6 Inexpensive Skills Every Prepper Needs

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from JD. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Take a second and think if there is anyone you know who has loads of supplies packed in their home. Now ask yourself if that person has the knowledge and skill level to employ that equipment in critical times. What about you? Do you have the know-how when the going gets rough?

Maybe you’re just getting started with prepping and have an extremely tight budget. Your community and family are going to need capable people who can execute vital tasks when times are hard and lives are on the line. Don’t sell yourself short if your finances prevent you from acquiring massive amounts of equipment for any number of disasters. Think about the people on the other side of the coin who have lots of gear, but not lots of training on how to use it. Aristotle’s said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and pulling together as a community can pull you through any difficult circumstances.

Take a stroll through any prepper website and you’ll see that a ton emphasis is placed on gear and gadgets. I’m here to tell you that skills beat gadgets any day of the week and twice on Sundays! Knowledge weighs nothing and you always have it on you. People often try to buy their way out of a problem, but skills are built through habit and time. Today we’re going to focus on 6 basic skills that every prepper needs: Shooting, Medical, Survival, Communication, Gardening, and Leadership.

Shooting

A rifle with a sling in the hands of trained marksman can devastate and enemy force or consistently provide meat for the pot.

When things fall apart, it’s handy to know how to handle a weapon. Not just for self-defense purposes, but also for hunting. Even if you only have a .22 rifle, you can become deadly with it. Fancy scopes, match-grade barrels, suppressors and bi-pods are not required. A rifle with a sling in the hands of trained marksman can devastate and enemy force or consistently provide meat for the pot. You need to learn how to shoot – it can literally save your life!
Project Appleseed is a non-profit nationwide community of volunteers that teaches traditional rifle marksmanship that will “transform you from a person with a rifle into a principled and skilled Rifleman.” They offer inexpensive weekend shoots in nearly every state. Check out their site and get signed up for one of their events.

Medical

Medical emergencies don’t wait for the end of the world. They happen every day to thousands of people in your community. Trained First Responders can mean the difference between life and death. It’s likely that everyone will have to deal with some sort of medical or traumatic situation so it’s probably not a bad idea to learn how to deal with medical emergencies before they occur.

There are many counties/cities in every state that need volunteer firefighters. Since almost 80% of their calls are medical related, there are departments that will pay for your Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)- Basic Certification Course in return for your volunteer service to their department. This is an outstanding way to learn a crucial skill (for free) and get involved in your community. During my time as an EMT, I’ve seen first-hand the varied and extreme reactions of people’s response to stress while also developing the muscle memory to stay calm and provide emergency care to the sick and injured.

Survival

Whether you’re bugging out during a crisis or simply lost in the woods, survival skills are foundational to maintaining life. There are a lot of great resources on this topic that are free. Check out your local library for books or DVDs on survival. YouTube can also provide a lot of information regarding water purification, shelter building, fire-craft, signaling, navigation and snaring. There are a wide variety of techniques in the survival community so focus your search on practical skills and less on the primitive living techniques that can take years to master like fire by friction, tanning hides, flint-knapping, etc.

Communication

It’s a good idea to learn how to use radios now before you need them.For communities to effectively work together during catastrophes, they have to be able to communicate. In today’s society, we’ve become complacent with luxuries like the internet and cell phones that are highly vulnerable to failure when things go south.

In times of need, HAM radio operators stand in the gap to provide lifesaving information. This allows communities to prepare for incoming threats, make informed decisions, adjust provisions for crisis duration or work in concert with nearby communities. You can learn the basics of HAM radio with this free course.  Also, it’s less than $40 to get your license and using a simple handheld radio you can be talking to other operators in your community in no time!

Gardening/Canning

A garden is simply a prepping must-have to live off-grid.

You’ve probably heard the saying that “Growing your own food is like printing your own money” and in hard times this has never been truer. Imagine your delight eating fresh tomatoes or strawberries after two weeks of freeze-dried food. Or opening a jar of raspberry jam in the middle of winter that you canned earlier that summer. Gardening and canning are skills that can be learned with a minimum amount of startup costs. If you have no idea where to start, check out your local county extension or city. They likely offer free workshops on these subjects and some even provide supplies to take home! Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of space. A simple window sill herb garden can teach you the learning curve that comes with gardening. The beauty of gardening is that even if crisis never comes, you’ll still enjoy the fruits of your labor. Ha…you see what I did there?!

Leadership

Working together is a key factor to surviving disasters and leadership is a fundamental role in making that happen. Your community is a lot like a tribe and it needs leaders at the local level. Good leadership comes from being informed and understanding what people need in hard times. One part of leadership is understanding what planning and execution is taking place at the city, state and national level. FEMA has tons of free online courses so you can work together and relay community challenges using the local chain of command. Here is a snapshot of some of the courses they offer:

  • Understanding the Incident Command System
  • Emergency Planning
  • Decision Making and Problem Solving
  • Planning for the Needs of Children in Disasters
  • Natural Disaster Mitigation

Check out their site to learn more:

There are also free courses on personal emergency preparedness offered by your city or county. A quick Internet search should point you in the right direction.

Sometimes the hardest part with most things in life is getting started. The good news is that you don’t need a fortune to start building your skillset. The danger here is not acting on this information; you have to apply it! Like Derek Sivers says, “If information were the answer we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs”. Now you know how to get started and move towards your goal. This can actually be a lot of fun. Invite a friend along with you and learn something new together. You might even find a new hobby!

About the Author: JD is the founder of  I Will Make You Hard to Kill. His site is dedicated to a wide variety of skills that improve survivability in emergency situations as well as everyday life. He is a SERE Specialist with 18 years of military service teaching aircrew and special operations personnel how to survive, evade, resist and escape at the U.S. Air Force Survival School located at Fairchild AFB, WA.

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Why The Rangefinder Binocular Is The New Must-Have Tool For Hunters

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post has been contributed by Daren. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the Prepper Writing Contest today.


There are many things that can cause you to miss the target when hunting, one of which is a misjudged range. Speaking of underestimated range, have you ever tried to measure a target’s range and field miserably? If you have, then it might be time to invest in a rangefinder binocular.

The best rangefinder binoculars give you the best of both worlds. It is for this reason that I consider a rangefinder binocular to be an infallible asset to any hunter. Rangefinder binoculars are becoming more mainstream as more and more hunters continue discovering their usefulness.

So why are they so important to hunters? To answer this question, we have to look at what you get from a rangefinder binocular, which is,

Ease of use

Ask any hunter who uses rangefinder binoculars, and they will probably tell you that they are easier to use than laser rangefinders. Rangefinder binoculars weigh more compared to ordinary binoculars. The added weight gives them stability and makes them easier to hold. The two-hand grip of these binoculars guarantees more accurate range readings. Additionally, with a simple push of a button, you are able to get the range of your target within seconds.

Two-in-one

As a hunter, you will have to carry some accessories to aid you in your hunting. These accessories can include a rifle or bow, a binocular or a scope, and a rangefinder. Transitioning from one device to another can be time-consuming.

For example, let us say you have spotted an animal with your binocular but do not know how far away it is from you. The logical thing to do is pull out your rangefinder to measure the range. This process can be time-consuming.

With a rangefinder binocular, you spot the animal and are able to know how far it is when you spot it. Binoculars with a built-in rangefinder often have an impressive range. There are rangefinder binoculars that will offer you a 1000 to 2000 range. Thus a rangefinder binocular is a two-in-one device that will serve you exceptionally well.

Overcome rangefinder shortcomings

A rangefinder functions by sending out a laser beam. The beam hits the intended target, and the rangefinder measures the distance of the beam’s reflection. This essentially means that rangefinders do not work well in thickly forested areas. With a rangefinder integrated into a binocular, this problem is solved.

With a binocular, you can scope an area before turning on the rangefinder. Scanning the area first helps you know if there is anything that might be in the way of the laser beam. This increases your chances of hitting the target and getting an accurate range.

Also, you will be able to identify vantage points where you can get a more accurate range. The binocular’s ability to give you a clearer view of your surroundings enhances the rangefinder’s performance. Thus, the two devices built into one gadget complement one another and improve your hunting skills and reduce the chances of you missing.

Angle compensations & ballistic information

Apart from having a built –in rangefinder, most rangefinder binoculars come fitted with an angle compensator feature. This comes in handy when you are aiming from a tree stand. Some models come with pre-programmed ballistics charts that will be useful in your hunting.

This information allows you to adjust your shot based on the ballistics curve of your firearm’s bullet. This information integrated into the binocular improves your accuracy and minimizes guesswork. The ballistics technology found in some models consider factors such as temperature, air pressure, and ballistics curves. This is the kind of information that professional snipers rely on when making a shot. Therefore, with a rangefinder binocular, you will have this information at your fingertips.

Preparation

Most animals are creatures of habit. This means that they frequent specific parts. This is a weakness that you can exploit. To do so, you will need first to scout the specific areas where your prey frequents. Next, you will need to identify the perfect vantage point to take the shot.

With a rangefinder binocular, you will be able to scan and get a range simultaneously. You will need to identify a good spot from where you will stalk your prey. The binocular will come in handy when measuring the range between this spot and your prey’s preferred spot.

This preparation is best done during the day, and the hunting is done at night or dawn. At night, light conditions are not so good you will be able to know where to go to make a kill.

Avoid getting close

One of the biggest mistake you can make as a hunter is getting too close to your prey. Animals have heightened senses and can hear things at longer ranges than we can. With a rangefinder binocular, you will be able to stalk an animal from a safe distance.

Some of the best rangefinder binoculars out there offer a range of up to 1300 yards. It is hard to spook an animal off at 1300 yards. Average rangefinder binoculars normally have a range of between 600 and 800 yards. Thus, a rangefinder binocular minimizes the chances of you getting too close to make a shot. Also, this binocular helps improve your long-range marksman skills.

Continuous scoping

Every second count when you are hunting. Thus, taking your eyes off your prey for even a minute can change things. The rangefinder binoculars are designed to be sophisticated. Thus, there are models that feature an in-view LED display. The latter display usually resembles a fighter jet’s display area or HUD. All crucial information is displayed on the LED display. This way you can keep your eyes on your prey for a longer period of time.

Additionally, binoculars have a wider field of view compared to rangefinders. Thus, a binocular’s eyepiece can accommodate more information than a rangefinder’s eyepiece. Therefore, you get all the information you need clearly.

Conclusion

Rangefinder binoculars are the future, and it is estimated that in the next decade or two, rangefinder binoculars will render conventional binoculars obsolete. In summary, as a hunter having a rangefinder binocular will make work easier for you.

 

About the Author: Daren Rifen Founder of Binoculars Guru is an enthusiastic hunter with over 10 years’ experience. A native of Texas, Daren hunts everything from whitetail deer to ducks. Daren has mastered different hunting techniques including archery, using rifles and handguns. As a native of Texas, Daren learned his hunting skills from his father, who learned from his grandfather. He possesses an extensive knowledge of everything firearms, hunting binoculars and riflescopes. When he is not hunting, Daren is either hiking or fishing.

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8 Basic Survival Skills That You Ought To Know

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Editor’s Note: This post has been contributed by Paul. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the Prepper Writing Contest today.


A lot of preppers do not possess the proper skills for surviving in case of any natural disaster even though it is essential to do so. The main reason for the lack of adequate skills is that many people lack the proper survival skills training to cope with any emergency situation. In the subsequent paragraphs, we are going to mention 8 important survival skills that anyone must have in his or her kit.

Locating and purifying water

It is said that an individual cannot survive for more than three days without drinking water. However, in case he or she needs to survive in a severe environment, it might not be possible for him or her to survive even that long.

Water is essential for the human body to function properly and this is why one of the most important survival skills will be to locate and also purify water. In case you’re able to light a fire then you might consider boiling the water. Otherwise, you might also store sufficient water prior to leaving for an exploration. Although it might not solve your problem entirely, it is the best thing that you can do during a survival situation. We all know that nature is our best friend and we should make it a point to learn which plants will provide us with drinking water; however, it might prove to be disastrous for you in case you fail to understand it properly.

Making a fire

 

It is definitely tough to figure out which particular survival skills are the most important in a disaster situation; however, one cannot ignore the importance of making a fire in this respect. A fire will help you in many ways such as purifying the water, keeping yourself warm and comfortable, sterilizing surgical equipment, making tools, cooking food, signaling for help and also safeguarding yourself from wild creatures. Above all, you will feel much more confident by having a fire.

Building a shelter

While you are outdoors, things can change all of a sudden at any time of the day. For example, there can be a great fluctuation in the temperature. Although you might be experiencing a dry climate in the morning, you should not be surprised if it rains heavily at night. While you are trapped in an emergency situation, you might use your vehicle as your shelter in case you happen to be with the car. Otherwise, think of some natural resources that you can use as your shelter. It will not be a bad idea to safeguard yourself from the inclement weather by taking a refuge inside a cave.

Predicting weather

Casio Men’s PAG240-1CR Pathfinder Triple Sensor Multi-Function Sport Watch – Compass, Barometer and Altimeter.

In most situations, we are hardly concerned about the climatic condition in our daily lives unless of course there are some natural calamities like tornadoes and floods. Being able to forecast the weather is an essential survival skill that you should have during any disaster situation. In case you happen to be in the wilderness, you can be affected very badly by any change in the weather conditions. You might find it extremely hard to light a fire if there is a heavy precipitation as well as a strong gale. You will never be caught unaware if you are able to develop this particular survival skill. But how is it possible? Below we have mentioned some fundamental forecasting skills the majority of which will depend on natural phenomena like:

  • Air pressure – Although it is impossible to measure the air pressure physically, you should be able to ascertain the direction of the air flow. Usually, the clouds will be moving from a high-pressure area to a low-pressure area.
  • Clouds – You’ll be able to forecast strong wind as well as rain by observing the clouds. Under normal circumstances, heavy precipitation can be expected in the presence of dark and low hanging clouds.
  • Wild creatures – Animals are able to understand any change in the weather by their natural instincts. For example, you can predict rain in case the insects start to disappear.
  • Hunting skills – Often you can suffer from lack of adequate food during an emergency situation. In that case, it is essential to have the ability to hunt wild animals who can provide you with a steady supply of food. In case you are a beginner, you should focus on catching some smaller animals like rabbits, fish and so on instead of going for larger creatures like the tiger, deer, etc. Hunting fish will not be much difficult for you but you should be careful while catching them. There might be other creatures like alligators in the water that you must avoid at all costs. Moreover, catching fish is not a joke and you need to be properly trained to do so. You might also try to set a trap near the river which should help you to catch some fish within a few hours.

Identifying edible vegetation

In case you are trapped in the forest, don’t go out eating everything you run across that looks good since they might even be poisonous for you. You might be starving, but you must have the ability to identify the plants which are edible. Consuming these plants will help you to avoid cooking as well as saving your precious time. There will be no need to hunt for animals, make a fire and cook. Moreover, these plants will provide you with the energy which you need for survival. Some edible plants that you can find in the wilderness include asparagus, burdock, and cattail.

Making use of survival tools

It is essential to choose the appropriate survival tools since these will help you to perform many jobs such as making your shelter or even repairing the one which you already have. Apart from this, they will also aid you to collect wood for making a fire which you will need to stay warm and also cook food. Some of these survival tools include a flashlight, emergency candles, tactical folding knife, hiking backpack, scissors, hammer, nails, pliers, etc.

Attitude 

Your attitude is going to play an important role if you get caught in any type of emergency situation. You must have the confidence that you will survive. Losing hope can prove to be fatal in the long run. Having the proper attitude along with a few survival skills will help you to overcome any tough situation.

 

Author Bio – Paul Watson is an outdoor enthusiast and aspiring expert who loves to fish and hunt. On his site, http://outdoorchoose.com, he shares tips on how to make your hunting and fishing excursions both exciting and successful . Follow me: Twitter , Pinterest

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6 Essentials for Prepping with a Special Needs Child

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Editor’s Note: This post was contributed by Saqib. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Having a child with special needs calls for extra effort and care. You are required to learn a lot, practice an incredible amount of patience and get to know the comfort level of your young one. These are testing times but it is your own loved one at the other corner. It is about being prepared and having your things sorted out well in advance of need and also  adequate quantities enough to last. You can just not go haphazardly with these things because it is someone’s life that is right there in your hands.

Imagine having someone around with one or more disorders that include being non-verbal, delayed development, epilepsy prone, and an ever-growing diet. In a situation where everything is going down the tubes, there is hope. The amazing and joyful personalities these young ones are inspiring. The fact is that these guys are fighters — surviving more in his short life than most people have to in a lifetime.

So prepping for a child with special needs requires some serious thought, and some creativity. Read the following article, for some tips.

Inventory of Needs

It all starts with some good observation. It is not always that your young one will be speaking telling you what they need, he may not even know what he needs. Hence, it is recommended that you observe. Make a list of things that you consider are essential and can bring comfort. You can have a paper list and stick it on your refrigerator or save one on your mobile or tablet. This can include,

  • Routine Medicines
  • First Aid Box
  • Additional Clothing / Accessories (including diapers, wipes, gloves, wheelchair, stander, walker, etc.)
  • Medical Supplies (feeding tube supplies, bags, catheters, etc.)
  • Food Supplements

Communication

There is nothing better than communicating and learning about your child’s needs alongside with making him understand what is good and what is bad and sharing your prepping plans with them. This talking exercise also helps us understand how much the child is grasping, and sometimes that is more than our expectations. The subjects of these talks can be as ordinary as fire escape plans, our family meeting place, why we’re stockpiling certain things, and everything else one can think of. This is crucial. Sometimes simply explaining to the child which floor he lives on and how injurious it could become if he or she jumps out of a window.

Advanced Preparation Saves a Lot

Let’s say you are living in a high-rise building or probably somewhere in open, and are prone to fire or earthquakes. At a time when disaster strikes you can be or cannot be prepared for the emergency. And if you are:

Part of your prepping plans should include alternate transportation ideas like a stroller you can pull behind a bike.

Prepare for the Most Likely Event First

I live in the middle of nowhere surrounded by miles of timber in every direction. Wildfire is the most likely event I should prep for. The odds of having a fire come through my land are greater than other natural disasters.

What event is most likely in your area? If you haven’t yet started getting prepared, prep for that event first. Think through it in your mind, and start gathering what you’ll need.

Start by getting a 3-day supply built up of all your loved one’s essentials. You can look at this like a special bug out bag specifically catered to the needs of your child. It’s a baby step, but an important one.

Medical equipment is heavy. It’s bulky. And it certainly doesn’t move quietly through the woods. Depending on your child’s mobility, leaving home might be very difficult if not impossible.

When you’re making plans for a crisis, you might find it makes more sense to stay put. That way you don’t have to leave all of your equipment and medical stockpiles behind. If we don’t absolutely have to leave the farm, we’re planning on staying here.

Your child may need more supplies than the average person, but take this into account with packing and adjust your plans.

Storing the Right Things

It is not about just stock piling everything that you get your hand on. It is about stock piling the right things and making sure that your supplies are always refilled, and machines re-calibrated. There are ways that you can stockpile the medications your child needs. This again involves keeping a track of history and making a list. Make sure that when you are stock piling there are no expired medications in your cupboard. An essential to stock are baby wipes. These are very much-needed and at times running short of these can cause real-time havoc.

Learn Alternatives to Medication

Before you can think about replacing a medication, you have to know what it does. Ensure that you know the purpose behind every drug your loved one takes. You can see if there are over-the-counter medications that might work in a pinch as an alternative.

When you can no longer pick up medications, take an inventory of everything you have and see how many doses that is. Then, work backwards to slowly cut the doses down. That way instead of going from a full dose to nothing when you run out, you already have a plan in place for stepping off the med.

Author Bio: Saqib Khan, is an inquisitive blogger and loves to spread his knowledge. With a penchant for medical innovations and developments, Saqib’s new field of interest is herbal medicines. He is currently associated with a top online medical pharmacy in Pakistan offering variety of Pathological & Herbal Medicines such as flu medicine, first aid kits, cough medicine, etc.

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What To Do With Old Gas?

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Paul. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


When my family and I moved to a different house, I noticed the nice couple we bought the house from, left a lot of things in their garage. At first, we thought they forgot to bring them along with them as they were in a hurry.

But when I got a better view of the items, they were pretty useless. What am I supposed to with old knickknacks? However, something interesting caught my attention. There were at least 5 gallons of old gas.

It would be a waste to throw it away, the question now is – what to do with old gas?

Does Gas Go Bad?

This has been heavily debated over the years, and it’s still being argued up to this day. Some say that it’s only a myth that gasoline goes bad, and as much as I would love that to be true (as I can save more) that’s not really the case. Once it has been left ignored for a period of time, its quality will eventually degrade slowly. And the results of using bad gasoline would mean you’d have a hard time starting the engine.

And sometimes, it doesn’t run at all.

The reason why this happens is because gasoline has intricate characteristics. One of which is volatility. This means gas is quite sensitive of vaporizing. Because of this, it results to vaporizing unnecessarily when it’s not being used. That’s why whatever is left of its volatility and capability to combust appropriately will reduce.

How To Tell If It’s Gone Bad?

It’s pretty simple to tell, you’ll be able to recognize it by its color and smell. Once your fuel has been oxidized, it’ll become darker than usual. Also, try to have quick whiff if possible, there are cases where its fragrance turns sour.

Just to make sure, get two containers and fill one of them with your old gasoline, and the other with fresh gasoline. You’ll evidently see the difference with them both. You may check out this video on filtering old gas.

How Long Is the Life Span of Gas?

It’s actually pretty hard to tell. I mean, you could say that you’ve only bought the gas yesterday. But it doesn’t say anything about how old it really is. Chances are, the moment you’ll use the fuel, it’s already a month old.

Read More: Avoid the Lines: How to store fuel long term

Also, there are other gasses which have a better oxidation than other fuels. That alone, makes it pretty hard to spot right off the bat. But if you want to be on the safe side, it would be better if you don’t store your gas in a container for more than a couple of months or so. However, that’s pretty hard to live up to.

Use old gas in Your Mower

Surprisingly, a lot of people use it for their engines. I tried doing it, and it worked perfectly! I don’t only use it for my lawnmower, but I also use it for a leaf blower, pressure washer, and chainsaw. Trust me, it still works perfectly fine. However, I do want to advise you that it would be better if you’re going to mix it with new gas as well.

The ratio should be around 6:1 (new gas: old gas) a lot of people use this technique. Although there are others who would use it for their car engines, I wouldn’t recommend it. This is especially the case with newer cars. For extra safe measures, keep this in your mind: Old gas for old engines.

Fire ants don’t like gas.

Kill Ants With old gas?

PRI Fuel Stabilizer- For Gasoline – Keep your stored fuel longer.

Fire ants are probably my lawn’s number enemy – accidentally stepping on them is a literal pain! Luckily, you can use it to kill the ants with fire.

Or not.

Go grab your old gasoline, and pour it down on a hole. After doing so, you have to bury the mound appropriately. You don’t have to light it up, it’s enough to fume the nest out. After a short amount of time, it will kill then queen ant, and the entire nest dies along with it. You may also use it to kill unruly weeds in your yard, just make sure that you’re using it on an area where you don’t plan on growing anything for a long time.

Recondition old gas!

For those who want to securely recondition the gas, you may use Pri-G for your fuel treatment. It goes beyond expectation, it doesn’t not only repair gas, but it’s an excellent product for negating the destructive effects of ethanol contamination in fuel.

And as an added bonus, it’s ideal for preventing small engine breakdowns. It’s able to repair your lawnmowers, chainsaws, and weed trimmers while stabilizing gas. I do want to warn you that this doesn’t run so smoothly if it’s directly applied to old gas – it must be mixed together with a new, fresh one. When you do this, it’s able to keep it fresh for about a year and 3 months.

Start Reusing Now!

Personally, this is an amazing discovery as I’m able to save a lot from this – who knew old gas could be useful? Don’t forget, if you want to make your time with old gas and engines a more productive one – use Pri-G, it will automatically recondition your old gas like magic. But you do have to mix it up with new gas.

Here’s what you should do right now:

  • Compare your old gas with a new one
  • Check if it has gone bad or not
  • Get yourself Pri-G
  • Mix your old gas with a newer one
  • Use it for your home tools

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Choosing the Best Weapon Light for SHTF

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Tactical situations and hunting expeditions don’t always offer the convenience of daylight. Indeed, night-time operations can offer significant advantages to those who are prepared. A weapon light is an essential tool for tactical operators and hunters, and can be a vital addition to your bug out kit in case of a SHTF scenario.

In an ideal world, you’d be able to fit your weapons with the perfect light for each situation and set them up with the configuration you’re most comfortable with. But when it comes to a post-collapse situation, keeping multiple lights, multiple rigs, and multiple sets of batteries may be a luxury you can’t afford. This quick guide highlights a few of the considerations to make when choosing a weapon light to include in your emergency prep kit.

Versatility

As with most gear in these situations, versatility is the name of the game. While there are a number of dedicated weapon lights, a handheld light that can be easily and securely attached to a weapon’s rail systems offers you the 2-in-1 capabilities that proprietary gear can’t. Lights like the Fenix TK20R can be used as ultra-bright hand-held devices and then easily be attached to the rails of a shotgun or rifle. Best of all, true tactical lights like the TK20R feature tactical switches and grips for easy one-handed use in conjunction with a handgun, and crenellated bezels that add an extra level of close-quarters self-defense.

Ergonomics

FENIX TK20R USB Rechargeable 1000 Lumen Cree LED tactical Flashlight

Comfort is only part of the story here. A flashlight with the proper ergonomics will ensure that it’s as useful when used in hand, or in conjunction with a handgun, as it is when it’s mounted on a rifle. A tail switch with constant and momentary on, a “cigar ring” grip, and adequate knurling will ensure you can comfortably and effectively utilize the light with one hand with a variety of tactical holds. Pistol-mounted flashlights are beneficial for several reasons, but a rig like that might not be practical for every situation. Again, the versatility of a hand-held device saves on the amount of gear you need to keep in your bug-out-bag, making your kit lighter, and more manageable.

Durability

Durability is obviously important for any piece of gear you’re going to depend on in a post-collapse situation. That’s doubly true when you’ll be using that gear to defend your life. Luckily, many modern flashlights are built with the rough use of tactical operations and hunting expeditions in mind. A few durability features to keep in mind:  Dual-spring construction puts solid contact on both ends of the battery, ensuring consistent contact throughout the firing process and eliminating noisy rattling. Anodized black finishes are resistant to scratches and corrosion and reduce glare. Tempered glass lenses are impact resistant and allow for maximum performance without losing transparency and reducing output over time.

Attachment Method

There are a lot of options when it comes to accessory mounting on firearms. Each rail system has its own strengths and weaknesses, and each user has their own reasons for using the systems they do. The important thing to keep in mind is to ensure you have a reliable mount that is compatible with your rail system, and that you have whatever necessary tools on hand for quickly attaching and removing the accessory. Consistency here can go a long way.

Battery Type

Like with competing rail systems, there are many schools of thought surrounding which batteries are best for emergency situations. AA’s are obviously the most abundant and cost-effective. They also offer versatility as they can be used in and harvested from countless other electronic devices. The trade-off is most AA’s are not rechargeable, and they limit your device’s performance. A high performance LED flashlight packing a 3.6 Volt 18650 or two 3 Volt CR123’s is likely to provide more lumens better run times than a AA device.

Lights running off of 18650 batteries are popular for a number of reasons. First, there are a number of high performance lights on the market running on a single 18650 platform, meaning you can pick from some of the world’s most trusted brands. 18650’s Are also rechargeable, meaning if you have access to a generator or solar rig, you could get an impressive lifetime out of each cell compared to traditional alkaline batteries. And finally, most lights powered by 18650’s can also be powered by two (non-rechargeable) CR123A cells, giving you an added level of versatility.

All of the pros and cons need to be weighed against each other and, just like with any gear, the right answer will depend on your needs and expectations.

The best flashlight is one you have on you at all times.

Lumens

Lumens get a lot of attention when shoppers are looking for a new flashlight. The truth is, most modern flashlights are plenty bright for most applications, including tactical operations. At 1,000 lumens, the TK20R easily provides the kind of illumination you’d need to light up a dark warehouse, alley, or field, and multiple settings allow you to step down the brightness to save on run time or cater to more reflective surroundings. One thing to keep in mind is ANSI ratings. Non-ANSI rated lights will often have inflated lumen measurements. That’s not to say they aren’t bright or high quality devices – it’s just important to compare oranges to oranges.

There’s no question that a weapon light can be a life-saving device in a SHTF world. Whether it helps you spot an intruder, or helps you track game after the sun goes down, a quality torch attached to your firearm will pay off in dividends the first time you truly need it.

When planning for worst-case-scenarios, keep versatility in mind, and look for gear that can be put to use effectively in a variety of applications. A quality LED flashlight can be just as crucial navigating rough terrain while collecting firewood as it can be spotting assailants in dangerous territory. There’s no shortage of quality gear on the market, and no shortage of opinions as to which styles and configurations are the most effective. Shop around, consider the variables, and choose your gear wisely.

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How To Build Your Own Survival Fishing Kit

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post was contributed by Ted. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


If you are planning to build a survival fishing kit by own and so are looking for some guides, then your search stops right here. Survival fishing kits could be of any size and shape, and it would adapt readily to suit your particular needs.

To get started on how to build your own survival fishing kit, we have come up with a list to help you out.

Building Your Own Survival Fishing Kit

This best fact about this kit is that it wouldn’t cost more than 20 dollars to create. The tools and materials that would be used here are easily available along with the fishing essentials.

Tools and Materials:

  • 1” Threaded PVC Adapter
  • 1” Threaded PVC Cap
  • 1” PVC Pipe Of 10” Length
  • PVC Cleaner
  • PVC Cement
  • Scrap Wood
  • Paracord
  • One Small Washer
  • Fishing Line Of 100.’
  • Drill Bit Of 1/8”
  • Drill Bit Of 1/16”
  • Hand Drill.

Fishing Elements:

  • Lures
  • Hooks
  • Bobbers
  • Swivels
  • Sinkers.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Attach The Threaded PVC Adapter To The Pipe

First step is to connect the 1” PVC pipe to the threaded PVC adapter of 1”. You could either press the two materials together or glue them employing PVC cement and PVC cleaner.

Via www.instructables.com

 

However, gluing the pieces would be better as, if by chance the adapter becomes loose from the PVC pipe, then your fishing essentials could get loose.

For attaching the two pieces, you would need to clean the areas of joining with PVC cleaner, and then use PVC cement to press the pieces all together.

If you slightly turn the PVC cap after it got fitted on the pipe, you would get sure whether it has bonded firmly or not.

Lastly, let the pieces sit for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Add a Lanyard to 1” Threaded Cap

At this level, you would use the drill along with the drill bit to bore two evenly spaced holes in the 1” PVC threaded cap’s top.

Via www.instructables.com

 

After it is done, you would now have to lace the paracord of 20” length through these holes and tie a knot.

Via www.instructables.com

 

The lanyard would help to carry the fishing kit quickly. It could be even wrapped around the wrist at the time of fishing to prevent the kit from slipping down from the hand.

Step 3: Forming And Installing The Front End Plug

Most of the survival fishing kits employ a PVC end cap for closing the fishing kit’s front end. This is because these caps are available easily and could be installed quickly. But such caps could create a problem while casting the fishing line.

Therefore, it would be better to make a customized cap that would fit tightly on the pipe.
You would need to chuck a wood piece and make its diameter same as the 1” PVC pipe’s outside diameter. You would have to shoulder it off till it gets fitted inside the pipe snugly.

Via www.instructables.com

 

After this, you would need to cut a portion of the turning to have a slight cone or rounded end. It would help your fishing line to come off in an even manner while casting.

Lastly, you would have to employ the 5 minutes epoxy for affixing to the fishing kit’s end.

Step 4: Drill Holes To Secure The Hook

Once these steps are complete, the next thing you would have to do after epoxying the front plug is to bore some holes. These holes would not have to be very deep as they are only to secure the hook.

Via www.instructables.com

You could drill about six holes around the plug to have many points for attaching the hook.

Step 5: Wrap The Handle

Paracord is always a great prepping supply to have in a survival scenario so you could wrap some of it around the handle. This would not only help you to use for many things but also would offer a solid grip to prevent the kit from slipping out from the hand.

Step 6: Add the Fishing Line

Next, bore a small hole of 1/16” in the 1” PVC pipe for adding the fishing line. You would need to thread one end of the line through the hole and let it come out from the kit’s end.

Via www.instructables.com

 

After this, you would have to tie a small washer on the line’s end employing a stronger knot. The washer would help to fix the line on the kit and prevent it from coming out.

Via www.instructables.com

 

After this, you will have to pull the line steer to draw the washer’s end into the kit and start to wrap the fishing line around the PVC pipe. If this wrapping is done nicely, then the line would unspool exactly as it does from fishing reels while casting.

Step 7: Loading It Up

After completing the fishing kit, you would now have to load up the fishing essentials or survival gear in the kit. It would be entirely upon you that which things you would pack according to your needs.

Via www.instructables.com

However, small hooks, lures, sinkers, swivels or bobbers could be some of the materials that you might include.

Step 8: Ready To Cast

A fishing kit would work almost like a fishing rod. You would just have to hold the fishing kit around the paracord with your hand and hold the line’s hook end in place with the index finger.

Via www.instructables.com

 

Now you could either employ underhand or overhand movement for casting the line.

If you catch a ladyfish then the question of whether to eat it or not might haunt you. Well, this post on fishing and eating ladyfish will definitely help you.

Conclusion

Well, we hope that our process of how to build your own survival fishing kit will help you a lot to make a kit easily. A survival kit is always necessary as it would keep you sufficiently equipped to survive in any situation. However, if you have any suggestion regarding this article, please let us know in the comments below.

We would be happy to hear from you.

About the author: Hi there, I’m Ted Thomas from GrayWolfLife, an ardent adventure writer. I write for readers with a genuine interest in enjoying the great outdoors. By sharing my experiences camping, hunting and fishing, I hope to inspire others to fully explore the depths of their passion.

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10 Self Defense Tips for Women

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Editor’s Note: This post was contributed by Joe. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


In a perfect world, one would like to think that when disaster strikes, people would rush to help and support each other through it. And while people certainly will, such catastrophes unfortunately sometimes bring out the worst in many people as well. And these opportunistic predator types don’t target strapping he-men either. They’ll be looking for what they think are vulnerable victims; the elderly, the disabled, and women.

While in these more enlightened times few people still think of women as the “weaker sex”, most men still retain some advantages in physical height and strength.

Fortunately, there are a number of self-defense tips and techniques that can level that playing field and allow women to protect themselves and those that they are responsible for protecting. Some of them involve an outlay of money, some involve exercise, some involve surprisingly simple preparation, but all of them should be considered now, not after the worst happens. Below are some of the more effective ones.

Get And Stay Physically Fit

The healthier and more physically fit you are in the aftermath of a crisis, the better.

You’ll be able to run from danger. You’ll be able to run and get help and possibly track down prey.

Weight lifting will allow you to…well…lift weights.

Rock climbing and ropes courses now may help you to extract yourself and assist others in escaping from collapsed buildings, scale cliffs, and climb trees.

And the great thing about physical fitness programs is that they need not involve memberships at expensive gyms. An exercise regime as simple as daily rope-jumping may have you putting others to shame when trouble strikes.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Fear

It’s a perfectly natural emotion, designed by nature to help you avoid serious problems. But there’s a fine line between breaking down into hopeless hysteria or running blindly off of the edge of a cliff, and making your fear work for you.

Don’t be crippled by fear, but do listen to that little voice warning you when going into unfamiliar areas, encountering strange groups, etc. And remember that the adrenaline produced when you enter the “flight or fight” mode actually increases your physical strength. Use it accordingly.

Every Heel Has His (Or Her) Achilles Heel

Even physically fit women may not prevail in a confrontation with a man that involves running or brute force. So don’t let him get the upper hand, but calmly and effectively go on the offensive by attacking him in areas that will hurt, with blows and kicks to the:

  • Eyes
  • Groin
  • Kidneys
  • Nose
  • Adam’s apple (that “bulge” in the throat)
  • Shin
  • Instep
  • Solar plexus (between the sternum and stomach)
  • Knee
  • Nose
  • Jaw
  • Sternum (the flat bony area in the center of the chest)

Make sure that these blows are hard, and yes, they work just as effectively on women. And in situations like these, biting is absolutely fair play, and effectively painful. For some defense moves that you can try out, check out this article on The 3 Essential Self-Defense Moves.

Take A Class

There are a couple of reasons to take formal self-defense courses now.

The first one is that you will be learning in a safe and comfortable environment with professional instructors. This guarantees that you’ll be learning how to use techniques effectively, having questions answered by knowledgeable sources, and reducing the chances of injury to yourself or another student.

The second reason is that retentive learning of this nature tends to go better in a group situation, with the positive feedback, support, and hands-on learning opportunities offered by this type of classes.

Join A Shooting Club/Go To A Firing Range

Waiting until the apocalypse is nigh upon us is a bad time to become comfortable with using a firearm. It’s also possible to receive instruction at these locations to insure that you know how to effectively protect yourself with a firearm against attackers.

Other (Non-Lethal) Firearm Knowledge That All Self-Defenders Should Have

Neither the survivor party that you’re trying to protect nor the gang of slobbering attackers that you’re facing will be too impressed if your gun jams or you shoot yourself while firing it, now will they?

The Israeli Woman Teaching the Art of Stiletto Self Defense

Survivalists or preppers who know or think that they will be handling guns should:

  • Know how to load and unload various types of firearms
  • Know how to clean and perform at least minor types of other maintenance on guns
  • Be conversant with various parts of firearms
  • Know how to correctly wear a holster, as well as correctly drawing from and returning a weapon to it

It would also be very helpful to master the not-difficult but time consuming art of reloading, or manufacturing your own ammunition.

Prevention Is The Best Cure

The most effective self-defense? Avoid putting yourself in situations where you have to use self-defense!

Avoid traveling by yourself, traveling at night, or traveling in exposed or isolated areas. Sometimes of course, one has no choice. In such situations, keep a straight, tall posture, walk quickly and purposefully, and keep weapons out and in your hand.

Use Caution In Making New “Friends”

Until you actually get to know them, all unknown parties should be treated with caution. This means maintaining a distance of a couple of meters when meeting and speaking to them. You say this seems rude? Consider this. It buys you some space if the “friend” goes into attack mode, and allows you to observe what most vulnerable body parts the attacker (see #3) is exposing to you.

Maintain Self-Confidence

It can be hard to keep a stiff upper lip during the End of Days, but remaining calm and assertive will not only help you combat depression and feelings of self-hopelessness, it will make you appear less of a “mark” to attackers and other unsavory types.

Hunker Down At Home

If the crisis is short-term or there’s no immediate danger, like Dorothy said in the Wizard Of Oz, “There’s no place like home”. Make sure that your palace is a fortress though, by pre-stocking plenty of non-perishable foods, potable water, and medical supplies. Regardless of weather, all unused doors and windows should be secured. Install an “alarm” system even if it’s just a dog, and if possible, create a well-stocked “panic area” in the home where you can flee from intruders, and they can’t follow. Better still, be cautious about admitting any strangers to your home.

Wrapping Up

What do you think, are there other important factors women need to keep in mind to be able to effectively defend themselves? If you have some thoughts on the subject, please share them with us by commenting in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!

About the author: This article was contributed by Joe from SmokingBarrelUSA.com. Joe is a gun enthusiast that started his blog specifically to not only learn more himself, but to also share what he learned with others in the community. SmokingBarrelUSA.com aims to help promote gun safety, debunk some myths that exist today about firearms, as well as help folks to choose the right equipment to suit their specific needs.

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10 Medical Resources You Can Get from Nature

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Your list of home remedies is about to get even more interesting and spicier. Although these natural herbs are have been used hundreds of years, doctors and scientists are now recommending them to be used for healing purposes. These natural medical resources can be easily substituted as traditional methods of medication. The plants have capabilities to heal and reduce cholesterol, high blood pressure and arthritis pain to name a few. Some of the best healing herbs even have the ability to treat cancer cells and also help alcoholics to curb their drinking habit.

The natural medical resources or herbs and other natural remedies are as effective as traditional treatments. In some cases they are even more effective without any side effects. Here are some of the best medical resources that you can get from nature. These super-healers can be added into your natural medicine or herbal products cabinet along with your favorite recipes. Fitting a few of them in your daily routine can be beneficial for the body.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to southern Asia

Turmeric contains anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties. Who ever thought an ingredient used for taste in curry can help to relieve pain? This spice which is popular for its use in curry contains curcumin that helps to treat arthritis. Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and an important element that works just like Cox-2 inhibitors drugs to reduce the Cox-2 enzyme which results in the swelling of arthritis.

The herb is known for doing wonders. Another reason why turmeric is popular because it reduces precancerous lesions when taken with quercetin which is found in apples, onions and cabbage. Turmeric also helps to clear plaques in the brain that are important characteristic of the disease.

Cinnamon

A recent study on type 2 diabetics showed that taking cinnamon extract everyday reduces the blood sugar level in the body by 10%. It reduces risks related to heart and slash cholesterol by about 13%.

1 g capsules of cinnamon extract everyday helps to tame blood sugar while 1 to 6 g capsules reduce cholesterol. However, a large amount of actual spice in not good for health. Thus, it’s better to stick to water-soluble extract.

Rosemary

Heterocyclic amines or HCAs are some vital carcinogens that are present in several types of cancers. These amines are created after grilling, frying and broiling meat at high temperatures. Rosemary extract which is a common powder mixed in beef after cooking reduces HCA levels in the body.

Rosemary extract also prevents carcinogens from binding with DNA and stops them from entering in the body. It is the first step of the formation of tumor and rosemary extracts helps to prevent cancer at an initial stage. Thus, taking rosemary extract will kill carcinogens before they turn into a tumor. This research has been only carried out on animals but the extract has a tendency to prevent cancer.

In order to reduce HCAs in the body, make sure that you add rosemary extract in any spice mix. It will also enhance the taste, making the dish stronger in flavors. You can mix the herb with oregano, parsley, thyme and onions for a perfect mix.

Ginger

Ginger can protect your stomach from various sources including motion sickness, pregnancy and chemotherapy. This is an old home remedy that we often hear from our mothers and grandmothers. They are right because it really works!

Ginger is a powerful anti-oxidant that blocks the effects of serotonin in the body. It is a chemical that the stomach and body produces when you feel nausea by stopping the production of free radicals which is also another cause of an upset stomach.

Garlic

High consumption of garlic have cured colorectal and ovarian cancers. People have also experienced reduction in the number and size of precancerous growths. The benefits of garlic are not only limited to lowering risks of cancer, but it also decreases high blood pressure. There are about 70 active phytochemicals in garlic including allicin that deceases blood pressure by 30 points.

Garlic in your diet slows down the arterial blockages and prevent strokes. Fresh and crushed garlic offers the best cancer-fighting and cardiovascular benefits. However, one should have at least five crushed garlic cloves to enjoy maximum benefits.

Holy Basil

Several animal studies back holy basil, a special variety of the plant you use in your pesto sauce, Holy basil is effective in reducing stress by increasing the noradrenaline and adrenaline along with decreasing serotonin in the body. The herb is also popular to relieve headaches and indigestion. Tea leaves of the holy basil is a great natural resource which is more effective than traditional methods of relieving pain.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera was used in traditional medicine for treating skin disease, constipation, infections, worm infestation and colic. In Chinese medicine, it is popular for treating various fungal diseases. In today’s modern times, the herb is used in various cosmetics to make skin softer.

Surprisingly, Aloe Vera consists of more than 78 active components. Studies have shown that the herb also contains antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. It builds up the immune system and does not cause any allergic reaction.

FeverFew

FeverFew is a natural herb that has been used over centuries to ease headaches, toothaches, stomach-ache, infertility, menstruation problems and labor during childbirth. The healing effect comes from a biochemical present in the herb known as parthenolides. It fights against the widening of blood vessels during migraines. The herb also prevents blood clots, dizziness, relieve allergies and reduces arthritis pain.

St. John’s Wort

St. Johns Wort herbs are not used to treat the physical symptoms but also used for relieving anxiety and mild to moderate depression. The best thing about it is it works effectively as any other drug without any side-effects.

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto is used as a supplement consumed by men to treat prostate cancer. It also contributes to several health issues related to men such as hair loss, libido and enlarged prostate. Other than that, it is said to promote relaxation, treat respiratory conditions and boost immune function.

Author Bio: Saqib Khan, is an inquisitive blogger and loves to spread his knowledge. With a penchant for medical innovations and developments, Saqib’s new field of interest is herbal medicines. He is currently associated with a top online medical pharmacy in Pakistan offering variety of Pathological & Herbal Medicines such as flu medicine, first aid kits, cough medicine, etc.

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6 Solid Reasons to Invest in a Survival Bow and Arrow

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6 Solid Reasons to Invest in a Survival Bow and Arrow

Modern day survival enthusiasts are never without a trusty rifle or handgun. These weapons are often used for hunting game and for self-defense, which may become a very real necessity when you’re trying to survive in the wild. Of course, guns are easy, convenient, and powerful. But if you’re a survival specialist that’s looking for a real challenge, it’s probably better that you invest in a survival bow and arrow instead. In fact, a survival bow and arrow isn’t really something you should ever be without.

If you’re thinking you can get by without a bow and arrow, and you’re questioning whether you should really get one or not, this list of solid reasons should swing you towards the right decision.

  1. Lightweight and Portable – It’s any survivalist’s priority to maintain the lightest possible weight when in the wild. That’s because a heavy pack will make you feel more tired much faster, and can restrict the movements you can comfortably make. With too many guns and ammo in your bag, you might find yourself panting heavily before midday.

A survival bow and arrow can be very lightweight, collapsing into just three pieces or less, depending on the model you choose. This means you can easily fit it into a standard backpack or carry it around without working up a sweat.

  1. Versatile – The different parts of a survival bow and arrow can be easily adapted to perform several other functions. For instance, the bow can be used as a makeshift fishing rod, arrows themselves can be used as part of your shelter, and you can even utilize your bow to start a fire much easier. All that said, it’s easy to see that when you take a survival bow and arrow with you, you’ve got more than just a weapon.

 

  1. Silent – The best way to hunt down as much game as possible would be to take each one down without scaring off the others. When you shoot a rifle or a handgun, the reverberating noise can startle any other game in the area, meaning you’d have to go through the entire luring and calling process all over again. With a bow and arrow, you can take down your game without causing too much of a commotion, so you’d have more chances to hunt more down in the same proximity. Throw in the shooting rest you can find, and you can spend hours in the same spot, shooting down game without getting noticed.

 

  1. Endless Ammunition – When your rifle or handgun runs out of ammo, you become nothing more than a sitting duck. That’s why it’s any shooter’s priority to make sure they make the most of each bullet they have. With a survival bow and arrow however, you can have access to an endless supply of ammunition. Even so, if you don’t bother to retrieve your arrows, you can make your own from twigs, sticks, and wood you find around you. So you can be sure there’s always something you can use to make the most of your bow.

 

  1. Less Limited – Depending on where you live, there could be a plethora of different gun rules that you’d have to follow unless you want the cops at your doorstep. What’s more, buying a gun isn’t all that simple. There are lots of paperwork, documents, and requirements you need to submit just to register a gun to your name, and it could take weeks before you get your hands on your purchase.

With survival bow and arrows however, you won’t have to worry about the same issue. You can literally walk into a store and purchase one without any questions, and you can even have it shipped straight to your home when you buy it online.

  1. Adaptable – When using a gun for your hunt, you’d have to consider the size of your chosen game and select a corresponding gun caliber. If you’ve only got a few firearms in your possession, you may not be able to hunt down other sizes of animals because of the inappropriate caliber of your available gun.

With a survival bow and arrow however, you can screw on different arrow heads to allow you to take down literally any size animal you want to. Simply interchange the attachments to adapt your arrow to your chosen target and you’re good to go.

Another plus when it comes to adaptability is the endless number of attachments you can purchase for your bow. For instance, if you feel that your bow isn’t accurate enough or if you struggle to aim with a bow, you can purchase other attachments to make it easier to use. Often, the best bow sight can be bought for a very reasonable price, making the bow itself an economic choice compared to guns.

A survival bow and arrow can be a major investment, especially if you take your time to learn the ropes and master this uncommon survival weapon.

So, what are you waiting for? Up your hunting game and become a true blue survival expert by purchasing your own survival bow and arrow today.

 

About the author : 

Kevin Steffey is an avid hunter and freelance writer, the founder of Deer Hunting Field. He loves spending time in the field with his rifle more than almost anything else. He also occupies his off-time discussing deer and their habits online. But more than anything, he wants to teach and educate about hunting …
 

                    WHAT TO READ NEXT !!

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Recurve, Compound, or Crossbow? What is The Best Choice For SHTF Scenario?

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Every prepper ought to have a bow in their survival gear today, considering its endless benefits! If you find yourself in a SHTF situation

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Practical Bug Out Reloading

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With about $300 to $400 invested in reloading equipment, all those hundreds or even thousands of once fired brass casings can be reloaded for a tremendous savings over buying factory new ammunition.

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For Those of You Waiting on Financial Collapse…

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Ladies and gentlemen, I am a banker. That’s right, that evil, fat cat, wall street banker that became such a popular moniker during our last administration and I’m also a prepper.

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Is Stocking up on Gold and Silver Smart?

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You have a gold coin that you paid $1100 for back when the world was still somewhat sane. Do you offer that coin for a loaf of bread? 100 loaves or a years supply?

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3 Ways Prepping Pays Off Right Now

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It’s far more likely to encounter a little emergency than a major movie-style event. So what to do with the big pile of food, gear, etc. that represents an investment of time, money, and storage space?

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One Plan Is Not Enough: 7 Tips to Create a Successful Food Plan

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What are the most important things to consider? In this article I cover some of the requirements of creating your master food plan.

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Field Weapon: Constructing a Bow & Arrows Using a Knife

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Using only what is available to from the natural surroundings and what small amount of belongings you have, it’s time to construct one of the oldest tools used by hunters, the bow and arrow.

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Booby Traps – A Historically Proven Component of Psychological Warfare

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Historically speaking, booby traps do not win wars. They are, however, considered a key element in psychological warfare.

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The 3 Essential Self-Defense Moves, You Must be Aware of

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Self-defense is your right and it will be beneficial in a SHTF scenario, if you know how to tackle the consequences on your own with a sharp presence of mind instead of relying on others.

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Metallic Cartridge Reloading In The Prepper Tool Kit

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With the interest in the preparedness lifestyle growing at an explosive rate, one important skill is often brushed aside: reloading ammunition.

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Hiding in Plain Sight – Innovative Ways to Discreetly Wear Survival Gear

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In this article I list some of the most unique ways that some basic survival gear, weapons, and defensive tools can be disguised in items you already wear every day.

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The Keys To Effective Prepper Communication

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This article attempts to cover some of the basic pros and cons of various forms of communication and introduce the reader to some additions that should prove helpful in crisis and bug-out situations.

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Self Defense Options: More than Just Guns

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from valknut79. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Imagine being in the middle of a crowded festival, enjoying your time with your family.  All of a sudden, you find yourself near some drunks who start a fight, and you can’t help but separate from your family, and get pulled into the fray. You’re a prepper, and like most preppers, you’re carrying a small firearm, in this case a small pistol.  Do you use it?

Some would say yes – it’s time to defend the family, and that’s what a weapon is for, right?  Others hold off – bringing deadly force into a relatively small conflict is a certain legal issue and is probably not necessary considering that these people are drunk.  That said, this is clearly a self-defense situation.  Considering that a gunshot in a crowded public space is one of the fastest ways to start a riot, potentially getting you or your family even more harmed, the balance point for many tends to tip towards leaving your weapon holstered.

Imagine again.  This time, you and your family return home, and see the basement window broken.  Alarm bells are going off in your head, and you draw your weapon, instructing the kids to wait in the car.  Upon entering, you are able to see that the dangerous infiltrator is actually a 14-year-old boy who lives down the road.  Is he dangerous, or just a neighborhood nuisance?  You have less than seconds to decide.

Maybe you are one to draw in these circumstances, however, I believe that these are two examples of situations where yes, a gun could be advantageous to you, but it would be better left holstered.

Of all the four major prep areas – food, water, shelter and defense – it is defense that is most often overlooked.  I know preppers who think that all they need is a pistol and some ammunition, while others stock an armory, but the fact remains that for most, defense is simply just about the weapons you choose to keep.  In reality, self-defense is so much more.

Personal Defense                

The fact remains that for most, defense is simply just about the weapons you choose to keep. In reality, self defense is so much more.

The first line of defense to prepare is your last line of defense – your ability to defend your own person.  Guns are fantastic, but are not always the best solution to a conflict.  The best way to start that process is to take a martial arts class regularly.

Martial arts classes are incredibly varied, and depending on where you live, you should find a broad spectrum of different styles.  You could opt for a striking art like TaeKwon Do, Karate or Kung Fu, or you could focus on a martial art that emphasizes grappling such as Judo.  There are many arts that are combinations by nature (any MMA style or Krav Maga), and there are many schools of striking or grappling arts that borrow from outside of the strict boundaries of their chosen style to incorporate a broad range of self-defense elements.

Striking arts are probably what everyone thinks of when they imagine martial arts, as they are based on using your hands and feet to punch, chop and kick your way to safety.  These arts value speed and quickness over size and power, and often incorporate a large variety of cardio exercise practices that will double as your workout for the day.  The major advantage to learning a striking art is clear – these arts are focused on disabling an opponent quickly from a (relative) distance, and allow you at least a small chance of fighting multiple opponents.  A typical class will involve practicing kata or patterns of movements, practice kicks and punches against air, striking heavy bags or padded opponents, and jumping techniques.

Grappling arts are going to be more similar to wrestling than what you’d likely think of as a “martial arts” technique.  Instead of punches and kicks, you’ll learn disabling holds, pressure points, and throws.  A certain amount of size and strength is not necessarily essential, but will definitely help.  Classes for grappling arts tend to emphasize one-on-one, back-and-forth style of practice (I’ll throw you, then you throw me), and may not be as exercise-heavy as a striking art.  The advantages of studying a grappling art are the fact that they focus on defending yourself from abductions and mugging-style grabs and unarmed defense against an armed opponent, which are highly practical scenarios.  In addition, many people who have studied street fights have noted that over 80% of these encounters end up on the ground, where grapplers have a distinct advantage.

Both styles give you opportunities to practice against your classmates in simulated fighting scenarios.  Striking courses usually incorporate sparring practice where you use heavy pads and light contact to simulate a fight and test your reflexes and skills.  This allows you to safely practice your skills so that you’ll know you can function in times when you need to defend yourself. Grappling arts use amateur wrestling, or kneeling wrestling known as rendori as sport-practice.  In rendori, you maneuver your opponent on the mat in an attempt to make them submit from a painful or inescapable hold.

Finding a style is a good choice, but it may be better to find a school first and a style second.  Not all martial arts courses are created equally.  Many are black belt factories, where you pay a certain fee and are guaranteed a black belt after a certain amount of time.  Other schools are going to emphasize tournament performance or flashy-but-not-realistic jumping and leaping attacks.  Good schools are hard to come by, but they’ll offer a variety of different types of skills and performance elements, have a wide variety of people at varying levels of abilities and ages, and have experienced instructors.  Park districts are an excellent place to begin, but there are some valuable strip mall dojos that offer different types of instruction.  Ask for a free trial class, or at least to watch a class before signing up.

Non-Gun Weapons

Some models of tactical flashlights have stun guns or preprogrammed SOS signals that can add to its functionality.

In addition to a basic level of skill in hand-to-hand combat, I think it’s also important to find a hand-to-hand weapon to supplement your firearm and EDC kit.  My personal choice is a tactical flashlight that functions as a striking weapon, a strobe light to distract and disorient my attackers, and a tool that I can use in my everyday life.  Some models of tactical flashlights have stun guns or preprogrammed SOS signals that can add to its functionality, and since it’s a small flashlight it is a very inconspicuous weapon that is never taken away from me at sporting events or theme parks.  If you don’t like that suggestion, consider some of these other hand-to-hand weapons that are easy to carry:

Remember that no matter what weapon you choose to carry that you are well equipped and ready to use it.  A knife may not be the best weapon for every encounter, but if that’s what you choose, that’s what you might be stuck with.  If you pull pepper spray from your pocket or purse, know how to use it, or it will be taken away and used against you.

Dogs

Best Prepper Dog for SHTF

My final suggestion for personal defense is to get yourself a dog.

Dogs are fantastic companion animals that are also overlooked but highly practical pieces of a prepper’s armory.  They require much more regular upkeep than what you’re storing in your gun cabinet currently, but are also useful for a wide variety of situations.

Dogs are not a fail-safe mechanism for security.  Just check YouTube and you’ll find hundreds of home security videos of dogs peacefully approaching burglars and not making a peep if that burglar thought ahead to bringing some dog treats with them.  That said, training and mentally stimulating your dog will certainly help in developing his senses enough to make him a versatile tool and defense mechanism as well as a companion.

Training your dog to be a more aggressive “guard dog” is certainly an option, but one that I would strongly discourage.  It is important for your dog to be socialized among other animals and be extremely selective about whom he attacks.  An “attack dog” is not a good choice, and will likely do you more harm than good, both in terms of legal trouble and difficulty in raising and training him.

If you don’t want a traditional guard dog, and if your dog is more likely to lick your home invader than attack him or warn you, then why bother?  It’s easy – prepper dogs are a highly effective deterrent for would-be attackers.

There is an old adage that states “When you’re running from a bear, you don’t need to be the fastest, you just need to not be the slowest.”  Choosing a large breed of dog, such as a Rottweiler, or an American or Olde English bulldog will definitely make your home significantly less appealing for any home invaders or burglars. More intelligent breeds, such as German Shepherds can act as an early warning system for people approaching your home, and may be able to be put to work around your home for basic tasks if you keep livestock.  These kinds of dogs are also those that have a reputation of being aggressive (even though they’re not), and their reputation alone can be a deterrent.  Keep in mind that many of our modern breeds, even those poorly designed for defense like bloodhounds or greyhounds, were originally bred to be hunters or highly specialized seekers, and have many practical applications in SHTF or survival situations

Taking dogs with you when you go outside for exercise or a walk is a good way for urban preppers to discourage muggers and attackers.  Even rural and suburban preppers can benefit from having a dog along on walks or runs in case of twisted ankles, or in the event that you are involved in some sort of accident.  My mother-in-law was riding her horse that she’d ridden thousands of times in the past, along a trail that she had ridden hundreds of times before, and when her horse was inexplicably spooked she fell off.  It was her golden lab that ran back to the farm alone to find help while she was knocked out.

All told, the advantages of having an animal companion are significant, specifically in terms of defense.  For those with allergies, there are some hypoallergenic dogs that are available, and depending on the breed you choose, you may find yourself unaffected by short-haired breeds.

A dog is not the highest priority on the list, but can certainly be a helpful addition to a home or personal defense system.  I certainly feel better about leaving my teenage daughter home alone for runs to the store or when I’m out to dinner with my wife when Arthur (my 90-pound monster of an American Bulldog) is home with her, even those he’s secretly a big softie.

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Emergency Medical Preparedness: Prepare Yourself for a Medical Emergency

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Suzanne S.. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


When it comes to prepping, there is a lot of talk about what material needs we should have on hand. A bug-out bag, freeze-dried food, water, transportation, first-aid kit, weapons for protection and a place to bug-out to. The idea is to have the basic needs of food, water and shelter readily available. The problem is; when the SHTF not everyone gets to just go merrily about their way, to easily head out and get gone. In fact, it is quite likely that many of us will sustain significant injuries that need to be tended to. Whether it is ourselves, our loved ones, or the friends who will be with us, we will need to know how to take care of each others injuries and illnesses.

I am an Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant with more than 20 years of Emergency Room experience, the majority of it in Level I Trauma centers (where the most severe cases…crashes, gunshots, severe work injuries, falls from heights, etc. go). Prior to becoming a PA, I was an EMT. I have a great deal of experience dealing with trauma victims and worked in an ER where we saw multiple gunshots daily. I have lectured at several colleges in the Chicago area as well as being responsible for teaching EMT, Physician Assistant, Medical and Podiatry students. I have also been an instructor for the American Red Cross teaching First Aid, CPR and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) classes.

There is a lot of information out there about what makes up a good medical kit for your bug-out bag. Everything you need can be either assembled by you or purchased as anyone of a variety of pre-stocked kits. While the kit you have with you when you bug out is obviously important, it is also completely useless if you have not taken the time to learn how to use it. The truth is you can stop most bleeding with direct pressure. Sometimes you need a torn shirt, some duct tape and a pair of trauma scissors. You don’t have to be MacGyver to do it. You do need proper training.

Pamela Rauseo, 37, performs CPR on her nephew, 5-month-old Sebastian de la Cruz, after pulling her SUV to the side of the road. The baby was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he is reportedly doing OK.

That said; EVERYONE who expects to deal with the aftermath of when the SHTF needs to know basic CPR and at least basic Trauma First Aid. That means taking classes and practicing what you learn. I can tell you stories about people attempting to administer first aid who had no training, but I won’t. Suffice it to say the outcomes were less than desirable.

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way

Let’s think about some injuries you can expect in the woods, hiking or running to find cover. Or for that matter, just being in a place where help is not going to come anytime soon. Falls are very common and can result in anything from a scrape to sprains to more serious injuries like fractures and head injuries. So ask yourself; do I really know how to treat a sprain? What about a fracture? Do I know how to stop bleeding and properly clean a wound? Have I ever done those things? Would I be able to actually do the job the right way should I need to? What if it was something life threatening? Could I save a person’s life?

If the answer to any of the above is NO, then you can have all the gear in the world at the ready, but YOU are not ready to bug-out!

I’m going to give an example of injury event that can be a tragedy if you are not properly trained to treat it. Remember, this is about knowing: both what TO do and what NOT TO do.

You and your companion are moving quickly through a heavily wooded area and your companion falls. When you reach them, you see a branch has impaled their arm. They are essentially stuck to a tree because of a branch sticking all the way through their arm. Your companion is in shock and not even aware of the extent of the injury. They are confused. There is blood coming from their arm and also from a gash on the right side of their head which is bleeding profusely. You think you see bone exposed through the head laceration and it seems that one of their legs has something wrong. Closer examination shows you that the ankle is sitting at a strange angle. What do you do now?

If you are like most people, you freak out, try to compose yourself so you don’t freak out your companion, get really pale and nearly pass out and then reach for your cellphone to call 911. Oops, no connectivity, so no help coming. So what now? The first aid kit! You have a first aid kit with a manual in it to walk you through caring for these injuries. You dig out the kit, open and it and check the book only to find it’s great for small cuts and bruises and simple things, but it has nothing remotely close to what you’re dealing with now.

Suddenly, you realize that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to cancel that first aid class you had signed up for but decided you were too busy/tired to take. Besides, someone else will know what to do or I’ll call 911 anyway, I’ll never need to use it.

WOW! Talk about contrary to prepper philosophy. Or is it? It would seem that Emergency Medical preparedness training is a no-brainer, but in reality, most prepper sites and stores that cater to preppers are focused on the medical equipment you need rather than the training required to use it.

So anyway, I can’t teach you the how to do it in this article. I can give you a good idea of what good, accurate care and treatment of this fall will require. And yes, you can look all these things up on the internet. However, unless you learn from a real, live person who can guide you and correct mistakes you will surely make as you learn, you are never going to be able to really address the problems this very real scenario depicts.

STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.

The very first thing required in any trauma/accident situation is an evaluation of the site of the accident. Stop, take a breath and look at where you are about to go. Is it a safe place to enter? In the urban world this is akin to a Paramedic called to the scene of a gunshot victim. In that situation, the Paramedic cannot help the victim until the Police have arrived and determined that the Paramedic is safe from the danger of being shot herself when she goes to help. At that point the scene is declared “safe” and the Paramedics can get to work.

In the wilderness or woods, the dangers are different but still just as potentially deadly. Is the ground stable? Are there dangerous branches or rocks that could fall onto you as you make your way to your companion? Will you slip and fall as well if you attempt to help? Do you need to take time to tie off before going to the person? What about wildlife? Are you in danger of animal or insect attack when you go to help? Can you find a way to make the scene safe?

Only after you treat the area as if it were a busy street corner will you be safe. You have to STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.

Once the scene is determined safe, or made safe the next thing is to get to the injured person and take stock of the situation by doing an initial survey of them. This is done by looking and speaking to them without touching them. Encouragement to stay still is recommended at this point. Usually saying “Hold on, try not to move, I’ll be right there,” is a good start.

Look carefully at the person and where they are lying. Do you see any blood? Where is it coming from? What about limb deformities? If so, which ones. Are there any objects that will cause difficulty in treating the injuries? Can they be cleared or do you need to find a way to work around them.

Now it’s time to your ABCDE’s: Airway/Head and Neck, Breathing, Circulation, Disability/Deformity, and Exposure assessment.

Airway: If the person is conscious and talking, then they have a clear airway, but they might have a neck injury which will require stabilization. In the case of any significant fall, or one with an accompanying head injury, be sure that the cervical (neck) spine is stabilized. If the person is unconscious or can’t talk, be sure that the airway is clear of obstruction before going further. Gently lowering the jaw while holding the forehead steady will allow you to see if anything is causing an obstruction. Look for broken teeth, blood, dirt or some foreign body causing an obstruction. Remove any obstruction you can see. Do not blindly probe their mouth. You could push an unseen object backward and cause an obstruction where none had previously existed.

Breathing: Is the person breathing on their own? If they can talk, they are breathing. Is there any reason to suspect a possible lung injury? Do they have any evidence of a chest injury that could have broken a rib? A broken rib can puncture a lung and lead to air in the chest collapsing the lung on that side. You can check this several ways. One is to watch the rise and fall of the chest and see if both sides rise equally. Another is to put your ear on one side of the chest, then the other and listen for breath sounds to be equal on both sides. If you notice that the trachea, the tube that runs down the middle of your neck, is pushed to one side; that is a clear sign of a lung injury. The best case scenario is that you have a stethoscope in your kit that will allow you to hear the actual breath sounds easily. If there is a lung injury, this is a true emergency and will need to be treated quickly, but that is a procedure that requires specialized training.

Circulation: Check for obvious bleeding, but also in the case of extremity injury, is there good blood flow to the far portions of the extremity? Is the color of distal (far) limb pink or pale/bluish? Is it warm to the touch or cool/cold? Pink and warm = good. Anything else indicates blocked blood flow which may be due to arterial injury or compression. Arterial injury needs repair soon. Compression can often be correct by adjusting the limb to an appropriate angle.

Disability/Deformity: Is neurologic function intact or are they confused, unable to answer questions or showing other signs of significant head injury? Are there limb deformities, obvious chest or facial depressions indicating broken bones? Depending on what you find, a variety of things may be needed from re-evaluation of the airway, to splinting or bandaging.

Exposure: How long has it been since the injury took place? Are they becoming chilled or hypothermic? Cold =shock. Putting a warm cover over an injured party ASAP is essential even in hot weather.

The important thing to do now is stay calm and determine what needs to be treated first. If there is copious bleeding indicating probable arterial involvement (this can also be characterized by blood that sprays with each pump of the heart) apply direct pressure and if necessary a tourniquet that can be tightened and released easily. If there is no major bleeding issue, then recheck the airway and breathing. If there is chest deformity and/or other evidence of a collapsed lung, that is the next thing to deal with unless there is now evidence of airway obstruction or the person is not breathing on their own. The former requires clearing the airway, the latter requires rescue breathing. The collapsed lung requires specialized training you can’t get from the internet or a book. Any other injuries can wait. Remember; the brain starts to die after 3 minutes without oxygen. Airway is first unless bleeding is so profuse that not stopping it would mean there would not be enough blood to circulate oxygen.

Back to our fall victim; we have bleeding, limb deformity, confusion and a fall. The fall means we have to have high suspicion of a neck injury and the confusion could be shock or it could indicate a more serious injury such as concussion or a brain bleed. We also have a penetrating injury which may have been an insult to a major artery. This person is seriously injured and qualifies as a trauma patient. Ideally, we would get this person stabilized and out of there ASAP, but that is not an option. Instead, we have to stabilize and create a sheltered space as close to where we area as possible so we can begin to treat the various injuries.

Assuming there are no immediate life threats (Excessive bleeding or collapsed lung/blocked airway) we begin by stabilizing the neck. A towel, shirt or thick cloth of some kind can be rolled and taped carefully in place to accomplish this. Next stabilize and splint any limb deformities so that we can move the victim with the least amount of discomfort to them. Continue to talk to them to assess their mental status. At this point, things get tricky…

People’s first instinct when presented with something sticking out of or through a body part is to remove it. STOP! Don’t do it! Not only is it exactly the wrong thing to do, it could quite possibly be the thing that kills the person. I know it is scary looking and seems like the danger comes from it being stuck in the person, but at this point the person is alive and has survived impalement. Leaving the object embedded is not dangerous at this point; it is actually the safest thing to do. As long as the object is left in place, it is acting to tamponade (stop) the bleeding. That is, it is putting pressure on any lacerated vessels and preventing any major bleeding. Yes there will be some oozing around the injury site, but it will be minimal as compared to what happens should the object be removed. NEVER REMOVE AN IMPALED OR IMBEDDED OBJECT FROM A PUNCTURE WOUND unless you have been trained to handle this procedure. This is another procedure that requires specialized training courses.

But what about infection, you ask? Yes, infection risk is high, but it is not a life threatening problem at this time. A neck injury or brain injury will need prior attention as will the bleeding from the head wound. Antibiotics are something you can give, but not at this time because the victim has a decreased mental status and it is not clear if they can swallow a pill without causing an airway obstruction or aspirating it into a lung.

For the time being, the safest and most efficacious thing to do is to cut both ends of the branch so that your companion can be maneuvered to the sheltered spot. Start with the end of the branch still attached to the tree and try to keep the arm as immobile as you can while doing so to minimize pain. You can then trim the protruding opposite side.

Don’t cut the ends short. Leave enough to be able to grasp both ends firmly to assist removal when it is time. Use your gauze or Ace wrap to secure the branch so that it moves as little as possible during transport to avoid causing undo pain.

Continue to monitor the ABC’s and mental status and address what need to be done ASAP. Once you have done as much as you can, find a way to get this person out of there and to an emergency care center as quickly as possible otherwise, they will likely not survive for very long.

This all started out as a fall but resulted in multiple injuries placing your companion in danger of dying. With the proper training, you could swing the odds much more in favor of a good outcome. So before you buy that cool medical kit, or put one together on your own, get out there and get trained. If you know someone who has been trained and can teach you the emergency survival techniques you’ll need, ask them to teach you. Meanwhile there are a multitude of courses in first aid, tactical lifesaving, wilderness emergency medicine, survival medicine and CPR. Don’t forget to look into classes that teach herbal remedies. Know what plants can ease pain or prevent infection, they may be the only medications you’ll have available.

So go out and get prepared. Learn.

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Survival Group Selection: Would You Take Yourself?

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from GoodPrepper. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Survival groups whether you call them that, a Mutual Aid Group, “The Team”, or any other monikers have become ever more popular over the past few years. While I think this is a fantastic idea for those of us that see what is coming I also see a lot of online bragging in forums about how “prepared” their group is followed by 3 paragraphs detailing firearms purchases and maybe some references to a few members being ex-military. Tactical skills are great but I see two problems with the way most individuals and groups approach them.

First, people tend to focus nearly 100% of their time, money, and attention on the sexy gun stuff with nearly nothing left over for the other skills that make for a well-rounded survival group.

Second they tend to overestimate their tactical abilities. I once heard it said that buying a gun (or dozens of them) doesn’t make you a marksman any more than buying a piano makes you a pianist. Having been in the military doesn’t necessarily mean a person has much competency with firearms. Many units only get to the range twice a year and almost never with pistols. Add to that the vast majority of those in the military (all branches) aren’t trigger pullers but rather are in support functions sitting on the FOB or on a ship out at sea and you will see why having even someone with a deployment under their belt also doesn’t guarantee you have a gunfighter on your hands. I myself was in the army for 15 years to include a year in Afghanistan but recently I had to come to face the fact that I was a mediocre marksman and a poor gunfighter (2 different things) at best. Now after several years of spending thousands of dollars on quality training instead of buying more guns (I couldn’t properly fight with) I have improved by leaps and bounds and wish I had half these skills when I was deployed.

Are you as good as you think you are with a firearm? On a related side note how is your gear? Of course you won’t know the answer to this unless you have gone out and run it hard in a realistic class setting. I recently had a coworker that went out and bought the latest cool guy holster everyone on the internet told him the Israeli soldiers were using (so it must be good then, right?). He went to a class I recommended for him and 30 minutes into the class the holster broke into pieces. Had he not gone out and really run the thing he would have been potentially betting his life on a bad piece of kit.

I myself was in the army for 15 years to include a year in Afghanistan but recently I had to come to face the fact that I was a mediocre marksman and a poor gunfighter.

But back to the topic at hand, if many survival groups are mainly made up of people whose only skill set is “providing security” and for some reason you found yourself looking to join a group either now or after a collapse, would you take you? If you are honest with yourself the answer is probably “no”. The reason is, you’re just not worth the calories it takes to feed you when running gun battles might only be occurring 0.001% of the time in any given week or month depending on your location (if they are more than that you might want to relocate). So the next question is what other skills do you have or can you develop to be worth someone taking you in?

What skills do you bring to a survival group?

I personally see the following as the new member value hierarchy. This is based on the composition of prepper groups I have seen firsthand or read posted about. If your entire group is made up of a commune of expert farmers and ranchers then that skill set would obviously not be as high a priority. So in order of low to high for me:

Guy with a gun– Low value, even lower if they have the low skill-set and poor equipment many firearm owners do. (90+% of preppers)

Guerrilla Gardening

Gardener– Someone who regularly kept a backyard garden, this person might also have learned to can their excess. You definitely won’t have to shoot it out with the zombie mutant biker hordes every day but you do need to eat every day! (20% of preppers….most preppers meant to develop this skill but “never got around to it”, “didn’t have space”, or “insert other excuse here”).

Communications person– Someone who knows their stuff, not the guy that went out and bought the $30 Baofeng UV-5r and plans to learn how to use it later and doesn’t want to get licensed because “when the SHTF there won’t be no FCC around to stop me”. I’m talking about someone who has accumulated the extensive equipment required and trains on it regularly. This guy can run something like PSK31 digital mode transmission to still communicate around the world during even the most challenging propagation conditions. He might also be your power person because he has spent a lot of time researching batteries and solar setups to keep his rig running while out in the field for extended periods. This guy might even be higher up than I have listed, after all without him you might literally not know what is going on in the world beyond what you can see from your window. (Less than 5% of preppers)

Someone who knows their stuff, not the guy that went out and bought the $30 Baofeng UV-5r

Farmer/Rancher– This person devoted their livelihood to raising food – either vegetables or livestock of some combination of both. They understand how to produce on a large-scale and how to deal with procuring the inputs needed and dealing with the unused byproducts. (Less than 5% of preppers)

Medical professional– TRUE medical professional. While taking a CPR class and buying an Israeli bandage is nice this is not the same thing as being in the medical profession. Also while natural medicine has its place as off the shelf medicine becomes scarce you will want someone who has experience operating on people at an EMT level or above to address trauma and is expert at diagnosing larger issues such as whether an infections requires a gram positive or gram negative antibiotic to treat. (Less than 1% of preppers meet this category.)

In SHTF, you won’t be able to count on medical treatment being available.

I’ve surely missed some here like skill sets here like someone who is an expert in human waste sanitation, or a logistician that can track your supply usage or even something more exotic like a blacksmith. Part of this is because I don’t think these are full-time jobs unless you have a very large group and partly because the purpose of this article isn’t to feed you the right answers. What I want to get you thinking about is that if you step back and look at what your own group would need or imagine the needs of a group you are looking to join, would you take someone like yourself in?

You might not like the answer so pick something higher up the hierarchy and get to work! Much like anyone that tells you that they don’t have 20 minutes a day 3-4 days a week to exercise is lying so is anyone that says they don’t have the time or money to learn a new skill. You may not be able to become a doctor but in my case I decided I would become a ham radio operator. It seemed daunting, I didn’t grow up around this stuff and in the military I just called over the S-6 private to fix my radio in the MRAP whenever it wasn’t working. Turns out it is VERY EASY and inexpensive to get your license in amateur radio. Whole articles have been written about it but I will say it really only takes about 45 minutes of studying every night for 10 days to 2 weeks and then about $10 (or sometimes free) to sit the test and you’re on your way with a Technician class ticket. Now get to know the old guys at the ham club in your town that administered the test and you’ll be amazed at how generous they are with their time, they’ll even let you use their equipment for free! Plus who here doesn’t know how to use YouTube to learn almost any new skill….for free! I’ve since upgraded to General and then Extra class (the highest level). I have put together a highly portable mobile set up and I get out in the field to test my equipment and refresh my skills at least twice a month. That’s just one example of how you can build worth as a group member beyond being the “gun guy”.

Lastly if you decide you only care about guns and are “too cool” to learn anything else at least learn as much as you can not only in training and tactics but also maintenance and repair. Attend an armorer course and acquire the tools and spare parts to do the work. You still won’t be worth as much to me as a farmer but you won’t be a dime a dozen.

I realize this article might offend some but hopefully it gets you thinking and honest about your value especially if you are currently a “lone wolf” looking for a pack. People have covered how to find other preppers but I wanted to include some information on how to be as valuable as possible once you find them. Good luck and get learning!

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How Chemistry Class Saved My Life

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from West Texas Backpacker. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


While in high school chemistry class you would have been called a geek or nerd if you ever truly believed that “I am going to use this one day,” while everyone else was saying “I am never going to use this in my future, so why must I learn it now?” I’m here to tell you today that I was that nerd that believed such things and further studied chemistry for another five years into college.

During my academic career my interests always sparked when I learned about chemicals that could be used for some medical treatment, or were able to create an exothermic reaction and generate enough heat to produce a combustion of sorts. One that was very particular to me was a chemical called Potassium Permanganate (KMnO4). Potassium permanganate was especially interesting because if mixed in the proper quantities it can be used as an aseptic treatment to prevent infection on wounds and injuries. To add to its unique properties if mixed with a locally bought form of glycerin it would create an exothermic reaction to cause a small flame to form.

Now that I have given you some background information I will tell you of my experience when chemistry class saved my life. During the fall semester of my junior year in college I joined a backpacking adventure group that was composed of individuals, whom all shared the passion to learn survival skills and backpacking techniques. Being a rookie in the world of prepping this group caught my interests. So as meetings began to start and we practiced various skills such as cooking over fires, knots, survival skills and techniques. As we continued expanding our knowledge we also planned our first outing into the back-country of New Mexico during the month of October.

We assembled our gear and packs and planned out our route with enough food to last our 30 mile trip into the wilderness. Along with the checklist of items that we were given that would be necessary for any camping trip; I thought it was necessary to pack my trauma kit, and some chemicals for a chemistry experiment. This experiment was to take place towards our highest elevation at 13,000 feet above sea level and to be as much for entertainment for the group as an experiment for me.

We trekked for two days up and further into the back-country until the only tracks we saw were our own and the native wildlife. As the group approached the summit the weather began to rapidly change and thunderclouds started to form. We had made a group decision that in order to get back into the tree line for cover, we needed to summit the peak and descend on the other side as quickly as possible, because the route back down on the ascending side if caught in a storm would become even more dangerous due to its steep and narrow trails than the route descending on the other side.

Moving with a purpose the group quickly summited the mountain while fighting the wind that was gusting approximately 60-80 miles an hour the entire time. As the group began the descend one of the female hikers tripped and tumbled down the steep rocky path and received a moderate laceration on her knee. Quickly I dumped my pack and my skills as a nurse took over. I quickly had another member pour approximately a teaspoon of potassium permanganate in a one liter water bottle and shake it until dissolved while I readied the bandages and wraps for her knee. I cleansed her cut with our prepared aseptic solution and bandaged and wrapped her knee so that she could continue down the best she could.

Shortly after our unfortunate event our luck continued to fail and heavy rainstorm began just before we reached the tree line. Quickly the group of six gathered firewood, and threw together a tarp lean-to for shelter. Wet and miserable some of us were experiencing early signs of hypothermia, and we all desperately wanted to feel some small amount of warmth. Several members tried various means to start-up a fire from lighters, storm-proof matches, to even burning their own cotton shirt to get a flame to arise and light our fire. However the wind was awe to powerful and would extinguish our flame before it could ever catch.

It was then I remembered my plans to do an experiment and rushed to my bag and removed the small baggie of potassium permanganate and small bottle of glycerin I picked up at the store. I paused before I began and looked back on my previous trials with this combination. I remembered back home in Texas at 3500 feet elevation it would take approximately 5 seconds to generate a flame, but at this elevation and wind I knew my chances would be limited. So then I figured I’d better go for broke and used my remaining supply of both ingredients. What seemed like an eternity ended up only being about a minute before the greatest sight of our lives appeared.

A huge, bright fire-ball arose from our stack of tinder and kindling, and the group simultaneously began tossing larger logs onto the fire for it to chew on before the wind would have a chance to counter its warm punch. Our fire was a great means for improving morale and keeping at bay the clutches of hypothermia. We were able to dry our wet clothes, cook a warm meal and drink some tea and hot chocolate under the tarp until the rains subsided. After the rain stopped and we were all dry and full we set up our tents and crawled into our sleeping bags for much-needed rest. Once we woke up that morning it was as if the rain had cleansed the mountain of any bad juju, and we finished our adventure safely and pleasantly back to the truck.

There were numerous lessons learned from my first trip into the back-country that I have since benefited from. Most importantly the one that I and the group agreed on was that if there hadn’t been a chemist in the group then we all undoubtedly would have had a much more difficult time fending off hypothermia than we did that night.

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Bug Out- Building a Load out Plan for Your Vehicle

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Most people’s primary plan is to bug out by vehicle which makes a lot of sense given how much further you can travel and how much more you can carry. Most of us have a bug out bag that we have packed and repacked (and repacked again) and we know exactly how much it will hold and what goes where. Now how many of you have done this for your vehicle?

If you haven’t, I think you will find much like you probably did with your bug out bag, space fills up FAST!

Today I’m going to teach you one way to plan for a vehicle load out, this will do two things for you, first it will save you time in an emergency by helping you know in advance of the balloon going up what all will fit in your vehicle and where it goes. Also I will help you develop a plan to secure the load so you can travel more safety.

So where to begin? First get out a piece of paper and list out the things you intend to pack. Hopefully by now in your preps you have seen the advantage of using bins or bags to group items so you are able to stay organized and load large amounts of stuff quickly.

Next prioritize these items, what if your loading gets cut short and you have to stop what you are doing and immediately get on the road? What would you want going in there first? For my wife and I it would be our Bug Out Bags and primary weapons followed by water, medical kit, food, spare gas, tools, ham radio equipment, generator, and finally personal luggage.

Plano 1919 Sportsman’s Trunk

Once you have the list prioritized draw out the rough shape of your vehicle’s interior and start “filling” it with the items you plan to pack. So if you know you medical bag is about 1/3 of the width of the back of your SUV then draw that there with the giant vehicle repair and recovery box that you think takes up about 2/3 the width of the back of your SUV next to it. Now what can go on top of that? What can go behind it? At this point you may have to make trade-offs as to what on the priority list gets loaded first because something heavy just has to go on the bottom. That’s okay.

Now if you plan to put a cargo carrier on the trailer hitch, pull an actual trailer, or have a roof rack start “filling” this up as well. As I mentioned above spare gas is high on my priority list but obviously this is stored outside the car.

Okay so now we have a rough plan all done without having to lift anything. If you aren’t great at estimating dimensions you can speed up the accuracy of your first round draft by measuring the inside of your car and then measure some of the larger bulkier items while making your paper draft. Because I had been camping with most the items in the past I sort of knew how much room most of my things took up.

Now it’s time to physically go out and bring each item to your vehicle and see if your plan works. You will discover several things when you go to do this. First your stuff is ALL OVER THE PLACE! How many trips did you make to the basement, garage, kitchen, bedroom, storage room, storage shed, etc? Lots and in some case things weren’t where you thought they were. Imagine going through that for the first time in an emergency?! So while you are gathering the things on your list just note where they are like: “Med kit- Basement top shelf”.

Roof top storage is an often overlooked place to store many items. Make sure you have appropriate tie down materials.

I don’t expect you to store everything in one place, for one thing while it would be awesome to have everything stored two feet behind my truck but my garage isn’t heated and cooled so I wouldn’t want to store medicine in there for example. Second I don’t want all of my preps on display every time I open my garage door! So it’s okay to store things you plan to bug out with in different places but try to limit the total number as best you can and document where each item is. As an added hack I put a small piece of bright red duct tape on each item that is part of my vehicle load out to make it easier to see on shelves next to everyday items that may not be going.

Having gear stored in one location is nice, but not always possible.

The second thing you may discover is you over estimated how much space you have or you fit it all in but in the case of a car instead of a truck you may find it riding on the bump stops. I was actually pleasantly surprised to find out I went too conservative and I had more room to stack things than I planned so I was able to add to my list. Either way now is the time to fine tune and in some cases make some tough decisions as to what doesn’t make the cut. Hopefully everything you pack is just bonus because you are headed to an already well stocked Bug Out Location but I know many folks aren’t there yet. If you do have a place to store things at your Bug out Location this might be time to think about what you can live without at your primary residence and go ahead and preposition more out there.

Once you have become Tetris-master 9000 and fit everything together as efficiently as possible and in an order that makes sense (all while documenting where it came from) you need to do two final things. First ensure the things you want to be able to get to (quickly in some cases) can be. How many times have you seen the people by the side of the road unloading a trunk full of stuff to get to their spare tire? Don’t be that guy! You should be able to get to anything you may reasonably expect to need to assist your vehicle in making it to your destination. Perhaps just as importantly you will need to be able to get to anything you plan to grab should you have to abandon the vehicle and head out on foot, possibly in a hurry!

Careful planning now can save hours of wasted time when you need it.

Lastly SECURE YOUR LOAD! My initial exposure to load out plans came from my very first days in the army when it was impressed upon us how devastating something like a couple of full ammo cans flying around a vehicle in the event of an accident or roll over could be to the occupants. Most of us can imagine the dangerous road conditions under which we may need to bug out and so the likelihood of an accident is much higher than during our normal daily drives. Add to this a loaded down vehicle that will not be able to respond or perform as well as normal and other stressed out drivers trying to make good their escape and you can see why all that stuff in your vehicle needs to be secured as best possible. If you have a pickup truck this is made easier by tie down points. Do you have the ratchet straps or cargo netting you need to do so? Inside of a car can get trickier but it can be made safer. For example the ammo cans I mentioned could be wedged down behind the back of the front seats on the floor board rather than stored on top of a box on the back seat parallel to the back of your head. Use your imagination and actually try tying things down to see if you have what you need. Now add those bungee cords, ropes, and ratchet straps to your list and note their location.

That’s it, you’ve done it, you have a load out plan. I recommend you practice fully loading your vehicle for a load out twice a year. It’s a pain but it will improve your time getting out the door, reveal any items that “magically” moved from where you thought they were stored, and remind you to make updates as your packing list and especially your vehicle possibly changes. Good luck and be safe out there!

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Survival Without Prepping

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Hazard12. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


I continue to see articles that offer good advice about prepping, But survival is education, training, and skill. Barricading yourself in the home for defense or Bugging out! Yes, Fine. The more you have and can do works, but you and I have different meanings of the word. My transportation breaks down 40 miles from somewhere in snow/ice 20 degrees, and 30+ winds…. is a nice, but inconvenient adventure. I wish to tell a story, and make a “comedy media” about it. Not funny when you hear/see people die, but fantastic if you can learn for when you need it.

There are stories in Oregon, of instant storms, rain and wind for eons, beautiful country and hypothermia. Meaning rapid condition changes. Easy to prepare for if you know what to expect, but, lets talk about what you really mean by prepping. It’s too late for many who live in those countries where the violence and breakdowns are occurring now or that have destroyed once wealthy nations. Earthquakes, the Tidal Wave, economic collapse, War, and societal breakdown. For the purge, or martial law, I’m armed ready, trained… and not going to be sitting here. Now for the coming zombie apocalypse, there is always the better ground. They call mine, the cascade mountain range, from Alaska to Mexico. what do you call yours? If I’m away from Portland, and in a 100 mile move, I can choose Mountain, Desert, Coastal, or the greatest ditch to ocean drainage system in which to live, prosper and hide in that ever existed – with perfect climate.

In my opinion. personally I hope most people go to the outskirts for their protection and care. They will not make it in cities, but the government will be there to Sign U UP, have a sandwich, sorry NO gear allowed, dress warmly. I don’t want to live in a city, now, or then. Being a Oregon country Man, I’m a little rough around the edges, had a couple bad habits, you probably know a similar story, Ex-USAF, pain pills, drinking. I seemed to have finally turned out OK. And no, I have no one to volunteer witness for me. But I digress.

So Its cold, snowy, I’m at a friends cabin, on Mt Hood, Anyone knowing Trillium Lake and Still Creek Campground should know what I am saying here. As usual, HWY 26 is right there, you can’t see it, but you can hear it. Chains, trucks until the winds shut down the highway. My friends cabin is less than 2 miles from a liquor store, beer store, food? Although there are 3 foot drifts on top of 2 foot snow pack.

Noticing we didn’t bring enough supplies to and it is already 7pm. The sun sets at 5. I decide to walk a trail cut through to the campground which will be easier. This time of year, the gates are closed and locked, you can not drive to government camp from here… kinda.. 5 miles back down the snowed in road, cut over, hit 26, and back up the mountain, sanded and police.. where you belong.

The Winter Survival Handbook: 157 Winter Tips and Tricks

I smoke to improve my health, most know what I mean by now. This night I have a partial pint in my pocket, a beer in my bare hand. I dress in open cell polyurethane foam, with a field jacket, stocking hat, and boots. I’m good for -10 and 50 mph winds except hiking through the snow will make you sweat.  So I open my chest to the air. Feels great. It’s actually somewhere around 25 degrees Fahrenheit with 20-30 mph winds. And snowing. The year was 2009-2010 if you wish to look at the storms. 3500 feet above sea level. Portland is 50 miles at 85 feet sea level. I used to live 30 miles down there. 600 feet above seal level at the time.

Read More: Winter Car Survival Kit

So imagine my surprise to hear a commotion, some movement, and a light. Not many bears or lions and definitely not this Lyon, ever use flashlights at night, except sparingly. We all do use light properly, bears are just too smart to consider a “flash” light. The noise was caused by a group of people stranded.

So add to the confusion, these people are stuck. Their vehicle is still warm inside with motor off and radio and lights on. In these conditions,  the car may stay warm for a couple of hours or so? As long as it starts. If it doesn’t, these people are in for some serious trouble. I think the driver said he had just under quarter tank. v-8 Ford car, nice. Should have left it in Portland and brought a truck.

I also came up here in a car and plan to leave the following afternoon. Now consider this from the side of the people in the car. You are semi lost with your car stuck, although not that bad. There are 2 men, 2 women, and you are angry, blaming, and maybe scared? I don’t know, and am not judging. You look out the front windshield, and a Bigfoot sized man, wearing a field jacket, open at the chest, drinking a beer walks up to you. He pulls out a pint, takes a slug, indicates sharing.

The guy inside rolls down the window and says, “what are you doing out here?” I reply, “Well, I was hoping to make the liquor store before they close”. The window goes up, and I feel, I should probably get moving. I’m out here in this environment because its my favorite thing. Had they acted sooner, those poor people would have suffered, at best getting their four Arses out and unsticking the car. But we know potheads, don’t matter, no need to listen to this guy. Be your own man. You aren’t going to listen? are You?

So a guy gets out the passenger door. That’s the right side front door, for you common law, private property folks that know, you don’t have a passenger vehicle. Title 18. When the liquor store is already closed, it’s illegal to take retail drink off premise, or outside in the winter. I could talk about title 31, legal tender and silver coins and walking back with a bottle but there is not much having to do with survival in that subject. I no longer drink alcohol much, but when a drunk is smarter than you, prepping may not come to mind.

So I tell him how far, and what they should be doing, to get out, if they stay where they are they will die, etc. He gets back in already freezing, while I actually have been semi stationary and ready to now button back up since having cooled down a bit. I am probably running a 100 degree body core. So to make the short story long, and the long story short. Against my advice the women want to go with me. Uh, no. A man wants to go with me to the store. If he is borrowing gear, he should be OK. My thoughts are with the 5 of us, lets dig, support, and push this vehicle out, and you all drive down this tree lined road, right here back home. Driver thinks he should go down the ridge. But with the Lake gate closed I ask how he is gonna climb back up in this snow? Once the car is free, point it the way home.

What did I do next?

What are you going to do, and how will you know? When you are a prepper you help people, in a survival situation those people you are trying to save might injure or kill you. Getting cold and hurt helping is always a bad idea. Sometimes you know not to. I hope we can all learn that safely? Not being seen, heard, tracked, is and will be necessary, while traveling, hiding, holed up, or even when it is time to attack. Warrior? He’s the teacher, dump him out naked in Alaska, in a week he’ll be sitting in Florida with a drink in his hand in your back yard. Observe and learn from this man, do not engage. (paraphrased from the sarge in Seagal’s on deadly ground) Green Beret Tactics.

Seriously now, I step back and short hop behind the tree,over a snow berm. erasing my tracks with a branch. (snow, wind, remember) and I walk to the village known as Government camp Oregon, 97028. Some time goes by, and I am in the bar, purchasing my goal and enjoying a nice drink, when in come the group from the stranded car. They look all brave and proud of their escape and are, like me having a drink, and talking about heading back home. As I depart, I understand that in front of me is a 2 mile walk in the storm. I am happy to go. In coming prepper days, there will be no time for fun and games. It wont be humorous anymore. But little will change for me the way I see it. I will have powerful trained friends, or I will be alone.

The other story was in Oregon, around the same time, I’m pretty sure. Of the Kims whom made some random mistakes. in the much safer coast range. Yet, with no drunk hillbilly to advise them what to do. The family survived without the Father, being rescued we are told. they were missing. The people in the Mt. Hood forest were not. yet. and they might have been OK. Maybe I should mind my own business?

Maybe I should not write a stupid article containing, alcohol use or smoking the evil marijuana? Fine. Maybe you all will learn, be the teacher, prepare for timing, retreat and advance. Learn martial arts, gather friends, recognize enemies. Plan to move. Prepare, train, practice till it’s a reflex. Relax, never panic, always respond. Conserve energy. Create energy. Everyone has my excessive survival tool for all occasions, a magnifier, or a Fresnel lens. Nothing excessive about my knife.

So that’s enough rambling on, you can thumb me up, or subscribe to the newsletter, or respond to me in the comments at the bottom. Luck favors the prepared mind. Your worst enemy, other than bankers, government, and media; will be shock, at loss, injury, family. War sux and will mess you up. I’m already messed up, so they cant win. I have nothing to lose. except some family and friends. If I don’t lose them, its like carrying my magnum, so I don’t have to argue or fight. If I do, well, a hazard may be upon them.

Prep well, folks. Remember what the greatest teacher said. “and I will be with you Always, even to the end of YOUR DAYS.” I’m gonna win this challenge, so are some of you. Survive!!

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The Importance of a Medical Kit in Your Preps

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Audra S. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Medical Kit: Is it important?

OF COURSE.

Whether your bugging out with a group or bugging out alone it is extremely important to have someone with some degree of medical knowledge and/or skill. If you’re bugging out with a group and you’ve got a plan in place, but no designated “medic”, you have a problem. If you’re bugging out alone and you don’t have any basic medical knowledge, again, you have a problem.

It’s easy enough to say “I never get sick” or “Ill tough it out” when it comes to an illness or injury in everyday life, but if you’re bugging out, everyday living will cease to exist. Whether you’re hunkering down in a bunker or climbing up foothills or mountains, sh*t is bound to happen. Maybe someone in your family brought in a simple cold. It doesn’t take long for that simple cold to turn into a sinus infection, which once your immune system is beat down enough, can turn into pneumonia. Consider you’re climbing in the foothills or hunkering down in a forest and you drink some bad water…maybe your Lifestraw has already filtered its limits, or maybe your water wasn’t heated for long enough. Bacteria can take hold of your body’s systems within days, sometimes hours, and cause unfortunate and inconvenient effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and eventually, death. You get my point.

So what can you do to prevent this? Well, stay healthy, take your vitamins, and boil your water. Stating the obvious, right? Prevention is great, but like I said, and I’ll say it again, sh*t happens. A contingency plan for those SHTF moments is the key to efficiency and more importantly, survival. You can create a top-notch medical kit addition to any bugout bag or kit easily and cheaply. All it takes is basic medical knowledge and a small pack to potentially save you, your family or your friends in a SHTF situation.

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way

I am a trained EMT and I’ve dealt with massive injuries from car accidents, physical violence, and other traumatic events. I’ve also dealt with medical emergencies such as heart attacks, diabetic episodes and anaphylaxis. If you’re a true prepper, I know you’ve spent hours thinking about all of the things that could go wrong while bugging out. Gunshots, car accidents, sickness, poison, you name it. I can definitely say the same for myself, and I refuse to be the helpless ninny that stands over and screams and begs someone with a gunshot wound or knife wound not to die. It won’t work. Don’t be that guy.

I’ve spent a solid 6 months researching and developing a small, compact and lightweight medic “bag” that has the potential to be helpful and effective in almost any type of medical emergency. Check out my pack, and some of the emergency’s I’ve planned for below.

The Basics of a Medical Kit:

Ibuprofen: So Underrated. It’ll help with mild pain, but more importantly, it can help take down and break a fever. How fun is it trying to function at your day job with a fever that turns into a massive headache that turns into hot flashes and cold sweats? Now imagine dealing with that while you’re lumbering through the wilderness. Not fun.

Pepto Bismol: Once again, underrated. Not only will this reduce your burning desire to throw up those repulsive MRES, but it has the potential to get diarrhea under control. Having to stop every 5 minutes to see a bush about a horse? Inconvenient AND unpleasant.

Benadryl: Works for both people and dogs, making it a vital part of my personal bag. Hiking through the woods and your dog steps on or eats a wasp? I know I don’t want to carry my almost 50 pound dog for very long, how about you? 1 MG per pound of body-weight will take care of that problem. It can also be used to ease a dog’s anxiety, just lower the dose a bit. If you’re traveling or hunkering down with someone who has an allergy whether it be to a food or animal, a quick response with a dose of Benadryl can make a bigger difference then you would expect. I carry a bottle of Benadryl and a tube of Benadryl Cream for topical use.

Medi-Lyte: Uncommon, but not unimportant. I used to work in the oil fields during the big boom, and this was something I always kept stocked for my guys. It is used to replace electrolytes from excessive loss of liquids. I’m talking sweat, vomit, whatever. You can purchase 500 tablets on Amazon for twenty bucks. 100% WORTH IT. Oh, and try two tabs for a hangover, it’ll do wonders 😉

Hydrocortisone Cream: Once again, suitable for both you and your dog. Hiking out in the woods comes with a price. While an occasional bug bite is not something that will really bother you, being covered in them probably will. The same goes for your dog. Mosquito bites, tick bites, flea bites, poison ivy, weird rashes; it covers it all. Literally.

Triple Antibiotic: This one is basically the jack of all trades. Use it on burns, cuts, scrapes, and anything else you’re worried about getting infected. I would suggest only using it the first 1-2 days after the injury is sustained. After scabs are formed it won’t do much and there is no point in wasting precious supplies.

Everyday Allergy Meds: Sudafed, Zyrtec, Claritin, because there is nothing worse than trying to walk long distance or climb bluffs or mountains with a runny nose.

CPR Rescue Mask, Adult/Child Pocket Resuscitator

CPR Mask and Sterile or Nitrile Gloves: I don’t care how well you know someone; do you really want to take a bath in their bodily fluids? I didn’t think so. Carry a CPR mask with you in your medic bag and remember the basics from CPR Class, compressions and breaths, 30:2. Compressions should be done by finding the middle spot between the nipples and pumping your overlapped hands down onto their body. They won’t tell you in your average CPR class, but I will; you will hear ribs cracking, if they survive they will be in pain from it, and it is not easy on the body to lean over and perform compressions on someone. You will be sore. Saving someone’s life though- 100% worth it. If you haven’t taken a basic CPR class yet, don’t be a dummy. It’s 50$ on average and takes only a few hours of your time.

Hot Hands: There is nothing worse than being sweaty, cold, and out in the wilderness. Once you’re cold it is very hard to get warm, but a hot hands pad can make the world of difference. Toss one onto the top of your head and cover it up with a hat. My dad has told me since I was little; heat rises. Keep your head warm and your body will be warm.

Various sized Band-Aids, bandages, ace wraps and anti-bacterial wipes: Obvious, but easily overlooked. I was on a mountain climbing trip in Montana this fall, and I got stuck coming down at night. Not smart, and not fun. I tripped on a tiny rock and my ankle bent and twisted. The next morning I had a 7 mile hike to a primitive forest service cabin across two mountain ranges and I could barely walk without my ankle giving in. An ace wrap and some duct tape made the world of difference.

The Not-So-Basics:

I don’t expect you guys to have giant stockpiles of these things lying around, but I can guarantee you if you dig through your cabinets and junk drawers you’re bound to find one or two of these things lying around. Please also remember I am not a doctor, and I’m not god, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. Having these things does not guarantee a life saved.

Elite First Aid Fully Stocked GI Issue Medic Kit Bag, Large

Epi-Pens: Unfortunately, these have gotten harder to come by recently, on account of obnoxiously high prices, but if you or your family member has an allergy that requires you to carry one of these, don’t leave it behind when you bug out. Not only could it save your life for what it was intended, but it could save someone in your groups life should they encounter an unexpected allergy source.

Muscle Relaxers: If you’ve done any hiking, walking or running long distances you know how exhausting it can be on your body. Imagine doing it for days at a time while trying to find the perfect camp location. These come in handy to both relax your body and your mind, making it much easier to carry on hiking or even sleep. Personally I can take one of these and continue on with my day, but I’ve heard stories of people taking them and falling asleep within the hour, so remember that everyone responds differently.

Antibiotics: I know I can’t be the only one that’s been prescribed antibiotics and not taken all of them. Do you have a stockpile of half taken antibiotics? In everyday life it’s not a good idea to take half of a dose and leave the rest behind, as it puts you at risk for antibiotic resistance, but if you’re in the wilderness or an emergency situation and you need antibiotics, I think you can afford to take that risk. The same goes for your basic antifungals.

Higher Dose Pain Relievers: If you have left over pain killers from a surgery or injury, pack them up and take them along. I will let you imagine all the possible injuries that may require their use.

Israeli Pressure Bandages: These bandages have been carried by the Israeli Army for ages for a good reason. They compress, clot, and cover a wound. The instructions are on the packaging, and they are fairly simple, lightweight, and about 9$ a piece on Amazon. Worth it.

Suture Kits: Also available on Amazon, although they are usually labeled “for veterinary use only.” They will work in time of need. It’s basically a needle and thread. Buy a few and practice stitching up an orange, or if you’re looking for a little more “real world” (and gross) experience, a pigs foot. It’s pretty much what you see on TV. Unless you went to medical school, you will not be an expert, but if it’s absolutely and undeniably necessary, you’re better than nothing.

I have all of these things in my bugout bag, and it only takes up a very small portion of it. Scrounge up what you can from what you already have, and buy the rest when it’s convenient or on sale to keep costs low. If you’re low on space, take the pills out of the bottles and package them in plastic instead, but remember that the bottles can have other uses in your bag.

I have no doubts that with even 1/2 of these items in your bag you will be better off than your average prepper. Never underestimate the power of basic medical knowledge and preparation. Good luck out there!

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The Honcho Poncho: Prepper Gear Review

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Matt “Papa Bear” Wooddell. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


The words “poncho liner” resonate deeply with anyone who has ever been a Soldier or Marine. This light, warm, compressible, somewhat water repellant, and quick drying piece of gear has been indispensable equipment for Soldiers and Marines both at home and while deployed. When I was on active duty, it seemed that no one ever went anywhere without the poncho and poncho liner, even if it was just across the street. Anyone who has ever been caught in the field overnight, wet, and cold can tell you the poncho liner has quite literally saved their life. But is it really a poncho liner? I mean can a person actually line their poncho with it? Or is it just a great blanket?

A great man named Ranger Rick Tscherne, some years ago, suggested taking a 100 inch sleeping bag zipper and sewing it along the bottom and side of the poncho liner. This man was a genius! I did this to my poncho liner while I was in the Army. I had to buy another poncho liner from clothing and sales for TA-50 inspections but I always took my poncho liner with the zipper to the field and on every deployment. This new sleeping bag poncho liner was so wonderful but I still thought about why it was called a poncho liner. It didn’t fit under the poncho or attach to it readily and it couldn’t be easily worn under the poncho.

Finally, someone has made my dream a reality! A company called Cascade Designs carries a piece of equipment by Thermarest called the Honcho Poncho and it is amazing. This thing is what I have needed in my kit for years. It has helped reduce the space in my bug out bag and has a ton of applications. It is wearable like the poncho, over the head, insulated and very warm. It is waterproof by itself, without needing to wear another poncho over it. It is compressible and packable like the original poncho liner. It has snap buttons on the sides to snap it up to make it into a light sleeping bag. It comes in yellow or blue. I have the blue. It is dull enough to be acceptable in the woods and it doesn’t make me look like I’m wearing a piece of tactical equipment either.

honchoponcho1

The Honcho Poncho is waterproof by itself, without needing to wear another poncho over it. It is compressible and packable like the original poncho liner.

I always dress for the weather. You will never catch me leaving the house in December wearing only a sport coat. If you ever did see me dressed like that, I would be carrying my real coat to the car with my free hand. Where I live, there can be a 40 degree difference in the daily high and low temps in the spring and fall and -20 for days on end during the winter. So, much of my kit revolves around staying warm and dry. Just like when I was in the service, I always have my poncho and poncho liner in my bag, although now I keep the Honcho Poncho in my kit instead of the regular poncho liner.  I’m all about layering to keep warm and dry. If already wearing a coat, the Honcho Poncho is plenty to layer over it when the temp drops, the wind picks up, and it starts sleeting. For sleeping, it works great snapped together inside of a Sea to Summit reactor sleeping bag liner inside of a SOL OD green escape bivvy off of the cold ground. I’m all about the layers. The Honcho Poncho helps to keep my bag  and versatile.hp1

The price seemed steep at $130 but I hadn’t seen anything even close to this quality anywhere else. Because of the price, I wrestled with the idea of purchasing it for about two days. I was able to get a 15% off first purchase coupon by signing up for the retailers email list. I was fine with that. After all, I could always ignore, delete, or unsubscribe later. That extra savings coupon convinced me to make the buy. I am glad I did! I am frugal. I compare the cost, quality, and value of everything I buy.  That being said, I am glad I shelled out the money for this purchase. I have encouraged other people I know to buy one too.

This idea for the Honcho Poncho is not exactly new. Persons having traveled south of the border may see a resemblance to clothing like the cobija blanket or Mexican hooded wool poncho. The idea is the same. The wearer can bundle up in it when it is cold or for a siesta, leave it open or throw it over one shoulder in the heat of the day. One thing noticeable about the Honcho Poncho is that it is light weight. The shell material is similar to a light nylon in appearance. So, it will snag and could tear on stuff like barbed wire, thorns, and etc. The weakness of the exterior shell can be mitigated effectively by wearing a regular poncho over top of it and using it as (you guessed it) a poncho liner. A person would not want to wear a Honcho Poncho while doing something like breaching a mined wire obstacle or entering and clearing a trench. It is likely to be torn on concertina wire ruining your poncho and snagging you in the process. For a hike after putting your car in a snow bank, for campfires, and regular prepper uses, it will work just fine. If traversing stretches of thick woods, I would suggest putting a regular poncho over top of it to protect it from snagging on thorns, briars, and branch tips.

Even though I recommend against wearing it to breach mined wire obstacles doesn’t mean there are no good tacticool or SHTF uses for the Honcho Poncho. One of the great advantages of using it is the wearer’s ability to easily access weapons in the belt line without impedance. One catch about carrying a concealed weapon in the winter time is that the coat or jacket is another layer of clothing between accessing and presenting your weapon. No matter how fast or trained you are, more layers of clothing means that it takes longer to get a concealed weapon into action. During a surprise attack, speed in response is vital to defense. The unsnapped Honcho Poncho is much less of an obstacle than a zipped coat when retrieving a weapon from the waist line, whether the weapon is concealed inside the waist band or carried outside the pants on the belt. Another consideration if you are carrying a weapon or some type of load bearing or duty belt outside of your coat is that it can earn you extra attention you may not want. In the event of TEOTWAWKI and SHTF and total WROL you may not care about open carrying a weapon but how often does TEOTWAWKI and SHTF and total WROL happen? It’s easier to be unnoticed when carrying a weapon, even outside the pants with your poncho covering it, as long as you are a legal and licensed concealed weapon carrier of course. Another great application for the Honcho Poncho is for the prepper who keeps a ready to go shooters belt or duty belt with their kit. Instead of buckling it over your coat, put on the gear belt, wear your Honcho Poncho over it and your armed and incognito.

honcho_poncho

To sum it all up: it’s a great piece of kit with many uses. It can be used as a sleeping bag, a poncho, an over coat, and to conceal weapons. It is lightweight, warm and compressible so you can put it in a stuff sack and squash it down. It is water proof all by itself without need for an additional poncho. It is wonderful as a warm layer over another lighter jacket. It’s perfect for sitting around a campfire also. It comes in yellow, and a nice blue color with OD green to be coming soon.  Now that I have this, I do not carry my old poncho liner in my get home bag anymore. I still keep my poncho liner in my camping gear, as it is an excellent camping and hunting companion.

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Prepping After 60

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Sundee Z. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Ever wonder how you will live if the SHTF? Ever try to answer all the questions that you ask yourself about how you will survive as a single, senior woman living alone with no family, no spouse, no other support other than yourself? I ask myself everyday as I grow older and a little weaker in body and strength. I used to be able to lift fifty pounds of feed or move a bale of hay easily but now it gets to be a real trial. But, since I am alone, I have to do it anyway I can and I usually do. It is the same in prepping for just myself, my livestock, and the homestead.

I live on seven and a half acres in a rural southern California area which is like a mountain/high desert mix when it comes to weather and vegetation. My well is a good one and does the job of watering the livestock which consists of chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, a llama, horses and assorted dogs and cats. So, I have a good start on being self-sufficient. I decided to not bug out but to bug in if SHTF ever happens. So, I have devoted my time and meager income to this place.

When you are older and alone there are a lot of things that go thru your mind when the subject of prepping comes up. A lot of the questions such as what happens if I can’t get to town, how will I get my medications, what happens if the grid goes down, how do I function as an older woman alone in a non-functioning world, etc., etc., etc. Yes, there are hundreds of questions and sometimes the answers are easy and sometimes they elude us. Being older and alone does pose many unique problems for the one facing this uncertain world. When faced with these problems, I decided to sit down and access my situation and made a lot of decisions and lists. The first one was to bug out or not. Being that I have some disabilities such as arthritis and a bad back, there is no way I could walk out of here or ride my horse great distances to get to…Where? I don’t have a bug out place and if I did I would never make it there alive. I found that most of what I needed to survive was right here in my home.

womanfarming

I used to be able to lift fifty pounds of feed or move a bale of hay easily but now it gets to be a real trial. But, since I am alone, I have to do it anyway I can and I usually do.

So, I took inventory and started my first list of what I had in the way of survival gear, food, water, clothing, medications, tools, and a second list of what I needed to get. If I did bug out, I could not begin to carry what I would need to travel to an unknown destination. I would be a moving target for those who would like to take what I had. And, what would happen to all my animals? I have a pretty good start on being self-sufficient here with chickens and turkeys for meat and eggs, dairy goats for milk, butter, cheese and, a horse for transportation, a llama for packing, sheep for meat, wool and milk and in the spring I will be starting to raise rabbits, one or two cows for meat and milk and guineas for an alarm system. I have all I need here. Why leave it? I am comfortable here and feel a modicum of safety and I know some of the people and the area. That is a big thing to consider in deciding whether to stay or go and how you will get there. It is not very safe for older women to go out alone now so just think of how it will be if things get rough?

I made a third list of things I needed in the way of tools for survival, building supplies and weapons for protection. I bought a few power tools and two small gas-powered generators to run them and a little chest freezer. I bought that so I can freeze meats, cheese and butter and make gallon sized ice cubes to use in the antique ice box that was used by the previous owner for a liquor cabinet. I have tried it out and it works like a dream. I have also made a list of things I want to learn to do and can now scratch off such as learning how to can with a pressure canner, use a chainsaw for cutting firewood, and I turned my front porch into a greenhouse so I will have tomatoes and lettuce in the winter. I had to learn how to butcher the chickens and will have to learn how to do the cute fuzzy rabbits. But, if it means I will eat then so be it. We all have to do things that are distasteful but will do them to survive. I do believe that the older generation is better at getting it done than the younger and we don’t need a cell phone for that.

As for protection? I believe that in the future people will revert to old-time weapons for protection such as bows and arrows and spears and such. If the grid goes down there are only going to be so many bullets and no one to keep production up and not everyone is adept at reloading. So, my weapons of choice is the long bow, a cross-bow, and several pistol bows. I practiced a lot to become proficient in archery and can hit what I aim at. Even being 65 I can pull 40 lbs. And, it is a silent weapon. Pretty good for an old lady! But, I also have shotguns and pellet rifles. I learned almost all that when I turned 60. I made me a practice range on my place between the silage corn I planted and the wheat where I could and still do shoot regularly.

texasfarm

I have also made a list of things I want to learn to do and can now scratch off such as learning how to can with a pressure canner, use a chainsaw for cutting firewood, and I turned my front porch into a greenhouse so I will have tomatoes and lettuce in the winter.

I believe that if there is a will there is a way. Just because you are older and maybe not so strong physically does not mean you just lay down and die. I think that because I am older and alone it drives me to want to survive anything that is thrown at me. The instincts to survive are there and all you have to do is use your head, do the research, organize, learn, learn, learn, …and maybe, join a self-sufficiency /prepper group for moral support. When I needed gutters put up on the eaves of the house to catch rain water for the livestock, I looked on the internet for DIY instructions and got it done. When I needed raised garden beds for my gardening, I designed one and got it built. Now I have many of them. It wasn’t too hard but still there are things I wish I had help with but with a little ingenuity I usually get it done.

After my dad died, I had to decide where to move my 84-year-old mother and myself. I have always wanted to move back to the country and live out my life in a rural setting, so that is where I landed. That was four years ago and since then the outside world has grown more violent, unpredictable, and totally dangerous with rumors of war, terrorists and possible financial collapse and EMPs. I have not been able to ignore it any longer. Something big is going to happen and soon. I feel it in my bones and not being prepared made me start making lists, reading about emergency preparations and being more aware of what has been going on around me. Then my mother was diagnosed with third stage dementia and since early this last year has had to make the transfer from here to a nursing home. I found myself turning 65, needing back surgery and losing income from taking care of my mom. I kept making lists of foods, household goods, clothes, weapons for self-defense, first aid and medical stuff, tools, livestock, and a lot of other things including what I already knew and what I wanted to learn about. I read, searched the internet, read blogs and always ask questions. As time has passed I felt overwhelmed with the stuff I needed to get done and for the first time in a while felt completely alone. It took a good talking to myself to set me right on the prepper path and now I find myself making great strides in becoming totally self-sufficient and ready for anything. And, I don’t feel my age is a hurdle anymore but actually has been a blessing.

I know that living in the country is very different from living in the city. I have lived in both and when the time comes and the grid goes down, preparing oneself with food, water, and the tools you need to have to survive are almost the same. You still need warmth, a roof over your head, a way to cook, and protection. You still need to be ready to hunker down where you are and have survival items unique to your circumstances. I know that it can be a bit overwhelming and lonely when having to make decisions concerning your safety and comfort especially when you are by yourself. But, if you have studied, learned and listened to the rumblings you will be prepared and will survive. After all, you have made it this far so you can be called a senior citizen.

womanshotgun

Something big is going to happen and soon. I feel it in my bones and not being prepared made me start making lists, reading about emergency preparations and being more aware of what has been going on around me.

Not everything in prepping for one is dreary. One thing I realized while making my shopping list the other day for my food storage was that it contained foods I really liked and I got to pick and choose what to purchase. No one else had a say in what I bought. That was a bonus since I lean towards comfort foods and not gourmet stuff. The pros definitely outweighed the cons like not having to share my favorite candy bar with anyone. Do take an inventory of all the items you have now and build on that. Don’t forget to prep for you pets and do splurge on some good books, puzzles and crafts supplies to keep busy if you ever have any free time. Make sure to store up batteries so you can play your cd player and listen to music. It is a treat for yourself after a long day of working to keep yourself alive. This can be true today before the SHTF. And, don’t feel sorry for yourself for being older and alone. I don’t believe Karma gives us more than we can handle and hard work and challenge build character even in seniors.

As for being a senior, you should be able to draw on that vast supply of experience on keeping yourself healthy, active, sharp and for learning new things. Just remember, it is not how old you are or how infirm you might be, don’t think you cannot do it. You can if you believe you can. You will find a way. Even not having a lot of funds for purchasing items for your survival shouldn’t deter you. Get creative and go to garage sales, second-hand shops, Good Will and Salvation Army. I shop a lot at the dollar store and have saved tons of money on paper goods, canned goods and other household items. Personal items are a good buy there as well.

I found out a long time ago, when my kids grew up and all moved away, and I divorced my husband that you only have yourself to rely on. No one is going to look out for you and it will be really true when the SHTF comes around. I found out there were things I didn’t think I could do but found out that I can. Being alone lets one really get to know yourself. Being older doesn’t mean that your world has come to an end. I believe I have every right to survive as the next person. Maybe more. That I have worked harder, learned more, done more and have earned the right to live with my own two hands by being more creative, smart, knowledgeable and resilient than the younger generation who can’t get the cell phone out of their face. Sit back at the end of the day and think of all you’ve accomplished all by yourself and be proud of it.

So, let’s get busy and quit thinking about how old we are and how much those joints hurt and start getting ready for that uncertain future and let’s survive. After all, we’ve lived this long, I’m game for twenty more years…are you?

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Pocket Illumination: Shedding Light on EDC Flashlights

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Dan K. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


I work in a retail store’s warehouse. As anyone familiar with logistics work knows it’s basically just a big windowless box, and the lights are a long way off the ground, with lots of areas of shadow. One of my jobs is to drive order pickers down the rows and raise the platforms up around 40 feet in the air to gather orders off the shelves. Over the summer, I was all the way up at the top rack with my order picker, when I heard an explosion outside the building and the lights went black. The normally gloomy area was now completely dark; I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. A lot of people told me afterward that if they’d been in my position they would have panicked. I didn’t, however, because I had something on me that I always carry, no matter what: a flashlight.

What had ended up happening was that lightning had struck a transformer across the field, flash-vaporizing the oil inside and cutting power to our whole building. The sad thing was, we only had a couple of flashlights and over forty people were on duty in the store at the time. Luckily I had two on my person and another three in my van, all of them with extra batteries. My coworkers laughed, but I was able to help locate confused customers and start restoring order.

The point of that anecdote was to provide a case study of a very mundane event—a power loss due to electrical storm—that my prepared mindset enabled me to react to in an efficient and helpful way. I got laughed at, sure, for having so many flashlights, but I had more people come up and thank me for being able to lend a hand.

Flashlights are often overlooked as a part of a prepper’s Every Day Carry, especially for beginners. They’re not sexy, like guns and knives and monkey fists. They’re often considered bulky, awkward to use, and unnecessary. But as my story goes to show—and I have numerous others from various jobs and situations—they are far from unnecessary. In fact, flashlights are one of the most useful pieces of prepper gear you can carry on you at all times. You’re far more likely to whip out your flashlight than your gun or even your knife (and I say this as someone who always carries at least two knives and owns numerous firearms) in day-to-day interactions.

So, with all that by way of introduction, what are some good characteristics of an EDC flashlight that will serve well both pre- and post-event? Let’s look at a quick overview.

Characteristics of a Good Every Day Carry Flashlight:

EDC flashlights have to do a few basic things: They have to be easy to carry, take readily available batteries, be lightweight, streamlined, easy to operate, and provide adequate illumination. Let’s break these categories down a bit.

The best flashlight is one you have on you at all times.

The best flashlight is one you have on you at all times.

An EDC light that’s easy to carry is one that you are going to have no second thoughts about throwing in your pocket or purse. It’s kind of like the “Always Gun” concept for flashlights. For those of you unfamiliar with the Always Gun concept, it means that even if you have a bigger, more powerful gun for specific situations you still need a gun that you will always carry, meaning it’s small, light, and easy enough to use that you won’t leave it home. With a gun this could mean you carry your Ruger Redhawk when walking in bear country, but a Ruger LCR when you’re at work in the city. Applying this to flashlights, this is the difference between a big MagLite 4 D-Cell flashlight that you keep by your bed and don’t take anywhere, and the little MiniMag penlight you keep on your keychain.

Readily available batteries should be self-explanatory but for a surprising number of people it’s not. The current rage in prepper products is for all things Tacti-Cool. These items have the appearance of being for high-speed operators, but are in reality bulky hindrances designed for mall ninjas. Case in point: more and more modern flashlights come with rechargeable batteries. I’m not against rechargeable batteries per se, but I do think they make for a bad EDC choice. Many of these batteries require USB charging cables, meaning they need to charge off of a computer or mobile power pack. This may be fine for a flashlight you keep in a truck or charging on the nightstand, but it’s not convenient to carry when prepping for life’s little (or not so little) emergencies. If you don’t carry any spare batteries on you (which you should, since a single change of batteries for a good EDC light adds negligible pocket mass and weight) or if your batteries have expired or gone bad, having very common batteries allows you to either swap supplied with someone else who is similarly prepared (this is why my sister and I carry flashlights that take the same batteries, since we work together), or allows you to buy them quickly from almost any retail or convenience outlet. It also allows you to help others if their light has gone out. Recently I tried to help a man whose flashlight was on the blink, but couldn’t because his light was highly specialized and only took one specific kind of battery I not only didn’t have but had never heard of.

Goldenguy 5 Pack Mini Cree Q5 LED Flashlight Torch 7w 350lm Adjustable Focus Zoomable Light - Great stocking stuffer.

Goldenguy 5 Pack Mini Cree Q5 LED Flashlight Torch 7w 350lm Adjustable Focus Zoomable Light – Great stocking stuffer.

A side point to keep in mind, where practicable, is to keep as much commonality between the power sources for your EDC flashlight and any lights on your EDC handgun or go-to home defense long gun. This is not a hard and fast rule, and often not applicable, but it will streamline supplies if it is possible. My EDC flashlights and the lights I’ve attached to my Ruger 10/22 and Mossberg 500 20 gauge shotgun (I live in town so need lower-powered firearms for home defense) all take the same batteries, meaning I can supply them all from the same stockpile.

Weight is a major consideration for an EDC flashlight. Most of us can’t go around in military web gear or with assault packs on our backs. We need something that we can easily fit into a pants pocket or a purse, and that isn’t going to slow us up, pull our pants down, or give us a sore shoulder. I have never weighed any of my EDC lights to get an exact measurement, but I know that they all come in at only a few ounces, even with batteries.

Another consideration is a streamlined design. Lots of lights look cool and techno, or tactical, or retro, or whatever floats your boat. But when selecting an EDC light, you have to keep in mind what kind of clothing you’re most likely going to be wearing and what kinds of activities you will most likely be doing while carrying the light. Believe it or not, what kinds of work you’ll be doing actually has a lot to do with what kind of light you select. That’s why I have a modest array of lights I can choose from depending on what I’m going to be doing. If I’m going to be mostly sitting at a desk or riding in a car, then I don’t need to worry much about a light that’s easy to turn on in my pocket because I won’t be moving my leg much. On the other hand, if I’m going to be out in the woods, at work, or on the range, where I’m going to be doing a lot of moving, squatting, or bending, I’ll carry a different type of light that isn’t so easy to turn on by mistake. There’s nothing worse in the world of flashlights than to pull your light out of your pocket and not have it shine because you’ve accidentally worn down the battery. So pick something that will fit within your lifestyle and the kinds of clothing you wear. If you wear cargo pants you’ll be able to get away with one design, skinny jeans or dress pants will require a different approach.

flashlights

One important feature when thinking about design is the activation method. There are two main activation types on flashlights: Twist and push. Twist-type flashlights require you to twist either the head or the end cap to get it to turn on. I don’t personally like them because they’re almost impossible to use one-handed, but their advantage is that they seldom if ever turn on in your pocket.

Push flashlights can be further subdivided into standard push lights—where the button is up near the head of the light—and tactical, where the button is on the end cap or somewhere near it. Obviously this is a generalization, there are tactical lights with the push button near the head, and non-tactical lights with end cap activator. But for the sake of discussion this broad classification will work. By and large I recommend a tactical-style light with a somewhat recessed end cap button, as this is the hardest to accidentally activate. Standard types are the easiest to burn out through careless pocket activation, but there are some with good stiff buttons that are more resistant to this.

Easy to operate is fairly straightforward: get a light that fits your needs and that you can easily grab and turn on without thinking or looking. Odds are that you’ll be in the dark when you need it, and fumbling for your light’s on/off switch is the last thing you want to be doing, as you’re more likely to drop it than anything else.

One other thing to keep in mind when considering ease of operation is the bulb type. I am a fan of LEDs because they never get hot, do not need to be changed, and will not break so easily if dropped. However, if you have very sensitive eyes and will need to be using the light in close proximity to your face, such as in very tight quarters or inside an engine or mechanical assemblies, you may want to consider a standard incandescent flashlight. While they do not last as long and do not put out nearly as much light, they are gentler on the eyes.

Personally, I like a high-lumen light that provides a very bright beam over a short, wide space.

Lastly, I want to touch on adequate illumination. This is a tricky subject because it’s going to be different for everyone. The illumination a flashlight offers is measured in lumens. Without going into the physics definition of what exactly a lumen is, this unit is used to measure and compare the brightness of a flashlight’s beam. A higher number of lumens will be a brighter beam, and most likely reach farther. However the latter is not assured, as other factors including the lens material of the flashlight, mirrors inside the light head, the condition of the lens, and a few others dictate exactly how far a beam will reach.

Personally, I like a high-lumen light that provides a very bright beam over a short, wide space. This is because I’m usually using the light in cramped quarters or indoors, so I don’t need it to illuminate very far. If I were going to be spending a lot of time in the dark outdoors I’d consider something with a longer beam. Take into consideration how much light your eyes need to function. My sister carries a relatively weak flashlight because she has very strong eyes and can practically see in the dark anyway. I, on the other hand, have very weak eyes and need a lot of light to do anything, so I carry a much brighter light most of the time. Another criteria is the type of beam you want. Depending on what you think you’re going to need the light for, you may want a very tight, long-range beam, a broad, well-defined inspection beam, a diffuse beam from the many smaller lamps of a pocket work light, an adjustable-focus beam, or yet another variety. Choose your light based on your normal environment and the kinds of things you expect could go wrong there. I personally work indoors and tend to be in tighter quarters, so I want a wider, short-range beam to illuminate more of my immediate surroundings and not cast so many shadows.

Earlier I mentioned flashlights getting the cold shoulder in favor of guns and knives and other defensive gadgets. While these tools are more effective in a truly deadly confrontation, I would be negligent if I didn’t address the defensive use of the flashlight before I close. A bright, easy-to-use flashlight ready on your person can be used to shine in a nighttime attacker’s eyes, blinding him and either giving you time to escape or draw a more effective weapon. Just one more reason to carry some form of pocket torch.

A flashlight may seem unnecessary in our modern world of 24/7 ceiling lights and power at the flick of a switch. But even without a major disaster it’s still possible to be left in the dark for minutes, hours, or even days. For the purpose of brevity I didn’t go into all the further points to consider when choosing a flashlight for your home or vehicle, but hopefully this short piece helped provide some items for consideration next time you’re looking over your EDC load.

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Safe, Effective Concealed Carry Policies in the Workplace

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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The right to bear arms in America remains strong. But it behooves individual gun owners and employers to keep up with the ongoing legal and political caveats in their respective areas. Company policies and state and federal laws are all bound to clash when enacting concealed carry rules for employees. There is also the matter of providing peace of mind to workers who do not carry firearms. The following guidelines will help shape concealed carry rules for your individual company.

Law vs. Policy

Maria Ivette Ros was fired from her job as a Wells Fargo branch manager in Oldster, Florida, in 2014 for carrying a concealed weapon into the bank. The company has a strict policy against employees carrying firearms onto the premises, with the exception of security personnel. Ros filed a lawsuit in state court claiming her Constitutional rights were violated. Wells Fargo argued it is not a government entity, but a private company that can make its own rules pertaining to firearms. It’s unclear how the case was adjudicated, as court records indicate it was dismissed with prejudice in August of 2014.

The Ros case would have provided a blueprint for employers in right-to-work states like Florida that also strongly adhere to Second Amendment precedent. Know the laws of your state before writing concealed carry policies. Several states have adopted “parking lot laws” that allow employees to carry concealed weapons in their vehicles while parked on company property. States like Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Texas either have no laws addressing the issue or specifically prohibit employers from enforcing anti-concealed carry policies.

Most state laws pertaining to workplace concealed carry are fairly straightforward. But in states like Kansas, Kentucky, and Wisconsin where the laws aren’t as clear, it’s best to consult a Constitutional attorney before writing your policies.

ConcealedCarry

Safety First

The General Duty Clause contained in Sec. 5 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires all employers to provide “a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.” Education and accountability are key for compliance to OSHA’s broad safety rules.

Inform all employees of your intent to enact concealed carry policies. Clearly, state in a memo why you’re enacting the policy and how concerned employees can address said issues. One oft-repeated concern among pro-gun control advocates is the “assault rifle” fallacy. A great way to educate and bridge those gaps is showing them how false that label is.

Visit an online gun library and point out, for example, a Ruger Mini 14 versus an AR-15. Emphasize that both are semi-automatic, use .223 ammo and have 30-round magazines. The only difference between the two is that the previous looks like a BB gun, while the latter looks much more menacing. Conveying this type of knowledge about firearms will also put skeptical minds more at ease.

ConcealedCarry

Follow Examples

An aviation insurance firm in Georgia enacted a company policy earlier this year that requires all employees to obtain a concealed carry permit. Once they obtain the permit, the company owners give them Smith and Wesson handguns just as other employers provide computers, office supplies, and coffee in the break room, local news station WSB-TV reported. The company owner said the policy was enacted as a result of a crime surge in the metro Atlanta area. Georgia law grants civil and criminal immunity to employers who comply with guns-at-work laws, which of course is more reason to consult an attorney beforehand.

Belly bands make a good concealed holster for some people.

Belly bands make a good concealed holster for some people.

Speak with those who already have policies in place. There’s no substitute for real-life experience when it comes to drafting and enforcing workplace gun policies. No database or easily accessible list of employers with current concealed carry policies exists, but rifle clubs and shooting ranges are the best places to get word-of-mouth information like this.

More General Guidelines

Laws and safety supersede everything else. When drafting your policies, there are some basic elements that should be included:

  • Proper channels for employees to report threats, intimidation or harassment should be clear, confidential and easily accessible.
  • Potential disciplinary action for employees who violate any part of the policy should also be included.
  • Security personnel or other measures that limit access to your parking lot should be considered for companies that allow concealed carry in cars only.
  • Human resources personnel are encouraged to involve law enforcement when terminating employees with known tendencies of violence.

An armed workforce deters criminals from interfering with your day-to-day business, but doing it the right way ensures you stay out of the courtroom and keep your employees happy at the same time.

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Survival Scenario: Any Car Is Better Than No Car

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So long as its reliable

Any car is better than no car, Yup not really applicable to some city dwelling preppers but for the rest of us they are pretty damn essential. Yes we would all love a purposely designed or modified vehicle that can carry us across continents taking us, our families and all we need to survive a very long road trip. BUT in the real world we are far more likely to own and drive something far more mundane.

For ordinary people going about their normal every day lives, a breakdown of the family vehicle can be annoying, very inconvenient and often EXPENSIVE ( that’s why preventative maintenance is essential) BUT it’s rarely dangerous or fatal.

BUT, regardless of if you drive a fully tricked Ford F250 or a 15-year-old Ford Fiesta, what is vital is that you have a RELIABLE vehicle regardless of how modest or basic it is. If you arrive late, tired, stressed and hungry at your home or BOL in a 1 liter micro car AT LEAST YOU ARRIVED and are not dying in an expensive metallic paint covered steel coffin miles from anywhere with a snapped cam belt. Be the vehicle 15 years old or new, fully tricked out or factory standard, loaded with survival gear or just sensible extras, it’s just money down the drain and possibly fatal for preppers if the vehicle fails when most needed (In the UK we call it Sods Law)

We have two cars, both Suzuki’s the other Sunday BOTH were off the road, one with a fractured exhaust and the other with a terminally flat battery. This happened on a Sunday when bus services around here are sparse at best but in fact do not run at all to where our son was (at his girlfriends place WAY up the Dales). He ended up having to stay there overnight and missing an important University seminar.

To suddenly find yourself basically completely stuck with no resources available to get to your loved ones is a bloody nightmare at best. But its compounded by the thought that many people in our positions also live in hamlets with no usable resources such as shops, post offices, garages, service stations, bus or taxis and in some cases people can be up to 90 minutes away from such services (longer in winter). Practical mobility must be a cornerstone of the average prepper, perhaps not so much for a self-employed homesteader but the ordinary family guy turned prepper a degree of mobility is essential.

To suddenly find yourself basically completely stuck with no resources available to get to your loved ones is a bloody nightmare at best.

Vehicle Maintenance is Key

It is essential we stay on top of our vehicles maintenance both scheduled such as servicing, but also PREVENTATIVE maintenance IE giving your car a good check over frequently with the Mk 1 Human eyeball. WHAT you drive is irrelevant, how RELIABLE the car is what is paramount.

Look at the tires for unusual wear, blisters, ruptured side walls, tire pressures etc, Ensure they always have plenty of usable tread. Ensure the wheel nuts are not only correctly tightened BUT that they are not so tight that you cannot unfasten them if you need to change a wheel. Old tires especially cheap tires can get brittle and hard, they may look like they are good for another 20,000 miles but they are so hardened they offer almost ZERO traction.

Keep an eye on bits like the exhaust and its hangers, if it’s getting badly rusted get it replaced (consider a stainless steel one if you plan on keeping the car) .

Batteries can AND DO die suddenly ( especially in winter) its worth ensuring your tame mechanic is encouraged to check its charge rate, fluid levels, charge voltage ( 14.4 to 14.7 = good), Make sure the battery clamps and cables are secure and not oxidized (esp the Negative to Earth lead and its bolts).

Drive / Fan/ Cam and PS belts need to be checked frequently for cracks, fraying and adjustment.

Brakes, a GOOD mechanic will clean the brake, copper slip the bits that need to be slippy and ensure the pads / shoes that are needed to stop you have plenty of depth, are not glazed and are wearing evenly.

It is essential we stay on top of our vehicles maintenance both scheduled such as servicing, but also PREVENTATIVE maintenance.

Do not wait until the vehicle needs servicing BEFORE you check your Oil, Coolant, Screen wash, ATF, Brake Fluid etc ideally you should be checking them no more than every two weeks, more frequently if you do high miles or on dangerous roads.

Check and clean your head and stop / tail light and indicator lights, NOTE modern H4 and other Halogen headlamp bulbs actually decay quite badly in under two years, your bulbs can lose 30 % of their brightness so it’s definitely worth changing your HL bulbs for good quality after market bulbs every two years.

If you fit extra lights such as driving, hunting or fog lights ensure the alternator is capable of handling the extra load. Many modern car manufacturers fit alternators that are only just capable of operating the OE equipment.

Plastic headlight lenses can become badly scratched and opaque over time you can buy lens re-polishing kits off E Bay and Amazon.

Wiper blades are essential in bad weather rain and sleet and snow, did you know your screen wash actually dries out your wiper blades which in turn degrades their performance, so change em annually if you can afford to.

Don’t forget to rotate your spare fuel in the Jerry can if carried, and to add fuel preserver to the replacement refill.

Keeping your engine bay clean can also reduce the risk of breakdowns, an oily grimy engine is a perfect environment for creating electrical shorts and for trapping unwanted moisture, keep your engine bay clean, or get it valeted and not only will you reduce the number of faults you may get, but it makes working on your car more bearable.

Everyone should carry tools, jack, flashlights, light sticks, tire pump, jump leads, bulbs, fuses, relays, emergency rations, water, warm clothes, walking shoes etc, even a blanket or sleeping bag in bad weather, Hand cleaner / sanitizer and some clean clothes are also handy additions. Put as much love and care into maintaining your vehicle as you would in caring for yourself and it will reward you by doing what you ask it to do when TSHTF.

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Survival Skill: Unarmed Combat

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from TekNik. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


In an ideal world when a SHTF scenario takes place you’d be wearing your bullet proof vest and have immediate access to your hand gun and assault rifle. Unfortunately this may not be the case because of several factors. The laws in your country might prohibit you from carrying any weapons or the place you are attending might not allow you to carry weapons, such as universities and hospitals. So how do you defend yourself using unarmed combat skills if you get stuck in such an unpleasant situation? This article will go through the steps involved in defending yourself from the initial assessment of the threat, how to avoid or eliminate the threat with your bare hands or with any improvised weapon that you’re likely to come across in everyday life.

Assess the threat

As with everything else, the first step is to assess the situation. The extent of your assessment will obviously depend on the prevailing circumstances. You can’t take out pen and paper and start drafting an action plan if there’s a hyped up guy slashing with a machete right in front of your face. Each situation warrants a different level of assessment. An imminent threat requires split second decisions that are mostly based on muscle memory acquired through hours of training whilst a hostage situation requires careful planning. Whatever the situation, the aim of your assessment is to identify any weaknesses of your opponent, availability of improvised weapons and escape routes. We’ll cover all these aspects in the sections below.

Basics of Self Defense

When faced with a threat you have two opposing options; fight or flight. Backing off from a confrontation might make you feel like a pussy but it’s better to feel that way for a few days rather than being killed or injured because of your pride. If you decide to run away from a confrontation/threat you have to be sure that you can run faster than your opponent, avoid any weapons he may attack you with whilst you are running (mostly applicable to firearms), and find adequate shelter before he catches up with you. If this is not possible then you’d better stand your ground and fight because once you turn your back on your opponent you’ll become much more vulnerable.

The human body has multiple weak spots that you can target to your advantage.

The human body has multiple weak spots that you can target to your advantage.

Once you’ve decided to fight, or are forced to fight your way out, there are some basics you have to keep in mind. The fundamental principle of self-defense is to reduce to the least extent possible the damage your body receives in the attack. Key areas to protect are your entire head and face and vital organs in your torso. However do not underestimate the importance of your limbs. You won’t be able to attack with enough force if your arm/s gets injured and you’ll have problems standing and moving about if your leg/s gets injured. How you protect yourself will depend on how you’re being attacked. We’ll go through these in the coming sections.

The next principle is to stop your assailant from what he is doing. This is achieved by hitting a delicate part of your opponent’s body with a tough part of your own body (or any hard object that comes to hand). Your attack should be vicious and aggressive. This is not the time to have sympathy. You want to cause intense pain and damage in as little time as possible in order to neutralize the assailant.

Tough Parts of the Body

  • Knuckles
  • Elbows
  • Knees
  • Sole of the foot
  • Forehead

Delicate Parts of the Body

  • Temple
  • Eyes
  • Nose
  • Jaw
  • Neck/throat
  • Solar plexus
  • Ribs
  • Kidneys
  • Groin
  • Knees (when hit from the sides)

Unarmed Assailant

When your assailant is unarmed it’s a fight on equal par and the outcome will depend on strength, stamina, technique, aggressiveness and as always a bit of luck. Although it’s important to be aggressive don’t forget about defending yourself and protecting your vitals. If you get injured, you drastically reduce your chance of winning that fight. Once into the fight do your utmost to knockout (make unconscious) your opponent or cause an injury that makes him harmless. Do not start throwing useless punches and kicks in the air like a drunkard. Instead aim all your shots and focus on making contact with most if not all your attacks. Hit with all your strength but make sure not to lose your balance. Do not opt for fancy spinning kicks and that stuff unless you’re a professional kick boxer. Aim your kicks to his knees to knock him off-balance and aim your punches to his face and ribs if you get the opportunity. Do not unnecessarily expose yourself whilst attacking and always be ready to block his attacks. Follow these basics and you’re likely to be the one standing next to an unconscious body.

Armed with a Knife

knife

When faced with an opponent with a bladed weapon you must concentrate on that weapon and move in such a way that it never contacts your body. Keep at a distance and let your opponent slash and trust in vain. You have to wait for your opportunity to move in swiftly and grab hold of the hand holding the weapon. Do not grab the weapon from the blade. Your best chance of moving in is when he has swung the blade and is about to slash back. Once you gain hold of his weapon bearing hand hit him with all you’ve got but never let go off the hand. When you feel that he’s become weak enough, grab the weapon bearing hand with both your arms and twist it ferociously to break as many bones as possible. At this point he should drop the weapon or loosen enough his grip such that you can safely take it away from him. Once the weapon is in your hand, it’s up to you how to proceed but keep in mind there might be repercussions, both legal and psychological, if you decide to end his life.

Armed with a Firearm

An assailant with a firearm is much more difficult to disarm due to the extended range and deadliness of the weapon. Here your initial approach will be drastically different in that you want to come in physical contact with your assailant. You’ll have to do this gradually whilst distracting your assailant with conversation or a decoy. Once close enough your objective will be to grab the gun by the barrel and hold the gun pointing away from you and ideally away from other people. Movies and some martial arts experts demonstrate techniques to disarm an assailant with a gun pointing towards your head/torso. I am not judging the capabilities of these individuals but I strongly suggest you do not try this technique. All the assailant has to do is squeeze the trigger. This only takes a split second and your attempt to twist the gun might actually be what causes the trigger pull. The approach I suggest is much safer. Wait for a moment when your assailant points the gun in another direction. This is likely to happen whilst he is shouting instructions and uses the armed hand to point towards what he’s talking about. As soon as the gun is pointing in a safe direction, grab the gun by the barrel (obviously without any part of your hand obstructing the barrel’s end) and hit the assailant with all you’ve got. It’s interesting to note that if the firearm is a pistol it will shoot the loaded round when the trigger is pulled but it will not cycle another round since you will be hindering the slide’s motion. Be careful in the case of a revolver due to the hot gases escaping from around the cylinder. If it is a long firearm, grab the barrel with both hands so that you can exert more leverage. Obviously in the latter case you’ll have to attack with your lower limbs.

Arm Yourself – Improvised Weapons

Even a fire extinguisher makes an effective weapon. Spray the compound to blind your attacker and then bash them over the head with the empty cylinder.

Even a fire extinguisher makes an effective weapon. Spray the compound to blind your attacker and then bash them over the head with the empty cylinder.

This article is about unarmed combat in view of situations where you’re not carrying any weapons. This however doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to arm yourself with whatever might come handy. The following are a few ideas of easily obtainable weapons in everyday life.

Sticks such as a broom, billiard or long umbrella-You can swing such sticks to keep your assailant at bay but usually such sticks are fragile and immediately break upon impact dealing very little damage to the target. Instead use ‘weak’ sticks like you would use a lance. They will be less likely to break and will deal a lot of damage due to the low surface area which results in a lot of pressure.

Metal pen-This has a very short reach but you could easily incapacitate someone by stabbing him in the eyes or neck. You can also use a metal pen for pressure points techniques to subdue an assailant. This however requires training.

Stones or any other hard object such as a soda can (full)-These can be used as projectiles especially when you have an ample supply of them. If you’ve got only one it might be better to hold on to it and use it for battering your opponent.

Chair or stool-These can be used as a shield and to keep your assailant at bay as well as for striking. Obviously they can be thrown in the typical western movie style.

Fire extinguisher-You can direct the escaping gas (CO2 will be extremely cold), water, foam or powder in your assailants face. You can also use the cylinder as a battering device or throw it at him. You could even approach the assailant from above and simply drop the fire extinguisher on him.

Stiletto Shoes-If you or anyone accompanying you is wearing stiletto shoes, take them off. You’ll be able to move with more agility (be careful if there is glass or other sharp or hot objects on the ground) and you can use it for stabbing just like you would with a metal pen.

Conclusion

You never know when things are going to turn sour. We do our best to always be prepared to defend ourselves but we might end up in a threatening situation whilst we’re officially unarmed. That doesn’t mean we’re all gonna die. It means that we have to prepare for that scenario like we would for any other. Always be alert of your surroundings and book yourself for a few self-defense classes and keep practicing those techniques. You’ll be glad you have if the need ever arises.

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The Bible, Preparedness, and the 2nd Amendment

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As anyone can tell you that has ever discussed the bible or religion there is no one Christian view on any topic and the purpose of this article is not to push one view or another but to provide a perspective that you may not have considered. There will be those that may say these scriptures are out of context but I challenge you to look them up for yourself. Obviously, our founding fathers quickly amended the constitution to provide the citizens a clear assurance that they could “keep and bear arms” but where did they get this view? Was it simply from their experience in dealing with the British or was there a scriptural basis for it.

Different Views of Scripture

There are two predominate views based on scripture that address preparedness. The first is that scripture warns us therefore, we should take practical steps to take care of ourselves and others. The other view is that God will take care of us so no need to prepare. Some simply believe the Lord will take care of them others believe that He will but that they must do their part. It is always important to look at scripture in context and with other relevant scriptures. A good example of why this is critical is this text in the book of Luke.

Luke 10:4 (NIV)
4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

If we stop here it would appear that Jesus is telling them not to prepare, that He is going to take care of them and to rely on the mercy of strangers when they travel. As we read on in Luke 22 we find a much different view as again Jesus is speaking directly to his disciples.

Luke 22:35-38 (NIV)
35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

Here we have a much more complete and up to date picture, Jesus giving instructions for the future. Now he does not only address the purse (money), bag (provisions) and sandals (clothing) but also the sword (protection). He puts such an emphasis on the sword, such a level of importance that He separates it from the other items saying if you don’t have one go sell clothing to buy one! He does not say to sell the sword to buy clothes. This may not be for you today but Jesus is speaking of what the future will require. The future Jesus described for the disciples may just be your reality today. Jesus specifically indicates that the disciples are to take supplies with them when they go out to minister as well as a means of protection.

Personal Protection

Your first reaction to this topic might be to think “Guns” but for this discussion we are really discussing whatever means of personal protection you are comfortable with. Often we hear Jesus described as a pacifist and at times Jesus plainly chose that approach.

Matthew 5:39 (NIV)
But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

Are there times to walk away from a fight? Absolutely yes, are there times when using a lethal weapon for a minor offense is simply not the appropriate response? Of course, yet just before His crucifixion, Jesus’ instructions are different from the often quoted “turn the other cheek” phrase used by some.

Luke 22:38 and 49 (NIV)
38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied.
49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?”

Later that night in the garden where Jesus was praying he was betrayed by Judas and as he was being arrested Peter drew a sword.

John 18: 10 (NIV)
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

Jesus quickly had Peter put the sword away (Luke 22:51) but this brings up the issue of timing. Jesus never had a problem calling out his disciples if they were doing something wrong. He had done this on many occasions, chastising them or correcting their methodology and theology. So just moments earlier he had condoned them bringing swords but had Peter put his away when he used it. The speaks volumes as to the proper timing of when to use force to protect yourself or those you love.

The sword in its day was the equivalent of the semi-automatic pistol of today. It was the pinnacle of technological defensive/offensive close range weaponry and Jesus’ followers were carrying them with his blessing. This does not describe a group of pacifists!

Much like the timing of when to use the sword and when to put it away is when to turn the other cheek and when not to. King Solomon who was known for his wisdom and was known as a man of peace wrote Ecclesiastes. He addressed timing in Chapter 3 in a list of opposites.

Ecclesiastes 3:1,3,8 (NIV)
1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Deciding when to apply each of these apparently contrasting statements may be the essence of wisdom. In the book of Nehemiah, we are presented with an Old Testament view as Nehemiah prepares defenses for the city of Jerusalem. He is in a predicament where he must come up with a defensive system to not only protect Jerusalem but also the workers themselves. Many consider this a biblical model for mutual protection in small groups.

Nehemiah 4:13-18 (NIV)
13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”

15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.
16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.

It is important to note that Nehemiah set up the defenses by family. There are several practical points to this. He sets up the motivation for this in verse 14 encouraging them to fight for their sons, daughters, wives and homes. People tend to fight harder when they have a personal stake in the fight; Also they would be stationed in the area closest to their home to help rotate out the people staffing the defenses.

Note the verbiage in verse 18 “and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.” Each worker was carrying his own protection, not relying on someone else or using borrowed weapons but his own sword. Have you given your means of protection over to someone else? Are you relying on someone else to be there for you? It is important to see that these were “workers,” able-bodied people, not the sick, elderly or those unable.

Verse 17 and 18 are sometimes sighted by advocates of concealed carry of handguns but it can apply to any means of protection you may feel comfortable with. You may be opposed to or feel uncomfortable with others around you carrying firearms, if so hopefully this will give you some understanding as to why Christian gun owners may be so passionate about it. Many feel it is not just a Constitutional right but a right God has given. You can see if someone approaches a topic with that point of view there is little chance of changing their position.

Verses 13 and 16 could provide specific instructions on which types of firearms to obtain. A sword being close range offensive/defensive (handgun), a spear to be close/mid-range weapon (shotgun) a bow being long range (rifle) and armor being (defensive use of your surroundings or protective gear).

Luke 17:31 (NIV)
On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything.

Many concealed carry advocates quote this scripture as guidance regarding always carrying a firearm. If you cannot get back to your house and you must leave it would be prudent to have your choice of protection with you. When it comes to personal defense I have found Solomon’s words helpful in choosing who I associate with or receive instruction from.

Proverbs 14:16 (NIV)
The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure.

Solomon is clear here as to who you should work with when it comes to preparedness, if you are a Christian or not, hotheaded people do not make good decisions. Training for whatever means of personal protection you may choose is critical. It can be basic or advanced depending on your comfort level but it is scriptural.

Genesis 14:14 (NIV)
When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan.

Abram’s men were trained, or at least 318 were and he did not send out the untrained ones. If we follow this example to be prepared or the most useful in a difficult situation, training is a requirement for service. Protecting yourself and others can be an intimidating task. Going it alone can be done but incredibly difficult so find another like-minded person, help one another.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)
9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

The reality is you must sleep so at some point having someone to stand watch if you are in need of rescue or must quickly defend yourself simply makes working in a team more effective.

The government has guns so do you need them?

Song of Songs 3:7-9 (NIV)
7 Look! It is Solomon’s carriage, escorted by sixty warriors, the noblest of Israel, 8 all of them wearing the sword, all experienced in battle, each with his sword at his side, prepared for the terrors of the night.

Solomon clearly demonstrates that rulers are prepared for “the terrors of the night” if your leaders are possibly you should be as well. Our leaders will be protected they have insured that but who will protect you? The resources available will be directed to protect those in authority, your protection in a time of crisis will be secondary.

Prepare but for the right reason

You may prepare because of guidance in the scripture but scripture also addresses motivations so it is imperative that we prepare for the right reasons.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NET)
7 For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.

We do not prepare out of fear. There can be a fine line between concern and fear when we make decisions based on fear alone we often find ourselves out of God’s will. The Bible can be described as a book of balance. Have you ever spent time with a Christian who is out of balance in any area of their beliefs? If so you know you don’t want to be that person! Therefore living a joyous life while still preparing for the future and knowing you can protect yourself and loved ones is a prudent life balance. Firearms may not be your tool of choice but please consider these scriptures when limiting someone else’s ability to use a firearm as their tool of choice.

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Natural Disaster Hotspot: Preparing For The Unexpected

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post contributed by H. Davis. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the Prepper Writing Contest today.


What is it that makes natural disasters so dangerous? Is it due the fact that it has the ability to destroy anything that stands in its way? Or does it have to deal with our inability of recognizing the signs of danger? Well, the answer is neither. The reason why a natural disaster is so dangerous is simply because we don’t prepare. A large percentage of the American population goes throughout their day-to-day lives without ever thinking of a natural disaster occurring.

That being said, it’s important to ask yourself, “How can I survive something I’ve never prepared for”? It would be like walking into a room to take an exam, you never studied for. The simple fact of the matter is, you can’t survive a natural disaster without preparing for it. This is why earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes rips cities apart, taking thousands of lives with it and causing billions of dollars in damage repairs.

Believe it or not, a natural disaster like an earthquake or flood can strike at any time, without warning. In other words, even if we tried to recognize the signs before a disaster struck our home, we could still be misled and miss it. Those are the ones that cause the most destruction in communities, neighborhoods, and homes.

Time is a friend to no one,” so don’t wait until the last-minute to start inspecting your home and run to the hardware store. Don’t Wait Until The Clock Hits Zero

Cyclone Storms (Hurricane)

hurricane

Even a four-wheel drive truck can be swept away with a relatively small amount of water. Either that or it’s because this is a Chevy. 🙂

It only takes one storm to change your life and community forever. Tropical hurricanes are among one of nature’s fierce and deadliest phenomena. A hurricane is like a giant engine that uses warm, moist air as fuel. Which is why they only form over warm water areas near the Earth’s equator. When the wind speeds reach 74 mph, the storm is officially a tropical cyclone. It’s also important to note that, during a hurricane, homes face the risk of getting damaged and possibly destroyed by high winds and high waves smashing against the foundation. Windows will be shattered and homes can even fall to the ground if they’re built on a weak foundation in extreme storms, like Hurricane Katrina.

Beat The Clock Before It Gets to Zero

  • Have a backup plan in case of a power outage. A home generator can keep your home powered-up when the power goes out.
  • Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water from happening.
  • Trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
  • Lastly, reinforce roofs, windows, and doors (garage doors included) to ensure you and your family’s safety.

Downpour (Flash flood)

Flooding can quickly cut off escape routes and leave your family stranded.

Flooding can quickly cut off escape routes and leave your family stranded.

There are just a few places on Earth where people need not to be concerned about floods. Despite the fact that rain isn’t the only cause for floods, anywhere water is present can make an area vulnerable. For starters, a flood occurs when water overflows and inundates land that’s normally dry. Most floods, take hours or even days to develop, giving residents a small amount of time to prepare and evacuate from their homes.

Others, generate rather quickly and with little warning. These are the most dangerous types of flash floods, instantly turning an average street into a thundering wall of water sweeping everything in its path downstream. The time that flood water spends in a house and the pollutants created in flood waters can vary greatly and determine the likelihood of a successful restoration.

Make Sure You’re Prepared and Protected

  • Once a flood watch occurs, move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.
  • Head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 5-6 inches of water can knock you down, and 2 feet of water can swipe your car away.
  • Don’t forget the sandbags.

Foreshock (Earthquake)

Search and rescue teams survey the rubble in Amatrice, central Italy, 24 August 2016, following a 6.2 magnitude earthquake

Search and rescue teams survey the rubble in Amatrice, central Italy, 24 August 2016, following a 6.2 magnitude earthquake

An earthquake like all natural disasters can be deadly, and strike without any warning. An earthquake is usually caused when rock underground suddenly breaks along a fault. This sudden release of energy causes seismic waves, which is what makes the ground shake. Another way to think about this analogy, is by picturing two bricks lined up next to each other and rubbing them together repeatedly. When parts of the brick (rock) break, the earthquake occurs.

Don’t Get Shaken Up and Caught Off Guard

  • Take cover. In each room in your home, identify the safest place to “drop, cover, and hold on” during an earthquake.
  • Strengthen your home. Use anchor bolts every 4 to 6 feet to secure home to foundation. Also remember to reinforce brick chimneys.
  • Secure your space. Keep breakable items in low or secure cabinets with latches.
  • Use flexible connections where gas lines meet appliances to avoid explosions.]

Tsunami (Harbor Water)

A tsunami is actually a wave caused by sudden movements of the ocean due to earthquakes, and landslides on the seafloor. In fact, major volcanic eruptions and large meteorite can trigger tsunami as well. On average, two tsunamis occur per year throughout the world which inflict damage near the source. Approximately every 15 years a destructive, ocean-wide tsunami occurs.

Tsunamis range in size from inches to feet. In some cases, a tsunami can grow over a hundred feet high before colliding with civilization. In deep water, for example, tsunamis are rarely over 3 feet (1 meter) and normally go unnoticed by ships due to their size. As these waves make their way closer to shore, the height can increase by over 10 times.

Surf Your Way to Safety 

  • Find out if your home, school, workplace, or other frequently visited locations are in hazardous.
  • Make an evacuation plan. Unfortunately, no home, building, or school can survive an attack by a 100 foot tall tsunami.
  • Determine whether or not your street is above sea level and the distance of your street from the coast or high-risk water areas.

Common Practices For All Natural Disasters

Do’s Don’ts
●  Keep your gas tank filled.

●  Stock up on food and water. Prep for two meals a day, and 16 ounces of water per person.

●  Create an emergency medical kit to clean cuts and bruises.

●  Learn evacuation routes.

●  Purchase batteries, radios, and other devices to stay up to date on the latest news.

●  Pack a grab & go bag with all important documentation.

● Drink contaminated water.

● Be selfish, help those around you.

● Leave food outdoors for a long period of time.

●  Forget to wash and sanitize all eating utensils.

●  Lose your personal documentation. After all, once it’s gone, there’s no getting it back.

●  Panic. This will only make things worse.

In the long run, a natural disaster can occur anywhere, at any time. For those of us who have families, set a location where you and your family will meet in case communication fails. Furthermore, if you live in areas that are prone to natural disasters, never second guess leaving your home in order to escape the dangers of Mother Nature’s attacks. A home can be replaced, but a life can’t.

Stay safe!

——-

Thank you again for taking the time to read my article. I would like to know, have you ever experienced a natural disaster before? Or, do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’ll be checking for comments, so feel free to express your thoughts on today’s article.

About the author: H. Davis is passionate about football and enjoys exploring the wilderness. If you can’t find him online, you might be able to catch him playing football with friends, or cheering on the Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at @Davis241.

References:

 

 

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Poverty Prepping: Getting Ready With Less Than $10,000 a Year

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from M. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


I have a tight budget. I’m talking, poverty level budget, and with survival products being over the top expensive, prepping can be really hard. There are hundreds of articles about prepping on a budget. They present us with products that are “budget friendly,” and ideas on what is the best way to prep and save money, but those products don’t fit the budget, those ideas don’t fit the forced lifestyle of the poor. The “Impoverished.”

I’m a college student and currently I gross $8000 annually, and have had to work extremely hard to get up my preps. The following are a few tips to help others with getting ready in a similar situation.

Be Patient

Every step of this process is going to take some time. It’s tempting to blow a whole paycheck on survival gear, I know, but it’s better to show yourself that you can work and wait for what you need. Think about growing vegetables, you can’t pick all of your tomatoes just because one of them is ripe. Everything has to be ready, at it’s own time. Don’t rush anything, even if it feels urgent. We’re turtles, and we will win the race.

Cut it Off

Get rid of what you don’t need. You can use a towel and wash it, instead of using paper towels. Doing dishes is not going to kill you. You don’t need Air Jordan’s if you aren’t on the college basketball team. Why do you have Wifi, if it comes free with your apartment? It’s slow, but it works.

85

Save money wherever you can, just to save it. Take shorter showers, turn off the water when you brush your teeth, and open the blinds, instead of turning on the lights.

P.S. You’ll be lucky to have running water, let alone internet, when SHTF.

Budget Everything

Budget gas, groceries, rent, savings, insurance, bus fare, fun. Whatever you need to pay for each paycheck, budget. Write how much you can spend, on each item and only spend that much. Seriously. For people like me the most important things are going to be rent, and gas/transportation to make my next check. Write what that costs, and then prioritize and move down the list. Fun is the last thing you budget after you read the next two items.

Budget a savings amount, I save 8% of each paycheck, when possible. After two years of doing this, I have a month of cushion, if I were to lose my job.  After your “Normal” expenses are accounted for, you need to budget in prepping. Just $10 per month. Less if you have less, more if you have more, this is a priority, above going to the movies or the bar; be responsible.

Make sure your math adds up, don’t have a $1,000 spending budget with a $500 paycheck. A good tip for those who are really struggling, is to make payments each paycheck; save a little from each paycheck to put towards your bills.

Learn and Practice

No book you buy can teach you more than you can learn for free, you’re on the internet, use it. Learn to make a fire, learn to make a shelter, learn how to fish and make traps. Learn to do this with just I knife and what nature has given you, because buying a tarp, might not fit your budget.
Learn what is edible and poisonous in your geographical area, how to identify it and how to cook it. I love clover, in salads and as an add in, in curry.

Practice all of this. It’s fun and free. Those two words are beautiful to see in the same sentence. Practice with kids in your family. Practice on a date; firelight and natural shelter in the woods, with some soup boiled over the fire… I say romantic. Run drills, for everything from fire and power outages, to riots and looters.

Don’t be a Gear Snob

I understand the importance of quality, the $1.00 knife you have is better than the $100 knife you would have someday. If you’re struggling to even eat, you don’t need to be turning up your nose. There is a time and place for quality, and yes, one $50 shovel may outlast five $10 Shovels, but we need to make sure that we have a shovel. Search before purchasing, find the best deals, that you can.

thrift-store-outside-haltom-city

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This article was posted as part of a contest, hell, I’ve won knives, flashlights, even a tent. Put in the work, it’s like applying for scholarships.

Hoard, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

If it is safe and reasonable to keep using something, do. It saves money. Your backpack for school is your edc, last year’s backpack is your bug out bag. Make do. Use what you have. You can even learn to make a gas mask from a coke bottle and a beer can.

Shop the bulk aisle for groceries and for preps, I watched the store employee pour brand name flour in the bulk bin, once… that’s quality and quality at the cheapest price.

Public Resources

Use the library for information. Use the food shelf to find canned and bagged food to stock pile. Get help, if you’re below the poverty line, these resources are for you. USE THEM. My food stash is all canned goods from the food shelter, I just keep track of the date.

Save up

Now, I mean this as in after you have your basics. Once you have a decent emergency box BOB, car kit, and edc, you can buy more high quality products to replace what you have, especially when something breaks.

Live, Now

I told you how to save money, throughout this article, you should have preps and maybe even some money left over. Save up for something fun, with your leftovers. Life spent only planning for the future, isn’t really a life at all.

I could write books on this, but I have class, a job and a daughter to deal with. I hope I can help even one person in my situation to be ready for whatever the future may bring. Do what you need to do, only you know what you can do.

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When Walking Alone: Observe

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Samuel L. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


It is important to be aware of your surroundings for many reasons but the most important is your life could depend on it. It is also important to try to blend in with the crowd. If you look suspicious, as if you have something of value that you are hiding or look well dressed, and you have no means of protecting yourself you will be an easy target for pickpockets and thieves.

Take fashion and social queues from the local population. Avoid talking too loudly and avoid areas where the crowds congregate as often as possible. If possible leave old clothes in your car or place of work so that if things happen when you are at work you will not fall prey because you are well dressed.

Walking on the street

Be cautious of hiding in tight spaces, there may be others there hiding also waiting for the opportunity to jostle and rob you of your personal belongings.

When walking on the street do not trust females who want to help you find something i.e. place to eat, hotels, bus line etc. They, in many instances, have an accomplice which in turn will rob you or they may take you to a location where the accomplice can rob you. If you need to ask for directions go to a store or other establishment and ask there.

Also, do not give change to someone who asks for it. They may be trying to see if you have any money. The minute you grab your wallet or take money from your pocket he/they may rob you as now they know you have money. Also try not to wear any jewelry or fancy shoes, etc., for the same reasons.

follow

Walking through public parks

If you are traveling and want to avoid been robbed you can do this. As you walk on a street make sure your belonging i.e. purse, briefcase, bag is on the hand closest to a wall of a store, shop, building, etc. If someone starts to walk towards you walk closer to the “wall” as soon as you can. If the person is there to rob you of your belonging he will be hard-pressed if you holding the item close to the wall.

Also, if you feel that this is the case as soon as the person closes in get your back against the “wall” and turn and look at both directions just in case he has friends.

If you are walking around and have your wallet in the back pocket in a strange city, first take your wallet and place it in the front pocket. This will make it harder, but not impossible, for someone to rob you. Keep your thumb in the pocket where your wallet is and the other fingers out. This is in case you are bumped by a person trying to rob you. This will allow you to react without having to have your whole hand inside the pocket which generally gets stuck when you need it and are wearing jeans.

Be aware of the person who bumps you in the street as he generally has an accomplice who will rob you as you pay attention to him.

Never carry your backpack behind you as the robber will generally cut your backpack and take what he wants as the contents fall down and he will run with what he can get while you are preoccupied with your belongings spread on the ground. Plus it will attract the attention of passerby’s who are desperately wanting a freebie. Carry it on the front of your chest.

beingfollowed

Sitting in a cafe, restaurants, etc.

If you are in a coffee shop or any place to eat do not leave your belonging on your table unattended and go pay for your food, etc. Always carry anything you carry with you at all times, especially when you move out of the table

If a group or someone armed wants to rob you, Grab the item and throw it far away from you and run. Nothing you carry is worth your life.

Riding in a taxi

If you are riding in a taxi and gave the taxi driver the address or the name of the place where you are going to stay, make sure you know the route. It would be a good idea to take your personal phone and google the direction on the GPS. This is so that if the taxi driver veers off to suspicious localities you can ask him/her, why he is going in that direction. If he says that it is because of traffic jams, etc. check your GPS and look for the traffic jam. If he has a GPS it is easy to find out and compare with yours. If he does not have one and he did not receive a call to divert his trajectory, then be suspicious and get ready to call someone and related the incident and do not get off the phone until you are in the place where you are supposed to be or in a safe location.

If you do not have anyone waiting or that can be called locally “fake” the call and say to the “person” on the phone that you may be late because of the traffic jam and, holding the phone as if the person on the other end is listening, ask the driver how long it will take to get to your location. Then relate the message to the “person” on the phone. This will tell the driver that if you are not there by the time specified that the person should contact the police. And if you really feel that you are in danger give the description of the car and driver as well. Again make the driver think you are covered if something happens, especially if you are a woman.

Walk away

When in doubt… get out. Be it in a car, bar, restaurant, bus, etc. Always trust your instincts. It will save you when things get bad.

Avoidance and retreat

If you are in a situation where you cannot leave because someone may be threatening you or someone you may be with, then, it is time to get on the phone and call the police. Always have the police number handy. Also, always tell someone, not in your party, where you are going and when you expect to return. If there is a change of plans let the person know for obvious reasons, even if it is the hotel where you are staying. That way if something bad happens at least someone will know to contact the police.

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5 Emergency Food Mistakes Preppers Make

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One of the first things that people tackle when beginning to prepare for emergencies is food storage, and rightfully so. But there’s a lot more to it than stacking buckets of wheat in the garage or stockpiling bottled water.

If you’re going to take the time and money to prepare for the unexpected, get informed about the do’s and don’ts of proper food storage. Here are 5 mistakes that preppers often make when starting to build their emergency food supply, and how to fix them.

Storing food you don’t like, or don’t know how to prepare

Many people will buy a bucket of wheat, throw it in the closet, and call it a day. But they don’t know how to turn that wheat into bread, or if they’ll even like it if they do. Make sure you store food that you eat on a regular basis. Try making a loaf of bread from some wheat one day (you’ll feel like a superhero, promise), and use those dry beans and rice in your everyday meals. That way, when the day comes and you need to survive off your food storage, it doesn’t flip your world upside down. In an emergency, eating food that you’re already used to is beneficial to your mental health. Don’t add to the stress of such a situation by suddenly having to prepare and eat food that is completely new to you.

Rice and beans are a prepper staple and a great option for emergency food storage, but make sure you have variety or family might balk.

Rice and beans are a prepper staple and a great option for emergency food storage, but make sure you have variety or family might balk.

And if you choose to buy pre-packaged emergency kits, many companies sell samples of the meals that are included, so you can give them a taste before you stock up. Use the same rule of thumb here too, and rotate a packaged dinner into your meal planning every couple of weeks, so you’re used to preparing and eating your food storage. Using these pantry staples will also cut down on your grocery bill, too, which is a great added bonus.

Storing food improperly

Are you stockpiling cans in the attic or out in shed? Almost any food that you plan on storing for longer than 6 months should be kept at stable temperatures and humidity levels, which makes both of those places poor options. A cool, dark place like a basement can work great, but be careful if your basement is damp or prone to flooding. The best location for your food storage is on the main level of your home, where the temperature and moisture levels are controlled. Also, try not to keep all your eggs in one basket – have several different locations where you can store food, in case one area becomes compromised.

moldy_food

Food would ideally be stored in a cool, dark place like a basement

Also make sure that your food storage is packaged in a way that deters pests and moisture. Buckets and #10 cans are great ways to store long-lasting food supplies. Food packaged in their original boxes or bags can work fine as long as they are rotated and used regularly – just keep an eye on those expiration dates and make sure your storage area isn’t accessible to mice or other pests.

Not having enough variety in your storage

lunch-172411_960_720

Both for the sake of flavor as well as nutrition, make sure that you store a wide variety of food in your supply. Many novices stock up on carbohydrates like wheat and rice but forget to include other essentials. Make sure you’re covering all the necessary food groups – there are a lot of great ways to store protein, dairy, fruits, and vegetables as part of your storage staples. You can easily purchase freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, and even meat in #10 cans or buckets, and dry milk is a great way to make sure your dairy needs are met. Pre-packaged meals also offer an easy way to incorporate variety into your food storage.

Forgetting “the little things”

Things like salt, spices, oil, and condiments make food storage more enjoyable to eat, and baking ingredients such as baking powder, yeast, and eggs are essential to cooking even the most basic recipes from your supplies. Some of these things can be purchased in long-lasting forms, but a great way to make sure you have them on hand is to simply buy a little extra each time you shop. Next time you need a bottle of vegetable oil, just buy an extra and put it with your food storage. Little by little, you can build up a stockpile of these “little things”, and with proper rotation for freshness, you’ll always have a little extra of everything on hand.

Remember to store things like desserts and candy bars, too. When an emergency situation hits, sweet treats are a great way to keep life feeling as normal as possible, especially if you have children. You can buy a #10 can of something like brownie mix, or simply use the method above to always keep a few boxes of treats rotating through your regular storage.

Not rotating food or letting it go bad

If you use everyday foods in your storage, make sure to rotate them properly and use them before the expiration date.

Buying an extra can of soup and sticking on the shelf for a decade is not a wise food storage solution. If you use everyday foods in your storage, make sure to rotate them properly and use them before the expiration date. Rotating food storage simply means using the oldest item first, and putting the more recently purchased item at the back of the line. For longer term “store it and forget it” options, you can purchase meal packs contained in buckets that store for 20 years or more. We recommend using a combination of both practices for a well-rounded supply that will be both easy and safe to use in an emergency situation.

Food storage can seem intimidating at first, but if you’ve got a handle on each of these areas, you’re well on your way to having a great emergency food supply that will last and serve you well, regardless of what life throws at you. Having a supply of familiar and delicious food on hand will give you an immense feeling of relief and safety. You can start small, and begin today!

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The “Economical” Knife

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Scott H. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


The knife is an essential part of any survival kit. We all know that. We all carry a knife on a daily basis. If you don’t, you need to move to a Free State or start carrying one if it is legal. That said, knives are like vehicles and firearms. Everyone has an opinion on which knife is the best and most economical knife. Today you get mine.

Based off of every day, or at least situational use, my choices have been tested. The following opinion is based on practical, not tactical use of edged tools. All may be used for offensive and defensive purposes, but are not designed for that said purpose specifically.

The pocket knife – Tier 1

Spyderco makes high quality knives at very reasonable prices.

Spyderco makes high quality knives at very reasonable prices.

Every Day Carry. There are plenty of cool “tactical” folders on the market know. Open-assist is the bomb! I own several, as well as pre-ban switch-blades. There is nothing cooler than flicking a button/scale/lever and having a blade pop out to impress your friends. I have yet (even with the “high end”) to have one not fail in one way or another. So you really need to put some thought into your EDC pocket knife. It is not a “do-all” like a fixed blade. It is the do-most for everyday use.

As a kid growing up on a farm, I had the original “Leatherman”… An “Old Timer” multi-blade folder and a pair of pliers. Later I graduated to a “Buck” lock-back, single blade folder. I still have both of them. 30+ years’ worth of EDC. When pocket clips became the rage, I switched to a Gerber EVO Jr. I carried and used it for many a year. It finally got to the point that the blade would wobble no matter what I did to fix it. So it got retired. I picked up a Kershaw “Onion” as its replacement. Great knife. It is now retired as a Kershaw “Barge” has replaced it. So far, this is the ultimate pocket knife for me. I do tasks with it I would NEVER do with any other pocket knife. Besides everyday use, the wedge end is a fantastic Kubaton and the thick blade is very durable for defense. Check it out.

The fixed blade knife – Tier 2

fixedblade

Fixed blade knives offer greater strength and can be used in more situations.

This is my GHB knife. There are SO many good options in this category that an article unto itself could be written. The main thing I want is a decent steel and full tang construction. Several factors also come into play depending on your AO. I kicked this one around for a couple of years and determined for me, that the blade should be no larger than 7”. Single edged. Light weight. Full tang. Hold a good edge and be easy to re-sharpen in the field.

I tested 3 knives extensively. 1st was the Morakniv. This is a GREAT knife! Unfortunately it did not meet the criteria for me. They are not full tang. While they are strong and functional at most levels, the two I field tested broke at the hilt after a few rounds of batoning. I still keep multiples of this knife around. I really do love it. It just doesn’t fit my needs for a tier 2 knife.

The 2nd test was the Smith & Wesson SW6 Extreme Ops recurve. This dude is a beast. I believe it is 420 steel, so not the best, but it is thick and hefty. I have batoned 100’s if not 1000’s of logs with it for the backyard fire-pit and camping adventures. You do need to Loctite the scales if you want to keep them on if you baton. I use a file to sharpen it as that is the only way I have found to get a good edge on it. Yes, I know how to sharpen a recurve knife. Cheap steel. I beat the crap out of this thing and it keeps coming back for more. Between the steel and the weight, I have placed it in the Plano Box as opposed to regular carry. I have lost one set of screws batonning with it. I am not sure it can retain a decent edge for defensive purposes? It would make a great billy club though.

The 3rd test was the SOG Seal PUP. This is a good, light-weight, all-purpose knife. It retains a good edge, it is easy to sharpen and it comes with a decent sheath. I take this where ever I go. I don’t even know it is there. Mine has the serrated edge which is great for Para cord slicing and general rope duty.

The Kitchen Sink Knife – Tier 3

gurkha-kukri-aeof4

This is the big boy. A large knife can do everything a small knife can, but not vice-versa. As a proud American, I absolutely LOVE the Bowie knife. It is large and heavy. It really meets all of the requirements if you look hard enough. Decent, full-tang Bowies can be found for around $20. That said, the do all for me is the Kukri. I like the Ghurka House blades. It is an ax. A hammer. A scythe and a terrifying offensive/defensive weapon. If you get one of the budget ones, keep in mind that they are typically good steel. You will need to modify the ceremonial handle to not get blisters. They usually come with a couple of utility knives. Work with them. The sheath is moderate. You can modify it to your needs. Of course other options are available. “Combat” knives usually fall into this category as well. They are typically designed for one reason. I’m not saying that they can’t handle most situations, but do you really want to baton with your $300 “Hisshou”? Or dig a trench with it? Look at your overall situation and make an informed decision. Think about what you need and not what you want because it is cool.

Summary. Get the most bang for the buck. You can go all “Mall-Ninja” and get worthless gear. Survival relies on true and proven gear. I am offering my field tested opinion. Mileage may vary.

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How Prepping and the Golden Rule CAN Co-Exist

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Any Amy. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


During this past summer the uneasy knots in my stomach kept growing and ultimately transformed into what felt like a massive “nesting” urge, which led to my plunge into prepping. I’m way behind most of you, but I’ve been gaining significant ground each week. I do have some advantages, like being a health professional and having grown up as a tomboy, but I’ve still got a long road ahead before I can reach at least my baseline comfort zone.

I’ve been reading myriad articles posted on various prepper sites, both extremist and more middle-of-the-road sites, for the lack of better terms. Unfortunately, one common theme appears to prevail – the philosophy that preppers should under no circumstances help the unprepared, who in essence deserve to be punished for their lavish lifestyles and lack of foresight. I do understand many of the reasons behind this belief as well as the very real and purported risks associated with not following it. But I don’t believe it has to be an all or nothing proposition. Consider this – what if, during said SHTF catastrophe, all of your preps were destroyed and you were left with nothing? Or what if it was your elderly grandmother who needed assistance in another town; would you still agree with her prepper neighbor who chose, when she knocked on his door, to shoot first and ask questions later?

I know, I know… a lot of you will reply by saying that YOU have multiple stashes of preps, so there is no possibility that you’d ever lose everything. Well, that may be true (albeit unlikely) in your case but not in everyone’s. We all can’t afford bunkers and remote cabins to (attempt to) escape to. Besides, what about your unprepared elderly grandmother or (fill in the blank) other relative or friend? Or have you completely given up on non-prepper society, including blood relatives?

What I find incredibly amusing is the number of prepper articles or blog postings that reference certain fables or even Bible passages in a truly pitiful attempt to justify the position of not helping others. Ah, yes, the story of the ant and the grasshopper. Fine. Whatever. I’ve seen it a dozen or more times in the past few months. And then there are those who claim to be Christians and who pull statements from the Bible and use them out of context. Very convenient. Are you trying to convince others or yourselves that it really “is” acceptable not to help others? What happened to things like the Golden Rule? What about, for those who profess to be Christians, what Christ considers to be the second greatest commandment – to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40, Mark 12:31, Leviticus 19:18)? Do you find such concepts too difficult, contradictory, or troublesome to incorporate into a prepper mindset? Or do you simply prefer to pick and choose what you think supports the way you believe and ignore the rest? Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way, and you know it.

what about your unprepared elderly grandmother or (fill in the blank) other relative or friend?

Many prepper articles and advertisements proclaim, “…we’re all in this together!” (while trying to sell you more outlandish gear that is “guaranteed” to be the absolute one thing to have that will save your life). Yeah, right, we’re all in this together… that is until the SHTF, and then it is every person for himself or herself; you are seriously on your own; don’t come knocking on my door! These statements of supposed collaboration are so ludicrous that they just crack me up. I don’t believe for a second that any seller profiting from preppers is in this “with me”… other than to try to get as much money out of me as possible prior to the SHTF event. I’ll even admit that I idiotically purchased two of these products, which both turned out to be defective or useless pieces of junk resulting in my returning them for refunds. Real friends, real teammates, and real partners don’t sell you crap so they can make a buck, so don’t believe for one minute that these sellers give one damn hoot about where your ass ends up when the SHTF. They won’t hesitate to shoot you, too, given the chance.

And in an article just recently (11/1/16) published on this very site, a seemingly well-meaning prepper stated that “…it’s not your job to feed and clothe your neighbors or your community.” Hmmmm, really? I wonder if she ever read in the Bible about feeding the hungry, taking care of the sick, or providing a drink to the thirsty? Everything you did not do for those in need, likewise you did not do for Christ (Matthew 25:40-45). Yes, it is your responsibility and mine to care for our neighbors, contrary to popular belief, regardless of whether or not you like them or approve of their lifestyles.

What if all your preps are destroyed?

What if all your preps are destroyed?

If this is getting annoyingly theological for you, how about we switch gears and take a look at the show “The Walking Dead,” of which I am a serious fan. Have we not just seen demonstrated in Season 6 and the beginning of Season 7 the idea that people can, and do, change? Look at how both Morgan and Carol have changed. And then there is Daryl, who keeps saying in retrospect that he “should have killed” so-and-so, but then he goes on repeatedly trying to save people episode after episode. Yes, I realize it’s a television show, not real life. No joke. (I don’t waste much time watching mindless television anyhow.) But people can change. So who are you to say that your neighbor can’t change, too? Do you think that being a prepper gives you the right to judge another human being’s ability (or lack thereof) to change and therefore possibly condemn that person to death? Who suddenly made you judge, jury, and executioner? I’m not talking about giving up the safety and welfare of your family. I’m suggesting you plan – yes, PLAN – to include helping others in your prepping. If you’re smart enough to prep, then you’re most certainly savvy enough to figure out how to do this. And if you choose not to, then you will be held accountable, one way or another, for failing to not at least try to help your neighbor in need… and this goes beyond simply trying to convince them to prepare in advance.

I am not inexperienced enough to claim to understand the situation of every person out there who might read this. But I can tell you that my family is not wealthy. My family doesn’t take vacations or go to the movies or drive fancy cars or have a bunker or cabin to escape to. But our meager preparations do include provisions for others. It can be done without breaking OPSEC or exposing your family to danger. Take a recent article published elsewhere about what one person learned from a “redneck neighbor.” I was deeply moved by that article. The redneck neighbor had over 20 emergency kits for his neighbors… the same neighbors who constantly rolled their eyes at him, looked down on him, and ridiculed him. I don’t know if the kits were expensive store-bought kits or homemade kits, but what does it matter? He still believed in caring for his neighbors and had invested in substantial supplies to help them when they inevitably came knocking on his door seeking help in a crisis. Who is the Christian in that article? Who is the one person who followed the Golden Rule despite being mocked? Can you not see it? Who do you want to be?

Do you really want to be the last person standing after TEOTWAWKI? Do you honestly want to sit there and watch your neighbor’s kids starve or die miserably painful deaths from disease outbreaks? Do you want your neighbors’ blood on your hands and your conscience? I’ve read that some preppers are looking forward to having a “short” SHTF event in order to wake everyone else up. Let me tell you, I doubt we’re in for anything short unless you are talking about a local flood. In the meantime, I challenge you to find a way to prep for those outside your four walls. And if you aren’t a Christian, at least remember the Golden Rule. Find a way to implement it. If you don’t, you will be held accountable for your actions or inactions, one way or another… when society/rule of law is restored, or upon your own death, or just by plain old Karma. Yeah, what comes around goes around.

Do you need a couple of ideas to get the juices flowing? Okay, here are a few simple ones, without exposing your personal stash during the early stages of a crisis:

1) Build some rough, homemade emergency kits… not the expensive, prepper-style buckets. Start with a small plastic grocery bag from your local store. Add a book of matches (preferably obtained from a local establishment) and a few small tea light candles OR a dollar-store-type of flashlight. Throw in some cans of caffeine-free soda or small bottles of water. Include a couple of pop-top cans of low-sodium store-brand soups or ravioli and/or pop-top cans of generic tuna or chicken, all of which can be picked up for next to nothing when your store (or Wally World) has discounts, coupons, or buy-one-get-one-free offers. Top it off with a couple of granola bars, fruit strips, applesauce cups, or maybe one or two sealed pouches from a box of Pop-Tarts™ or something similar. Don’t forget to include a plastic-wrapped set of disposable utensils leftover from having purchased take-out or delivery food, especially if the person isn’t familiar to you.

Have these little “kits” easily accessible in a closet somewhere near the front door, but don’t just go run and grab one to hand out to every visitor like it’s freaking Halloween. Allow the person to remain outside, behind your locked door while someone else is watching them (from a window or wherever), and then act as if you are taking a little time to bag up a few items. Bang around in the kitchen pantry a little bit before coming back to the door. Apologize that this is all you can afford to share, as you, too, are strapped for necessities. Also be sure that each plastic bag “kit” does not contain the identical contents. Make 5 kits or a dozen kits – whatever works for your situation and budget. Perhaps reserve them only for people you know so that you don’t have to risk opening your door to complete strangers.

2) If you prefer to focus on one aspect, consider choosing water/fluid. Assume your neighbors just might have a few cans or boxes of food on their pantry shelves. If a neighbor comes looking for help, give them a 2 liter bottle of caffeine-free generic soda. It will provide some calories as well as fluid without promoting dehydration.

Again, you don’t have to go overboard, but it is essential to try to help in any small way, while being safe, particularly during the beginning of a crisis. You may even end up making a new friend or ally. But if things drag on, there will eventually come a time when you will have nothing left to give out without the risk of compromising your family. At that point you (hopefully) can simply commiserate with your neighbors and perhaps try to figure out the closest Red Cross or other water/food-distribution site. This is somewhere a person from your household absolutely must visit along with the rest of your neighbors, so as not to raise suspicions. Bring along some empty containers to fill with water in case there are no water bottles, a cardboard box to carry any food, and a backpack with extra room that also contains your hidden EDC (Every Day Carry). Preferably go in a small group with other neighbors rather than alone. Be certain to carry additional concealed weapons for protection.

3) Another option could be to select a specific neighbor to help, such as an elderly person who lives alone or a single-parent household where your kids know their kids. Take a small care package of whatever water, food, and lighting items you can to that person or family and see how they are doing. You can even explain to that person or family that you had time to fill up a couple of leftover 2 liter soda bottles with water before the taps ran dry and that luckily you’d just been to the grocery store the night before. Then if anyone else comes to your door looking for assistance, you can explain you shared what little you had with one neighbor already or simply say you have nothing available.

4) Anonymously donating food, water, and/or other supplies to a nearby charity or church at the very beginning of a crisis can be another way to keep your family protected. If someone comes looking for assistance, you can point them in the direction of the known charity or church or elsewhere without having to directly give out any assistance.

5) Or after you’ve implemented your family’s SHTF emergency plan, consider trying to knock on the doors of (or call, if possible) at least 2-5 of your closest neighbors, who you at least know by name, and alert them to the emergency, in case they are unaware. You might even casually suggest that you heard on the radio that people should fill up everything available (buckets, tubs, sinks, pots, bowls, pitchers, etc.) with water while they can, just in case, and to send someone else from their house (if available) to the store to purchase bottled water and/or food, assuming the roads aren’t already flooded with cars, etc. Doing this simple, proactive step might save you from having quite as many people knocking on your door looking for assistance. It may also win you some allies. Of course, it could go the other way and send those same people looking to you for aid if they fail to follow your suggestions; but I believe in an actual SHTF situation, there will be sufficient evidence (such as non-functional cars & cell phones, widespread power outages, mass confusion, lack of communication, etc.) that even the most reluctant person would try to do anything possible to protect themselves.

Obviously, none of these suggestions is foolproof nor are they appropriate for everyone. These are just some ideas. Do what you can or come up with another suggestion to share with others in the comments below. Not helping anyone at all (outside of your family or group) is simply not a realistic option unless you plain don’t care whether or not you gain the world but lose your soul. We will need others – including those who are different from us – to rebuild society once the event ends.

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The Coming Correction

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Grampa. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


In the millennia mankind has existed we have witnessed some small corrections. Nature, the things by which we are all bound, sets in motion events, unforeseen and undeniable. In an age where science strives to understand and alter mankind, I see efforts in a multitude of misdirection’s.

What nature provides us, science does so artificially. These efforts, while noble and well-meaning fall short of nature’s millions of years of experimentation finding what does and does not work. Mankind is nothing more than the product of that grand experiment. I will hear all the arguments that it is God who created mankind. Does it say God also created nature? Why should God create something if he had no intention of using it? So comes the corrections.

To mankind it means the extinction of blood lines that have become weak and corrupt. Many have learned of the plague that came abruptly to kill the multitude. A tragic event but it left mankind stronger. Other events that destroyed entire civilizations by the fact they looked to God for help and should instead have looked to themselves and adapt for survival. Now we are faced yet again the correction that will destroy mankind or make us stronger. We hear of future events of volcanoes, and asteroid’s, and even another sun with its planets that is coming. If there is truth among these events I haven’t found it.

The truth I do know comes from the threat of government. This is something that mankind has created but failed to control. Mankind doesn’t like violent change. We will tolerate much and will be pushed to the extreme before some, the ones with ability to lead react. They incite others to follow. We have seen the evidence within our history. How accurate that history is debatable but it divides the followers into the divisions of their particular mindset.

PoliceSWAT2

We have the Christian, Budist, Muslim, with leaders that profess radically different physiologic mindsets. All professing to know and teach their own difference between what is good or evil. This is not the focus of my writing. Each has given their section of mankind the abilities to adapt. This is the crux of my point, adapt to what?

Man will be it seems from the predictions called upon to adapt. If we believe the many predictions, it will be a natural event that will put man’s talents to survive to the test. In the end it will be the strongest and most versatile that will survive. Survival, the very thing that many prepare. Which do we prepare for? If I had that answer, I would indeed be a rich man. While most wait for the answer, the event springs itself upon us. Now it is assured that the multitude, unprepared will dash off directionless and leaderless. They are destined for extinction. They will assemble into gangs with a leader that has only force to insure safety and will revert to a society of the Stone Age level that consumes to survive. The probabilities that this level of survival could last depends on the food to be consumed. Many of “the followers” will gather behind these leaders for security. Does this sound like our government? They turn a blind eye to the atrocities that leadership and power bring. This multitude will survive moving from place to place using the resources until it comes upon the community that it can’t overcome and will choose to combine to survive or die.

I continue now about the correction event, not knowing what it may be or if we can oppose its force and survive. Survival being the goal we as individuals must decide what is best for each of us. The multitude must continue to make their living and support families. We must also think ahead and plan on a direction we must take in the event we are separated from our families and what we must do when we are back together.

UrbanSurvival

With the multitude of websites showing us what we need or have to survive. They range from the pocket tin that is guaranteed to have everything one needs to survive. To the backpack so large that will draw notice of others and tell them you have what they need. I can say that I wouldn’t want to draw attention to myself. The description I do like is the grey man. The ability to blend and be the shadow. Sounds like a good idea for the crime fighter TV program.

When we address the problem everything and everyone must be considered an enemy. Even people you work with will in desperation act for their own survival. The people who are in a state of panic will be capable of anything. The ninety pound woman has been documented lifting a two ton car off her child. Panic and adrenaline can exhibit superhuman strength to a man or woman. You do not want to be the focus of that force. Sadly the strength is fleeting and needs an extreme event to activate. We cannot depend upon this so the rest must depend on our brain.

The brain is the best tool we have for survival. Teaching it to make the correct decisions by evaluating the conditions of the moment and projecting into the future. The future is the goal we want to get to. To be clear it will be yourself against everything else.

To get where you want to be you must have direction. Without direction you have no hope to survive not only hardship but the corrections nature imposes to cleanse its mistakes. What form will they take? Nature is creative and to survive it we adapt. Any living thing plant, animal, or microbe if it can’t adapt is extinct. With the many predictions that could come from nature or man the object still remains the same. Survival of yourself and family. World events at the moment seem to outweigh nature. It would seem the target will be the grid. If this is so then despite what plans we make they will be only temporary at best. The hordes the zombie flicks entrap our imagination with will show up. The difference they won’t be slow unthinking creatures. They will be armed and hungry and will take what you have. The only hope is to remain unnoticed until the majority have passed on looking for food. The odds of going unnoticed? Slim to none. If we have an attack like this its purpose won’t be to defeat America but destroy it. Any country wanting the resources wouldn’t destroy them. Leaving America intact would call for biological methods. Eliminate the people leaving its resources intact. Could we survive this?

Some will as has been proven with the plagues. Some will be immune to whatever is put out. The final question is how to prepare? Knowledge and as many skills as one can learn to use without power. It won’t be how much gold you have that will keep you alive but how valuable you will be in a community. Knowledge weighs nothing and the ability to adapt. The things that every animal alive must have to survive.

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Survival Sanitation: Cat Litter Overlooked Prep?

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Bic. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Quick: what do you do if you’re in the city, the grid is down, and the toilet won’t flush? Break out the cat litter, contractor bags, and a trusty 5 gallon bucket, of course!

But how long is that single tub of cat litter in the back of the garage going to last your family? Is your pallet of fifty pound bags actually a year’s supply? We know “one gallon of water per person per day,” but how much litter is needed to clump it all up afterwards?

The role of cat litter in sanitation is to bind up the moisture in the gloppy mess of sewage making it easier to handle, inhibiting bacterial growth, and thus reducing odor. We need enough to bind the moisture and cut the smell to acceptable levels. As you cannot measure smell, this estimation will be based on the amount of water we need to bind.

Why do you need cat litter?

The average human produces about 4.5oz of solid waste per day of which 3.5oz is water [1]. We also produce about 1.5 quarts (3lbs) of liquid waste per day [2]. In total, there is about 3.25lbs of water in our waste per person per day.

There are several kinds of cat litter on the market: clay, clumping clay, silica crystal, and natural litters like pine and paper. What we’re concerned with is how much water an amount of litter can absorb per pound.

Silica-crystal based litters can absorb about 40 times their weight in water [3]. Sodium bentonite clay (‘clumping’ litter) is good for 10-15 times its weight [4], and other clay (non-clumping) is good for half of that – about 6 times its weight [4]. Pine litter can absorb 3 times its weight [5] and cellulose (paper) litter can handle 1.5 times its weight [6].

Read More: Importance of Sanitation after SHTF

Note that a lot of manufacturers give “x times more absorbent than clay” ratings, but don’t tell which clay, per volume or per weight, and so on, so I stuck to claims of “absorbs x times its weight in water” to have a better common point of reference. This could also vary by manufacturer, so read up on your litter of choice to get the most accurate estimate.

These are maximum ratings reported by the sellers, so they are likely spruced up. We have to keep surface area in mind as well: even if you can technically dry your daily solid waste with 0.1oz of silica litter, if that’s not enough to cover the leavings, the litter is not going reach everything without stirring. Gross!

Reliance Products Luggable Loo Portable 5 Gallon Toilet

Reliance Products Luggable Loo Portable 5 Gallon Toilet

In a stressful emergency situation, no one is going to have the patience to scientifically ration the litter by weight, either. Litter absorbs by the pound, but you will use it by the scoop. Even if you get a scoop sized to your litter’s absorbency (you do have your custom titanium grid-down scoop, right?), you might scoop a level scoop while junior uses heaping scoops.

All this suggests we should build in some wiggle room. Silica is powerful, but also likely to be surface-area restricted. I would estimate silica litter can easily handle 20x of its weight in water, clumping clay litters 10x, clay 3x, pine 2x, and paper 1x. Given that in a sanitation emergency you will need to account for drinking extra water if it is hot or you get sick, we should also round-up the amount of liquids to 4lbs to be safe.

Thus, a fast and loose estimate of the amount of litter you need per person per day is going to be 4lbs divided by the absorbency number above. For instance, silica litter is 20x, so 4lbs divided by 20 is going to be 0.2lbs per person per day. A standard clay litter is 3x. 4lbs divided by 3 is 1.33lbs of clay litter per person per day, or a family of four using a whole 20lb bag of litter in 4 days!

If you’re in a hi-rise where the grid going down will take the sewer pumps with it, it might not be unreasonable to have a week supply of litter, so that family of 4 will need close to 40lbs of standard clay litter! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to drag that much cat litter up the stairs or find a place to store it. Thankfully, with a bit of planning we can reduce this number by a factor of 8.

Liquid waste is the bigger problem – 3lbs vs 0.25lb of solid. Liquid waste is also sterile, and an airtight lid keeps the smell down, so you could separate solid from liquid and use litter on the solids only without creating too much of a health risk. Even doubling for wiggle room would leave us with 0.5lbs of water in solid waste per person per day. That 20lb bag now lasts a family of four for a whole month!

In practice, this means putting an airtight jar or jug next to your waste receptacle to be emptied into an airtight bucket away from the living space such as in the far corner of your balcony or just outside your door. Keep in mind small children may need instruction and prompting to make sure they’re with the program. The ladies may also appreciate certain accommodations. Talk to them for ideas.

What to do with all that mess?

But what do you do with a full bucket? Depending on fluid intake, you might be dealing with around 1.5 quarts of liquid waste per person per day or 1.5 gallons for four people.

Though liquid waste is sterile, I would not recommend dumping. Venturing outside your apartment in a densely populated area sans utilities is a bad idea to start with, and would you just let someone dump 5 gallons of waste on your lawn? The city might fine you when order is restored as well. You have to do what you have to do, but don’t plan on being that guy!

Eliminate the worry of #2 with this simple makeshift toilet.

Eliminate the worry of #2 with this simple makeshift toilet.

I would also avoid depending on your garden, especially a container garden which has no subsoil for the waste to leach into. Liquid waste has high concentrations of salt and nitrates, which most plants can’t handle without dilution. This requires water, which is precious in a grid-down situation. It also risks exposing your food supply to any medications or supplements you’re taking, and if you’re eating heavily preserved foods like MREs, all those chemicals are going into your plants too. Yuck!

Buckets are cheap and stack-able, so it is feasible to maintain 1.5 quarts of bucket per person per day, or 9-10 five gallon buckets per month for a family of four. 15 three gallon buckets would also work if you would rather lug 24lbs at a time rather than 40lbs. Figure out a place to store full buckets and you’ll be all set.

Remember kitty litter and buckets will run out. A week’s supply is a good idea, and a two-week supply will probably be enough for most circumstances. If you’re planning for a month, you would be better off figuring out the logistics for a longer term solution such as a latrine or leach well dug deep into a nearby flower bed.

So there you have it – a “gallon per day” rule of thumb for a cat litter sanitation solution:

First check what type of litter you are buying to figure out its absorbency. Silica crystals: 20x, sodium bentonite clay: 10x. Other clay: 3x. Pine: 2x. Cellulose: 1x.

Divide 4lbs of waste per person per day by the absorbency number above to get a ballpark estimate of how much litter you need. Just like with water, multiply by 2 or 3 if you want to be cautious.

If you have a plan to deal with liquid waste separately, you can get away with replacing the 4lbs above with 0.5lbs, but remember to add extra in case of illness.

Remember that people won’t weigh litter scientifically each time they need to go, so get a grid-down scoop sized for your litter at the dollar store and make sure everyone in your household understands your litter strategy. And don’t forget the needs of your actual cats!

References:

[1] Average human solid waste production:
[2] Average human liquid waste production:
[3] Silica litter absorbency:
[4] Clumping and non-clumping litter absorbency:
[5] Pine cat litter absorbency:
[6] Paper cat litter absorbency:

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Start Prepping With Limited Funds? Here’s What You Need to Know.

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post contributed by Kevin Steffey. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the Prepper Writing Contest today.


Considering the regular commitments like mortgage and car payments they have to keep up with, average income Americans may feel they have no money to start prepping for disasters. The fear of the costs involved now becomes an excuse not to prep at all.

The good news is, with some foreknowledge and skillful planning, frugal Prepping can get you almost the same results as preppers who have much more funds to work with. Knowledge, for instance, will place you in a better position to survive practically any situation better than someone else who relies on just their expensive survival gear.

Your best bet is to approach Prepping as way of life rather than just a project. Take slow and steady steps as your financial resources allow to begin stockpiling water, food and other basic survival necessities and before you know it you will be pleasantly surprised to see how much your stash has grown.

Here are a few ideas on how to start prepping that will point you in the right direction.

  1. Start with a Budget.

Considering your present financial position, how much can you reasonably afford to put aside monthly towards your Prepping goals? Check your current expenses to see if there are items you can reduce or eliminate completely and add that sum to your Prepping budget. Get a journal and put this figure down in writing.

  1. Do an In-House Inventory

A quick check and you would be surprised to see that you actually have more useful survival stuff lying unused around your house than you thought. Items like pots, pans, blankets and sheets are always needed in survival situations. Assessing what you have already will prevent the mistake of going out and buying it again. Once you’ve sorted out your things, you may find long disused items that can be sold on sites like eBay. Add any money realized to your Prepping budget.

  1. Opt for Performance Rather than Brand Name

Let’s face it: many low-end products can do just as well as the high-end brand names, it’s more a matter of perception. The brands you buy for items like survival knives, lighters, firearms and even toilet paper can make over 70% difference in price depending on the manufacture’s name. Instead of focusing solely on brand name as a selection criteria, think in terms of functionality, durability, safety, adaptability and so on. We’re not recommending buying the cheapest possible items but a more balanced approach to spending. You could also take some time reading reviews from users of some of these cheaper brands to get a better picture before you decide what to spend your limited funds on.

Yard sales and Military Surplus are a good avenue for finding excellent bargains and deals on many of these items.

  1. Buy Used/Off-Season
(via:pexels.com)

(via:pexels.com)

 

You can easily get gently used items at fantastic knock-off prices if you take the time to look. For budget preppers, buying every survival items new hardly makes sense as the used ones will still be perfectly suited for the job at hand.

Try places like Craigslist, eBay and Military Surplus stores for bargains running up to hundreds of dollars off on used items like sleeping sets, backpacks, home utensils etc. Firearms are another item that are good used or new but you may not save too much (expect $50 to $100), as they don’t typically lose too much value. Try gun shows and pawn shops for finds on legally purchased, used firearms.

Another source of bargains is buying off-season items like camping gear in winter months or winter products in spring time.

  1. Prepare Your Meat
(Via: wideopenspaces.com)

(Via: wideopenspaces.com)

 

Another important consideration is the meat you will be storing for the survival situation. The choices are many but if you are confident of your hunting skills, hunting deer to preserve the meat would be a good and very cost-effective option for you.

To enjoy the meat at its finest, the deer should be shot cleanly for a quick death. Marksmanship and shot placement is key here. Ideally, aim to kill mature does by shooting them in the head or neck. Once the doe is down you have about 2 hours depending on the weather, to quickly remove the entrails before the venison begins to deteriorate. Use a sharp, sturdy knife to get the cutting done.

Some hunters open a deer from the rear but a preferred approach is to cut where the ribs come together. This has the advantage of preventing you from puncturing the stomach. The deer liver, heart and kidney are delicious. Just separate them carefully from the rest of the entrails and keep them in strong Ziploc bags. Timing is important so dress it quickly and get the deer to a cooler or, in colder climates, hang it in a suitable place for aging. Ideally, aim for at least 5 days with the hide still intact in temperatures of 38 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

You could also age the meat after cutting up the animal, but skin it first and avoid any hair touching the carcass.

After this, you can decide to process the venison meat yourself before freezing or have it done commercially as it requires quite an investment of time and equipment to get it right. The meat once properly handled, will last you for many months ahead.

  1. Buy Food Items in Bulk 
(via:Pixabay.com)

(via:Pixabay.com)

 

There’s no escaping this one. You’re going to need food every day so a little strategic planning will help here. Plan to buy food that will feed you for at least 3 to 6 months.

Buying in bulk is the way to go here. Non-perishable, dry food items and spices like whole wheat, beans, salt and rice should be top of your list. Buy them in larger bags of up to 50lbs for $20 rather than the smaller retail bags. You can conveniently get approximately 500 servings of rice from each of these 50lb bags. Cans of fruit, vegetables, dressings and powdered food items are also good for extended storage as long as you don’t exceed the expiry dates. Freeze dried food in bulk is also recommended.

On another note regarding food, the need to buy commercial survival foods is still debatable. These foods are usually expensive. You can expect to spend several thousands of dollars to feed just one person so it may be better to just buy the kind of food you would normally eat and ensure you store them properly in air tight re-sealable bags.

  1. Buy on Sale and use Coupons
(Via:flickr.com)

(Via:flickr.com)

 

Try to take advantage of every chance you get to spend less. Watch out for sales and coupons online or offline and make use of them for items you actually need. Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean you need to buy it.

Major food chains for instance, routinely offer money-saving coupons and you can find these on their websites, in local newspapers, Facebook pages, social media etc. Doing this will gradually save you thousands of dollars guaranteed as time goes by.

Take your time to shop around. That time will save you money. Fortunately, the internet remains a great resource for comparison shopping to find the lowest prices on items.

  1. Alternative Power Supp­­ly

You’re going to need a generator too and the worst time to go looking for one to buy is when the disaster has already occurred. Sometimes the prices can double because everyone wants to buy and demand is high.

If you feel you can do without a generator, fine, if not the sooner you get one the better. You can also buy them during sales, buy used or you can get brand new generators at bargain prices from people who bought before but feel they no longer need it. Ensure you test it before closing the deal.

Overall, the more knowledge you have about the expected situation, the better prepared you’ll be whatever your budget may be. You can try a test run to determine what items are absolutely essential and what you can live without in a disaster setting. This will put you, and your family, in a better position to come out okay and could make the difference between life and death in extreme cases.

And remember, you don’t have to be rich to prep, just be organized.

About the author: Kevin Steffey is an avid hunter and freelance writer. He loves spending time in the field with his rifle more than almost anything else, and occupies his off-time discussing deer and their habits online. He is a founder at www.deerhuntingfield.com

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Prepping for a Winter Crisis! – Blizzard of ’77

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from PrepMomCanada. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


When you live in an area of North America that is prone to blizzards, you must take it seriously and prepare accordingly. The Blizzard of ’77 is a prime example of why you should be prepared. We live in Southern Ontario, and it crippled this area and Western New York state. Although I did not live through it first hand – my entire family did! Their stories have shaped my desire to be prepared in case this was to ever happen again. These stories were passed down to me through parents, coworkers and grandparents, as I was not born yet.

The Blizzard began the last week of January, 1977. My dad said they closed his high school as soon as the blizzard was in full swing. He recalls walking home on top of the snow and passing by peoples’ chimneys. That’s how high off the ground he was from the accumulated snow. He told me he was actually one of the lucky ones. He heard later that in neighboring towns they didn’t close the schools early enough and children were stuck there for days! Everyone’s power was out for days, and the stores were wiped clean within hours of the first day.

A coworker told me she was stuck in her house with her baby that was less than a year old, and she ran out of milk. There was absolutely nothing she could do about it. Other people tell me they were stuck in their vehicles in the freezing cold, no one could get to them. There were no cell phones at this time. You were stuck there until someone found you. If you left your car, you risked freezing to death in the elements. All of Southern Ontario and Western New York was declared as a ‘state of emergency’ by the government. Police, Fire and Armed forces were called in to help from neighboring communities to supply food, water and medical aid. My Grandmother’s friend tells the story of her whole family huddling in the kitchen with the gas stove lit for warmth. They shut all the doors and hung blankets in open doorways just to keep the heat in the room they were in.

buffalo-blizzard-1977-1

When a crisis like this hits, emergency services are limited. There is only so much they can do when there is 5-8 feet of snow on the ground. If they can’t get to you, they can’t help you! This is why it is so important to have emergency supplies at home and in your vehicle. It could save your life. You have to take the safety of your family into your own hands, and be prepared for winter. At the bare minimum you should have a candle and lighter, a blanket, a few food items, a flare, basic first aid kit and a supply of water in your vehicle at all times. Some people also like to have sidewalk salt/sand on hand, as well as a collapsible shovel… you may just be able to dig yourself out if you have the right tools. I have personally had to use the salt/shovel combo many times!

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My parents told me that the people who had generators and snowmobiles were the best off, and they were actually helping with the rescue mission of getting others out of their buried cars. It was the only suitable mode of transportation during the storm. The cars were completely buried in the snow, you could not even see the tops of them. My family witnessed people driving right over top of buried vehicles.

If you live in an area prone to any type of storm you should have a generator and gasoline stored away, at the very least. Living without power, when you are not accustomed to it, is not fun!

blizzard-78-200633

People nicknamed the Blizzard of ’77, The White Death. Many people died from freezing to death in their cars, having heart attacks from shoveling snow etc. People had frostbite on their hands and feet from being out shoveling for hours so that they could actually get out of their houses. Most people don’t think of snow storms as being deadly like hurricanes and tornadoes, but they can be if they are severe enough! It is imperative to have stored food, water & medical supplies in your house in case you are snowed in and cannot leave! You may not only lose power, your water may be turned off, or you may have to deal with pipes bursting. So be sure to have an adequate amount of water to see you and your family through several days. There are actually articles on this site that help you figure out how much water and food to store for the size of your family. It is not that expensive to stock up on a few survival necessities, and you will be so thankful that you did if you ever faced a natural disaster.

Some of the bare necessities may include, but are not limited to:

If you happen to be stranded outside when the snow storm hits try to find the closest building for warmth. If you do not have that option there are many videos on YouTube that instruct you how to stay alive in a blizzard. They are informative and practical.

One of the most important parts of prepping for a natural disaster of any kind is having the knowledge and skills to carry you through hard times. It is also important to never have the attitude that ‘oh that will never happen to me.’ A natural disaster can strike anywhere, any time. Mother Nature does not discriminate.

Hope this helps someone prep a bit for the coming winter! It will be here before we know it!

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Lydia A. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


After TEOTWAWKI hits, the great thing is that the time for worrying will have passed. Well, if you have prepared well, the time for worry should have passed. As preppers, we won’t have to worry and we can focus on being happy, and helping others be happy. Unfortunately, for most people that is when the time for worrying—and worse—will begin. It’s sad, its tragic, but there’s really not much more we could have done to prevent it. We tried visiting with friends and family to help them catch a clue about our precarious situation before things fell apart, but for the most part they didn’t want to listen.

When TEOTWAWKI hits, they’ll be in a world of hurt, and we won’t be able to fix it. We need to accept that fact.

What we can do is try to help a little.

Because most people will be losing their collective minds in the initial days and weeks after TEOTWAWKI hits, the safest thing to do for ourselves and our families will probably be to stay as far away from society as possible for a while. However, once reality has set in and people have started to adjust to the new normal, an essential component of rebuilding your immediate community will be the ability to give selfless service to others.

Now by this I don’t mean you start feeding and clothing anyone or everyone. Most of us cannot do that. Most of us recognize that one of the reasons that our society is in the mess we’re in is because we fostered a community of people who existed and even thrived on handouts.

What I do mean is that life is suddenly going to be difficult for everybody, and much more difficult for most. When this happens, our attitude can make all the difference in ourselves and our families, and it can have a huge impact on others as well. It doesn’t have to cost any money. It may cost a little time. It may take a little effort. And then there are those things that may cost a little money now, but they can be very valuable later.

FREE

There’s the free stuff that doesn’t take any time—smiles, hugs, winks. We’ve all noticed how just a smile can lift sagging shoulders. Then there is the free stuff that takes a little time—telling a joke, a helping hand in carrying out a task, reading a story to children. Sharing raspberry or rhubarb starts or medicinal plants. Just listening when someone needs to vent or cry. Rocking a baby for a mother who needs to get some work done.

Kindness

Kindness

INEXPENSIVE NOW, INVALUABLE LATER

As I gather supplies for my family and prepare for difficulties that lie ahead, I try to imagine what very inexpensive items that are very small and difficult to DIY or do without will be high demand. I recall reading about a starving German woman following the end of WWII who was observed trading away her orange for a spool of thread—and then her friends gathering around begging to have a little of that thread as well. Also, I think about what drives me crazy now when I don’t have it even for a short time. Well, things that I should always carry in a purse, but since I never carry a purse…. Lip balm, lotion, a nail file. Over-the-counter medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and Benadryl really are very inexpensive and store forever.

medicalsupplies

A little triple antibiotic ointment could literally save a person’s life. Vegetable seeds are incredibly inexpensive. They don’t necessarily store well (depends on which vegetable—tomato seeds can be viable after a decade, while onions may not last three years), but as long as they can be cheaply rotated and replaced, it makes sense to store extra. Spices could be shared with others as well, and they’ll remember your kindness throughout the meal, and hopefully beyond. I store mostly what I think my family will use in the next few years. However, because my dear husband has an irrational fear of being without nutmeg, we probably have enough of that spice to last our entire valley for a decade. Matches are pretty cheap, so I think we have a lot of those, but then again as I think about it a little more, maybe I should pick up some additional boxes.

SERVICE THAT TAKES A LITTLE TIME AND/OR MONEY

However, often service is going to take a little more time and/or expense. And we need to be in a position to serve others outside family as a means of re-building the community. It won’t always be convenient, and it might involve some sacrifice. By this I mean taking the time to teach others the skills they need to survive. Yes, it will be hard because people could have listened and learned when it was easy. But it will be an opportunity to draw together as a group.

Someone will need to teach skills such as simple as mending of clothing, gardening, careful knife sharpening, cooking and baking, trapping, appliance repair, water purification, etc. The list is endless. I have bamboo knitting needles that I have gotten very cheaply now that I will be able to share with a few others who express the desire to learn. I’ve got hundreds of hand sewing needles and dozens of spools of thread. And because we won’t necessarily have the time to personally teach skills, we also have lots of how-to books.

What about having some cheap candy on hand to give to children? My daughters have learned to knit very tiny animals, like only an inch or two in size, that they will make and give to youngsters. Play dough can be made with flour that has gone rancid or buggy.

Serving others during TEOTWAWKI is like being on an airplane that’s hit turbulence or is experiencing some kind of malfunction. You’re not the pilot. You’re not trying to land the plane. Simply put, you don’t have those skills to share. Just like it’s not your job to feed and clothe your neighbors or your community. You’re just trying to help the guy next to you get the oxygen mask on. But remember, like all the flight attendants say in their pre-flight announcements, you have to put your own mask on first. Take care of your own family and needs first. Because you have prepared, you won’t have to worry. You will be able to be happy. And as such, you will then be in a position to help others and we’ll all be able to rebuild that much sooner.

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Keeping Order and Saving Lives Following a Disaster

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Editor’s Note: This post contributed by Roger Miller. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the Prepper Writing Contest today.


Helping others

It has been discussed here at the Prepper Journal that helping others may be a vital component to your survival strategy. While protecting yourself against bandits and those that want to do you harm is a top concern for individuals and groups when SHTF, you are likely to come across situations where helping your own group or helping those you come across will not only be the right thing to do ethically, but will also be tremendously advantageous to your situation.

But following major natural disasters or other sudden, large-scale emergencies, first aid, even advanced medical services, may not be enough. Here are some other factors to consider when preparing your skills and gear for coping with a disaster event.

Organization and Triage

Effectively organizing a disaster scene can be as difficult and as important as directly treating victims. Prioritizing which survivors are in need of immediate care, cordoning off sections for different levels of need, and helping those who will most benefit from immediate attention can reduce treatment times, decrease the burden on those administering aid, and bring some sense of order to what is sure to be a chaotic scene.

triagecode

Triage Code tags makes identifying and prioritizing people with injuries simpler.

The practice of triage is a time-tested method for effectively managing personnel and resources in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. The system works by categorizing victims into three categories:

  1. Those who are likely to live without treatment – survivors with only bumps and bruises, non life-threatening injuries, and unharmed bystanders can be immediately categorized as low priority.
  1. Those who are unlikely to live regardless of treatment – Medical personnel working in the field can often do little for those who are barely clinging to life, and while every life counts, there are likely victims who could benefit much more from immediate attention.
  1. Those whose lives could be saved by immediate care – these are the highest priority victims, and should be where medical personnel’s resources should be focused in the early stages. Victims who need tourniquets to stop bleeding, burn kits to mitigate damage, and measures to avoid victims going into shock can all be applied immediately in the field and can be the difference between life and death for the victims.

Prioritizing survivors in this way can be facilitated with triage kits that include color-coded tags, tarps, and markers. While you may not be able to set up a perfect triage clinic in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, being familiar with how these operations are organized, and preparing yourself with the adequate tools for the job can go a long way.

Communication

Natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, and tornadoes can come without warning, leaving victims tremendously disoriented and potentially panicked. Similarly, building collapses, terrorist attacks, and structural fires have the tendency to induce chaos and confusion in their aftermath. In a situation where the institutions we depend on to return order to a scene are no longer able to fulfill that function, you may need to contribute to restoring calm and jump starting life-saving procedures.

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho – Staff Sgt. Kalani Kaauamo, 366th Medical Group, performs triage after a simulated car accident at the base hospital.

2-Way radios2 Way radios can be essential tools for communicating both with off-scene resources as well as on-scene organizers who are managing resources. Having a few 2-Way radios and spare batteries will help you get the most out of personnel.

Bullhorns – Sometimes, you need to communicate to a large audience all at once. Giving instructions, warnings, tips, or procedures during the commotion of a disaster scene can be impossible without the aid of technology. Using bullhorns can help speed up the communication process while improving its overall efficacy.

Combined with a working knowledge of how to triage patients, these tools can all contribute to effective emergency management. While these may not be at the top of your bug-out list, you should consider keeping them handy at the office, at your home, or in your car.

Personnel Safety

The scene following an emergency can continue to be a dangerous area. Damage to surrounding structures, the possibility of a second disaster, and lingering environmental effects like air pollutants and hot surfaces can all bring severe injury to otherwise healthy survivors. Hard hats, dust masks, safety vests, goggles, and work gloves should all be on hand to keep response teams safe while survivors are triaged or removed from the scene altogether. CERT kits often include all of this gear for quick access to everything you may need to respond to disaster.

Medical Aid

This is typically the first thing people think of when they imagine treating a disaster area. As we’ve discussed, there’s a lot more to successfully managing the immediate aftermath of a disaster. With that said, proper medical tools and training will be the most direct aids in saving lives and mitigating the effects of injuries.

Trauma kits Trauma kits can be purchased in a variety of sizes and should include blood clotting materials, burn care kits, sterilizers, tourniquets, hardware like paramedic shears, and various assorted bandages and first aid essentials. Make sure you’ve got an accurate inventory of what tools are available and get at least a basic grasp of first aid.

Finding a Job

Even if you’re not directly administering aid, there will likely be a job for you to make things better. Serious medical attention should be left to trained personnel, as unskilled hands could wind up doing more damage than help. But if you find yourself at the scene of an emergency, especially in a post SHTF scenario, there are going to be dozens of jobs for you to fill. Finding survivors, directing them to the proper triage zones, fetching tools for those administering aid, and generally contributing to a calm and orderly atmosphere can go a long way towards saving lives.

Being able to navigate the confusion and panic surrounding a disaster event is difficult even in the most developed and high-functioning societies. If an emergency situation were to present itself following an economic collapse or in the midst of an unrelated failure of the support infrastructure we so often take for granted, it will be those closest to the event that will need to step up and help those around them.

About the author: Roger Miller is an avid hiker, camper, cyclist, and writer. He’s worked with a variety of outdoor retailers and prepping supply providers, including EmergencyKits.com to learn and teach preparedness and the value of having the proper knowledge for survival.

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How to Be a Prepper in College

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Talon E. who to my amazement, wrote and submitted this article from his cell phone. Twice! If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


We all prep for different scenarios, and start at different times in our lives. What made you start prepping? Did someone convince you that it’s a good idea? What’s your excuse for not prepping? Most of the people I try to get prepared have many excuses for not starting. Being 22 and just one semester away from getting my bachelor’s, the most common excuse I hear is I can’t afford it. Well I say. If there’s a will,  there’s a way and in this article I am going to share how I practice being a prepper in college.

I grew up in a small farm town of 3500 people. Growing up I wasn’t in boy scouts. I was just a kid that liked shooting guns. We always had a little bit of food set aside, and we would always rotate food. I never realized what it was for. I never recall them talking about any radical ideas for it, just thought it was a good idea to stocked. Just. In. Case.

For the past four and a half years I’ve lived in a small apartment (now in a duplex) in a college town with a population of nearly 91,000.

The first couple years of my college life I was on campus in the dorms. Luckily for me, being on a native American campus we have a good amount of mother nature on our campus. Mother nature always provides, but you have to know where and what.

I have a pretty small collective of friends that I fully trust, but I have several acquaintances and connections that give me opportunity. My close friends my age know I prep, but they always say it costs too much to start prepping. While they say this I think in my head how much they drink and go out. Obviously you still need to live life and enjoy it, but I believe at some point you have to prioritize for the well-being of yourself and your family’s safety. There’s plenty of money to be made, and plenty of deals to be had. Building one bug out bag takes a good amount of planning and strategy which takes time. Just having one bag puts you ahead of most people in urban areas. I built my several bags and prep’s by purchasing one piece at a time. There is no excuse for the lack of prepping.

Prepping doesn’t have to cost a fortune

I’ve always had a knack for finding good deals. In no way am I wealthy, but I grew up wheeling and dealing. I am constantly scouring Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, etc. I work hard for my money, and when it’s not enough I find side jobs come in handy. Most college towns have places where you can donate plasma. This is a good way to build some spending money. My part-time job is an auto detailer for a dealership. I’ve found that I’m quite good at it and I like doing it. It is becoming a lost art and there is a lot of money to be made.

Side jobs are likely necessary to have enough cash to spend on discretionary supplies.

Side jobs are likely necessary to have extra cash to spend on discretionary supplies. Competition is fierce for these spots.

Another misconception that is popular with college kids making excuses in my area is that it’s all about spending money. Prepping isn’t only material things. Sure it’s a big part of it, but it’s also a mentality. Everyday I think what if’s and different scenarios to challenge my mind. Prepping is a prepared state of mind. This website and others brought me very good insight as to what I could and should do in different emergency scenarios. Even if you can’t afford to build several bug out bags, buy firearms, stockpile food and water, then you should definitely be researching other aspirations. Knowledge is power and there is a lot of survival information to be had on the internet! Not everyone grew up as a boy scout, I know I didn’t. Knots can be as important as knowing how to skin an animal, or what plants are edible.

Friends of mine that try to prep dismiss the fact that upon the beginning stages of WROL it will be a blood bath at regular store such as: grocery stores, pharmacies, gun stores, etc. They all say oh I’ll just go grab some food at the store. No. It won’t work that way. This is why it is very important for us to prep. Even if you live in the dorms it would be a very good idea to have some canned food, bottled water, flashlights, and batteries hidden away. There’s plenty more you can prep for but I believe most people I talk to could not handle a stressful event such as SHTF. If you have a little prior knowledge to survival and your environment, then it should help you prepare mentally. Having a small stockpile of supplies can be a safety net, and should provide you a little bit of time to collect your thoughts as to what just happened and forming your game-plan.

Start small but build continuously

I am just now starting to buy some canned food to put aside just in case of a power outage. A single can of corn in my area is merely 69 cents. It is easy and cheap to stock up on canned foods to keep in your place of residence. The only problem I see is when you must bug out, the canned food will be very, very heavy. Make sure to keep your home stockpile separate from your bug out bag supplies. A good habit for both is to still use the supplies in both spots and replace them with new ones to keep the “best by” date as far out as possible.

dormfood

It is easy and cheap to stock up on canned foods to keep in your place of residence.

My generation has lost the ability to be self-sufficient and prepared. For other college students reading this and wanting help to prep on a very tight budget, I urge you to read as much as you can. Free information will only be around as long as society holds up. To be clear I definitely live the “college experience”. I don’t go to parties or go out for nights of binge drinking. There is other ways to be social and they are much cheaper.

The biggest challenge in prepping for a college student is preparing for an active shooter. You don’t know when it’s coming, from where, or how many there are. Most college campuses don’t allow firearms or conceal carry. Some states are starting to allow conceal carry on campus which, in my opinion is a great idea. My state is one of those starting to allow that. Unfortunately for me I go to a Native American College that is federally owned so the law doesn’t hold there. How do you prep for an active shooter if you’re not allowed to have even a pocket knife, and you don’t want to break the law? This question brings me back to what I stated earlier about reading as much information as you can. The have been survivors of every school shooting and their stories are out there.

So I am constantly reading and building my knowledge of survival. Now what? Personally a bug out bag is my go to item to start with for any prep. Whether you believe in TEOTWAWKI or just wanna have a head start on a natural disaster there is always room for a bug out bag, and it is very important to have this bag with you at all times. I have found that Walmart can sell everything you would need for a bug out bag. Piece by piece you will complete it. That being said don’t be that person to go buy a “pre-made emergency bag” they are made in bulk and most likely won’t be very accepting to your specific needs. MRE’s are a good choice for any style of bag as well as freeze dried foods. You need to always consider where you would go, how far is it, and the terrain you would trek through. If you have found that there is several options for water I would choose Mountain House freeze-dried meals because, they are light and filling. If water sources will be scarce then MRE’s take much less water.

For the preppers who believe in the large-scale, scary things that could potentially happen remember that there’s always going to be someone wanting to take what you have. I once read a very good article on here that mentioned that no matter where you hunker down there will be people after it. You WILL be overrun. That has always stuck with me and because of it I am constantly thinking where would I go now? Where would I go next? I suggest knowing your terrain and various routes to get around area’s that are going to be most likely a huge mess.

A lot of the things I’ve talked about have been really similar. The constant repetition should help retain the information for all the young, hard-headed, minds I am trying motivate. I’ve only scratched the surface of what I could say, but for my first article I wanted to keep it short and to the point. Bottom line is if you keep making excuses you may find yourself scrambling when the stuff starts hitting the fan.

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Crisis at Work: Hurricane and Emergency Preparedness for Small Businesses

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Editor’s Note: This post contributed by Pete Duncanson. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the Prepper Writing Contest today.


Let’s start at the very beginning. Why do you need a small business disaster recovery plan? The answer is simple. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), nearly 40 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. An even greater number fail within 1 to 3 years, due to insurmountable losses.

While the recent devastation from Hurricane Matthew may lead some to believe that business emergency preparedness applies only to large storms or natural disasters, the fact is that there are many emergencies you should prepare for that can interrupt operations and profitability, from localized outages to random fires, floods and more.

According to the 2014 Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark Survey, over 75% of businesses have experienced the loss of at least one critical application after a power outage – leading to an estimated cost of more than $5,000 per minute. For tech reliant companies, that’s a lot to put at stake for lack of preparation.

While there are many kinds of disasters that can strike and many reasons that businesses may fail afterward, doing your business disaster planning ahead of time is an essential step to being able to recover, reopen and recoup your losses in the event of any emergency. It’s crucial not only to have the correct insurance plans in place to protect your physical assets, but also to have strong business continuity and emergency preparedness plans so during a crisis situation at work, you can put your company in position to survive.

How Do Disasters Impact Small Businesses?

Beyond the immediate economic impact of a shutdown, business disruption due to floods and hurricanes, fires, outages and other emergencies can impact your company’s chances of survival in many ways.

Physical Damage

The first way that your business could be impacted is though physical damage to the premises and facility, including the building itself, pipes, ventilation systems and more. Consider what emergencies have happened in your area before and how they’ve impacted the businesses around you. What would the cost of not doing business for an hour, day, week or even longer be? It’s time to consider how to mitigate those losses. Review your insurance policies now – the cost to rebuild is often what results in closed doors.

1994, Los Angeles, California, USA --- Original caption: Los Angeles, California: Earthquake Aftermath. --- Image by © David Butow/Corbis

1994, Los Angeles, California, USA – Image by © David Butow/Corbis

Staffing and Clients

The second way a business will be impacted during an emergency is in staffing and customer retention. Employees may be evacuated or otherwise unable to come to work during the disaster, while significant damage to the area may impact both your staff and customers’ ability to return to their homes, jobs and consumer behaviors. What plans do you have in place to prepare for a change in your staffing or client base? Consider having a remote operations plan to ensure essential services continue in the event of on-site interference.

Business Disaster Planning: Be Prepared in Advance

The basics of business disaster planning have to do with effective preparation, testing, training and leadership. You have to prepare your small business continuity and recovery plans, test them regularly, train your people to perform their roles and have strong leaders in place to ensure they’re carried out when disaster strikes.

Getting Your Business Ready

Here are some of the technical things you might want to consider investing in now so you don’t regret it after a disaster:

  • Lightweight laptop that’s connected to essential business systems
  • Cell phone with mobile Wi-Fi capabilities or another sources of localized Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Cloud storage for essential documents
  • Off-premise operations hub

With cloud storage becoming more and more accessible and affordable, I highly recommend you save important business documents to a cloud storage platform, so you can still access crucial information should your on-site records be unsalvageable. It’s also important to consider where you’ll base operations if an evacuation order is issued or you’re otherwise unable to use your current facility due to damage

If you end up stranded in the office, you’ll also want to have what I call a “business BOB” on hand. Keep your bug-out bag in an area you’ll be able to access in an emergency, and stock it with essential items that can make the difference between life and death when you’re stranded at work.

Your business BOB should include enough supplies to support the people in your office for at least 72 hours:

  • Nonperishable foods and a way to prepare them – consider what you’ll do if there’s no power
  • Water, and plenty of it
  • A first aid kit, medical supplies and basic toiletries including soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, feminine products, baby wipes, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc.
  • Flashlights/Headlamp
  • Blankets
  • A toolkit including a compass, flashlights, duct tape, lighters, and other common tools

You may also want to consider having backup systems of defense should your alarm systems go out – especially if your facility is at high-risk for looting or other forms of opportunism that are common during emergencies.

emergency-preparedness

Getting Your People Ready

When it comes to human resources, the most important thing to consider is leadership and communication.

  • Establish leadership in advance. You should choose leaders with a high degree of trust, integrity, capability and experience.
    • Who should employees go to with questions about their work during an emergency? If you are stranded on-site, you’ll need leaders to supervise different essential areas, including food, defense, medical services and even conflict resolution.
  • Establish communications systems, buddy systems and meeting places. What will you do if wireless networks are down and you’re stranded at work?
    • Consider having a battery-operated, solar or reliable ham radio, satellite phone and other emergency communication systems on hand that can allow two-way communication and information delivery when cell phone towers and other business systems are down.
    • Sign up for alerts from the Red Cross and local authorities so you stay up-to-date on the state of the emergency.
  • Make sure every member of the team has a role and a job to do. Consider individual skill-sets – including any medical, counseling or defense training – and how they would be best put to use. Giving everyone a role not only expands the human resources you have available, but it also helps keep people calm in a crisis situation.

Long before disaster strikes, the business continuity plans you create must be shared with and practiced by employees so they know exactly what to do before panic sets in. Test your plans regularly, train employees to carry it out, assess effectiveness and always solicit for feedback. Having a plan will do nothing if it’s not tested, refined and continually refreshed.

It’s also smart to communicate your emergency and business continuity plans with any business partners who may be impacted by an interruption in your operations so they, too, know what to expect. Alerting them in advance will help them know how to stay in touch with you and help you avoid increased losses both during and after disaster.

Crisis at Work: Putting Your Plan into Action

If you’ve prepared well in advanced, you should be able to put your emergency business continuity and disaster recovery plans into action relatively smoothly. Of course, during a disaster, nothing is for sure, so here are a few tips to ensure you stay as safe as possible:

  • Immediately deploy your emergency communications system when disaster strikes to keep staff and customers alert, aware and ready to act.
  • Always follow evacuation orders and use the information available to get employees and personnel safely out of harm’s way before disaster strikes.
  • If you’re unable to exit the premises in an emergency, secure your location, people, supplies and equipment.
  • Remember that every member of your organization has value in an emergency. Just like managers look for employees’ best use when it comes to day-to-day operations, it’s important that you find the best way for everyone to contribute in an emergency so that no one feels helpless or alone.

That last point is probably the most important – beyond actually having a small business emergency recovery plan in place. Emotions run high in emergency situations, so you need to be ready to help people cope. Being sufficiently prepared prior to a disaster will go a long way to keeping everyone calm and collected until you make it safely to the other side.

Small Business Disaster Planning Resources

Explore FEMA’s Small Business Preparedness Toolkit, featuring a range of resources and planning documents.

Use the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Sample Emergency Preparedness Checklist to create your own disaster checklist today.

Specific disaster preparedness information and sample assessment forms for small businesses are available at PrepareMyBusiness.org.

Get more resources from the Small Business Association:

About the Author

Pete Duncanson is the Director of System Development at ServiceMaster Restore, the largest franchised disaster restoration company in the United States providing mitigation and restoration services to homeowners and business owners. Pete has for worked ServiceMaster Restore for more than 30 years and is recognized throughout the cleaning and restoration industry, serving on many boards including The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Pete is also vice president of operations for Society of Cleaning and Restoration Technicians (SCRT), corporate representative to Restoration Industry Association (RIA) and IAQA (Indoor Air Quality Association), and outreach instructor for Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

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The Biggest, Most Likely Disaster You’re Not Prepared For

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Anna G. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


The Wall Street Journal warned us about it.

It keeps government officials up at night.

But the vast majority of Americans are completely unprepared for this disaster:

We’re talking about power grid cyber attack.

We, as a society, are hooked on electricity. So many people take it for granted, and can’t imagine a world where they couldn’t flip a switch and cook their food, heat their home, communicate with family or co-workers, or access all of the date we have stored in the cloud.

The US power grid is one of the most important, and most vulnerable, systems in the country. Every single critical infrastructure, from communications to water, relies upon its function. Without the power grid, our country can’t conduct business. We can’t do our banking. We can’t even milk our cows.

America is not ready for the grid to go down.

bangladesh_blackout_AP_650

But it might. In fact, it probably will. And the government knows it.

The President of the United States stated two years ago that “For those who would seek to do our Nation significant physical, economic, and psychological harm, the electrical grid is an obvious target.”

The power grid isn’t only a target because of how essential it is to the inner-workings of our society, but also because of how weak it is.

The power grid, like many other areas of technology, is automated and remotely controlled. That leaves a network of 160,000 miles of transmission lines, and 55,000 sub-stations very vulnerable. Many major substations of the power grid are completely unmanned, secured from physical attack only by a single, chain-linked fence.

But physical attack isn’t the only, or even the biggest, threat to the system. Cyber hacking is growing as the primary threat to our country’s security, including our energy security. Defending the power grid as a whole is extremely challenging, since there are about 3,200 utilities, all which operation only a portion of the grid, though most of the individual networks are interconnected. With this sort of complicated, multi-faceted network, it’s hard to pick up on a malevolent attack, when there’s so many different administrators involved. The lack of coordination of power grid ownership and leadership doesn’t lend itself well to security.

The Wall Street Journal says it well:

“The grid was cobbled together during the electrification of the U.S. over the past 125 years. It is a fragile, interdependent system. There is so much variability in the grid that what cases a catastrophe one day might not the next, which makes security issues complex. Small problems can quickly spiral out of control.”

Federal officials are very aware of this problem. Almost twenty years ago, officials stated that “virtually any region would suffer major, extended blackouts if more than three key substations were destroyed.” Despite this knowledge, they have done very little about it.

SolarPanels

Having your own capacity for back up power might be the only thing standing between you and disaster

One journalist, Ted Koppel, ventured to ask government officials flat-out what they were doing about this threat to our country. His findings were disturbing. When he asked government security officials about their plan of action if the power grid ever went down, they became uncooperative and defensive, giving Koppel oversimplified and unclear answers. Koppel could only gather from these responses that there really was no plan. At least, not one that was accessible to the people who would be most affected by a prolonged outage (so, everyone.)

The country’s usual response to disaster includes evacuation, increased supervision, and emergency aid. But in the case of tens of millions of homes without power, this action wouldn’t take care of the situation. Evacuation wouldn’t make sense, supervision would never be adequate, and emergency aid would be depleted within days. Koppel speculates that the government doesn’t have a plan because they don’t know where to start. The situation would be bleak, with few good options, if any.

So where does that leave us?

If we can’t depend on the power grid, and we can’t depend on the government to adequately protect us from grid failure, it’s time to take our power into our own hands.

We’re talking about building up your own energy fortress. It’s up to you to make sure you have back-up power–stored energy that you can tap into whenever you need it. Instead of wondering when the next power outage will hit, you can know that you’ll still have the electricity you need to keep your outlets up, your light on, your devices charged, and your refrigerator running. With this sort of security, you can know that your household, and those closest to you, are protected from anything the power grid throws your way.

What does energy security look like?

Mounting Solar panels on roofs or moveable panels allow for easy access for maintenance.

Mounting Solar panels on roofs or moveable panels allow for easy access for maintenance.

There’s actually one very good option for individual businesses and homeowners, and it’s available right now: Batteries.

Energy storage could change everything. Think of it this way — households independent from the grid won’t even notice a grid outage… that is, until their grid-connected neighbors come knocking.

Households equipped with solar panels and energy storage in the form of home batteries will be completely protected from any utility company mishap, whether it be on a large or small-scale. Home batteries allow households to power their own essential appliances like refrigerators, water pumps, and heating/cooling devices with stored electricity collected from renewable energy sources like solar panels. The grid may be vulnerable, but the sun? Not so much.

Energy storage changes the entire conversation about grid vulnerability. We don’t have to talk about prolonged power outages as an impending probability, but a situation that can be avoided altogether. Home batteries put the power back into the hands of the consumer, and back into the appliances and systems we need to sustain our lives.

The largest most likely threat to our everyday lives–a power grid attack—doesn’t have to be a threat at all. You don’t have to live in fear, connected to a power grid that could fail at any moment, leaving you and your family in a vulnerable, and potentially life-threatening situation. Instead, information about this threat can motivate you to adopt a new way of creating, storing, and consuming energy.

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The Importance of Your Knife and a Backup Bug out Bag

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from D. Couger. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Let’s first deal with the easier of the above listed two points: the backup bug out bag. I was talking to my best friend a while back and I brought up the bug out bag that I had made him as a birthday present and I asked him if it’s still in his car. He said no and I asked why not and where it was? He stated that it’s at home and that if the SHTF that he would be rushing home to his wife and it would be there. I then said, you may not make it home without having that bag. What if something happens to your car and you need to hoof it (I then had to list a couple of possibilities of what might happen to the car, auto accident, roads closed or impassable, EMP, etc.). Then I explained that if you’re forced to walk or jog and something else causes you to be out there longer than a couple of hours, you will be damn glad that you have that backpack full of all the supplies you need to survive. He was quiet for a minute then said that he hadn’t given that much thought and he would put the bag back in the car.

I won’t go into details about what is in the bag as various preppers have gone through the bug out bag checklist many times in the past but I will tell you this. I have two cars and two motorcycles (one each for the wife and me) and I have a bag for each vehicle. I also have another bag ready in the house in the event that I need to grab and run and don’t have time or the opportunity to get to the cars or bikes. The bags for the cars and house have all the exact same things in them but the bags for the motorcycles are by necessity smaller, and thereby have fewer items in them. They do have all the most needed items in them and I could get by with just those and of course, during the course of surviving, I would hope to pick up a bigger bag and add more needed things as I came upon them. I also have my computer bag with me at work and that has the bare essentials in it just in case I have trouble getting out to the parking lot where my car is.

The point of all of this is, you need a bag for any possibility that may arise for exactly where you might be at any given time. It would be terrible if after all the thought, time and effort put into making a bug out bag, that when you need it the most, it’s not within easy reach. That would be the epitome of Murphy’s Law, so prepare ahead of time by thinking all of the possible scenarios that could keep you from reaching your bag(s).

The Importance of Your Knife

StatGear 99416 Surviv-All Outdoor Knife with Firestarter, Sharpener & Cord Cutter

Now onto the importance of your knife(s), as my best friend (yes, the same one as mentioned above) once said, if you need a knife then you’d better have more than one. A knife is not just a hand-held weapon, nor should it just be a survival tool. For our purposes (preppers) it needs to be both as well as a third option-an offensive projectile. Most folks would say that a really effective survival knife is not suited for throwing and they would be partially correct, except for the fact that ANY knife can be thrown.

The best survival knife will have a blade length of between seven and ten inches with serrations on the top edge of the blade (to be used for sawing). However, the best knife for offense will be double-edged and can be as short as three inches and still be a deadly weapon and usually balanced nicely for throwing. I cannot offer any quick insights into how to throw a knife, but I can tell you this, again, any knife can be thrown (just like most tools can be thrown). Do a search on you tube for “how to throw a knife” and you will find many great instructional videos that will help you learn this.

Here is a VERY important thing to remember, do not go with a cheaper priced knife, no matter if you use it for survival or for combat, as your life might depend on this knife and a cheaper priced one will definitely let you down (and of course, when you need it the most). Having a sharp, easy to deploy survival knife can help you face almost any obstruction you may face in the wilderness. Your knife needs to be able to help you procure food, and help to cook it as well. It needs to be strong enough to help build your shelter, dig a hole and assist with the cutting of wood for a fire.

I have a ten inch survival knife, complete with a hollow handle that holds the basics: fishing line and hook, water-proof matches, compass, etc. and it is made from high carbon steel. I do not recommend stainless steel as it doesn’t retain its edge very long and is susceptible to bending and/or breaking. I also have a hunting knife with a six-inch blade made with a full tang (made of one single solid piece of metal) which are superior to partial tang or rat-tail tang blades and are capable of performing heavy-duty tasks like prying, digging and pounding. Also, make sure the grip around the handle is not made from a slippery substance as that can either cause you an injury or worse, your death. Hard rubber or a polymer is recommended as it won’t get slippery and will absorb some of the shock if you are using it as a tool. If you are buying a knife for your backpack, bug out bag or just for your camping/hunting supplies, make sure it fits comfortably in your hand. If the handle is too big, you won’t get the full benefit of the knife’s capabilities. If it’s too small, it could become a dangerous item for you (when a knife slips from your hand, they have a tendency to cut something that you didn’t want cut, usually another part of you).

survival-knife

My survival knife hangs in a leg sheath at my side and I have a few other knives in and on various spots on my back pack, my belt and on my web gear. These other knives are smaller, some are folding knives and some are fixed blades but all are the best that I could find as even a small folding knife can be used for almost anything that the above listed survival knife can do so I wanted the best quality available. Make sure that you have at least one knife that is a skinning knife, to be used as a cutting tool for removing the hide of game animals or for cleaning a fish. This will usually have an extremely sharp short thin curved blade that will keep the tip from puncturing the hide or spearing the meat. A gutting knife is also good to have but most fixed blade knives can serve this purpose if you are trying to keep your bags overall weight down.

I have two smaller fixed blade knives that are spear pointed with nylon wrapped cord for a handle. These are for making into a spear for fishing, hunting and/or as a long defensive/offensive weapon. These can be attached to the end of a long branch by using the cord to secure it. I also have one machete type knife that has a 17 inch blade (stored in a sheath attached to my backpack) to use for a brush clearer and also as a longer defensive/offensive weapon.

In conclusion, no matter how many knives you get, or the type, remember these basics: 1. If you need a knife make sure you have more than one. 2. Get the best quality that you can afford. 3. Think about what uses you can get out of the individual knife. And lastly, make sure it fits your hand!

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The Penny-Pinched Prepper

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from UncleMorgan. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Over the years I’ve heard many people describe how they would prep if they won the Lottery.

The Big Survival Truck is usually the first thing mentioned, and it’s almost always a 4-wheel drive multi-ton with brawny winches fore and aft and full stealth capability. Then there’s the all-encompassing armory of truly first-class (and extremely expensive) firearms. Plus tons of ammunition, and a Band-Aid. And a 30,000-acre BOL in Montana with a 17-bedroom underground nuke-proof house and an Olympic-size Jacuzzi—all solar-powered, of course.

Unfortunately, most of those people don’t do very much prepping while they’re waiting for their winning numbers to pop up. They just don’t have the money.

In today’s troubled economy, money goes fast, but it doesn’t go far. The average person doesn’t have enough money in the bank to carry them (and their family) through one month of lost income, much less a full-scale disaster. A person should always try to have some kind of emergency reserve. Not having emergency funds doesn’t leave much room for prepping.

So what can a poor penny-pinched Prepper possibly do?

Simple: Get four envelopes and label them Water, Food, Clothing, and Gear. Determine to use the contents of each only for its designated purpose. Then follow these three easy steps to fill them up with money:

Sell

Take a good look at everything you own. Then sell everything you don’t actually need and/or use except items of genuine sentimental value. Everybody needs two 9/16″ wrenches. But if you have three, you should sell one. Even if you can only get $0.50 for it. It may seem like a small thing—too little to be worth bothering with—but the average adult has about $2,500.00 worth of possessions they neither use nor need. Those are the things that should fund your first preps.

Sell everything that you don’t need or want to make money which could be used to purchase prepping supplies or simply build a nest-egg for harder times.

Auction the good stuff on the Internet, have a few yard sales, rent a stall at a flea market, advertise in the free Classifieds, and tell all your friends. Be persistent. Eventually, you’ll sell it all. Trust me on this: Somewhere, somebody desperately wants that three-headed elephant statue that someone must have given you because you’d never buy anything like that, especially if it cost money and you weren’t drunk. However much money this step makes, divide it equally into your four envelopes. (Water, Food, Clothing, and Gear)

Buy

Think outside the box and purchase wisely. Water, of course, should be your first concern. It’s far more critical than food. A person can last a month without eating, but after three days without water they’ve stopped lasting and started dying. The minimum water allowance should be 1 gallon per day, per person. Set 5 gallons per person as your first water goal, and pursue it with the cost of the container in mind. You can buy 3 gallons of “spring water” from the Wally Store for $5.78—but you shouldn’t.

Instead, collect freshly emptied 2-liter soda bottles, rinse them out, and fill them with food-grade water right out of the tap—at the rate of about $1.50 per 1,000 gallons. Price: $0.01, rounded up. Also collect every screw-top beer can you can get your hands on. Wash and rinse them thoroughly and then you can use them for storing water and many other needful things. Free cardboard boxes can be collected from supermarkets to store your water bottles neatly and to shift them fast if you ever have to bug out.

Don’t worry about purifying tap water that goes into clean containers. The chlorine that’s already in it will do that job for you automatically. Gradually work your way up to storing 30 gallons per family member, if you can. When you reach your water storage goal, empty the Water envelope into Buy/Sell.

Water-Storage

Water should be the very first item you stock up on.

Food should be your next concern because in an emergency the supermarkets will be picked clean within hours. Do all your panic-buying long before it’s time to panic—then you’ll never have to. Again, shop wisely: Don’t automatically shop at the most expensive supermarkets. Go to the cheaper ones, and also check out any Bent & Dent Stores in your area. Many times the canned goods there aren’t dented: They just came out of torn cartons. Clip coupons and look for sales. Be sure to check out any local auction houses. Some have monthly food auctions where you can get almost anything except fresh meat at amazingly low prices—as low as 10% of retail for some things.

Buy long term storage foods only, plus whatever you find that you would normally buy in your ordinary shopping. After each auction, figure out how much you saved on the regular shopping items and add that much as cash to your Food envelope. What you save on regular items at the auction is the time and gas you would have expended in ordinary shopping. The cash saved can go to your preps without impacting your standard of living.

The first rule is “Store what you eat and eat what you store.” If you hate green olives, don’t buy a gallon just because they happened to be cheap at the moment. You should stock only foods that you are accustomed to and like. ALL your foods should be comfort foods. Emergencies are stressful enough. There’s no need to add diet discomfort to the situation. Store the kinds of food you are eating, eat the food you have stored before its expiration date, and replace it as you do.

Buy rice and beans because they are cheap and provide complete amino acids when eaten together—but be sure to acquire the recipes that make them into superb meals. Buy canned beef, pork, and chicken, plus soups and vegetables. Buy white pasta because it keeps longest. (Spaghetti packs very compactly.) Ramen noodles are cheap, but go rancid in about two years. Buy extra virgin olive oil and canned lard. Both have their different uses.

The Prepper's Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource

The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource

The second rule is to buy in small containers. Refrigeration may not be available, so don’t buy canned vegetables by the gallon—unless your family is large enough to eat a gallon in one day.

The third rule is to buy variety: Don’t buy 100 lbs. of rice and 100 lbs. of beans and 10 lbs of “everything else”. Buy some of every kind of food you like, plus enough spices to put some serious zing into your cooking. When the flat-screen TV is dead, meals may become the high moments of the day.

Your first food goal should be three days (nine meals) for each person in your family. Do some careful calorie counting, and plan for three 1500-calorie meals a day. That’s more than the total 1500 calories a day many people recommend, but emergency situations are stressful, and usually require a lot of manual labor (such as walking instead of riding). The idea is to maintain your optimum body weight, not to drop to your minimum.

Gradually work up to a thirty-day food supply, and eventually try for ninety. When you’re good for food, retire the Food envelope and roll any leftover money into Buy/Sell. Then turn your attention to Clothing.

Start with durable but comfortable foot gear. Buy good new work boots, or military surplus combat boots. Buy several pairs of thick wool socks. Break the boots in, and wear them at least a few hours a week to keep them supple. Buy a surplus military poncho w/ liner. That’s good gear, and you definitely don’t want anything orange or yellow at any price. You may eventually need to be very inconspicuous.

Assemble one complete set of clothes for winter and one for summer. Include a camo hat with a brim and a black knitted watch cap, work gloves, knee pads, two bandannas, and sunglasses. Don’t be too proud to shop the thrift stores for used clothing. Incredible buys can be found there. Plus, in a disaster situation you don’t want to be seen in anything that says “Rich Person/May Have Food”.

When you’re good for clothing, empty the Clothing envelope into the Buy/Sell envelope. Then turn your attention to Gear.

Gear is an endless exercise in optimization. Start small. Buy the cheap stuff first. Haunt the thrift stores, dollar stores, yard sales, and flea markets. Roughly in order of importance: a good folding knife and a good sheath knife for each person. Also two Bic lighters, a Stainless Steel water bottle, personal cooking kit, pocket chainsaw, 30’ of 550 paracord, a tarp, a groundcloth, and a good wool blanket. A buck saw and a ¾-axe for the group, plus a four liter pot with bail & lid. Matches in a waterproof pill bottle for everyone, plus a small first aid kit.

Store your gear in a large gym bag—and with it your three day supply of food and three gallons of water. Two bags is okay, if there isn’t room in one.

All of that will be far too heavy to carry on your back, which is why you needn’t put it in a backpack. Instead of a $100+ backpack, buy an old golf dolly from a thrift store for $3.00 or so. You can tie the bags on and roll your gear instead of having to carry it. You’ll be amazed at how well that works.PepperSpray

The last part of Gear that bears discussion is personal defense. It’s a sad fact that in a serious emergency or disaster scenario the only animal you’ll find that will be both vicious and eager to attack you will be another person. Every person should carry a razor-sharp machete to chop brush with. Machetes do not run out of ammunition. Mace can also be a good friend in bad times. The best brand is Bear Spray.

Depending on the circumstances and the personal choice of conscience, a firearm may be desirable. The debate over which is best is endless, but having both a pistol and a long gun offers the best of both worlds. Being seen with a long gun can be disadvantageous—it can draw the attention of law enforcement (if there is any law left) and it can draw the first bullet from an unseen sniper on the trail.

For that reason, I recommend the only long gun I know of that can easily be hidden in a Bug out bag, gym bag, or book bag.

That’s a 12-ga slamfire shotgun made according to the instructions in the Kindle eBook The 15-Minute Shotgun. It breaks down into two pieces, the longest being 18-1/2”, reassembles instantly without tools, and can be used for both personal defense and subsistence hunting.

And, to the delight of the average Penny-Pinched Prepper, it only costs $10.00 to make.

When you’re reasonably well geared up, the Gear envelope can also go away, and you’ll be down to one envelope: Buy/Sell. And that brings you to Step 3:

Buy/Sell

Prepping is an ongoing process. It requires a small but continuing subsidy. Use your Buy/Sell money at auctions to buy things you can immediately sell for a profit on Craigslist. By that I mean a good washer-dryer set bought for $50.00 and sold for $200.00 the same week. Or an ugly flatbed trailer bought for $65.00, spray painted generic black, and re-sold for $250.00. Or an immaculate recliner bought for $5.00 and sold for $75.00. I have done all of those things at auctions and many more. I have funded my preps for years with an occasional Buy/Sell and made a little money on the side, too.

Spend your Buy/Sell money however you wish. By the time you’re reasonably well geared up you’ll probably know exactly what you next prepping goals should be. Whatever they are, they’ll probably be as uniquely individual as you are.

In my case, I’m saving up for that solar-powered Jacuzzi.

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Preppers Don’t Have Abs

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Cannin’ Joshua W. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Hello Prepper family,

I love the internet and social media. It lets me be exposed to a slew of information and knowledge that I would have otherwise never been able to view. In just a couple of clicks I can watch how to build a primitive spear thrower,  or purify dirty water into something ….less dirty. After enough clicks, however, I inevitably stumble upon something displaying the need for a horribly impractical “prepper tool” that I just must have. Holding this awesome, life-saving, badass and totally affordable (insert sarcasm) thing is some ex-military looking, bearded fitness model that TOTALLY MIGHT HAVE BEEN SF, Or an overly sexualized woman with chiseled abs.

Now hear me.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with looking like a Viking with an AR or a jacked and tan super woman–in fact, that’s actually super impressive. But is it indicative of someone living the prepper lifestyle?

Pros of Tacticool

Let’s not underestimate the power of looking like a tactical boss, because there are some practical advantages to be found.

1) Predators naturally seek soft targets– It’s primal, like natural selection. Whether the predator is a lion or street thug, the predatory instinct is driven to achieve its goal via the easiest, most non-confrontational path available. When looking to rob a house, break into a car, or mug an innocent bystander, the criminal has a vast amount of potential options and they will inherently choose the path of least resistance. This is one obvious advantage to looking like a former linebacker with Don’t Tread on Me tattooed across your throat.

2) You might feel more confident– Hormones are a hell-of-a drug. Seriously. And your mindset and mentality play a role in how your body produces and expresses levels of certain hormones. Confident people have higher levels of testosterone than their more sheepish counter parts. They also have lower levels of cortisol. Here is a quick talk on body language hormones, it’s worth the watch. What will that do for you?! How about greater muscle mass, clearer skin, stronger bones, lower stress levels, and decreased levels of anxiety. So if a Mo-hawk and 80-piece pocket tool are what you need to feel awesome, then I would say, go for it.

3) It’s just fun– Unless you’re too uptight to enjoy the simple pleasure of holding blacked-out combat katana or you wouldn’t enjoy setting up plans with your buddies on how you would take back and survive a potential “Outbreak” like scenario.  But for most of us, this serves as a temporary form of escapism. We take it seriously, but definitely enjoy the process along the way.

Cons of Tacticool

How could looking awesome be a bad thing?

1) The issue with abs– On average men are 18-24% and women are 25-31% body fat. This is relatively natural. For men, they typically start to show visible abdominal muscles around 10% body fat, but will have more defined musculature closer to 6%. Women tend to fluctuate around these numbers because they naturally store fat in locations other than their midsection (where the sexy abs are). So what happens to these fitness icons if there is an actual SHTF scenario and food acquisition has becomes a real problem. At 6% body fat your body is already running low on fat, which is actually very important for cellular function. Now your body is forced to burn your lean tissue and muscle for calories. This is not an excuse to be un-athletic or out-of-shape. But if you do truly identify yourself with the prepper lifestyle, then how prepared your body is must be a primary goal. You should absolutely be strong and physically capable. I believe you should consider pursuing a body that thrives in every situation and scenario, rather than one that simply looks good on Instagram.

At 6% body fat your body is already running low on fat, which is actually very important for cellular function.

2) The lines between tactical and tacticool become blurred– The more time you spend in and around any group or community the more that community becomes your status quo. I am sure you have experienced this in your life countless times. Everyone at your work drinks beers on Wednesday nights at a bar close to your office. Now you also drink booze on Wednesdays. Your significant other watches a specific TV show, now so do you, etc. If you spend enough time pouring yourself into the cool, but unrealistic, prepper activities and products then eventually you will lose sight of what makes sense and perhaps lose sight of what’s out there just to make someone else money. This is a trap that most of us have fallen prey to at some point. If this is you, then don’t be too hard on yourself. You are in great company. But take note of the things and time you have invested in, that offer little to no return on actual preparedness.

3) Cool is not going to help, when all hell breaks loose– This seems like the most obvious and important reason why we shouldn’t be pursuing phony replacements for the real thing, but it needs to be said. The reason we prep is because we have this thing in the back of our minds telling us, “event X could happen”. Whatever your X is, you’re probably right to pursue it. But somewhere along the way we tend to get caught up in gadgets and thing-a-ma-bobs that offer little to no value in prepping for our X. Do not get caught in this trap. If you wake up one morning and event X is taking place all the money and time you spent on superfluous things and skills will leave a tangible bitterness your mouth.

Pros of Tactical – You are the real deal

Physical Fitness for Women

1) You’re an actual hard target – There is a difference between looking the part and being the part. If you are stuck in the “cool mindset” currently then this will be hard for you to distinguish. But if you ever have the opportunity to spend time with someone who is actually prepared for event X then you will quickly realize they have no flashy bumper stickers, no unnecessary tools and they do not feel the need to show anyone how prepped they are.

2) You ARE more confident – There is something to be said about the benefits of the “fake it till you make it” mindset and the power of feeling confident. But nothing will substitute the confidence that comes from being tried, tested and proven worthy. This type of mental shift permeates every fiber of your being and you see the world differently. When you understand what you’re capable of and know the limits of your training, you can take that with you wherever you go.

3) It’s deeply satisfying – Don’t get me wrong, it also fun. But there is a certain sense of satisfaction you get with a job well done. There is a specific feeling of accomplishment and deep well-being that acts like a filter through which you see the world, knowing that you are ready. Ready for whatever life throws at you, ready for the good, the bad and the many potential X events that exist.

Cons of Tactical (kind of)

1) Work, work, work, work…work – This type of lifestyle and level of preparedness takes work and a lot of it. You cannot purchase it. You cannot watch a few YouTube videos and consider yourself amongst the elite. You must be diligent, consistent and continually striving to master yourself and your situation. This is something that few people are willing to do, because work is hard and uncomfortable. But that’s why few people are really prepared for the hardships of life. But you are going to win in this is game, while others are satisfied with following the status quo of mediocrity.

FitnessApps

2) It takes humility – Humility is something that we are culturally void of and so, being humble is typically counter intuitive for most. But if you are over-confident or the least bit arrogant then you will have a false assessment of your abilities and mistake your level of preparedness for something it isn’t. Being tactical requires self-reflection and an accurate assessment of who you are and what you’re capable of. This will typically be accompanied by a degree of emotional or mental strain as your reality will not match up with your ideal. Being a great Prepper takes the ability to assess your situation and degree of readiness with accuracy.

3) It takes patience – Like humility, patience is another very important skill that one must cultivate if they are going to be prepped for life’s contingencies. It would be great if in an afternoon or weekend we could take a class, get a certification and be off-the-grid ready. But this type of work takes time. The more time you spend in this world the more you will come to realize that you have additional skills to master and continual knowledge to obtain. So, enjoy the journey and take pride in every step along the way. Patience is not only a virtue, it’s one of your closest allies.

As you can see, the above “Cons” are not negatives, they are just challenging. As you continue down the tactical road of physical and mental preparedness, remember that the journey is meant to be enjoyed. Don’t get sidetracked or fooled by anything that claims to be the end-all of products. Put in the time and work, seek to better yourself and know that the best investment you can make in your preparations for the future will always involve personal growth and investing in yourself.

Stay Frosty

~Joshua

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Pressure Canning for Preppers

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Cannin’ Nancy. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Pressure canning is, by its nature, done by those who wish to preserve an overabundance of fresh food for consumption at a later date, and as such is an activity routinely engaged in by many preppers. Of course, there are many other reasons people do their own pressure canning: environmental (only a thin metal lid to dispose of as the jar is reusable); nutritional (you know what’s in that jar); financial (saving energy by cooking several meals at once and by having convenience foods on hand).

However, most people preparing for the dark days ahead don’t use their pressure canning to its fullest potential. Often people just don’t realize how important it is going to be to have variety in the diet, especially in a world where fresh and frozen foods will be lacking. Having a wide variety of pressure canned foods, many of which really aren’t available commercially, will be a welcome addition to our diets.

Most people look at pressure canning as a means of preserving garden produce and maybe some meat or a few stews here and there. And for those reasons alone a pressure canner is a worthwhile investment. But there is so much more that can be done. So let’s take it to the next level. The Ball Blue Book of Canning (hereafter the “BBB”) should be found in every prepper’s library and will provide all the guidelines for canning the basics. It should be consulted for all matters related to food preparation and processing times. This article is focused more on preserving some of the foods you really want to have on hand, those that will make meals a little more delicious and boost morale in difficult times.

Vegetables

Most of what is in the BBB regarding vegetables is pretty straightforward and beyond jazzing them up with spices or peppers, there isn’t a whole lot to discuss, with two exceptions. The first is canning shredded zucchini. Most people prefer to simply freeze their shredded zucchini to use later in zucchini breads and cupcakes (a favorite around here) and soups. But we’re preparing for when we won’t have freezers. So every year we can a few jars of shredded zucchini so that we can make our treats. The zucchini simply gets shredded in the food processor, packed in jars, and processed per the BBB.

Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving

Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving should be found in every prepper’s library

The other exception is potatoes. Yes, potatoes are routinely canned so as to be able to make soups and mashed potatoes long after the fresh potatoes in the root cellar have run out. But in this case we’re talking about that other main food group in the American diet: the French fry. Even if the pressure canner was not used for anything else, it would be worthwhile (in this family, at least) to acquire one just to be able to have French fries when the grid goes down. These fries are so incredibly divine. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a taste. You’ll just have to trust me.

You’ll want a French fry cutter to make preparation a whole lot faster. Amazon sells them for about $15. (Use the larger blade—1/2”. The smaller blade is just too fine and the fries will kind of disintegrate. ) Buy a bag of large potatoes—not the super huge ones. The potatoes need to be scrubbed well, but as long as they are being used for fries, they don’t need to be peeled (soil can harbor the botulism spores, but deep-frying will kill the botulism, so no need to worry about peeling). Cut the potatoes into fries and follow instructions in the BBB, except instead of boiling potatoes for 10 minutes, only boil for three. Place the fries in wide mouth canning jars. Continue canning per instructions from your BBB.

When you wish to eat some fries (which will be often!), open the jar and put the fries into a strainer. Thoroughly rinse and drain to remove excess starch. Deep fry in peanut oil until they reach a golden brown.

Dry Beans

Dry beans aren’t a particularly exciting item to can, unless you get excited about saving money, time, and energy. Dry beans normally take hours to prepare for each meal. By utilizing a pressure canner, you prepare beans for several meals at once, saving money now and time down the road. So how is it done?

By utilizing a pressure canner, you prepare beans for several meals at once

Soak beans for several hours or overnight. Rinse and drain beans several times, then fill jars about halfway. This is the part that is a little tricky, and I can’t be more precise than “about halfway.” You see, the exact amount to put in the jar will vary due to several factors—the type of bean, for example black beans usually expand more than pinto beans; the age of the bean; and how dry the bean is.
After filling jars about halfway with beans, add salt (1/2 teaspoon per pint, 1 teaspoon per quart) and boiling water. Process per instructions in your BBB.

Meats

For those who haven’t ever ventured into the world of canning meats, but do have experience with canning fruits and vegetables, don’t be scared. Yes, you need to follow directions and be careful, just like for produce, but canning meats is so much faster and easier! All meats are canned exactly as outlined in the BBB; what I present here, however, are some ideas for preparing and packaging meats for other uses generally not discussed elsewhere. Having a variety of dishes in our menus will be critical to good morale in the coming crisis.

Beef

I can a good quantity of stew meat to be used as is in stews, but also to be shredded for use as taco filling, French dips, etc. Ground beef also gets browned and canned so that I can make soups and casseroles very quickly. Most people who are preppers and canners are already familiar with this. However, I know it will be very nice in the future to also be able to have a hamburger now and then. Obviously stew meat won’t work for this purpose, and neither will ground beef that hasn’t had a little extra preparation.

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So this is what I do to have some hamburger patties. Form about one pound of ground beef into a log and roll it up in parchment paper that has been cut so that it is about an inch wider than the wide mouth jar being used for canning. Fold the parchment paper over the ends to help hold the hamburger log together. Put the hamburger log into the jar, making sure that you have one inch of head space. Process as per ground beef instructions in your BBB.

When you’re ready for some slider-sized burgers, run the jar under hot water for a minute or so to loosen the hamburger from the sides of the jar. Carefully slide the hamburger log out and remove the parchment paper. Slice the patties about ½” thick and fry them in a little butter or bacon grease for extra flavor. Serve with buns and all your favorite condiments.

Pork

Some pork is canned in chunks for later use in chili or to be shredded for taquito filling or super quick pulled pork sandwiches. Leftover ham from Christmas and Easter (we always get a large one for just this purpose) gets canned for adding to soups or fried rice.
I think bacon will be one of the most important morale boosters in the food department, so I can quite a bit. To can bacon strips, cut a piece of parchment paper about two inches longer than the height of a wide mouth pint jar. Lay the bacon strips (which you have cut into halves or thirds) side by side down the middle of the parchment, fold the parchment over the bacon ends, and tightly roll the bacon up as you go. You’ll need a few pieces of parchment, and you’ll want to overlap each additional parchment strip with the previous one to hold everything in place. Stop when the roll is large enough to fill the jar and place the roll in the jar. Process per BBB instructions for canning pork. When you wish to cook your bacon, you’ll need to run the jar under hot water to soften the fat and be able to remove the roll from the jar. Lightly brown the bacon and enjoy.

Can there be such a thing as too much BBQ after the grid goes down?

I also can bacon ends and pieces. These are typically sold in three-pound packages. There is usually quite a bit of fat, but there is also quite a lot of solid meat, and there are some pieces that look more like regular bacon. They all get canned separately. I use the bacon fat in some of my cooking, and the meat will become bacon bits for salads and baked potatoes. Some will say that in a TEOTWAWKI situation, bacon bits will be a bit of a ridiculous luxury. And I might have agreed a few years back, but for this one experience. A few years back we had a phenomenal crop of potatoes, and as such baked potatoes were a frequent dinner in our home. The kids were getting a little tired of them, so I decided to fry up a can of bacon bits to add to the spuds that night. I could not believe what a difference it made in the kids. They were so excited! Another lesson learned in avoiding flavor fatigue.

Chicken

This is probably what we can the most of in the meat department, mostly because I have one son who cannot have beef or pork. Home-canned chicken is perfect for making quick casseroles or adding to a summer salad for a main dish meal. And with a can of chicken on hand, it takes no time to get homemade chicken noodle soup ready when someone comes down with a cold.

Chicken bones. No, this isn’t being recommended as food for people, but chicken bones can be pressure canned (using directions for canning chicken meat) for feeding cats. Because the bones are hollow, after being pressure canned they can be easily mashed with a fork and fed to cats. Unfortunately, the chicken bones are too high in protein to be fed to dogs. (Too much protein can cause kidney damage in dogs.)

Convenience foods

Pressure canning is mostly about preserving the harvest, but it’s also just as much about making life easier. It’s what people have been doing for decades when purchasing processed foods at the grocery store. However, as more of us realize what kind of garbage is being added to commercially produced convenience foods, we’re opting to do more of our own. While we all enjoy freshly prepared meals, sometimes that just isn’t an option—the chief cook is sick, there’s been an emergency, or labors that day were needed elsewhere.

Keeping a ready supply of stew, chili, soup, and spaghetti sauce on hand for just such situations is a great way to reduce stress and be prepared at the same time.

Having some home canned convenience foods can really save the day. Keeping a ready supply of stew, chili, soup, and spaghetti sauce on hand for just such situations is a great way to reduce stress and be prepared at the same time. Because every family will have their own favorite recipes, I’m not providing any here. Most any recipe can be adapted for canning; one just needs to always remember to process for the time stated for the ingredient that needs the most time and highest pressure.

Traditional favorites for convenience foods to can at home are stews, soups and chili. Bear in mind, however, that some items just don’t do as well in a pressure canner at home. I’m not sure what the difference is between commercial canning and home canning, but unlike their commercially canned counterparts, noodles and rice just seem to go to mush when canned at home. So in this house we always add those ingredients just before mealtime.

With dark days ahead, and days that could quite conceivably turn into years, why not invest in a pressure canner and start preserving your own (at significantly greater savings over purchasing commercial products)? With more and more food being sourced from who knows where and with increasing reports of unsavory individuals employed at food processing plants, why not take control for more of our own food needs? A pressure canner is going to cost $100-$300. But the peace of mind that comes from preparing your own food? Priceless.

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A Different Perspective on Survival Tips

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Grayfox 114. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


As a regular reader of several “survival/prepper” blogs, and being a long term prepper and a survivalist well before the term became fashionable, I often shake my head in wonderment at some of the articles on the net! Everyone that writes a column seems to be giving advice on how this or that is invaluable in a SHTF situation, telling you what you should do or have in order to weather the storm, any storm, and survive, and putting forth the requirements for a bug out bag that will let you live off the grid for months! Nothing wrong with that, but it takes more than a bag.

As usual there is always a flip side, and frequently the flip side should carry a warning that “This may cause death or serious injury!” You never see this… Well, I’m going to play devils advocate and attack several of the most common so-called “survival tips” preps so prevalent on the web today. I will even offer a suggestion or two. Before I start, I will say that almost anything a person does to prepare is probably a good thing, but moderation should be the rule, an open ind is a plus, and remember, not everything you read on the internet is true!

Bugging Out is the best plan

This has always been a touchy issue with me, long before the best-selling novels which made bugging out via vehicle seem to be a fairly easy and exciting proposition. I think the reality is completely the opposite: bugging out in anything other than a controlled event will be disastrous in the extreme, especially if you live in or near a large city, It will be slightly less so in rural areas! In the event of a SHTF scenario, anyone that has waited till the last-minute to get prepared, or get going, is going to be in serious trouble.

Mass evacuations are a recipe for massive traffic jams.

Mass evacuations are a recipe for massive traffic jams.

Bugging out, if that’s what a person chooses to do, had better take place in front of an anticipated or looming event, not after it has occurred! Hurricanes are the event which comes to mind when I think of mass bug outs: long lines of slow-moving cars, or not, such as with Katrina, and most of the people just trying to get out of an area, with no particular destination in mind. There is usually plenty of warning when hurricanes are approaching. If something catastrophic were to happen near the front of the line of cars, it is a safe bet that everything would come to a halt, and then what? Your bug out has just stalled! Hopefully, you have a survival plan in place for a situation like this and have the required gear with you. Most people will not have either!

Let’s talk about a sudden SHTF event such as an earthquake, or worse yet, an EMP event. An earthquake that destroys the infrastructure of a given area will be bad, but it is likely that help will be available from places removed from the affected areas, but it may not arrive immediately. In a case like this, it is possible that many will want to or will have to bug out, but I DON’T THINK IT WILL BE FEASIBLE in most cases! The damage to infrastructures such as roads, buildings, bridges, gas stations, etc, will all serve to constrain movement, especially those people who are dependent on their car, soccer mom van or mini commuter to get around.

Bugging out will generally leave them caught betwixt and between the devil and the deep blue sea! And loading the family car, van or truck with all your “gear” will be appreciated by others when you’re stuck in traffic at a collapsed bridge. Do you really think you will be able to eat and drink while stuck in a procession of refugees, awaiting salvation, when everyone but you is hungry and thirsty? It won’t take much to bring out the animal in people! For the average person, a vehicle will be nothing more than a contrivance to get you away from your house.

road-rage-camera-hollywood-blvd

Tensions will rise higher in stressful situations.

Let’s go beyond a somewhat localized event and talk about an EMP. No one is really sure of the effects an EMP on modern society, but everyone agrees it will be bad. Most vehicles will stop, all types of electronics smoked, a failed power grid, nuke plants getting ready to fail and on and on. And the general consensus is that the problems won’t be localized, they will be national if not hemispheric wide, so forget help arriving. Assume for a minute that it does happen, and you’re at home, at your house in suburbia…You know the golden hordes will be pouring out of the cities, both trying to escape the chaos and some on the hunt. So, do you load your backpack with food, water, clothes, ammo, medicine, first aid kit, shelter pieces, your gas mask and binoculars, sleeping bag and other needed items and hit the road for the woods or your “bug out location?” Leaving several years of preps behind will not only be very difficult, it will be downright foolish! Oh, and the wife and two kids, aged 11 and 14, will be carrying their own “stuff” too…right? And it’s winter and there is 3’ of snow on the ground and the temperature is -12……..Anyone thinking bugging out is a viable option is delusional! Most that try this will be casualties within a day or so, victims of someone else, the elements or accidents. While the weather might slow down the refugee rush, it won’t stop them and eventually you will have to deal with them.

Personally, there are only two reasons I can think of for bugging out and leaving a home port: First, a fire or flood that threatens to destroy your home and preps and kill you, and second, to get to a previously stocked and secure retreat with everyone involved bringing their 72 hour packs and carrying defensive armament, but not carrying every required survival item on their back! Traveling fast and gray will be the order of the day and even this could be difficult, more so if you’re afoot, especially so if you haven’t trained, the weather is bad, or if one of your members is sick or injured or if you are being pursued or hunted! More on this later.

It should be obvious by now that I am not in favor of bugging out! I don’t have a back up retreat, although I wish I did, and in light of that I cannot realistically entertain the thought of leaving the security of my home and all my preps to head for some other location. Back to the fire or flood, I would secure what I have as best I could, on location, and would make a temporary short distance move. In a true SHTF event, I WOULD NOT trust my future to ANY governmental agency offering promises of aid with the requirement that I go somewhere! I am a firm believer that a trip to a FEMA camp in a major SHTF event would be a one way ride.

You need the ultimate bug out vehicle

The ultimate target or coffin would be more applicable! While it would be nice to have one vehicle that could “do it all,” most people cannot afford such a beast. I certainly can’t, and in spite of the fact that I am a very accomplished mechanic, modifying a vehicle in the manner so often suggested would be a major undertaking, and very expensive if you are paying someone to do the work. When you consider that even the military has trouble putting together such an all-purpose vehicle, at least one that has utility other than IED hunting, you should view such an undertaking with a jaundiced eye!

 

Not for everyone or every location, but each of us can use our vehicles to a greater extent to augment our bug out plans.

Not for everyone or every location, but each of us can use our vehicles to a greater extent to augment our bug out plans.

A high horsepower, jacked up and armored 4×4 war wagon, nice to look at and maybe even drive, is NOT what is desired. It is, or will be, a high priority target in the event bugging out becomes a reality, and shtf has escalated to a world WROL! (without rule of law) I think the money a person would be spending on something with as limited a use as a war wagon that might or might not be running after an event could be better spent in many other vital areas! If you choose to have a dedicated bug out rig, ascribe to the “gray man” theorem and make it a nondescript ¾ ton, long wheel base 4×4, gas or diesel, preferably one from the 70’s or earlier. Make it reliable, use available monies to add extra fuel capacity and spare parts and possibly a camper shell………Remember, alternators and the associated voltage regulators on most vehicles are electronic devices and an EMP could fry them! You won’t go far without electricity, even if the engine still functions, so plan ahead with spares, or better yet, get a an early generator (NOT ALTERNATOR) and regulator from a pre 65 vehicle and have the hardware to mount it on your ride if needed! Put a steel shield, one perforated with ¼” holes, in front of the vehicle radiator to provide some ballistic protection to this vital component, add a heavy front bumper and you’re ahead of the average bear. Tires are difficult to protect, but 10 ply load range E are tough and they can be plugged. A 12 volt compressor which fills a small on board air tank should be part of your accessory package. If your truck has an automatic transmission, shield the lines that run from the trans to the radiator. Easy to do and it will prevent damage that could cause hemorrhaging of the ATF. A small trailer carrying additional non vital but nice to have gear would be a great addition, one that could be dropped if required. Regardless of what you drive, stay aware, stay gray, and stay ahead of the crowd.

Survive as an Army of One

This is a common mindset among many preppers. So many preppers have the attitude and idea of hunkering down to wait for the zombies, killing them if they threaten. Noble and dumb! And hiding in the rocks with your 30-30 and a bologna sandwich, sniping them as they move in, is a pipe dream. You’ll have a 40mm or an 82 dropped on you in short order. And UN troops or government storm troopers? If you are bugging in place, or even bugging out post event, you had better have a plan to deal with and negotiate with them, at least initially. It is highly unlikely that you are well-trained enough to deal with a professionally trained adversary, it is a virtual certainty that you do not have the required armaments to deal with their vehicles, at least initially. This is when the old adage about not keeping all your eggs in one basket should make its worth known. In the event “they” do a search of your habitat, not finding a large store of food, ammunition and other prohibited items might alleviate suspicion.

LoneSoldier

Everyone does better in a group of people. Being on your own might work for a little while but it is not a long-term viable option.

Several years ago there was a monthly paper published by some Army Spec Ops soldiers from Fort Benning, Georgia. The publication was called the RESISTER and dealt with numerous issues of the day, most notably an out of control government that was using the military to deal with American citizens and enforce gun control and martial law (For what it’s worth, the Army, the government and other agencies were furious about the publication and content of the RESISTER, and pulled out all the stops to find the publishers and put a stop to the paper. As far as I know, they were never caught, but for some reason the publication disappeared) The RESISTER stressed that going head to head with a trained military force was suicidal! You might take out one or two of the OPFOR out, but you would be killed. There would be no negotiations such as would happen with the police. The suggestion put forth by the RESISTER was “give them something, some of what they are after, and let them leave. You can live to fight another day.” This is as applicable today as it was then. I feel the only time a person should be an Army of One would be in the event of a round-up of people for transport to a camp or holding facility. If you cannot make an escape, then fight with everything at your disposal and hope your neighbors join in! Getting on a bus or train or truck or falling in line to be marched off is the last thing you should be doing, and might be the last thing you do, particularly if you have no needed skills, you have a physical defect, or if you are on one of the reported lists, Red, Green, Blue, that are purported to exist. Useless eaters probably won’t be tolerated.

Regardless of your feelings about being impotent, cowardly, traitorous to the cause, don’t act foolishly and in haste when dealing with occupiers or those in power. Bide your time, because opportunities will arise. A quick look at history will show this to be a fact once the initial “blood letting” has subsided, so be patient. Think before you act and think about the repercussions of whatever act you perpetrate, but above all, be ready to act if the situation requires action!

I’ll just hit the woods and live off the land

Sure you will, for a short time, until you are shot by someone viewing you as a threat or a target of opportunity, or until you stumble onto someone else’s turf and they take everything you have, or till you starve to death when your food runs out or you become incapacitated by eating a plant that you were sure was listed as safe and nutritious in a book you read. Anyone planning on being a modern-day Daniel Boone needs to rethink their position. While it might be possible to rough it and survive, few people have the skills needed, particularly using what they can carry in a back pack.

If you are forced to bug out, make sure you have a plan and maps if you have to go across country.

If you are forced to bug out, make sure you have a plan and maps if you have to go across country.

To start with, everyone thinks they will kill deer, elk, moose and other big game and be set for food. Maybe, but how are you going to process, preserve and store several hundred pounds of meat? Darn difficult to take a lot of it with you, you’re on the move, remember? Besides, your pack already weighs 70 pounds and is full. Trapping is not an option, because you’re not going to be in one place long enough to set a line, and you didn’t bring any steel with you, anyway, and pole fishing is not terribly rewarding. Living off the land is fraught with problems and pitfalls even when a person has really prepared for it. Read some of the books by homesteaders in Alaska to get a feel for the problems faced. And these are skilled people not being hunted, and not trying to stay off the radar, but just trying to survive till spring! I don’t consider living off the land to be anything but a short-term, emergency proposition. And judging by the number of people who have this very thing in mind, the woods and forests might soon become a battleground among like-minded individuals.

For what it’s worth, I believe the multiple TV reality shows about people in Alaska have implanted a false sense of security and bravado in many people, making them think they could go off grid and make a go of it. Nothing could be further from the truth in my opinion. The people featured on these shows are not really off the grid. They hike to a location carrying what they have in a pack, and suddenly they have a cabin, food, transportation and all the trappings needed to live reasonably safe and secure in the wilds. Truth be known, mos of them would starve to death or freeze within a year. The shows are a far cry from reality!

I’ll just take what I need from other people

While not common, there are people in the prepper community that have this as a plan. They are idiots, and while they may be successful a time or two, they will eventually meet the wrong person. There are an estimated 300 million guns in America, and I consider this to be a conservative estimate. This should give wannabe miscreants a pause, but some will still pursue this venue. When the SHTF and the rule of law is no more, a whole new set of rules will surface and punishments will be swift and possibly deadly. Being a criminal will not be a healthy occupation, especially when people realize they are on their own and take drastic steps to protect what is theirs. I included this segment because I frequently hear it being discussed.

Being a criminal will not be a healthy occupation, especially when people realize they are on their own and take drastic steps to protect what is theirs.

While on this subject, think about your neighbors, friends and acquaintances. I happen to live in a lightly populated area, but with the realization that I cannot make it alone, I have broached the subject of preparedness with a few of my neighbors. Only one has the mindset and preps that are similar to mine. The others, seven households in the immediate area, claim to be ready, but they have limited stores of anything remotely approaching “preps,” they are more interested in a week-end get away than buying storage foods, and they tend to scoff at some of the ideas I have about what might be in store for us. What they do have are guns and ammo and the knowledge that I and mine are true preppers, in spite of the fact that I have practiced OPSEC, and this leaves me on the horns of a dilemma so to speak. If something should happen, will they show up looking for a hand out, or worse, will they show up demanding food, water, medicine or something else? I might be supportive of friends and neighbors, but they had better have something to offer other than themselves. Providing some security while eating you out of house and home is not a viable option! And “taking what they need” will not work with me! The wife of one neighbor is a nurse/anesthesiologist, and the first aid items for their house consist of some over the counter meds and bands aids. They feel that hospitals and doctors will always be available. Like it or not, these are the people who will be here when the SHTF, so they either have to be enlightened or dealt with.

The points above are not etched in stone by any means. They are my personal feelings and beliefs, formed over 25+ years of prepping, and “fleshed out” from various sources. I am not suggesting that anyone abandon what plans they may have, but hopefully, this will at least cause some to review them. Regardless, my plans are to “bug in place” and work from there.

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7 Frugal Gardening Tips to Help You Prepare

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I enjoy gardening and being frugal. I also have been prepping for many years, knowing that ice storms and cold weather happens here every winter, and often after paying bills the budget is stretched tight. Prepping doesn’t have to be in case of civil unrest or a pandemic, prepping can be for everyday life.

Here are some gardening tips I have learned over the years that save money, allowing me to grow more for less which opens up cash to spend on prepper supplies and less at the grocery store.

Use Willow Water

This gardening hint is straight from my grandma, who lived a long life planting just about anything. Here it is 55 years later, and I still remember her teaching me useful gardening information. Using willow water really helps to root cuttings faster and to water plants with to stimulate more root production. Willow water is easy to make, just take some soft, pliable branch tips of any type of willow and soak for a week or two in regular water.

Curly willow, pussy willow, weeping willow, Arctic willow among other varieties all work well, and to make it really easy, I put the branch tips right into my watering bucket. As it is used I just refill the bucket with more water. Scientists have discovered the willow water contains Salicylic acid, which is in rooting hormone for plants. Grandma didn’t know why, just knew that by watering her cuttings and transplants with willow water they would grow strong roots that reached out for water and helped plants grow sturdy.

Chamomile Tea

Tepid chamomile tea sprayed onto the soil and on tiny seedlings can help prevent damping off. Damping off is so discouraging. Waiting patiently for days, your seeds finally germinate and emerge from the soil. A day or two later, you see your seedlings just tip over, with the stems looking like they were pinched. Heart breaking. That’s damping off, a fungal disease that includes root rots and molds. The tepid chamomile tea sprayed onto the soil and plants can help treat fungus naturally found in soil and air.

DIY Seed Starting Containers

Looking for cheap seed starting containers? Plastic flats are nice, but usually too big for window sills and way too big for starting 10 or 12 tomato seeds of each variety. I actually plant about 700 tomato seeds each year of all kinds of heirloom varieties, then give most away. This way i can enjoy planting lots of seeds!

disposable-plastic-containers

Use plastic non compostable deli containers with clear covers.

I use plastic non compostable deli containers with clear covers that friends and relatives save for me. They are the right size for starting seeds, and by marking them with variety name and date sown, you have the info right at your fingertips. The clear covers act like a mini greenhouse, just be sure when the seeds germinate you open the covers up for air to get in and to allow the seeds some room to grow. When it is time to transplant, I just pull up a chair and carefully lift each seedling into its next home, usually a 4 inch plastic pot filled with potting soil. The deli containers can be used for 4 – 5 years, being sure to relabel the following year to keep things straight.

Kleenex

Have you ever tried sowing tiny seeds like carrots and getting them all over or way too close? If you take a sheet of paper towel or Kleenex and cut into strips, you can make easy to use seed tapes. Mix up some flour and water to make a thick paste. Make dots of paste on the strips and then place a seed onto each dot. The strip can be put into a small furrow then covered up with soil. After a short time the strip will decompose and the seed is already well on its way growing.

Parsley

If you like the look of containers filled with lovely blooms, but wish they were more than just decorative, consider growing parsley around the edges as a pretty green accent plant. The parsley can be added to your cooking and dried for use in the winter. Not only is this a great way to frugally fill decorative containers, imagine how much iron, Vitamin A and C you will be adding to your diet. Parsley can be washed, dried then placed in a freezer bag in the freezer. It can also be dried and used that way as well.

Fruit Bushes instead of ornamental shrubs

Use fruit bushes as window dressing instead of traditional ornamental shrubs.

Use fruit bushes as window dressing instead of traditional ornamental shrubs.

If you are looking to add shrubs to your landscape, consider thorny edibles like raspberries and blackberries. You can harvest the fruit for jams and jellies, or just eating fresh. Not only that, the thorns can be quite painful, planted in sunny spots near windows it can help deter people from trying to break in.

Compost

Compost to raise fertility in your soil. Keep in mind animal bones, fatty substances and pet urine and manure should not be included in your compost pile. Coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit and veggie peelings, leaves (not black walnut), grass clippings (without pesticides and herbicides) can all be incorporated into rich material to help bring nutrients to your garden where they are needed.

Remember every year is different. Some years you may have bumper crops of tomatoes and peppers, while the following year is filled with more green beans than you can manage. Plant a little extra just in case.

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Short-Term Food Storage for Beginners

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In the prepping world some people differentiate between long-term food storage and short-term food storage. Some don’t. Long-term storage stores longer (you probably figured that out on your own). It doesn’t have to be rotated as quickly, though you should always strive to rotate. It is generally much less expensive, and takes less space than short-term storage foods, and it is loaded with calories and the basic building blocks for nutrition (at least, it should be). In general, long-term storage food staples like whole grains, beans, flour, oil, sugar, etc., aren’t usually eaten on their own and they can take considerable time to prepare. They are not the foods you want to have when a natural disaster strikes.

That’s what short-term food storage is for.

Short-term food storage is a supply of foods that you normally eat. In our family, we aim for a minimum three-month supply. When TEOTWAWKI hits, especially if it is a natural disaster or involves the loss of the power grid, those initial days are going to be highly stressful. This is not the time to make dietary changes or to have the stress of preparing new and unfamiliar meals from scratch. This is definitely the time to keep meals as close to normal as possible for you and your family, especially children. You really don’t want to add stress to your digestive system. That will only make life a lot more stressful. Because it will also be hard to think and plan meals, you will be much better equipped to deal with the disaster if you have prepared in advance.

Planning for Short-Term Food Storage

In the first one to three days of TEOTWAWKI, you’re dealing with the shock of it all, with multiple problems. Over the years in our family we’ve experienced several power outages and several boil water orders. However, we’d never dealt with both at the same time, and so we decided to give that a try. I was truly astonished at how difficult it was to create meals—and this was during a time when there wasn’t the added stress of a real emergency. We were just trying to get an idea of what it would be like without clean water and power. Of course, we had water stored—a lot of it. But in a real disaster you don’t necessarily know when the water is going to be safe again, so you want to be careful with your supplies. I didn’t want to make meals that required a lot of water to prepare or to wash afterwards. The whole experience was quite eye-opening.

So when TEOTWAWKI hits, you’re going to want to eat foods from the fridge and freezer first, if possible, if they don’t require much preparation. Beyond that, you’ll want true convenience foods. A few cases (depending on family size) of MREs and freeze-dried foods would be reasonable. We have three cases of MREs here, to be used as a last resort due to the high salt, fat, and calorie content (not necessarily a bad thing, especially for those involved in heavy physical labor). However, you really want to make sure you have some laxative to help pass it. Freeze-dried foods and meals are more expensive than MREs but can be prepared just as quickly. They do require water to re-hydrate, but lack the undesirable constipating effects of MREs. And they generate very little in the way of dirty dishes.

camping-food

When power goes out, cooking over a campfire is a simple option that only requires a safe place for a fire. Optional implements like cast iron cookware and a grill help.

After the first three days, things are still going to be difficult. You are still going to want convenience-type foods that you normally eat. For breakfast meals you’ll want boxes of cereal, instant oatmeal packets, freeze-dried fruit to add some variety, and shelf-stable milk. Pancake mix will work when you need a little change. Powdered eggs can provide for instant scrambled eggs, but they have a greyish tint to them that some find unappealing. Plan to have some salsa or ketchup (or low lighting) to hide the color. And you can’t go wrong with hot chocolate. Breakfast is also a good time to include a multi-vitamin for each member of the group.

For lunches canned soups (make sure to get a good variety) and chili will still be very quick and easy. Boxes of macaroni and cheese can be prepared without too much trouble, assuming you have milk and (shelf stable boxes of milk or evaporated milk) and butter (freeze-dried butter, or coconut oil makes a surprisingly good butter substitute). Crackers and peanut butter, canned or dried fruits, and some juice boxes will round out your midday meals.

Read More: Where There Is No Kitchen: Cooking When The Grid Goes Down

As far as dinners go, you’ll want some packages of hamburger helper (make sure to get varieties you actually enjoy) and cans of stew. You definitely want several boxes of instant rice. Not only does instant rice take far less time to prepare, it also needs far less water. Rice-a-roni and couscous (plain and flavored) are also prepared fairly quickly and will add variety to your diet. Canned meats, such as hamburger for adding to your hamburger helper, canned vegetables and canned fruits will round out your meals. As you purchase your canned goods, bear in mind that cans with the pull tabs that you just peel back and don’t require a can opener are not as sturdy as the cans that don’t have the pull tabs. I’d go with the sturdier can any day.

For treats have on hand small packages of a wide variety of foods. You’ll want healthier items such as jerky, dried fruit, and nuts, as well as sweet comfort foods such as cookies and candy. Chips don’t store as long or as well, but you understand the need to rotate your foods, right? Also consider storing pretzels, goldfish crackers, or whatever items your family enjoys.

These foods will eventually run out, and they aren’t necessarily all that healthy. Again, as you build this short-term food storage, remember the importance of variety. I can’t emphasize this enough. Don’t be like my son’s college roommate out on his own for the first time. He bought a case of Chef Boyardee raviolis and thought he was set. After ten days into this experience, he realized the error of his ways and spent the rest of the semester trying to trade it away. He was never successful—and he never finished the case. This three-month supply is to be utilized as you gradually transition your body and taste buds and cooking skills to long-term storage foods.

untitled-123

In addition, as you build this storage, make sure you have enough calories, like 2,500-3,000 calories per person. Yes, this is at least 500-600 more calories than most people need each day. If TEOTWAWKI isn’t stressful or demanding a lot of you physically, you’ll have extra food. You’ll never regret having stored too many calories. And please don’t deceive yourself into thinking it will be the ideal time to start your diet. With the stress and exertion, you’ll start shedding pounds immediately. Don’t add the stress of insufficient calories. I often see companies promoting a 1,200 calorie per day meal package, or a plan that suggests 1,600-1,800 calories per day will be adequate. Now this is fine for children, but not for teens, not for adults, and not for anyone who is experiencing stress. It’s not sufficient for anyone doing heavy labor, like often occurs in a disaster, and not for cold temperatures when the body needs more calories.

Unfortunately, I can’t really provide a shopping list of exact foods and quantities to purchase. For one thing, individual tastes vary widely. For another, the food manufacturers are constantly changing the packaging, labeling, and ingredients. Sometimes the packages are actually decreased in size. Sometimes the manufacturers maintain the same can size, but they actually decrease the amount of food and increase the amount of water. And sometimes they do both while claiming to have the same number of servings per container, even though they have decreased the number of calories in those servings. It’s something we all have to pay attention to when we shop.

And finally, as you build your short-term food storage, make sure you store it properly. Properly means cool, dark, and dry. It does not mean in a hot garage or in the attic. Nothing decreases the nutritional value and palatability of food faster than heat. The number of people who disregard or ignore this counsel is staggering. Do store your food in closets, under the bed, in the basement, etc. The cooler, the better. If you haven’t started yet, begin building your storage today with a trip to the store on your way home from work. You’ll be glad you did.

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The Poor Man Prepper

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from PCPrepperGuild. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


I am so sick and tired of a large majority of these stories always talking about all these real nice things people have for Bugging out. Oh look at our All terrain 4X4 Super Duty Extended Cab 8ft bed Jacked up fully loaded Ford Diesel Pickup. With our totally decked out bug out trailer that’s going to keep me and my family safe so I can return to my $ 180,000.00 a yr. job.

I mean am I the only one that feels this way? I make $ 50,000.00 a year as a Professional Firefighter.  And just to state, at the end of the day, I really don’t have a lot of money left. I also work a part-time job. Still can’t seem to come up with money to buy that kind of truck. Plus have all the extras, we all know they’re going to say this man has.

So let’s get down and dirty here and talk about what a common working man would have. Poor Man Prepping… Now I may be all wrong here, and just a complete dumb-ass. But most of the people I know are just like me. Just trying to make, a better life for their kids. We are the ones that don’t have that bug out location, and are going to have to bug in at first just to see how things go.

One day at the station we were sitting around the table, and the talk was about The Walking Dead, love the show, but I asked ‘so what would you guys all do if SHTF happened right now?’ Boom the world fell apart. We went around the table and each guy that was in the conversation said what they would do. Every single one of them gave pretty much the same answer. Get their guns, grab their stuff, load up the family and leave. So when it came around to me well, they didn’t like my answer. I was going to go to each one of their houses, and grab their stuff, I can use to help me and my family survive in our home. Something to think about.

Yea we do have some Bug out Bags and Boxes ready to go, our own small stockpile of prepping supplies. Maybe even a Chevy pickup to throw all that into. But in the end, we will be the ones banding together to make it. Yea I might be the one with the stove and cooking supplies, possibly a shotgun to try to protect my family with. But my neighbor could be the guy with all the guns and nothing else. It just cracks me up that as I read article after article on here it always seems as though there trying to brag or show off in some way.

So now that I’m way off point.

PennyPincher

Good! I am going to start writing my own articles and see where this takes me, I can say one thing for sure we are going to talk about what a common working man can afford and can get. Should they have 3 to 6 months worth of food stocked up in his basement with his AR15 and Shotgun and all his other guns, plus Gallons and gallons of water? Well it would be nice. But then again were talking about what we can do to prep.

Let’s start small, and build from there.

1 Sharpe Permanent marker, no this may never stop a mob from stealing your stuff but it will make sense in a sec. Cases of water is really what got me going, Buy one or two cases and store them in a cool dry place. Write on the case year and date you bought them. (Sharpie Marker) This will at least let you know how old it’s getting and what gets drank first or rotated out. Same thing with some canned foods vegetables, Dinty Moore beef stew, spam canned meats –  write on the can when you bought them and exp. date so it’s easy to see. Oatmeal, pancakes just add water mix, syrup. Sure, sure if you can get more go for it. But just start saving what you can.

Then try to set up every family member with a bug out bag so it is ready to go. Have them plan for a weekend away from home, 2 nights three days. This will give them something in their bags –  try to add in a few other important items. Plate, Cup, Bowl, fork, knife, spoon. This can all be cheap plastic ones bought at a dollar store. Don’t forget to have each person pack an old blanket and pillow if possible.

Now I know most of us have food at home, well when it’s time to go nothing says you can’t take that with you it’s always a good idea to save those old grocery bags to load your food up. Take it. Just make sure what you take you can cook and eat. Pots and pans from the house may just be all you have. Draw up a check list and keep it close by. I am not saying don’t read the other articles or even take ideas from them, they are all good and may help in one way or another.

As far as your Bug out vehicle that’s going to take you away to the middle of nowhere, or a Budget Inn. Will the family car will most defiantly do? Yes! Should we all strive for a nice place in the middle of nowhere, and that 4X4 ATV I mention? You can if you want.

But my grandmother once said to me when I asked, why we don’t have a bomb shelter?

She said, ‘If we did have one would you really want to be the last ones left on earth, when everyone else is gone?’ If were truly going to make it to the next century and the SHTF we need to band together as the human race, cause without each other we die divided. Just my thoughts.

Look for more from me in the Future.

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What Can We Learn from History About Food When SHTF?

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I’m always surprised, and often more than a little disturbed, when I hear folks say that when SHTF occurs, they’ll just go hunting, or they’ll trade for the food they need, or they’ve got a few boxes of MRE’s, so they’ll be fine. Such attitudes show a dismal lack of familiarity with history and what really happened in previous collapses. By learning about what happened, and knowing that history repeats, we can prepare better and avoid making the same mistakes when SHTF again.

I. Confiscation

Many countries around the world already have laws in place banning citizens from storing food in their homes. Fortunately, we have no such laws currently in the United States. However, we do have plenty of executive orders allowing FEMA to confiscate food for emergencies (and, of course, they get to define “emergency”). And we have historical precedent for the federal government to outlaw food “hoarding” and arrest individuals found in violation (see “Navy Man Indicted for Food Hoarding“). This man was betrayed by the grocer, but anyone from whom he purchased large quantities could have betrayed him, as well as anyone who could have observed the foodstuffs being carried into the home.

Lesson: Don’t discuss how much food you have with anyone. Don’t do all your shopping in one location. When you unload your groceries, do so in the garage with the door shut so that inquisitive eyes can be avoided.

II. Rationing

Whether in the name of fairness—making sure the poor are able to eat as well as the rich, making sure food gets to the troops, or merely controlling who gets the food—governments will ration food in times of crisis. During World War II, sugar was the first item to be rationed. Before ration books were received, individuals had to declare how much sugar they already had at home, and coupons in the books were adjusted accordingly. The allotment was one-half pound of sugar per person per week, so 26 pounds per year.

Rationing is frequently seen in times of shortage, regardless of cause.

Households preserving fruits by canning were allowed a special allotment of 25 pounds of sugar per person per year. This was about half the normal annual consumption at that time. Currently, Americans consume an average of 120 pounds of sugar per year. The next foods added to the rationed items were coffee (though there was an abundant harvest in South America, all shipping was being diverted for the war effort); meat, excluding chicken (for the troops); cooking oils (most oils at that time came from lands occupied by the Japanese, and lard was used by the Navy to grease their guns); processed foods (due to a tin shortage); and, canned milk (to ensure babies and children had enough).

Lesson: Build a generous food storage supply, and especially include those items are entirely or largely imported, including sugar, cocoa, coffee, and oils.

III. Gardening

As food becomes scarce, the need to grow one’s own becomes readily apparent. Fresh produce wasn’t rationed during any of the recent wars, but at times it was just unavailable. So everybody had gardens. One debate currently raging in the prepper world is whether to plant heirloom seeds or hybrid seeds. In reality, there should be no debate. Both kinds should be stored. Heirloom seeds should be used because they breed true generation after generation. Hybrid seeds should be planted as well because they tolerate a greater range of adverse conditions and have higher yields.

Victory gardens will sprout up everywhere during food shortages.

Victory gardens will sprout up everywhere during food shortages.

In addition, the most fortunate families already had several fruit trees producing on their property. While we may not need to worry about government confiscating home-grown produce, that doesn’t mean that our gardens are necessarily safe. Unfortunately, even today, before we have yet collapsed, we hear reports of gardens being raided. Invading armies in ancient times took whatever they easily could and frequently destroyed crops in the field that they couldn’t carry with them. But they generally avoided the so-called peasant foods—root crops such as potatoes, turnips, carrots, and beets. They were too much work.

Lessons: Grow your own food to the extent possible. Plant some fruit trees. If possible, harvest root crops only as they are needed.

IV. Hunting

People who say they’ll just hunt when food gets scarce must either believe that no one else will be hunting or that all the game will reproduce and grow to harvest size overnight. It just doesn’t happen that way! In times of turmoil, wildlife becomes scarce quite rapidly. In fact, game in many areas were hunted to the point of near extinction during the Great Depression. Furthermore, as animal populations decrease, the time required to hunt increases. Hunting may well become a luxury. Setting snares may prove to be a much better way to go.

Lesson: Don’t plan to feast on local wildlife when SHTF. At best it will be supplemental dog food.

V. Cooking

Particularly disturbing is the number of people who really do not know the basics of cooking and baking, not to mention having no familiarity with how to use camp stoves or Dutch ovens to prepare a simple meal. Most people, even preppers, eat from cans or packages that they pop in the microwave. Increasing numbers of people cannot make a simple loaf of bread. While it wasn’t a time of war or political or economic turmoil, a rather alarming percentage of the 49ers in the United States’ California gold rush died of disease because they were malnourished. Ninety percent of the 49ers were men; very few had brought their wives with them. Men wrote home to their families, apologizing for not recognizing the work they did in preparing food, and pleading with their wives and mothers to teach them how to cook rice and make biscuits.

Lessons: Learn how to cook and have hard copies of recipes.

VI. Trading

I’m always puzzled by the staggering number of people who proclaim that when SHTF they will simply barter for the food they need. Why not just store what you want so that you know you have it? Those that have food available for trading will be in the driver’s seat and setting the terms. Farmers prospered to an unbelievable degree in WWII Germany. Very early on they had all the hired help they could use—people who worked solely for meals and a place to sleep. As the war dragged on and even the wealthy were struggling to obtain food, the farmers began accepting Turkish rugs and handcrafted furniture in trade for a little food. Their wives had rings on every finger. The farmers needed nothing and could command the highest “prices” imaginable.

Bartering

Towards the end of the war, one man’s unrelenting begging finally persuaded the farmer to accept as payment an $8,000 family heirloom pocket watch as payment for a twenty-five pound bag of beans. That bag of beans sells for less than twenty dollars today. Just sayin’. But a person didn’t need to be a large-scale farmer to do well. I had an acquaintance whose friend in the Depression raised chickens. He bartered the chickens for items he wanted, but didn’t necessarily need. He would usually propose a trade that he knew would initially be rejected, but eventually the other guy would come around within a week or so. In one case he traded three chickens for a motorcycle the family could no longer use because gas was unavailable.

This gentleman built wealth for his family by offering goods that were in demand. Because we have drifted so far from our agrarian roots, many city and suburban dwellers will be easily fooled. Two families in Germany pooled their valuables to trade for a goat to produce milk for their children. Unfortunately, the city dwellers lacked some critical life skills. They ended up having to give the butcher half of the Billy goat as payment for butchering.

Lessons: Be able to raise your own food. Raise chickens or rabbits for barter. Learn some life skills. FFA and 4-H are good programs for children (and parents!) to learn to raise small and large livestock.

During World War II ration books enabled governments to control the food. The move toward a cashless society where every purchase is recorded on cards will make controlling food—and tracking who has it—much easier. Gather your food now. You can never really have too much. Learn principles of food storage—how and what to store, where to store it, how to cook it, how much you need. Pay with cash—no store rewards card, no Costco or Sam’s cards. Don’t lead the government to your door. Certainly don’t shop where you are known—don’t lead acquaintances to your door. In closing, remember what Henry Kissinger said in 1970: “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.”

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No Excuse for Starving

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Ben Brown.  If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today!


A Colorful History

There is no excuse for starving, especially in Florida. We have citrus of all kinds (orange, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon, lime, cumquat, and loquat), mango, grape, guava, bamboo, banana, plantain, sugarcane, avocado, acorn, dandelion, purslane, podocarpus, papaya, lychee, lemon grass, garlic grass, hickory, chestnut, coconut, cattail, coontie, cactus, cassava, Jimaca, and cabbage palm. They are all edible, all delicious, and each can be found growing throughout much of the Sunshine State, if you just know where to look. Nope, there’s no excuse for starving in Florida.

I grew up in South West Florida, just below Tampa Bay, and all my life I’ve loved studying the rich history of our Sunshine State. Florida has been home to many colorful characters throughout its history, from the pre-Columbian Chatot, Timucua, Tocobaga, Tequesta, Ocali, Apalachee, Asi-Jeaga, and fierce Calusa tribes to formidable Spanish Conquistadores like Hernando de Soto and Ponce de León to blood thirsty pirates like Jose Gaspar and Caesaro Negro to the wily Seminole and Miccosukee warriors like Osceola and Holatta Micco to Confederate blockade runners like Captain Archibald McNeill.

For me, the most interesting aspect of Florida’s history has always been the Seminole Indian Wars, partly because the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes are the only Native American tribes to never lay down their arms in abject surrender to over whelming Federal forces. Even the indomitable Comanche and Apache ultimately surrendered, but not so the Florida tribes who melted into the Everglades where Federal troops dare not follow. These two tribes were part of the Civilized Nations; they wore spun calico shirts, smoked clay pipes and were fond of their smooth bore muskets. They survived forty years of warfare (1817-1819, 1835-1842, 1855-1858)1 against a modern and well equipped army, not because of any technological superiority—although the Seminole and Miccosukee were excellent marksmen with bow and musket—but because they were adaptable and were able to live off the land in the wilds of Florida’s untamed swamps, wetlands, mangroves, and hammocks. As it was for the Seminole and Miccosukee, living off-grid in a SHTF scenario means having to live off the land.

Long-Term Scenario

We all pray that SHTF events never happens in our lifetime, but we prepare for them anyway. The Seminole and Miccosukee survived their own SHTF; will we survive ours? Our SHTF, when it comes, may come upon us slowly or suddenly. Regardless of the cause, we owe it to our children to survive, so we pray for the best and prepare for the worst.
I don’t have a cabin in the mountains. I don’t own a cattle ranch. I don’t have a fortified bunker with motion sensors and early warning systems. I am forbidden by our home owners association from installing claymores in my yard. Heck, I don’t even own any night vision optics. I just a private citizen who wants to see his family to survive. Faced with a SHTF event, I know that the acquisition of security, shelter, food, and water will be imperative to ensuring my family’s survival.

Most coastal Floridians have already faced SHTF scenarios—we call them hurricanes, and we take our hurricane preparedness seriously. Since Hurricane Andrew destroyed the southern tip of Florida in 1992, many households have maintained a family sized “hurricane box” containing enough gear and supplies for the home team to survive for at least a few of days. That may not seem like a lot by Prepper standards, but the hurricane box is not part of our Prepper provisions. It’s just a seasonal precaution. We stock the hurricane box in spring, watch the Weather Channel from May (Caribbean hurricane season) through October (Atlantic hurricane season), consume our hurricane supplies through winter, and restock the following spring. This rotation keeps stock fresh and it beats having to run to Publix for a last-minute can of green beans so my wife can whip up one of her tasty casseroles.

MREPreparing for the future requires forethought; the more you accomplish before an emergency event, the less you’ll need to accomplish during or after one. Stockpiling alone, however, can only carry you so far. You must be able to find renewable food sources. Once the SHTF, it will be too late to harvest Ramen at Walmart. Even if you could get your hands on that last brick of tasty noodles, fighting a gang of thugs for looting privileges is not sound tactical advice. If the gangs control your local Walmart, what then? Wouldn’t you rather be able to safely feed you’re your family from home than having to wander the means streets of some post-apocalyptic city scavenging for a nice clean dumpster? So, let’s assume you’ve already taken care of your short-term physical needs. You’ve got plenty of Evian and MRE’s on hand, your storm shutters are up, and everyone on your team who’s tall enough to ride the bog rollercoaster is strapped. No gun fight at the OK Walmart for you, but what about long-term survival? What about replenishable provisions? Have you considered that once your MRE’s run out, you will need to restock your larder with what you can hunt, fish, or grow?

Florida waters are teeming with fish, crabs, shrimp, crawdads, and turtles, not to mention the abundant squirrels, and various fowl that populate our area—with the notable exceptions of birds of prey and carrion eaters, pretty much most fowl are edible. For deer and hogs, we would need to go further afield. Barring a catastrophic decimation of wildlife, protein will most likely not be a problem for Floridians, especially for those of us living along the Coast. Carbs, however, will be much harder to come by.

The average healthy adult requires approximately 200-300 grams of carbohydrates daily.1 My favorite carb is rice, but what we’ve stored won’t last forever. We could try growing our own, but growing rice is a complete mystery involving paddies and some kind of water buffalo. We could try going native by harvesting acorns—a good source of carbs: 1 oz dried acorn (2-3 acorns) contains 14.6 gr. of carbs2—but the acorns in South Florida tend to be rather small, and harvesting them is labor intensive, requiring patience and lots of water for blanching out the tannic acid. Acorns are a great supplement—my wife makes a mean acorn-raisin cookie—but they are not a staple food.

The Lowly Sweet Potato

recipe-oh-so-sweet-potatoes

The sweet potato is not a magical cure-all food, but it does have many dietary and strategic qualities that American Preppers may find advantageous.

To resolve to the how-to-get-enough-carbs-so-I-don’t-starve dilemma, I would recommend the same carbohydrate-rich staple that was grown by the Seminole and Miccosukee and helped them survive as a people while they waged a forty-year long guerilla war. This same tuber was consumed by escaped slaves who filtered down from plantations in

15,000 Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Survival Garden 32 Variety Pack

15,000 Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Survival Garden 32 Variety Pack

Georgia and Alabama to hide in the trackless Florida wilderness, and it was eaten by early white fishermen, farmers, and ranchers who settled Florida; the sweet potato (Boniato Rojo). The sweet potato has been a staple in Central America since about 8,000 B.C.2

It grows wild (and I do mean wild) in many parts of the South, not just in Florida. The sweet potato is not a magical cure-all food, but it does have many dietary and strategic qualities that American Preppers may find advantageous. A store-bought sweet potato weighing approximately 7 oz. contains about 3 gr. of carbs while the same amount of rice has almost three times as many carbs (11 gr.), rice is labor intensive. Have you ever tried hitching a water buffalo to a rice plow? Though it lacks the carbs of rice, an average-sized sweet potato does possess many other essential nutrients including: potassium (48 gr), Vitamin A (2,026 IU), and Beta-carotene (1,215 mcg).3

Even if you’re able to fight off the first wave of spam-starved zombies, a single-family dwelling can suffer an extensive amount of damage from a break-in, let alone a firefight. During a SHTF event, we must be able to survive off-grid inconspicuously. This means living under-the-radar. It’s your choice; you can hang a “Welcome” sign over your green house door, or you can hide your food source in plain sight. Because they are so well camouflaged, the only true enemies of these delicious uber tubers are mice, floods, and weed whackers (just ask my wife).

The Growing Process

sweetpotatoes1

Sweet potato vines can cover ground almost as quickly as kudzu and drop roots at the nodes their entire length.

When germinating sweet potatoes, I employ the “science project” method. It is the skin that produces the buds or “eyes” that become roots, so all you will need is the outer portion of the potato. Slice out one-inch wide slips of skin from the potato. Make them about as half as thick as a pencil (1/8 inch) to lend support to the skin. Suspend—do not submerge—the inch-wide slips of skin in cool tap water by using string to form a “hammock” or tooth picks spears to hold the slips at water level, skin side down. Each slip should have its own container; too many slips in a confined space can cause the delicate sprouting roots to tangle. Direct sunlight can quickly bake young sprouts, so store them in indirect sunlight.

In about two weeks, you should see several healthy root tendrils sprouting downward from the slips into the water. When the tendrils grow to about six inches in length, it’s time for planting. Gently remove the sprouted slips from their containers and plant them about 4-6 inches deep and about 12 inches apart.4 Much of the soil in South Florida tends to be sandy and poor, so you may need to prep your soil before planting. My property is sandy and wonderful for growing sandspurs—they are the reason Floridians don’t walk around bare-footed. I do not prepare my soil before planting sweet potatoes. The whole point of the exercise is to establish a renewable food source that will grow well without any help from me. After about three to four months—depending on the variety of sweet potato, rainfall, soil, soil prep, pests, etc.—the crop will be ready to harvest. You’ll know it’s time to harvest when the leaves turn yellow on the vine, and the growing tubers cause the ground to bulge as though there were moles tunneling beneath the soil. I live in Hardiness Zone 10 (South Florida); your results will definitely vary.

Suspend—do not submerge—the inch-wide slips of skin in cool tap water by using string to form a “hammock” or tooth picks spears to hold the slips at water level, skin side down.

Sweet potato vines can cover ground almost as quickly as kudzu and drop roots at the nodes their entire length. The potatoes grow close to the surface and can be harvested easily with bare hands. I don’t use my bare hands because Florida is home to the dreaded Brazilian Fire Ant, six different venomous serpents, and an ever-growing population of pythons. This is a genuine concern when weeding or harvesting because sweet potatoes attract rodents which in turn attract snakes, and the ground cover from the leaves can be so dense that you would never notice a coiled pygmy rattler until too late. All the prepping in the world won’t save you from a coral snake bite either—they are part of cobra family—with no way to refrigerate rare anti-venom serum during a SHTF scenario. “Don’t stick your hand in there!” is a good rule to live by in Florida, so use a little common sense and employ a small cultivator rake carefully to avoid damaging your crop.

For my first attempt at sweet potato gardening, I cut eight slips, but two failed to germinate. I planted the remaining six slips in a three-foot by five-foot patch of well-drained sandy soil. My little garden yielded 14 medium-to-large sweet taters. These were germinated from one store-bought potato. Not too bad for a first attempt considering the small size of the plot and the fact that I did not water at all. The Florida August monsoons did the watering for me. The rains come so regularly in late summer, between 3:00PM and 5:00PM, that you can practically set your watch by them. That particular crop of even survived a record-breaking three-day freeze just prior to harvest. A three-day freeze might not impress most Northerners, but it is big news in South Florida.

After my first crop, I let the vines continue to grow on their own, hoping for a second picking from the same planting. Unfortunately, the potatoes did not survive my wife’s attempt to clean up the back yard with the weed whacker. The best sweet potatoes are the large ones near the original slip planting. The further away from the original plant that the nodes take root and become potatoes, the smaller the tuber will be. The stunted golf ball-sized sweet potatoes, though still technically edible, are rough and not very tasty. These became seed crop for the next planting.

Another nice thing about the sweet potato is that it can be grown almost anywhere: apartment window boxes, small backyard gardens, empty lots downtown, power line easements, around the edges of county parks, or the woods behind your house. With their dramatic purple blossoms, the attractive broad-leafed vines are used as an ornamental plant. They make such great ground cover that they are regularly incorporated into landscaping around buildings, mailboxes, lakes, canals, trees, and other shrubbery.

There is a storm canal easement behind our property. Like Johnny Apple Seed, I’ve started planting germinated slips on this property. Several plantings have taken root and are growing well. When the summer rains begin, they should really take off. The early success of this off-property experiment has encouraged me to try other locations. I’ve germinated and planted sweet potatoes at my mom’s house, my brother’s house, and at a friend’s house. They’re going to enjoy the attractive ground cover around their shrubs, and I will enjoy helping them establish a prolific and renewable emergency food source.

I’ve started scouting other areas as well for strategic planting locations that will be self-sustaining. Anticipating future fuel shortages, I’ve kept my scouting to within bicycling distance from my property. There is a long tract of scrub woods along the river near our home which will make a good planting zone as the average non-agricultural zombie wouldn’t know the difference between potato vines and kudzu. My plan is to hide a strategic and productive potato pantry in plain sight. Nope, there’s no excuse for starving in Florida.

Resources

1. http://www.semtribe.com/
2. http://www.carb-counter.net/nuts-seeds/1027
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_potato
4. http://www.organicgardeninfo.com/growing-sweet-potatoes.html

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Learning from History: Take-Away Lessons from When SHTF in the Past

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from StayinAlive.  If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today!


One of the first casualties of our public school system in the United States has been the teaching of history. We’ve permitted the liberals to slander our greatest leaders, diminish or completely ignore our greatest moments in history. Students aren’t taught what actually happened in the past, because they might see history being repeated at present. They might start thinking and getting dangerous ideas.

Unfortunately, this has been going on for decades, and most American adults are pretty clueless about history and the implications for the future. By learning about what happened in previous generations, and knowing that history repeats, we can prepare better and avoid making the same mistakes when SHTF again.

War

When it comes to war (and by this I mean all-out war that truly affects our daily lives), both the government and the people boast that it will be over with quickly. The big wars—the American Civil War, WWI, WWII, for example—are never a surprise except to the woefully ignorant, and hostilities have been stoked for some time before shots are ever fired. As part of the propaganda, the intelligence and capabilities of the enemy are diminished or demeaned. The powers that be suggest that the war will end quickly, and the gullible always fall for it. Governments use wars to divert the attention of the people from the problems at hand and to deflect the blame for them that they would otherwise place on the government.

Governments use wars to divert the attention of the people from the problems at hand.

Politicians feel a whole lot safer when their constituents blame a foreign country for domestic problems such as economic collapse rather than the failed policies of government. And wars can very quickly solve a nasty unemployment problem. The media endlessly promotes the importance of making personal sacrifices to support the soldiers, and complaining about shortages becomes unpatriotic. Imports and anything the military says is needed for the war effort simply become unavailable.

Take away lesson: Knowing this, and knowing that our nation needs a war (according to the politicians who need to deflect blame for our collapsing economy), we plan for a long war with no trips to the grocery store, no trips to Wal-Mart, and no UPS guy bringing any of the nice stuff he normally does. We have to have all the food, clothing, medicine, and basic vehicle maintenance items on hand before hostilities break out.

Money

When government fails to manage the exorbitant amounts of money that corrupt legislators and bureaucrats have already extracted from the people, they don’t acknowledge the failure. Rather, they demand more, but generally through means other than taxation. The ancient Romans shaved the edges off their coins to melt into new coins with supposedly the same value. FDR took us off the gold standard in 1935. The printing presses were fired up in Germany following World War I, and more recently in Zimbabwe. It’s happening now in Venezuela.

aptopix-venezuela-protest

Venezuela is having food riots due to shortages.

Around the world we have seen the bank bail outs with taxpayer money. We already have larger banks that are charging depositors to hold their funds with negative interest rates. Coming next are the bank bail ins with depositor money. And safe-deposit boxes are anything but; in a pinch the bank will empty yours. When banks face collapse, they start calling in loans. Those with debt are vulnerable. Then there is also the drive to become a cashless society so that every transaction can be monitored and taxed. Only time will tell whether our leaders do away with cash before we collapse.

The chaotic financial situations surrounding WWII affected absolutely everyone, but of course the middle and lower classes were much harder hit. This made the average Joe a little more open to accepting bribes just to be able to feed himself and his family. Many are the people who were able to avoid the Nazi concentration camps by being able to place some gold coins or jewels into the right person’s hand. At the same time, because Germany’s currency was so worthless, it was better used to burn and generate some heat. The take-away lessons here?

1. Have no debt

2. Keep only a minimum balance in your bank for paying bills

3. Have everything necessary on hand before SHTF, because paper and digital money will become worthless

4. Have some precious metals if possible, including junk silver, for what you forgot to get or didn’t think you’d need.

News Media

There’s a reason why viewership among so-called news programs has been declining for the past several years—they are all in direct collusion with a corrupt government. Most of what should be reported, isn’t. Much of what is reported only diverts attention from the real issues. And this has been going on for well over a century. If you take a close look at the 1918 influenza epidemic (The Great Influenza, by John M. Barry, was a real eye-opener), local and federal governments hid the truth about the spread and the severity of the disease. Newspaper reports were whitewashed or completely scrubbed, all for the sake of not panicking the citizenry (and promoting the sale of Liberty bonds so necessary to fleece the people and finance the war). Phone operators were ordered to eavesdrop on private conversations and break the connection if the parties began discussing the epidemic. Forty years previous, journalists were also complicit in hiding the extent and severity of the yellow fever epidemic (see The American Plague, by Molly Caldwell Crosby).

Nothing to see here… Move along.

Bottom line? If the media and the government are trying to panic you with reports of the latest outbreak of whatever, and especially if they’re hyping a vaccine to go along with it, there’s probably nothing to worry about. But if they’re trying to downplay the severity of an outbreak, it’s time to wake up and pay attention to what’s happening around you. Hopefully you have everything you already need to shelter in place for the duration.

Corrupt governments create boogeymen to divert attention and distract the people. In the past two millennia the boogeymen have often been Jews, and sometimes Christians. In addition, throughout history people persecuted anyone who was different, who hadn’t yet been fully assimilated into society due to language and culture, and sometimes, mere appearance. It used to be so important for immigrant children to do well in school and to lose any trace of an accent. Irish, Italians, Chinese and others were routinely discriminated against for even the most back-breaking jobs. At the outbreak of WWII, the Japanese on the west coast of the United States were rounded up and sent to internment camps.

Things are a little different now, aren’t they? In the United States today, who are these boogeymen? Christians, gun-owners, home schoolers, Constitutionalists. White, middle-class, hard-working Americans. For some reason, we boogeymen now finance the new bread and circuses. Just as the ancient Romans gave food to the lower classes by taxing the upper classes and provided the circuses as a means of distracting the less intelligent people, we now have all the welfare benefits provided to anyone who asks (unless they happen to be white American citizens, then there is a test), whether they’re here legally or not. And lest we start pondering how messed up things are, we have the Kardashians, NFL, Netflix, and Facebook to divert our attention. The take away lesson here?

1. Don’t be distracted

2. Make every new day an opportunity to prepare

3. Gather more food and other supplies

4. Learn a new skill that will be useful post-TEOTWAWKI.

The Sheeple

There will always be that group of people who deny the reality that is staring them in the face. As preppers, we already see that every day as we monitor the economy and financial markets, domestic and foreign news, especially as it regards volatile situations liable to erupt into all-out war at any moment. As a whole, Americans in particular seem to suffer from irrational exuberance about their collective future. In The Bielski Brothers, a fascinating history of a trio of men who established communities in the forests of Eastern Europe and saved about 1,000 Jews, there are several accounts of Jews identifying with their captors in the camps. The Jews somehow came to believe that they were special, that they wouldn’t be killed, even as they saw friends and family being raked down. The Bielski brothers encountered dozens of Jews who were afraid to leave the known concentration camps for the unknown forest.

sheeple

The lesson here? Gentle persuasion and education of our friends and family before SHTF may work with some, but I think we have to resign ourselves to the fact that quite a few of our loved ones won’t accept reality. For the safety of others in our group, we may have to let the sheeple make their own choices and live (and die) with the consequences. It is the most difficult lesson to learn.

Betrayal

We already have government programs indoctrinating our children at all levels, encouraging them to report inappropriate behavior. And while children absolutely need avenues for getting help when any kind of abuse is involved, we really don’t need the problems that issue from someone telling government how much food we have stockpiled or how many guns we have. Government encouraged the betrayal of friends and family in both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and especially disturbing were the cases where children informed on their own families.

While the US government still promotes this behavior with their “See Something, Say Something” slogan, our primary concern today is not in being betrayed by others. We are betraying ourselves. We rat ourselves out with Facebook. For the sake of saving a few dollars, we have store loyalty (Kroger, Safeway, Hy-Vee, etc.) and membership (Costco, Sam’s) cards that track our purchases and spending habits. And we have cell phones that record our conversations and cars that track our movements. NSA stores all our emails. All this data is reported and mined to create a perfect profile and history of each person.

The lessons here? Keep your children as far removed from the government as possible. Home schooling goes a long ways towards that. Avoid social media like the plague. Pay cash for everything as much as possible. Don’t ever use membership cards for any store. Use a stupid phone, and that only when necessary. Don’t purchase vehicles that track your movements.

In conclusion, history repeats. It always has, it always will. Each generation will experience all-out war and financial collapse. It’s been seventy years since WWII and eighty-five years since the Great Depression. Our time is up and our turn is coming. Learn from history. Be prepared.

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Why I Decide to Pack More Than 72 Hours Ahead

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Blazemaxim.  If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today!


We all start off our lives living in bliss and thinking the world we live in is perfect. Then as you leave your younger years behind and start into your early teens you learn that’s not so much how it is. You learn of human history and wars that have ravaged the world through the ages. You start growing up more and more then you see the world is not as you saw it as a child. You go to college and start a family as you progress. You watch as your generation is overtaken by the next and hope that the wars never reach your homeland.

One day they will and it may not be something like Red Dawn or a repeat of past world wars. Maybe it’s just a stupid mistake of a perceived threat and next thing you know nukes are falling. It could just a simple repeat of past natural disasters like a sun spot wiping out all electronics in the world, or maybe we are drilling for oil, then come across extinction level virus or bacteria. That has been shown recently with finding never before seen bacteria in fracking waste by scientists. All in all, my point to prove is from time to time civilization has been in dire straits that almost ended life or just topples a country or government.

What do I pack in my bug out bag?

With all that thought on history, a lot of people prepare for disaster to strike and build themselves BOBs and stock up at least 72 hours worth of resources like food and water. What would you do if it was longer than that or you faced a serious crisis that took the world to its knees? When I think of bugging out or bugging in respectfully, I think of a crisis that would be something more like a WROL scenario. What would you need in a situation like that. Would the food you stored back get you through or the water you stocked up last the entire duration?

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What do you need to think about carrying in your bug out bag to help you survive? You need to think about what is needed to keep you and anyone with you alive. To start off you’ll need a way to make any water you come across safe to drink. It’s a good idea to carry a water filter or multiples. Acquire a sharp knife or two. Remember 2 is 1 and 1 is 0. Knives can help with crafting weapons and utensils. You could buy some camping gear to cook on and you can make a penny stove to cook with as long as you have fuel for it. I find 91% alcohol works well.

Another way to cook is make a gasifer stove (see below). It works with anything organic that is flammable but wood is the preferred fuel. If all else fails build a fire and take a clothes hanger, make a loop with it, wrap it in wet newspaper and cook on that. I heard it works well if the ink is not poisonous. That covers hydration and cooking.

How are we going to eat?

Well in the earlier stages of this scenario you’ll come across canned foods and foods preserved so they last a while but as time goes on these things will go out of date and/or be used up. So in this time it’s a smart idea to grow food. Learn now how to do that. For a while animals will also be a source of food, but in time will be scarcer until humanity declines enough for animals to reclaim the cities and forests. Next comes how to defend yourself, and family if they haven’t opted out of life.

You need to know a few self-defense techniques.

It would also be a great idea to learn how to use a bow, spear, slingshot, and such since bullets and smokeless powder will disappear in time. In the same sense firearms will not last forever even if you had a million bullets. Your gun will need to be cleaned and oiled. Metal will wear down and parts will break with you have a small chance of finding replacements. This is why learning a little self-defense is better than nothing.

What about medicine?

When there is only you and whoever is left of your family how would you treat infections? What about animal bites, broken bones from falls, or a fast killer dehydration from diarrhea. You should at the least get some first aid training and have some medical supplies in your survival pack. I mean if your near a city maybe you can find antibiotics or pain medications in a pharmacy. Probably not when its been looted by others trying to survive too. Willow bark is what aspirin was derived from and many plants are natural antibiotics…

So what all I was trying to do with this article is convey my perceived SHTF scenario to you guys. I feel a lot can be accomplished in small SHTF scenario like hurricanes, floods, and natural disasters with a 72-hour bob but when I think of bugging out or in I’m thinking of TEOTWAWKI.

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Thoughts About Prepping from an Ole Fart

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Paul S.  If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today!


First: I want to thank, “The Prepper Journal,” for allowing me to enter their writing contest. This gives me a chance to put some thoughts I have been thinking for a long time on paper. This is not going to be a long treatise on how we had to walk to school through the snow up hill both ways.

Next, let me earn the right to have you read my article, by telling you a little about myself.

I am a 75-year-old grandpa of five Wonderful Grandkids. Born, January 17, 1941 as a great-grandson and grandson of pioneers who came west by covered wagon in 1875. I was raised on the family homestead, located on the Palouse Plateau, just north of Moscow, Idaho. The Palouse has some of the richest farmland in the U.S.

My parents and grandparents lived through the Great Depression as people of the soil, meaning we were essentially early grid joiners who used the land for our livelihood. Electricity was established in 1936, phone service, (crank phones.) approximately 1938. No refrigerators or ice boxes or super markets or, or. The closest town, Garfield, Washington, was 6 miles away over twisty, curvy, muddy or dusty dirt roads; with huge mud holes in spring and fall. We were often snowed in for weeks at a time in winter.

Everything we ate had to be grown and preserved off the farm, during the summer. All repairs had to be done on sight, using material at hand, because a trip to town was a half day affair. The closest farm machinery dealer was 9 miles away in Palouse, Washington. I have a degree in Architecture from the University of Idaho; although I spent all of my work life as a test technician in research and development, working for a major truck manufacturer.

When You think of prepping, what is Your mind-set? Do You think of something that might happen maybe in the future? Is the, “Boogeyman,” going to come and steal all of Your stuff?

Prepping is a state of mind

Woman admiring sunset from mountain top

For me Prepping is a state of mind: being prepared for today and tomorrow, and maybe for the future. Look at Your situation right where You are right now and ask Yourself a few questions. You could maybe divide the questions into categories: Man-caused; economic or maybe war – or Natural; earthquake or weather or even cosmic.

If I couldn’t work, how would I live? Do I have enough set aside to get through until I could work? How and what will I eat? Drink? Keep warm? Is my living situation secure? My cousin sells used trailers and motor homes. He sells 3 to 4 units a week to homeless people. My Bride and I just returned from a trip, traveling up the California coast. I didn’t count, but I bet we must have seen 50 to 75 vehicles parked off out-of-the-way, dusty, covered windows; people living in them. Since 2008, millions have lost their work and can’t find a replacement job.

What skills do I have? Can I repair a broken whatever? Can I find out how to repair a broken whatever? How do I find out? Where do I look? I am not suggesting You become a brain surgeon, but I do think spending a little time sitting at the dining room table maybe disassembling a simple hair dryer you purchased or picked up at a garage sale is a great practice. Maybe going on to Google and seeing if You can find information on the process. Learning what tools are needed.

man-on-ladder-fixing-shingles

Ask Yourself any question about any situation.. Am I ready? If not, how can I get ready??

You see, it is a mindset.. It is putting Yourself mentally in a situation and seeing if You measure up. It is deciding to spend some time in research, study and practice, instead of whatever society deems necessary for Your attention; whether it’s sports, entertainment or politics, or, or.. If You tell Yourself, I don’t do that, or I can’t do that;; then You will probably become part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

We live in the age of information, but that information is only useful, if You internalize it to the point to where You can call on it and use it if necessary.

The next big earthquake might hit right in the middle of the 3rd quarter… are You ready?

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EDC During SHTF and Why “Tacticool” Might Just Get You Killed: Part I

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Panthers14. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.

Our EDC Gear is equipment we carry every day that can help us out of bad spots. Normally, we consider items like a knife, flashlight, concealed firearm, multi-tool, even a bandanna and lighter round out the list. These are all to varying degrees perfectly fine while society is still normal. The EDC during SHTF will likely be different. What do you plan on carrying every day when it all goes to hell?


The video clips below can illustrate several different points which will be important to the prepper/survivalist community, but the point that I want to focus on in this article is that of appearances during a potential SHTF event.

In the first video clip, Eddie Murphy as Detective Axel Foley spots two men entering the club wearing long black trench coats, which is seemingly an unassuming choice of clothing aside from one fact which the erstwhile detective points out: it’s June and a long black trench coat wouldn’t be a typical clothing choice for the hot Beverly Hills sun (which is where the movie is set).

WARNING: The first video clip is NSFW; it is a scene in a strip club and there is some objectionable language and risqué imagery in it; to minimize this, stop watching at the 1:30 mark, as the point I intend to make with the video has been demonstrated by that time in the clip. If you find the clip wholly objectionable, I would advise you to skip it and watch only the second clip, which will still demonstrate the point I want to make without any such issues.

In the second clip, CIA assassin Jason Bourne notices that another potential CIA “asset” is there to track him down and probably kill him. When his girlfriend Marie asks him how he could possibly know that simply by looking at the man, he says that “everything about him is just wrong.” He enumerates what is “wrong” about the man relative to the location and culture that they are in; that in Goa, India (where the scene is set), where few people drive cars, this man has a car, and a nice one. In Goa, India, where there are few Westerners and few wearing Western clothing, this man, a Westerner, is wearing Western clothing (albeit very low-key and suitable for the weather) and sunglasses, which VERY few in Goa will wear.

The second clip is fairly clean, but involves some close-up goriness if you watch it to the end. To eliminate that, stop watching at the 1:15 mark, as the point I intend to make with the clip has been made by that time in the clip. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Now, what relevance does this have to a prepper/survivalist who is going to go through an SHTF scenario? I would argue that, while few non-prepper/survivalists will have the observational acumen of a detective or a CIA operative, the “traditional” perspectives and attitudes on prepping/survivalism leave PLENTY of room for hordes of desperate and opportunistic non-preppers/survivalists to take advantage of the observational oversights that preppers/survivalists are prone to. What do I mean by this exactly? Well, I have observed that there are two primary viewpoints that preppers/survivalists hold that non-preppers/survivalists would take advantage of.

These main thoughts are either:

  1. ‘my community has fallen apart and we are living in a WROL (Without Rule of Law) world. I’m most likely going to be the best armored/most well-armed person still left in town and I’m gonna bug-in anyways, so I can just jaunt down Main Street all decked out in my LBE/tac vest with ammo and everything on, an AR in my hands, a 9mm strapped to my waist or leg, and a big knife and maybe a tomahawk tucked in my belt and if any mugger wants to mess with me, well, they’ll regret it,’ or
  2. ‘I’m bugging out and no one knows where my BOL (Bug-Out Location) is, so I can go on minding my own when I get there, doing my daily chores with my AR strapped over my shoulder and my 9mm and a knife in my belt and no one will be the wiser and if anyone DOES want to mess with me and mine, they’re gonna wish they hadn’t!’

Now, while noble-sounding, this line of thinking actually makes one very vulnerable because of the tendency of preppers/survivalists towards the practice of “tacticool,” that is to say, the practice of preppers and survivalists decking themselves out in the most top-of-the-line mil-spec-oriented gear and assume that it’s a good idea to walk around with it about town, leave it in your car for anyone in your car to see, and take pictures of it to put on social media. Whether you realize it or not, people are developing ideas and perceptions about the gear that they see you photographing, carrying, and/or wearing. Given the relatively “stable” nature of the present day, those thoughts are more likely to be something like ‘Oh, that’s a cool bag. I wonder where he/she got it. Hmm…I wonder what he/she puts in it.’ However, if you change the circumstances and put people in a catastrophic SHTF scenario and they see your gear, I’m willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that their thoughts are more likely to be something like ‘they have stuff, they’re prepared, GET THEM!’ Just as the car and sunglasses and the trench coats made individuals stand out in the video clips, so to will that piece of tacticool gear make you stand out and more than likely make you a target for the desperate and unprepared.

While I could probably find myriad examples of the proverbial tacticool gear, I will focus primarily on three examples, to which I have already alluded to, and the correlating problems with each in a SHTF scenario: the tactical vest, the tactical pack, and weapons.

The Tactical Vest

UTG 547 Law Enforcement Tactical Vest

UTG 547 Law Enforcement Tactical Vest

The inherent problem with the tactical vest is that it says as much as you DON’T want it to say as it does what you DO want it to say. Ostensibly, what you want a tactical vest to say is, ‘I’m ready for whatever combative situation comes my way, and I’m a tough nut to crack. Don’t mess with me!’ However, what it ALSO says is, ‘I have stuff and I’m ready for a fight.’ Now, on the surface, this may not seem like a terrible message to telegraph, but one has to also think about the implications of the messages that he or she advertently AND inadvertently telegraphs. While you may wish to telegraph a message of strength, you must also consider just to what degree you can back up that message. Anybody seeing you and taking note of the messages you send with your tactical vest may very well just decide to ‘up the game’ with more firepower than you have or more hostiles than you can reliably defend against. How many can you reliably defend yourself against? 3? 4? 6? More? What if you are traveling or living with others, others who may not themselves be armed or know how to fight?

Now, considering all of the tactical variables that one has to think of if there is an inadvertent ‘invite’ to a confrontation, would it not be wiser to keep a lower profile and avoid unnecessary confrontation altogether, a means which could be achieved by avoiding the tacticool piece of equipment that is the tactical vest? I leave it to you to decide.

The Tactical Pack

5.11 Tactical Rush 12 Back Pack

5.11 Tactical Rush 12 Back Pack

Anyone who has been in the prepper/survivalist circle for any reasonable amount of time has probably already been made aware of the risk that is the tactical bag. The primary disadvantage of the tactical bag is just that, that it looks tactical, or more appropriately, tacticool. The major problem with that tacticool look is that, in this day and age, people take one look at it and IMMEDIATELY are prone to think, ‘prepper.’

While that MOLLE-bedecked pack gives you a warm fuzzy feeling that you’re ‘ready,’ it also tells that opportunistic vulture who wasn’t ready for SHTF, ‘Oh look, one of those prepper, survivalist nuts. Hey, this person’s bound to have some great stuff that I can use. Let’s just knock them off and take their stuff.’ It’s not whether you can take that person (or that person’s buddies if they’re there), but whether you can afford to have that person (or other people later on) have that impression of you and continuously have that kind of ‘target’ on your back. Can you? I leave that to you to decide.

Tactical Weapons

The last item that I want to focus on briefly is weapons. Now admittedly, weapons are a much more manageable element of EDC during SHTF because you can choose how you carry weapons, either concealed or open-carry. However, things may not be as clear-cut as walking down the street with your sidearm strapped to your thigh like you’re the new sheriff in town. Now, at this point I think more than any other in this article, I’m sure that there are plenty of readers who are thinking (maybe even mouthing to their computer screens) ‘this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of, you can’t go out with NO WEAPONS! You can’t got out without ANY show of defense! You can’t make yourself a target like that!’

Tacticool

You’re right, but I am NOT advocating going out weaponless; I am merely warning against going out kitted out like you’re ready to win World War Three all by yourself. As mentioned above, that only encourages would-be thieves to up their game against you, wait until the right moment, then take you out when they have that tactical superiority. I would put it to these readers: would it be better to face one or two people who run into you on the street who think that you might be an easy mark being that you are not well-armed, only to be shocked and surprised in an alley when you pull concealed weapons on them, or to show your hand from the beginning with the tacticool look with all sorts of weaponry, only to find yourself visited later by seven or eight equally well-armed individuals who have chosen the place or circumstances of a potential fight which will put you at a disadvantage?

Another consideration is what condition any semblance of ‘law enforcement’ exists in the SHTF scenario. Again, I think that the common assumption that it will just be a WROL situation and that everyone will be free to open-carry as they please. I would suggest that this will not be the case…at least not everywhere. Whether it be still by elected officials or by vigilante gang, I would contend that in many places, some semblance of ‘law’ will still exist. As such, rules about certain types of weapons and certain types of carry of weapons needs to be considered. If you get your weapons confiscated for open-carry where it will not be allowed, then what good did all that weaponry do you?

So then, I bet that the first logical question rolling off of the minds you, the reader, is something like, ‘so if I’m not gonna wear a tac vest and I’m not gonna carry a tactical bag and I’m not gonna be carrying a bunch of obvious weapons on my person, then just what the heck am I gonna do with all my gear, and where the heck am I gonna put it?!’

Well, in part 2 of this piece, which I will be cranking out soon, I will address those issues!

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Why Should You Be a Prepper?

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Chris O. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Let me congratulate you first and foremost for taking the time to read this article and the many others the touch upon how to become or continue to prepare to be a “prepper”. What are we preparing for? These are some of the buzz words or often discussed reasons. Total economic breakdown, food crisis, EMP or the countless many other mass disasters that can affect the average everyday citizens in the US. Y2K wasn’t so long ago that we all have forgotten but many young adults were not old enough to see the preparations, church plans and overall fear.

Many young adults have been brought up with a sense of almost instant gratification, entitlement enabled by the ability to communicate without too many issues with the advent of better computers and cell phones. These younger adults are starting to see that the world like those of us that are a little older. Just think this is the first year many students are learning about 911 as a historic event. The world is not as safe as many once thought it was. Many of us have seen the horrors of an economic collapse (currently taking place in Venezuela as I write this). Katrina’s wrath and long-term destruction. Earthquakes that kill thousands.

Some of you reading this have even been a part of disaster or time where you didn’t have power, water, food or ability to travel. How long do you think you can go without being able to shop at a store? How many days’ worth of food, water and protection from the elements do you truly have? For cold environments you need a heat source, for warm environments you need a shade or cooling source. Are you really prepared? Feel free to take a break from this article and look in your pantry?

Now that I have your attention or agreement. We will get to the meat and potatoes of why you should be a prepper. Do not depend on the system. The system as has been seen in action, is not fast or efficient. FEMA and DHS are not here for you. Scary thought – they are ready to help but are only able to handle 3 large-scale disaster at one time. Three Katrina’s, 911’s or Large quakes. After that the stock they have on hand is gone. There is no fall back plan for you the average citizen. Our government officials, Community Stakeholders and employees maybe will fare a little better. You are the only person that is going to truly provide adequate emergency supplies and protection for yourself when a disaster strikes on a large-scale. You are the end all be all that will protect your family and or self if you are a single person with no family.

Food riots of 1917

Food “protests” of 1917. Nothing as civil as this would happen if people were hungry today.

How do I start prepping?

Right now you considering making the choice to not be a “sheep”. You need to understand that telling the world that you are or want to become a prepper is counterproductive. You may not want to share that information with many because of the negative things that are happening the world. You DO NOT want to make yourself a target. Do I believe the government is going to come for your supplies and or weapons? No but I think that other people in your area may look to you for the things they need when SHTF because they have failed to plan themselves.

As a beginning prepper you’re overloaded with information. Trust me I thought I was doing all these great preps. I thought that I have it all figured out. I am prior service, a Firearms Instructor and have connections. Guess what? Connections do not mean anything when the desperation sets in.

So the supplies and cost may seem overwhelming. Your family and friends think that you have been drinking the “tin foil hat” crowd’s cool aid. Some of your loved ones have “known” other preppers and have a horrible connotation to the word prepper. Face it these same folks will come running if the proverbial feces hit’s the fan. You are prepping for you. You are prepping for your family. You want to be ready for an all hazards approach to Disasters.

People have been preppers longer then people have laughed at it. When our pioneers blazed the trail west they were preppers. They couldn’t magically go to the general store. How many people laughed at them? Be careful because the internet is full of “prepper” sites and articles that want to sell you the newest, best and in many cases very expensive ready-made kits. They can be Food buckets, that “cool new shovel that you can crush Zombies skulls” with or say that you need 20 different firearms for all the situations that you may encounter. These examples are a little outlandish but folks trust me, go shopping around on doomsday sites. They are often using fear to entice you to buy. Don’t get me wrong I am not knocking all of it I am just a realist. I have served overseas in harm’s way and can tell you that the biggest things you need are food, water, shelter and the ability to defend yourself.

Stores are quickly cleaned out in Venezuela's food riots.

Stores are quickly cleaned out in Venezuela’s food riots.

Having a basic 30-day food supply, water, defense and a plan is huge start. Don’t think about a year, start with a month. Most disasters that we truly will face are less than 30 days. Get training on how to use your defensive equipment. Stay in shape. The argument that having a firearm will keep you safe and make it so don’t you have to run is garbage. Next use some of the foods that you store know how to prepare them, don’t buy stuff you won’t eat or don’t like for food storage. You want to start small. For example, fruits, veggies and meats all in cans. Add up how many people are in your home and plan for 30 days. 2 meals a day and throw in a snack or treat as well. If you have kids plan for them. If you can keep everyone fed and semi happy, morale will stay high.

Next you need to evaluate your risks, include summer, winter and extreme conditions. Are you in a tornado, earthquake or hurricane zone? Use this information to ready shelters if needed. You must maintain your body heat. Lastly buy a good pistol and rifle for each adult. Do not spend a fortune. Remember that training I was talking about earlier spend more on that than the guns. A Glock 19 and a DPMS AR platform with 500 rounds each per adult would be the minimum suggestion from me.

Riots in Kiev protesting government.

Riots in Kiev protesting government.

Once you are set on those mainstays add medical equipment and training remember it’s all on you. Count on there being no 911 or first responders to save you. Mitigate risks, plan for disasters that are realistic and when you are well set up and ready for a year start working on those less than likely situations.

In closing I want you to feel safe, be fed and have a roof over your head but do not forsake time with family to get this done in a weekend all you will do is stress yourself out. Try and involve the immediate family. Work on small project to build into the large project. It should be a fun journey that keeps you feeling prepared. It is not a project to that should be done out of terror or fear. We are not that close to an apocalypse or are we?

Chris Otterson
US ARMY SSG (ret)
Owner ASTS
A Solutions based company
“Till Valhalla”

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Lessons Learned: From Coupons to Prepping

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from MsD. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


I was born and raised on the East Coast and my great grandpa was an Indian from the Wampanoag Tribe. We had a summer cottage which was his land on a lake, it was there that I began to learn about things coming from the land. We had no bathroom so we had an outhouse and we would bathe in the lake. I remember my grandmother would reach for the white flower like plant that grew along the side of the lake. When you wet it and rubbed it together it made lather and gave a sweet smell.

I remember her telling us if you want to eat, you better go catch your dinner. I learned to fish, learned to look for night crawlers by putting soap water under a rock and waiting for them to come above the soil. When we wanted something sweet to eat we would walk the blueberry patch with her. She also had a blackberry bush. Apples we would pick from the trees up the road. We cooked many meals on an open fire.

I know that if you have an ear infections my grandmother used to take the core of the onion and place it on the outside of the ear and all the gunk in your ear would come out. So much of what I learned early on has stayed with me. As I got older I learned from own Dad how to plant a garden and from my Mother how to can what we would grow so we would have food later. Canning today is so much easier they have better pans that don’t require pressurizing.

Our yard was full of dandelions and she made dandelion wine.

Removing the petals to make the wine.

Removing the petals to make the wine.

As I have gotten older and started a family, I use coupons all the time and I am stockpiling so that my family has food later. I am stocking up to barter but most of the items I got free or for hardly anything. When couponing, I tell people do not get the frozen items, instead focus on the can goods that you can keep. I also recommend the freeze dried goods too because they have such a very long shelf life. Toilet paper, sanitary pads for females, over the counter medications for both children and adults. Every time you go to the store grab a gallon of water…Every time.

I hear and see everything that is going on. I trust no one. I am actually in the process of building hide a way walls and book cabinets with storage rooms behind them. A spare room bed that is actually containers holding items etc. I have an old fashioned pull out couch that has a storage area underneath it. I am a single Mom with one teenager so I took lessons on how to use a firearm. I already am a skilled Nurse. But I cannot afford a bug out retreat so I have to make my house safe. Although I do have a bug out bag ready to grab and go if needed. I also have one in my car.

Volunteers carry water, food, and other supplies up darkened stairwells at the Sand Castle houses to assist residents who continue to live without power in the Far Rockaways section of the Queens borough of New York, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. Despite power returning to many neighborhoods in the metropolitan area, residents of the Far Rockaways continue to live without power and heat due to damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Volunteers carry water, food, and other supplies up darkened stairwells at the Sand Castle houses to assist residents who continue to live without power in the Far Rockaways section of the Queens borough of New York, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. Despite power returning to many neighborhoods in the metropolitan area, residents of the Far Rockaways continue to live without power and heat due to damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

When your own government of FEMA and Homeland security is telling you to be Prepared for 72 hours you should listen. I lived through Hurricane Andrew and it was horrible in Country Walk. No one was there for at least a week or longer. We were 2 hours away from a direct hit and we had no power, no water for over a week. No one came to our area and we had to take care of ourselves because we not directly hit by the storm even though we had some of the same results. So the stores were closed because they had no power. Highways were jammed because no one had gas . It was total devastation. No one was able to access their money. Banks we closed because we had no electricity.

If I can tell anyone anything is you need to be prepared. Keep Cash on hand. Make sure your address is correct on your ID because if its wrong and they have restricted access, you won’t be able to get back in. I know it happened to me. Get extra ID and SS card with birth your certificate. Make sure important documents are planned for if you have to leave your home in an emergency. So many things the government will ask you for if need help and you have to have them or you are turned away.

I know the food trucks do not come to the stores. So for those of you who have children and babies stock up on canned formula, powder will not be as easy especially if you do have a supply of clean water. If you are on any kind of special medication try to get a few months supply. As for samples and put the aside. I would encourage everyone to read up ask questions and be prepared.

Keep your family close and strong.

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Preppers Need to Continuously Practice Situational Awareness

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Shirley. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


We’ve all been guilty of it at one time or another…our mobile phone rings as we’re exiting a store and, for one reason or another, we decide to continue talking to the caller rather than opting to “call them back”.  As a result, our attention is not 100% focused on our surroundings as we navigate our way through the parking lot to our vehicle. Normally, having our attention diverted to “something else”—even if it’s only to a voice in cyber-space—is “no big deal”. It’s the kind of thing that if we dared mention it to our teens, we’d very likely get the “roll of the eyes” or  “that look” which is commiserate with “whateeeeever, Mom….”

This is one thing that kids just “don’t seem to GET” these days: the need to be AWARE of their surroundings AT ALL TIMES—not JUST when their “public” isn’t screaming for their attention! That is one of the main problems with social media—it sidetracks attention—if only “momentarily”—from the here-and-now.

Most of us have heard about or actually read for ourselves the accounts of people—mainly women, of course—being mugged in parking lots. Frequently, they’ve had infants/children in tow who’ve distracted them, or they were struggling with parcels or other purchases. Perhaps they weren’t even aware of the panel-van that was strategically-parked alongside their car—the sliding-door of the van positioned right beside their driver’s-side door. In barely an instant, the woman is abducted, leaving her child/children abandoned.

We are, essentially, losing an entire generation to the lure and glamour of social media.

Why is situational awareness important?

In a perfect world, all children would learn—and practice—what’s known as “situational awareness”. They would all instinctively know what to do—and the reason for the need—that when they enter a new place that they visually scan the room for fire extinguishers, make mental note of ALL of the room’s potential “exits”, consider if there are any potential “threats” in the room, including unsavory people or any persons who might be dressed in a way that “doesn’t jibe” with either the weather or what others are wearing.

Case in point: several of the “school -shooters” were garbed in long trench-coats on warm, sunny days when such apparel was really inappropriate. The appearance of such an outer-garment SHOULD HAVE alerted someone, as it was unnatural and illogical for someone to be wearing such as that. The truth is, that several “someones” probably DID notice the in-congruence of it, but they failed to say anything to anyone about it and their failure to do so resulted in the deaths of many innocents, indeed, they themselves may have become a statistic due to their inattentiveness or lack of appreciation of the importance of their observation.

How often do we, as parents, make sure that we choose a seat in a restaurant or meeting place that faces the main EXIT? Do we even realize the importance of doing so? We are so much more likely to recognize a potential threat when we “see it coming” our way.  We can identify the odd behavior, the odd or inappropriate apparel, the things that our intuition tells us are “just not right” so that we can act immediately and instinctively to protect ourselves as well as others. We have a much better chance of intervening in a potential catastrophic situation—and protecting not only ourselves but those around us from impending disaster when we face the path of ingress/egress instead of sitting in an opposite-facing seat.

Once we’ve identified a potential threat, we need to know and understand our “options”. What should we choose to do about it? Do we have “escape options” or would it be better to “hide”? As parents, we inherently know the difference between “hiding”, also known as concealment, and “taking cover.” Hiding under a table or behind a chair would do little to protect me, personally, from the danger of any attack, much less gunfire, though it might conceal me from a bad guy IF and only IF said bad-guy had incredibly-bad eyesight! It might, however, be the perfect hiding-place for one of my more diminutive grandsons!

Know the difference between concealment and cover

“Concealment” is defined, quite simply as hiding behind or under something. It’s quite possible that that particular hiding place might conceal me or one of my precious grandsons from a “bad guy”, yes, but simple concealment is no protection from a bullet.

When someone yells for you to, “Take cover!”, it means for you to immediately hide behind or under something that offers real protection from gunfire. This could be a concrete or brick wall, such as found in many commercial buildings nowadays. Typically, the kinds of metal doors found in many buildings prove to be better cover than is a wooden door of any kind. And if there happens to be a metal filing cabinet nearby that can be pushed up against said door, so much the better!

The truth is that we need to take responsibility for and be pro-active about what happens in our day-to-day lives. It’s way more than just teaching our children! If we will personally be assertive enough to make sure that we procure that door-facing seat for ourselves—even to the point of asking our waitress to seat us at a different table—or being willing to wait for a different table to become available, if that is the only option—we can INFLUENCE our children and even those around us positively. Our kids will understand the importance of why we’re making those choices and, just possibly, they’ll begin to make those same choices for themselves—but we must take the effort to explain our actions so that they can develop an understanding.

After all, by very definition, it’s when we least expect it that “unexpected things” occur.  Right? If we had any idea that something life-threatening or catastrophic would happen, we wouldn’t even be leaving our house that day, would we?

Please, too, be assertive when joining a friend who’s chosen the “more-desirable” seat…ask them to please exchange places with you and explain that it’s part of your “mitigation” training—to always have “eyes-on” the door—for their protection as well as your own. This revelation can be the beginning of a very worthwhile and life-changing conversation with your friend. One never knows whose life will be impacted positively by imparting such knowledge. And, truly, the life that is saved may be that of someone you love.

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How to Live Off Grid Successfully

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from John L. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


If you have been wondering how to live off grid – “is it really possible?” and “Can I do it?” the short answer to all of these questions is, “Yes!”.

Remember: The only sure thing in life is Change itself. There is another important rule of life that is often overlooked:
“Anyone can only teach you what they know.” Learning is a lifelong process. The long answer is still yes, just with a lot more things to take into consideration. Living off grid will take a commitment of time, resources, and determination. You will really need to believe in what you are doing, have a vision for it, and want to make it work despite the obstacles that will plague you.

Living off Grid Takes Practice

Living off grid is not the easiest way to live. Until you do it you don’t even know the things that you are going to have to give up. The big things are easy to figure out: Refrigerators, Heating systems, Television, Kitchen Appliances, and THESE ARE THINGS YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE UP!

There are other things that many people don’t think about until they are actually in the midst of it. Like indebtedness, careers, local churches & schools. Sometimes families and friends.

It still takes money to live

There are probably more Americans living off the grid that are on SSD (Social Security Disability) than any other group. Most of them would tell you they love it, and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Having a small income makes all the rest of it possible, you then can develop an income program that puts the “Icing on the cake” and improves your comfort zone. These parts of your personal economy, are called self employment. This needs to be discussed in a separate letter, but I will say this, it is easier than you think, and very financially rewarding.

There are a myriad of small electronics that people use daily that may not work with your new lifestyle. It isn’t that they are necessary objects, they are conveniences. Yet, for many of us, convenience gives us the foundation of our lives.

If you are still thinking of living off grid then there are a few decisions to be made. What worked for me was the awareness that getting by with less was a way to need less. Finding a comfortable zone to live in meant having money left over, on pay day.

Every time I could find a way to either live without or get for nothing it meant more money in my pocket.

Designing an Off Grid Home, (RV or trailer lifestyle)

Your Off-Grid location can be anywhere you want. Even were you are right now.

Knowing how to live off-grid in different environments will help you to make the choice that is best for you. The point is: Living off Grid, is a collection of small things that you can do, that collectively change your life, to give you more of what you want and less control of your life by an unappreciative society, country or world. If you think having a job, even a good job, is just another form of slavery, then you are a candidate to “live off the grid”. It’s your choice; it’s your life, to live your life the way you want. I suggest that making an ongoing list of small things to change and learning how to prioritize that list, is a good place to start.

Going Off Grid Where You Live Now

You might think that those questions are secondary but they are not. It is entirely possible to go off grid right where you live, if you own your own home or where you rent, In fact you can begin learning how to live off grid today. Become aware of how powerless you are in your present life because it will give you an insight into the changes you can make in your own life NOW!

A suggestion: This is not about Religion, Ask yourself….“In whom do you place your trust?”

Interesting how many organizations and people are living off your pay check, not just your wife and kids, But your local Municipal government, including police dept, fire dept, water & electric dept, tax office, Sewer dept, all depend on you to support them.

Living off the grid starts with a change in attitude

Solar panels can be added. Circuits can be turned off. Water can be discontinued and wells can be dug. Research should be done into alternative forms of energy, appliances, and different ways to run a household when standard energy isn’t being used.

In my case, I want to keep it simple, I rent a place to park, It includes water, sewer and electric. It has worked well for the past 5 years. It is harder to move off grid in a subdivision but it can be done, depending on your homeowner’s association and local policies.

The world is getting smaller, It is getting harder to find privacy.

It’s easier to move off the grid, when you park your motor home in an RV park and plug it in, or park in a spot and turn on your own generator or plug into their electricity.

Moving to a New Location

If you are planning to move then take the time to consider your needs, desires, and the various benefits and negatives of different parts of the country. For example, in Texas where I live the benefit is apparent. The winters are basically mild. While we do get cold snaps they are interspersed with warmer weather. There are a total of three growing seasons. It doesn’t take a whole lot to stay warm in the winter if you can handle 50 to 60 degrees.

Gardening (not my thing)

On the other hand we can go two to three months in the summer without a drop of rain. This means that you will be hand carrying water to your garden. Summers are hot. Living without air conditioning when it is 110 outside is challenging, at least until you get used to it. I prefer a good Wal-Mart for groceries; good Mexican grocers or farmers markets can be good for fruit & Veggies.

If you are going to make a move then you should consider areas where there are not extremes of temperature or of rainfall.

Things to Consider

The other important thing to consider is the locality.

  • Will you continue to work at a job?
  • If so how long will your commute be?
  • How far can you afford to live from the place that you work?
  • Is the location you are looking at economically sound?
  • Will you have access to groceries, church, gasoline, medical care?
  • RVing around the country can be a great way to research these questions, while enjoying your younger years. Remember, we all get old and our needs WILL change.

All of these questions will need to be researched and answered before you begin to look at moving to a new location.

Learning How to Live Off Grid

Now that you have established where you are going off grid the question is how to do it. The best place to start is by analyzing all of your electrical usage for a month. Exactly how much electricity do you use on an average?

Most off grid systems cannot handle the load that modern man puts on them. You will probably need to cut back on your usage. The next thing to do, then, is to figure out how to cut back on your energy use. Will you use a propane stove or refrigerator? Wood stove?

If you choose to use a wood stove or heat will you have access to wood? How will you light your home in the evenings?
What type of solar do you plan to use? Is your home designed in such a way that passive solar can be used?

Types of Off-Grid Energies

There are a number of types of energy for off grid homes.

  • Electric power line
  • Electric Solar
  • Electric Wind
  • Wood heat / cooking
  • Electric Gas Generator (I’m getting ready to do a gas to propane conversion on the Onin Generator out of an old Motor home)
  • Electric / heat / cooking Propane
  • Water (micro-hydro)
  • Geothermal

The biggest need will be for heat and cooking. Once you have those two things decided you are pretty much good to go. Cooking on a wood-stove is difficult for most people to adjust to but it can be done. Many people, once they learn to do it, would not go back to cooking in an electric oven! Conserving energy is one of the best ways to deal with your energy needs. Anyone can do that, no matter where they are.

What Can I Do Today?

Start right where you are. Most people cannot afford to just go off grid one day. It is a process of both investing in the products needed and doing the research to gain the knowledge to do it. The second part is, were all different, and our want, needs & expectations need to be honored.

Tips for Saving Energy Right Now Conserve energy where you are

  • Use solar hot water heaters
  • Use heat exchange units
  • Caulk doors and windows
  • Let your body acclimate to colder than normal or warmer than normal temperatures
  • Get a clothesline and stop using the dryer.
  • Upgrade insulation.
  • If your refrigerator or freezer is over 10 years old, consider buying a new, energy efficient model, or even a propane one.

In other words, see how low you can go. Get rid of the electric clock radio, the power drill, and the microwave. Try to get the electric bill down to the bare minimum.

Evaluate Your Need for Power

Once you get your electric usage under control you will be in a better position to see whether or not you will be comfortable going off grid completely. Even if you decide going off grid completely is not something you want to do you will have learned how to save on your electric bill, and that is a big benefit.

Going off grid is not for everyone. It is really an investment in a much simpler lifestyle. It does not have to cost thousands of dollars. Just do what you can, where you can.

Taking the steps slowly, researching, and learning how to live off grid will help you to make a smooth and successful transition if you decide that going off grid is for you.

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF GOING OFF THE GRID
Living off the grid has nothing to do with being a environmentalist, It does have to do with living your own life, within your own economical means.

About the Author – John Lindquist soon to be 80. I live in the woods between Austin and Phlugerville, have been practicing living off the grid since 1985. Attached is my E Mail, I can always use a new friend JohnLindquist625@Gmail.com

“I do what I have to do, the rest of the time I do what I want to do.”
“Everything in moderation”

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