Hiking Essentials for Your Dog’s Backpack

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In a previous article, I talked about the Approach Pack by Ruffwear, which by the way is an excellent pack. Well, okay you have the pack or may have ordered one, so what goes in the pack. 1.) The obvious, of course, is food, water and collapsible bowls for the food and water. These will […]

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The Ruffwear Approach Pack for Dogs

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The Ruffwear Approach Pack for dogs is perfect for anyone that wants to get out with their dogs to enjoy nature together. Dogs love chores and certain dog breeds live to work for their human masters, and what better way than helping to carry their own supplies while hiking, camping or simply out enjoying nature. […]

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Do You Really Need That to Survive: Night Vision Devices

There are essentially two types of night vision devices and it comes down to personal preferences and in some cases particular mission requirements when it comes time to choose. First, there is low-level light, which is naturally present and is enhanced by the device. Once enhanced an image is presented to you. Not only is […]

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Do You Really Need That to Survive: Night Vision Devices

Click here to view the original post.

There are essentially two types of night vision devices and it comes down to personal preferences and in some cases particular mission requirements when it comes time to choose. First, there is low-level light, which is naturally present and is enhanced by the device. Once enhanced an image is presented to you. Not only is […]

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Do You Really Need That to Survive: Night Vision Devices

There are essentially two types of night vision devices and it comes down to personal preferences and in some cases particular mission requirements when it comes time to choose. First, there is low-level light, which is naturally present and is enhanced by the device. Once enhanced an image is presented to you. Not only is […]

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Do You Really Need That to Survive: A Manual Siphon Pump

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Manual Siphon

A Manual Siphon Will You Need One to Survive? Actually, you need at least two if not three manual siphons. One for drinking water only, one for fuels and possibly one for chemicals, such as liquid bleach that needs to be moved from one container to another when pouring is not a good option, for example.

A hand pump is essential if you have stored water in a large container that does not have a large enough opening in which to dip water. Furthermore, dipping water out could contaminate the water source, whereas you can sanitize the siphon for drinking water only rather easily each time to prevent contamination of the source.

A manual siphon only requires a small opening, which also lessens the chance of contamination. Some of the larger water barrels may not have a lid that can be removed. They may only have a cap for filling and extraction. Removing the entire lid greatly increases the chances of contaminants getting into your drinking water source.

You, of course, never want to use a siphon for drinking water that was ever used (even once) to siphon any fuels or chemicals regardless of how well you think you may have cleaned it.

What can you do with a hand siphon? You can siphon gas from a gas can without a spout into a vehicle, or in some cases siphon gas from a vehicle into a gas can or another vehicle. If the grid fails gas pumps will not work, but yet there will be many vehicles, and underground fuel storage tanks, but you must have a way of extracting that fuel for your use.

A hand siphon is ideal for filling up lanterns and kerosene heaters as well. Fill directly from the fuel container and there is no need for a funnel. If you have a five-gallon can of kerosene and heater that needs to be filled you cannot simply tip the can up and pour in the tiny hole and even with a funnel you would end up spilling precious fuel, not to mention creating a fire hazard in some cases. A hand siphon that you pump gets the job done without any spills, without handling heavy cans and helps prevent hazardous spills.

To help filter water from a contaminated water source you can use a ranger band to secure several layers of cheesecloth to the end that is inserted into the contaminated source. This filtering technique will only filter out large debris, so additional filtering to trap micro-contaminates will be required before boiling or chemical treatment for purification.

Use your siphon to remove water and/or antifreeze from disabled vehicles to add to a vehicle that operates. Again, during a crisis, normal supply chains will not be operational, and so if you need water or coolant for your radiator, you need a method to extract from one vehicle to another.

There are drain valves, of course, to drain radiators but they may be inoperable or otherwise cannot be reached to allow for draining, not to mention you would need a receptacle that would fit under the drain to collect the fluid.

There are other uses obviously, and you are only limited by your imagination, so start thinking of other ways you can use a manual siphon during a crisis, or in any survival situation, and remember, you need one dedicated to potable water only.

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How to Make a Waterproof Altoids Tin Spice Kit

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Waterproof Altoids Tin Spice Kit

Variety is the spice of life especially when it comes to your food. So if you’re looking for a great way to spice up your food on the trail this is an excellent way to bring some of your favorite spices along and it won’t cost you more than 5 bucks for a package of straws and a tin from your favorite Altoids mints.

So check out the graphic below and remember that this method can be used to make all sorts of different Altoids kits, the possibilities are endless. Sealing items in the straws keeps everything sealed and dry the ranger band is optional but just adds protection. Some things you can seal in straws are matches, tinder (cotton balls with vaseline). Keep in mind straws also come in a few different sizes you can use the larger 1/2 inch straws to seal larger items too.

Waterproof Spice Kit

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The CIA WikiLeaks Revelation: Does It Affect Your Prepping?

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CIA WikiLeaks

“Documents released Tuesday by WikiLeaks allege a CIA surveillance program that targets everyday gadgets ranging from smart TVs to Smartphone’s to cars”.

“Such snooping, WikiLeaks said, could turn some of these devices into recorders of everyday conversations — and could also circumvent data-scrambling encryption on communications apps such as Facebook’s WhatsApp” (FoxNews.com, 2017).

To some people, this comes as no surprise that government agencies are snooping. That’s what they do is snoop, however, most people assumed they were checking up on foreign governments and their people, not us here in the heartland. Well, we don’t know for sure whom they are targeting, we don’t know yet anyway. They have the technology, however, but is doesn’t necessarily mean they are using or have used it.

You may have a firearm in the home and have never used it, so the fact that they have the ability to use the technology doesn’t mean they have. Nevertheless, to be safe, and to practice good OPSEC, or Operational Security assumes they do use it, and that others and not necessarily state-sponsored players have the technology as well.

There are always pros and cons’. Technology makes our life easier, saves lives, and even extends our lives in some cases, but there is always a price to pay, and in today’s world, it seems increasing clear that only a select few have advanced technology.

Oh, we have our computers, Smartphone’s, and we can order a pizza by voice commands while taking a shower using a device that sits on the counter ready to cater to our every whim. We can drive vehicles that know when we doze off, or are ready to rear end another vehicle, but we survived for decades before all this came about. However, will we survive the advancement of technology, we survived without it, but can we survive with it.

Are You Worried

Taking the long view, we should be concerned that America’s secrets are always up for sale, or that someone with a grievance or agenda can gain access and spill all to the world. Whether it affects you personally is another matter, but the nation’s security can be and could be at some future point put at risk, which would affect us all.

No one cares that you just bought 100 pounds of rice and beans at a big box store, no one cares that you ordered 1,000 rounds of .22LR online. No one cares until given a reason to care.

Posting online unless it condones violence, or you start make threats will not gain anyone’s attention; unless of course your passport is so stamped with foreign travel, you need a separate page.

Who has heard the saying, “Show me who you hang with and I will tell you who you are”. It holds some truth, but given the Internet today and world coverage, you may not know whom you are interacting with online. Are they under surveillance have they done something to get noticed, are they on anyone’s radar. Do you know?

Just be careful about what you do online, and who you may friend, email or simply correspond with.

OPSEC means you keep secrets, and if everyone knows your secrets then well, they are not secrets are they. 

If you are worried about some chain smoking Intel analysts hunching over his keyboard every night tuning into your bedroom drama using your smart TV then unplug it. Technology hasn’t advanced to the point to where someone can remotely plug your TV back in.

Take the battery out of your Smartphone if you want to ensure your private conversations at home or anywhere stay private. Unplug your laptop so the camera and microphone cannot be activated and make sure your children’s computers and iPads are off, covered up, closed, or put in a closet at night.

The technology is there for spying but they can’t spy if the technology is not powered up or not on your person. Technology is rather easy to defeat when you think about it. No battery installed, and no power means technology is in the dark. Use common sense, don’t talk too much, and do not get into arguments with online forum trolls, who delight in raising your blood pressure in hopes you reveal some personal info as you struggle to one-up them.

FoxNews.com. (2017, March 9). Retrieved 2017, from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/03/09/outside-contractors-for-cia-reportedly-eyed-in-wikileaks-dump-probe.html

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The CIA WikiLeaks Revelation: Does It Affect Your Prepping?

CIA WikiLeaks

“Documents released Tuesday by WikiLeaks allege a CIA surveillance program that targets everyday gadgets ranging from smart TVs to Smartphone’s to cars”.

“Such snooping, WikiLeaks said, could turn some of these devices into recorders of everyday conversations — and could also circumvent data-scrambling encryption on communications apps such as Facebook’s WhatsApp” (FoxNews.com, 2017).

To some people, this comes as no surprise that government agencies are snooping. That’s what they do is snoop, however, most people assumed they were checking up on foreign governments and their people, not us here in the heartland. Well, we don’t know for sure whom they are targeting, we don’t know yet anyway. They have the technology, however, but is doesn’t necessarily mean they are using or have used it.

You may have a firearm in the home and have never used it, so the fact that they have the ability to use the technology doesn’t mean they have. Nevertheless, to be safe, and to practice good OPSEC, or Operational Security assumes they do use it, and that others and not necessarily state-sponsored players have the technology as well.

There are always pros and cons’. Technology makes our life easier, saves lives, and even extends our lives in some cases, but there is always a price to pay, and in today’s world, it seems increasing clear that only a select few have advanced technology.

Oh, we have our computers, Smartphone’s, and we can order a pizza by voice commands while taking a shower using a device that sits on the counter ready to cater to our every whim. We can drive vehicles that know when we doze off, or are ready to rear end another vehicle, but we survived for decades before all this came about. However, will we survive the advancement of technology, we survived without it, but can we survive with it.

Are You Worried

Taking the long view, we should be concerned that America’s secrets are always up for sale, or that someone with a grievance or agenda can gain access and spill all to the world. Whether it affects you personally is another matter, but the nation’s security can be and could be at some future point put at risk, which would affect us all.

No one cares that you just bought 100 pounds of rice and beans at a big box store, no one cares that you ordered 1,000 rounds of .22LR online. No one cares until given a reason to care.

Posting online unless it condones violence, or you start make threats will not gain anyone’s attention; unless of course your passport is so stamped with foreign travel, you need a separate page.

Who has heard the saying, “Show me who you hang with and I will tell you who you are”. It holds some truth, but given the Internet today and world coverage, you may not know whom you are interacting with online. Are they under surveillance have they done something to get noticed, are they on anyone’s radar. Do you know?

Just be careful about what you do online, and who you may friend, email or simply correspond with.

OPSEC means you keep secrets, and if everyone knows your secrets then well, they are not secrets are they. 

If you are worried about some chain smoking Intel analysts hunching over his keyboard every night tuning into your bedroom drama using your smart TV then unplug it. Technology hasn’t advanced to the point to where someone can remotely plug your TV back in.

Take the battery out of your Smartphone if you want to ensure your private conversations at home or anywhere stay private. Unplug your laptop so the camera and microphone cannot be activated and make sure your children’s computers and iPads are off, covered up, closed, or put in a closet at night.

The technology is there for spying but they can’t spy if the technology is not powered up or not on your person. Technology is rather easy to defeat when you think about it. No battery installed, and no power means technology is in the dark. Use common sense, don’t talk too much, and do not get into arguments with online forum trolls, who delight in raising your blood pressure in hopes you reveal some personal info as you struggle to one-up them.

FoxNews.com. (2017, March 9). Retrieved 2017, from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/03/09/outside-contractors-for-cia-reportedly-eyed-in-wikileaks-dump-probe.html

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What Refrigerated Foods are Safe to Consume after a Power Outage?

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Refrigerated Foods Power Outage

Time is not your friend when the power goes out and your refrigerator stops cooling. Typically, if the door is not opened food should stay within a safe temperature for four hours. What is a safe temperature for fresh meats, and other perishables? Forty degrees Fahrenheit or below, if raw ground beef, for example, is stored for longer than two hours above 40° F it must be discarded, it is simply not safe to eat because of the growth of possibly harmful bacteria.

You never know how long the power may be out so you have to note the time the power went out and when it came back on, that is if it comes back on. After four hours, you have to start throwing foods away. Not all foods, but some.

Examples of What to Discard

  • Raw or leftover cooked meat, poultry, fish, or seafood and soy meat substitutes must be discarded after two hours above 40 degrees F or after four hours in a refrigerator that is not cooling
  • Thawing meat or poultry same as above
  • Salad, tuna, shrimp, chicken, or egg salad same as above
  • Lunch meats, hot dogs, bacon and fresh sausage must also be discarded after the prescribed times
  • Soft cheeses must also be thrown away and some examples are blue cheese, Brie, Roquefort, cottage cheese, ricotta, Muenster, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, this list does not cover all of the cheeses that would have to be discarded, so you will have to read the manufactures’ label carefully about refrigeration of a particular product.
  • Eggs must be thrown away as well as milk, sour cream, soymilk, yogurt, and eggnog, for example.
  • Cut fresh fruits while not as critical as say milk or eggs, they typically will not be edible after two hours at room temperature.
  • Mayonnaise and prepared horseradish while they typically have a vinegar base should be thrown away after 8 hours above 50 degrees.
  • Cooked pasta, cooked rice, and cooked potatoes

Safe to Keep

  • Hard cheeses can be kept at room temperature but after removing from the refrigerator pat any moisture off the product if out of the packaging.
  • Jelly, relish, taco sauce, mustard, catsup, olives, pickles
  • Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillas
  • Raw fruits and vegetables are safe on the counter, but once cut up eat as soon as possible
  • Pies, and cakes (Foodsafety.gov, n.d.).

Of course, the products listed are not every possible item one might find in a refrigerator, but it gives you an idea of the types of foods that do require refrigeration, and thus, not safe to consume when there is a lack of cooling for over two hours.

Having a thermometer in your refrigerator that is not built in and relies on power is ideal. While you want to keep the door shut, you can take a quick glance at the thermometer to gauge where you are temperature wise.

To extend the four hour time, you can place a heavy blanket over your Fridge to keep the warmer outside air from conducting to the cooler air, remember warm air always conducts to cold so when you open the door the cold does not rush out but rather the warmer air rushes in.

Having a small generator that could run a refrigerator and freezer would be prudent. It is not just the expense of the wasted foods, but also the fact you have limited your food choices during a crisis, not to mention trying to get rid of spoiled foods.

Having spoiled meat and other foods on your property can become a crisis in and of itself when sanitation services are not available. You certainly cannot store garbage inside the home and if the crisis is extended, you would have to consider burying the waste or at the very least sealing it in barrels that rodents and insects cannot gain access to.

You have to plan for this type of scenario and cover all the what-ifs.

Foodsafety.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved 2017, from https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/refridg_food.html

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The 5 Phases of Evasion

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First contact

All I could hear was my heart pounding in my ears and feel the burn in my aching legs as the lactic acid crept in. We sprinted a mile or more straight up and over a tree-covered hill after nearly being ambushed at a potential recovery site. My teammate and I split from the other two in our squad in hopes of improving our odds and confusing our pursuers. We were now laying in an initial hide site listening to our back trail for any bad news, praying that we had a decent lead and hoping that we could buy enough time until the rescue team formed a plan and picked us up. Our new objective was to make it to the alternate rally point (still miles away through hostile terrain) without being captured. I wish that I could tell you that we made it without being caught, but the odds were heavily stacked against us. Helicopters with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR), tracker teams with dogs and heavy enemy presence using night vision resulted in our eventual capture and torture after 6 days on the run in temperatures that dipped below freezing every night.

Thankfully, it was all part of an elaborate evasion training exercise conducted by the US Air Force for training new Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) Specialists. That was almost 12 years ago and since then, I’ve had the opportunity to act as both evader and aggressor in numerous evasion training exercises. There are some key takeaways that I’d like to share as well as give you the blueprint for what the Air Force Survival School teaches all students who are considered “High Risk of Capture”.

There’s a multitude of reasons one might have to evade a pursuer, but we’ll keep it generalized and talk about some adaptations required for different environments as we go. Evasion is divided into 5 separate phases: Immediate Action, Initial Movement, Hole-Up, Evasion Movement and Recovery.

Immediate Action

Your first reaction may be to get moving, but you need to take a few seconds to sort out any major injuries you may have sustained and decide what equipment needs to go with you. This phase is extremely time sensitive and you’ll likely be task saturated on top of dealing with the shock of the event that led you to the decision to evade. Life threats such as arterial bleeding should be dealt with using expedient methods (i.e. tourniquet) until you have time to reassess and provide long-term care. Now is the time to recall your evasion plan of action and begin to enact it. You do have a plan, don’t you?

Grab any equipment you’re taking with you (go-bag, weapon, etc.) and if the situation dictates, hide any equipment that’ll be staying behind. Consider sanitizing yourself and equipment if you’re evading in a populated area where you’ll need to blend in. Regardless of what you see or hear in your immediate vicinity, always assume there is an enemy presence, keep a low profile and begin moving away from the threat and towards your initial hide site.

Evasion Initial Movement

Initial Movement

Your primary concern in this phase is to “get off the X”. Your physical condition, the environment, and any direct threats will dictate your speed of travel. The natural reaction would be to take off running and that may be indicated if you’re in a wilderness setting, but consider an urban evader bolting through a crowd that’s moving at a walking pace. He’s going to draw a lot of unwanted attention. To help you blend, you’ll also need to initiate some expedient camouflage.  In the backwoods, rubbing some dirt on any exposed flesh and clothing will help break up your outline and reduce shine, but don’t stop moving! In a populated area, throwing on a hood, hat or acquiring some additional clothing can help provide some mobile concealment.

The main objective is to put three things between you and the enemy: time, distance and terrain. These barriers are the keys to effectively removing yourself from the danger. How far should you go? Just like your speed of travel, it’s going to depend on your condition/environment/threat. Keep in mind, moving in a straight line directly from A to B makes your direction of travel very predictable and easily ambushed by trackers that may be in radio contact with an assault team. A zigzag pattern will prevent aggressors from anticipating your route and it’s preferable to use the military crest if available. A military crest is a location two-thirds up a slope (one-third from the top). This allows you to use the terrain to your advantage and prevents you from silhouetting yourself on the top of the ridge. It also offers you a superior vantage point and affords you the opportunity to disappear over the ridge should the enemy start to close on your location.

In an urban setting, you’re less likely to find a military crest option, but you can certainly use physical barriers and terrain masking for mobile concealment (buildings, parking garages, houses, alleyways, etc.). Generally speaking, your route of travel should take you away from any lines of communication (LOC). In a rural environment, these are categorized as areas like roads, railways or bodies of water where there are locals and higher population densities. In an urban location, your best course of action will probably be to move towards a more rural location. Steer clear of LOCs like arterial roads, highways and major waterways during urban travel. Once you’re satisfied that you have sufficient time, distance and terrain on the enemy, it’s time to start looking for a suitable hole-up site.

Evasion Hole Up

Hole-Up

Your hole-up site needs to provide protection from the environment since you’ll likely be in this spot for quite a while. It also needs to be well concealed, so a delicate balance is required between a shelter that is awesome, but stands out like a sore thumb versus a shelter that is super obscure, but doesn’t protect you from the elements. The military developed an acronym to help evaders choose a hole-up site: (BLISS)
Blend– Looks like everything else around it (maybe add some camo to the shelter, but don’t overdo it)
Low-Profile doesn’t stand out and is near ground level (Swiss Family Robinson shelters = bad)
Irregular– Shape shouldn’t draw the eye so avoid straight lines (i.e. no poncho tied off with good pitch and tightness)
Small– Should be just big enough for you and your equipment
Secluded– The point is to stay hidden, so avoid setting up shop in high-traffic areas, but also don’t be the guy hiding in the only bush in the middle of a meadow!

The hole-up site should afford you multiple escape options; crawling into some hollow log or culvert is a bad idea. When approaching a potential hole-up site or even re-entering, use a wide sweeping J-hook approach to allow you early warning of trackers following your trail. This gives you the opportunity to escape before the bad guys roll up on your hidey-hole. Playing the “bad guy” during many evasion exercises, I’ve walked up on so many students in horrible hole-up sites that could see me coming and chose to stay put. This technique is only possible if you have an incredible hide site. If you’re fairly certain the enemy sees you, it’s time to get moving!

Your hole-up site will be a place that requires a lot of listening for and observation of the enemy; utilizing the military crest will be a huge benefit to the evader. If a radio is available, the military crest will provide a better location for line of sight communications, signaling potential rescue teams, determining location and planning possible travel routes.

This phase also allows you to further treat injuries, improve personal camouflage, inventory equipment, drink water and rest. Maintaining security will be a challenge for a lone evader as will overcoming the shock of the situation. Focusing on short-term goals like collecting water and food sources will keep the mind active and also prevent you from letting your guard down or becoming complacent.

Lots of people think that this is a great time to get a fire going, warm up and maybe cook some food, but they’d be dead wrong! A fire is a concession to comfort that puts you at extreme risk for capture. In addition to the smoke of a fire, the visual signal and smell can be detected from a great distance. A life-threating emergency is the only instance when a fire is acceptable. Not just, “I’m really cold and need to warm up for a little bit”. More like, “If I don’t get a fire going right now, I’m probably going to wake up dead”! It’s not within the scope of this article to cover the methods used for an evasion fire, but it needs to be very small, preferably below ground, using very dry hardwoods under a dense tree to disperse smoke.

So how am I going to cook food or purify water you ask? First off, you can go a long time without food and your primary concern is to avoid capture. The evader should rely on known edible plants and insects (six legs and three distinct body segments) for nutrition. This is no time to experiment with plants that you haven’t previously identified as safe. What’s worse than having to evade hungry? Evading with food poisoning while vomiting and diarrhea wreak havoc with your noise discipline (not to mention the accompanying dehydration). Water should be collected early and often; ideally from precipitation and obscure water sources (isolated puddles) and purified using chemical means if available (precipitation does not need to be purified).

If you can meet your needs in the hole-up site and wait out the enemy or wait for rescue, there’s no need for further travel which will only expose you to further danger and increase your odds of being captured. On the other hand, you may be forced to move to meet your needs, link up with rescue assets, or relocate without assistance to a safe location.

Evasion Movement

Evasion Movement

Slow, deliberate effort is the name of the game in this phase. Travel during periods of low light (dusk/dawn) and/or during inclement weather when tracks, noise, and visual observation are more concealed. Stop, look, listen and smell frequently to detect enemy or indigenous personnel prior to them seeing you. Fade away very slowly to the nearest point of concealment if you see someone, as quick movements will catch the eye. When acting as an aggressor during evasion exercises, my best tactics for catching students was to anticipate their direction of travel, then get out in front of them. I’d wait until I hear them approaching and close on them quickly. An effective way for an evader to counter this is by taking a “dog leg” (or indirect) approach to their intended destination.

Leave no evidence of travel as you continue to avoid LOCs while maintaining your noise and light discipline. Each “leg” of your movement will necessitate that you move from one point of concealment to the next. Stopping out in the open with your head down to check your compass is a sure ticket to failure!

We won’t go into detail on group evasion movement techniques, but each member should have a designated sector for security and know the rally point if the group is separated. All communication during group movement should use hand signals. Group communication is critical during travel since all members need the ability to silently alert the rest of the group to fade away if a threat is detected. Hand signals should be minimal and clearly understood by all evaders prior to leaving the hole-up site. You don’t want to signal your buddy that a bad guy is inbound and he thinks you’re telling him to steal second base! Once you get to where you’re going, find a new hole-up site, verify your location and determine what your recovery options are.

Recovery

The final phase of evasion is varied according to the circumstances triggering your event and what recovery mechanisms are available to you. Communication with the rescue asset and signaling them without alerting the enemy are the primary concerns in the recovery phase. Your job may be to observe and report enemy activity or other hazards to the rescue team. Secure your equipment and stay concealed until recovery is imminent. Keep in mind that this is likely a very intense event for the recovery asset so always assume a non-threatening posture, secure any weapons you have, make sure your hands are visible and follow their instructions to the letter. It’d be kind of ironic to get shot by the rescue team after a successful evasion.

Call to Action

Evasion is not one of those things we think much about until the chips are down. How many of you have spent a day or two on the run in the woods practicing it? It’s not too late! This is a skillset that you can become proficient in with some practice. I’ll be honest with you…it’s hard and depending on the weather it can be miserable!

The SERE proverb says, “Your worst day evading is better than your best day in captivity”. Keep up your physical fitness, know how your gear works, get to the woods and practice finding some hole-up sites. Maybe even practice some evasion movement using hand signals with a buddy. It can be fun if you scale it down and practice before putting the whole thing together. Albert Einstein said, “Adversity introduces a man to himself”. Probably better to learn who you are now before the SHTF!

**Editor-in-Chief’s Note: JD is the founder of iwillmakeyouhardtokill.com. 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 over 18 years of active duty 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, Washington.

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15 Survival Uses for Pipe Cleaners

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Besides the intended use, which is to clean your smoking pipes or other small bores there are other uses for pipe cleaners in a survival and in other situations. They are inexpensive, come in various colors and sizes and they take up little room and add no significant weight to your survival packs or pockets. You may want to consider carrying a dozen or so in your EDC pack, and keep some in the car and always have some around the home and shop.

Uses

1.) Use to secure tarps together by twisting together through the grommet on each tarp. Use to secure a tarp or other shelter material to small tree limbs. You can extend the length of the cleaners by twisting several together to make a longer cleaner for securing shelter material.

2.) Use as emergency shoelaces. You can use several pipe cleaners to close up the lace holes on your shoes or boots. The cleaners will not tighten as well as the traditional laces would, but if you needed to use your laces as emergency cordage, then a few pipe cleaners can fill in for the time being.

3.) Use a pipe cleaner as you would bag ties by twisting around the top of storage bags to seal the contents. Use as you would cable ties to secure and bundle small objects together.

4.) Use as candle wicks that will sit on top of the wax. This method allows you to add as many as you need. This works well if your candle wax is encased in a metal container that allows for a flat surface. Twist the bottom of the pipe cleaner so it makes a support base. Dip the entire cleaner in wax, let cool and dip again and repeat several more times to ensure it has a good coating of wax. Now all you have to do is set the wick on top of the wax and light. Use as many as you need, and when done snuff out the flame and let cool and use again. You can use the same wick a number of times.

5.) You can use the emergency wicks for oil lamps and lamps made from pine resin as well. We haven’t tried the ad hoc wicks with full tuna fish cans or sardine tins but it may a great experiment for some of you to try when you get the chance.

6.) Use to put your hair up in a ponytail to keep it away from the fire or moving objects.

7.) Twist several together (to make a thicker bore cleaner) and use as a bore cleaner for your pistols. You can wrap several around a bore rod if you don’t have a bore brush or swabs. Use to clean hard to reach areas on your firearm. Put some gun oil on the tip of a fresh pipe cleaner to lubricate hard to reach areas on firearms and other equipment.

8.) Broken knife handle, then wrap as many pipe cleaners as needed around the handle portion for gripping. Use the cleaners to enhance the grip on other tools and equipment as well.

9.) Dip a cleaner in melted wax to apply to tent seams, boot/shoe laces and along the seams of shoes and boots for water resistance.

10.) Use to secure blankets or tarps around your body. Simply wrap the material and then find the spot that you want to secure and punch a hole in the material on both sides and thread a cleaner through the holes to secure the material. You can make emergency body coverings, and head gear using blankets and other insulating materials.

11.) Use the cleaners to bore out the flame vents on propane and other fuel stoves to keep them operating efficiently.

12.) Thread a cleaner through a zipper so you can grab it easier.

13.) Use pipe cleaners to secure items to the outside of your pack or to repair your pack and other gear.

14.) Use the cleaners to clean your hydration packs, making sure you have an ample supply so any contaminated ones are not reused.

15.) Use as key rings, or to loop through rings and other jewelry to keep your valuables in one place in your packs.

You can purchase pipe cleaners that are designed for crafters, which can be up to 20 inches long, while the traditional pipe cleaner is usually 6 to 7 inches long. You can buy them in various colors as well to mark trails, or to identify bug-out- bags and other packs used by family or group members.

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Mountain Biking Getting A Kit Together

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Mountain biking, just the thought of it conjures up images of Rough Mountain trails, crisp pine scented air, and spectacular views. In many cases, the reality will match your imagination. However, there is another reality you may have to deal with along the trail and that is survival. What ifs have to be dealt with, and thus, how you prepare for your mountain biking adventure may determine whether you survive or not if you find yourself in a survival situation miles from civilization.

As a side note, mountain biking is an ideal way to stay in shape while enjoying nature, not to mention the planning and preparation aspect of the adventure  helps to build survival skills, which can be used in any situation.

You don’t ride your mountain bike on city sidewalks or generally along well-marked biking trails. No, you want the rough terrain, and you want to imagine you are the first one to see the spectacular views and to inhale the rarefied air. You want the challenge, but what happens when there is a mechanical failure, a flat tire, or a chain becomes loose or even if your bike cannot get you back home, what ifs and what if you are caught in a survival challenge.

Mechanical devices can and will fail, and according to Murphy’s Law, (if anything can go wrong it will) they will never fail while sitting in the garage. It’s always along the trail miles from anywhere. You have to assume you could end up on foot when out mountain biking. If the terrain is rough for your bike imagine how rough it will be if you have to hike out. Not only can you end up on foot, you could end up spending a night or two along the trail.

To Keep You Bike Rolling Along You Will Need Tools and Materials

  • Patch Kit And Make Sure It Is A Quality One, And  That You Have More Than Just One Patch, Fresh Glue, And Make Sure You Know Exactly How To Use The Patch Kit
  • Spare Tube (s)
  • Tire Pump And Make Sure You Know Your Valves (Presta valve/ Schrader valve) You Can Use CO² Canisters as Well
  • Tools To Remove Wheel If Needed

Many Bikes Will have Tension Levers, Which means You Do Not Need an Adjustable Wrench or Socket to Remove the Wheel

The above listed are the basics, but the basics are not enough if you become stranded, or lost or stranded because of an injury. Remember, you may have to spend the night in the wilds.

Survival Kit

Pack for overnight regardless of how long you expect to be gone. You always have to assume something could happen. Those that believe nothing will ever happen always curse the fact something did happen, and the fact they failed to prepare. The unexpected, no, you are packing for the expected crisis. If you expect it to happen, you will prepare accordingly.

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Common Deadly Water Purification Mistakes

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Filtration is important and sometimes is overlooked or abandoned completely because the water source looks clear, so this can be a serious mistake. Filtration is an important step in the purification process.

Micro waterborne cysts cannot be easily seen by the naked eye, and these cysts can harbor bacteria. Cysts can be best described as hard-shelled seedpods that can protect bacteria from destruction even when the water is boiled or chemically treated. The bacterium is protected until the cysts enter the stomach where digestive acids easily dissolve the shell releasing possibly harmful bacteria into the body.

There are various ways of filtering water and some methods are obviously more effective than others are, but any filtration is better than no filtering at all. Coffee filters, cheesecloth, cotton balls stuffed in a funnel neck, clean cotton cloth, sand, gravel, grasses, charcoal and clean soil can be used as filtering mediums.

The ideal method is when more than one filtering medium is used in layers. The mediums should be layered from coarse to fine so the bigger debris is filtered out first while the finer medium captures the micro-particles at the bottom of the filtering device just before dripping into a clean container.

If filtering is out of the question, you can let the debris settle and then slowly pour off the water leaving the debris at the bottom into a clean container for chemical purification or into a container for boiling.

Another mistake that is made is dipping a canteen into contaminated water and then chemically treating the water inside without ensuring the drink line (threads) and the cap are sanitized.

The ideal method is to collect water in one container then filter properly into a clean container prior to chemical treatment. If this is not possible, then treat the water using purification tablets or drops or by using household bleach. Once the chemical is in the water and you have shaken the canteen well open the cap and tip the canteen up to flush the threads and cap with the treated water. Then wait the prescribed time, which is usually 30 minutes. In some cases, certain tablets will require a longer wait period, so read the instructions that came with the purification tablets.

Below is the recommended amount of bleach for various volumes of water. The chart is courtesy of (The Clorox Company, 2017).

Bleach water purification
If the water you want to treat is cloudy even after filtration or you simply cannot filter it, then add twice the amount of bleach recommended above (The Clorox Company, 2017).

Bacteria and parasites can be destroyed at 145° F if the temperature is maintained for at least an hour. However, at 212° F bacteria is destroyed after one minute of rapid boiling.

One mistake that some make is assuming that by boiling water they will destroy or remove chemical toxins, poisons, and petroleum products from the water. This is not the case, so if your water source has an oil slick on top leave it alone.

If you use commercial grade activated charcoal as a filtering medium, you can remove certain pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals and some petroleum products from the water, but this is not foolproof, so if you do suspect contaminates of this type it is best to leave the water alone.

Another mistake some make is assuming that boiling longer kills more bacteria. You do have to boil longer depending on your elevation, but unless you are on top of Mount Everest boiling longer than three minutes is just wasting water volume, because you can boil your water pot dry if you are not careful. If your water source is limited, you simply cannot let your water boil away.

As atmospheric pressure decreases, water boils at lower temperatures. At sea level, for example, water boils at 212 °F. For every 500-feet increase in elevation, the boiling point of water is lowered by just under 1 °F.

At 7,500 feet, for example, water boils at about 198 °F. Because water boils at a lower temperature at higher elevations, it must boil longer to achieve the same results as boiling at 212° F. Up to 10 minutes at the highest elevation, but three minutes is adequate in most cases.

The Clorox Company. (2017).

Washington State. (2017). 

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After The SHTF What’s Next

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We have always emphasized that preparing for the days after is as important or even more so than the preparations leading up to a crisis, providing you have advanced warning, of course. Imagine being told that a dam near your community may collapse at any time and you have to evacuate immediately, are you ready to do that.

The Oroville dam in California is close to collapse and roughly, 200,000 residents in the water’s path were told to leave immediately. The evacuation order has been lifted for now, but more rain is coming.

Would you leave? Some residents of the area who would be in the path of the water choose to stay instead of fleeing the possible catastrophe. Looting was apparently the main concern, and so people stayed back to try and prevent it.

Trying to protect your home and property from such an onslaught of water would be impossible however, but a few choose to stay and some may have had little chance of surviving if the dam did collapse.

You may be faced with the same dilemma someday. A train carrying toxic chemicals may derail in your town, a levee may fail, there could be an earthquake, and then a tsunami as a result, or any disaster that strikes without much warning where you must decide quickly whether to stay or evacuate.

To survive the days after you need to have your ducks in a row. You need all of your important paperwork in one place, preferably vacuumed sealed so your documents are protected from moisture damage. You do not have to seal the paperwork as if it were food, but just enough so it can be heat-sealed to make it waterproof. Vacuum sealing paperwork to tightly may damage some documents so be careful.

Passports, insurance documents, birth certificates, marriage certificates, deeds and so on will be needed during the days after. You may not be able to get back to your home without the proper identification so make sure you have some form of ID on you at all times. Proving you live in the community is needed to help reduce looting and vandalism.

You will need a shelter whether they are emergency shelters set up by your local, state, or federal government because everyone needs a dry and warm place to regroup, get meals, shower/bathe, and sleep. You may also seek out friends and relatives homes that are out of the disaster area. Hotels/motels are another option as well, if you can get ahead of the mass exodus because rooms would go fast. Rooms may be rented days before as people gather information on any possible disaster scenario.

Regardless of where you end up, you will need clothing, personal hygiene items, possibly blankets, emergency food, water, specific items for children and babies, pet supplies if applicable, and any medicines needed for daily maintenance and over the counter medications for pain, nausea, allergies, and so forth.

FEMA and the Red Cross in some cases, do provide some emergency supplies, but you should not count on it, and it may take several days for them to get operational in your area, so be prepared to survive on your own in the meantime.

If given advance warning, you can leave by vehicle but expect the roads to be clogged, so it is important that you decide quickly and move to evacuate even quicker to avoid the gridlock. The better prepared you are, the faster you can evacuate.

It is important that you know what is in your area that could cause a mass evacuation. In California, for example, the authorities knew about the dam for years and yet repairs went undone. You cannot count on your local, state, or federal government to always take care of you or to keep you informed of dangers literally in your own backyard.

You need to know about dams, levees, fault lines, flooding issues, hurricane probabilities as well as, the possibility of tidal waves, tornadoes, wildfires and any winter weather events that could cause devastation in your community.

You need to research and stay informed because no one will do it for you. You need a plan for evacuation and for sheltering in place, and once you decide one way or another you may not be able to change your plans after a specific point. If you decide to stay, you may not be able to evacuate if you change your mind a few days into it, because the roads and bridges could be damaged, washed out or simply not safe, so consider this as well when planning. Once committed you may have to go all the way with it, so you need to be prepared to do just that.

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12 Survival and Other Uses for Lemons/Lemon Juice

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Fresh lemons may very well be hard to get a hold of during a crisis unless you live in an area that has mature lemon trees. If you do live in an area that can sustain lemon trees then why not plant one or more if you have the space.

You can stock up on 100 percent lemon juice, however, and store it unopened in your pantry. There will be a use by date on the container. This date does not mean that the product is no longer palatable after this date, but is rather a recommend use by date for optimal freshness.

Once opened it should be stored in the refrigerator in its original container with the cap on tightly. Lemon juiced commercially packaged can last up to nine months in the refrigerator once opened.

Freshly squeezed lemon juice lasts up to four days in the refrigerator and if kept at zero or below it can last indefinitely frozen. Freeze your juice in manageable quantities such as in ice cube trays or small containers. This way, you can remove just what you need without having to thaw the entire amount or have to chip away at a hunk of frozen juice.

Uses

1.) The juice and skins of the lemon alkalize, in other words, the acid in the lemon juice works with your body fluids to restore your body’s pH levels.

2.) Known to improve digestion and encourages regular bowel movements. Adding lemon juice to a glass of warm water and consuming every morning will have you well on your way to eliminating waste from your body on a regular basis. Waste build up in the intestinal tract can cause sickness from toxins in the waste and cause tiredness, cranky moods, skin problems, and stomach cramps.

3.) Lemons like any citrus are high in Vitamin C. Your body does not produce nor store Vitamin C so it is important that you get the recommended amounts daily.

“Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in some foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. Humans, unlike most animals, are unable to synthesize vitamin C endogenously, so it is an essential dietary component” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.).

4.) The citric acid, which is what lemon juice is has been known to kill intestinal parasites/worms.

5.) The acid has antibacterial properties and can be used to treat insect bites, skin rashes, and dark skin blotches. It is also known to destroy some common bacteria found on the hands and body.

6.) Stimulates and detoxifies the liver. Lemon juice dissolves uric acid and essentially liquefies liver bile so it can be removed more easily from the body. Lemon juice added to warm water is a great way to start the day.

7.) Spray lemon juice on cut up apples, avocados, and lettuce to prevent browning, which is nothing more than oxidation.

8.) Rub a cut up lemon or rub the juice on clothing stains, particularly whites, or add the juice to the wash water to help brighten your whites, and to remove stains.

9.) Make a paste using lemon juice and baking soda to whiten teeth, and to refresh your breath, and to help destroy bacteria in the mouth. Leave the mixture on your teeth for one minute then brush and rinse well. Do not use lemon juice every day because the acid will erode your tooth enamel if over used. Rinse well after using to remove the acid from your teeth and then brush with your favorite paste.

10.)  Lemon juice will reduce throat inflammation. To help with a sore throat and to reduce bacteria in the throat add the juice to hot tea or gargle with lemon juice and warm water.

11.) Make your own air freshener by bringing cut up lemons to a boil. After the lemons have boiled for several minutes shut off the burner and leave the pot of lemons on the stove for a few hours. The lemon oil that is released will diffuse throughout the house helping to eliminate smoke and cooking odors just to name a few.

12.) Mix lemon and honey to create a facial or skin mask. The mixture helps with acne and helps to moisturize the skin as well. You can use the mixture on other parts of the body such as on elbows and knees to eliminate dry scale. Leave on for 20 minutes.

There are more uses for lemons, of course, but we wanted to bring you what we thought might be the most relevant uses during a crisis. Remember, lemons contain antioxidants and high concentrates of Vitamin C, so they are a good addition to your diet at any time.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Retrieved 2017, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/

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Teaching Your Children How to Cook: It’s Important That They Know How

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About 53 percent of Millennials say they eat at restaurants at least once a week, compared with 43 percent of Generation X or baby boomers, according to a 2015 survey of 3,000 adults by Morgan Stanley.

Americans in 2014 spent more money on food consumed in restaurants, school lunch programs and at sporting events than they did on food prepared and consumed at home, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS).

The money spent on food away from home was 50.1 percent of the 1.46 trillion spent on food, while 49.9 percent was spent on grocery store purchases. In 1960, just 26.3 percent of a family’s income was spent on food consumed away from home (Lamagna, 2016).

We have to assume that some of the foods purchased from grocery stores were meals ready to heat and eat. In other words, no cooking skill was required to put a meal on the table.

According to a survey conducted in 2016 by the Pew Research Center American adults, aged 18 to 34 were more likely to be living with their parents than with a spouse or significant other. Thus, there are more and more adult children still sitting around mom and dad’s dinner table who probably do not see a need to learn how to cook at this time in their life because mom or dad are still laboring over the stove for their children.

There has always been a debate about the cost of eating out versus buying and preparing food at home. Some, of course, claim it is less expensive to eat out than to buy the food, carry it home, and then spend time cooking and cleaning up. It depends on the food you order in a restaurant of course, and the food you buy for cooking at home. We will not get into that debate because it can be more or less expensive depending on your personal preferences.

This article is about cooking and how necessary it is to have the right skills when grocery stores are shuttered and restaurants are just a fond memory of days past. An extended crisis will force all families and individuals to prepare their own food and without the proper skills, you can cause sickness, or even death, not to mention causing a revolt among family members. A hot meal can be a lifesaver not only from a nutrition standpoint but from a psychological one as well.

You will have to know how to prepare food from its raw state. Food pre-cooked and packaged for your dining convenience will be a thing of the past. What will you do if you trade some children toys and clothes or medicine for fresh game or fish? What happens if your spouse or partner drags home a deer that needs to be processed within hours for a meal that night and then you have to preserve the rest for the days and weeks to follow?

Cooking is not just for the females in the family or group and hunting is not just for the males in the group. Everyone needs to know how to hunt for fresh game and then cook and preserve that same game, and children, as well as adults, are frankly never too young or old respectively to start learning.

The Basics

You have to include safe food handling first and foremost. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) roughly 1 in 6 or 48 million Americans get sick each year from consuming contaminated foods or beverages, and 128,000 require a hospital stay while 3,000 die from food-borne illnesses each year. Food safety is important, and it must be taught first before anything else (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2016).

It starts with teaching inexperienced and experienced cooks alike the need for proper hand washing and this is even more important during a crisis where professional medical care and medicines may not be available if someone does get sick from contaminated foods.

Raw meats must be processed in such a way that they do not contaminate foods like bread or raw fruits or vegetables and other foods that may not be typically cooked or not cooked at a high enough temperature to destroy bacteria or pathogens that may be present.

Clean work surfaces before and after handling raw meats using bleach and water. Raw vegetables and fruits must be scrubbed and then rinsed well with clean water to remove any contaminates from the surface even if the product has a skin that will not be eaten.

Bacteria on the skin or peel can reach the edible parts if you cut the food with a knife or handle the food after handling the skin or peel. The bacterium on the outside is carried inside by a knife blade or by your hands.

Oil and butter are staples for cooking food in frying pans and for baking as well as salt and pepper. Most foods benefit from spices applied during and after cooking to enhance the flavor.

Start with the basics, like butter and olive oil or other cooking oils, salt, pepper, garlic raw or powdered as well as basil, parsley, rosemary, dill, sage, and thyme. These, of course, are not the only herbs and spices available for cooking but they are a start.

Ideally, you would either have a small herb garden inside the home, on the deck or have a garden in the backyard. Fresh is always better, and fresh herbs do provide many necessary nutrients and some do have certain healing properties as well.

Gardening is part of the cooking process when food supply chains are disrupted. Many of the spices you buy dry from the store can be raised with very little space or effort right in your own kitchen or on the deck. Your backyard garden can also provide fresh vegetables for daily consumption as well as provide a surplus for canning, drying, and pickling.

Some foods, of course, fare better when baked, versus using a frying pan, but during a crisis, you may have only a few options or even one option and that may be an open flame. You need utensils and pots and pans that can literally take the heat of open flames and can cook or bake virtually anything.

A Dutch oven is ideal for all types of cooking and baking from inside an oven to pit cooking using charcoal or even when cooking over an open flame. You can deep fry in a deep Dutch Oven, or fry a steak, boil potatoes, make biscuits, bread, desserts and even sauté or steam vegetables.

Know your cuts of meat so you know the best way to cook them. Tough cuts do better when cooked slowly and cuts like well-marbled steaks, for example, are best cooked fast over a hot flame.

Game meat like venison can have very little fat content and can be very tough if overcooked. Venison steaks can be cooked to medium or even medium rare for the best results. Pork, poultry and ground meats on in the other hand, must be thoroughly cooked to destroy any bacteria present.

Some meats and other foods will continue to cook after being removed from the heat, so study the chart provided below for cooking temperatures and resting times if applicable.

After you remove meat from a grill, oven, or other heat source, allow it to rest for the specified amount of time. During the rest time, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful germs.

Meat Temp Cooking Chart

Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2016

Children can be taught the basics rather quickly. They need to learn how to cut up meats and vegetables safely, because just tossing meat on the flame or carrots in the pot doesn’t always add up to a good meal.

When cooking vegetables they should be relatively uniform in size so they cook consistently. Large chunks tossed in with small pieces will be raw while the smaller pieces over cooked. The small details like this are what separate an average cook from a good cook. Knowing the cooking temperatures, cooking times and knowing what spices enhance certain foods.

It takes some experimentation and the best time to practice with your children is now before something happens, and they literally need to know how to cook to save their lives.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2016). Retrieved 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/2011-foodborne-estimates.html

Lamagna, M. (2016). Retrieved 2017, from http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-millennials-dont-know-how-to-cook-2016-08-10

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Playing Checkers When the Game Is Chess: Prepper Survival Strategies

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Of course, survival is not a game, but it is about strategy, planning, and then following through with your plans. The game, if you will, is also about adaptation, because even the best-laid plans can go off the rails when disaster strikes.

Chess is a game, in which strategy matters and the smallest of players in the game have a place, and have the ability to change the game. In other words, the smallest of details that are overlooked or outright ignored can change the balance, can change the game and not always in your favor.

Like in the game of chess if you move before you have all your pieces in place (or your plans in place), you could lose the game. You have to build from the bottom up, develop a strong foundation, with a solid core and in the case of Prepping your core is your supplies, your shelter, and those you surround yourself with that are trustworthy and know what the ultimate goal is.

Each person, each piece of gear and equipment must be leveraged in your favor. You have to know the limitations of your people and equipment to use them effectively. If you know a person’s limitations then you are less apt to put them in a position to which they are destined to fail.

For example, if you have a plan to protect your family, home, and supplies from others during a crisis you need to know the shooting capabilities off all those tasked with defense. Not knowing means, you may end up with someone that has little or no firearm training out front defending the homestead.

Know before you need to know because once the battle starts, you are in it for better or worse. Aces in their places, because everyone has talent, you need to know what that talent may be so they can be fitted to a position. Additionally, should have a training program in place to train people for other tasks or jobs. This is leveraging your assets fully so when the SHTF you actually have assets that can step forward and get the job done.

You as a leader must create a win/win situation and this means people are in positions that they are trained for, and that they are comfortable with their level of training, they have confidence in other words. Someone or a number of people in the group must be charged with defense, Intel gathering, food procurement and preparation, medical care and someone has to tend to the children and the elderly just to name a few of the task required to keep everyone alive.

Every person or piece, if you will, on the game board must know their position before the game starts, before disaster strikes. The confusion of a crisis is overwhelming and if your personnel have no idea if they should go, left or right at zero hour, then this is mission failure. Mission failure in a survival situation can mean death to you and yours.

Finding an Answer before There Is a Problem

Albert Einstein once stated, “That if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution”. This goes back to a previous article about reacting to information or to a situation before fully understanding the problem. The problem often times is to know what the problem is (History.com, n.d.).

When it comes to preparing for a crisis, you know in some cases, what the problem is. A blizzard is on its way, a hurricane is forecasted to make landfall in three days, and if you live in an area prone to tornadoes or flooding then you know what the problem is and can make preparations accordingly.

We can only make assumptions about man-made disasters, but we do know they are a possibility anywhere at any time. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the details, so break it down into pieces. You know that regardless of the crisis there are certain things you need, so start there in defining and solving the problem. Again you will need your core, and people in place.

It is not so much about the crisis but the aftermath. A disaster always has an aftermath, and that in many cases can be the hardest part. The aftermath in and of itself is a crisis often times worse than the actual event.

You have to have a plan in place to survive the damage to homes and to the infrastructure, the disruption of water supplies, food supply chains and damage to hospitals and to the lack of first responders and not so much the crisis itself. Redefine your problem and plan for the days after as much as the crisis itself.

History.com. (n.d.). Retrieved 2017, from http://www.history.com/topics/albert-einstein

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Perennial Plants That Produce Food Year After Year

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“A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. Perennials, especially small flowering plants, grow and bloom over the spring and summer, then die back every autumn and winter, and then return in the spring from their rootstock, are known as herbaceous perennials”.

Below are a few of the more common food plants that are known to live and produce for over two years, and some like asparagus, for example, can produce for literally decades if the asparagus bed is well taken care of.

  • Grapes
  • Mint
  • Lavender
  • Water Cress
  • Asparagus
  • Artichoke
  • Rhubarb
  • Lemon balm
  • Horseradish
  • Jerusalem Artichokes also Known as Sunchokes
  • Broccoli
  • Chives
  • Groundnut
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Strawberry
  • Oregano
  • *Peanuts

*Note: While the traditional peanut is considered a perennial, it is very fussy, or tender, if you will, and thus, is normally planted as an annual.

Why perennial food plants. We ask this question because the focus when it comes to survival articles, and disaster scenarios are often times on evacuations or seasonal survival gardens that people can plant with the thought that they may not be in the same place next year.

One very good reason for planting perennials is because after the dust settles, you and others if you have established a community or simply are surviving with just your family need a long-term food source, a renewable food source, and one that renews itself is ideal.

You need to be able to raise as much food as possible for daily consumption and for preservation. Gardening on a large scale is labor intensive, requires a certain skill set, tools, and materials, so anything you can do to keep plants coming up every year with little care and attendance helps to ensure your survival.

Less work when it comes to certain food plants means more time can be spent on growing annual food plants, raising livestock, and even developing edible marine life using aquaponics.

In addition to the vegetables and herbs listed above, there are of course, raspberries, blackberries,  blueberries and a host of others that may or may not be predominate in your temperate zone that does not need to be planted every year.

Fruit trees are obviously perennial, but they do take years in many cases to begin producing fruit. If you had to evacuate your home and community and managed to find your way to a rural area, you may very well find abandoned fruit orchards, which you can cultivate to increase the harvest.

Apple, pear and peach trees will grow and flourish for years without human intervention, but with a little care, such as pruning, and in some cases proper pollination techniques you could improve the harvest with little investment.

In some cases, beehives are placed near fruit bearing trees and plants to ensure pollination takes place.

In some areas of the country lemon, orange and lime trees, which are all perennial, flourish as do avocado, and certain nut-bearing trees, such as almond, walnuts, and pecans and so forth.

Plants like peppers and tomatoes are scientifically considered perennials, but as a practical matter in this country, they are not considered so. Tomatoes, of course, bear fruit with seeds lodged in the pulpy fruit mass. If left unattended and given the right conditions, almost perfect conditions, the fruits would drop from the plants, and the pulp would essentially nourish the seeds until germination. Thus, you could in some cases have tomatoes, certain squashes, and pepper plants along with cucumbers and other plants that carry their seeds in pulp coming up every spring with little to no help from you. However, cold winters, animals, and poor soil conditions usually prevent this from happening.

In addition to the list of the most common, there are weeds, yes weeds, edible perennial weeds in fact, which may very well pop up in your gardens and lawns every spring. Burdock, Indian strawberries, dandelions, and plantains, just to name a few are to be found in most areas of the country.

Indian berries have a yellow blossom, whereas the traditional strawberry has white blossoms. The Indian berry’s taste does not resemble that of a strawberry, however. They are considered a nuisance weed by many but the berry is edible.

We are not talking about the banana shaped plantains, but rather the medicinal plant that is, of course, edible and is very likely ready to populate your backyard in just a matter of weeks.

Plantain, also called “The White-Mans Footprint” is a small wild plant with leaves that grow mainly from the plant’s base. Flowers: tiny, greenish, in spikes. Native to: northern temperate regions. Family: Plantaginaceae

Once established and with a little care, you can create a perennial food garden that can be overlapped with your traditional annual food plants that are planted every spring, summer, and fall.

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Core Survival Skills: Master Them First and Then Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)

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You have probably heard of the KISS concept, but do you really know what it means.

KISS is an acronym for “Keep it simple, stupid” as a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated. Therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” – Albert Einstein (Anderson, 2014).

When practicing your skills, imagine you are explaining what you are doing to someone else. If you can’t explain what you are doing then you need more time, more practice. Use this as a learning technique to improve or hone your own survival or Bushcraft skills, you may never achieve perfection, but you do want to achieve permanent. You want your skills to last, as we stated in an earlier article your successes from practicing have to outlast your failures.

The Basics

If you cannot make a fire in the middle of a pine forest, in a rain forest, or on a snow covered mountain in Montana, you won’t survive long. You need fire for warmth, cooking, lighting up the night and for a psychological boost, also to repel predators and flying pests, and most importantly in many cases, you need fire to purify water.

Humans that lived 10,000 years ago needed fire to survive every day. We need it today as well. We need fire to burn propane or natural gas to heat our homes, heat our bath water, cook our food, and even power vehicles, in some cases. We also need fire to cook our steaks and chicken on the grill, but it all seems so easy, well it is easy today, except when it’s not.

Just because you have matches does not mean you can get a fire going. What if the wood is wet, the ground soaked, or snow covered, and what if there is no wood.

No wood, well certain animal dung when dried makes a very hot fire, do you know what kind of dung? Herbivores are those animals that only eat plant material. Plant material that once dried will take a spark. Once you have created an ember, it will burn like charcoal briquettes. It will boil water, heat your shelter, and cook your food.

Matches, lighters, Ferro rods, and magnesium sticks can be carried in your pockets, packs, and vehicles. In fact, you should have all or most of these fire-starting tools in your cars, packs, and pockets at all times.

Along with the above mentioned, you can carry dry tinder, such as wood curls and cotton balls, along with fire aids such as petroleum jelly, cigars (they hold an ember), alcohol-based hand sanitizer, strips of duct tape, (duct tape burns) and then wrap them all up in aluminum foil. The foil gives you a dry base in which to build your fire if the ground is saturated or snow covered.

If the wood you need is wet, you can split branches to reach the dry core and lay the dry side over your small fire, or shave the outer bark until you reach dry wood. If you have enough dry fuel, you can dry larger pieces of wet wood next to the fire.

You have to be pro-active. The underside of bark can be dry and used, or wood lying under downed trees and wood found under rock shelves can be dry as well. You need to assess or zone the area immediately and begin the hunt for fuel.

Simply put if you have matches, magnesium sticks, Ferro rods and fuel you can start a fire, providing you know how to use a Ferro rod and magnesium stick. There are videos on how to build the perfect fire, but perfect is not required, but some practice is. Practice may not make for perfect but if you practice something, long enough the information becomes permanent, which is actually better than perfect.

Okay, fire has been discussed, so now what. Well how do you get those perfect wood curls, how do you split sticks to reach the dry center, and how do you clean your fingernails.

You need a knife, a decent knife, not a 300-dollar knife, but one with a full tang, sturdy blade and one that can hold an edge. Stainless or carbon steel, carbon steel blades are stronger but they rust and it takes more effort to put a good edge on one, however, once sharp they stay sharp longer.

Stainless is softer, easier to sharpen and rust is not a problem. All that said, though, your knife needs to be able to clean fish, spread jelly on your toast, skin a rabbit or deer and cut up your food and be stout enough to split saplings, make wood curls and in some cases be able to dig small depressions in the ground. Choose carefully and you don’t need to spend a fortune either.

If you can make fire and have a good fixed blade knife, you can go far, so far in fact, you can survive. Forest debris will be your shelter. Long grasses can be cut and twisted or braided into cordage to help build your shelter or you can excavate under a downed tree to make a small space or find a downed tree and use the root ball as shelter by cutting vegetation, pine boughs, and so forth to enhance the roof and sides. Simply entwine grasses, pine boughs or any vegetation in and through the roots sticking up.

Learning how to make a fire in any situation takes practice, so never leave home until you know for sure you can, and, of course, always have the needed materials. Have a knife at all times, and know how to build a shelter from forest debris, which also takes some practice and a certain skill set that you must advance.

After all that, you go on to make tools such as spears for fishing, and long bows for hunting and stone arrowheads for the arrows or even spearheads. Cordage is everywhere if you know where to look, and you very likely have some on your person right now. 

While we said Bushcraft is simplistic, it requires work, knowledge and a skill set. You cannot wake one day and decide you want to be Mick Dodge. You will need food, clothing, and tools. You can, of course, make all of what you need, if you keep your needs simple.

One approach is to combine, prepping, training, and preparing for a crisis in your community, off grid living along with Bushcraft skills. This doesn’t mean you live in caves and hollow logs, it doesn’t mean you hunker in a bunker or string razor wire around your home. It means you learn all you can about living where and how you live now and learning how to live if your home is gone and you are heading for the hills.

Learn how to survive until rescued, this means having an EDC/survival kit with you at all times. The basics are simple, KISS remember, fire, water, shelter and then food, but food is not as important unless you do plan to live in logs and caves as a chosen way of life.

Anderson, A. R. (2014). Retrieved 2017, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/amyanderson/2014/02/27/keeping-it-simple-doesnt-mean-youre-stupid/#500d894672ca

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Money Well Spent: Shoes, Socks and an Umbrella

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If you cannot walk or are in pain when walking due to blisters or emersion foot also known as trench foot, or from a twisted ankle, or bruised foot because your boots or shoes offered no support or shock absorption, your survival may hang in the balance.

Boots and Shoes

While you may want your hiking boots to make a fashion statement, they also need to be practical and actually provide comfort and support. Are they waterproof or water resistant, do the soles offer a good gripping surface and do they provide the proper shock resistance, and most importantly, do they fit well?

Cheap boots will have cheap soles that can become dangerous when traversing wet surfaces and can cause stone bruises because they offer no protection against debris on the ground. Quality shoes or boots cost money, but it is money well spent when it’s below freezing and the ground is wet, cold and the terrain is rough. Twenty-five-dollar shoes or hiking boots from your local big box store will not hold up and they can immobilize you out on the trail.

There are hiking shoes, hiking boots and backpacking boots. The backpacking boots are for those of you that plan an extended hiking adventure with a backpack that would be heavier than a daypack, for example. Backpacking boots would offer more protection because they are sturdier, but are also heavier as well, so there are choices to be made when it comes to shoes, and much depends on your lifestyle, terrain, probable weather conditions, and fitness level in some cases.

Hiking shoes are ideal for short walks or hikes close to home where the weight you are carrying is minimal. Hiking boots are essentially hiking shoes that rise above the ankle to provide more support. They offer much needed support when on rough terrain, and anyone that has not been out hiking in a while or may have ankle or knee problems should start out with hiking boots to help prevent twisted ankles.

You can, of course, choose the type of shoe you want based on personal preferences, terrain, and length of hike, but remember things can change quickly out on the trail. Backpacking boots can be used on any trail, sidewalk, or roadway, while hiking shoes, for example, can also traverse all terrain, but the rougher it gets the less protection you would have with shoes.

Plan for emergencies, wet and cold weather, and plan to stay overnight in the woods. If you plan for the worst-case scenario, then you are also prepared for the worst, better to be ready and not need your survival gear than to need it and not have it.

Break your shoes in before setting out on any hike. Make sure they fit well, and some shoes/boots with insulated lining inside require you to size up by half or even one shoe size in some instances. Remember your socks combined with the insulation inside the boot could cause the boot to not fit properly.

Socks

Wool or wool blends are ideal if they are not too thick. Fabric technology has allowed manufacturers to produce wool blend socks that are thin yet offer the ever so important wicking, and insulation even when wet feature that we expect from wool, and then there is Polypropylene.

Let’s get the technical stuff out of the way first. Polypropylene is an incredibly versatile, bendable, thermoplastic polymer. Get all that?

Okay, what does this mean for you and your feet? Well, the material does not absorb water or break down when wet. The material holds more heat than wool, and will retain it for much longer, and of course, the material will wick any moisture away from your skin.

We don’t need to tell you that cotton is not what you want to be wearing in cold weather.

If your feet get wet, dry them, and every chance you get dry your socks. Hang them close to a fire and allow the smoke from hardwoods to penetrate the material. The smoke helps control bacteria, which causes odor.

Have more than one pair of socks so you can change them often. Wet, cold feet can cause blisters and of course, emersion foot, (trench foot), which can lead to amputation of toes or even the entire foot and eventually death from gangrene if left untreated.

Umbrella

Umbrellas simply put protect you from rain, snow, and sun. If it starts raining while you are hiking, you would typically put on your poncho or rain suit. Both offer protection, but they also cause you to sweat more, and in warmer weather, this can bring on dehydration faster and sweat soaks your clothing and this is not a good scenario if the nights cool off rapidly or if it is cold out, to begin with. People can get hypothermia at 50° F.

Have to stop hiking because the sun is beating down, well an umbrella can help keep the sun off you, thus keeping you cooler, and this allows you to continue hiking.

An umbrella is a mini shelter, which keeps snow and sleet off you as well as rain and the sun. Turn it upside down, if you have a shelter from the rain other than the umbrella so you can collect rainwater for drinking and bathing.

An umbrella can be an emergency walking stick/cane or weapon in some cases. They are light and can be strapped to any pack, and more than one umbrella would be ideal and they would not add any significant weight to your pack.

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Things to Consider When Packing Your Survival Kit

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Before you even start to stuff your pack with the supplies, gear and materials you think you need to survive you will need some wilderness survival training/knowledge, and be able to exercise good judgment first.

Furthermore, you must be able to accept the fact that you will make mistakes, which brings us to having and needing, the ability to adapt when your first set of plans has gone off the rails because of a mistake made or due to circumstances beyond your control.

If you cannot adapt, or refuse to adapt because of stubbornness, pride or from the lack of knowledge or training then you are setting yourself up for failure, and failure at this level can mean death. No gear in the world will save you from a mistake, a mistake you may be reluctant to admit. Failure to admit you made a mistake, or had overestimated your own abilities means you are not correcting the problem.

Not everything should go in your pack. There are certain core survival tools and materials that should be carried in your pocket or lashed to your body in some form or fashion. A pack can be lost if you fall in a river or stream, or are caught in an avalanche. The pack can be lost if you take a tumble and a strap or harness breaks and then your survival gear is over the cliff and riding the rapids toward the warm waters of the Gulf.

Anything can happen, so it is important that you have a compass, a map that is waterproofed, fire starting materials in a waterproof container, communication devices, knife, cordage, thermal blanket (s), and water purification pills in pockets or hooked to your belt. Also on your belt, you should have a full metal canteen and a small quality flashlight.  A metal canteen means you have a metal container for collection and purification of drinking water.

Failure to do your research can be deadly. We have stated this time and again. You must, to the best of your ability, know the area in which you are traveling, hiking, camping, or hunting. Know the terrain, likely weather conditions, wildlife, insects, and reptiles you may encounter, as well as flash floods and fire danger.

Some might say, “Well I had no idea I would be in such and such a place”. Well, how could you not know? You started out from somewhere with a destination in mind. You want to go hiking, so you know where you want to hike, the same goes for camping and hunting, you start from somewhere and end up somewhere and the areas in between, as well as the destination should be well researched.

You have to know the route and likely dangers, resources and so forth before you start out. Planning an outdoor adventure is not a random thing where you start out driving with no destination in mind and then decide a path through the underbrush looks good for hiking, or simply drive aimlessly until you find a spot that looks good for camping or hiking. These things have to be planned. Impulsiveness when it comes to the wilderness is deadly. Mother Nature is unforgiving of those that do not show the proper respect and of those that lack a certain level of expertise or common sense.

Gear, gizmos, and gadgets are fun to play with but do you need all of it. Batteries die, and gadgets malfunction, so do not stake your life on either one. If you cannot read a compass and a map, you had better stay home and play in the tree house out back.

Electronics can be a lifesaver in a crisis, but if they don’t work, well, do you die then? If they can save your life and they don’t work, you have problems. Carry your gadgets, but have a map and compass, as well, and make sure you know exactly how to read both.

There is no magic formula when it comes to your backpack weight. The 25 percent of your body weight is simply a general rule. You may be able to carry more or maybe even less comfortably. Remember, out on the trail is vastly different from hiking up and down the sidewalk in front of your house to see how much you can carry.

You should know immediately if you can handle the weight. If you know you can’t, then do not convince yourself things will change once you get out on the trail. Things will change but not for the better.

What weight you can handle depends on many things, so a subjective number you read on a chart somewhere about body weight to pack ratio, means nothing, the reality of your situation is what matters.

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Zip Cooking System by JetBoil

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There is certainly room in your survival pack, vehicle or in with your camping supplies for this compact and extremely efficient personal cooking system. A possible life-saving system because it can boil water and cook food all in its compact cooking cup, which sits right on top of its fuel canister. Once your water is boiled or food heated/cooked simply remove the cup and eat or drink right from it.

We like to see survival or hiking, camping, and hunting gear that is compact, rugged, and easy to use and can perform multiple tasks. One thing to keep in mind, however, this unit does require a match or lighter to ignite the burner because it does not have a built-in sparking device.

It does come with a bottom cover that can be used to serve food in, or to measure ingredients, or to drink from for that matter if needed.

Jetboil Zip Stove

It cannot be stressed enough the need for clean drinking water in a survival situation. If there is a surface water source and you have the means to boil that water to purify it, then you have dramatically increased your chances of survival. Let’s put it another way, if you cannot make water safe to drink and are stranded in warm or even cold weather and cannot rehydrate at the required levels, you are almost certain to succumb to dehydration if you are not rescued within days.

One, 100g Jetpower canister will boil 12 liters of water, which is slightly over 12 quarts of water. The recommended hydration level for a healthy adult is a minimum of two quarts of water daily.

Manufacturers’ Specifications

  • 0.8 Liter FluxRing® cooking cup with insulating cozy
  • Adjustable burner
  • Match ignition
  • Drink-through lid with pour spout & strainer
  • Bottom cover doubles as a measuring cup and bowl
  • Compatible with all Jetboil accessories
  • Able to store a 100g Jetpower fuel can
  • Fuel Canister Stabilizer included
  • Pot Support and Jetpower fuel sold separately
  • Item Weight is 12 oz (345 g) Does Not Include The Weight Of The Fuel
  • Volume is 27 oz (0.8 Liter)
  • Boil 12 Liters of Water per 100g Jetpower Can
  • Boil Time is 2 minutes 30 sec. per 16 oz (1/2 Liter)
  • Dimensions are 4.1” x 6.5” (104 mm x 165 mm)

Have one around the house for power outages, keep one in your vehicle, and always carry one while hiking, and hunting and on camping trips. The fuel canister and cooking cup nestle together. Have extra fuel with you as well, so you are always prepared.

Remember, when you boil water you reduce its volume, so be careful when purifying water that you do not let the container boil dry. One minute of rapid boil is normally enough at sea level. Higher elevations require three minutes unless at extreme heights and then 10 minutes may be needed. The temperature required to boil water is reduced by one degree for every 500 feet above sea level, thus, you will have to boil water longer at the reduced temperature to achieve purification.

The Zip Cooking System by JetBoil is not something that will fall apart on you after some rough handling. You will get years of service out of this system. It can take the rigors of camp life, however, the fuel canisters do need to be protected somewhat to avoid punctures.

Jetboil Cooking System

This unit can boil 16 ounces of water in 2.5 minutes, so short breaks on the trail are not taken up by waiting for your pot of water to boil for coffee, tea, or for your freeze dried meals.

It would be difficult to find a reason not to carry this system whenever out in the wilds. As we stated in the opening, it can be a lifesaver, and knowing you have the means to heat food and boil water is a tremendous psychological boost that may very well mean the difference between surviving and not.

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Counter Intelligence and Tactics

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Counter Intelligence (CI) is nothing more than information gathered and activities conducted to protect against espionage, which is spying in other words. People or organizations can and will spy on individuals, organizations and of course governments. Information in a crisis is a valuable commodity. CI also guards against other activities, such as sabotage, assassinations or against plots to steal your supplies. 

You have to keep in mind that Counter Intelligence is not a passive activity, and it is not generally in reaction to any actions against you. CI is going on the offense, which may very well save you and your family and protect your possessions, in some cases. It is getting ahead of any problems by gathering information and keeping track of people that may or may not wish you harm, wish to steal from you, or have other ideas in mind.

You simply do not know what people are up too unless you gather information on them. Of course, you have to choose your targets, and this means having a reason to suspect that they have you under surveillance or plan to.

Dramatic, yes it can be looked at that way, or ominous even, and even more so if you are engaged at a high political or military level where the nation or its people are in danger. As a Prepper, you want as much information as possible so decisions can be made, and so actions can be taken to counter any problems before they reach your front door.

Well, you might be thinking that if I conduct CI activities, then I am admitting that someone or some group is plotting against me, or spying on me. People plot and spy against each other all the time. In certain situations, the only way to stay safe is to assume someone is watching you or gathering information about you.

Your neighbor (s), for example, may keep track of your comings and goings for no other reason than boredom, curiosity, or for information so they can gossip with their friends about you. They may be nosy and find your comings and goings excessive and so on. People do snoop so they can make judgments about you. For some, it may be exciting to imagine you have nefarious reasons for going out at 2 am, when in fact, you don’t.

People, snoop, spy, and plot for any number of reasons, and in most cases, it is a harmless way for them to pass the time. It becomes important, however when they have a motive and an end game. CI may reveal their endgame so it is important that you pay attention to those paying attention to you.

Tactics

In the world of espionage, spies misdirect. They do this to achieve a result that differs from the truth.

If the person who is targeting you is a professional then you have to counter that with specifics. You have to take actions that will lead to the conclusion you want and not that of the person watching you.

Professionals look for patterns as do non-professionals. The only difference is that a professional knows what to do with the information, information such as routes to work that you take, when and how your kids get to school, and where you and your family go for pizza and ice cream on Wednesdays.

They look for situations you are most vulnerable because if kidnapping or robbery or if burglarizing your home is the objective, then they need you separated from your safe zone, from your weapons, friends and sometimes from your family. They look for when you are away from home and determine if it is the same pattern each time, and they will always look to see if you are conducting CI against them.

It is hard to break habits and patterns. To be completely random in your actions is nearly impossible because you cannot show up for work at various times, or arrive at the restaurant after it closes and you do need to go to bed on work nights at relatively the same time.

Humans form patterns, and we do it without realizing it. It takes conscious effort to change without appearing to do so, and when you try, you usually tip off whoever is watching you that you may be on to them, and thus, they will change and make it harder for you to spot them.

You want whoever is watching you to become comfortable, complacent if you will with who you are. You want to affect the outcome by becoming someone else, someone he or she thinks they have figured out. Watchers will get tunnel vision, and this is when you have gained the upper hand.

You are not likely the target of kidnappers or marked for assassination, but you may be marked for robbery once the SHTF. In a crisis, Preppers will be the experts, the go-to people for help, for expertise and for supplies. You want to know if you can, if someone specific will be coming after you once disaster strikes.

To try and find out if you are being followed, you can do certain things that may trip up those following you. If, for example, you stop at a drive through most mornings for your breakfast sandwich, you can still stop, but pull into a parking space and pretend to get a phone call that stopped you from pulling through and ordering. Scan for cars that followed you into the parking lot. Look to see if anyone stays in their car when they park. Pull back out after a few minutes and check to see who may follow you out.

You can do the same with gas stations if you fill up at the same place. Pull in and go inside the convenience store instead of pumping gas. Again, note the vehicles that followed you in and note anyone that stays in their vehicle. Professionals will, of course, switch cars and often times have two to three people tailing you. One may even be in front of you while one trails behind if they have established your destination, by noting your patterns.

It takes planning because if you do need fuel or food you will need to know there is a gas station or fast food place you can get to later in the trip. You always have to give those that have you under surveillance a reason for doing what you are doing or otherwise they will suspect you are acting. Pulling into a parking as if you are answering a phone call or to even lift the hood of your car pretending to check on a loose belt or leaking radiator is a reasonable explanation for changing your pattern. This action allows you to scan for vehicles or even for people on foot that you may have seen earlier.

You may think that if you started acting this way that you are paranoid and your actions are extreme. A little fear or a little paranoia if you want to call it that is a good thing. It keeps you on your toes and makes you more observant.

If you live in an urban area and have been stockpiling for a while, then someone or a number of someone’s will know. They may not care, not care yet anyway and when they do care, they will try and figure out a way to relieve you of all you have gained. If you don’t think this is possible read up on hurricane Katrina.

We are not saying you will be targeted by the government local or otherwise but anything is possible depending on who you are and what you have been doing. If you get online and get involved with certain groups or certain people this may make you a target of surveillance. You may not realize the group you are corresponding with is on someone’s radar until it’s too late and by then you may be on someone’s radar as well.

More to Come on This

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Counter Tactics How to Avoid Trouble Once the SHTF

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People tend to want to go on the offensive when they are scared or are convinced someone or some group is out to get them. If you are in a military unit then offensive and defensive strategies are a part of life. Orders come down to defend your position or to take a position currently occupied by the enemy.

In the civilian world, you are mainly in a defensive position. Your home has alarm systems, fences, walls or other barriers designed to keep people out or to let you know someone is snooping about. You are not roaming the countryside attacking others in their home. No, you are home waiting to defend your family and possessions, essentially waiting for someone to start something so you can counter their attack.

Once the SHTF, until you know otherwise, everyone or every group you encounter is a potential enemy out to invade your territory, which could be your home, compound, or section of land you have staked after evacuating an urban area.

You will normally be in a defensive posture until attacked and then you can counter attack if you have the means, and thus, put the opponent on the defensive. To avoid casualties and to mount a proper counter attack, you need information, and a force big enough to be successful.

Obviously, the best way to stay alive and to avoid firefights is to not offer up a reason for anyone to attack. You have to set the groundwork early, long before something happens. Keep your business between you and family only. Do not advertise you are prepared by bragging in the coffee shops and at gun ranges. If everyone in the county knows you have a stockpile of food, water, and Ammo and are ready for anything, of course, you will be a target.

When the SHTF the things you do can make or break you, so first assume an attack is possible, and assume people are watching and waiting for an opening.

Know the area you are defending first and foremost. Know the hiding places. You need to know where someone attacking the home can seek cover, and where you can seek cover if you launch a counter attack.

Know distances, for example, how far from your front door to the end of the driveway, to the mailbox, and to that large oak tree in the middle of the field. Know your firearm’s capabilities at the marked ranges, and know your own capabilities and of those helping you.

Do not gather in a group anywhere outside of adequate cover and/or concealment.

Never open any doors to the outside when there is a light on behind you. Always turn the light off before opening any doors to the outside. Cover windows so silhouettes cannot be seen if there is a light on in the room. The best method is to leave lights off or turn the lights off when entering a room and then look out windows to scan the ground.

Do not establish any patterns by going to the barns, or walking the grounds at the same time each day. Stay in the shadows at night, and never walk under or near any outdoor lighting. You need an escape route, one that allows you to get clear of the structure into the woods, under cover or to seek concealment outside the home.

You may have to come out a basement window, drop out of a back window or even crawl under the home to a covered corner of the house.

Simply put, if you cannot be seen, you probably cannot be shot unless someone wants to waste ammunition like in the movies and just sends hundreds or thousands of rounds into the home without having acquired a target. This is not likely to happen, however.

If fired upon your immediate reaction should be to move to cover as you deploy your firearm. Standing in the same spot to return fire will get you killed. Moving targets are harder to hit, as are smaller targets. Crouch, kneel or lay on the ground if cover is not available.

To move to cover you need to know where the cover is relative to your position. As we stated earlier, you need to know the area you are protecting. You need to know is so well that you can move about in the dark without creating noise or injuring yourself.

If you suspect snipers may be used, then you need to identify possible positions, however, there are many variables to consider. Would a likely sniper be military trained, and if so, then they are trained in bushcraft, camouflage, and they are likely positioned at a greater distance, and of course, they have patience.

Snipers will look for positions that maximize their cover but are within the effective range of their weapon. They will take the weather, terrain and the target into consideration when looking for a position. They could be 300 meters out or only 50 meters out.

A civilian shooter with just a basic understanding of their firearm may move constantly looking for an ideal shot or position. This will give them away, and they may not spend much time on concealing their position by using natural camouflage because of the fact they will move around.

Law enforcement snipers do not camouflage their positions well either, because they may know that the target cannot return effective fire at the range they set out at, or they have ample backup to protect their shooting position. A lone sniper, however, needs to be hidden and stay hidden until the target has been acquired and taken down.

A trained sniper always gets into position undetected and they have a plan to get out undetected regardless of the successfulness of the mission. Snipers generally do not shoot into the sun but you cannot count on this.

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Tick Tock the Doomsday Clock Moves Closer To Midnight

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Let’s talk Doomsday Clock. The most recent report indicates that the Doomsday Clock is expected to move closer to midnight as the threat of global annihilation grows.

The so-called Doomsday Clock, which symbolizes the current threat of global annihilation, is expected to be moved closer to midnight by scientists. 

The clock is currently running at three minutes to midnight, where 00.00 represents the end of humanity. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is expected to move it forward by one minute on Thursday, January 26, 2017. This is the closest it has ever been to the apocalypse since 1953 when the US took the decision to upgrade its nuclear arsenal with the hydrogen bomb (Knapton, 2017).

The scientists warn, “Terrorism involving nuclear or radiological materials remains one of the gravest threats to humanity and to global stability”. Digest all of this while sipping your morning coffee or drink of choice.

Some Preppers, not many, but some assumed that under the new administration that they could relax or back off their prepping somewhat. This is contrary it seems, however, to what is really going on in today’s world. 

Well, the clock has moved closer, so do you need to worry, well not worry any more than you did yesterday, the day before that, or worry more than you did last week. The threats are the same, and possibly, just possibly some threats are more likely now than let’s say a year ago.

If your neighborhood, city, or town is reduced to rubble, because of a nuclear detonation or you have to evacuate because a massive chemical or biological attack, you will need all the skill and knowledge you can muster to survive because you will have to literally head for the hills. You need core skills that come natural, and this only happens after hours upon hours of practice, and, you cannot learn on the job either.

Attacks of the kind mentioned above would likely mean you would leave your community, leave your comfort zone. Your skills have to be ingrained, they cannot be so-so, or mediocre they need to be permanently established to the point you can perform them under any conditions, in any environment.

In some cases, there will be other family members’, and friends and even strangers that need your help. Others not as well trained as you, so some of your time will be spent training and explaining and if you are, unsure of yourself because your skills are not as good as they should be you could be in trouble.

The Doomsday Clock is ticking closer to the zero hour, so prepping is not a passing fad that people did during the last administration. Prepping is a lifestyle that is maintained regardless of who is in charge.

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While Hiking or Hunting You May Discover Human Remains: What Do You Do

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While rare, it does happen, hikers, hunters, and others out enjoying the day do stumble upon recent and not so recent human remains. What would you do in this case, what is the law, and what should you do as a practical matter.

In some states, like Utah, for example, it is a felony in the third degree for anyone besides an archaeologist, a Medical Examiner, law enforcement or a licensed mortician to disturb, remove, or conceal human remains. Many states have similar laws regarding this, in particular when it comes to ancient grave sites and sacred sites of Native Americans.

What are you required to do by law? In Washington State, for example, you are required by law to notify the County Coroner and local law enforcement, and you must do it in the most expeditious manner possible if you find suspected human remains. Of course expeditious can be subjective. You may not have cell service in that area, so you have to wait until you get back to notify anyone, and this could take hours, so your best judgment would have to be sufficient.

The law in Washington State goes on to state, “Any person engaging in ground disturbance activities that resulted in the exposure of human remains must cease all activity which may cause further disturbance to the remains” (Washington State Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation, 2017).

Documenting the scene, without disturbing the scene, with pictures or sketching a map of the area may make sense in some cases, as well as, noting GPS coordinates. You may have to lead law enforcement back to the scene. Some people simply would not, or could not wait for police and others to arrive if they called the authorities from the scene. If you call and identify yourself, and then leave, it is likely the police would want to talk to you in person about the discovery and/or ask for you help in locating the remains.

States have various laws so it is a good idea to know what they are. Of course, if you are alone and do stumble upon a body or bones you have a decision to make. Discoveries of this nature are traumatic and it takes some time for the fact to register. A body or bones on the ground in a place you do not expect them is incomprehensible for the first few minutes. It is shocking, and some may actually run from the area. Some may want to avoid any involvement altogether, and others may even decide it’s an inconvenience and simply do not want to waste time dealing with it and leave without notifying anyone. It is decision time, if you find remains, and what you decide is up to you.

As a practical matter, however, you need to keep your wits about you from this point on. Is this a crime scene, how recent is it if that is the case, and are you in any danger. Hikers, hunters and others do die in the woods from natural causes, and from accidents, and their remains may lay there for months or even years, or they may have passed on just minutes before you arrived.

On the other hand, remote areas are ideal dumping grounds for those wishing to get rid of a body. People that commit murder may drive for miles to dispose of the body, or two or more people out hiking or hunting may have gotten into a fight resulting in the death of one, so you want to ensure you are safe first and foremost. The person or persons responsible for the dead body may still be in the area.

Remains that have been in the woods for months or years are someone’s loved one. Someone disappears and the body is not found, so perhaps, you finding remains in the woods would solve a cold case file that could bring closure to a family. It doesn’t mean there was a crime committed. The person may have gotten lost and fell victim to the elements, a heart attack, or a bee sting and so on.

Coming upon human remains will leave you with a feeling of horror in some cases, unease at the very least, and with other feelings, you cannot quite describe. It also reminds you of your own mortality. For some, the feelings will remain for weeks, months or even years. They will diminish over time, however. You are human and there are things such as this in which you may have to deal with as you go through life.

Washington State Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation. (2017). Retrieved 2017, from http://www.dahp.wa.gov/programs/human-remains-program/what-do-i-do

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Olight H05S Active Led Headlamp

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We have talked about the need for a headlamp, a quality headlamp in previous articles. The need is still there, and now the quality problem has been solved as well. Olight’s H05S Active solves the quality issue, at a very good price by the way.

One of the outstanding features that I am sure you will come to appreciate is the wave function, (hands-free motion sensor). Imagine you have heavy gloves on or your hands are dirty from cleaning a fish, skinning a rabbit or from working under the hood of your car and daylight is fading quickly. Well, with the wave function, you do not need to worry about getting your headlamp dirty or worry about fumbling for the switch. No, you just have to wave your hand in front of the built-in sensor to active the light and then another wave of the hand to shut the light off.

This function has numerous possibilities, and you won’t know the full extent of them until, well, until you need to use the motion sensor for on/off.

The light has three light settings, starting at 10 lumens, to 30 to 200 lumens. The 10 level on some lights is called “moonlight mode”, which is ideal if you do not want to broadcast your location. Use this setting for signaling to personnel close by if you are moving as a team or for discreet map reading and so on. At 200 lumens, you have plenty of light for any task at hand in virtually any situation. There are also 2 red light modes steady on or blinking which can be used as emergency indicators.

Olight H05S High Mode

One downfall, if you can even call it that is the 2 AAA batteries, which are included, but are not rechargeable. Batteries, of course, do discharge, and how fast depends on the setting and time activated, so it is important that you always carry fresh batteries with you. Triple A’s are easily carried and a pack of six, for example, would not take up any space to speak of in your pockets, pack, or glove box.

Hands-free, of course, means you can use the light for night skiing, bicycling, and hiking at night, and so on while both hands are free. The headlamp has four adjustable angles at 10, 25, 35, and 50 degrees, so even for those awkward positions, you may find yourself in and need a light then the various angles will allow you to shed light on any task.

The light also lets you know when the batteries are low. A red indicator glows intermittently right at your nose so you can’t miss it letting you know it’s time for fresh batteries. Additionally, there is also battery polarity indicators. While removing the cover of the battery compartment, the + sign glows red so you’ll know which way the batteries go in even in complete darkness.

Olight H05S Battery Polarity Indicators

Now For Some Tech Specs on the H05S Active

  • Maximum Run Time is 24 hours On The Low Setting With Fresh Batteries
    • High: 200 Lumens / High Mode Drops Down To 120 Lumens After 10 Minutes
    • Medium: 30 Lumens / 8.5 Hours
    • Low: 10 Lumens / 24 Hours
    • Red light: 100mcd / 40 Hours
  • Beam Distance is 60 Meters or Roughly 196 Feet
  • Water Resistant Rating Is IPX4, Which Means The Light Can Withstand Splashing From Any Angle Up To 5 Minutes
  • Impact Resistant From 1 Meter (39 Inches) Drop Height
  • Weight is 1.6600 Ounces Without The Batteries
  •  Uses Cree XM-L2
  • TIR Lens of High Light Transmission Rate to Deliver a Balanced Beam for Close-Range Illumination
  • Powered by 2 AAA Batteries With an Output Up to 200 Lumens, With Adjustable Brightness Levels at: 200 Lumens, 30 Lumens and 10 Lumens
  • Red LED Lights Served as Indicators for the User’s Location. Steady On or Blinking Modes Available
  • 4 Adjustable Light Angles Available: 10, 25, 35, and 50 Degrees Below the Horizontal
  • Eco-Friendly Fabric Headband with Width of 25mm
  • Built-In Infrared Light Transmitter and Receiver to Allow Motion Sensor Switches to Control the On/Off of the Headlamp
  • When the Battery Voltage is Below 1.8V, The Red Indicator Will be Turned On and Shinning Intermittently On The User’s Nose.
  • Battery Polarity Indicator: While Removing The Cover of the Battery Compartment, The “+” Sign Glows In Red Indicating The Direction of the Polarity of the Batteries.

Anyone can use this light, and if you camp or hike with children make sure they have their own H05S in the event they find themselves out after dark. Make sure everyone in your group has one, and knows how to use the light and to immediately activate it if lost at night. I also found an excellent hard shell case that lets you store the Olight on your belt or in your pack so the light can’t accidentally get turned on by something in your pack bumping the power button.

The uses for a headlamp are endless and who hasn’t found the need for one even during daylight hours. You may need to poke around in the trunk of your car, a closet, or if in the wilds, you may need to explore/search caves and crevices. The H05S Active is ideal for your EDC, so never leave home without it. You can purchase the Olight H05S for around $25 dollars on Amazon

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Stranded Near Saltwater: How To Make Salt Water Safe To Drink

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Desalination/distillation is a centuries old process and is still used today in many parts of the world. In ancient times sailors that were at sea for months used this process to convert seawater into potable water.

This very basic process that occurs in nature is responsible for the water (hydrologic) cycle. The sun’s rays supply the energy that causes water to evaporate from surface sources such as lakes, oceans, and streams. In a survival situation, the source would be water that you have collected whether it is seawater or a contaminated surface water source.

This evaporative process creates water vapor that once exposed to cooler air will re-condense to form dew or rain. We can, of course, create a so-called artificial system that will do the same thing, and the system is usually called a solar still (USGS, n.d.).

Inflatable Solar Still

Photo Credit: TurbineGenerator.org

You can purchase an inflatable solar still (inflatable by mouth) and it would make an ideal piece of survival gear for your survival kit. A solar still will not only desalinate saltwater it will purify/distill any surface water source. Anyone that plans for a trip at sea should have an inflatable still packed away because if you are stranded on a boat in the middle of an ocean your only means of obtaining safe drinking water is by desalination of saltwater, or collection of rainwater.

The concept as described above is simple, and of course, if you become stranded without a solar still you can make your own, or use other methods to extract the salt from seawater.

One method is to collect steam from boiling seawater. This method is time-consuming and requires a substantial fuel source, a metal container in which to boil water, clean cloth preferably cotton, and of course, you need the ability to create a fire.

You would lay the absorbent cloth over most of the pot opening to collect the steam. You will need to wring the collected water from the cloth into a clean collection container. The water from the cloth is purified, distilled in other words. It is important that the cloth used is not contaminated with chemicals or toxins of any kind. The cloth will be hot so only drape it partially over the opening so there is a portion that can be held to wring it out.

This process will have to be performed a number of times to collect enough water to prevent dehydration. However, there will be plenty of water if you are near an ocean and if you have a good fuel source; you will get enough water to survive.

Another method is to hang a piece of plastic so the steam from the boiling water collects on the surface. As we stated before once the steam hits the cooler material, it will condense into water droplets. The plastic needs to be hung in such a way that the condensed droplets can drain into a collection cup. To help the process along you can cool off the plastic by applying water to the opposite side.

Any distillation process requires a cooler surface in which the vapor will collect or flow through in the case of copper tubing and condense. Seaweed or soaked cloth can be used to cool the plastic on the side that will not collect the steam of course.

You can also dig a solar still in the sand or soil. You would need plastic sheeting for vapor collection and condensation, and a collection vessel for the purified water.

Create a depression in the sand and pile the excavated sand along the sides to create a berm. Fill the depression with wet seaweed, green vegetation or pour seawater into the depression ensuring the sand is thoroughly soaked. Place the collection cup in the middle of the depression making sure it is not contaminated with the seawater. Lay the plastic over the depression and secure it along the sides by any means available. Punch a hole in the middle of the plastic over the cup and weight the center down with pebbles to form a depression for draining into the cup.

The sun heats the sand, vegetation and/or seaweed under the plastic causing very humid conditions and soon the vapor rising from the seaweed or water soaked sand will collect on the top side of the plastic, and once gravity takes hold the droplets will drain into the cup.

USGS. (n.d.). Retrieved 2017, from https://water.usgs.gov/edu/drinkseawater.html

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Discovery Channels New Survival Reality Show: The Wheel

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The Wheel is set in South America and has six contestants that are expected to survive six distinctly grueling landscapes according to The Discovery Channel. The Wheel turns and with each turn of the wheel contestant is dropped into a new location.

The locations are some of the world’s deadliest terrain, such as freezing tundra’s, rugged mountains and treacherous rainforests. The wheel spins based on the moons rotation. When your name comes up you are dropped off in a totally different environment from where you were previously. The participants do not know when or where they will end up.

Each contestant is given a survival pack referred to as “light” and SOS devices so if they do get into a life-threatening situation or if they simply want to give up and go home, they can call for help and assumedly be extracted to safety. They must find shelter, water, and food, at each location so it is assumed they do not start out with any in their packs. Their ordeal is 60 days, a very difficult 60 days to say the least.

The show has its debut on January 13, 2017, and we here, of course, have not seen the show, and by no means is this article a critique/review of the show (The Discovery Channel., 2017).

Preppers, survivalist, and bushcraft experts like to run various survival scenarios through their head, “what if situations” if you will. This mental exercise helps to prime the thinking process. Our ability to reason and to think ahead is one of the reasons we are an Apex predator. We can design and implement tools, we can do calculations in our heads, and we know high and low tides when to expect cold or hot weather and so on. We can take information and come up with an educated hypothesis based on that information.

We never know when disaster may strike. It could be in the dead of winter or the peak of summer, and in some cases, we may not know where our geographic location may be either. We could be near a swamp, in the mountains, on a prairie, or in a desert environment when the SHTF, so the question is, are you prepared right now to survive in any one of the described locations.

Thinking about transitioning without notice from frozen tundra’s to a sweltering rainforest virtually overnight has us thinking about what ifs. 

As we have stated numerous times in various articles, survival essentials are not necessarily disaster specific. You need life essentials regardless of the calamity, but location, location, location is everything right? Chances are very high that when the SHTF you will be in your home or at work in the community where your home is located.

You know the weather patterns, how cold it gets in the winter, how hot in the summer, and will the spring thaw bring flooding. This is information you take for granted. If you practice your survival craft, you probably know what local plants are safe to eat, where the best fishing is and you may hunt and have a favorite spot that usually yields fresh game during hunting season, but what if you are miles from your home, out of your comfort zone as it were. A strange land, with odd looking plants and unpredictable weather patterns and you, may have no idea of the type of game that roams the area. You would expect wild game to be there but what size is a mystery, which means your weapon of choice, is not clear either.

It would be very hard to transition without notice from hot to a very cold region to mountainous to swampland to prairie. A novice would not likely survive, but the reality show The Wheel like most other survival shows is closely monitored to ensure the safety of the participants, but your own survival situation would not be monitored, you would be on your own.

It is important to know the area in which you are. You need to know the hiking trails, the weather patterns, and realize that moving from lowlands to higher elevations means temperature changes. It can be warm starting out and yet you could find yourself in a snowstorm in a matter of hours as you move to higher elevations.

You cannot pack for every situation, so it is important you know what the situation is likely to be before setting out. Setting out whether you are driving, hiking, or camping. If you are taking a road trip, know what the conditions are likely to be at the other end and in between as well. Do your research first so you know how to pack, because you only have so much room and you cannot as a practical matter pack for every conceived possibility, from frozen tundra’s to rainforests to mountains. You have to go with what is most probable based on your research.

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What If You Are On Vacation When the SHTF

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Yes, people do still take vacations, and any “daycation” away from work and the resulting stress is a way to recharge and unwind, it’s a good thing. In today’s economy, however, not many Preppers can afford to fly to Europe or visit some exotic island hideaway.

Vacations for many are day trips to national parks, theme parks, or a few hours hiking along an established trail. What happens, though, if something happens and you are away from home, away from your supplies, away from friends and family, can you survive?

First, assume something could happen while on vacation. Being aware of certain possibilities likely means, you are preparing if only in your mind for something to happen. This is the beginnings of an action plan.

Carry emergency rations and be prepared to spend time in your vehicle. MRE’s and freeze-dried or dehydrated foods are ideal because of the weight factor. Canned goods can be carried but consider the weight when having to carry your food supply in a pack. Water is, of course, one of the most important essentials you can carry. Carry at a minimum a gallon per person per day. Carry enough food and water for the time you have planned to be gone and then add 72 hours to the itinerary.

If you are at a national park, for example, and the grid goes down you can survive there at the park. Many people will, of course, panic and jump in their vehicles, which will create gridlocked highways. It may take days for the confusion to subside enough for you to make your way back home by vehicle, so you may have to sit tight where you are for 24 to 48 hours. If there is an EMP attack then it is not likely anyone will be going anywhere by vehicle, so you will be forced to shelter in place.

Parks will have water sources, and with the food supply you have packed, you can survive for several days without having to forage for food, and if you do run low on water, you can collect and boil water for drinking. Your shelter can be your vehicle, cabins that may be abandoned at the park, or tents that you carry for such an event.

Get your vehicle out of sight and avoid cutting any vegetation to camouflage it. Just get it out of sight of trails, roadways, and access/fire roads.

The biggest problem you will have is fuel for your vehicle. During any type of crisis, gas stations get overrun and soon run out of fuel and if the grid goes down, they cannot pump fuel anyway.

Fuel is a big concern, so at every opportunity top off your tank and make sure it is full when arriving at your destination. Carrying fuel on vacation is not practical unless you have an open or well-ventilated trailer or an open bed pickup truck. You, obviously want enough in your tank to get back home.

You have your vehicle for shelter even if this means sleeping sitting up in a seat. You also need the means to create a fire and utensils for cooking food and which to boil water.

Carry cash because ATM machines may not work. Carrying cash brings its own set of problems, but then again nothing is perfect. You have to go with a plan and you can divide the cash up among family members or hide it in the vehicle somewhere to lessen the impact of a robbery. No plan is perfect so do not drive yourself crazy imagining all manner of scenarios. Go with likely, and use your instincts and common sense to guide you.

If you already have lodging and the SHTF, you need to assess your location immediately for safety issues. You may be asked to check out by the proprietors or they may be too busy to care, much depends on the crisis. You do not want to be on upper floors during a power outage, or during any kind of attack (s) in the area. A ground floor unit gives you escape options not available on the upper floors.

Motels, hotels, and other lodging options often times have swimming pools that can be used as a drinking water source after filtering and purifying. You cannot assume they had treated the pool water properly against bacteria and viruses.

If the crisis forces most people to flee, then the kitchen may provide you with some emergency rations. This is a judgment call. Technically taking food from the kitchen would be considered criminal, but if the country’s grid systems fail or the country is being attacked and certain cities have come under nuclear, chemical, or biological attacks then survival is your objective at virtually any cost. It is a judgment call that only you can make.

Do not use underground parking garages, and if your vehicle is in one get it out as soon as possible. The building could be damaged, or the area could become an ambush zone and if the lights go out the darkness would be a hindrance as well.

Military personnel are trained never to stop their vehicles when confronted by unknowns. Keep moving is the general rule. Stopping your vehicle means, you are literally a sitting duck. Static targets are much easier to strike and easier to take over by any group.

If you have to escape by vehicle keep moving, and do not stop for anyone. If you stop for someone in the middle of the road thinking that you may be able to help, you may find your vehicle surrounded by those wishing you harm. Looters and other criminals will be out in force during a crisis and they will use this pretext to get you to stop.

Being prepared will keep you alive. You need shelter, food, water, and medical supplies, all of which can be easily carried in your vehicle.

Your vehicle will be your lifeline, so do not abandon it unless staying with it endangers your life. Do not drive aimlessly, this waste gas. Stay put until you are ready to drive directly home, and be prepared to take alternate routes, which you should have mapped out before setting out on your trip.

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Preppers: Heart Attack Risk Rises in the Colder Months

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Eating habits, sedentary lifestyles, genetics and yes, cold weather can increase your risk of a heart attack.

Heart attacks do not just afflict the older generation however. Younger generations because of their lifestyle and increased stress, some of which is linked to social media, yes social media is linked to depression in younger people, surprising right. There is more anxiety because of all this, and, of course, poor eating habits and a lack of exercise contribute to a greater risk of heart attacks at a younger age as well (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016).

Cold weather can and will increase your blood pressure and will raise cholesterol levels, both of which raise your risk for a heart attack. The cold can also make blood more likely to form heart-threatening clots.

One study concluded every 1.8° F (1° C) temperature drop was linked with a 2 percent increase in the risk of having a heart attack. According to another study published in 2015, there is up to a 31 percent increase in heart attacks in the coldest months of the year as compared to the warmest.

As your body gets colder your blood vessels tighten, and thus blood flow speeds up. This helps to increase your core body temperature by pumping blood to vital organs, in particular, the brain. This raises your blood pressure, however, and if you already have a problem with high blood pressure, you may find yourself in trouble.

With the winter months comes the holidays, where food and alcohol consumption may rise as well, which does not help those that do not exercise on a regular basis and already have underlying medical conditions, which some may not even be aware of.

It is important that you know your risks. Do you even know what your blood pressure is, do you know your cholesterol levels, and is there a history of heart problems in your family? You need a checkup, so you know the risks, and thus, can avoid increasing your risk by shoveling snow or pushing cars that may be stuck in a snowdrift or through an icy intersection. You cannot go from zero or very little exercise to shoveling snow and pushing cars.

If you do not get much exercise, start slow and work your way up, but only after seeing a medical professional who can assess your risk and advise you on an exercise routine.

Remember, if the power goes out your physical activity may very well rise. Snow covered roads may mean that you have to walk, and if the outage is for an extended period, you will have to perform your normal daily tasks without the aid of power tools, equipment, and appliances.

In extreme cases, you may have to evacuate, and possibly on foot, and if you are not physically capable of doing this and do it anyway, you may be setting yourself up for a heart attack, which is the last thing you need during a crisis or at any time for that matter.

Take the stairs, watch what you eat and have your vital signs checked regularly and if you need medications take it. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels can be managed by diet and exercise in many cases, but it takes a commitment.

There is no better time than now to start, by first having a checkup so you know and then find out what your options are and start by living better to live longer and to decrease your chances of a heart attack.

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2016). Retrieved 2016, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/4/800.short

Roberts, S. H. (2016). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/index.htm

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Surviving a Crisis: Your Emergency Essentials Gear and Materials

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Some Preppers can be hoarders, but by no means are all hoarders Preppers. We tend to gather too much stuff, however. Some Preppers subscribe to the “Two is one and one is none” notion, in other words, you cannot have too much of a good thing, but oh you can in some cases.

If you were to weigh your field survival kit or bug-out-bag right now, you may be surprised that it weighs as much as it does. You started out great, 25 to 30 pounds, which is just right for most people that have not trained daily with a pack shouldered. However, you spotted a great deal on a tactical flashlight, so in the bag it goes, another block of emergency rations just in case, another survival knife, a pair of well deserved cold weather woolen pants, well there is plenty of room still, so in the bag, they all go. Another poncho, one is good, two is better right, so what’re another 10 pounds added to the bag.

There are the basics, which everyone needs to survive, and there are the wants, the comfort items, the “what if this happens” item. One of those what if items might be a suture kit, not heavy really, but unless you know how to use one, do you really need one. Things add up quickly.

Well, you might be thinking that even though you don’t know how to use a suture kit, you might run into someone that does. The possibility of someone stumbling upon you as you struggle to sew up a gash on your leg that knows how to stitch you up seems remote, but thinking ahead is important, but there is “probably” and then there are “unlikely” scenarios. However, if you are traveling with a group and have divided the supplies and someone in said group is experienced, well that is a different matter altogether.

If you look in your pack, there is probably something or even a number of items that you put in there for “just in case”.

We can sit around all day and dream up possible survival scenarios and then come up with a piece of gear or some material thing that could help but is that practical. You know what the basics you need in any situation, so go with shelter, water, fire, food, and first aid, and then the gear and materials needed to help you maintain and add to your packed items.

This is where knowledge comes in handy. You need items to help you collect and purify a water source, and the means replenish your food supply and to help maintain and add to your shelter needs.

Add a quality fixed blade knife, multi-tool, some 24-gauge wire,  water purification tablets, quality cordage, emergency fishing kit, machete, and a pot in which to boil water, and with the right skill sets and knowledge, this is all you would need in your pack to survive.

At Home

Food stockpiles can get out of hand. It is great that you have year’s supply of food put away but when did you put it away. Have you been keeping track of the expiration date, have you looked for infestations from insects, rodents, and what about spoilage.

You do not want your food supply to be just days from expiration when disaster strikes. It is a balancing act because no one knows when disaster may strike. To make sure your food is always fresh you have to rotate it. Eat the oldest and replace, and of course keep a close eye on the dates, which requires some organization and effort on your part. You have to assume a disaster could strike today so if it did, how fresh is your food supply.

What happens to your food supply if you have to evacuate, how much can you carry, can you leave by vehicle or do you have to bug-out on foot. You do have to think long and hard about how much to have on hand. A year’s supply may end up being wasted, or in some cases, it may not be enough.

If you live in an urban area, less is probably better because the prospect of having to bug-out is greater than if you lived in a rural area.

Preparing for a crisis is not simply stockpiling food, water, and medical supplies in a spare bedroom or closet. You may need a plan for transporting a good deal of your supplies to another location possibly and what about when disaster strikes and you cannot get back home and family members are forced to assemble at another location, for example. What happens to your supplies?

Your supplies do you no good unless you have access to them, so part of your planning may have to include alternative storage places that you have access to at all times. You may need a way to transport your supplies and this could include backpacks for all family members and/or a bug-out-vehicle, but consider the possibility that you may not be able to drive due to road or highway conditions or because of an EMP.

As with any plans, you have to accept the fact you may have to change the original plan based on real-time intelligence. When planning you make certain assumptions based on prior experiences or based on the experience of others, but you may encounter situations for which you did not plan. Flexibility is important and be prepared to leave behind some of your supplies, or cache them until you can get back.

You can see where having too much on hand may become a problem, so it is important that you have enough, but in reality, you can have too much as well.

Fine-tune your supplies, gear, and materials and remove those items not crucial to your immediate survival, because survival is, after all, living long enough to be rescued or until help can arrive.

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Millennials Lack Basic Survival Skills

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Millennials lack basic survival skills compared to older generations, this according to a survey conducted in the United Kingdom (WHITE, 2017).

Granted the survey was conducted in the United Kingdom, but we here in the United States can certainly see some similarities. The culprit, the reason why, according to the survey is technology. Google maps have replaced the paper map, GPS service on Every Smartphone, and Google itself has made us all geniuses, smart people until the Internet goes dark and then what.

The survey goes on to say that, 40 percent of those surveyed could not tie a simple knot could not spark a flame to create a fire, 50 percent had never swum in the open water, and 44 percent of those surveyed had never been camping. This means we assume that those 44 percent had never slept on the ground.

Millennials are taught about “trigger words”, “safe places”, and how to enact civil and not so civil discourse if they don’t agree with a certain point of view. However, what happens when the SHTF and safe places are smoldering ruins, and desperate people roam the streets looking for food, water, medicine and are looking for someone in charge to blame for their misery. A misery some may claim had been brought on by a lack of knowledge in even the basics of human survival.

It seems that there is a lack of knowledge on how the world really works, and some, if not many may not realize until it’s too late that each person is responsible, when it comes down to it, for his or her own survival. Teachers, professors and those from the government cannot keep you alive when you find yourself in a survival situation. The burden, in the end, is on you.

You can’t wake up one morning and be a Cody or Matt, Bear or Dave, but some skills can be self-taught, in as little as a day in some cases. How to tie a knot so your tarp doesn’t blow away, how to shave some dry wood to get curls for fire tinder, how to read a compass all can be self-taught in a matter of hours. However, it takes practice and using your skills regularly to really master them.

Remember, you only need to survive long enough to be rescued or until help arrives after a natural disaster in most cases. Of course, there may be a time when you have to survive for an extended period in your own home or in the wilds. If not prepared for this then your chances are not good. You can succumb to dehydration in three days or even less in some instances, so if you do not know how to find, collect, and purify a source your survival hangs in the balance if you are not rescued.

The skills needed to survive a few days to a week in the wilds are not that complicated, but it may seem daunting if you never had to apply those skills. You don’t want to have to drink your own urine or eat twigs to survive a few days so with a little preparation you can survive without taking drastic steps like that. Start now, and we here can help, so stay tuned.

WHITE, M. (2017). Retrieved 2017, from http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/749101/millennials-lack-basic-survival-skills-London-Boat-Show-Bear-Grylls

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Blending In, Insertion and Extraction Are Critical Skills Needed

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Insertion and extraction, terms used by the military, but applicable in certain SHTF scenarios. Typically, insertion and extraction are done without notice. Stealth is important, but acting sneaky can also have a downside, because in an urban area, for example, regardless of the situation someone is always around, so going without notice can be difficult, so, in this case, you would blend in to avoid detection, and this means letting people see you, but see you as someone that belongs there.

You have to present yourself as someone that belongs there, so you are not given a second glance. You have to assume that in an urban environment, someone will see you, so what will he or she see, what will they remember about you, are you such that you are forgotten as soon as you are out of sight.   

Instead of wearing camouflage when everyone else looks like a tourist, you would want to also look like a tourist. Acting sneaky or looking out of place can send up red flags in some people’s minds.

You may be in a wilderness environment and need to avoid detection or inside the city limits and need to do a Reconnaissance mission. In either case, you would likely have to insert yourself into an area in which you may not be familiar to gather Intel and then extract yourself once you have completed the Recon. 

In A Wilderness Environment, You Want To Blend Into the Background

Shape: You have to be aware of your shape, humans have a distinct shape and face that all mammals instinctively recognize. Humans subconsciously look for faces in virtually anything they look at. Break up your shape and the outline of your face by using colors that mimic the background, use Camo sticks, leaves, branches, and natural cover.

Shine: It is self-explanatory, shiny gets spotted. Binocular lenses, eyeglasses, cheekbones, chins and hands, gunmetal, stainless steel canteens, and cups, stainless steel knife blades and watch crystals will reflect light.

Silhouette: Cresting a ridgeline standing, walking along a river or lakeshore with water at your back, and walking against a darker or lighter rock outcropping all outlines the human shape. Be aware of your silhouette as you move about.

Shadow: You may think you’re concealed behind a tree or some other vegetation but is your shadow concealed. Know where your shadow is cast. Ariel surveillance is not out of the question during a crisis, drones and other aircraft may be out doing surveillance, and your shadow can be spotted from the air even if your body cannot be.

Stillness: You cannot walk at 3mph through the woods. In stealth mode, it may take you an hour to cover 100 yards to avoid detection. If your body is camouflaged and the grasses and branches are swaying in the wind and you are not swaying, you stand out. Sway with the vegetation, move as it moves. If there is no breeze, you do have to stop, look, and listen by not moving your head, just your eyes.

Night Camp

Regardless of your situation, you will need fire. A Dakota Fire Hole or Pit is one option that can be used to hide your fire, in particular, to hide the flames at night. Smoke is easily detected against the skyline during the day, while flames are hard to spot during the day unless just a few yards away. Smoke can be seen during the day and smelled at any time.

As most of you know, a Dakota Fire Hole is a fire chamber dug straight down in the ground, and then a vent is dug at a slant, dug so air can flow into the fire chamber. This design is extremely efficient because it burns hot and to some extent burns off wood gasses that create the smoke. A hot fire reduces smoke and is fuel-efficient. It takes time and some effort to dig a fire pit, and it may not be practical for those that have to move quickly.

Other ways to mask your smoke is to build a small fire under heavy foliage so the smoke dissipates among the leaves and branches making it harder to spot during daylight hours. Options for heating food and water include heat tablets that do not produce a significant flame or smoke. The tabs do not provide any heat to warm your body to speak of, but you can boil water, warm up beverages and cook small meals using heat tabs.

Dark Silent Camp

A dark camp is no fire and no light and all provisions are laid out before complete darkness so you do not have to dig through a pack, thus reducing movement that creates noise. The best time to make camp is at twilight. You can still see to set up but the light is low enough to make it more difficult for others to spot you from a distance.

Ideally, you have scouted your camp location during daylight and would come back to it using the cover of darkness. Eat during daylight hours if possible and then move some distance away to set up a dark camp for sleeping and to set up listening posts.

If you are evading capture or simply want to move or camp undetected then do not use tents, tarps or other materials not natural to the area. Do not cut or trample any vegetation, because once you move out you do not want to leave any traces behind or any traces that could indicate who you are. Food wrappers, cans and so forth can be carried with your or buried in such a way as that there is not any indication of such.

Human waste can be buried under rocks if you can move and replace the rocks without disturbing the soil or area around the rocks. Never burn your trash.

Stay Tuned For More Next Article Coming Up

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The Ignition Point of Combustibles Do Matter In a Survival Situation

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Before we get started, here are some definitions, and temperature ranges, which might be of interest.

Piloted ignition: The use of a flame, spark, or hot surface to ignite any given fuel.

There are various terms and explanations out there, but piloted ignition is easy to remember and understand because we all know what a pilot light is on a gas stove or heater. It is a flame that is exposed to a fuel, either propane or natural gas or even diesel/biofuel used in certain heaters. The flame, then, of course, ignites the combustibles just as a match or lighter flame would. The flame makes contact and the time contact is required for ignition depends on the combustible.

Autoignition: The radiant heating can ignite the fuel on its own without an external source such as a flame or spark.

Auto ignition is simple as well. Put a piece of paper, for example, in an oven or kiln and then crank the heat up and soon the paper would burst into flame without a flame or spark touching the paper before ignition. The heat generated around the paper would cause the paper to combust.

Temperatures

  • Paper will auto ignite at temperatures between 424 and 475 degrees Fahrenheit or simply touch a flame to it and it will catch fire, remember piloted ignition.
  • Wood must be heated to a temperature of 806 degrees Fahrenheit. Sapwood (Ponderosa Pine, for example) ignites between 400 and 610° F. These figures are of course approximates only. Much depends on the wood density, moisture content and so forth.

Wood shavings, sawdust and dry pulp fluffed up, of course, can be ignited using a flame or spark and the auto ignition would be lower than the above-stated temperatures. Wood put in an oven or kiln at 800 degrees may very well char or smolder and never burst into flames depending on the wood’s characteristics.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, studies on wood ignition conclude that there is not a fixed temperature for ignition, and the moment of ignition largely depends on the amount of exposure time, the density of the wood and the type of wood.
  • Temperature for cotton is 250 ℉
  • Newspaper between 427 and 480 ° F
  • Toilet paper 420 to 460 ° F

More surface area means more oxygen flow, and this is essential, thus, fluffing up paper towel or pulling apart the fibers of cotton string or material, for example, would increase your chances of the material combusting. Cotton balls are a good example, as well, and we all have seen Cody and Dave fluff up dry tinder before touching a match or striking a spark with flint and steel or when using a Ferro rod. Dave was particularly fussy about creating more surface area when he demonstrated how to ignite Duck Tape using a spark. He created pockets to increase the oxygen level for the flame.

What Is Used To Ignite Combustibles?

In a survival situation, you would use piloted ignition, which is contact with a combustible using a flame, spark, or hot surface. The important thing to remember is contact, whereas auto ignition there is no contact per say.

Flame, spark, or hot surface, a hot surface, for example, could be an ember created by a bow and spindle, cigar or cigarette ember or a piece of metal heated until it glows. Of course, if you can heat metal in the woods until it glows you wouldn’t have any problems with fire, but that is an example of a hot surface, which by the way could also be a manifold  pipe on a motorcycle or motor vehicle, so always be thinking hot surfaces when you need to start a fire. An electric stove element would be another example of a hot surface that would be capable of igniting paper or cotton, or possible wood when contact is made for a sufficient time.

Wood making contact with a hot surface, unless the surface was generating incredible temperatures in many cases would probably just char. It could smolder instead of bursting into flame, which means if you provide oxygen by blowing on it, you could create flame by causing an ember to form and then make contact with another combustible with a lower ignition rate.

Do not make your fire starting complicated. Matches, lighters, Ferro rods and flint and steel are known and trusted sources of flames and sparks. Never leave home without some of, or all of the above. Your Every Day Carry (EDC) should always include a trusted fire starting method, one that produces flame or spark, and dry tinder.

Oregon State. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/…/Bulletin%20No.%2026.pdf?

The United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from https://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome

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Holiday Safety Tips: Inside, Outside and Away From Home

First, a few statistics: Each year, approximately 33 million Real Christmas Trees are bought in the United States. According to the NFPA data, of all the Real Christmas trees decorated during the holiday season, fewer than one-one-thousandth of a percent (0.001%) are involved in a residential fire (National Fire Protection Association , n.d.).

One fire caused by a dried out Christmas tree is one too many, but with a few precautions you can enjoy a safe holiday.

Inside The Home

Pick and cut your own tree at a tree farm if possible so you know it is fresh. Once in the tree stand, it is important that you keep the base well watered. Use modern lighting, which does not generate heat as the older string lights did in the past.

Do not allow a space heater to blow directly on the tree, and do not allow children or pets to play with the lights. A pet can easily chew through an extension cord or a light cord, which is bad for the pet and, of course, could cause sparks to ignite the tree or packages under the tree. Do not string extension cord so they become a trip hazard.

Are the holidays the only time you light your fireplace, and if so make sure you have it checked first?  It may need to be cleaned because of creosote buildup, and if you do not have a suitable chimney cap birds may have built a nest near the top, which could catch fire.

Do not burn wrapping paper, cardboard or any material other than real wood in your fireplace. Some manufactured fireplace logs may be suitable for burning but read the label carefully, and always opt for real wood if available.

Use timers on your lighting, even through today’s lights do not generate nearly as much heat as those in the past, and are typically low voltage it is never a good idea to leave electrical devices operating when you are not home or for long periods if you are home.

Outside

Know when packages are expected to arrive, so you can retrieve them quickly or have a friend, relative, or neighbor pick them up for you. The same would apply to mail in the mailbox. Criminals sometimes actually follow delivery trucks and steal packages soon after they are delivered, so do not let packages sit too long on the front porch.

Away From Home

Know the store hours of your favorite retailer and know what time they may close certain entrances/exits. You do not want to arrive at the store just as it is getting dark and park close to an open entrance only to find you cannot exit that way when it is dark out. This would force you to walk further across a darkened parking lot possibly, so know before you begin shopping.

Stay off your cell phone as you walk to your car. You do not want any distractions. Situational awareness is important. Criminals choose people that appear distracted. You are easy to approach unseen if you are absorbed in your cell phone.

Carry our car keys in your hand and hit the unlock button only once as you reach for the door handle. This only unlocks the driver side door. By unlocking all doors you may allow a criminal to open the passenger door as you slide in the driver’s side. If you have, packages put them in the trunk if you have one, and before unlocking all the doors check the area for anyone lurking. Use the alarm button on your remote to sound the horn if anyone approaches you.

This time of year, it is hard to avoid shopping when it’s dark, so it is wise to always have someone with you. Visiting the store at 2 am may allow you to shop in a less crowded store but on the same token, less people around in a dark parking lot means the chances of being assaulted or robbed has increased.

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Holiday Safety Tips: Inside, Outside and Away From Home

Click here to view the original post.

First, a few statistics: Each year, approximately 33 million Real Christmas Trees are bought in the United States. According to the NFPA data, of all the Real Christmas trees decorated during the holiday season, fewer than one-one-thousandth of a percent (0.001%) are involved in a residential fire (National Fire Protection Association , n.d.).

One fire caused by a dried out Christmas tree is one too many, but with a few precautions you can enjoy a safe holiday.

Inside The Home

Pick and cut your own tree at a tree farm if possible so you know it is fresh. Once in the tree stand, it is important that you keep the base well watered. Use modern lighting, which does not generate heat as the older string lights did in the past.

Do not allow a space heater to blow directly on the tree, and do not allow children or pets to play with the lights. A pet can easily chew through an extension cord or a light cord, which is bad for the pet and, of course, could cause sparks to ignite the tree or packages under the tree. Do not string extension cord so they become a trip hazard.

Are the holidays the only time you light your fireplace, and if so make sure you have it checked first?  It may need to be cleaned because of creosote buildup, and if you do not have a suitable chimney cap birds may have built a nest near the top, which could catch fire.

Do not burn wrapping paper, cardboard or any material other than real wood in your fireplace. Some manufactured fireplace logs may be suitable for burning but read the label carefully, and always opt for real wood if available.

Use timers on your lighting, even through today’s lights do not generate nearly as much heat as those in the past, and are typically low voltage it is never a good idea to leave electrical devices operating when you are not home or for long periods if you are home.

Outside

Know when packages are expected to arrive, so you can retrieve them quickly or have a friend, relative, or neighbor pick them up for you. The same would apply to mail in the mailbox. Criminals sometimes actually follow delivery trucks and steal packages soon after they are delivered, so do not let packages sit too long on the front porch.

Away From Home

Know the store hours of your favorite retailer and know what time they may close certain entrances/exits. You do not want to arrive at the store just as it is getting dark and park close to an open entrance only to find you cannot exit that way when it is dark out. This would force you to walk further across a darkened parking lot possibly, so know before you begin shopping.

Stay off your cell phone as you walk to your car. You do not want any distractions. Situational awareness is important. Criminals choose people that appear distracted. You are easy to approach unseen if you are absorbed in your cell phone.

Carry our car keys in your hand and hit the unlock button only once as you reach for the door handle. This only unlocks the driver side door. By unlocking all doors you may allow a criminal to open the passenger door as you slide in the driver’s side. If you have, packages put them in the trunk if you have one, and before unlocking all the doors check the area for anyone lurking. Use the alarm button on your remote to sound the horn if anyone approaches you.

This time of year, it is hard to avoid shopping when it’s dark, so it is wise to always have someone with you. Visiting the store at 2 am may allow you to shop in a less crowded store but on the same token, less people around in a dark parking lot means the chances of being assaulted or robbed has increased.

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The Doomsday Book Of Medicine Review

Let’s say an EMP struck last week, and has taken out everything from communications to the street lights on your block. In the panic, you forget about the fact that your wife has had the flu for four days now, and it seems it’s getting worse. Your child also constantly reminds you that their feet have developed blisters, due to the extended walking they’ve been doing, and they can’t go on another step. You’re not a doctor so what do they want you to do? Luckily, one doctor thought about this scenario, and many more, when he decided to write The Doomsday Book of Medicine.

Now at 910 pages, this isn’t exactly a “pocket survival guide”. What it is though, is a book with vast pages of information on almost any common medical issue there is. There are remedies for things ranging from radiation exposure to treating animal and insect bites. Think of it as an encyclopedia of sorts. An encyclopedia with the potential to save your life.

After graduating from medical school, Dr. La Guardia dedicated 30+ years to researching health and human nutrition. Based on the information he was able to gather, it’s clear that there are natural remedies and alternative methods to treating illness and diseases, that people needed to be made aware of. How to deal with things like asthma and diabetes, in a Grid-Down situation, is crucial. This is where The Doomsday Book of Medicine comes in. Dr. La Guardia has a treasure trove of information located in one book.

While reading The Doomsday Book of Medicine, it was amazing to see what all I was learning about. I can’t stress enough, the amount of information that is covered in this book. It’s also written in a way that’s very easy to understand. Not only does the author tell you about treatment or prevention options, but he also covers some of the anatomy of the area. It helps the person reading to understand what it is they’re actually working with.

This is a book that I am going to recommend everyone pick up. People in your group, be it a small or large group, are going to get sick or are going to suffer from some sort of disease. You need to know to how deal with it or how to prevent it from becoming a life threatening issue. Medical supplies will only get someone so far. Medicine expires and for the things that don’t, they do run out. Be prepared and be informed get your copy of The Doomsday Book of Medicine.

Review By: KYPrepper89

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The Doomsday Book Of Medicine Review

Click here to view the original post.

Let’s say an EMP struck last week, and has taken out everything from communications to the street lights on your block. In the panic, you forget about the fact that your wife has had the flu for four days now, and it seems it’s getting worse. Your child also constantly reminds you that their feet have developed blisters, due to the extended walking they’ve been doing, and they can’t go on another step. You’re not a doctor so what do they want you to do? Luckily, one doctor thought about this scenario, and many more, when he decided to write The Doomsday Book of Medicine.

Now at 910 pages, this isn’t exactly a “pocket survival guide”. What it is though, is a book with vast pages of information on almost any common medical issue there is. There are remedies for things ranging from radiation exposure to treating animal and insect bites. Think of it as an encyclopedia of sorts. An encyclopedia with the potential to save your life.

After graduating from medical school, Dr. La Guardia dedicated 30+ years to researching health and human nutrition. Based on the information he was able to gather, it’s clear that there are natural remedies and alternative methods to treating illness and diseases, that people needed to be made aware of. How to deal with things like asthma and diabetes, in a Grid-Down situation, is crucial. This is where The Doomsday Book of Medicine comes in. Dr. La Guardia has a treasure trove of information located in one book.

While reading The Doomsday Book of Medicine, it was amazing to see what all I was learning about. I can’t stress enough, the amount of information that is covered in this book. It’s also written in a way that’s very easy to understand. Not only does the author tell you about treatment or prevention options, but he also covers some of the anatomy of the area. It helps the person reading to understand what it is they’re actually working with.

This is a book that I am going to recommend everyone pick up. People in your group, be it a small or large group, are going to get sick or are going to suffer from some sort of disease. You need to know to how deal with it or how to prevent it from becoming a life threatening issue. Medical supplies will only get someone so far. Medicine expires and for the things that don’t, they do run out. Be prepared and be informed get your copy of The Doomsday Book of Medicine.

Review By: KYPrepper89

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The Trucker’s Friend An All-Purpose Survival Tool Made in America

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It is called the “The Trucker’s Friend”, but after taking a closer look we here realized it is a friend to all, because it is a tough all-purpose tool. A tool that combines the indispensable functions of an ax, (ax blade sharpened using a file), a claw hammer, crowbar, nail puller, wire twist, spanner wrench, grapple hook, tire chain hook and more.

What Is A Spanner Wrench? A wrench (or spanner outside of North America) is a tool used to provide grip and mechanical advantage in applying torque to turn objects—usually rotary fasteners, such as nuts and bolts, certain pipes or can be used to keep them from turning.

What Is A Grapple Hook? A grappling hook is a device with multiple hooks (known as claws or flukes), attached to a rope; it is thrown, dropped, sunk, projected, or fastened directly by hand to where at least one hook may catch and hold. Generally, grappling hooks are used to temporarily secure one end of a rope.

This tool does not have what would be considered a traditional “grappling hook”, called a grapple hook by the makers, but the hook can be used to help you traverse certain inclines in the wilderness (grab onto an exposed root or limb, for example, or to help hoist yourself up if trapped in a damaged structure.

Truckers friend survival tool

The Trucker’s Friend as the name implies is designed for truckers, and it is ideal for truckers, but this tool is also ideal for Preppers, campers, hikers, first responders, and for all those tough jobs around the house. This demolition tool will stand up to the rigors of camp life, survival situations and for those jobs around the home. This tool can also be used by emergency responders for rescue operations.

If your area is prone to earthquakes, this tool should be in your emergency kit for extracting yourself from a damaged structure or for rescue operations.

The weight is only 2.24 pounds so it can be lashed to a pack or carried on your belt without adding to much weight to your body. Keep one in your vehicle, garage, tool chest, and/or go-bag for any job that requires hacking, pulling, prying, pounding, demolition or even for self-defense.

Manufactures’ Specifications

  • All-in-one hammer, nail puller, pry bar with ‘V’ slot and lever, wire twist, tire chain hook, grapple hook, hose spanner, with a 4.5″ curved ax head
  • Shock-absorbing PowerGrip
  • Materials: cast alloy steel blade and shank, heat treated for extra strength
  • Non-conducting fiberglass handle (use caution when working around live electrical lines even through the handle will not conduct electricity)
  • Rust-resistant matte finish
  • Temporary blade guard included
  • Dimensions: 19.25″ x 5″ x 1.25″
  • Weight: 2.24 lbs.
  • Made in the USA: Parowan, Utah

Trucker's friend extraction tool

We have stressed in previous articles about having a tool that can do several jobs instead of having several tools packed in your kit. The Trucker’s Friend fits the bill as far as that goes. You can split logs for your campfire, cut limbs, pry up rocks, and even dig a hole in an emergency with this tool using the claw hammer.

The ax blade will require sharpening, and how often will depend on the type of jobs. Use a quality metal file to put a good edge on it, and then use a whetstone for touchups. Wipe the blade clean after use if possible and treat with oil to prevent rust. If you do see some surface rust, rub some steel wool over the metal to remove it and always coat the blade with oil after use and before storage.

The tool is well balanced, not as heavy as it could be, but this is not really a hindrance. Weight does help with demolition and chopping but the blade size is proportioned to the weight. It can tackle most jobs you would encounter, but as with any tool, match the tool to the job so you do not wear yourself out or damage your tool.

This tool is, obviously not as big or heavy as a full sized firefighter’s ax, for example, but as a Prepper, hiker, or camper, size and weight can be a hindrance. You simply cannot tote around a full sized firefighter’s ax in your bug-out-bag or hiking backpack, or store one in your emergency kit at home. A full sized ax would end up in the garage or basement and not be there when you had to grab your action bag to escape to a safe room in the home. It packs well in any vehicle and most members of your family can handle it.

You can use this tool to smash your way through certain doors, car windows, and even force your way into a locked truck in some cases. The uses are endless and you will not know its full potential until a situation presents itself. Be ready, by carrying a Trucker’s Friend in each vehicle, have one in your bug-out-bag, and keep one in your home’s emergency kit as well. You can get a Trucker’s Friend for $59.99 at innovationfactory.com.

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The Karambit Knife: A Great Self-Defense Weapon

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Some have stated that the Karambit Knife has a dark appeal, well that may be so, but we here like to use the word “wicked”. The Karambit looks wicked with an incredible grace about it, and we like it that way.

Once you receive the knife, you will want to stare at it, handle it, hold it up so the light reflects a certain way, and you will find yourself considering all the possibilities as you gaze at it. It is almost like a fine work of art on canvas. You want to move the knife as you would your body as you stare at a painting. Because every time you move a new angle appears on the canvas, one you never knew was there. However, unlike a painting hung for your pleasure, a Karambit knife is meant for action, it cries out to be used.

The forebears of the modern Karambit first surfaced in Indonesia during the 11th century as a farming tool and utility blade. The thriving trade industry at the time allowed the knife or tool as many at the time considered it, to migrate throughout Southeast Asia. You simply cannot keep a good thing hidden, and while designs may vary and there are several copycats, the Original Karambit maintains its arcing blade, which provided functionality well beyond that of a straight blade.

Based on a tiger’s claw the blade is designed for tearing, ripping and slicing, yes wicked is the word.

The knife’s safety ring keeps the knife in your hand whether you are cutting rope, canvas, carving wood, or defending yourself. The design allows you to hold the knife in various positions to rip, tear, or slice. If you ever have to defend yourself against an assailant with a straight bladed knife you will likely get cut by your own knife, you will literally have skin in the game. Your hand will slide up the handle to the blade in most cases due to sweat, dust, water, or even from blood on your hands. With a safety ring, however, you maintain control and reduce or eliminate wounds inflicted by your own self-defense measures.

The knife’s safety ring is positioned at the end of the handle. This allows the user to insert a finger through the ring before closing their hand on the knife’s handle. Some Karambit knives have an additional safety ring located on the shaft of the handle below the blade itself, which allows for palming of the blade. The design makes it hard for someone to disarm you, and to use your own weapon against you. The design is all about retention and allows use at awkward angles, particularly when you are fighting for your life.

Attack and counter attack. Some of the knives have multiple cutting surfaces or edges with various configurations, each of which provides distinct advantages and benefits for both utility and tactical use. 

The Karambit may very well become part of your everyday carry. This is not to say that you should toss out your straight-bladed knife. Consider a Karambit an additional tool in your arsenal.

There is a learning curve, and like any knife, they can be dangerous if handled improperly. You need to take the time to “get the feel” for the knife. Learn its capabilities, and discover just what a versatile tool it can be. Remember it started out as a tool mainly used in an agricultural setting, but of course, the self-defense applications became readily apparent to the users.

You can practice with a training Karambit if you want to use it as a self-defense weapon only. A mockup version, if you will, allows you to make mistakes without losing a finger or considerable amounts of blood because you do need to practice moves to increase your own capabilities. Remember the knife itself is harmless. It is the well-trained person using it, which is dangerous. Always respect your tools, train with them, and build your confidence up, which can only come from intensive practice and then hope you never have to use one to defend yourself.

There are no specific laws regarding a Karambit. The laws that pertain to any knife folding or straight bladed would also apply to this knife. Each state dictates what is allowed to be carried on your person in public, and which knives are not, so know the laws in your state.

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Hunting For Survival in the City When the SHTF

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Wildlife in the city, well yes, and Merriam-Webster defines wildlife as living things and especially mammals, birds, and fishes that are neither human nor domesticated. That definition covers a lot of ground.

How many of you have spotted or been harassed by geese in a city park, have had to yield to geese and ducks in roadways around city water features, have seen squirrels begging for food near park benches, and who has not been tempted to feed the pigeons some of their sandwich whiling lunching in a city square. Wildlife indeed abounds.

Dr. Merritt, the Mayor of Oakland, declared Lake Merritt a National Wildlife Refuge in 1869, the first in North America. There are wildlife sanctuaries close to or actually inside some city limits. Places where people go to feed the ducks, and to view wildlife in its natural habitat. In 1925, the first bird island was constructed and four additional islands were erected in 1956. These are the largest of the artificial islands that house hundreds of egrets, herons, Canada goose, and many other species of birds (City of Oakland, n.d.).

Lakes of course in city parks or near a city’s borders may very well be home to fish and other marine life that can be a food source, and water attracts mammals that are a food source as well. Some less appetizing, and yet a food source would be rats and mice.

All mammals in North America are edible, but keep in mind for example, that the Polar Bear and Bearded Seal while both are edible as far as the meat goes, the livers can be toxic to humans, because of their diet the livers may contain toxic amounts of Vitamin A.

Yes, Polar Bears and Seals do invade urban areas, but Polar Bears are dangerous to humans so use extreme caution and always have a firearm up to the job of bringing one down if it comes to that.

If you live in an urban environment you can hunt, not in the traditional sense maybe, but hunt you can for food.

A quality air rifle, a longbow or crossbow, as well as a hunting slingshot,  would be ideal weapons inside the city limits if ducks, geese, rabbits, squirrels, rats, and mice are your food sources. Keep fishing in mind, as well, when packing your survival kit for urban hunting, a survival fishing kit needs to go in the kit. 

You have to consider the safety of other humans as you hunt and the stealth factor as well. In most cases, you will not want others to know you are out hunting for food, so noise discipline is important. Avoid firearms if possible, but this is a judgment call that will have to be made at the time.

Rats and mice can be trapped in the traditional way using traps designed for rodents or you can use your slingshot, stones or throwing sticks. The same would apply to ducks and geese, rabbits and squirrels.

Certain birds can be netted, but keep in mind ducks and geese and even squirrels that are used to being fed by humans may present themselves as a meal without much effort on your part.

You should not consume any animal that you did not kill by your own hand. Finding a dead animal or a washed up fish may seem like an easy meal, but you don’t know if the animal or fish died of a disease.

Nocturnal animals like raccoons, typically come out to forage at night, so if they are found wandering during the day there may be a problem. Rabies can be transmitted to humans if you are exposed to the saliva or brain tissue. Of course, getting bit by a rabid animal can transmit the virus to you.

Handling a dead animal that has rabies may mean you become exposed if you have an abrasion or broken skin. Rabies does not transmit through unbroken skin, however, and the virus does not survive long in the saliva, once exposed to air, but can remain in the brain tissue after an animal has died. Reptiles and marine life do not carry the rabies virus.

Rabies travels from the brain to the salivary glands during the final stage of the disease—this is when an animal can spread the disease, most commonly through a bite (The Humane Society of the United States, n.d.)

Less than 3 people a year die from rabies, but be careful regardless, so you do not become number 4. Only 28 people have died in the last ten years in the United States from rabies (The Humane Society of the United States, n.d.).

Keep in mind that cats and dogs are edible, but just the thought of this is enough for most people to lose their appetites, but remember dogs and cats are raised in some countries as a food source. During a survival situation, all options should be on the table, and then you can eliminate some as the situation unfolds. To avoid moral dilemmas such as this, you should be as prepared as possible.

What Do You Need As Far As Tools and Gear?

Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, in some cases doubling in number every 20 minutes (PennState Extension, 2016).

During a crisis, refrigeration may be a quickly fading memory so it is important that you understand that your way of thinking and the way you do things must change just as quickly.

If you kill any animal for food and you do not have refrigeration the animal must be processed literally on the spot. Eviscerate the animal as soon possible, and in most cases discard the organs and do so in such a way as to keep larger predators away, and to prevent the spread of bacteria and reduce odor. Burying is the best method.

Field dressing your kill immediate allows for rapid cooling because the body cavity is opened up. This also discourages the growth of surface bacteria, and of course, improves the overall quality of the meat.

What You Need

  • Several Sharp Knives ( Skinning Knives Are Ideal) For Skinning,  One For Small Game And One For Larger Game
  • Whetstone, Honing Steel or Some Other Device or Method For Sharpening Your Knives
  • Hatchet For Larger Game
  • Cheesecloth, String or Rope
  • Cooler Or Some Other Storage Container
  • Disposable Medical Gloves For Handling Raw Meat
  • Alcohol Swabs and/or Clean Cloth and Alcohol To Clean Your Blade After Field Dressing To Prevent Carrying Surface Bacteria Into The Meat As You Process It
  • Water, soap, and/or Alcohol Swabs For Your Hands

If you are lucky, enough to have snow on the ground, then you pack the meat in snow, or fill up jugs of cold water from a lake or pond to help absorb the heat from the fresh kill. Remember heat always conducts to cold.

Wrap the meat in cheesecloth and pack around the cold jugs in a cooler or even a box if that is all you have available to pack the meat home. You can, of course, process, cook, and eat the meat on the spot if it is safe to do so.

Minutes count when handling fresh meat, therefore, it is recommended that you kill and eat, unless there is snow or ice available from frozen lakes or ponds to chill the meat below 40 ° F.

You simply cannot kill game today and expect to be able to consume it in a few days unless it has been chilled and stored at or below 40 degrees. You can get sick or worse.

If the game is more than you can consume in one meal then smoke the remaining meat to preserve. This is not a foolproof method and the smoking process will take hours to ensure the meat is cooked and smoked sufficiently enough to slow or to prevent the growth of bacteria.

The things you have to consider when hunting in an urban area include your safety and the safety of others. You may spot game but is it safe to kill it, process it, and then cook it on the spot or do you need to transport the game to a safe location. You have to make decisions based on what is happening in real time.

We cannot sit here and tell you what you should do because we don’t know if the people in the area would be a threat. Most likely, anyone in the area that sees you cooking a meal would want in on the feast, and if you are unwilling to share, you may have to wait for a more opportune time.

Carry a firearm whether you plan to kill game with it or not. It is for your personal protection more so than for killing game in most cases. You do not want to advertise you are out hunting a meal.

PennState Extension. (2016). Retrieved 2016, from http://extension.psu.edu/food/safety/educators/fact-sheets-brochures-books/game-meats/proper-field-dressing-and-handling-of-wild-game-and-fish

City of Oakland . (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from http://www2.oaklandnet.com/government/o/opr/s/Parks/OAK032395

The Humane Society of the United States. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/facts/rabies.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

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Operational Security (OPSEC): A Refresher and a Reminder

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Yes, we have written numerous articles on OPSEC, and yes, the basic concepts remain the same. As the threat changes, you have to change as well, however, and OPSEC measures are not carved in stone, so consider this article continuing education.

When times become desperate, people become desperate and then they remember. On a normal day, you may mention your Preps to someone, to a friend, to the owner of a gun shop, or to the clerk at the big box store as you wheel out 50-pound bags of rice and beans to the truck. They nod and smile, and then wish you luck and they then go about their business. They don’t care, don’t care at the time that is, but when the time comes to care they will remember, that’s how the human mind works sometimes.

When they become desperate, they begin to remember. They remember you and your truck, your food, your firearms, and your Preps, in general, become their focus and they wonder if.

Social Media

For the sake of security you have to assume that anytime you talk on the phone, or text, send an email, and anything you post online to include pictures and writings is there forever and there for anyone that wants to look for it. This is true regardless of your security settings on social media websites.

The websites own whatever you upload and if they own it, they will use, sell it, and/or archive it for governmental agencies that may have a reason to browse through your personal correspondence at some point. National security after all trumps your security preferences.

Posting pictures of your children, your home, your firearms, your food supplies or posting of anything personal online should be avoided. Showing the whole world your modified bug-out-vehicle with a gun rack in the back window does nothing to enhance your preparations, does not bring you money or supplies, and it can only harm you, so why do people still do it, why do they need validation or “likes” from strangers and so-called friends.

Once the SHTF many people will have problems and if you are prepared then guess what, you are the solution to their problem. A solution if they know where to go for their supplies, people with nothing to lose will do anything to gain what you have. It will be a blue light special, free firearms on aisle one and ammo too by the way.

Prepper Groups and OPSEC

This next comment may sound controversial to some people and it may fly in the face of what the Prepper movement is all about, but remember times have changed and you have to adapt to survive.

“The only people well suited to be in a Prepper group are orphans and those not married, have no children, friends or a community to call home”.

The husband or wife is a member of a Prepper group. Like any cohesive unit, teamwork is essential and everyone must have the same goals in mind and know how to achieve those goals through said teamwork.

Prepper groups function well when there is not a crisis to deal with, and unless you have been through a SHTF situation with your group, then you have no idea what may happen and how others will react once disaster strikes. If any member of the group has a wife, or husband, children, aunts, uncles friends and other relatives their first priority during a crisis is likely not going to be the group’s priority, in other words, family comes first.

The problem is those left in the group will resent you for leaving to tend to your family. Secondly, they know where you live and the level of your preparedness. Not good if they decide they need more supplies and besides they are angry with you now, and you, of course, told them how well prepared you are.

The more people know about you, the more solutions they have during a crisis. We would recommend that you stay off social media unless you can show considerable restraint and not brag about this or that online. You need the Internet right now for research, to buy things, and to keep track of others in some cases, but do not allow or give a reason for others to keep track of you.

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Using a Bicycle for a Bug Out Vehicle: Some Pros and Cons

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Police use them and the military has used bicycles, (bikes) for decades, as well, so why not you. As the saying goes, you are not someone on wheels, but someone with wheels and wheels may be just what you need when you cannot drive a motor vehicle and also need the stealth that can only come from a bike that doesn’t make noise.

There are updated civilian versions of a “Paratrooper Bike” that was used by the U.S. military.

Consider a mountain bike before you would a bike designed for speed, such as a racing bike. A mountain bike, of course, is designed for rough terrain and would get along nicely on city streets as well, unlike a racing bike that simply could not stand up to the rigors of a rough trail.

You can buy folding bikes that can be transported by car so if the SHTF fan while at the office and you cannot use your vehicle you do have wheels.

paratrooper bike

Pros: Using a Bike for Bugging Out

1.) Quiet, so you can move around at night or during the day without leaving a noise signature.

2.) No fumes, from an exhaust system, so it again can be used when stealth is important. People sometimes forget that your nose is important in a survival situation and gas fumes can linger for hours indicating someone is or has been in the area.

3.) Portable and even more so if you have a folding bike, which would make it ideal as a get home bike if at work or even to escape work for parts unknown?

4.) Help keep you in shape, as well.

5.) Can weave in and out of stalled vehicles, go off road and use hiking trails to get around, get around literally the entire country if need be using well-marked trails. A mountain bike can be used on city streets as well. You can go where cars simply cannot, so you can escape the urban sprawl if you need to.

Cons

1.) You have to be in relatively good shape because remember you will be carrying supplies in most cases.

2.) Cannot carry a lot of gear, but more than you can on your back if you load it right.

3.) You are exposed. You have no protection from the weather or gunfire and you cannot use a bike for a shelter unless you use it to drape or attach a tarp.

4.) You need to carry spare parts, in particular tubes, tools, and a patch kit.

We mentioned before that you need to be in decent shape. You cannot just start out on a mountain trek without working up to it. When the SHTF, however, it is too late to work up to anything, you have to be ready, so start now getting in shape for bike riding.

You can modify your bike by adding brackets to attach a shotgun or rifle, for example, but make sure you do it right. You do not want to lose a weapon because of faulty brackets. You may not be able to stop and retrieve it, in some cases.

Experiment with packs, baskets, and maybe even small carts that can be pulled behind, to better carry your gear.

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The Ability to Adapt Is What Survival Is All About

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It is widely believed that extinction (for the sake of this article let’s call it the inability to survive) is often caused by a change in environmental conditions.

When conditions change, often times quickly and dramatically some species, like humans, possess adaptations that allow them to survive and reproduce. Others do not, however, have the ability to adapt or the ability to adapt quickly enough to survive.

Humans evolved and the dinosaurs, for example, failed to millions of years before we even existed, and thus, no longer roam the earth as they did over 65 million years ago. Dinosaurs could not control their environment. They could not build shelters or fashions tools or weapons to meet the new challenges of the day. Humans could and can, and if we, as a species had failed to adapt tens of thousands of years ago you would not be reading this article. 

The ice age came and humans donned furs of animals, and built fires and huddled in caves or other shelters for protection from the cold. Imagine if we could not figure out how to make clothes or shelters or knew about fire, or even realized the need for clothes to cover our bodies, which lacked fur and fat layers necessarily to protect blood and organs from the cold. Our bodies cannot adapt nearly fast enough to environmental changes, but as humans with bigger brains than other mammals, we adapt using our thinking process, and then we make change to our environment to so some extent so we can survive.

Failure to use your brain or failure to recognize you need to change may lead to the inability to survive, extinction of you and yours, in other words.

If you cannot adapt to the changes in your environment then you may not survive or will find it much harder to survive. A change in your environment can be as simple as a road closure, which forces you to adapt. You have to find an acceptable alternative for getting to work or to get to wherever you are going. You do not sit in your vehicle staring at the road you cannot use, no, you immediately process the problem and come up with solutions to counter the problem, and in other words, you solve the dilemma.

You have to be able to look hours, days, weeks, months, and in some cases, years ahead so you can plan and adapt quickly or at a slower pace, as the case may be, as things change.

We have talked about the new administration in previous articles and what it may mean for Preppers and others. Will there be new laws that impact your life or will executive orders be rescinded that have affected you up to this point? You have to pay attention, so you can plan, so you can make changes.

Get your news from reliable sources, which can be taxing because of social media. If you are getting your news and information from  posts from friends and strangers alike on Facebook, for example, or other social media websites then you may not be getting the full picture or in some cases outright false information. Learn how to research and verify information, because it could save your life one day. If you are convinced that Elvis Presley’s and his alien lovers’ love child is living on a remote island writing songs then you may want to change your source of news.

The Internet connects us to people around the globe, while at the same time, it exposes us to people’s opinions from around the world, and opinions are just that, opinions and not facts.

The presidential election has proven that you cannot always believe what you see and hear online, or on TV for that matter, and if you take everything, you hear from friends and others online at face value, you may be putting your survival in jeopardy.

Once the Internet goes dark, you will have to rely on word of mouth for your information. Take the time to evaluate any source, evaluate what is being said, and use your mind. If it seems outlandish, then do not act upon it until you can validate the information from another source. Acting out of haste can be dangerous.

Adapt your preps to the seasons and to the current threat environment. If you have never thought about evacuating from your community, you may have to plan for it, for example, if the threat of a nuclear, biology or chemical attack becomes more of a realist threat. You cannot survive regardless of your preparations if one of these types of attacks were to happen in your community. You would have to evacuate, or bug-out if you want to use that term.

If a terrorist organization gets their hands on a tactical nuclear device, or has stolen containers of a nerve agent or vials of a biological agent then the threat has increased, and so then, you have to adapt to the possible change in your environment.

We have the ability to look ahead, so we do not have to adapt on the fly as it were. Use your reasoning skills to predict possibilities, they may not come to fruition, but it is better to be prepared than to be caught unawares and then have to adapt in the midst of a crisis.

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How to Stay Safe Hiking during Hunting Season

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According to the National Safety Council’s most recent statistics, approximately 100 people die nationwide in hunting accidents each year, while, more than 1,500 die in swimming-related incidents each year (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 2016). This is just to show you some perspective.

Compare the number of deaths due to hunting accidents to deaths attributed to motor vehicle accidents. The National Safety Council estimates 38,300 people were killed and 4.4 million injured on U.S. roads in 2015 alone, this is an uptick from previous years. That is over 100 deaths per day for that year and if you go back a few years the average is still over 90 people dead each day from automobile related accidents. The year 2015 saw the sharpest increase in deaths in decades (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2016).

Hunting related deaths are tragic and keep in mind there are far fewer hunters roaming afield than there are cars on the road each day. There are approximately 257 million vehicles registered in the United States. Furthermore, hunting season is not year around, so please keep this in perspective as you venture out. It can be dangerous in the woods during hunting season and many if not most hunting accidents can be or could have been prevented.

Stay Safe While Hiking

Before setting out find out when hunting season is by contacting your state agency. Those that do not hunt may not know when hunting season is. Knowing when and where hunting is allowed may influence your decision as to whether to hike a certain trail or area.

Some parks do not allow hunting, but poachers can be found anywhere at any time and some legitimate hunters may stray unwittingly into areas that forbid hunting. Poachers know that areas that do not allow hunting may have the greatest concentration of game. Poachers are criminals and obviously do not follow hunting laws, and thus, can be very dangerous, so do not assume you are completely safe if the park or trail prohibits hunting.

City parks and national parks do not allow hunting typically and many hiking trails forbid it as well. Signs are usually posted, but again, this does not mean that you will not encounter hunters or poachers.

Wear bright clothing. It is recommended you pick up a vest or coat that is specifically designed for hunters and others to be seen in the woods. Typically, orange or red is used. Of course, avoid earth tone colors.

If walking with a dog ensure they also have on a bright sweater or vest, and that they are trained to follow voice commands or are on a leash. Roaming free in the woods during hunting season can be dangerous for pets regardless of their colored clothing.

Make noise that only humans can make like talking, whistling, singing, or humming if you think there may be hunters close by. Rustling the brush is not the kind of noise you should make because unfortunately, inexperienced hunters can and will fire at snapped twigs, leaves rustling or branches slapping back.

Noise will scare the game away, but hunters should never fire at game when people are in the area. Experienced hunters know the area they are hunting in, and typically would not hunt near any walking trail or park where people would be, so if you do spot hunters or suspect they are there noise making is then your best defense in some cases. Use your best judgment however.

Common sense can prevent accidents, so use it when out and about. First, do not wander about at dusk or at night, or in the early morning hours during hunting season. Poachers use the cover of darkness and legal hunters do like the early morning hours and early evening as well.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (2016). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/state-by-state-overview

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. (2016). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/tips/myths.html

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Assessing the Threat Level: Has It Increased

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Transitioning from one leader to another may leave us vulnerable. It is a possibility and you must be aware of this, while not definitive, there could be gaps, gaps of which a lone wolf or an organized group could take advantage.

The leader of the United States is not analyzing intelligence data 24/7, is not on the ground gathering Intel from people close to the threats, and is not monitoring cyber threats and intercepting communications for threats.

Information gathering and analysis goes on regardless of who is in the Oval Office, but the command structure is changing, and those that make decisions based on the information gathered will change. Will split second decisions still be made while the people at the top shuffle their desks around? Yes and no.

The new decision makers may not be up to speed, or as qualified, or for any number of reasons information may be delayed or not acted upon quickly enough to avert a crisis. Decisions may lag and this is what makes us vulnerable. Our enemies know this, so to answer the question in the title, yes the threat level has increased.

Being aware or what most refer to as situational awareness allows you to better identify increased areas of danger and violence, in other words, areas that may pose the greatest threat to your existence. A crowded restaurant with glass windows facing the street is one example because it puts you in harm’s way if there is a drive by shooting or even if police engage a suspect and gunfire is exchanged.

We have heard about the threats against the United States during this Thanksgiving weekend. No one knows in the intelligence or law enforcement agencies when and where an attack may occur. The chatter is according to the experts, are about attacks ramming civilians with a vehicle as they shop or gather for celebrations in public areas similar to the attack using a truck in Nice. This information allows you make assumptions, and one assumption would be that certain public places are more susceptible to an attack than are others.

It may not be by vehicle but terrorist organizations are actively encouraging lone wolf attacks during the holiday season here in the United States. It could be anywhere, by virtually any means.

Pretending it can’t happen is not helpful and thinking it only can happen in a large city is making a dangerous assumption. No, you can’t hunker in your bunker all day every day, but you do have to pay attention to your surrounds. It’s not likely you could ever stop an attack, so the only thing you can do is react and that is the key to survival. How you act after the first shots are fired or as soon as you realize an attack is occurring is what may save your life.

Exit plans, where do I find cover, can I conceal myself in a safe location are all questions that you need the answers to before you settle in for a nice meal in a restaurant, or as you are watching a movie in a crowded theater.

Venues outdoors require the same diligence and mapping of the area in your mind so you know in which direction to move.

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Bugging Out To the Back Yard: Cold Weather Training

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Winter is coming on fast, and of course, as it gets colder it gets harder to survive if you become lost or injured miles from home. However, if you have a backyard, then you have a controlled training environment to test your gear, skills and to see if you have the will to carry on despite the challenges.

What you will learn in your backyard is that you will never be as warm in a tent as you would in your own bed, the ground mat will never be as soft as your bed, and that your stomach seems to be always growling for more food. The cold burns up calories, it dries your skin out, and it makes your nose drip.

No more flipping a light on to stumble down a warm hallway to the bathroom at midnight, no, when it’s below freezing a trip to the cat hole or latrine is a monumental task. You need the training, however, you need to realize that getting lost or hurt out in the woods puts you in a survival situation, a sometimes-deadly one, and it will take all you have to survive. You need to know how cold it really gets at night in the middle of January, how hungry you really become, and how easy it is to die if you make the wrong decision.

In a controlled environment, you won’t die, but you will learn from mistakes that could be fatal 20 miles from home at 2am when it’s hovering around Zero.

Use your backyard to figure out what ground insulation works best, to see just how warm your expensive winter sleeping bag really is, and are your hiking boots as warm as the manufacturer claims.

Can you start a fire when your fingers are stiff from the cold, can you start one when it is snowing or sleeting out? If you cannot start one in your own backyard, how can you possibly do so out in the wilds when its dark, cold and the wind is howling?

In today’s working world Saturdays and Sundays are not always the weekend, but any day of the week can work to set up a survival scenario in your backyard. Prepare a game plan, you are heading home from work when your car breakdowns or you are on a hike and get lost. Of course, your car is disabled in your driveway and you are lost in your backyard.

The point is for training purposes, you have to now survive outside the home with just what was in your car or backpack, and keep it real. Do not stuff 120 pounds of food and creature comforts and have your pack stationed on the back porch. Pack what you think you should carry on a hike, and have what you think you would need in your car, no cheating. It doesn’t help you survive a real situation.

Have you ever slept in your car overnight when it’s below freezing, you probably won’t sleep much, and any food you have is liable to be eaten in the first few hours? Learn from this.

Can you survive out of your backpack in the backyard, it’s getting dark and you are tired from working, but you would be tired from hiking all day as well, so it feels realistic. Shelter first because its cold and you need to get out of the wind, a fire is next and then an assessment of food, water, and other gear. Recording your ordeal would be perfect, and be honest in your assessments. Above all else, learn from your experience.

That fancy one-person tent went up easy in the living room, but you had a devil of a time with a slight breeze and cold hands as it was coming on to darkness.

After 24 hours of this, you will know, what you need and what you really do not need to survive the night or several nights. What food keeps you satisfied and that potato chips and Oreos are not designed for survival situations, and the call of nature is not as easy as you may think when bundled up in a parka and thermal underwear, that is if you thought to have thermals with you.

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Prepping and the New Administration: Will Anything Change

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People’s perception will change and have changed already in some cases. Depending on what side of the so-called political aisle you call home, things may have changed for the worse or the better. It’s all perception at this point. Sometimes all it takes to change trajectory is the likelihood of something new.

It is not what the new administration will actually do, but how you and others react to the prospect. New vigor, new energy, in some cases, and as a Prepper sometimes all it takes to kick things into high gear is possibilities.

Will the EPA be hobbled, will homeowners be able to collect rainwater without fear of fines or even jail. Will you be able to have a pond on your land for livestock without someone coming along and saying you have committed a crime, or how about digging a well or putting in a bunker on your land? Will people be able to disconnect from utility companies even though they live within the confines of a city, can we have a latrine or compost pile in our backyards.

What about gun control, will you be able to get ammunition or guns as they are needed, or do you have to hoard Ammo or firearms for fear of some new regulation that may prevent you from buying more. We don’t know yet, but what we do know is that things will change, and in some instances, the only thing that will change, however, is how you perceive the new administration.

The threats are still there. Hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and floods care not about who may be in power, but you do, and thus, how you prepare may change. A more efficient government may mean a faster and more efficient response to emergencies in your community. It is possible that we as a country may look to taking care of our own before worrying about others. A possibility, and whether it is right or wrong it could happen and may very well happen, and this again will change how you prepare, maybe.

If you are to believe the chatter, the rhetoric if you will, from the President-Elect then you believe there will be fewer regulations. Businesses and private individuals will have less onerous regulations, less paperwork, less money spent on compliance, fewer permits to seek, and a greater sense of freedom, and maybe we can speak our minds without fear of ridicule. All possible and sometimes that’s all it takes.

It will be a slow process in many cases. Much slower than some anticipated, but knowing it is in the works may be enough for the moment, a perception that things will get better. The villains are still there through, but the closet door has been flung open and the bogeyman lurking there does not seem quite so threatening, as it did in the dark of night.

You still have to prep, still have to be ready for the wrath of Mother Nature and you still have to worry about terrorism, but somewhere in the back of your mind, you may be able to start believing that now maybe someone has your back. Has your back and that the threats will be called out and the villains exposed. Once the curtain is pulled back and sunlight is allowed into, the corners only then can you truly assess the threats and prepare for them. Until then we must all be ready because perception is one thing, reality is another.

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How to Hunt with a Slingshot for Survival

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Getting lost or stranded in the middle of the wilderness is a real case scenario for which every outdoor enthusiast should be prepared. Such an event could happen to you when you’re hiking through a new path, mountain biking over a trail, or out camping with your family. And no matter the amount of food you take with you, eventually it is bound to run out. When that happens, living off the land can make the difference between surviving or starving in the woods.


Hunting is one of your best options if you are lost in the wilderness, which is why you should always carry a Slingshot when you go outdoors. Slingshots are small and easy to carry, but they are also powerful hunting weapons that you can use to kill small game like squirrel, rabbits, pheasants, geese, ducks, or even fish (provided that they are near the surface). Carrying a slingshot in your pocket or backpack will give you a reliable hunting weapon that you can use to feed yourself, provided that you know how to use it.

Old Slingshot

 SLINGSHOTS, THE PERFECT SURVIVALIST HUNTING WEAPON

To most civilians, and casual survivalists, a Slingshot is nothing more than a kids’ toy. It takes a real survivalist to recognize the qualities that make Slingshots such a formidable hunting tool. Sure, firearms are superior in range and accuracy, but when it comes to convenience it is much easier for you to take a Slingshot in your pocket, while you’re hiking, rather than carrying a heavy rifle on your shoulder.

Slingshots are also stealthier than even the quietest airgun, which means that you can shoot at an animal without scaring away other potential preys lying nearby. Slingshot hunting rabbit is particularly easy because rabbits tend to have bigger heads than other small game, are easier to spot, and are an easy target everytime they sit quietly and raise their ears to scout the area. Always go for headshots, but even if you miss rabbits are easier to track than smaller animals and being wounded they are unlikely to go too far.

Survival Slingshot

Getting ammunition for your slingshot is really easy and cheap, so much that you can buy it in almost any convenience or hardware store. A lot of people like to use marbles because they are cheap and do the job. Even a cheap slingshot can throw a projectile faster than 150 feet per second, which is enough to fracture a small animal’s skull and kill it instantly. You could even use regular stones, though their highly unpredictable trajectory makes them almost useless as a hunting ammunition. Steel balls make the best ammo and are the most efficient in killing small animals.

A Slingshot’s effective range is small, but this is unlikely to be a problem for you since many small game animals that live on trees, like birds or squirrels, are unlikely to feel threatened by a human standing below their tree. But even at short distances it takes skill to hit a target, so if you don’t want to starve to death in the forest you might want to start practicing now.

HOW TO SHOOT A SLINGSHOT FOR SURVIVAL

The average slingshot that you can find at Walmart can throw a projectile at a speed that is anywhere between 150-300 feet per second. Speed varies widely from one slingshot to other, and even with the ammo you use, but at this speed even small aiming mistakes can throw off your projectile by several meters and with it your chance to get a meal. As with everything else, practice makes perfect.

The targets you’ll be hitting won’t be moving, but they are so small that you should take your time to practice your skills. You should always hold the slingshot’s pouch lightly and hold it lower in the grip. Many beginners hold it too high, or too tightly and end up shooting their ammo everywhere but unto the target.

Accuracy is key when using a slingshot to hunt in a survival situation. Getting a headshot isn’t only a humanitarian concern, if your ammunition actually hits your prey’s body you will cause internal bleeding, and the meat will most probably be ruined. Some animals, like rabbits or squirrels, will even be able to get away, even though the body shot you scored was a deadly one. Stranded in the wilderness without a dog is not the best scenario to be tracking animals

Slingshot Hunting

HOW TO HUNT WITH A SLINGSHOT

Small animals are fast and agile, so getting them while they’re on the run is highly unlikely. So don’t waste your ammo. Wait until they stopped to rest or scout the area and have your slingshot at hand. Opportunities can disappear just as quickly as they present themselves. Your best chance to get some food is if you manage to find the hole or nest where your prey lives. Underground burrows, like those used by rabbits, can be hard to find, but birds and squirrels are easier to spot on the trees. Most bird species use some type of call to communicate with each other which makes it easier to know where they’re at.

Slingbow Hunting

(Via: http://mensgear.net/)

Rabbits are some of the biggest animals you can kill with a slingshot. If you can catch them while they’re lying still and scouting the noises in the area, then you have a good chance to hit one. Make sure to use steel ammo because this will increase your chances of successfully hitting and killing a rabbit. A well placed headshot will kill the animal instantly and give you plenty of much needed protein and energy for several days.

Squirrels are easy to find in many forests, and sometimes you might catch them descending from a tree, which is the perfect opportunity to kill one. Even if you miss its head you might be able to hit it in the spine, and if not kill it at least stop it from running. But beware of hitting the body. Squirrels have tough skin so even if your ammo wont tear it, it will waste the meat inside.

Birds are also a great target, and if you are near a lake or a quiet river you can probably find ducks. A single one of these animals can easily feed you for 5 days, so if you are lucky enough to find a flock of ducks don’t waste the opportunity. Take your slingshot, aim and fire away.

Author Bio:


KevinKevin 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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Sights and Sounds: Moving Through the Woods in the Wintertime

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Winter does not always mean a blanket of snow is on the ground, and thus, may make camouflaging difficult, when there is patchy snow, green foliage, grays rocks and dried leaves on the ground.

Snow means visible tracks as well. Therefore, snow on the ground is not always good, however, a snowstorm can offer cover for those needing to move about unseen in some cases.

If in a heavily wooded area, you will experience earth tones, like browns, grays, and evergreen foliage. Moving out of the woods to cross a field you will find snow possibly and golden colored grasses or light tan or buckskin colors as well. Very hard to blend in given all the colors and it would not be practical to pack various camouflage outfits. You have to make do with what you have, but first, you need to know the geography. 

Your typical woodland Camo outfits would probably be sufficient for most areas of the country that experience cold weather and snow. There are outfits that mimic the various colored leaves as they turn in the fall, and then there are outfits that mimic the earth colors when the leaves are off the trees. Then there are Camo suits specifically for snow, which you probably will not need unless in upper Canada or parts of Alaska or some other region with heavy snow covers.

You probably will not be wandering in the woods long enough to see the leaves turn from green to amber, reds, and browns and then to no leaves at all. Tailor your outfits to the seasons and this may mean you need two to three suits and carry the one needed for the particular season in which you are out and about.

As far as walking across a snow-packed field, a white sheet wrapped around you could provide some camouflage. However, if you are in stealth mode, it is not recommended you wander across a field, but rather skirt the edges using hedgerows and trees to move unseen around the field. Use the sheet when stationary such as when you are taking a break, or gathering intelligence from a static location such as from a Listening Post (LP) or Observation Post (OP).

Carry a black marker and/or camo sticks to subdue any shiny parts on your gear, shoes lace eyelets and any shiny metal on your firearms/weapons. If someone is scanning an area with scopes or binoculars, any reflection can be easily picked up, so when moving during daylight hours make sure you have subdued any metal that may reflect the sun.

Use Ranger bands to secure buckles and straps to stop any noise and to keep loose straps from flapping around. Experts scan using their peripheral vision and a flapping strap can be easily picked up out of the corner of a tracker’s eye.

Tracks in the snow can be spotted using scopes and binoculars, so move at night when possible to prevent someone from spotting your tracks at a distance. If you do move during the daylight hours tracks in the snow may distort due to radiant heating so they may be hard to distinguish from animal tracks in some cases. It may be best to move when the sun is shining in hopes your tracks melt to the point they can be confused with an animal track. Again, a snowstorm can be your friend if it covers your tracks.

Keep your riflescope lenses covered and the same goes for spotter scopes and binoculars. The glass’s reflection can be seen for miles.

When the leaves are gone, sound travels farther, because the leaves act as a noise buffer, not to mention, once gone they do not conceal any movement.

Moving at night when there is snow on the ground is not the same as movement in the warmer months. Snow reflects the moon and you can be easily spotted moving about when there is a good moon out. Use cloud cover, fog and snow falling to your advantage. Snow falling muffles sound as does fog and of course, both can conceal you.

If you need to be in the woods in the winter and you need to hide your presents there, you need to plan. Know the area, i.e. colors, ground cover, and keep track of the moon phases and weather patterns, temperature and know what upcoming weather events may look like as well.

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Will a Snow Cave Keep You Alive?

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First, let’s define the difference between a snow cave and a Quinzee. A Quinzee is made by shaping snow into a dome-like structure and then hollowing out sleeping quarters inside. The word Quinzee comes from the indigenous peoples of Alaska and Northern Canada.

A snow cave, on the other hand, is typically a hole dug into a large snowdrift or into deep snow. The snow is displaced from its location, in other words. To construct, you simply dig into deep snow to create a sleeping chamber. There are advantages and disadvantages, however to either one. The snow cover and geographic location may determine which one you construct.

If there is not snow deep enough to dig into so you can create space, you would gather the snow up and construct a Quinzee. Whereas, if the ground is well covered in deep snow, then gathering snow to create a dome would not be practical, so instead you would simply excavate the deep snow to make your shelter.

Will Snow Keep You Warm

Snow will keep you warmer, but this does not necessarily mean it will keep you warm enough to survive. Snow is nothing more than frozen ice crystals that can sustain their shape on the ground if the air temperature is below freezing. Snow is also full of air pockets, which will benefit you because air pockets do act as an insulator.

Back to the question, will snow keep you alive? If the air temperature is, for example, -15° F then you would have a very difficult time surviving unprotected, but what if you could increase the air temperature to let’s say 32° F. You would have a much easier time surviving right, of course, you would.

A snow cave or Quinzee if done correctly can maintain an inside temperature of 32° F or even warmer, and this even if the air temperature outside is minus 30° F. Your world just became much warmer, but you can easily succumb to hypothermia at this temperature without the proper protection.

It is assumed you would have cold weather clothing, sleeping materials, and a ground cloth or ground insulators to raise you off or to protect you from the cold ground. You would also need a way to block cold air from entering the entrance.

You need ventilation holes as well and possibly a chamber dug lower than the one you plan to sleep in. A lower chamber would allow the colder air in your chamber to settle away from your body.

Anytime you burrow into the snow, you stand the chance of becoming trapped and dying. A snow dome or Quinzee can collapse as well, but the volume of snow would be likely less than if, you dug 4 or 5 feet into a snow bank. Having your snow shelter collapse is a very real possibility. Ensure you have a shovel inside, poles long enough to poke air holes up through the snow with, and a personal beacon to alert others as to your location.

Having a shelter that protects against cold winds, rain or snow will dramatically increase your chances of survival.

You need insulation between your body and the cold ground or snow cover. Pine boughs, leaves, sticks, and/or ground insulators you brought with you will be needed. The heat generated by your body would conduct to the colder ground as you slept.

Hot food and liquids will be needed as well as clean drinking water. Dehydration is a problem regardless of the air temperature, and your body may not signal that it is thirsty, so it is important you drink water throughout the day, and especially during meals to help the digestive process. Empty your bladder before going to sleep and always eat before going to bed. The digestive process helps maintain your body’s core temperature.

Ground insulation is important, so you must pay particular attention to it. A sleeping bag is not enough between you and the cold ground.

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Some Top Survival Uses for a Multi-Tool

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Not all multi-tools are made the same. This would be obvious if you were to conduct a comparison and put several tools through their paces.

Leatherman® probably comes to mind when talking about multi-tools, and that’s because they are the innovators when it comes to multi-tools. Leatherman now has what they call the Leatherman OHT®, “one-hand-operable multi-tool”.

We are not reviewing any particular multi-tool here, nor do we have this particular model, nor are we endorsing any specific model or manufacturer, that’s up to you to decide which one you buy. We mention it simply because the Leatherman OHT can be used one-handed. If one of your hands is injured or otherwise occupied and you need access to a knife blade, pliers, strap cutter or saw then a one-handed operational tool could be a lifesaver.

The blades can be opened one handed, and the pliers are spring loaded so they are easily used one handed as well, just something to think about when choosing. Regardless of model or manufacturer, make sure your multi-tool is a quality one because the “cheap ones” are cheap in quality and performance. In a survival situation, you don’t want to leave anything to chance.

There are tools and blades for every occasion. Any multi-tool out there comes with a pair of pliers and usually wire cutters built in. The cheap tools will cut thin wire but heavy gauge wire is not getting cut and when you feel the pliers springing back when cutting wire you know your tool is not up to the job.

You need pliers. Pliers can help fashion fishhooks out of metal or wire, help break down, adjust and help field clean your firearm and they can be used to pull hot cooking utensils from the fire as well. The uses are endless and you don’t know you need a set until you really need a set of pliers. Think survival fishing and imagine the number of tasks a set of good pliers could perform.

Small pliers are ideal when you are using a heavy needle and thread. Use the pliers to push and then pull the needle through heavy canvas, nylon webbing or when repairing tent seams and sewing leather.

You can get needle nose or regular pliers, so decide which one would be more valuable to you. Is your multi-tool going to help you with your job, or used for small tasks around the house and of course a multi-tool is invaluable in a survival situation?

Wire cutters, of course, cut wire and can be used to snip small rubber tubing and in some cases crimp wire or electrical connections. Wire cutters are self-explanatory and most tools will have cutters, but you want to make sure they are quality. You may need to cut snare wire, wire for makeshift camp alarms systems or for cutting wiring out of your disabled vehicle, wiring that has multiple survival uses by the way.

There are normal and hard wire cutters available, and some models allow you to replace and exchange the blades as needed.

Knife blade, of course, you need a sharp blade for any number of tasks, and again most tools would have a blade for cutting rope, rubber hoses and so on. A small blade is ideal for carving fishhooks out of wood or even bone in some cases, and they come in handy when repairing clothing or gear with needle and thread.

Can opener/bottle opener. This is where quality counts because the cheap bottle openers do not work and the can opening blade can fail halfway around the can rim. The can opener on a multi-tool uses the same concept as a military issued P-38 or P-51 can opener. The P-38 typically came with cases of C-Rations. Never leave home without one.

Saw blade, used to cut plastic tubing such as PVC, shape wood and in some cases cut metal if the multi-tool has a metal cutting edge, you have to look for this type of saw blade specifically if you want to cut metal. The saw blade is different from a serrated blade which some knives have. A serrated blade is ideal for working through heavy cordage, vines and for heavy nylon or canvas webbing, and for seat belts.

Options you may want to look for include an oxygen tank wrench blade and strap cutter. In an emergency, you may have to administer oxygen to yourself or others. You need a wrench that fits the tank’s valve to turn the oxygen on. You can use pliers but they can be awkward, and you stand a chance of ruining the valve using pliers.

A strap cutter can be used to slice through heavy webbing, leather, and canvas and for cutting packaging straps off boxes and crates.

Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, again these tools are self-explanatory. In some cases, you can use a dime for flat-headed screws but it is very hard to find an alternative for removing or screwing in a Phillips head screw.

Some tools do come with a threaded port that fits a small-bore brush for your firearm. There are multi-tools designed especially for firearms, which have many or the tools needed for sight adjustment, removing scopes, and other accessories from the mounting rail. You might want to consider having a standard multi-tool and one for firearms in some cases.

Shop around and compare options and purchase based on your lifestyle, job, or personal preference, but always keep survival in mind, because you may just get to use your multi-tool in a survival situation and you want one up to the task.

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Activated Charcoal and Its Survival Uses

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Before we get started let’s have a short science class on activated charcoal. The short version is that activated charcoal is carbon, real organic material that has been reduced to charcoal just like a piece of hardwood burning in your campfire.

Once in charcoal form it is then crushed into a fine powder and heated at a very high temperature, a temperature that cannot be achieved by an open fire such as a campfire. Once heated it is then exposed to argon and nitrogen gasses. Finally, the charcoal is exposed to oxygen and steam, which further opens up millions of tiny pores.

There are other methods for making activated charcoal that involves chemicals, but this, in our minds, defeats the purpose, because the chemical process can and will leave behind residual chemical traces (Guardia, 2015).

Uses

You would ingest or administer activated charcoal if you know or even suspect you or someone has ingested a poison or has overdosed on a medication. The charcoal is very effective against Cyanide, Lithium, Alcohol, and Iron tablets, just to name a few.

Keep in mind if you ingest activate charcoal any medications or vitamins taken will be neutralized and removed from your system.

Disclaimer

We are not medical doctors here, so this must not be construed as medical advice. Anything stated is merely informational. Do your due diligence and consult with a medical expert on when you should use activated charcoal, and what the proper dosage should be.

We cannot tell you to self-administer activated charcoal. However, the charcoal will not harm you according to medical experts. Do we recommend you have activated charcoal in your home and survival kits? Yes, absolutely.

Obviously call 911 if available first. The University of Michigan’s Health System recommends 50 to 100 grams, (not milligrams but grams), of activated charcoal for adults and 10 to 25 grams for children in the event of a suspected or known poisoning or overdose. Do not wait, if you suspect then administer the dosage immediately.

Activated charcoal can be used if you know or suspect food poisoning, which is usually accompanied by severe nausea and diarrhea. Use smaller does for food poisoning, and increase as needed from there if there are no positive results. For adults start with 25 grams and for children 10 grams. Patients must be given plenty of water (University of Michigan Health System, 2016).

So How Does It Work

Some might assume that the charcoal absorbs the toxins within a body. However, this is not the case. Activated charcoal works as a chemical process, which is called adsorption not to be confused with absorption. The adsorption process allows the toxins to bind to a surface and in this case, the surface is activated charcoal. This process is very effective because the toxins and chemicals cling to the charcoal as the body eliminates the charcoal through bowel movements. The toxins cling to the surface, keeping the body safe from their deadly effects.

Absorption, on the other hand, is a reaction of elements, elements which can be nutrients, chemicals, toxins and other poisons that are assimilated into the blood stream. It is important that the activated charcoal is administered as quickly as possible before the deadly elements reach the blood stream.

The very porous surface of activated charcoal has a negative charge, which allows positive charged elements, such as toxins and poisons to bond with it, cling to it in other words, as the charcoal moves through the digestive track and is eliminated as waste.

Water Filtration

Toxins, chemicals and other contaminations in drinking water will cling to the activated charcoal’s surface just as would toxins within your body, making activated charcoal one of the best, if  not the best filtering medium available. Make sure you have some in your survival kit because boiling and chemical treatment of water is not enough sometimes. Filtration removes certain toxins, chemicals, and spores that may harbor bacteria, many of which may be impervious to boiling or treatment by household bleach or purification tablets.

Use activated charcoal to control odor in shoes, latrines, on bedding, clothing and on your body. You can even brush your teeth using activated charcoal, but the abrasive nature could remove your tooth enamel if used too often. Use it to freshen up your breath, and to remove stains occasionally from your teeth.

The most practical survival uses are for poisonings, overdoses, and food poisonings and for water filtration prior to disinfecting drinking water.

Guardia, R. L. (2015). Doomsday Book Of Medicine. R. L. Guardia. Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03801 | USA: Mindstir Media LLC.

University of Michigan Health System. (2016). Retrieved 2016, from https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-5203004

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Prepare for Armageddon: A Nuclear Survival Kit

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An all out nuclear war, not likely. A dirty bomb being detonated somewhere in the United States is possible, even likely, and a terrorist organization getting a small tactical nuke and detonating it, possible as well.

The threats loom large and it gets larger every day with Russia playing mind games and North Korea, well North Korea is simply nuts and capable of doing anything if, in fact, they have the capability to do anything, which we don’t really know. It’s like the beware of dog sign, is there really a dog behind the fence, does North Korea have the capability of mounting a nuclear warhead on a missile that can reach the U.S. mainland. Better to assume they do and to prepare accordingly.

Survival Depends On Shielding, Distance and Time.

  • The Amount You Are Exposed Too, So Shielding From The Blast Is Critical
  • Gaining Distance Between You And The Blast
  • Length Of Time You Are Exposed

There is more, of course, the heat from the blast, the fires caused by the blast and the destruction of buildings, highways, and bridges will cause multiple deaths as well. Then those in the outlying areas must be prepared so as not to succumb to radiation poisoning, the fallout, in other words. People close to a nuclear explosion would receive fallout within 15 – 30 minutes, and it can take up to 10 hours for the fallout to drift between 100 and 200 miles depending on air currents, terrain, and structures that may block the flow. 

The yield of a nuclear weapon is the amount of energy released when a nuclear weapon is detonated. It is expressed as a TNT equivalent (the standardized equivalent mass of trinitrotoluene, which, if detonated, would produce the same energy discharge). Explosions are either measured in kilotons (kt—thousands of tons of TNT), in megatons (Mt—millions of tons of TNT) or sometimes in terajoules (TJ).

Death is almost certain and radiation poisoning is guaranteed if a person is caught in the open with no terrain or buildings’ masking the effects within a radius of 0–3 km from a 1-megaton airburst and a 50 percent chance of death from the blast extends out to 8 km from the same 1 megaton atmospheric explosion.

Your Survival Depends On Where You Are As Much As What You Have In Some Cases

Underground is the safest and the more dirt between you and the blast the better. We say dirt because most people will not have a fallout shelter ready to move into so people will have to go to their basements, root cellars and any place that can put soil, snow, metal, concrete, or wood between them and the blast/fallout.

You can tape windows and doors on the upper floors and then go to the basement and tape the doors and windows leading to the basement. This means, of course, you need supplies to survive for days or even weeks in one place.

  • If you were outside and a blast occurs, get clean as soon as possible, (shower with soap and water) to remove radioactive material that may have settled on your body
  • Remove your clothing to prevent the radioactive material from spreading to areas inside your home. Your outer layer of clothing will contain up to 90% of the radioactive material, so it is important to remove quickly.
  • Place contaminated clothing in a plastic bag and seal or tie the bag. Place the bag away from humans and animals to prevent the spread of the radiation.

It will hard for you to determine the decay rate of the radioactive material, and the first 24 hours are critical. If you are not downwind it may be safe after 24 hours, however, those closer to the blast may be forced to shelter for 30 days or longer.

It is important that you have the means to monitor the news. It is assumed that any nuclear blast will not be the result of a direct nuclear attack by a nuclear state but rather will be a terrorist organization detonating a tactical nuclear device in a large city or a dirty bomb detonation near where you live. This means that the federal government will likely be able to provide safety information via local and national news organization. Your local government may not be able to respond or to provide information.

Do you need suits and respirators? You do if you plan on being in a radioactive environment, but those tasked with rescue efforts or clean up would be the ones working in a highly contaminated area. All others should have evacuated, or are dead and this includes you.

Suits, of course, would be ideal, but if you are away from the blast area and the fallout is not likely due to miles between you and the initial blast then suits may not be needed. You would have to be in the suit before the blast to survive close to the detonation, and if close enough the heat and blast itself will kill you regardless of whether you are in protective gear or not. Suits for rescues and cleanup, but as far as personal protection you have to decide if you can spare the financial expense.

  • You Will Need Food And Water For 30 Days Or Longer And Plenty Of Water For Washing Your Body
  • Duct Tape And Sheets Of Plastic
  • Clothing, Hats, And Gloves
  • Soap For Body Washing
  • Protective Suits Are Optional As Well As Respirators
  • Flashlights
  • Battery Operated FM/AM Radios
  • Shovels, Used To Pile Dirt Around Basements Entrances, Windows, And Foundations
  • Waste Buckets For Human Waste And Food Waste Generated
  • Personal Hygiene Items
  • First Aid Kits
  • Backpacks For Every Family Or Group Member

The most likely scenario will be a localized nuclear detonation, which in and of itself, could kill thousands, but the point is, the rest of the country would likely be functioning. In other words, your community would receive help with emergency supplies, protective gear if necessary and emergency shelters.

Of course, if North Korea launches a weapon, it will hit somewhere, but they cannot launch enough to destroy the U.S., and if they did launch it is likely that we would launch a counterattack essentially neutralizing North Korea forever.

A fallout shelter would be ideal, but it has to give you more than a false sense of security. It must actually provide security by having a state of the art air filtration system, secure water source, and a waste management system, and its own power grid all contained within. It needs to be designed so you do not have to leave the bunker/shelter until safe to do so.

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Compound Vs Recurve Bow: Which is The Best For SHTF Scenario?

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“So I don’t know much about archery, but I’m planning on taking some lessons soon… I believe it’s a great skill to have in any SHTF situation. However, I’m not sure which bow to use between the compound and recurve bow since I’m planning to use only one for now. What would you advise me to use?”

This question – and many others of the same nature – have been flooding our inboxes over the past month. Many folks who have just realized the benefits that come with using archery for SHTF are confused on the right bow to invest in for SHTF use.

If you too are unable to make a decision on the best bow to use for different survival situations, don’t worry. We’ve got your back. We did some extensive research and put up this post to teach you which is the appropriate bow – between a compound and recurve – to use in any SHTF situation.

Let’s dive into the details right away:

Compound Bow vs. Recurve (Traditional) Bow

Compund Bow vs Recurve Bow

Via pinterest.com

Both bows share some similarities since they both have strings and arrows – but that’s the end of their similarities.

The compound bow is quite a new, exciting evolution in the bow technology field that has been there for the last few decades. Its modern design allows you to shoot more accurately and for longer.

But that does not mean that the recurve is not any better. Featuring the traditional style, the recurve bow offers you a simplistic as well as a historic advantage. That is, it has an overall lightweight design and does not get bogged down by technology and loads of accessories.

Archers are embroiled in an unending debate on whether a recurve or compound bow is the better for SHTF. The fact is: both bow models present you entirely different pros/cons in all SHTF scenarios.

If you’re having a hard time figuring out which one to buy, here are the real differences between these bows that will help you make an informed decision:

Compound Bow Explained

Compound Bow Explained

Via pinterest.com

Compound bows come with longer strings that allow you to pull back as far as you can to produce more power. This helps loosen your hold on your bow given that you won’t need much energy/effort to keep the arrow in the firing position. Overall, this enhances stability, making the bow more powerful and accurate.

And given that this bow features draw spots in the pulley system, you’ll need to apply a consistent amount of force for every shot you make – further enhancing your accuracy. That being said, a compound bow has been proved to be an excellent companion to archers (especially in hunting) given its deadly precision. In fact, it can knock down even the large preys such as bears!

The cams and pulley system that accompany this bow aids in direct control the acceleration of the arrow. Soft cams tend to generate the arrow more gently than the harder ones. If you’re a beginner archer, I’d highly advise you to go for the soft cam.

How does a compound bow behave when it’s drawn? Well, its limbs pull towards each other in a horizontal manner, unlike in the recurve bow where the limbs tend to flex in bow string direction. The slight difference goes a long way in minimizing the recoil and vibration you feel when you release the arrow – making it an excellent choice for beginners.

Recurve Bow Explained

Recurve Bow Explained

Via pinterest.com

Because of its greater mass, this bow offers you a greater stability which ultimately leads to greater accuracy.

It’s important to note that the accuracy of your bow is directly related to its draw weight and you handle it. For this reason, it’s critical that you avoid overestimating your capabilities (especially if you’re beginner archer) and choose a draw weight that matches up to your body build as well as your level of experience.

When put side by side with a compound, this traditional style bow is not as much powerful and accurate. This stems from the fact that it requires the same amount of force to hold the draw which leads to momentary shakiness and affects accuracy. As such, these bows are best used in the shooting competitions as well as hunting the smaller game.

This bow may lack in power and accuracy, but it compensates you with its interchangeability and ease of use. It’s incredibly easy for you to detach the limbs of this bow from the riser, hence the name takedown bow.

Final Thoughts: Compound vs. Recurve Bow

After learning the essential characteristics and the walking of both bows above, it’s now time to decide which bow works best for you. Let’s make a quick comparison of both arrows below on the following important aspects:

1. Power and accuracy

The compound bow ranks best regarding power and precision. The longer string lest you draw back farther and generate as much power as possible, boosting your accuracy.

As for the recurve, they don’t deliver as much power. They require you to use a lot of energy to hold your draw, which can lead to shakiness and decreased accuracy.

2. Use in SHTF Scenarios

Compound bows work best when used for SHTF scenario such as survival hunting. Given their power, accuracy, and long range, they’ll efficiently take down even the largest of the games.

Recurve are best suited for hunting the smaller game. Though they can also take down the bigger games, the shot placement is quite important. They enjoy a wider usage in shooting competitions.

3. Accessories

There are more accessories available for the compound bows as opposed to the recurve bows. The most common accessories for compound bows include a single pin bow sight (helps you aim more accurately) and the trigger release (makes it easier for you to release your bowstring consistently for a greater deal of accuracy).

You can as well use the above sight with recurve bows, but they tend to be uncommon because archers who use this bow are mainly pursuits who prefer the skill-based experience.

4. Price

Compound bows come with longer strings, larger bodies, and even pulley systems which make their pricing a bit higher than that of the recurve bows which don’t come with complicated mechanisms.

However, it’s possible to come across a compound bow with a similar price to a recurve bow if you’re willing to shop around.

In summary, neither of these arrows is better suited for SHTF situations than the other. Which bow is the best for you boils down to your personal preference, experience, skills, and budget.

Author Bio:

BuckwithBowJennifer is the founder of BuckWithBow, a great blog that focuses on helping you learn how to hunt deer with a bow. As an experienced bow hunter, she will guide you through the Do’s and Don’ts of the bowhunting world and transform you into a better hunter. Whether you are an experienced bow hunter or an absolute beginner, you will find BuckWithBow a gem!

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The Winter of Our Discontent: Survival

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A new year coming up, a new administration being sworn in, and new threats emerging, so will this be a winter like no other? Ice storms, power outages, mass shootings, financial crisis’s, possible attacks by other countries and civil unrest all loom large in the new year.

The nation’s power grids, yes plural because there are three of them are in disrepair, and much of the grid system relies entirely on computer systems, which it seems, are hacked on a daily basis. Russia is stirring and making war noises, North Korea has failed to launch but they keep trying and they will get it right soon enough, and then there is Iran running their fingernails down the chalkboard trying to get our attention. Iran wants a war because it takes the focus off of just how badly treated their people are and it always ends up being about money and power, so why not start a war is their thinking.

All in the name of something are wars started, wars are profitable, and they cover up a lot of atrocities committed by all parties, the fog of war, and all that. This winter we may or may not be in a war much may depend on just how the new administration handles things, however.

You cast your vote and pray for the best, of course, there is much more you must do. You as an individual and as a family or even as a community must prepare, because you may have to go it alone for days, weeks, or even months if the grid is hacked and shut down, or if we are attacked or if a natural disaster strikes. The world is in turmoil and much of what happens is simply out of your control, what you can control, however, is how you prepare and react.

You have to be prepared to live without your local, state or federal governments help. No garbage pickup, no clean water piped in, no natural gas for heat or cooking, and no snowplows patrolling the streets. Police will prioritize so that recent break-in with no injuries goes to the bottom of the list. Firefighters may be responding to fires set by violent protesters and ambulance services may have to respond to a mass shooting or injuries caused by rioting. You, the average citizen may very well be on your own, on your own in the dark in some cases for a very long time, in the winter of our discontent.

The weather will have an influence on you, and it must be dealt with along with the other threats looming. It may be time that you grocery shop for two weeks instead of stopping every night or every other night to grab something quick. This way you stand a good chance of having a week to a 10-day supply of food on hand for emergencies.

We generally recommend several months, and in some cases, several years’ worth of food, but the prepping landscape is changing, and finances are the biggest factor. For most Americans, it is not realistic to have a 6-month supply of food on hand, and with that being the case, you will have to adjust your shopping habits and meal preparation habits, so you do have some food reserves on hand at all times. It may not be much but it may be enough to get past many local disasters. If you can afford to have a 6-month supply on hand do so, but for many this is financially out of reach.

The problem with stockpiling food, however, is that it will need to be prepared and many today simply do not have the time or skills to properly prepare a meal, but during a crisis is not the time to try and learn to cook.

There is more to being prepared than having a spare bedroom filled with dehydrated foods, lanterns, batteries, tents, and sleeping bags. You also need skills, such as cooking, fire starting, how to stay warm outside when the wind chill factor is well below zero and how to prepare fresh foods like wild game or fish, for example, without making the family sick.

We have written dozens of articles about the skills needed, and it is well worth your time to review a few. This article is more about reminding you that regardless of what may be going on in the world, the biggest threat to you is usually local. Snow storms, local power outages, broken water mains, which means no clean water unless you boil it, or you lose a few days of work because of a snowstorm, or you experience icy road conditions and end up in the ditch or down a ravine. Local threats and national and world threats all have to be dealt with, but you start with the most likely at the time.

The Simplest Of Things Matter The Most

Keep your vehicle fueled up can save your life. If you run off into the ditch almost on empty, you can’t stay warm. You need a winter survival kit as well. Warm clothing and shoes for walking in snow and wet conditions, blankets and food and water protected from freezing. You don’t have to run out and buy emergency blankets, use one or two from the house and toss a spare jacket in the back and those old snow boots you never wear around the house. The simple things matter.

Buy a box of protein bars, and a case of water. For less than 12 bucks, you have water and food for a few days. Toss in some matches, a flashlight, gloves, a small shovel and hat and you are almost there without breaking the bank. You know what you need, it is just a matter of taking the time to do it, and if you look around the house you will find you may not have to run out and buy anything because you already have what you need.

You, of course, have to focus on the big picture as well, the threats from abroad, nuclear war, armed invasions and a major grid collapse but it is likely you will meet a snowstorm or icy roads before the other threats manifest themselves. Of course, we never know for sure, but life is always about the most likely and what is the most realist way of living your life day-to-day.

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Potassium Iodide Tablets

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According to the CDC, KI (potassium iodide) is a salt of stable (not radioactive) iodine that can help block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland, thus protecting this gland from radiation injury.

The thyroid gland is the part of the body that is most sensitive to radioactive iodine. KI (potassium iodide) is available without a prescription. Radioiodine can be released if there is a nuclear reactor accident, and anyone living within a 10-mile radius of a nuclear power plant should strongly consider potassium iodide tablets as part of your survival kit.

People should take KI (potassium iodide) only on the advice of public health or emergency management officials. There can be health risks associated with taking KI.

KI (potassium iodide) cannot protect the body from radioactive elements other than radioactive iodine. If radioactive iodine is not present, taking KI is not protective and could cause harm (CDC, 2015).

Radioactive iodine is not always a result of a nuclear explosion nor is it typically in a suitcase dirty bomb, testing would be required, however. The biggest threat is a terrorist attack on a nuclear power plant that would undoubtedly release radioactive iodine. States are and have been considering stockpiling tablets so they can be issued in the event of a nuclear accident. However, the tablets must be taken before the thyroid gland has absorbed the radioactive fallout. You can obtain the pills without a prescription so there is no point in waiting for your local government to decide on their issuance.

Preventing exposure is, of course, the best remedy and those outside of the fallout range will probably not need the medication. There are steps to take immediately after a detonation or power plant accident. If you know of or suspect an incident has occurred then take the needed action without being told by the local authorities. Limiting exposure time is critical.

Follow the label directions carefully for children and for adults with underlying medical conditions.

If you are iodine sensitive, you should avoid KI. Those with dermatitis herpetiformis and hypocomplementemia vasculitis, which are extremely rare conditions associated with an increased risk of iodine hypersensitivity should not take the medication. No one with nodular thyroid with heart disease should take KI. Individuals with multinodular goiter, Graves’ disease, and autoimmune thyroiditis should be treated with caution, in particular, if dosing extends beyond a few days. 

Potassium Iodide Dose

CDC. (2015). Retrieved 2016, from https://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/ki.asp

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Do You Really Need That to Survive: A Generator

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Homeowners can often power most household appliances using between 3000 and 6500 watts.

If your home has a small furnace and you are on city water, you can probably get by with a 3000 to the 5000-watt generator. If you have a large furnace and/or a water pump, you will likely need a 5000 to a 6500-watt generator (Honda).

If you plan to power just lights, fans or computers or a small camper then a 1000-2000 watt generator would be ideal. You have to determine your need before purchasing one, but even before that determine if you need or want one at all.

Appliances usually note their power requirements in amps while generators list their output in watts. It’s easy to convert from one to the other, however.

Watts = Volts x Amps

Amps = Watts/Volts

Starting vs. Running Wattage

Certain appliances require extra power to start up, while on the other hand others maintain the same power requirements continually.

To calculate the size generator you need, you will need to determine the load. (A load is defined as the device that you are powering.) There are two kinds.

Resistive Loads 

Resistive loads require the same amount of power to both start and run the equipment. A few examples of resistive loads include:

Reactive Loads 

Reactive loads will have an electric motor, which requires added power to start, in other words, higher watts to start and then reduced wattage to run. You need the higher watts to essentially kick-start the motor. Normally the starting power is 3 times the amount of power needed to run the application. A few examples of reactive loads include:

  • Refrigerators/freezers
  • Furnace fans
  • Well pumps
  • Air conditioners
  • Bench grinders
  • Air compressors
  • Power tools

It will take you putting pencil to paper to determine the size generator needed. Things you need to consider include portability, what happens if you have to leave your home, can you take the generator with you, will it fit in the car and fuel requirements, storage, and transportation of the fuel.

Most home use generators would easily fit in the back of a pickup or some SUV’s, but you would have to make sure you left enough room after packing your other supplies. The smaller generators may fit in the trunk of some cars.

Your larger generators will have 120 and 240-volt receptacles for direct plug in, but you can’t drag your dryer or water pump out to the backyard and plug it in so you do need the proper cords. If you are planning on powering up large appliances and are using a 5000-watt or higher generator then a power transfer system is recommended. It is also recommended that you have a qualified technician install this system.

What the system does is allows you to keep your appliances plugged into their normal receptacles. The transfer system connects to your breaker box. The system is then plugged into your generator when the time comes and power from the generator is routed through your home’s system to power certain appliances. The generator may not run your entire home, but will allow you to operate refrigerators/freezers, lights, radios and possibly your heat/cool system and water pumps. You may not be able to run all appliances/devices at the same time, however.

If you plan to just run cords to certain appliance directly from the generator make sure the cords are rated for the appliance and are rated for generator use.

Do you need a generator, almost anyone could benefit from one. A 1000-watt generator could run lights, emergency radios, and be used to charge up electronic devices such as cell phones, computers, Two-Way radios, and operate small power tools, and so forth.

Even if you live in an apartment building, you could take the generator with you if you can evacuate with a vehicle. Carrying one along with fuel without a vehicle would be out of the question. You could set one up in any outside location, keeping in mind, however; there is the noise factor if you are in stealth mode.

Those that live in a standalone dwelling would benefit from any sized generator. You can run refrigerators, freezers, heat, and cooling systems, water pumps, lights and so on, if you have the properly sized generator.

You, of course, would eventually run out of fuel if the distribution hubs are down, but with some rationing of fuel, you can maintain one for an extended period if you prioritize your needs.

Honda. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from http://powerequipment.honda.com/generators/generator-how-much-power

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Imagine the United States Engaged In a World War: Survival

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Some might say a world war is being fought as we speak. As of this morning, a massive DDoS attack is underway. DDoS is A Distributed Denial of Service. A cyber world war is ongoing and it seems we here in the United States are losing. Much of the East Coast it seems is under a cyber attack.

Yahoo claims that roughly 500 million email accounts were hacked and personal information was stolen. Remember the Target hack where millions of credit and debit card numbers were compromised. What is worrisome besides the fact the information was stolen, is that the companies take months, and in some cases, years to admit to a hack.

Now WikiLeaks dominates the news, with people on the edge of their seats waiting for the next round of emails that may contain solicitous information, which people can crow or moan about as the case may be. It seems our every move, our every sentence, and our every purchase is being recorded and then leaked to someone for some reason or another.

The participants in this war do not even have to get up out of their seats and yet the war rages while we go about our daily routines, refusing to change any habits, take any precautions or even listen when sound advice is given.

Are all of these cyber attacks and the gathering of information simply a prelude to bigger things to come, are we being softened up. Are we so used to hearing about hacks and stolen information that we have grown deaf and blind to the threat, are we willing rolling over so our soft underbellies are exposed to the thrust?

The next big hack may send this country back to the dark ages, literally in the dark ages for weeks, months, or years depending on the severity, all without firing a shot or launching a missile. Will other countries help, probably not, because what have we done for them lately. Other countries will wring their hands and moan and say how sorry they are, but in fact, they will be more worried about it happening to them so they will ultimately bow to those who created the havoc. Bow down so they can survive.

However, Europe and Asian countries would soon feel the bite if the United States floundered for even a few days. Financial markets would collapse, oil prices would skyrocket, and terrorist groups would quickly take advantage here in the U.S. and elsewhere, and the country (s) responsible would not have fired a shot in this world war.

Certain countries would step up to help but the price for their help would be steep, we would essentially have to turn over the reins as a price, and we the citizens would be asked to give up our way of life so we all could survive. We may very well lose this war if something is not done and done quickly because the pieces of the puzzle are coming together and it will not be a pretty picture once all the pieces fall into place.

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The United States Response: What Does it Mean for You?

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The United States Response

Headlines like the following mean what exactly, “U.S. warns of ‘overwhelming’ response to North Korean nuke use” (Associated Press, 2016).

“Russia taunts U.S. with biggest military offensive since the Cold War” (Ben Farmer, 2016). 

We have heard it before, we heard it about Syria, and the so-called red line, if you use chemical weapons we will do this, they used chemical weapons and we did what exactly, well nothing, the killing continued. We postured and mumbled about the atrocities, condemned the actions using harsh words, but words only, and how do you suppose our enemies viewed this, probably as many of us here did, as nothing more than empty words.

Some don’t want us to do anything at all, none of our business, not our problem. We have enough problems here at home. We do have problems at home that need to be solved, but problems elsewhere tend to spill over and create bigger problems here, so what does it all mean for you, for us all. We do need to look to our own first in most cases, but when is enough, enough.

If North Korea attacks a United States ally with a nuclear weapon, will we respond? Will we go to war with North Korea and where would China be in all this. China who is a supposed ally of North Korea, how would they react? Who exactly would we be fighting, and by the way, who will do all of the fighting.

Will there be a draft, men, and women called up to fight? Who picks up a weapon to defend the United States, will it be us, the citizens of the United States, the reduced American military, who then. Well, that is the problem, isn’t it? No one knows and other countries know as well as we do here that we don’t have our act together, and that does not bode well for any of us.

What Does This Mean For You

The mere threat of a nuclear war instills a visceral fear in people. It may be the reaction to the possibility of this type of war, which may create the most problems. A civil defense drill, who remembers those from their school days, it has been decades since these types of drills have been conducted.  Would anyone even cooperate with civil defense programs?

Travel would likely be restricted, air travel in particular, because of the threat of civilian aircraft being shot down, submarines in waters off our coasts may restrict maritime travel as well, and this means certain goods will not reach our ports in a timely manner if at all.

Product shortages may happen because imports may be reduced or stopped in some cases, so the latest gadgets, certain foods, and other products may be in short supply relatively quickly if things escalated to a war stance. It seems not much is made in this country anymore, so if imports stopped what is left from which to choose.

A war posture means oil prices will spike. Shipping lanes out of the Middle East will be closely monitored, ships stopped and boarded and some may be even sunk or hijacked. Just the thought of a nuclear war or even a traditional war would cause turmoil here and abroad, and if not prepared many of us will suffer.

Marital Law is a possibility, as well, as the threat of war looms. Some politicians and even the White House may take advantage of the situation. This all mere speculation, but look back at history, and look at what is happening now, and compare the two.

Right now, it is talk, but given the actions Russia is taking, what North Korea is threatening and don’t discount Iran and certain terrorist organizations, and what they are capable of doing. They will be the first to take advantage of the turmoil.

There is much to think about and you must think about how to prepare and again, just the possibility in and of itself will create problems here.

Associated Press. (2016, October 19). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/10/19/us-warns-overwhelming-response-to-north-korean-nuke-use.html

Ben Farmer, B. H. (2016, October 19). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/19/russia-taunts-us-with-biggest-military-offensive-since-the-cold/

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Hiking: Health Benefits and Helping You Prepare For a Crisis Continued

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The last article talked about the benefits of hiking, and how it is good training for a crisis. The health benefits alone are well worth the effort, not to mention the survival skills you will pick up as you get out in the wild.

Your senses will get a good exercise, as well, because you do have to pay attention to detail when out on the trail.

Is that cloud formation a storm that may be happening miles away and yet could cause flash flooding where I am? What animal made those fresh tracks are they from an animal in which I need to worry? What do those claw marks high up on a tree mean?

Use the technology available to research the area in which you plan to hike or camp. You may not have cell service to Google for information once you are out along the trail. You will not be able to look up tracks in the mud, or identify plants if you don’t have cell service. What poisonous snakes inhabit the area, are there water sources and prominent landmarks that can be used for navigation. Researching before you leave can save your life if you know what questions to ask.

Know the terrain by studying a topographical map. If the trail is marked stay on it, chasing after butterflies can cause you to become lost. How many times have you heard a hiker that became lost say they just stepped off the trail for a nature call and then couldn’t find the trail again?

Regardless of how much water you are carrying always look for more and when you find a source know how to get back to the source by mapping it from your next location.

Bear attacks make headlines, and the only reason they do is because they are so rare. Bear attacks make a splash, but they can be deadly.

Keep your camp clean, because leaving food and waste out is a good way of getting a visit. Forget pictures, the once in a lifetime selfie with a bear may be the last thing you do in your lifetime.

Carry bear spray, and a firearm if you feel the need, but keep in mind the local laws and if in a national park know the federal regulations. A .357 or .44 magnum or even a .500 S&W are big enough if you are trained and fast enough to use a large caliber.

Large calibers require considerable training especially to develop the hand and wrist strength needed. Bear spray can be used quickly unless you are a novice and have it packed away. Bear spray should literally be in your hand when in bear country. Don’t know whether its bear country or not? Stay home if you can’t find out.

Avoidance is the best protection. If you get off the trail, where you put your feet is important. Snakes typically will avoid human contact but if you step on one or if you reach down to pick up something, you could be bitten. Pay attention to where you are walking and if you see a snake avoid it, do not try to pick it up or bash its head in with a stick. This is how people get bitten. Usually they will move off, and if they don’t you need to move off.

Falling limbs can kill you whether it’s windy or not, but if it is windy this may be a good time to seek cover from falling limbs. Certainly, do not camp for the night where there is any chance of a limb falling on you.

Find a spot that is high and dry to avoid flash floods or ground runoff off from heavy rains, so choose your spot carefully for overnight.

Do not hike after dark unless it is an emergency and only after carefully studying your topographical map for ravines and other dangerous terrain features. Know before it gets dark where the dangers may be.

Be alert and do not be afraid to hunker down for a few hours, the trail will still be there after your rest. Hiking when sleepy or sick is dangerous.

Much More to Come

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Russia Playing Mind Games or Do We Need To Worry?

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They have been accused of meddling in our elections here in the U.S., they spiel propaganda to their own people and now they talk about pulling personnel back from the U.S., and then there are the bunker drills back in the homeland.

Do they know something we don’t? All in a day’s work for Russia right, or is it just more propaganda.

Russia launches civil defense drills amid tensions with the US. The Russian Emergencies Ministry has launched a sweeping nationwide civil defense drill set to involve 40 million people. (Associated Press, 2016).

The U.S. has doubled airstrikes against ISIS in Libya in less than a month, and Russia doesn’t like it one bit because it hampers Russia’s long-term plans of essentially running the country. They need the warm water seaports and the land mass so they can stage their weapon systems, and hold the Sword of Damascus over the entire regions head, and oh, by the way, control the oil and gas.

It is all about power, money, and pride and keeping the folks back in Russia yelling for nationalism. Saber rattling is like the flicking tail of a rattlesnake, keep doing what you are doing the United States and you will get bitten. That’s the message they want to convey, but is anyone listening, and can those in charge deal with the looming threat because let’s face it, how do you really prepare for the nearly complete annihilation of major cities using nuclear weapons.

By announcing the so-called bunker drills that involve over 40 million people, Russia is sending a message. They, like most of us know that if they strike the U.S. with a nuclear weapon we will reciprocate in kind, or so we the average American citizen hopes anyway.

Russia is telling us they are ready for a counter strike, which means, of course, they plan to strike first. The message is that their citizens will be hunkered safe in their bunkers, while we here rush out to get our lattes and the latest Apple product all the while oblivious to the fire about to rain down upon us.

Russia never got over losing the cold war, and their civil defense ministry has been full steam ahead for decades. Russia prepares for the worst and is ready to deliver and accept the worst. They never hope for the best because in their minds’ that’s a defeatist attitude, so they have never stopped conducting drills and preparing for the “day”.

Russia would use a nuclear bomb if the conditions were right, but they still live by the “mutually assured destruction” mantra. We don’t here anymore because there is lingering doubt if we would respond in kind and that is what is the scariest, not that Russia would “Nuke” us but that we would let them get away with it. It is almost to the point we have more to fear from within than from others. Russia knows this, so they can win the war without firing a shot, or dropping the bomb as it were.

Russia can and will win if we here in the U.S. do not get better at protecting our government secrets. It’s appalling that the Kremlin knows more about our neighbors’ daily lives than we the ones that live next door to them do. Appalling and dangerous to allow this to happen, given all the money spent on cyber security and weapons systems that we have around the world. We can win any war if there is the will to win.

Gone are the days when soldiers stormed the castle gates. We won’t’ see troops wading ashore to conquer the U.S. by sheer force, but the thought of troops ready and willing to do such a thing is a deterrent to some extent and Crimea is an example of just what Russia is willing to do with its very large army of soldiers.

Instead of facing us head on, Russia or any other country for that matter will soften us up first. They will gather Intel, and the recent hacks of email accounts as presented by WikiLeaks are a prime example of how disruption will be sown.

No one really knows if the Russians are behind the hacking scandal or not, and it really doesn’t matter, what does matter is that the information contained within is damaging to the country and our political process. By chance or by design Russia is fighting a war that Washington simply will not acknowledge. If we ignore it, it will go away appears to be the thinking. Downplay everything so as not to panic the rank and file. Death by a thousand cuts.

Cyber attacks will increase and so will the chances of a complete grid failure or local municipalities will suffer outages here and there to keep the frustration levels high. These will be harassment techniques used by the other side. Identity theft will rise. Cybercriminal gangs that are nation sponsored will get bolder because we seem to be unable to stop the breaches. 

Your local bank may go under. Your money lost in space, your 401K could be lost or stolen, savings wiped out and credit card numbers stolen along with your identity. Anything controlled by a computer system is subject to failure, a failure by design if a country wanted to soften us up before the coup de grace.

Russia would not benefit from wiping out America, but Russia would love nothing better than to control the world’s financial markets, the oil and gas markets and have first dibs on any weapons systems bought or sold around the world. In essences, Russia needs us, more than we need them.

Their tactic right now is to sow discontent and it ratchets up from there, depending on who may be elected the next president of the United States.

North Korea, Iran, and other nuclear capable countries are another matter entirely and the next series of articles will focus on the threat posed and what may be the best way to prepare for what would be Armageddon.

Associated Press. (2016, October 05). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/10/05/russia-launches-civil-defense-drills-amid-tensions-with-us.html

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Instead Of Having an Alternative Electrical Source For When the Grid Fails

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Why not learn to live without electricity Instead

We have in previous articles talked about living off the grid, and how it can be done if you plan and have the necessary materials, equipment, and gear to make it happen. There is a caveat, however, living off the grid when there is a functioning grid is easier than trying to keep electricity flowing when there is no longer a functioning grid nationwide. What does this mean exactly?

Solar panels are not once and done, they need upkeep and solar panels over time diminish in capacity, in other words, they have to be replaced from time to time. Rodents can chew through cables, hailstorms can damage the panels, lighting strikes or an EMP can destroy your system as well.

Today, if damage occurs or you need repairs, you can order parts online or go into to town and get what you need, or even call up whoever installed the system to come out and make repairs. Can you do any of this if the entire nation is crippled by a failed grid however? Just how long can you maintain your system when parts and materials are no longer available?

Regardless of what alternative source you use, it will need repairs and parts at some point. Hydro and wind turbines can and will break down. Do you have the skill, tools, and parts to make repairs?

The idyllic 1800’s were anything but idyllic. However, those living during that time didn’t know any better, because you can’t miss what you never had. People that yearn to go off grid refer to the 1800’s as the perfect time to be alive, but we today have a disadvantage, we know what we once had, and having it taken away, or giving it up voluntarily to recreate that age will be hard, and some will not survive it.

When the grid fails, the consequences will reverberate for months and even years. If the grid fails and cannot be repaired within months, then any surplus medicine available will be gone, grain and coffee warehouses will be emptied out and sugar stockpiles will drain away quickly and any imported foods and materials would have stopped almost immediately.

Those dependent upon insulin and other life-saving drugs will be in serious trouble. A few months stockpile may be enough, but what if it isn’t, and how long before production, starts up again after the lights come back on.

The thing we have always stressed here is, “If you don’t have it now you won’t have it during a crisis”. If you are insulin dependent, then you need a stockpile, and the means to keep it cooled in most cases. You do need energy to some extent but there is a big different in supplying power to a small refrigerator than to an entire home. With the right equipment, fuel, and parts you could keep a refrigerator running for years essentially with a very small solar panel or solar generator, but other than that, you will likely need to learn to live without power.

A big problem is the fact that homes today are not set up to function without electricity. Water is pumped in from a treatment plant, toilets and drains need a sewer unless you have a septic tank and even if you do, you need electricity to pump water into the home from a well.

Whom out there has a hand pump mounted on their kitchen sink, and an outhouse sitting out back? If you live in the country and have planned for a grid failure, you are in better shape, but what about those living in suburbia.

Electricity is so much a part of our lives that some will not be able to survive without it. Humans lived for thousands of years without electricity and we can do it again, but it requires a high level of readiness and the mental fortitude to move forward regardless of the misery at the onset.

Our biggest problem as stated earlier, is knowing, what we once had and overcoming the loss, and realizing that we can live without electricity, but it will take time, years in fact in some cases.

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What Happens If You Don’t Evacuate: It’s Not Just About You

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The question some, if not many people have is “Can I be charged and/or arrested for failing to heed a mandatory evacuation order. The answer is yes, in some states, but not likely. It is akin to a curfew issued in some cities due to civil unrest or a natural disaster. A violation can lead to fines and or incarceration in some cases.

In North Carolina, for example, the governor can “Direct and compel the evacuation of all, or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the state during a state of emergency”. “Anyone who violates an evacuation order can be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor, which can be punishable by up to 30 days of confinement, probation, or community service” (Blitzer, 2016).

Texas, for example, specifically provides that a county judge or mayor of a municipality who orders a mandatory evacuation “may compel persons who remain in the evacuated area to leave and authorize the use of reasonable force to remove persons from the area” (Tex. Government Code § 418.185).

Mandatory evacuations are employed to protect the public, and to protect the first responders as well. The order is used when the disaster has the potential to cause severe loss of life, and property damage. The authorities, of course, would prefer people voluntarily leave, and in some cases, a person may be asked to fill out a form if they refuse to evacuate. The form may ask for a person’s next of kin, social security number, and other identifying information so your remains can be identified. This is essentially a scare tactic to encourage people to leave. In most cases, you would be told that emergency services would not be available to include police, fire, hospitals, and paramedics/ambulance services.

By staying, you endanger your life and possibly the lives of others. Rescue personnel even though they may be ordered from an area may still attempt a rescue, that’s simply what they do and in some cases, the rescuers die because of their efforts. Friends and other family members may also try to help or even complete strangers, and thus, their lives are put at risk, it’s not just you in danger.

The urge to stay and protect your property and possessions is overwhelming, but possessions can be gained back, a life cannot. This is another reason to make sure you have prepared, prepared by having adequate insurance coverage, an evacuation plan, and the means to evacuate. If you do not fear a financial disaster, you may be more apt to leave knowing you have the financial means to rebuild and to regain what material possessions you had lost.

Every person has a personal choice to make and if it is just you staying then nobody really has anything to say. However, if there are other family members staying then again it’s just not you in danger, and then there are those that may try to rescue you or bring you supplies.

It is a very difficult decision for most people. You may not have all of the information that the authorities have, so in some instances, you have to trust in their knowledge.

During Hurricane Matthew, some 2 million people evacuated and some found that their homes and property suffered no damages, and thus, some stated they would think twice before leaving again. The fear of looting is a major concern, so many do stay for that reason. However, no one knows before it is too late just how severe a storm may be. Evacuating from one storm only to find out you would have been okay staying, is not a reason to stay the next time.

Be prepared and know the facts and do not put your life or the lives of others in danger for material possessions.

Blitzer, R. (2016). Retrieved 2016, from http://lawnewz.com/high-profile/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-follow-an-evacuation-order-during-hurricane/

weather.com. (2016). Retrieved 2016, from https://weather.com/safety/news/what-mandatory-evacuation-means

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Do You Really Need That to Survive: Paracord Bracelet

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You can get a Paracord bracelet with a compass, fire starter, fish hooks, fishing line and so on. Handy, but you only get anywhere from 10 to 12 feet of Paracord, but any length of cordage is better than none right. This is true, however, for a few bucks, you can get 50 to 100 feet that take up little space, and you do not have the fuss of trying to unwind the bracelet without cutting it when needed. Once you do unwind it, then you have to stuff the hooks, line, and compass somewhere else.

The bracelets do serve a purpose and a quality one is handy for those that do not or cannot carry and EDC kit with them daily. However, don’t be lulled into thinking a Paracord bracelet bulging with fishhooks and line is all you need for a hiking or other outdoor adventures. They are an emergency backup at the very most in our opinion and in some cases, the cheaper bracelets are simply cosmetic, but they do make you look like you are ready for anything.

Do you wear it all the time, or does it get in the way of working? If you work with your hands, a bracelet is not always a good idea. It can get caught on stuff, it gets dirty, sweaty, and wet, and then what, you take it off. Take it off and leave it somewhere to dry. Oh my, where oh where did I leave it this time.

Options

A Paracord belt is one option, and you can get up to 100 feet of cord that is worn like any belt. If you’re ingenious, you can attach survival gear to the belt with Ranger bands or stitch some fishing line or make a pouch to put small items in and attach to the belt.

Simply carry Paracord wrapped around something to keep it controlled, and make it easy to unwind whatever amount you need without uncoiling all you have.

The point is that you know you need Paracord or some other quality cordage, and you want it as uncomplicated as possible. How to carry or store is always a problem, but there are staples that must always be in your survival pack or on your person.

Complicated techniques and gear are ok when playing around in the backyard or experimenting in a controlled environment, but once out in the field, you want uncomplicated gear and tools. Your hands may be wet or cold, you will be stressed and scared even, and so your gear needs to be simple and easy to handle under any conditions.

You do not want to be fiddling with a bracelet trying to get some cordage to secure your tarp when the lightening is flickering and the thunder is booming in your ears. If you have unwound bracelets in the past, then you know the time it takes, and some of you will be able to do it without any problems, while others may not be so lucky.

Wear a quality bracelet, but know the limitations and your own limitations, and never rely on just one item or piece of gear, and remember the more complicated it is, the worse it may end up being for you.

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Escape from Your City: Surviving an Attack

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In September 2011, a survey, conducted by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health found that most Americans at the time were unprepared for a major disaster. The survey also concluded that those surveyed maintained a false sense of security with regard to what will happen if a major disaster or a terrorist attack took place.

Contrary to the reality on the ground, one-third of those surveyed believed that during a crisis calling 911 would bring help within an hour, while 30 percent said they believed help would come within several hours. Those surveyed had obviously never called for help during a crisis (Homeland Security News Wire, 2011).

That was 2011, what do you think the response would be today. Today more people depend on the government for their daily sustenance. Their housing, their cell phones, and their heating bills are paid for outright or subsidized by taxpayer money, so, of course, many will believe that during a crisis help will arrive. Help arrived every month up until this point, so why would a crisis change anything is the thinking among some people.

You know better of course, and we know better because we have been there before, and it essentially boils down to every person for himself or herself.

Cities around the world have had to deal with attacks against innocents, soft targets if you will. Places where security is minimal to non-existent. Malls, open-air markets, and celebrations are soft targets. Attackers do not want anything to impede their slaughter, and having armed resistance hinders or may even thwart their mission, so they don’t go after hardened targets for the most part.

Your community is a soft target, and any public place in today’s world is subject to an attack. It can be an attack by a machete-wielding maniac, a terrorist in a semi truck or a suicide bomber or a mass murderer with a gun.

If the attack is large enough, you may have to escape the city. Terrorist, typically employ multiple attacks. The first is to kill the civilians and the second attack is to kill the first responders. They may use bombs set to go off with timers or have suicide bombers waiting.

For your own safety, you have to assume there will be a second attack, and thus, you must get clear of the area quickly.

Cities in this country simply do not know how to evacuate civilians. Everyone is in a panic and the first things people do is jump in their cars and jam the highways, bridges, and tunnels. Most cities in this country have never had to evacuate. Coastal cities do of course, and even with the practice, some cities have had evacuating citizens ahead of a hurricane it still is essentially a big cluster. People swarm the gas stations and grocery stores on their way out of town. As you know, they should have been ready days in advance. It’s not as if the experts didn’t know a hurricane was barreling toward the coast and yet people line up at gas stations because they don’t have enough fuel to reach the city limits let alone get far enough away from the destructive force of nature.

A terrorist attack would be worse because we simply cannot fathom how they think, which makes them unpredictable, and of course, the average citizen would have no warning whatsoever of an attack. It would be sudden and violent, and those not used to sudden violence will be in a panic, but you have to override your fear and make the right moves.

Politicians and the White House tell us not to change our habits, don’t give into fear, however, those without fear die first. You don’t want to panic, but you need fear to spur you to make changes. If there is even a whiff of danger politicians and the residents of the White House are whisked away to a safe location, they changed their habits, but we are not supposed to?

To stay alive you have to adapt and overcome but first, you have to prepare. You need an action plan, and yes, avoid crowded restaurants, malls, outdoor markets, and symbolic celebrations.

If you can’t or will not avoid these areas, then at least make some plans. Know the streets, know the train schedules, and know the back way out of any building. Have enough supplies in your vehicle or office to survive 48 hours.

Once an attack takes place, the roads and highways will be barricaded, and trains stopped and/or searched, buses will halt and airports will be heavily patrolled. You will have a very hard time leaving the city unless you move fast.

You may have to find a motel/hotel to stay in for the next 24-48 hours, so make sure you have the means to do so in your action bag. You need emergency cash or credit/debit cards, clothing and a firearm if legally allowed in your action bag. If you can legally carry one then do so, but keep in mind if you are searched, you may lose your firearm for a few days, or forever. Many places now scan for weapons so you may find it hard to get into certain buildings, and you certainly cannot get into any federal building or police station with a firearm on your person or in a bag.

Stay Tuned for More!

Homeland Security News Wire. (2011). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/most-americans-unprepared-disaster-survey-finds

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Do You Really Need That to Survive: Battery Operated Carbon Monoxide Alarm

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Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas (U.S.Consumer Product Safety Commission).

Some of the ways CO gas can be present in your home or any shelter or enclosed space is from camp stoves, and propane or natural gas-fueled ranges, kerosene heaters, gas hot water heaters, charcoal/propane grills, and wood stoves used for heating.

The “Do You Really Need That to Survive” articles do not just focus on gear and equipment that is taking up space and may not be needed or simply do not live up to the claims. We here, also want to point out that there are certain pieces of gear and equipment or devices that can literally be a lifesaver. A CO alarm may be just one of those products that could save your life during normal times and during a crisis as well.

When the power goes out people crank up the generators, pull the cover off the propane and charcoal grills and dust off alternative heating devices. Sometimes people are not thinking clearly during an emergency, and thus, may pull a propane or charcoal grill into the garage to get it out of the rain or snow or drag one under the carport next to the side door to the house.

A CO detector will let you know immediately that you have made a serious mistake, one that can be rectified, rectified only if you have enough warning that would only come from a CO alarm because the deadly gas is odorless and colorless so it cannot be seen.

Generators running close to a window or doorway can cause your home or shelter to fill up with the deadly gas. People have died because they had operated their generators in crawlspaces, in basements and inside of garages and even when running one under a window that may be opened slightly for ventilation.

CO alarms that are battery operated can be used anywhere, to include inside of tents and other makeshift shelters, where propane or even wood/charcoal burning devices are operating.

Frankly, it would be hard to make the case for not having one regardless of who you might be and what you may be doing during a crisis. You can even bring one to a relatives or friends home if you had to evacuate. They may not have one and yet have devices capable of emitting the deadly gas.

Look for These Signs

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

High-Level CO Poisoning Results in Progressively More Severe Symptoms, Including:

  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Ultimately death (U.S.Consumer Product Safety Commission)

U.S.Consumer Product Safety Commission. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Carbon-Monoxide-Information-Center/Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers-/

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Do You Really Need That to Survive?

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We are starting a series of articles on gear, material, and supplies for survival that you may or may not need. Finances are a big problem when it comes to prepping, and if you are avid readers of survival forums, websites, and blogs then you are inundated with recommendations on gear and supplies, the problem, however, is money.

Many of the sites do a good job of convincing you that you need a certain product or you won’t survive. We here always try to present the pros and con’s, who may benefit the most from a product and in some cases, may state a certain product is not for everyone.

You as a Prepper have to consider all aspects with the financial aspect front and center in most cases. Will a certain piece of gear help you, will it pay for itself, and how easy is it to use all have to be considered when buying gear and products.

Money is not always a consideration when buying a product. Your safety is, as well, along with avoiding cluttering up your survival backpack, with needless items, and not to mention adding weight.

It is easy to get lulled into a sense of security or even accomplishment if you think you have gear that does it all. Gear fails and some products do live up to the hype. You have to know what you need to survive and then make sure you have what you need to meet the basics for survival. The basics for survival in all situations, and given the threats out there today, you may find yourself in one that you never imagined could happen.

You can’t afford financially or from a safety standpoint to buy gear and equipment that doesn’t work or cost you your hard-earned dollars and is not up to the job.

Instead of reaching for your wallet, maybe do some research on the product first, and evaluate whether it is a true piece of survival gear or just a shiny, looks good Rambo knife for example. There will always be reviews online for any gear out there, so check several places and do a careful evaluation before buying.

Reinventing the mousetrap does not necessarily make it better, and yet some of the survival gear out there is just a flashy version of what has been around for years in some cases. You don’t need to buy a Rube Goldberg contraption to crack an egg.

A previous article talked about freeze-dried foods and should you buy one to do your own. You have to decide and don’t take our word for anything, do independent research and then decide.

The next article we will choose a piece of gear or equipment and discuss its survival value.

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Buy a Home Freeze Dyer or Buy Your Foods Freeze Dried?

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You may have seen the commercial on television for an in-home freeze-drying unit. The market audience is Preppers and/or survivalist.

A home freeze-drying unit requires a significant up-front expenditure (Thousands of dollars for a quality unit). If you are only interested in occasionally freeze-drying left over foods, then you may want to consider simply buying your foods already freeze-dried, however, because it would be difficult to recoup the upfront expense.

Some people, of course, raise their own livestock, or buy beef on the hoof, for example, and then have it butchered or they hunt large game such as moose or elk. If you are trying to put enough meats and other foods away for the winter and have limited freezer space, a freeze-drying unit may be well worth the price. Those with large gardens could benefit as well because canning is laborious and it requires considerable space for the jars.

Freeze-dried foods are shelf stable for years, thus eliminating the need for refrigerators or freezers. Freeze-dried foods are ideal, it is just a question of whether you want to do it yourself, or build up your stockpile by buying the foods already dried.

Mylar bags and #10 cans that can be sealed are ideal storage units for freeze-dried foods. Keep in mind Mylar bags do not offer much protection, against damage. Freeze dried foods, in particular, meat, is brittle and breaks easily. Store the bags inside of another unit like a heavy plastic storage bin.

You can control your finances better in some cases when you buy as you go along versus spending anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 dollars on a unit. Once the money is spent on a unit, you, of course, will want to get your money’s worth, and thus, will buy large quantities of foods to process. The expenses can get out of hand if you do not plan carefully.

According to the food science department at UC-Davis, freeze-dried foods retain most of their nutritional value.

The units themselves take up a lot of counter space. The compressor that would come with the unit is typically detachable and it does require maintenance and regular oil changes. You should have a space set up just for the unit in a garage or shop. Keep in mind if you are processing hundreds of pounds of meat you will need a place to store the meat that is waiting to be processed because obviously, you cannot freeze-dry large amounts at one time at home, so meats and certain other foods will need to be stored under refrigeration until ready to process.

Most people freeze-dry meats and vegetables that have been already cooked, so all you have to do is reconstitute along the trail, at a campsite or at home, if the power is out and your ability to cook is limited. Most raw meats and other foods can be freeze-dried, however. Fruits, eggs (raw or cooked), cottage cheese, and real cheese products, for example, can be freeze-dried with excellent results as well.

It takes anywhere from 24 to 36 hours to freeze-dry most foods. The units can be noisy and of course, it does require electricity to operate one, and the cost compared to other appliances in your home may be higher, some estimate it at $2.50 a day to operate a freeze dryer. Of course, most people do foods in batches so you may only run the unit for three or four days at a time, so the power consumption overall is not detrimental. The cost of the power to operate is not that significant, but it does need to be factored in.

If you raise your own livestock and grow your own produce and fruits a home freeze-drying unit may be ideal. However, if you have to buy a unit and then have to buy the foods at a big box store to freeze-dry, what have you saved? You do have the satisfaction of knowing, you did it yourself and thus have control over the ingredients and the process itself. If you can get deals on large quantities of meats and vegetables it may be worth the expense of a unit, but put pencil to paper before getting your checkbook out.

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Hiking: Health Benefits and Helping You Prepare For A Crisis

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Once the SHTF you will be doing a lot of walking, and in most cases, you will be carrying extra weight. You may have to carry firewood, carry emergency supplies back home from an aid station, carry a child, or carry any number of things to include a backpack loaded with essential supplies during a crisis. You need to be in relatively good shape to meet the physical demands required of you during any type of survival situation.

Remember, you might not be able to drive, so any transporting of supplies will have to be done by you, and one of the best ways to carry supplies, of course, is in a backpack. Quality counts, but larger is not always better in some cases. Just because the pack can hold 80 pounds does not mean you want to carry 80 pounds around on your back.

We are not necessarily talking about bug-out bags here. What we want to convey to everyone is the need to get in shape, or to get in better shape, and hiking right now with a pack is a very good start, so you are ready when something happens. You will need your body during a crisis and it will have to do more because you will not have power tools and vehicles to do all the heavy work.

Hiking up hills or mountainsides is strenuous work that engages multiple muscle groups all while burning a serious amount of calories. The number of calories you can burn hiking depends on your body weight and the terrain. For instance a 160 lb. hiker can burn between 430 – 440 calories an hour, add a 5% to 10% incline and you can increase your calorie burn by 30 to 40 percent.

Hiking is not only a powerful cardio workout but it can also:

  • Improve your core strength
  • Improve balance
  • Improve blood pressure 
  • Help you lose weight
  • Build strength and muscles in your hips and legs
  • Reduce stress

There are many things to consider but an important consideration is elevation when hiking. Have you ever hiked at a higher elevation? It’s different and it taxes the body much more than people imagine if they have never experienced it. Hiking at high altitudes can cause problems for those that have never trained above 6,000 feet, for example. Those that are contemplating or already have a bug-out location in the mountains need to train and prepare their bodies for higher altitudes.

You have to train with a pack even if you cannot train at the elevation in which you expect to be hiking or surviving. You do need to hike almost daily to get your body accustomed to carrying a loaded pack. You have to learn to pack light, however. For those that think they can set off for the hills with a 50 or 60-pound pack without any conditioning are in for a rude awakening.

It takes months if not years of training and conditioning to be able to hump a pack with this kind of weight all day every day. Not many can do it without conditioning given the sedentary lifestyles of some people today. A few hours a week on the treadmill or walking track will not make the grade.

Air becomes less saturated with oxygen at higher elevations, and thus the amount of oxygen your body is able to consume is reduced. In the United States, 8,000 to 13,000 feet above sea level is considered high altitude, which is very common in the Western states. Higher altitudes mean less oxygen and less moisture in the air, so dehydration becomes a significant factor as well. Those hiking at these elevations require more water, and so, a significant amount of the weight in your pack will be taken up by water.

Altitude sickness is very real and in some cases can be fatal. The warning signs include nausea, lack of hunger or thirst, headache, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and a lack of coordination.

The best way to acclimatize is to get a good night’s sleep at the higher elevation and start your hike the next morning. This gives you all night to somewhat adjust.

At 12,000 feet, for example, you are only getting roughly 2/3 of the oxygen you would get at sea level. You will take more breaths, and a lack of oxygen will cause muscle burn. Pace yourself and do not let your ego get in the way of survival. Too many people start out and act as if it is some type of competition or race. If it takes you longer to hike a marked trail, accept it. Pushing yourself is dangerous. Mother nature cares nothing of your ego. Leave it at home.

Pace yourself, rest and drink plenty of water. Lacking a feeling of thirst is common at higher elevations so you must drink whether you feel thirsty or not.

Making Assumptions

Cooking at higher altitudes is different as well. A propane bottle may not work at certain elevations leaving the only option wood or liquid fuels. Pressurized canisters can lose their pressure at high elevations, which means you would not be able to light a small propane heater or stove.

You cannot make an informed decision without doing some research. Novice hikers often times assume that just because they will be hiking in a heavily wooded or mountainous region that majestic waterfalls are around every bend.

If you do not study a topographical map of the area in which you plan to hike, and identify water sources before starting out, you may find yourself in a survival situation. Leave with enough water to survive 72 hours and know likely water sources before starting out. Always top off your water before moving on from a water source so if you do get lost or stranded, you always have 72 hours worth of water. Make sure you have purification tablets or drops and/or the means to purify water by boiling, and remember water boils at a lower temperature at higher elevations.

With each 500-feet increase in elevation, the boiling point of water is lowered by slightly less than 1 °F. At 7,500 feet, for example, water boils at approximately 198 °F. Because water boils at a lower temperature you would have to boil it longer to kill any bacteria and parasites present. Up to 10 minutes in some cases, is needed.

Certain watches will notate your altitude, compass heading, and barometric pressure. This is a wise investment. You cannot count on Smartphone apps, so carry a device to check your elevation.

Food is a concern, of course, but you cannot carry 20 pounds of canned goods and expect to get very far because you will also be carrying 20 pounds or more of water. Water bladders are a good way of carrying water because of the weight distribution.

Protein bars, trail mixes, peanut butter, and MRE’s are ideal foods and the weight is less significant than canned goods.

Higher elevations are colder. The air temperature drops roughly 3.5 degrees for every 1,000 feet of elevation.

What To Carry

Before starting out mark your home or trailhead location on the map. When you stop for your break or for the night, mark your current location, and map a route back to the start point. Mark your current location every time you stop and map a route back to the last known location to help keep you from getting lost.

  • Fixed Bladed Knife And Multi-Tool
  • 50 Feet Of Paracord And Climbing Rope And Gear If Traveling In A Mountainous Area
  • Light Weight Tarps
  • Poncho And Poncho Liner
  • Cold Weather Sleeping Bag (Optional Depending On Season and Area)
  • Food And Water For 72-Hours
  • Fire Starting Materials
  • Signaling Devices, Such As A Mirror, Strobe Light, Colored Material
  • Carry A Personal Locator Beacon
  • Extra Socks
  • First Aid Kit and Include Lip Balm, and Sunscreen
  • Hat, Gloves, Bandanas, Sunglasses
  • Purification Tablets
  • Insect Repellent
  • Cold Weather Clothing As Needed
  • Flashlight and Headlamp

Optional Gear

Trekking poles, lightweight one-person tent, and small cook stove with liquid fuel, sleeping mat.

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How To Make A Concealment Shelf

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By now we’ve all seen the companies that make concealment cabinets. Concealment cabinets are designed to hide valuables, firearms, or other things you want to keep away from thieves, but they do so in plain sight, usually in a decorative way.

One of the popular types is the concealment shelf, and these can be costly. If you are somewhat handy with power tools, you could build your own for just a few bucks. This video details every step in the manufacture of your own concealment shelf and would be a nice weekend project.

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Public Water Sources: Too Far Gone to Save?

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Has Our Infrastructure Collapsed to the Point It Is Dangerous Now

According to a U.S. study,( Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts) the water supply to more than six million Americans contains unsafe levels of industrial chemicals. The toxic chemicals have been linked to certain cancers to include kidney and testicular cancers along with hormone disruption, high cholesterol, and obesity.

The chemicals are known as PFASs (polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances). The chemicals are used in fire-suppression foams, food wrappers, clothing, and non-stick cookware to name a few.

According to one researcher that was part of the study, the chemicals have been in use for the past 60 years. Why are we just known finding this out, if the chemicals have been in use for six decades? One possibility is better testing methods and another possibility is that construction for several decades or so has been expanding to where homes are now being built in places they were never intended to be built 60 years ago.

People need water and the water sources are typically close to large metropolitan areas where industry is humming along. Industrial areas are always close to railroad and highway hubs around large cities.

Even though you may not live in town, as it were, runoff from heavy rains can get in the rivers and streams from far upstream and thus, get into reservoirs that supply cities and towns with their drinking water. Some rural areas do get their water from local municipalities, because you are inside the city limits and yet do not live in the city proper.

Most of the waste treatment plants that supply water to city dwellers do not have the capability of filtering or otherwise removing the chemicals mentioned above from the water source. Filtering, boiling, and/or chemical treatment will not remove the toxic chemicals.

There are methods, of course that would reduce the chemicals to a so-called safe level, but they are extremely cost prohibitive.

Drinking water from 13 states accounted for 75 percent of the unsafe supply, led by California, New Jersey, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Georgia, Minnesota, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

The study conducted did not test water from smaller public water systems and private wells that serve roughly one-third of the U.S. population or about 100 million people.

Yes, private wells can become contaminated if they are not designed properly, in other words, not capped correctly, or dug deep enough. Improperly capped wells allow ground runoff to enter the well from the top. You do not have to live near an industrial site or city to have your well contaminated. Runoff from farms, septic systems, roadways, and parking lots can contaminate your well, as would any floodwaters from rivers or streams in the area that may contain toxins from industrial sites miles upstream.

The Earth is a Natural Water Filter and Water Purifier but It Has Its Limits

As water seeps through the soil certain soil clay particles, which have a negative charge will attract any constituents in the water that have a positive charge, such as some heavy metals, salts, organic chemicals, and pesticides. Another mechanism is the formations of covalent bonds (sharing of electrons).This sharing helps soil retain many organic chemicals, pesticides and some inorganic constituents (Pierzynski, n.d.). 

Well-constructed wells receive water from aquifers, underground springs, or artesian wells deep underground. Water has traveled many feet, hundreds of feet in some cases, through the soil to replenish the underground water supply, and for the most part the water is safe to drink unless the soil in the area is heavily contaminated.

It is important that you test your well water and take corrective action at the user end, such as more or better filtration and purification methods. Mother Earth at times needs helps to purify water so make sure you test regularly and make changes to your system as needed.

Those receiving your water from a municipality must keep track of testing and read the reports carefully. All public water supplies must be tested and the findings made public. You can test your tap water as well, and if you find and abnormalities, then call in the professionals to do a follow up test. In the meantime consume bottled water, and depending on the contaminates you find, you may be able to shower, water plants and do laundry without any ill effects, but knowledge is key along with regular testing.

As we have stated in previous articles, when a crisis strikes you may very well be on your own. As the government expands into more and more of our lives the more it seems we are on our own. Fair, unfair, right or wrong, it doesn’t matter, you as an individual must do what you need to do to ensure the safety of you and your family. Waiting on the government to do what is needed is not the answer when an emergency arises.

Pierzynski, G. M. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.wqpmag.com/soil-earth%E2%80%99s-largest-natural-filter

Reuters. (2016, August 10). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/08/10/toxic-chemicals-in-drinking-water-for-six-million-americans.html

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Just How Bad Is It When the Grid Goes Down: Part 2

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There are hundreds, if not thousands of articles on the Internet that describe in detail what you can do, or need to do to survive without electricity. Some of the articles are well thought out, and provide the readers with practical, common sense advice, and are well worth reading in most cases, but, there is always a but when it comes to survival.

It is not a matter of you being able to survive without electricity, it is the fact that the entire grid system in the United States has collapsed. You as an individual or even as a family could survive for an extended period without power if you prepared well, but this is providing the three North American grids have not entirely collapsed.

You living on a homestead or simply living in your home in a rural area could survive if the grid for the rest of the country was operational. You might think you live independently, but are you really. Stop and think about it. No one is truly independent, until all three grids systems (interconnects) collapse.

Even those living on a homestead need to go to town occasionally to pick up supplies, food and materials you cannot make, grow or raise yourself, in other words, even when living without electricity you need the rest of the world to have electricity so you have access to certain things. You need manufacturers producing goods, refineries making gasoline and companies filling propane bottles. You need delivery services, the Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx. 

You may need to take your child to a dentist, visit a parts store for a water pump part or you may need gas or diesel for farm equipment, and generators, and you may have an emergency cell phone you don’t use but have “just in case”. Your animals may need professional care at times, so yes, you need the rest of the country to be up and running so you can live off the grid.

For those that think they would never need to make a phone call, go to town to visit a doctor or to pick up some parts for that old tractor are not being honest with themselves. This kind of thinking will have an impact on your survival.

Some of you are already saying you won’t need a doctor, or have medications prescribed, or even need to buy over the counter medications because you have stockpiled all you need. This is a good thing, but stockpiles deplete over time.

Your health as an adult is already baked in the cake from childhood. You may not need high blood pressure medication today, or insulin, or pain medication for aching and aging joints, not today, but what about tomorrow.

Health problems start when you are a child. Too many bowls of sugary cereal will cause problems with your teeth in adulthood, cause diabetes, high blood pressure and so on. You wonder how the pioneers and your early ancestors survived without doctors and medications. Well they didn’t survive very well in some instances. The life expectancy was much lower than it is today, (150 years ago, life expectancy was between 30 to 40 years). People lived hard and worked hard. People lived with bad teeth or pulled the teeth themselves before the infection killed them. A small cut on the arm or leg could lead to gangrene and death. A broken leg could be a death sentence.

Diseases wiped out entire families, yellow fever, smallpox, tuberculosis, and a simple cold that leads to pneumonia would kill a person without antibiotics being administered. A number of people died from spoiled or tainted foods, bad fish, oysters, and bacteria laden beef (PubMed.gov, n.d.).

Charles Mann (1955- ) points out in his book 1493, “Uncovering the New World Columbus Created” that 30 percent of the first three waves of early colonists to the New World were gentlemen. A gentleman at the time was defined as someone who did not perform manual labor.

During the winter of 1609–10 known as the “the starving time”, almost everyone died, and those who did survive, survived by eating those that did not. They came to the New World woefully unprepared for the physical rigors awaiting them.

When the lights go out for good, the harsh conditions that await you will be unimaginable as well. Your life span will be reduced because diseases we once thought eradicated will once again surface and those that did not keep up on, or refused to get vaccines may very well succumb to centuries old diseases.

Increased physical labor will lead to heart attacks and injuries because your body is not conditioned. Water and food that may or may not be safe to drink or eat will be drank and eaten because dehydration and starvation is a sure thing, while dying from botulism or getting sick from Giardia may or may not happen.

Simply having the early technology to provide clean water dramatically increased the life expectancy of people living in populated areas a century ago. The government and the people at the time could not comprehend that diseases were spread through water contaminated by human waste and garbage left in the streets and gutters. Chamber pots were emptied in the gutters, and then the rain, washed the raw sewage and garbage into the local lakes, rivers and streams where drinking water was drawn from. A viscous cycle that was not broken for decades.

Your current lifestyle is relatively sedentary in comparison to your ancestors and your diet to this point will have a lot to do with how well you live going forward. Oh, you may think you are in shape, because you walk a few miles a day or hit up the gym once in awhile. Go without electricity for a few weeks or a few months and then see how much in shape you are. There are no doctors to get blood pressure medicine from, no pills for aching joints, no one to set a broken bone properly and so your arm or leg is forever deformed if it even heals at all.

Your diet will not improve during a crisis because survival foods like MRE’s, dehydrated soups, stews and canned foods will be high in sodium, Carbs, sugars and who knows what else, and all this without medications for high blood pressure and cholesterol. Of course, you can counter the effects by an increase in activity, which is a double-edged sword, because an increase in activity may lead to heart attacks, pulled muscles and broken bones.

Cities and suburban areas will become death traps quickly. Fires will burn out of control because the fire departments cannot respond. Hospital generators will go silent over time and patients will die by the thousands. Crime will increase and much of the crime will be out of necessity for many and for others this is their chance to pillage and run wild until the stomach starts shrinking and the illegal drugs some so desperately need are all gone and then they will die or be killed.

Those left in the military will bring generators the size of mobile homes to some cities. Aid stations will be set and emergency supplies passed out, and armed soldiers will patrol the streets day and night. The population will be reduced dramatically in the first 90 days and then people will live for weeks and months before they die from diabetes, heart attacks, from injuries or by murder. Garbage will pile up and sewage will run in the streets. Rats and insects will carry diseases. Body lice will once again be as common as the housefly and children will constantly have red, runny noses and coughs no one can explain.

How Do You Survive And For How Long Can You

We all take things for granted, many things like an EpiPen, for example, how many are on hand right now. Do you have a stockpile because your child has allergies or because you do? A bee sting or the wrong food could be deadly.

If you have two years worth of supplies, clean drinking water and the ability to filter and purify a water source you can survive without electricity, unless you get appendicitis, break a leg and the bone is sticking out, unless you can treat an infection with fresh antibiotics.

Yes, you can survive as your ancestors did or didn’t as the case may be. You have to make your own luck, however, get fit now, and eat right. Stockpile food, water, medicines, gasoline, diesel, propane, firewood, ammunition, and cookware and the lists go on from there.

You will need others, but you want to avoid others, as well, to avoid diseases they may carry, to avoid their anger and frustration and violent tendencies because their children are starving and sick.

Stayed Tuned For The Next In This Series

PubMed.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25438479

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Just How Bad Is It When the Grid Goes Down

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According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. electric grid loses power 285 percent more often than it did in 1984 the year they began keeping track of such things.

The study further reveals that blackouts cost American businesses as much as $150 billion per year in lost wages, spoiled foods, halted production, damage to the grid components themselves and so forth (Clark, 2014). The 150 billion is just what they know about. How much would it cost you as an individual or family if the grid failed and you were without electricity for days, weeks, or even months?

The American Society of Civil Engineers in 2014 gave the electrical grid a D+. They evaluated the grid for security and other vulnerabilities and found it lacking across the board (Geiger, 2016).

According to a report issued in 2014 by the United States Department of Energy, “The United States suffers more blackouts than any other developed country in the world.” How is this possible you might wonder?

Antiquated infrastructure and a failure to invest and follow through on replacements and repairs is the main cause according to experts. One of the biggest problems is that states, cities, and communities simply do not have the money to repair or replace the infrastructure that supplies water and power to their cities and towns.

Everyone has a vested interest in maintaining the local infrastructure, but financially strapped cities cannot come up with the money to invest in new technology, parts, or experts to maintain the system properly.

It falls on the U.S. taxpayer to subsidize the repairs and we see how well that has worked out here lately, see Flint Michigan, for example. It cost money and when taxpayer money is involved, politicians of course are involved and that is generally when things go off the rails.

Vital components of the U.S. power grid are Large Power Transformers or LPT’s. LPT’s, which are scattered about the country and they are on average 40 years old. That’s old for a transformer so why not replace them (Energy.Gov U.S. Department of Energy, n.d.).

Here is Why They Don’t Get Replaced

They have to be custom built and it takes somewhere around 20 plus months and millions of dollars ( between 2 and 7.5 million, the cost in 2010) to make just one, and by the way only between six and nine power transformer manufacturing facilities exist in the United States today. Some may not be accredited or ready to start producing because the demand for steel and copper is so high it requires bids and so forth before the metals can be purchased.

The process just to be able to produce these components is a lengthy one, so thus, the reason for the varying number of manufactures at any one time here in the U.S. Some plants in the U.S. cannot produce the larger transformers that are needed to meet the growing demand. Together, the U.S. manufactures can only meet approximately 15 percent of the Nation’s demand for power.

Several manufacturers may be able to make a medium voltage transformer, while only one or two companies can make the extra high voltage transformer, which can take close to two years to make just one, providing they stay on schedule.

Transmission Voltage Classes

  • (kV) Medium Voltage 34.5, 46, 69, 115/138
  • High Voltage 115/138, 161, 230
  • Extra High Voltage 345, 500, 765 

Source: DOE, 2006

Only 15 percent or so, meaning the rest are manufactured outside the U.S then. Did we mention they weigh in excess of 400 tons? Not something you can pick up at your local UPS store and toss in the back of a pickup and go replace when one blows up, gets blown up, melts down, or simply stops working.

Put in a work order, write a huge check, and twiddle your thumbs for several years, only then to hear we can’t’ afford one without some federal money, so wait a few more years on a grant or a loan from the “Feds”. In the meantime, patch, cobble together, and do whatever you can, to get the power restored to tens of thousands of your paying customers, and pray that a heavy cloud cover doesn’t knock the power out again.

The blackouts mentioned above are caused by Mother Nature and an aging infrastructure. Imagine if someone really tried to shut the grid down, do you think anyone would have that much trouble doing it.

Delta Airlines just days ago experienced, a so-called power outage at their home base in Atlanta Georgia. Georgia Power disputes this claim, however, by saying that Delta was the only one affected by the alleged outage. Therefore, did someone target Delta, and then simply unplugged them from the grid, or is there some second tier infrastructure that supplies big companies that we are unaware of that failed, or were their computers hacked.

Delta of course would not want to admit someone with a laptop and a fat-free latte in the airport lounge grounded all flights for six hours. This one incident created havoc for tens of thousands of people. Imagine the chaos spreading. A power outage or computer hack, the results are the same.

We talk about “The Grid” a lot, but actually, there are three grids (called interconnections), which supply all of North America. There is the Eastern and Western interconnection and then there is the Texas interconnection. The Eastern provides electricity east of the Rockies and the Western interconnection provides power west of the Rockies while the Texas interconnection supplies most of Texas but not all. The Texas grid is the smallest, and some parts of Texas are supplied by both the Eastern and Western interconnections. (Geiger, 2016).

How the three interconnections are supposed to work and how they actually work are two different things.

Well three grids are better than one right. Yes, three grids are better than one, but having three only gives you more time, however, three does not solve the problem. One collapsing would be a catastrophe, but one that unfolds at a slower pace considering there are two more grids that will operate for a certain period. A slower moving crisis would give those not initially affected time to prepare, if there is such a thing as preparing for a total collapse of all three grids.

If the Eastern grid failed or even began to function at a lower capacity, for example, one of the remaining two interconnects would pick up the slack. This happens quite often with little to no consequence. It gets hot in the western states in the summer months and thus the grid is taxed beyond its capability in some cases, and power is then siphoned from the eastern grid to bring things back to 100 percent.

However, if the western grid failed completely the remaining two grids could not sustain full capacity for very long. The remaining interconnects would fail as well, at some point. Remember all three interconnects are operating with decades old components that will fail when stressed, whereas, newer parts may be able to sustain the stress until repairs could be completed or new components installed.

Granted this is only conjecture, but logic tells us that a newer part that is a year old could sustain more stress than one that is say 40 years old or even older. Having all of your eggs scattered in three separate baskets only allows you more time to come up with some options, it does not ensure you save all the eggs when disaster strikes.

Using solar and wind power is actually making things worse. You need a well functioning power grid for solar and wind energy to work. Wind and solar units produce electricity when the sun is shining and when the wind is blowing. The energy produced may very well exceed the need in a home for example, so where does the surplus electricity go, it flows back to the grid to be used by your neighbors possibly or to the grocer down the street or for someone miles away. Surplus energy flowing back to the grid puts some stress on the grid, and an aging system cannot withstand much stress.

Imagine an entire community went off grid by using solar and wind power, and the grid failed. Where would the excess go, well to a battery bank, which would store the power for when there wasn’t any sunlight like at night. How big of a battery bank would be needed, and is this even conceivable for a large city. Batteries leak, they can explode and they do wear out. The same applies to wind turbines. The surplus has to go somewhere.

The push for solar and wind is ongoing, but in the fine print it states for the systems to be sustainable on a large scale they must depend on a well operating grid system. Those without a battery backup system for their alternative power sources would be out of luck if the grid failed completely.

Okay, we hope we have presented the problem in a well thought out manner. What are the answers, what can you do to prepare so you can survive is the next set of questions.

The next article or articles will discuss some things you can do to prepare. We will not fear monger, but present the facts and some opinions of course, but we don’t believe in running around yelling the sky is falling unless, of course it is.

Opinions presented will be based on prior experiences and common sense and research using credible sources that you can verify yourself if it comes to that.

There are no magic pills. No single piece of gear that you can buy and we will not present some of the more, shall we say “arcane” methods some Doomsday bloggers profess to use. So arcane in fact, they are the only ones that know how they work, and only when you reach for your wallet will they share their mysterious knowledge.

Clark, M. (2014, July). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.ibtimes.com/aging-us-power-grid-blacks-out-more-any-other-developed-nation-1631086

DOE. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/Large%20Power%20Transformer%20Study%20-%20June%202012_0.pdf

Energy.Gov U.S. Department of Energy. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from http://energy.gov/oe/downloads/2013-reliability-markets-peer-review-day-1-presentations

Geiger, J. (2016, August). Retrieved 2016, from https://finance.yahoo.com/news/lights-inevitable-failure-us-grid-230000502.html

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How Politics Effect Us as Preppers

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Rhetoric: language that is intended to influence people and that may not be honest or reasonable

The art or skill of speaking or writing formally and effectively, especially as a way to persuade or influence people

It’s a presidential election year. You will hear a lot of rhetoric, and some of it will not be honest or reasonable, and this from both parties. Will politics have any effect on you as a Prepper? The outcome of any election, whether it is at the local, state, or federal level can have an impact on how you live and how you prepare going forward.

Most of you are aware of the convoluted laws concerning rainwater or runoff collection in many states. Is it legal, can you be arrested, are their fines, can I do it in my own backyard, for example. The questions are there, but the answers provided are anything but definitive answers. This is just one example of how politics can have an influence on how you prepare for a crisis.

Rules and laws are courtesy of your elected officials, so yes, politics will have an impact on your lives. Can you create a pond on your property to water livestock, can you dam up a stream or collect runoff on your property and so forth. Well the answer is in the laws written by your elected officials.

There are laws that govern all of your actions and/or prohibit certain actions on your own property, all of which are decided by the very politicians voted in by the citizens of a city, of the state and of the nation.

Once in office, politicians and the President of the United States get to decide who rules the benches at the federal level to include the Supreme Court. Judges set precedents, or case law as it were, so going forward other cases are weighed against case law, in other words, what precedent has been established. Once the Supreme Court rules, that’s it, no more appeals, nowhere higher to go, the final word has been spoken. Those on the benches at the federal level can have an impact on your life, and those choosing the judges may not have your best interests at heart.

Obviously people are split, one side wants a ruling this way while the other obviously wants the opposite ruling. You for example, may decide it is a good thing that composting or owning chickens is not allowed in some areas, like a person’s own backyard. Yes, some cities have tried to ban and some have banned composting in particular human waste composting and have banned chickens in a person’s own yard. A latrine is illegal in other words in some towns or municipalities. Regardless of how you feel about it, next time they may ban something you feel strongly about doing.

There are limits of course to everything, so keep that in mind. You have the right to own a firearm, for example, but you do not have the right to shoot it randomly in town or at others for fun or sport.

You fight hard and call your elected officials to encourage them to vote for a ban on someone else’s rights, and Okay, so you win. People are not allowed to compost nor have chickens in their own backyard.

Well, what happens when someone decides it is a public health issue to see people eating in public, it traumatizes overweight people, and it victimizes them, and encourages them to overeat, creating an even bigger obesity problem, which ultimately drives up the cost of health care.

Some politician hears about this group or person with a grievance against eating in public and so then, gets the notion to present a law, which bans public eating and eating in cars. Crazier things have happened, but now your ban on composting and chickens, which set a precedent is coming back to bite you.

The squeaky door gets the grease, so if a small minority of people yells loud enough that they are offended by something, by a name, a gesture, an action, a symbol or something they simply dreamed up, some politician will take up the cause. Take it up, because they fear they will lose a vote, or do it to stir up controversy to get their name in the news and their face in front of a camera.

Someone doesn’t want an American flag flown at someone’s home or that the Gadsden Flag “Don’t Tread on Me” is racist, for example, (A real Complaint has been filed about the Gadsden Flag Being racist).

What’s next, no perfume in public, no red hair dye, no colored clothing because it can cause seizures in some people when they stare at it? The list goes on, and on, and so where would it stop.

Once you start ruling people’s individual lives to such an extent it will never end and eventually those that applauded, because someone else lost a right, will eventually feel the negative impact of some crazy law that was passed that takes away one of their rights. Politics and prepping, yes you have to pay attention.

It all depends on whose ox was gored when it comes to politics in many cases.

We can debate the gun issue for days on end, and there is not enough paper to argue it out one way or another, but it is a so-called hot button issue that while it has been decided by the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court will change judges eventually. The next challenge to a person’s gun rights to reach them may result in a different ruling.

It matters who sits on the Supreme Court and who gets to decide that, well the President of the United States and the U.S. Senate decides. So if your party rules, then they decide the next justice who sits on the high court.

Martial Law, which party is more likely to enact it during a crisis, and do you want to see it enacted. You may have some ideas but nothing is clear yet because of rhetoric. Politicians will say anything to get elected and then the game changes.

You can look at it this way. A cook working in a restaurant has a few gripes, things that management does have an effect on their job. They mumble and grumble and say, “If I was running this place, things would be different”. Well the cook may have problems, but the cook is not the only employee with problems.

Management has to look at the big picture. It is not just a one-issue problem. If the cook found himself or herself in charge, they may have to rethink things, because now they have more information and decisions must be made to benefit the restaurant as a whole, and not just the individual.

Politicians, especially presidential candidates will promise the moon to voters while not seeing the big picture, because they have never held the office before. Once in office, however, they realize they are not the ultimate power, and the few significant issues they ran on to get votes, have now manifested into thousands, and so now the problems of the groups or people they pandered to seem insignificant compared to the more serious problems the country faces, deadly serious problems.

They have to work with congress, congress writes the laws, and if you as president do not have an overwhelming majority your ideas are just that, ideas. Reality bites and in some cases, will force an executive order, which is null and void the minute you are no longer president if the newly elected president gets their pen and phone out.

The country will change regardless of who is elected this November. It may change to your liking, or not, but change it will. You have to vote. Otherwise, your voice is not heard. You can email or call your Senator and Representative and express your opinion on issues, and this will have an impact on whether they vote for or against certain laws. An engaged public can make a difference.

The government may decide at some point if the economy collapses that private individuals cannot own physical gold, or can only own a certain amount, for example. This of course would be decided by executive order (the President) or by laws passed by congress. Yes politics can and will affect Prepping.

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10 Reasons Why a Dog is a Perfect Companion for Bugging Out

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When you are in danger, it is natural to get stressed. However, the way you handle your stress and respond to the danger make a huge difference to whether you will come out a winner. And, your odds improve if you have a well-trained dog at your side. So if there is a bug out situation, you definitely want a dog at your side. It will give you peace of mind and also ensure you come out unscathed from the SHTF situation.

If you are skeptical about taking a dog as your companion for bugging out, here are 10 reasons to allay your fears and change your opinion.

1. Early Warning System

Remember, when you are bugging out, resources will be scarce. There will be other survivalists who may not be as prepared as you are. So you will need to protect your resources and stake claim to them. Under such circumstances, your dog can function as an early warning system to make you aware of possible threats, be it humans or animals.

Dogs have an uncanny ability to sense threats, and as a pack animal, their instincts are to protect the pack – meaning you and the rest of the family. So your dog will sound out the alarm let you know that a threat is close at hand. This will buy you time to get prepared or reach out for your gun to protect yourself and your loved ones.

2. Protection

In a bug out situation, your personal protection becomes paramount. A well-trained dog can protect you from all kinds of threats. If you are attacked by a bear or mountain lion, you can command your dog to deter the animal. Similarly, if you are attacked by a person, a single command from you will be sufficient for your dog to attack the person and protect you – well if your dog is trained to do so of course.

It goes without saying that you would have to train your dog for situations like these as just stated. This training should be ongoing so that your dog understands. You can use a combination of words and signs to train your dog to protect you if the need arises. But most dogs will naturally do so anyway.

3. Livestock Gathering and Protection

Many preppers prepare for the long haul. When a situation arises, such as natural disaster or terrorist attack, you never know how long you will have to bug out. So it is best to be prepared. Under such circumstances, you may want to raise livestock to supply you food regularly. Having a dog as a companion for bugging out can help you with the livestock.

Your dog, if trained to follow commands, will prove to be extremely useful in not just gathering livestock, but also protecting them. In the wilderness and in a survival situation, livestock will become extremely rare. So you need to go guns blazing to protect your cattle not just from other survivalists, but also from wild animals. Your dog will be able to do all this and some more to ensure your livestock is safe and secure.

4.  Help in Tracking

Dogs are inherently fantastic trackers. You may be put in a situation where you have to go scouting for water or food. If you get lost, you will be extremely happy to have your dog with you. He will be able to help you retrace your steps.

Also, dogs can prove to be extremely useful if you want to find something or someone. In fact, your pooch could be your only hope during a bug out.

5. Good Hunters

If you are ill-prepared for a bug out situation or your rations are running low, your dog can truly be your best friend! He can help identify small game in the forest and also help you corner it. You can also rely on your dog to fetch the shot small game to you. Of course, once again, it all boils down to the right training.

If you have a dog at your side during a bug out, you can increase your chances that you will not run low on protein sources!

6. Excellent Foragers

Having access to fresh water is the key to your survival in a bug out situation. Your trusted, four-legged companion will be able to find natural sources of water that you may not be able to find. Also, dogs are prolific foragers. So you can use them to find natural sources of food, including edible plants.

This quality of a dog could mean the difference between surviving and dying in an emergency situation where you don’t have access to food and water.

7. Warmth in Cold Weather

In a survival situation, you will not have the benefit of having central heating. Depending on the type of bug out shelter you have built, you may be exposed to the elements. Having your four-legged friend with you will allow you to cuddle up with the animal and stay warm through the night when you cannot light a campfire.

This warmth from your dog can prove to be a lifesaver in situations where you are injured or you are lost while trying to make your way back to your shelter.

8. Emotional Support

Many people, when forced into a bug out situation, tend to give up emotionally rather than physically. It is this that causes their downfall. However, dogs are wonderful and soothing companions. When you have nothing else to do, you can play with your dog and even talk to him to keep you sane and emotionally strong.

If you have children, your dog can keep them entertained so that they don’t get cranky and whiny without their PlayStation, toys, playing cards, cable TV, and so on.

9. Detect Changes in the Weather Pattern

Dogs have an uncanny ability to detect changes in the weather. Dogs are extremely sensitive to any drop in barometric pressure, and this drop is an indication of an impending storm. Also, it has been suggested that dogs have the ability to sense changes in the static electrical field. Coupled with their excellent hearing, your dog will be able to warn you about an approaching storm long before you will realize that it is coming.

If your dog starts pacing and acting anxious while you are out hunting or foraging, take it seriously. It is an indication that a storm is approaching, and you should make your way back to the camp before it hits you.

10. Good Judge of Character

Dog seem to have the ability to discern friend from foe. You will find that your dog sometimes wags his tail at complete strangers and other times, he is snarling and baring his teeth. In a survival situation, this ability of your dog could save your life.

If your dog is unfriendly to people who approach your camp, trust your dog and get rid of them as quickly as possible. There could be a threat to your life or these individuals may have plans to raid your stock.

Once you understand the benefits of having a dog as your companion while bugging out, you may be tempted to get a big dog, who has the ability to carry his own bug out bag, offer better personal protection, and also be better equipped to withstand the rigors of the elements. However, don’t forget a big dog means he will need a lot of food, and you can never predict how long a disaster situation will last.

Hence, you will have to stockpile large amounts of food not just for yourself, but also for your dog. In comparison, smaller breeds tend to require less fuel, but the drawback is they may not be intimidating enough or at all and may also be overly sensitive to cold.

However, it is critical to remember that both large and small breeds can be trained for a bug out situation. While some breeds are bred usually for disaster situations, remember the skills your dog acquires will reflect your ability and skills as a trainer. Your dog will be of no use if you don’t train it properly. Hence, make sure you put in time and effort to train your dog so that he can turn into the perfect companion for bugging out.

Qualities of an Ideal SHTF Dog

When you are scouting for the perfect dog for a disaster situation, you should be looking for certain qualities. Usually, these qualities are breed specific, and include:

  • Naturally alert
  • Courageous
  • Intelligent
  • Athletic
  • Strong sense of duty to protect you and yours
  • Good genetics (this means a healthy dog that requires low maintenance)
  • Not too big, but large enough to stop a man and small enough to get into small spaces

The best breeds for survival situations are a German Shepherd, Dutch Shepherd, and a Belgian Malinois. Even crosses of these breeds are judicious and ideal dogs for bugging out. In fact, crosses of these breeds are used by the military and police.

There are other breeds and crosses that make wonderful protection dogs that can prove to be useful during a bug out. However, you should consult a dog trainer to help you identify these breeds so that you find the perfect fit for your personality. Also, request the trainer to customize a dog training program that is suited for you and your dog.

Refrain from using poodles, huskies, Labradors, and great Danes. They are not the best dogs for preppers. Instead, these breeds are more suitable as house pets and companions. They are too playful and loving to act as protection dogs. But if you have seen the movie Old Yeller you will know a Labrador can be a fine dog for protective purposes. Some people have different opinions one what one dog is appropriate for and so on.

The Key is Training

If you want the perfect companion for bugging out, you need to invest time, money, and effort in training your dog. Your dog should be trained to follow your commands and be aware of when to attack or sit by you quietly. The dog should also know when to stay quiet and when to make a noise to raise an alarm. He will learn this only when he receives this type of training, and there is no time better than now to begin this process.

Train your pooch to sit, lie down, and heel. Also, teach him to stay quiet, as you will need complete silence during a tactical operation. The last thing you need is a rambunctious dog in a stressful survival situation. The Internet is a treasure trove of dog training articles, books, and videos. Use these resources to start training your dog right away.

You can reach Alexandra Horowitz’s Inside of a Dog which a fantastic dog book.

While it is best to start training your dog the moment you adopt him, it is never too late to train an old dog. However, you will first have to break their old habits by rewarding them for good behavior. Remember, dogs have this instinct where they want to please their masters. So with a little bit of love and patience, you should be able to get your dog responding to your commands.

Keep each training session short, about 15 minutes, and make sure the commands are short, if possible of a single syllable. You can use code words to train your dog so that no one else has the power to control him. Remember, you can choose how to train your dog, but focus on being consistent so that he remembers what you are doing and saying.

You may also want to focus on teaching your dog certain commands that you can use in a survival situation. These includes:

  • Find – To find an object or person
  • Growl on command to act as a deterrent
  • Attack on command

It is critical when training your dog you take measures not to hurt yourself, your pooch or anyone else. While it is not possible to list down all the commands you will need in a bug out situation, it is best to focus on some of the basic commands. Keep training your dog until he masters these commands, and thereafter continue practicing them so that he does not forget them and responds to them when the need arises.

The Bottom Line

Dogs are wonderful friends and when trained properly, they can become excellent partners in a tactical or bug out situation. Start training your dog now and you will be glad you spent the time and effort on it. Your dog can turn into an asset when you are pushed into an off-grid survival situation, whether it is to alert you about intruders, predict the weather, keep dangerous animals at bay, or offer you warmth and companionship when you feel low and when you need it.

About the author:

Benjamin Roussey is from Sacramento, CA. He has two master’s degrees and served four years in the US Navy. His bachelor’s degree is from CSUS (1999) where he was on a baseball pitching scholarship. He has an MBA in Global Management from the Univ. of Phoenix (2006). He grew up camping and loving the outdoors. He loved to fish and shoot guns as a child. He joined the navy and survived two tours to the Persian Gulf and one to Central America. He now writes about survival and reads a lot about surviving and thriving in the wilderness. He has gone on white water rafting trips, hikes, camped all over the place, operated fishing boats, and so on. If you want to read more of his work, check him out on Survivor’s Fortress. Make sure to follow us on Twitter.

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DIY Zero-Electricity Air Cooler From Plastic Bottles

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Have you ever heard of Bernoulli’s principle? It’s a cornerstone of fluid dynamics. Without an understanding of fluid dynamics the modern air conditioner wouldn’t be possible. Ah, the modern eclectic air conditioner, some can argue it is the greatest invention of the twentieth century. Viewed by some as a convenience, in truth, it has made places like the American southwest hospitable.

Even though efficiency of these units has come a long way, the average window unit still draws a massive amount of power, easily drawing a hundred times more than a LED lightbulb. So how can we keep cool in a grid down situation? This video shows how simple ingenuity and recycled materials can take advantage of Bernoulli’s principle to provide some relief from the heat!

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My Experience of Moving To the Country: Some Pros and Cons

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It can be exciting moving to a rural or more sparsely populated area, while at the same time it is normal to feel apprehensive especially if moving from a heavily populated area. As with anything, there are good points and there are of course, bad points, nothing is what it seems however, until you have experienced it firsthand.

The Journey Begins

On December 22nd, 2006 I was awoken by my dog. One of the biggest fears of all homeowners was now a reality for me, my house was on fire. We escaped, thanks to my dog, but the damage exceeded 100,000 dollars, and the dollar loss was only a small part, the emotional toll cannot be calculated.

Reality hurts, and I was not prepared, and who could be in this situation I thought. Disasters do strike, and is there anything any of us can do. That was my thinking at the time anyway. What can we do to be ready, why didn’t I do more. The questions haunt my nights and the answers, well they eluded me at the time, but the questions needed to be answered, there had to be a solution.

Time passed, and the impact lessened somewhat, I still had my job, so all was not a total loss is what I kept telling myself, but then another nightmare intruded in 2010. Reality once again reared its ugly head, and I was not ready.

I suddenly lost my job, and the prospects of finding another were bleak, and I would soon enough find myself on the long hellish highway toward foreclosure. No job, and now my home probably headed for the auction block as well, what to do, what to do was the question I asked myself repeatedly.

The first thing I did however, when I lost my job was to purchase two years of food, freeze dried food to be exact. If nothing else we would be able to eat if I couldn’t find work. The harsh reality is that disaster can strike at anytime. Disasters are not some abstract event that only happens to others. It can happen in your own home, next door and down the block. It happens and it happened to me.

That day I decided I was going to start prepping, because it was not a matter of if anymore, but simply a matter of when, the next disaster intruded upon our lives, and I needed to be prepared this time.

You Have To Face Reality

I signed up for unemployment, it was a matter of survival after all, When unemployment ran out I refused to sign up for food stamps. I sold off 90 percent of what I had left as far as belongings, keeping just a few essentials, instead of asking for welfare. This kept the heat and the lights on and allowed me to gather the daily basics, for a time anyway.

I asked for help and my church answered in the best way possible. They offered me food, which helped drastically. However, this was a wakeup call for me. I went and asked for

God’s help and he answered, and because of my need at the time I realized I too needed to offer my help, so that’s when I started prepforshtf.com.

I needed a way to help others, to get the word out, to let people know you have to be ready, you have to prepare, and that disasters come in all shapes and sizes and you cannot be caught off guard as I was.

Being unemployed left me more time to think, and I realized rather abruptly that this nation is in trouble, we have problems serious ones. Too many of us are so caught up in our daily lives we really don’t see the forest for the trees. We have problems in this country and it doesn’t take much pondering to see just how bad it really is, just raise your heads up, and you will see.

An 18 trillion dollar debt, mass shootings it seems are common place now, civil unrest, a volatile financial market, a nuclear North Korea and terrorist organizations taking over whole countries. Iran is doing all it can to go nuclear and the list of problems goes on, and the ones listed are just the ones on a national or worldwide scale. What about the problems within communities that only those living there know about.

A New Life

All this thinking led me to one conclusion, I cannot live in a heavily populated area, I cannot be confined, trapped if you will, when the SHTF. We had to get out, and no better time to do so than right now I thought. I had become a Prepper and as a Prepper we recognize the threat and we develop countermeasures, my plan right now called for us to leave this metropolitan area, and so we did.

Foreclosures were at an all time high so I had time, and I took advantage of this time. The courts were backed up, backed up three years in fact, and so I had three years of not paying rent, so I used this to my advantage. The Prepper mindset, find a way to use a situation to benefit you, to help you survive.

We could no longer afford to live in the state of Connecticut. The politicians in my opinion took advantage of the horrific Sandy Hook shooting. They demanded undefined action from whom no one knows, but it fell on the shoulders of the citizens. The political class, from here to Washington used this event to try and take away more and more of our freedoms, so it was an easy decision, well maybe not easy, but the events unfolding made it easier lets say, to let the bank have my house. Then we planned and we saved and we planned some more.

It was hard work, we sacrificed and lived like hermits for three years, but survival is all about sustaining life by virtually any means possible. Once we stopped the movies out, the dinners out and listed exactly what we needed daily to survive, my fiancée and I realized, we can do this.

Where to Go Now That the Decision to Leave Was Made

We looked south to the Appalachian Mountains. Homes there were considerably less expensive than here, but that did not mean they were of lesser quality or size. The market was simply cheaper, because it was not a heavily populated area. People were not rushing there to buy a house, so the demand was less, and thus, the prices were more reasonable, and as a bonus the taxes were much less as well.

As I said we took advantage of those three stressful years. We saved a sizable sum that was used as a down payment on a new house, a new home. My fiancée had good credit, and as you can imagine, mine was wrecked by this point, but hers thankfully was in good standing and this allowed us to obtain a mortgage, we were blessed indeed.

Five Years Later and Here We Are

We bugged-out and made it to a rural area. The process took time and the only way to do it is to begin, it takes commitment, and it sometimes takes a wakeup call to motivate some of us.

I want to share some of my experiences, share the pros and cons of moving to a rural area. However, for me the pros definitively outweigh the cons, and I am not here to tell you what you should and should not do, you have to make that decision on your own, but it is my hope that I can help make the decision easier whatever it may be.

The Move from Connecticut to North Carolina Things to Ponder

Pros 

1.) In Connecticut I was paying 4,800 dollars a year in taxes on a 1,400 square foot home sitting on .23 acres. In North Carolina I pay 800 dollars a year on a 1,600 square foot home sitting on four acres.

As with many mortgages the taxes are paid into an escrow account via the mortgage payment, so the dollar amount yearly for taxes, for example, may be divided by 12 and added to the payment each month. The dollar amount being spent each month on taxes was dramatically reduced in NC.

2.) From city water to well water means I do not have a water bill each month, and I know exactly what is in my water by simply testing it as I see fit, no more fluoride, for example, without my consent.

I do recommend that you test or have your well tested on a regular basis, so you can take steps before it gets out of hand. There are things you have to do to maintain your well water quality.

3.) Automobile insurance is cheaper in a rural area generally, so fewer vehicles in your way as you travel about means cheaper insurance rates.

4.) My electricity bill here in NC is half of what it was in CT and I do not use any less, the rates are simply cheaper in this area. I went from an average of $127.00 a month to $86.00 a month.

5.) Propane while it has gone down nationwide is usually cheaper in less populated areas, and so while propane was 6 dollars a gallon last winter in CT, according to the service company here in NC the highest it went last year was 2.75 a gallon.

6.) Privacy and a certain amount of solitude. In CT I could literally spit and hit my neighbor’s house as I stood in my driveway, but here my nearest neighbor is 1,000 yards away, plenty of room and privacy for chickens, goats, and gardens.

Cons

1.) Emergency services will not be as responsive as they would be in the city, and so you may have to take care of certain problems yourself. You have to be prepared for this, be prepared to take care of yourself.

2.) Doctors or a single doctor, as is the case here is 45 minutes away and if you wanted to see another one for whatever reason you would have to drive another hour to an hour and a half.

3.) My mailbox is 1/4 a mile from my front door, this may or may not be a con for some, but there it is, good or bad.

4.) No garbage pickup, I have to haul my own trash to the dump, which is quite a distance away, so again you have to plan for this, because you simply cannot let it gather on your property. Compost what you can and use a burn barrel if possible and if allowed, but you will still have garbage that has to be taken to a dump station.

5.) More property to maintain, mowing, trimming, and general upkeep. The mowing alone here on a riding mower takes me five hours. You will likely be more physically active when you move to a rural area, and this can be more of a positive than negative for some people, because of the health benefits, but if you have any physical impairments or lack certain skills, you must consider this, and it can become a con quickly if you do not plan.

The financial burden can be considerable if you have to buy a riding mower or any mower at all, have to buy a chainsaw, wood cutting tools, or buy other tools and materials for gardening and raising livestock. Plan and budget for this, and make it part of the decision making.

6.) You may have to maintain your own road or driveway, and to keep it lighted for security would be your financial burden. You cannot just cut a road in a half mile and expect you can get back in forth during heavy rains that may wash it out or during ice and snow storms, not to mention the dust if not graveled properly. You need to be able to move a tree if it falls across the road, no state employees to call to come and get it moved for you.

7.) Predators, you have to look out for snakes, spiders, coyotes, wolves, bear, and wild boar and some I may not even be aware of that could be lurking.

8.) Jobs can be scarce in a rural area, so self-employment is highly recommended, because the jobs if available will likely pay less, but you would have a lower cost of living as an offset. You will have to decide if working a lower paying, less quality job to live a simpler life, is what you want. 

9.) Internet is available but not as fast, and Wi-Fi is hard to find if home service is disrupted. Streaming is generally out of the question, so save some money and cancel your Netflix before moving to the country. Internet can be limited, so it has to be used wisely when you do have it, and in some cases, you may have to pay based on usage.

10) Hungry and do not feel like cooking, don’t expect someone will deliver it hot and fresh in 30 minutes or less. Take-outs may not be available and if there is someone that delivers you may not like the choice.

11.) You lose power you lose water, unless you have a manual set-up or a backup power system to pump water. A private well will need water pumps and usually they are 220 volts. You need a backup system for pumping or keep a substantial stockpile on hand or build a cistern that is filled from runoff or a natural spring.

Certain decisions are born out of tragedy and others are carefully contemplated, but regardless of how you arrived at the decisions, once made, you have even more decisions to make, and there are questions, you do not even know to ask until you have actually moved, and then the adventure really begins.

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Honey and Its Amazing Powers to Heal

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How old is honey? No one knows, but cave paintings in Spain dating back to 7000BC depict humans raising bees, and bees are raised for only one thing. The paintings showed beekeeping.

Archeologists’ also had found bee fossils dating back 150 million years. They were making honey 150 million years ago, so bees have had millions of years to perfect their art (The Honey Association, n.d.).

The Egyptians’ symbolized bees. They realized the special powers of bees and their nectar. It was used as a sweetener by the common person during this time. Greek physicians of this period however prescribed it for various ailments. The Greeks had an uncanny ability when it came to healing the body, and the medicinal purposes of many of nature’s wonders and bees were at the top of the list when it came to natural wonders that also contained healing powers.

Not All Honey Is created Equal However

Manuka Honey is considered by many to be the ultimate honey. Manuka honey is made by bees in New Zealand, which pollinate the native Manuka bush. Advocates say it is better at treating wound infections and other conditions. They say this because of its greater antibacterial properties as compared to most other honey.

What gives this honey greater power is methylglyoxal (MG). MG is a compound found in most types of honey, but usually only in small quantities. Obviously, the Manuka bush is the key, which gives it more oomph or MG.

Where the pollen is gathered is the key to all honey. Bees gather pollen from many sources but honeybees tend to stick with what works best for them and assumedly what is in higher quantities in the area.

People and countries take their honey seriously and to be considered Manuka honey and to be considered therapeutic or potent enough to treat wounds and other ailments it must rate as “UMF Manuka honey”. The minimum rating is 10 on the UMF scale. UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor.

Honey according to experts is used to treat the following. Honey can be used to treat any number of ailments and/or diseases, but the most common are listed below.

  • Preventing and treating cancer
  • Reducing high cholesterol
  • Reducing systemic inflammation
  • Treating diabetes
  • Treating eye, ear, and sinus infections
  • Treating gastrointestinal problems

Honey has been known to reduce plaque on teeth, and heal wounds that otherwise won’t heal when applied with a dressing, but has limited if any at all affect when it comes to healing stomach ulcers as many believe to be the case.

Honey’s antibacterial property, unlike man-made antibiotics, does not cause “bugs” to become resistant to the honey’s properties.

It is easy to see that much of honey’s healing powers come from the pollen. If you have a herb garden, for example, and let the sage, parsley, and basil flower and then bees gather the pollen from the plants it makes sense that the healing powers of those plants will also be in the honey. The process of making the honey regardless of the plant creates some of the honey’s specials powers, however. The bees have something to do with this as well, so keep that in mind.

Testing in labs has shown that various types of honey have varying levels of healing compounds. This variety of nutrients and so-called healing compounds are directly related to the plants the bees visit.

You can essentially produce your own supercharged honey by growing the types of plants that are known to have healing powers, but of course, you need to start raising your own bees as well. You can raise bees and plants and create your own wellness bee farm.

Refs: 

The Honey Association. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.honeyassociation.com/index.asp?pid=9

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/manuka-honey-medicinal-uses?page=3

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How close are we to civil unrest or anarchy?

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In some cities at certain times, we have advanced from civil disobedience or civil unrest to violence to anarchy. When protesters can shut down major highways and roads and get away with it and then get invited to the White House, you know things are spiraling out of control. What final straw will break the camel’s back, what catalyst will cause discontent and violence to spread to areas in which they are not accustomed?

Will those that created the chaos soon become the ones that will protest when the system breaks down? A system they had strived to destroy. Will they be there with their hands out wanting help once things go past the point of no return? When you cause a system to fail you cannot turn around and then complain about how the system no longer works for you.

What Can You Do?

Well, the easiest and smartest solution would be to move out of town. Most people can’t do this, however. Jobs are nearby, and the expense of moving is not something many could afford.

If you can’t move away, then you have to do what you can in place. Fortify, and harden your structure, in other words, protect what you have.

Avoiding conflict is important. If you know, there are demonstrators out and about stay away from the area then. If you have vacation days, or sick days take them so you don’t have to go to work. Losing a day’s wage is hard, but losing your life, or having your car destroyed or becoming injured is even worse.

Rubbernecking the scene is a good way of getting caught up in something you can’t handle. Police will be on high alert and you could end up in cuffs or worse. Do not add to the problems already there. Trying to go to work knowing the bridges and roads are blocked by protesters is just folly on your part. Use common sense, and set your ideology aside and do what you need to do to survive the day or days of turmoil.

Mob mentality rules, this is a common phenomenon and it is a dangerous one because sheep will walk off the cliff following their appointed leader. Stay away and think for yourself. Look to your family first. The mob won’t help you survive, they won’t be there to bail you out of jail or to help fix your car, they won’t bring you food and water, and they will disappear to create havoc somewhere else as soon as it gets too rough for them.

It’s important that you have enough supplies in your home to survive for days or weeks in some cases. There are so many possible threats it is impossible to prepare for each individually, so don’t try. Just be prepared to hunker down for as long as it takes. Bugging-out is probably not an option unless you had several days notice and could pack your vehicles and get out of town before the city shuts down.

If you tried to bug-out during the Dallas massacre how far do you think you would get. In Nice, France, a supposed terrorist used a large truck to kill over 70 people that had gathered for a national celebration. What if something like this happened tomorrow in your city, could you leave, not likely, so you do have to be prepared to shelter in place? Stores and roads could be shut down for days, access blocked to certain areas of the city or town. You may not be able to go to work, to school, or to the grocery store.

As Preppers you have to adapt to the changing threats, the old threats are still there, however. Threats like nuclear war, armed conflict with another country and cyber attacks that shut the grid down, but more likely in the short-term are situations like Orlando Florida, Nice France, Dallas Texas, and San Bernardino CA. and so on down the list. These come without warning, so you do have to be prepared to react quickly and change plans for that day, or for that week until the dust settles somewhat. This means you have to be prepared to stay home and to do this you need supplies on hand.

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Advanced Tools and Equipment For When the SHTF

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Oxygen/Acetylene Torch

An acetylene/oxygen flame burns at about 3,773 K or 6,332 °F/3500 C. Imagine, what can you do with that kind of heat and it doesn’t take any electricity to operate one. Of course, the tanks will deplete over time, but a torch like this is not something you would use every day, so you could conserve and have a valuable survival tool for months or even years to come. However, it takes a certain skill level to cut metal, weld and to shape metal with an acetylene torch. You can even melt iron, steel, silver, and gold with a torch that produces high heat.

A torch like this can be dangerous, so make sure you know how to use one, how to transport, and store one before running out and getting one.

Heavy Duty Floor Jack and Smaller Jack

You may need to move or adjust foundation or support timbers if building a cabin or shelter post-crisis, and of course, you may need to lift vehicles to change tires, or to lift a transmission or engine off its mounts. Thus, you need a heavy-duty jack. Keep in mind, the jack you have now may suit your needs and vehicles but once the SHTF, you may need to use a jack on considerably heavier equipment or objects you come across as you try to survive.

You will know when you need a heavy-duty jack, and if you don’t have one, then what.

Battery Box

The newer battery boxes not only  jumpstart a vehicle but they also have USB ports for charging cell phones, laptop computers or any electronic device that uses a USB port. Jump boxes usually have an air pump that will inflate a vehicle tire, however, it will take some time for it to fully inflate a flat tire, and you may have to shut the box off after 10 minutes of continual use, to allow it to cool, to prevent overheating, but it will get the job done. Most boxes have built in lights and some even have removable lights and built in emergency radios for weather and other reports.

Most battery boxes do not actually “jumpstart” a vehicle, however. The cranking amps are limited in the boxes because there is a relatively small battery inside the box that stores the power, so there are limits to what you can do as far as jump starting a dead vehicle battery. Typically, you attach the clamps and allow the box’s battery to essentially add enough charge to the dead battery in the vehicle before turning over the engine. You are transferring a charge from the box’s battery to the vehicle battery.

It does take electricity, of course, to recharge the battery box, but a small solar panel would work nicely to charge the box and other small devices you have on hand. It will take longer, so adjust to accommodate for the longer charging time.

Halligan Tool

A Halligan bar also called a Halligan tool is a forcible entry tool used by firefighters and law enforcement, and has found service in some military units as well, but under a different name with slightly different design aspects.

This truly is a multi-tool used for punching holes, prying, twisting, or striking. It has a claw, a blade, a wedge, and a pick end, which is mainly used to breach door locks quickly.

They come in various lengths from 18 to 54 inches, and the longer ones can weigh as much as 12 pounds. For most people, not involved in rescue operations as part of their job, the 18 or 24-inch models would be ideal. The 18-inch bars can conceivably be carried on your person by strapping to a pack or by attaching to a pack harness.

Cordless Drill/Power Drill

As with a battery box, a cordless drill would have to have the batteries charged, so before buying portable tools that use batteries you need a way to charge those batteries once the SHTF.

There are any number of uses for a drill around the home over even around a campsite when the SHTF. Punch holes in leather, use the spinning chuck to create friction and start a fire, drill holes in metal or wood to lighten the object not to mention use a drill as a power screwdriver. The uses are endless and you will find you will use one if you have one almost on a daily basis.

Additional Tools and Materials

  • A quality set of masonry, metal and wood drill bits
  • Machine oil/lubricant
  • Quality bolt cutter (not the ones for 10 bucks at a Dollar store or Wal-Mart’s, they will snap even under slight pressure)
  • Set of wood and metal files
  • Punch set
  • Rubber mallet
  • Vise
  • Quality electrical tape

The lists above are not comprehensive by any means, but it is a start. Remember some if not many of the tasks you do today will still have to be done once a disaster strikes. You may hire out some of the tasks today, but you will not be able to do this once something happens. Do you have the tools and skills to survive?

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What If You Had To Bug Out From Work?

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Before you can do anything, you need a staging area, a place to marshal the group or family if you will. Most full-time workers spend as much time at work as they do at home and even more, time is spent at work than at home in some cases. This means the chance of a crisis striking while you are at work is high, and if you cannot get home because of the crisis where do you go.

You at work cannot just head out willy-nilly nor can your family, so a pre-designated area must be identified. It is not recommended that you use a structure for the staging area because it could be destroyed, and you do not want any member in or near a structure if there is a chance it could be destroyed by nature or by humans.

Pick a geographic location that is remote and yet close enough so everyone can get there on foot. A city park while it may work is not ideal. A section of woods just outside of town or any place that is away from the urban sprawl would work better. Consider what may be a target if there is an attack or what could be destroyed by bombings or by the wrath of nature and strike those areas from your list of potential places.

You are bugging out so you are not carrying much in the way of supplies. Therefore, you need the means to resupply. Supply caches can be used and they would have to be at the staging area or somewhere along the route. The biggest problem with caching supplies along a route, however, is that you may not be able to use that avenue of approach because of damage to roads and bridges or for other reasons. Your safe haven or staging area is the most logical place to cache supplies. Once there you can take a few days to gather your thoughts, rest, or push off immediately with extra supplies.

You may not be able to carry firearms in your car and not likely on your person when at work so it is important that your cache has firearms and ammunition.

You need enough supplies to get from your place of work to the staging area. You have to consider the terrain and possible obstacles to include human interaction. This all must be calculated before you plan your route. Do not consider any road or highway that has a bridge, tunnel, or elevated highway. Assume it will take 24 hours or longer to get to the staging area.

When disaster strikes, you will not be standing with pack shouldered ready to go out the door. Even though you have prepared for a crisis, it will come as a shock and as a surprise in most cases. It will take some time to get going, so calculate this into your timeframe, and pack enough food and water because you will be on your own longer than you think. You always have to pack for the worst-case scenario.

Consider These for Your Bag

  • Emergency Rations Such as Energy Bars, One or Two MRE’s, Nuts And Dark Chocolate
  • Water for 24-48 Hours, Two Quarts Minimum
  • Headlamp and Handheld Light
  • Multi-Tool
  • Map of The City or Area Along With a Compass
  • Pen and Paper
  • Change of Socks
  • Hiking Shoes/Boots
  • 50 Feet of Paracord
  • Cell Phone and/or Two-Way Radio
  • Collapsible Walking Stick
  • Self-Defense If You can Pack A Firearm Then Do So, and Carry Pepper Spray, Stun Gun Or Taser
  • Small First Aid Kit With Daily Maintenance Medication and Assorted Medicines for Pain, Nausea, and Allergies
  • Lighter/Matches And Candles
  • Collapsible Rocket Stove and Fuel Tabs
  • Metal Canteen and Metal Nesting Cup For Heating Food or Boiling Water

As stated earlier, regardless of your planning you will not be as ready for a crisis as you would like. You have to realize this and factor it in. Your plans may very well fall apart in the first 10 minutes, but if you have the skills, supplies, and the right mindset, you can adapt and overcome. If you fall apart when your plans fall apart, then you are doomed. Assume things will go off the rails, so be prepared to change plans quickly.

One thing is for certain, however, if you do not plan and gain some skills and knowledge you will not survive the first 24 hours of a major calamity in this country.

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Hot Ash Wood Burning Rocket Stove

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First, this stove packs down to 3 inches square by 9 inches tall, and that right there caught my eye. Rocket stoves are everywhere, some are more mobile than others are, however, and then there is the so-called rocket stove made out of cinder blocks. Well, that’s great for the backyard but try bringing one along on your hiking trip.

Yes, you should know how to make your own rocket stove, but keep in mind any you do make for an emergency is likely not going to fit well into a pack, and how many times can you use it for emergency cooking. In some cases, it makes more sense to purchase one that will last a lifetime, is easily packed, and weighs just three pounds.

I am not sold on anything that cannot be adapted to the environment and has multiple uses. A one use tool or piece of equipment tends to get left behind for home emergencies, and yet we all need something for what ifs while out hiking. A day hike can turn into a nightmare quick, so you do have to be prepared, but you don’t want to be lugging around a 50-pound pack, so you have to choose carefully.

The Hot Ash Wood Burning Rocket Stove fits in the condor h20 pouch for easy packing, by the way, so pick one up if you want an excellent carrying pouch for the stove. This stove is designed well and packs up easily and quickly.

HotAsh Rocket Stove

Very little wood is required to boil water for purification and for making your favorite dehydrated foods along the trail. Virtually any organic material can be used to make a fire. No need to overload the firebox, in fact, it would be counterproductive to do so.

This stove burns so hot it actually burns off a good portion of the wood gases, thus leaving a cleaner environment and less of a smoke signature if you need to worry about your smoke being spotted. Burns hot and clean, a perfect combination.

The Hot Ash Stove is a lifetime stove, it is made that good, and once you unpack it you will realize why it will last a lifetime. It can cook a meal, boil water, and even warm your hands. Make sure you always carry a quality metal nesting cup so you have the means to purify water or boil water for meals.

At three pounds, this stove does not add that much weight, but weight is a factor for hikers and other outdoor enthusiast. You do need a way to heat water and food and a campfire is not always practical because it takes a tremendous amount of wood to maintain a good fire, wood that might not be available because it is wet or simply non-existent. The Hot Ash Stove can cook your dinner and boil water with just a handful of twigs, twigs that you can carry in your pack if you feel that wood will be scarce or wet.

You can use heat (fuel) tabs with this stove, as well, if you need to go into stealth mode while out in the wilds. It may be a good idea to carry some heat tabs with you so you don’t have to worry about wet wood or lack of wood. As stated earlier any organic material can be used to include wood pellets.

HotAsh Rocket Stove Boiling Water

Remember this stove is for outdoor use only. It cannot be used indoors, because of dangerous gases, and the use of lighter fluids is certainly not recommended for starting a fire in this stove.

Make sure you carry fire-starting aids with you such as cotton balls dipped in petroleum jelly. With cotton balls and a few twigs, you will have a fire going in no time under virtually any conditions.

You can use a cooking surface up to 12 inches in diameter with this stove, so a frying pan can be utilized to fry fish or wild game or whatever you have, and certainly, a pot can be used to cook food or heat water. Depending on how cold it is you can rapid boil a quart of water in 10 minutes or less.

The Hot Ash Stove is made in the USA and has a lifetime guarantee and retails for $140 dollars. You can learn more about the hot ash at HotAshStove.com

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