self.  Normally they dressed up in full tactical gear since the SHTF started, but to introduce themselves they came dressed in jeans and hunting camouflage.  Why is this important?  Because they were not trying to look like badass dudes, they were wanting to blend in look like the locals and not be seen as a threat.

Now everyone’s situation within their local community is different, however even in the most conservative gun loving communities, if there was an emergency and your first reaction was to show up in full tactical gear, chest rig, vest, M4 and leg holster, people are going to look at you quite strangely, and with good reason.   This isnt to say that at a later date that may be appropriate, but often this is not the right move.

Showing up in full tactical gear, in that person mind, You would think you are projecting this image.

  • Confidence
  • Ability
  • Proficiency
  • I know what I’m Doing
  • I am prepared
  • Follow me!

However what people will be thinking is this

  • Who is that guy
  • Scared
  • Worried
  • Wow what an overreaction
  • This guy is nuts
  • Oh my god one of them militia psychos

 

We all know that when it hits the fan, even after all of that most people will still be hanging onto “normal”, even with the world falling down around them they will stool look at you in that ‘garb’ and think “why? What a nutjob”.  Now does this mean they are right because most of them are thinking that? No.  It does mean that you will need them to survive as much as they will need you, and because of this you will need to not PUSH this on them, it means you will have to take it slow, and only when the time is right or necessary to you go all out.

Besides going all out is more about you wanting to finally use your gear, not about being effective.  Be smart about it, take your surroundings into effect, and remember that your survival depends NOT just on the gear or preps you have but your neighbors as well.  Without them your preps will get you far, but not to the finish line.

 

Another aspect you will want to think about is the fact that SHTF doesn’t mean the government and LE is gone, it might just mean they are ineffective for real crime and will focus more on the big things..ya know like control?  Dressing yourself to look all tacc’d out may just bring you unwanted attention especially if you combine it with any sort of public speech that could be regarded as “demeaning” to the powers that be.  In situations like this when things are tense, it doesn’t take much evidence to haul people in.

The Bad Guys may also take notice of you, if you carry a pistol or even a AR but dress normal, a bad guy looking at you may think you have a nice gun, more than likely not to mess with you if you look like you know what you are doing, probably not worth the hassle and danger, better to hit the person up the street with the progressive bumper stickers.  However if you are all tacc’d up with the newest and most expensive gear, that bad guy knows you probably have some more guns and other brand new goodies at your house, and since you are only one person, it may be worth the risk to try and take you down.

Publicly wearing all this gear may make you think that you looking like a solo porcupine in a pack of deer in the wild, full of quills, impenetrable.  However Remember that cougars figured out how to pick out that porcupine, flip it one its belly and eat it.  No one is impenetrable and more often than not blending in has more advantages than standing out.

 

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Password Protection: Keeping it close and secure

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IMG00290-20131127-1644

 

For those of us who have the forethought to take the necessary precautions to make our passwords extremely secure we have the tradeoff of them being…difficult to remember.  The most secure passwords are those that do not incorporate personal information into them say for instance if I made my passwords ALL “Morgan1234!”.

Now this would satisfy most if not all commercial password requirements, however it is very easily guessed and not very secure.  The best passwords are random, using upper/lowercase letters, numbers and characters, If you need a resource go to www.random.org and scroll down to the passwords, use a 24+ key password, I know of some people that use 1000+ for their encrypted files to make sure that there is no way in this lifetime they can every be broken.

The hard part is remembering them, I often change mine every 3-6 months depending just to make sure that they remain secure, somewhat unnecessary, but I layer all of my security and I never use one password for all of the sites, emails, etc.  I use a separate one for each.  So how do I remember all of them?  I don’t, I have them written down and hidden in a very secure location. Now for security reasons I will not show you the exact way that I hide my passwords, but this IS one way I have done it in the past and you can use this form or use your imagination to come with other inventive ways.  The key is to make it not noticeable, not conspicuous and easily looked over.

The example I will be showing you will be using chapstick, so for this I would not keep it right next to the computer, keep it in a junk drawer or in a old camping pack, etc.  Granted it would not be easily accessible, but more secure, and security is our goal.   All you will need for this is a chapstick (preferable an old ratty one but with a decent amount of chapstick left, a knife and your passwords on  small roll or paper (you can experiment with size).

 

 

First remove the stick from the tube

IMG00291-20131127-1644

Then take your password note and roll it up, you don’t need it to be too tight, just small enough to fit in the tube.IMG00290-20131127-1644

IMG00293-20131127-1645

 

Once its in the Tube then reinsert the chapstick tube and roll it down until it hits the paper IMG00294-20131127-1645

IMG00295-20131127-1645

 

Once its in there then take your knife and cut off where it meets the top

IMG00296-20131127-1646

IMG00298-20131127-1646

 

Rub it around a bit to round it out, then perhaps dab it one the carpet or ground to get some hair and “yuckies” on it to make it look crappy, old and used. IMG00300-20131127-1648

 

Like I said at the beginning of the article, you don’t have to use this exactly, but use this as an idea, a jumping off point to come up with your own idea.  Keep it secure.

 

 

 

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Bones: A tale of lost nutrients

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bone broth cooking bones

 

Most people think that Bone is just rigid object in the body, when in fact it is a living as the hearts, lungs and muscle are.  Often they are just cast aside and left to rot in the woods or a dumpster.  Along with marrow in most parts of society bone is considered a bit to “savage” to eat in favor of more “civilized” eats.

Bone contains collagen, calcium phosphate and other minerals (such as sodium, magnesium, chondroiton, glucosamine, etc.) all of which is gone when you throw it away.  Considering that in our preps, one of things recommended to have is a stash of multi vitamins since nutrition would dip in the event of a collapse.  Not even going over the fact that many studies have called into question the effectiveness of multi-vitamins, why create a need when there doesn’t need to be one?

Our ancestors didn’t need to have multi vitamins, they got what they needed from what they grew, foraged and hunted.  Of course there are many incidents and evidence of malnutrition, but that was due to war, famine or a mixture of both.

One of the main ways that people of old got their nutrients was from fresh foods and vegetables as well as using the majority of the animals they killed.

Bone is wonderful for creating broths or to add to soups for a heartier and more nutrient dense meal.

When Cooking Bone keep these things in mind.

  • add a couple ounces of apple cider vinegar to your stock, this helps to bring out more minerals without altering the flavor.
  • If you cook you bones in a oven prior it will add color and flavor to your stock
  • Simmer the stock slowly and for a long time to bring out nturients, small animals can be around 20 hours or a day, beef and lamb can go for a few days.
  • Sometimes with larger bones from large animals you may want to stick them in a canvas bag and break them up with a hammer or sledgehammer, do this after cooking them for a period of time.

 

There are concerns with lead toxicity, when testing specifically for lead in bone broths levels have been found to be 7-10x higher than tap water, now this sounds concerning however there is a silver lining.  Minerals like Calcium, Iron, Vitamins D/C and Thiamin have protective effects against lead toxicity.  What this means is that the natural ingredients in the bones protect against any adverse effects from lead.  You can research this for yourself and make your own decisions.

 

In short, you may not want to eat bone broth or marrow now, but in the very least practice now so that when the time comes you know what to do.

 

 

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Episode 26: The Ukraine Crisis and what it means for you

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Crimea crisis ukraine

Now this situation could have some ramifications in regards to preparedness, I want you to be aware of some of the History of the current Ukrainian crisis and what will probably happen.

  • Ukraine is historically intertwined with Russia
  • Kiev, Ukraine was the seat of power for the Ancient Russian/Slavic State
  • Ukraine is a major producer of Corn and Wheat
  • Any hostile action in Ukraine will drive up the price of Gold
  • Many of the “opposition” movements are funded by the U.S. covertly
  • Russia will not invade Ukraine proper, but it may put more troops in the Crimea

 

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Disaster Tip of The Week: Land Lines Are BEST in a Disaster!

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Do you look at your land line as a technology dinosaur? It is time to look at your land line with “fresh eyes” and new found respect after reading this.

September is National Disaster Preparedness month and your phone is your #1 disaster tool.

Don’t disconnect your land line just yet.

Many of us have chosen to eliminate the extra cost of keeping our land line since we rarely use them. We save them for sales

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calls, annoying business contacts, distant relatives who only get “this” number and lots of recorded messages. Really, who wants a personal call on your land line?

But consider this…

Your Land Line is KEY During an Emergency or Disaster….Here’s Why!

As stated in an article, “4 Reasons to Keep Your Land Line”, by Financial Highway.com

While it is still possible to reach out to 911 operators with your cell phone, it may not be as quick or as accurate for the operator to tell where you are located based on the GPS alone. A land line has several advantages over the cell phone in the following instances:

  • If you have small children in the home, who may not be able to relay their address accurately
  • If you are seriously injured, cannot speak, and need to have the emergency operators know your location from just your caller ID
  • If you live in an area where calls may be incorrectly attributed to the wrong cell tower (calls that come from towers across state lines, for example)
  • During a major disaster, when cell phone lines are jammed due to everyone using them at once
  • Reverse 911 calls need land lines to ensure information reaches the public. Cell phones are not reliable.

Land lines offer access to emergency responders in rural areas where the cell phone is less than reliable. (Who wants a dropped call when you’re clutching on to life?) While the scenario seems dramatic, for those with small children, fragile health conditions, or in an area with a poorly developed cellular infrastructure, the land line is still superior.

Something else to consider…

Immediately following a disaster, resist using your mobile device to watch streaming videos, download music or videos, or play video games, all of which can add to network congestion.

So if you feel having a land line is remaining in the dark ages technology wise, it’s time to give your land line the respect it deserves.

 

Target Identification: Kill or be Killed and living with it

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silhouette target id

 

So you hear something in the middle of the night and you grab your gun and then the door begins to open and you see a silhouette of a figure in your doorway, you take aim and fire…the target goes down….Celebration? No, not at all. In the case of Oscar Pistorious he shot and killed his girlfriend killing her instantly and now stands trial for murder in South Africa.

This shows how important it is for you to have proper, in-depth and quality training when you own a firearm.

I was lucky enough to have a lot of it over the years between my time in the Marine Corps and working as a security contractor, i had endless hours on the range practicing what is called “Target ID” or Target Identification.  This is extremely important; as important as it is to be able to accurately and efficiently put fire on a hostile threat it you must also be able to in a split second recognize whether or not your target is a ‘hostile’ or a ‘friendly’.

It goes without saying, but accidently shooting a loved one or innocent person would be just as damaging as not shooting a hostile, more so in your mind.  I have seen what killing an innocent person can do to people, it tears them up and forever scars them, some never let it go and some take their own life, thus two people were killed that day, the innocent and years later the man who made the mistake.

I have been caught in complacency, in training a few times and shot an innocent.  We would be going through room clearing time after time after time, and being in a good rhythm you start to just go on auto pilot, this isnt necessarily a bad thing, however in my case i turned off my internal target ID and learned my lesson.  After one of the run throughs of the scenario, instructors went in and pasted a few Hands over where the weapon was on the target, I came in as number two man through the door, saw a target, fired and moved on to the next threat.  However at the end of the scenario, the instructors brought us back through and asked me If i had shot the target (pointing at it), I looked and confirmed and saw what I had done…I did not look for a threat, I assumed all ‘targets’ were threats; This was a dangerous and deadly mistake, one that would have ramifications beyond just my own psyche, but would put every brother in arms i served with over there in danger.  Every innocent killed was a recruiting tool for our enemy and often family members of innocents join up for revenge.  I learned my lesson and never repeated it.

So how can you train for his scenario?  Well you wont be worrying about clearing rooms full of hostile insurgents, however a scenario where you are creeping around your house weapon ready is a very likely scenario (not in general but as far as scenarios go where you will be using your gun, it is much more likely than going into a home full of hostile Al Qaeda members!).

Remember the story about Oscar Pistorious I mentioned above.  South Africa has a very high rate of burglaries and Mr. Pistorious was very worried about this, which is why he had multiple weapons, however even with the right mindset of protecting himself and his property he still made a mistake…a life changing/destroying one.  Learn that lesson.

When you go to the range or wherever you shoot, most likely you will be shooting with friends, make up scenarios for each other.  I recommend that you bring 5-6 standing target stands and past targets on them, however a few of them past hands over the gun to simulate “innocents” (You could buy targets of non shooters for this, they make them, but the point is to have yourself be faced with extremely similar targets, exactly the same, but not all have a gun).  Have your friends set them up at varying distances if you want and mix the hostiles and friendlies up.  Have your back to them as they do this.

Disclaimer*

Always have your pistol unloaded and holstered (in the case of the rifle unloaded and pointing downward or on a table, our rule was alway no hands on a weapon when people were downrange setting up targets, do not touch them to clean them or check them, do that when everyone is behind the firing line!!!!)

 

Once they set it up, load your weapon, return to holster then turn and face your targets and unholster and “present” your weapon (that is bring it out of its holster and aim) and begin to fire.  Do this slow at first take a second or two to recognize the target as a threat or not.  Over time speed it up, and you will get very proficient at this.  After many many many hours you will automatically be looking for a threat in the target and firing immediately if there is one, and not if there isn’t.

Remember that you are the always responsible for what you do with a firearm, even if you think you were under a threat and it turns out you were not your are still and should be held responsible.

Always have positive Target ID before you fire, the second you pull the trigger there is not take backs or do overs, this is a very serious situation where life and death hang in the balance.

 

 

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Why Honey is the PERFECT Survival Food

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Honey is a miraculous super food. Books have been written on the benefits.

Did you know that Honey, if stored properly, can literally last a lifetime or longer. There have even been accounts of 2000+ year old honey found in tombs that is still edible. That is why Honey is the perfect survival food and an excellent item to keep stocked in your pantry.

The Bible has 60 different verses on honey alone. If the Bible boasts of its benefits, we might want to listen up!

Most of us love it because it tastes incredible. It’s great to bake with and full of flavor. There is something about honey that makes you feel like you are doing something good for your body.

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Some compare it to sugar but the benefits of honey can’t be outmatched. There is simply no comparison.

Did you know:

  • Honey is much more healthy and nutritious than cane or beet sugar.
  • Honey has 15 nutrients whereas refined sugar has essentially none, other than “empty carbohydrates.”
  • Honey contains healthful enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • The minerals in honey include zinc and selenium, which could play a role in preventing the spread of viral infection.
  •  The enzymes in honey help predigest our foods, lessen the work of digestive organs and relieve the stress on the digestive glands.
  • Honey is an aid to digestion when taken in the raw state because of its enzyme content while sugar interferes with digestion. 
  • Honey enters the bloodstream slowly, at about 2 calories per minute. In contrast, sugar enters quickly at 10 calories per minute, causing blood sugars to fluctuate rapidly and wildly. 
  • Sugar causes calcium leakage from bones, contributing to osteoporosis while honey does not.

Where to Find the Best Honey?

  • Local farm honey is excellent. Farmer’s markets and local stands will typically carry all kinds. Local honey can also help build immunity to certain allergens. Spring will be here soon so it’s a good time to get your body prepared if you suffer with seasonal allergies.
  • Whole food and health stores typically carry a great selection but can be expensive.
    • Consider trying The Ready Store brand. They are selling today a 5 lb. bucket for 20% off along with other items. This is a creamy version and will store well. You get a lot for your money in a 5 lb. bucket.

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Tip of the Week: Suture material – what to get and where

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The best suture material I have found that anyone can purchase online is the brand Unify, available through Amazon and elsewhere.  For suturing of skin wounds, the 3-0 and 4-0 Nylon are most useful to have on hand, though having some 5-0 available for lacerations of tender skin (face/children/fingers) is a good idea.

For my own patients, I use professional suture, which does cost more, but is more difficult for the layman to procure.  (Check back soon – I may begin offering this for sale on my own site.)

The only problems I have had with the Unify suture, which I use for my live Survival Medicine classes, is that the needles may bend a little easier and the suture may detach from the needle a little easier than higher grade suture.  Still, I believe they are adequate for most wound closure and anyone can get them.

For additional articles on suturing, see Essential Medical Skills to Acquire: Introduction and Doc Cindy on SurvivalBlog.

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3 Tips for better preparedness

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tips_for_project_management

These are just three things I have learned in my journey of preparedness that I hope can help you.

Feel free to add to them in the comments below!

 

1) Get the Spouse or Significant Other on Board.

 

I want to preface this with “On Board” does not mean that they are as passionate about it as you are, “Tolerating” is good enough in my book.

When we first got married I hadn’t talked much about preparedness, she knew I loved guns and the country life and that I wanted to have a small farm someday as life allowed us.  However I kept most of my prepping secret, she didn’t ask what was in this bucket or that bucket, it was a trust thing for the most part and she knew i didn’t cook meth so whatever it was, she didn’t care much.  However as I started to make it a bigger part of my life and thus our lives, it began to be a subject that needed to be talked about.  Initially she was not against the idea in that she was not saying no or digging her heels in, but it was more of a approach of “this is your hobby, not OUR life”.  It took many conversations, some heated some not.  In regards to the heated conversations this was a major flaw and fault on my part, one does NOT convince someone of the need for something or why this was the right thing to do by arguing and belittling the other persons point of view.

Her antipathy to this lifestyle and mindset was not her fault, she was raised in an affluent neighborhood in a major city, this is NOT something that is ever talked about and if it ever gets any mention its about some “nut job” in Montana got caught with C4 or something of the sort.  Eventually She started to get on board after a few years, I outlined this a bit in my Podcast episode about Reluctant Spouses, but the basic gist was I had been going about it all wrong, I was trying to “sell” prepping in terms of “why it makes sense to me”, however that doesn’t work, I WAS NOT TRYING TO CONVINCE MYSELF! I WAS TRYING TO CONVINCE HER.  It took some things happening on the national scene as well as constant subtle clues such as pointing to this disaster or that storm, etc. saying “wow what we do if that happened to us?” Those sort of things.  She is not 100% there but although its not a 180 turn,  shes at about 110, and above the “tolerating” stage of prepping she is between the point of wanting to budget more for prepping and not minding if i spend some money on solar panels.  That is fine for me!

Basically you need to focus on what is important to them and then shape the preparedness message to those concerns, dont argue or get angry, that will get you nowhere.  However if you cannot get your spouse on board, i dont like to say it, but as Glen Tate and I talked about in a podcast recently, sometimes you need to do what you need to do.  Don’t bankrupt your family, don’t spend the rent money, but if you have to go behind their back…you have a duty to your family and your spouse…even if they don’t agree.

All in All if you can get them somewhat on board or fully on board your life will be much easier, when something does happen they will thank you for it.

 

2) Don’t Focus on a Single Issue.

I have been guilty of this as well and I see this a lot in the Preparedness community.  Many of us come to Preparedness from different avenues, we all had different things that made us have that light pop on and say “Something isn’t right, things can’t always stay ‘normal’”.  For some of us it was the 2008 crisis, others a local natural disaster, whatever it was this is what helped to shape your outlook on preparedness.  However I have to caution you, never let one ‘possibility’ of disaster be the mold in which you shape your preparedness.  Those who focus on Coronal Mass Ejections/EMP are the most visible in this, as they often focus on everything being “EMP proof”.  This is fine and all, and its not that EMP is not a possible event, however given the range of things we face in this world, EMP is on the lower end of the spectrum of possibilities out there.  Now lets just say that EMP is very plausible, concentrating most of your resources on EMP-proofing will greatly reduce your ability to stock much more needed supplies like food, water and the ability to defend your supplies.  This applies to everyone from Economic Collapse to Major Natural Disasters, whatever it may be for you, don’t get lost in that scenario.

Concentrate on GENERAL preparedness, no matter what the scenario just focus first on general preparedness, that being food, water, shelter and the ability to defend those things.  If you have those things you will be able to survive any scenario.  Sure if an EMP hit you may lost your ability to use your shortwave radio, however if an EMP took out your radio it took out anyones ability to  transmit to you anyways.

 

3) Don’t Get Burned out

This happens to everyone, in fact I have recorded a podcast that will go out in the next week or two just on this subject, however I wanted to address it here as well.

No matter how long we have been prepping we all have “wish lists” of what we want to have, and it never ends, no matter how well prepared we become; there is always more we want to build on in our preps.

We look at all the things we want to get done and sometimes it begins to overwhelm us, I know it has happened to me.  I keep looking at what I want our food storage to be at, I find more things I am missing, I need to get my battery bank finished, and on and one.  I end up getting stressed out and it affects how i interact with my family.

Now I started to realize this and also realized that this was counter to the tenets of preparedness, that is to live a better life, this better life applies not just to a disaster but also before as well.  We are supposed to be doing this for the betterment of ourselves and our families, not to harm our relationships we have with our family.

First of all don’t let what you don’t have or can’t do affect you, after all there is nothing you can do about it at the moment.  Concentrate on what you can do at the moment and above all the main focus should always be on your family and your own health.

 

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The Importance of Dental Hygiene

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pulling-teeth

(photo courtesy of correywallace.com)

 

 

Recently I had a bit of a dental issue, something I don’t think about much in regards to my preps, but should.

I have a copy of “Where there is no Dentist” an excellent book about rural dental care in areas of the world where a dentist is not easily found or cannot be found at all.  It is an excellent book and provides some great advice and ‘How To’s’ in regards to doing some of these things when you have no other choice.

My issue was a stabbing pain in my mouth that grew in intensity over a week-long period, I hoped that it would just “go away” as I didn’t want to pay for another co-pay this month, however it did not.  Turns out it was an infected salivary gland that was the result of a “salivary stone” much like a kidney stone but occurs in the salivary gland.  A few days on antibiotics cleared it up, but it got me thinking about how I need to take preventive care now for an uncertain future.

We all hate going to the dentist because of the hassle and the constant reminders to “brush better”, “Floss more”, etc.  However this is not merely just routine things to say, it could be a matter of life and death in a SHTF scenario.

We may not recognize it here in the U.S. but issues such as cavities, gum disease or a disease of the tooth can result in death if one was not able to get to a dental professional in time.  Very quickly a abscess could result in an infection that could very easily bring about your early demise.

The best time to start taking care of your teeth and gums is not when something happens, but NOW.  Even if nothing ever happens you will be saving yourself some serious bills in the future by practicing proper oral hygiene.

  • Avoid sugary food and drinks
  • Brush twice a day at a minimum using a circular technique
  • Floss at least twice a day
  • Dont brush hard and damage your gum line exposing roots of your teeth
  • Toothpaste is great but not necessary, baking soda concoctions or even charcoal or just water is fine (in hard situations)
  • Rinse with an oral solution like Listerine, but alcohol can do the trick as well in a pinch.

If you do these things it will not guarantee that you will not have any issues with your teeth , but you will reduce the risk dramatically and this is what we do as preppers, reduce risk as much as possible.

 

I have realized that my oral hygiene while ‘ok’ is not great, I need to brush and floss more often and have started to brush (when possible) if i ever eat or drink anything with sugar in it like soda or have some candy.  Whenever your teeth are exposed to sugar (or certain carbohydrates) your mouth creates bacteria that can leave your enamel damaged, if you brush right after you keep that bacteria from forming.  That being said if you ever eat or drink anything acidic (like orange juice, etc.) brushing soon after is not a good idea as this can damage your enamel further as it softens it.

 

It makes no sense to spend money and time preparing for a worst case scenario, stocking up on hundreds of pounds of food, building backup systems, etc. and then get an abscessed tooth a week after something happens, and be dead within a few weeks.

 

Take care of your teeth!

 

If you want to learn more about basic dental care, pulling teeth, etc. Get the Book “Where there is no dentist”, it will list the tools needed for basic exams, scaling of tartar from teeth and even how to treat various dental issues such as and abscessed tooth and how to pull teeth.

 

 

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Scott Finazzo Discusses The Prepper’s Workbook

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My coauthor of The Prepper’s Workbook, Scott Finazzo, discussed our book on Kansas City’s KCTV5 News earlier this week.   Finazzo is firefighter with the Overland Park Fire Department in that area, and his extensive experience as a first responder to disasters and emergencies brings another dimension to this book. Here is the interview:

KCTV5

Because of the interview, Finazzo got his hands on the first hard copy of the book to ship from the printer.  We are hoping these will start shipping any time now.

Why I no longer Say the pledge of Allegiance

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obamaflag2640

 

Before you accuse me of being unpatriotic let me tell you a few things about myself, I have served in the United States Marine Corps with multiple combat deployments and have spend a shade under a decade training for and deploying overseas in the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq.  I proudly fly the Flag of the United States of America at my home, because I believe in what it stood for, but not how it acts currently or even in modern history.  I am a patriot through and through and believe the United States was once the beacon of Liberty in the world, and that liberty still beats in the hearts of many which gives me hope for our future.

Please read the entire article before you past judgement, I don’t believe everyone will agree with me even after reading it, however I don’t think that you will come away without having moments of pause as well.

 

History behind the Pledge

In 1892 the pledge of allegiance was born, Daniel Sharp Ford was the owner of a magazine called “Youth’s Companion” and he felt that barely 3 decades after the war between the states that the United States was still in need of some sort of patriotic boost.  Part of the campaign he launched involved one of his staff, Francis J. Bellamy to compose a pledge of allegiance to the flag; Bellamy was an author and minister as well as staunch advocate of Christian Socialism.  The pledge was written and published and soon became very popular across the country at schools, campground and other public meetings as well as Congress itself.

 

Bellamy Salute

Now Mr. Bellamy felt that it was strange to just stand there limply and recite the pledge of allegiance so he devised a “salute” to accompany the recitation of the pledge of allegiance, that involved extending your right arm, angling it slightly upwards with fingers pointing towards the flag. This salute was not controversial until WWII, as you can imagine from the picture below…it very much resembled the Nazi/Fascist salute and thus became to be discomforting for Americans to be doing the near same thing as our enemies were in Europe.

bellamy salute

In 1942 weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor Congress amended the Flag Code and stated that the pledge should be said while “standing with the right hand over the heart”.  This has become the familiar pledge stance, however one cannot forget the eerie photos above, and just because we are saluting ‘our’ flag does not mean that the sentiment of blind obedience is not present as well.

 

What does the pledge say and why do I no longer say it?

 

The current pledge reads as follows (with the section “under God” being added in 1954)

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

 

I have a few nitpicky issues such as pledging allegiance to a government that does not care about the rights of it citizens, or referring to ourselves as a Republic when we are no longer a Republican Federalist system (not since Lincoln).

 

However my main issue is with the phrase “One Nation…., indivisible”

 

This harkens back to a early time in our history, I don’t want to write 15 pages for this post so if you want to do more digging you can, however from the very onset of our nation there were two groups of ideological thinking; The Jeffersonians, who believed that a large centralized Government was harmful to liberty and that states as sovereigns where the best chance at protecting that liberty from a large centralized state and the Hamiltonians who believed that a large federal government, a central bank, imperial ambitions overseas and domestically was necessary to a “strong” government, basically that a strong large government was more important that individual liberties (you can see I am not a Hamiltonian).

For 70+ years the Hamiltonian thinkers were kept at bay mostly by Southern interest who did not believe in central banks, paper currency, heavy tarriffs to protect industrial interests, etc.

Central Banks and Paper Currency and their problems should be quite obvious by now, if they are not, then I don’t know what else will convince you short of a total economic collapse and even then im sure you can reason your way around it!

Southern Politicians were most against Tariffs because they hurt the south more, the South produced about 3/4 of the output of America at the time, while the North was becoming more industrialized, large business interests and corporations in the North had long wanted and had been somewhat successful at times in introducing heavy tariffs for imported goods.  This hurt the South the most because of the fact the South imported much of their products and with a tariff they were forced to pay higher prices to Northern Businesses, a kickback from increased Tariff revenue was also with handing out subsidized loans and payments to Northern Business like railroads and steel for projects that wer never completed and rife with corruption a “twofer” for northern corporations and a early taste of the corporate welfare we still have today.

Lincoln was a hardcore believer in the ideals of the Whig party which held as planks of their ideals, heavy tariffs, centralized government and subsidized (and corruption rife) domestic ‘internal improvements’ (i.e. paying railroads to build railroads).  This was Lincolns agenda all along and one doesn’t have to dig too far to realize he didn’t give two craps about slavery his main goal was to institute these programs but could not with Southern opposition.  A digress back to slavery, the main reasoning behind the fight to stop slavery from expanding to the territories, for Lincoln, not speaking about the moral issue, was to kill votes for democrats (southerners) from expanding, pure and simple.  It is also interesting to note that the Emancipation proclamation was only  set to ‘free slaves’ in the areas of the south where the federal troops had no jurisdiction.  In pro union slave areas no slaves were set free after the emancipation proclamation, this proclamation was aimed at trying to start a slave rebellion while most southern men were gone at war, this was not a moral decision, but a military one.  Lincoln also had rejected the idea of compensated emancipation, a way that all other slave holding countries had solved the problem, by paying those who had slaves a set rate and requiring their freedom upon payment, this was a much less costly way of ending the slave debate, however Lincoln rejected this and had long believed that all slaves should be sent to Africa or central America upon emancipation as they were not equals to whites.

Anyways I know this may seem inconsequential to the pledge, however it all starts with the War Between the States

*Another side not, a Civil war is one where a group wants to overthrow the current government of a country and rule it themselves, the south had no wish to rule the whole of the United States, only for each of the states of the Confederacy to just leave, thus it was a war between states and not a civil war*

Basically there are two schools of thought, that the States created the Government or that the government created the states.  Those who say that secession is treasonous or that there IS no right for a state to secede is saying that somehow the Government of the United States predated the states themselves and the colonies that predated them.  This is on its face and in fact absurd.  There is no way that a Federal Government existed before the states since the STATES HAD TO RATIFY THE CONSTITUTION TO CREATE IT! In fact numerous states reserved the right IN THE VERY RATIFICATION of the Constitution that they could secede if the federal government became tyrannical or if it was just no longer in that States interest to be part of the ‘Union’.

The Constitution was a contract with the people, but the people of each state, the states as they ratified it were voluntarily giving some of their sovereignty to the Federal Government, but were not abdicating it completely.  As with any contract if one party felt that the compact was no longer valid or had been violated they would be free from this obligation.  Also since there is not statement of “perpetual union” there was no requirement that upon ratification that they were obligated to stay as part of this compact forever, there is not time agreement at all thus this contract is only valid as long as both parties agree to it.

 

What Lincoln did before the war started and during it (and his groupies continued to peddle this lie afterward) was to make people believe that secession was treason, that it was illegal and there was no basis or right to do so.  As I hope you can see this is not true, secession is a weapon of last resort for a sovereign people to regain the rights they feel have been violated, it is not a simple and easy thing to come to, but it is still a right.

So finally back to the Pledge, with the words “indivisible” the pledge is perpetuating this lie that there is not right to leave the compact, that is something that i cannot agree to.  Each state has the right to leave whenever they feel they have no other recourse to regain their liberties.  Much like a Home owners association when you join it you are giving up some of your rights (god help you if you do move into one!), such as what you can paint your house, decorations, etc.  When you enter into this agreement you are saying yes to this, however if later this HOA decides that you can no longer own a certain type of vehicle or that you are not allowed to bring friends over that are of a certain color or religion you may rightfully say that this is not the agreement you had.  But the difference is you can leave at any time, if Lincoln was the HOA president then he would send security guards to beat you and burn your house down to make sure that you continue to part of this ‘voluntary’ union.

 

In no way do I believe that Slavery was “ok”, I think it is an abomination to any people or country.  I however can’t throw out the baby with the bath water, the North did not invade the South to stop slavery and the South did not fight to keep slavery, the issue was states rights with slavery used as a backdrop by revisionist historians who don’t want people to know the full truth.  That it was corporate welfare, cronyism and bloated government that was the cause and the underlying reason.

If you still feel that I am not patriotic and Hate America because I wont recite a pledge written by a socialist that denies the very rights that this nation was founded on, Well…I don’t know what else to say.

 

If you want more information on what i explained briefly in here please comment below and I can point you in the right direction.

 

 

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Carrying a Firearm & Psychological Consequences

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The Psychological Consequences of Armed Carry
By GunsmithG
Before I delve more into the nuts and bolts of armed carry for the novice handgunner, there is a subject that needs serious thought before we go any further. This is the psychological effects of a shooting, the physical response of the “Fight or Flight” reflex, and the personal and emotional toll that being in a life or death situation

5 Overlooked Prepping Items

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coloring-page-of-a-boy-packing-his-backpack

 

Back in September I wrote i post on 10 important Barter Items that people may not have thought of, I wanted to keep doing this every so often to bring attention to items we often dont think about when we are focusing on the 3 Big B’s, that is Beans, Bullets and Band-aids.

 

1) Note Pads and Pencils

215_1_b890 notepad

I for one jot down a lot of notes on all different things, from ideas on posts for the site to shopping lists to keeping track of our expenses.  This of course is more in line with ‘normal’ living, however even in the worst SHTF scenario you will want to be able to keep track of many many different things.  Think right now, how many pads of paper do you have right now? Perhaps you have a ream of paper for your print and maybe a few little pads in the junk drawer, is that enough?

Think of uses for writing in a SHTF scenario one can come up with many uses.

  1. Keeping track of your gardens: I keep track of all my garden beds and plants in the house, i write down what their status is, how they are looking, the temps that day, how much water i gave them, how well they are producing and growing, what compost if any i added to them etc.  In reality you should be doing this now so that in a SHTF scenario you arent starting from scratch (no pun intended)
  2. Shift Rotations for guard duty and a log book would be useful, have those coming on duty sign in and write hourly statements on what is going on; most likely nothing is going on but it reminds them to keep on the look out and gives them something to do.
  3. Keeping a log of food input and output.  More likely it will be 90% input until you can get those gardens going if you havent already, but this way you can see how much of everything you are using daily, weekly, monthly and know how long you have left before you are going to need to cut rations or go out and find more food or barter.
  4. If you have kids, they are a great thing to have for them to play with, sketch and take their mind of of the situation.

These are just a few ideas, but having a good supply of notepads and pencils will help in this.  Pens are useful but pencils work until they are nubs and never have issues like ink drying up etc.  Have a good measure of each.  Looking on Amazon you can buy small 4×6 notepads in 100 page-120 pad bundles for $69 or 6 dozen small notepads for around $8 or if you prefer legal pads you can pick up 12 50 page legal pads for around $25.  Pencils you can pick up 144 regular #2 for $14.60 or 144 small golf pencils for $8.

 

2) Percolator

coleman coffee percolator

 

Granted you will need to have stored some Green Roasting Beans and have the necessary info on how to roast your own beans etc which i explained in a post awhile back. But once you have that coffee you will want to be able to brew that delicious nectar of the Gods.  If you have never used a camp percolator you are missing out, there is just something about brewing coffee over the fire that really makes it delicious.  The picture shows the Coleman Coffee Perculator which is coming in at around $32, however a less expensive option is the Wenzel at $18.  If you can find an older WWII GI one that would be better.  Camp Percolators are good because they require no coffee filters and you can use this over a campfire, rocket stove or propane/camp fuel stove.

 

3) ZIP LOC BAGS

ZIP LOC BIG BAG

Need I say anything?  For storing anything smaller than  tote size Zip Loc bags are excellent for organizing or keeping food fresh in your fridge or freezer.  They are also worth their weight in gold when you are needing to keep smaller items or packs of socks and underwear dry in your pack.  I keep all my clothing items in Zip Loc bags in my Bug out Bag, Having a dry pair of socks, underwear and shirt can be very nice or necessary to your survival depending on the situation if you are actually doing bug out on foot.

In the picture above you can see the XL Big Bag that they offer than can pack away larger items of clothing or a whole ‘outfit’, while Freezer bags will work for anything else and are more desireable and hardy than the smaller sandwich bags.

 

4) Vermin Reduction

SONY DSC

Now this is a multiple of items under the same header so I am cheating a bit!

However most of us, especially those not in the country don’t realize how prevalent vermin populations can grow once they get a foothold, sure in the city you may see a rat in the alley way garbage or a cockroach in your kitchen but most of those are kept at bay with a lot of spraying and city pest control.  Once systems start breaking down do you think the government will concentrate on control and feeding the population to keep them docile or hunting rats and spraying for roaches?  The fact that you wont be able to just call Orkin when roaches start moving in is also something to consider…become your own exterminator.

 

In the 4 corners area of the southwest and areas around it HANTAVIRUS is a major concern this can kill you in days, so if you are in an area where hantavirus is possible you will want to keep your mouse population as close to zero as possible, any droppings you find spray with a 10% bleach solution, let it sit for a minute or two and then dispose of it.  Hantavirus is spread by disturbing the droppings and the dust particles that fly up are what carries it.

Now I don’t like Pesticides and I don’t use poisons for mice mostly because I dont want them storing it where my child or dog could get at them, but this a decision that you will have to make.

Consider stocking up on these items.

 

 MOUSE/RAT CONTROL

Mouse/Rat Traps: I love the plain old Victor Moustrap, you can pick up a pack of 72 for just under $40, however i have begun to like the ones with the fake cheese as the trigger, if you slather a peanut butter/molasses mix on to the fake cheese the mice really have to dig in to get it and easily sets off the pedestal snapping them up.

 

D-con style poisoning:  If i didn’t have children or pets around i would consider this, the mice eat it and die later, an issue can arise if they die within your walls, which is another reason i don’t like poisons.  for anyone who has never enjoyed the smell of a rate decomposing where you cant get at it…not a good week or so!

 

Live traps: I don’t like live traps, mostly because i don’t want to “free” them, they will be back within the hour! However if you really want to they are an option.

 

Bug Control

Sprays: I spray certain areas of the house where my kids and dog cant get into them as well as they wont leach into any areas where i grow food, so I spray under the house, garages, up in bedroom lofts, etc.  I like the Scotts Home Defense max a jug with a batteyr operated spray wand for around $15.

 

Foggers: Foggers are great to gut out a house, just set one in each room (make sure all windows are shut), pop them and leave for a few hours.  After you return open up all the windows and doors and run the HVAC for an hour or so.  they say to cover all your areas where you prepare food, personally I did this but i scrubbed every carpet, floor and area where it may have settled i didn’t want my daughter exposed to anything so it was an all day affair.  You can pick up 3 cans that cover 2000 square feet each for under $10. Make sure that if you don’t have cans specifically made to NOT set off if the pilot light in your stove is left on that you unplug your stove. personally i shut off the main breaker.

 

Bug Spray: Now in a SHTF scenario if you live in mosquito country and have to hunt for food, etc. if you are not used to bugs you will be wishing that you had some good bug repellant.  Personally I cover any entrance areas such as sleeves and bottoms of jeans with 100% deet sprays as well as my hat, etc.  For on skin i stick to the 25% stuff.  I recently bought a mess of bug spray that was discounted for under a $1 a bottle once winter was setting in and they needed to get them off their shelves.

Glue Traps:  Glue traps i have found dont work well for mice, sometimes they stay stuck, sometimes they end up crapping everywhere as they drag themselves around teh garage and eventually get out, however they work great for trapping HOBO spiders and other insects that can be deadly.  Areas where snakes or other reptiles can be a problem they make heavier duty versions.

 

5) OIL

No I’m not talking about cooking oils, I’m talking about the lifeblood of engines.  Now if you have some plans for backup power using a generator or are planning on using your vehicle post SHTF you have started stockpiling gas/diesel and use some fuel stabilizers such as PRI (which i did a post on if you don’t know what it is).  You might even have hundreds of gallons of fuel for these engines, however do you have the other important part…Oil?

From your car to your Generator to your chainsaw and other engine powered items you will need oil for it to stay running.  Now make sure that you have the correct oils for all the different items you are planning to use, but especially the car and the generator.  For your chainsaw and other 2 cycle engines you will need oil to mix as well as bar chain oil to keep it running smooth.  Do not forget this, or you may only get a few days/weeks out of these engines before they are bone dry and you are trading some hard stored food supplies or something else that you could have spent $50 on now to not be in that position.

 

 

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7 Things Every Reputable Food Reserve Company Needs to Tell You!

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By Denis Korn

You must trust the company that provides you with the food you and your family will require during an emergency

I first wrote this article in 2012 and it is just as relevant today – if not more so – than it was then.  I continue to be angered and saddened at the ignorance and deception that is still rampant in the preparedness industry.  In the last few years many hundreds of websites, blogs, webinars and food companies have appeared on the scene, and while many are legitimate and sincere, there are too many shysters and instant experts.  So many of these folks are simply badly informed and just continue to pass along misinformation and are too lazy to due serious research, or they simply don’t care what information they put out as long is it sells their products.

Please do your due diligence and carefully evaluate the sources you choose – your comfort, health and survival are at stake!  You are also encouraged to read the Foundational Articles – linked  in the right column – for more detailed information.

 

ARTICLE FOLLOWS:

I have written a number of articles dealing with trust, honesty, reflections, guidelines, questions to ask and recommendations concerning the purchasing of food reserve products.  While the food you rely upon in an emergency is vital and life sustaining, unfortunately few preppers and planers do the valuable research they should for this essential category of provisions.  This post is written to help educate and inform the serious preparedness planner.

Because I have personally witnessed, heard and read so many conflicting, misleading and outright deceptive claims and information regarding foods for long term storage, I am writing this – the first of two – concise and to-the-point articles.  While many food reserve companies are educated and reliable, many are intentionally or unintentionally ignorant and deceitful.

You are highly encouraged to take this post seriously and require that the food reserve companies you buy from know what they are doing, and they need to answer these questions honestly and to the best of their ability.  If they can’t – then buyer beware!  In my opinion – there is something immoral, appalling and disgraceful about companies who take advantage of people who may not be adequately informed and are vulnerable to misleading promotion.  Unfortunately many people are more motivated by fear and mindlessly react, then carefully evaluate the facts and make informed decisions.

Spending thousands of dollars on deceptive advertising, being all over the internet with Google ads, getting high profile talk show hosts and websites to hawk your foods, creating shelf life figures out of thin air, telling folks how nutritious the foods are when they are filled with questionable ingredients, packaging foods in pouches and in a manner that does not assure a long shelf life, and tricking people into thinking they are getting an adequate quantity of foods during an emergency by creating arbitrary “servings” – does not guarantee you are buying value, quality or an adequate supply of vital foods!  The high cost of advertising, endorsements and commissions has to come from somewhere, and all too often it comes from the value of the food products themselves while compromising quality and quantity.

1. If the company promotes their food reserve assortments by number of servings, you need more information to determine what you are really buying and whether the quantities are adequate.

A common marketing tactic used by many food companies today is to promote a given number of servings in an assortment, and sometimes to even state that an assortment is good for a given period of time with a given number of servings.  In the preparedness market place today, where people may have to depend on daily food rations for their nourishment, only knowing the number of servings in an assortment is close to meaningless and the information insignificant .  Why?  Because a “serving” quantity and quality can be anything the company wants it to be.  You need more information.

2. What are the calories in each serving – the ingredient source of those calories (white sugar, non-nutritive calories or quality calories) – and what method, or source of information, was used to determine the calories in their products?

The standard for comparing one reserve food product with another has traditionally been to compare the number of calories of similar products or meals.  This is done by comparing the calories by either: knowing the stated calories and the weight in a given serving of a product; or the number of calories of a food product in a comparable sized pouch or container.  This enables comparisons of similar items from different companies – comparing apples with apples.  Even the government on their mandated nutritional information requires the calories be listed – and the source of those calories.

3. How many calories does the company recommend one should consume per day, and how many of their servings will it take to achieve this number?

Now you can do the math and compare the real cost and value of one companies products to another.  What is the true cost per quality calorie?  What is the cost for supplying the proper number of calories for the time period in your emergency scenario?  Don’t forget it is the quality of the calories that is critical.

Here is the important issue: The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for the average adult person is 2,000 calories a day (reputable companies generally allow 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day in formulating their assortments).  There are companies who promote a 500 to 1000 calorie per day allowance!

4. If a company uses names for their meals that sound like they contain real meat or are similar sounding to meat recipes – is it real meat, soy or gluten?

This is a common deception among many companies who either do not have the legal authority to pack real meat products because they do not have USDA inspected facilities, or they try to make their products as cheaply as possible.

5. When a company claims a shelf life of between 20 and 30 years, how was this determined?

I know of only two companies who have been in business longer than 20 years with long term food reserve products who can verify shelf life, use the proper packaging technologies and have their own testing facilities.  In the 39 years I have been in the preparedness industry, I have never heard of any established major manufacturer of dry food products ever recommending storing foods in any type of pouch over 7 years.  This includes all the established companies packing pouch foods for the outdoor recreational industry.

6. What experience does the companies customers have eating their foods exclusively for extended periods of time?

If a company is selling you foods that you may have to rely upon for weeks, months or possibly years, how did they determine that their foods have the necessary nutritional value to sustain a person for an extended length of time?  This includes children and adults.

7. How does the foods taste and are they formulated to digest properly if consumed for a lengthy period of time?

Many of today’s preparedness food companies are primarily marketing companies that don’t emphasize quality and nutrition.  Their foods must be made cheaply to support the margins required for their extensive marketing budget, commissions and dealer costs.  Study the ingredient declarations – often very difficult to find if not unavailable on many websites – for artificial flavor enhancers, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, fillers and white sugar.  Are there any reliable independent testimonials about the foods you are considering for a preparedness investment?  How long has the company been in the food reserve business?  As happened after Y2K, how likely is the company to go out of business if there is a dip in demand?

NOTE: MRE’S (meals-ready-to-eat – military rations) were formulated by the military for combat soldiers to be eaten for no longer than one month at a time.  They are high fat and high sodium and some people could have digestion issues if eaten over too long a period.

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