Grid Down: 5 Tasks That Simply Cannot Wait

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Whether you have electricity or not certain tasks still must be accomplished. Some people liken a power failure to a snow day, where it’s a free day. Free from the hassles of school, chores, and responsibilities in general. It is not a free time, of course for adults, for responsible adults anyway. What makes the […]

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Five Preparedness Lessons Learned from Recent Natural Disasters

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Nature is the source of all life, but it can also be a force to be reckoned with. There have been many natural disasters since the dawn of mankind – tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and even ice ages, and the scariest thing is that these can pretty much strike at any moment. We’ve seen quite a […]

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Five Preparedness Lessons Learned from Recent Natural Disasters

Nature is the source of all life, but it can also be a force to be reckoned with. There have been many natural disasters since the dawn of mankind – tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and even ice ages, and the scariest thing is that these can pretty much strike at any moment. We’ve seen quite a […]

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Can You Improvise Adapt Overcome and Then Produce?

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Improvise, adapt and overcome is an unofficial slogan of the United States Marine Corp or of the Marines themselves. However, the traits are important ones for Preppers and others to have, and then, of course, you must be able to produce or show results in other words. If your home is damaged or destroyed because […]

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Can You Improvise Adapt Overcome and Then Produce?

Improvise, adapt and overcome is an unofficial slogan of the United States Marine Corp or of the Marines themselves. However, the traits are important ones for Preppers and others to have, and then, of course, you must be able to produce or show results in other words. If your home is damaged or destroyed because […]

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Do You Need That to Survive: An Underground Bunker

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Fallout shelters were fairly common in the 50’s and 60’s, or the concept was anyway. It’s hard to tell just exactly how many families had one in their backyard. If they claimed to have had one, then were they simply a root cellar or something more sophisticated? Today, however, fallout shelters have given way to […]

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Bug Out Vehicle (BOV) Do You Need One?

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Many of you reading this probably already have a vehicle. You drive the kids to school, grocery shop and commute back and forth to work, and take road trips, family vacations, in other words, all using your current vehicle. The problem in some people’s minds after reading article after article about when the SHTF and […]

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Will the Federal Government Be Our Worst Enemy When the SHTF?

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Some are convinced the Feds will be, and some are convinced they already are an institution to be feared by its citizens. In part the fear is based on an executive order signed March 16, 2012, by then President Obama, titled National Defense Resources Preparedness. The order falls in line with the Defense Production Act […]

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Do You Keep a Home Water Testing Kit In Your Survival Pack

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There are a number of testing kits on the market today, so it is important that you choose one that tests for bacteria, and heavy metals, in particular, lead and one that tests for pesticides as well. Many of the test kits cover the most common contaminants in your drinking water. Keep in mind, there […]

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Does North Korea Have the Ability to Destroy Our Electrical Grid?

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When it comes to winning it is not always about the size or capability of a country’s army, but rather its willingness to use weapons of mass destruction. Like in any fight, it is often mindset that determines the outcome. Seeing how this country sometimes gives in or capitulate to demands that seem outrageous and […]

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Does North Korea Have the Ability to Destroy Our Electrical Grid?

When it comes to winning it is not always about the size or capability of a country’s army, but rather its willingness to use weapons of mass destruction. Like in any fight, it is often mindset that determines the outcome. Seeing how this country sometimes gives in or capitulate to demands that seem outrageous and […]

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Do You Need That to Survive: Cargo Trailer

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As long as we are talking about trailers, you might also want to consider a pop-up style camping trailer. You have seen them, the ones that fold down into a solid box with a trailer hitch for pulling with essentially any type of vehicle equipped to haul a trailer. They have canvas sides, with a […]

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Do You Need That to Survive: Fishing Tackle and Pole

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Do you need to carry fishing tackle and pole in your survival kit? If you are skilled enough, you can make your own tackle, and a pole can be virtually anything on which you can attach a line. However, why go through all the trouble of making your own when you can carry a small […]

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Threat Assessments: Prioritize Then Get Organized

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A comprehensive threat assessment first compares the impact of a threat, or situation if you will, with its anticipated frequency. Threats that are anticipated and may be considered ones that would occur with some frequency would be tornadoes if you live in an area prone to such, and wildfires, hurricanes, snow and ice storms, and […]

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Survival: City Life Versus Country Life

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In a previous article we talked about living in a city and how, because of your location, you may be the target of an attack. A target simply because of the population density, or in some cases, you may be a target because of critical infrastructure, or your city may be having a symbolic celebration, […]

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Noise and Light in a Survival Situation: How to Stay Hidden

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If you have served in the military then you are very familiar with the terms light and noise discipline. The military takes this seriously, as should you, or anyone else who has to move about at night and must stay concealed from an enemy or anyone that may be a bit too inquisitive. Military vehicles […]

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When the SHTF Where You Live Makes a Difference

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Gather up all of the major American cities and place them in one area and you will find they only encompass four percent of the country’s land mass, while 62.7 percent of the population calls one of these major cities home, this according to the U.S. Census Bureau ( U.S. Census Bureau, 2015). A large […]

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Do I Need That to Survive: Sleeping Bag

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The short answer is no, but with a caveat. The more complicated answer is it depends. Much depends on you, your skill, the area in which you are likely to find yourself, and your mental attitude, and what type of situation you find yourself in. A cheap sleeping bag is nothing more than a blanket […]

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Prepping is as Important Now as It Was Eight Years Ago

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We can look at it this way, sometimes the only way to rid a house of pests is to tear it down and start over. This means chaos for a while, unrest, inconvenience, or come up with your own way of describing what may be coming, but the bottom line is, it usually gets worse […]

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Krav Maga Tactical Survival: Personal Safety in Action Review

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When the grid goes down, and SHTF, it’s vital that a person knows how to protect themselves. Guns, knives, and other weapons will only get a person so far. Also, despite what most people think, those items aren’t always readily available when the need arises.  A person needs to be able to protect themselves even […]

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Some Simple Truths about Survival

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In today’s society, if you haven’t noticed already, there are some people that describe themselves as victims, a group of so-called unfortunates who demand others take care of them, they need rescuing from their own victimhood it seems because of some perceived slight or oppression, and even harsh talk sends some over the edge never […]

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Survival Rules after the SHTF

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Remember, and this is important, if you don’t have it once disaster strikes, can’t make it, or repair it, you have to go on without it. The planning stage is over once the SHTF, it’s implementation time now. Thinking about what you should of and could have done is pointless, save the reminiscing until later, […]

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Cyber Security and Prepping

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Cyber Security is the body of technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. Cyber and security do not belong in the same sentence anymore today. Given what we as individuals may have experienced and what we have seen happen to large companies, retailers, and the […]

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Can’t Live without Coffee Once the SHTF: Sharpen Your Pencil and take Notes

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According to the statistics, Americans consume more than 400 million cups of coffee per day. That adds up to over 146 billion cups a year. The United States leads the way in coffee consumption in the world. Can you get along without your morning cup, or afternoon cup or one after dinner? First, however, you […]

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Could You Live In a Van?

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You may want to consider the possibility if there is a major crisis that befalls this country. Regardless of the situation, you will need a shelter, and some people and families are choosing to live in a van right now. It is a way of life for some, no crisis needed. However, a van may […]

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River Crossing: Getting Across Safely

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From 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 unintentional drowning deaths (non-boating related) annually in the United States. This is about ten deaths per day. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger (CDC, 2017). To give it some perspective, it is […]

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Layers of Security for Your Rural Home or Compound

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This article will focus on security in a mostly rural area “Mostly rural” can mean that you do have neighbors, but they are not what most would consider within shouting distance, so in other words, if you have a security breach, then you are likely on your own. They say that prevention is the best […]

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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

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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: 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

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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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