JOBS: Preparing for Job Loss…steps to move onward & upward.

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Yes, I am living it right now. I made a decision, and quit a job with the state of Wyoming, moved to Nashville with everything I owned (that I hadn’t sold or gotten rid of) and started from scratch again. Had a job building corporate Dell PCs for two weeks, but after knee surgery 6 months […]

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SurvivalRing fundraiser time — Updated

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SurvivalRing Radio has been shut down for the time being (mentioned this last Friday). The main site and the websites will remain online…just no upcoming podcasts or shows for the time beings. We’ll call our “Hiatus for the next few months. Focus on family and career (and health) for now….It’s all about the […]

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Situational Awareness: 4 Steps To Follow

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If a major disaster strikes your town, the disaster itself won’t be the only threat to your safety. You’ll also have to beware of two types of people: those without food or supplies who are desperate enough to rob anybody, and criminals who are taking advantage of the lack of law enforcement. That’s why situational […]

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Teaching Situational Awareness to Kids

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We can be blissfully unaware of our surroundings and distracted much more than we realize. Teaching situational awareness to kids can be lifesaving | PreparednessMama

We can be blissfully unaware of our surroundings and distracted much more than we realize. Teaching situational awareness to kids can be lifesaving. Being married to a soldier changes how you view the world. Especially if you have a spouse who has served overseas and in combat. They struggle with crowded or confusing places and […]

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Countdown to The Move from Wyoming to Nashville…One week and counting…plus news from Rich

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What’s in this post… News on Rich, SurvivalRing, Security, my career, local events, latest SurvivalRing Radio Shows, and getting ready to move across the country. Wait an hour and the weather will change Hello again from the middle of nowhere, Wyoming, where one day we have flash floods after chinook winds melts over a foot […]

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SurvivalRing Radio Talk -Survival, Preparedness, and Self Reliance – 02/10/2017

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Here’s today’s episode of SurvivalRing Radio. Today’s Topic?  The Basics of Self Defense Techniques, What a nuclear attack on the USA might look like, FREE fallout shelter plans, putting in your own well, News & more…all things you need to consider in building YOUR situational awareness lifestyle. Survival…what it takes, what you need, and how to become […]

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Handling an Active Shooter Situation

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police_car_active_shootingI have spent considerable time studying this issue and even more time thinking about what one should do in the event of an armed robbery or an “active shooter”. Although I have been blessed to never have been in either, I routinely think about what I would do should that unfortunate event occur. The more I think about what I would do, the more I think about how my response differs significantly from what you are told to do by government, educational, and business loss-prevention programs.

By Dan C., a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

Almost all training programs teach you that if there is an active shooter: you are to run, hide and then only as a last resort should you try to fight. As I mentioned before, I work in a “Big Box” sporting goods store, and they teach that tactic as well. However, when asked by a fellow employee what I personally would do, I stated that I would immediately arm myself and prepare to take out the threat. My preconceived plan would include grabbing a handgun from the display cabinet that has a large capacity magazine, run to the ammo aisle, dump a box of the correct ammo into my pockets, then, while walking toward the shooter, load the magazine. Finally, upon seeing the robber or active shooter, I would do my best to stop the threat. The employee I was speaking with replied and said: “That is not what they teach you to do”.  I responded: “No, but it is the right thing to do”.

What Would You Do? 

blackhawk_helicopter_uh-60LSo that is the dilemma. What do you do? During one of these conversations, I was talking to a person and asked what he would do. His response was that he would run for cover and do his best to escape the area. I asked why he chose that response, and he said “Because my job is to come home to my family every night”. No doubt that is a noble thing to do. I then found out he was a former Blackhawk helicopter pilot with several combat tours under his belt, a true American hero. So at first I was caught off guard that a military professional with combat experience would run and hide rather than stand and fight. I clearly understood his desire to come home to his family every night.  For one thing, his goal to preserve his family and put their welfare first was noble; that is a duty he bears as a husband and father.  Also, I recognized that he had already served his country and done his tour of duty. But this combat veteran’s anticipated reaction to a robbery or active shooter at our workplace illustrates an interesting point. You never know who might be running and who might be fighting.

Related: How to Pick the Best Personal Protection Firearm

So we are back to the main point. In the case of an active shooter or an armed robber, what do you do? What course of action is safest for everybody involved. I clearly understand that some of my upcoming comments are going to touch sensitive areas in some folks’ feelings, so get ready.

Breaking Down Roles

french_flag_tragedy_active_shooterLet’s address the Active Shooter situation. First, I feel women, children and elderly should strictly adhere to the recommended methodology of running and leaving the area as quickly as possible and finding hiding place. This is where your situational awareness will save you. You must quickly identify your escape route and expeditiously move in that direction. Help others if you can along the way, but your mission should be to get out of there as quickly as you can. Run as far away as you can. Do not trust hiding, get out of there. Look what happened in Paris in the several mass shootings by terrorists in November of 2015. People thought it was safe to hide under the tables in restaurants. They just became easy targets. Run as far from the site as you can, do not stop until you can no longer hear shots being fired. Then find solid cover–the kind that can physically stop bullets or block an attacker from entering your area.

Yes, there are women that are equally trained and equipped to fight as well as any man. And if you are one of those women, then if you elect to charge the bad guy, all the more power to you. Same with any of those that may be considered elderly. Every rule has exceptions.

Men, I feel you should go after the shooter. If you are armed, then all the better, but everyone should do what they can to stop the threat.  If you are unarmed, grab anything you can carry that can be used to throw at the shooter. Throw as much as you can at them in hope it will allow you or another person to get closer to the shooter to tackle him. If you have access to them, spray the shooter with pepper spray or you can blind him with spray from a fire extinguisher, use everything you can to your advantage. Surprisingly, even if you have a weapon and someone throws something at you, you will duck and try to avoid being hit by it. It is natural instinct. So throw lots of stuff, even if the things you are throwing are not very dangerous in and of themselves.


plan_active_shooterThere is an old adage well known in the world of paramilitary training. It says: “action is faster than reaction.” I feel it is imperative that you go on the offensive when there is an active shooter or armed robber who appears about to start shooting or taking hostages. If you only “go on the defensive” then you have given the bad guy the advantage and increased the odds more innocent people are going to get hurt or killed.

For active shooters, there is risk in taking action, because they have already started their killing spree. Having them stop or leave on their own, peacefully, is not a likely possibility. If nothing is done, then there is a certainty that more bad things are going to happen and those injured or killed will escalate. Is there risk to your actions? No doubt! So what should your plan be in the case of an active shooter?

First, you must have very good situational awareness. You must always be aware of your surroundings and know where your exit points are located and be prepared to act when if an adverse event should occur.

Second, quickly recognize that something bad is happening and action needs to be taken. This is so important. The bad guy has made you an active participant. Lots of times when bad things are happening those people in the area fail to recognize that fact, and thus they keep going about their way and getting trapped in the bad event. The other thing that happens is that people run from the bad event with no direction or purpose. This causes chaos and endangers the lives of many. So having a plan is essential to escaping quickly, or ending the threat quickly.

See Also: Active Shooter!

Third, make sure those around you are safe and moving in a direction away from danger. Even if that means pointing them in the direction they should run and helping them get to safety quickly as possible.

Fourth, you should start moving toward the danger. No need to run to the danger if it is close. This may cause you to run right into bad situations and get hurt or killed unnecessarily. Use tactical movement, taking cover then moving to the next cover position and so forth until you can observe the shooter(s).

Fifth, take action. That might mean engaging your adversary on sight. Or it could mean observing for a few moments to plan how to attack him, where to ambush him, what weapon to use, or how to position yourself to make your attack most effective. Your “attack” could involve anything from throwing stuff at the shooter to shooting him. Whatever it is, do it when you can and when you know it will give you an advantage. Then do your best to STOP the shooter.

Armed Robbery

What about an Armed Robbery?  In this case, you may wish to act differently, because not all armed robberies involve shooting, and not all robbers wish to become killers. You’ll likely have a bit more time to choose how to react to a robber than an active shooter.

situation_active_shooterThe first step is the same; good situational awareness. In this case, if you are with family or friends you should be able to verbally alert them to a danger. I think all families and close friends should have a code word, such as “heads up”, to alert anyone in the group that someone in the group has seen something bad and the others need to go on a heightened state of awareness. This is very important to do if you can, but you may not have the chance to do this.

If you are commanded by the robber to do something, then do it. If you are near the robber, act as if you are no threat to him. This will give you a minute to plan your attack, your escape, or whatever you choose as the best response.

Once your plan is in place and the timing is advantageous, execute your plan, which may include throwing something at the robber, tackling them, or using your firearm to stop the threat. If it appears the robber only wants to steal some property or money and make a quick getaway, letting him go without trying to stop him may appear be the safest thing. However, you never know when the robbery is going to take the robbery to the next level by shooting someone. Just because you have a gun doesn’t mean you have to use it, but being armed gives you more options, not fewer.

Fight or Flight

Naturally these are just a few thoughts on these situations. Every case is very event-specific, and the proper response must be evaluated in light of all the circumstances. But my point is this: run & hide is not necessarily the best way to deal with an active shooter or armed robber. If action is taken, there is a good likelihood that lives will be saved. If no action is taken, the bad guys can choose to kill anyone or everyone they encounter, for whatever reason(s) that may trigger that urge in them. I am also saying that a violent counter-attack is not a course of action suited for everyone, but it should be taught and encouraged more.

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Travel Preparedness: Airports and TTP’s

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Traveling is something that millions of people do every day and while not as frequent I too suck it up and play the airport / airline game.  Herded like cattle through various checkpoints, lines of people hustling to one location or another.  Stand here, sit there, and don’t move unless you are told to do so.  If you comply all is well, if you do not comply or even give the perception that you might not feel like complying well then…it could be a bad day.

Most of us carry a gun for our own personal protection and while traveling with a gun inside checked baggage is allowed outside of that firearms are a huge no-no inside airports and airplanes.  Combine that with the fact that parts of the airport (in my opinion) are extremely soft targets and the stakes rise when traveling to grandma’s house.  A quick threat assessment would reveal a most likely course of action:  Single shooter as we saw in Florida.  Most dangerous course of action:  Coordinated attack as we saw in Belgium and Turkey.

I believe there are two components/concepts which we can harness when traveling which would greatly increase chances of survival should a worst case scenario occur.

  • Situational Awareness. Should go without saying but it’s an important one.  Paying attention to one’s surroundings, avoiding grouping together in areas like baggage claim, understanding where the good guys with guns are and the exits nearest your location.  If you are with family or small ones, having a plan to get them out quickly if a stampede starts.
  • Trauma Kit / Training. How many lives could have been saved post event in the examples I listed above if a few survivors had an improved first aid kit (IFAK) and the ability to employ the equipment inside such kit?  Think CAT Tourniquet, Quikclot Combat Gauze, Israeli Bandages, Gauze, NAR Field Dressings, chest seals and more.  Hemorrhaging can kill quickly and the ability to stop it only in the short window between the event and when First Responders arrive could save others (or your own life).

Back in the day I never used to travel with an IFAK but thankfully I made the transition and it’s standard on the packing list these days.  I keep the components on our near my person in a carry on bag at all times.  I should stress once again that proper training on how to employ these items is crucial, otherwise you’ll have people attempting to TQ a neck or wipe blood away with combat gauze.  A good place to source many of these items is North American Rescue, check them out when you get a chance.


I’ll wrap it up with some final thoughts.  Many of us tend to be action oriented in that if there is a threat we feel as if we could / would do something about it to mitigate the threat or even eliminated it.  The reality is that some will slip through the cracks, some will get past the gates and into the village and maybe even get away.  It’s at that point where we have to remain action oriented but now it’s about saving lives until help arrives.  I strongly urge everyone to seek basic training with respect to utilizing the components in side of an IFAK and to stay aware and safe when traveling through airports.

Doomsday Preppers? You’ve GOT to be kidding me…

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This post was written exactly 4 years ago, on my Facebook page. I still stand by it. Rich Fleetwood – February 7, 2012 · Riverton · Watching “Doomsday Preppers” on NGC this evening, with an as objective as possible viewpoint. I’ve been doing this stuff myself for 20 years, and in my position and experience, with the […]

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SurvivalRing Radio Podcast – Show 103 – Jan. 20th, 2017

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Friday night’s  show is done…news of the day, homesteading tips, frugality, home security, and brain science…understanding how your brain responds to danger…and how to make it better. SurvivalRing Radio…we’re gonna make it out alive….catch the podcast here… As always, you are invited to be part of the show every week, either calling in, emailing […]

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When People Within The Crowd Become A Mob

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When people are part of a large group of ‘protestors’ or a very large crowd where emotions are highly charged, these people as individuals will become vulnerable of losing their individuality. While a given person is physically him or herself, their thoughts, emotions, and actions can become highly influenced by the charge of the crowd […]

Survival Medicine Hour: Hypothermia, Nightclub Terror

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It’s January, and a cold blast from the North is hitting parts of the Deep South. Hypothermia is a big issue for those not prepared for cold weather, and a number of people die every year from being unready to deal with Nature’s challenges. Find out about hypothermia, how the body loses heat, and some strategies for prevention this winter.


Also, the Turkish nightclub shooting almost exactly duplicates the blueprint established by last year’s Orlando Nightclub shootings. Along with vehicular terror, Dr. Bones makes the argument that this strategy is going to be repeated again and again, and tells you what you have to do to survive such events.


To listen in, click below:


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Follow our Youtube Channel at DrBones NurseAmy

Follow us at Facebook at DoomandBloom or join our Survival Medicine group at Survival Medicine DrBones NurseAmy


All the best for a happy and healthy 2017!


Joe and Amy Alton



SurvivalRing Radio – 1st Live 3 hour call-in Talk show this Friday

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My good friend and radio show cohost James “Doctor Prepper” Stevens has retired from the Critical Preparedness Resources Talk Radio show as of last Friday. He is moving on to other consulting ventures, but will occasionally drop in to the new show taking moving into his time slot, when he has the time. The last […]

Video: Vehicular Terror

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In this companion video to a recent article, Joe Alton, MD discusses the wave of terror events using a car or truck to run down innocent citizens. From Nice, France to Berlin, Germany to Ohio State University, terrorists are figuring out that it’s a lot easier to own, rent, or steal a truck or other vehicle than to build a bomb. Find out more about this new blueprint for terror and  how you can use situational awareness to your advantage to stay safe.

To watch, just click below:

Wishing you the best of health in 2017,

Joe Alton, MD


Survival Medicine Hour: Vehicular Terror, Hangovers, RP Ruggiero of Brushfire Plague

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The Survival Medicine Hour, with Joe Alton,MD aka Dr. Bones and Amy Alton, ARNP aka Nurse Amy, wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year on this last day of 2016. With holiday parties all around us, some will find themselves with a celebration full of alcohol and perhaps a hangover to remember the night before. Before you attend that party, you should listen to this podcast for tips to both prevent and cure that aweful hangover.

Amy Alton, ARNP, interviews the author of the Brushfire Plague Trilogy series after he has recently completed the third book. Mr. R.P. Ruggerio lives in Colorado with his wife and two sons, and spends as much time outdoors as possible. He strives to live by Robert Heilein’s credo ” Specialization is for insects.” The Brushfire Plague trilogy are novels grounded in neighboorhood defense duringa devastating plague. Brushfire Plague, according to R.P., “also has useful lessons about the value of being prepared for possible disruptions to our normal way of life woven into the fabric of the story.  One unique aspect I focus on is the interpersonal dynamics one will be forced to deal with in any crisis situation.  This adds a lot to the drama and storyline and enhances the realism of the novel.”

Vehicular terror is the new blueprint for those wishing to cause mass casualties. Simple to obtain compared to guns and bombs, we can expect more events like the Berlin Christmas Market truck attack. Find out what you need to know to stay safe in these troubled times.

To listen in, click below:

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Joe and Amy Alton


See more information about RP Ruggiero’s books at and at Amazon

Don’t forget to follow us on our store, facebook, and twitter:




Surviving Vehicular Terrorism

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CNN reports that a man in Berlin used a truck to plow through a group of people at a Christmas market, killing 9 and injuring 50 more. The tractor trailer appeared to deliberately ram through several stalls at what is estimated to be 40 miles per hour; German authorities are treating the incident, at present, as a terror event.

The attack appears to parallel the cargo truck killing of 86 people and the wounding of 434 others in Nice, France during a fireworks display on a national holiday. On a smaller scale, a Somali student at Ohio State University recently ran down a number of people before leaving his car and stabbing several others with a large knife. A pattern seems to be emerging where a vehicle is used to cause casualties in public spaces.

Ordinarily, terror attacks are associated with guns, but these items are difficult to come by in most countries. Bombs, another preferred terrorist weapon, require expertise to assemble safely. Owning or renting a vehicle, however, is much more common and requires little skill to operate. Trucks and cars can cause mass casualties if wielded as a weapon; obtaining one elicits no suspicion.

Therefore, would-be terrorists now have a new blueprint for causing mayhem among an unsuspecting public. There are few who pay much attention to traffic unless they’re in a vehicle themselves or crossing the street. The speed at which a vehicle can accelerate and turn into a crowd leaves little time for reaction. Hence, the “success” rate of this type of terror event may surpass even a gunman’s ability to cause deaths and injuries.

The increasing number of terror events around the world underlines the increasing need for situational awareness. Situational awareness is the mindset whereby threats are mentally noted and avoided or abolished. Originally a tool for the military in combat, it is now a strategy for the average citizen in these uncertain times.

The situationally aware person is always at a state of “Yellow Alert” when in crowded public venues. By that, I mean a state of relaxed but vigilant observation of what is happening around him or her. When an action or behavior occurs that doesn’t match the surroundings and situation, it’s an anomaly.

When a vehicle moves erratically or leaves the normal pattern of traffic, it’s an anomaly that requires rapid action. Mentally noting routes of escape whenever you’re in a crowd will give you the best chance of getting out of the way. Just as knowing the location of exits in a mall or theatre is good policy, a heightened awareness is now important at any outdoor event or popular public area near roadways.

For vehicular terrorists, the target will be crowds of people near the street. Their objective is mass casualties, and those pedestrians nearest the curb will bear the brunt of the attack. Consider walking on the fringe of a crowd away from the road to give yourself the most options. In the center, the masses, not your own good judgment, will dictate your movement. Take a walk along Times Square and you’ll see what I mean.


Retractable Bollards

Municipalities can protect their citizens by constructing barriers known as “bollards” which would stop vehicles from entering pedestrian areas. These can be seen outside many government buildings and airport terminals. Expanding their use to areas that attract crowds would be an important consideration for the future.

I’ll admit that the likelihood you’ll be in the path of a terrorist using a vehicle, or any other weapon, is very small. Panic isn’t the answer, but these are troubled times; the more situationally aware you are, the safer you’ll be.

Joe Alton, MD


For more information on surviving terror events, see my other articles:

Hiding In Plain Sight

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Under some circumstances there may be reasons such that you don’t want to be noticed, or you don’t want to stand out while moving through an area, etc.. Instead, you want to hide in plain sight. Here are a few thoughts how to do it…   (UPDATED) Humans tend to notice anomalies, things (or people) […]

Oakland Warehouse Fire: Surviving in a Crowd

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The fire in an Oakland warehouse that was a refuge for artists and a venue for dance parties has now claimed 36 lives with several persons still missing. In the past, I’ve written about safety in wildfires and also in homes over the years; this time, I’ll explore the issue relating to fires in public venues like concert halls.

Concerts and theatres have long been areas at risk for fire. In 1903, Chicago’s Iroquois theatre was the site of an inferno which caused 600 deaths. In 1942, the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston claimed 492 lives. In 2003, 100 perished in the Station nightclub in Warwick, R.I. during a concert by the rock band Great White.

Most public venues have important fire protection strategies such as sprinkler systems, fire exits, and fire extinguishers. Indeed, fire codes have evolved to make most of these places quite safe.

The phenomenon of “flash concerts”, however, places crowds of people in locations without these safeguards. This puts the onus on concert-goers to become more situationally aware, something few patrons of these events even think about.

What is situational awareness? Situation awareness involves understanding what’s going on in your immediate vicinity that might be hazardous to your health. I don’t mean second-hand smoke here; I’m talking about knowing what dangers may exist that you can avoid or abolish with your actions. Especially important for soldiers in a combat zone, it’s now become just as important for the average citizen in any large crowd.

The situationally aware person is in a constant state of what I call “Yellow Alert”, a relaxed awareness of their surroundings. At Yellow Alert, a concert-goer has a much better chance to identify threats than someone with their nose buried in their smart phone. Although many might enjoy the use of recreational drugs, like marijuana or ecstasy, it’s much safer to have your wits about you at these events. Mentally marking nearby exits, fire extinguishers, and alarms when you first arrive will allow you to have a plan of action if the worst happens.

A good spot at a concert is front and center, but you might be safer at the fringe of the crowd. In the center, your choice of escape route is governed by the crowd rather than good judgment.

Who’s at fault? Although Derick Almena, the manager of the Oakland warehouse, was understandably distraught during an interview with the TODAY show, he must bear responsibility for the conflagration, as must the owner, Chor N. Ng (whose daughter claims, says the LA Times, that he didn’t know people lived in the building). Here are some reasons why:

·        The 10,000 foot warehouse, also known as the “Ghost Ship”, had no sprinkler system nor fire alarms. No word on the number of fire extinguishers, if any.

·        Piles of discarded furniture dotted the interior.

·        Staircases were partially supported by wooden pallets.

·        Construction and electrical work was performed on an impromptu basis, often without permits or proper inspections.

·        A number of recreational vehicles, presumably with gas in the tanks, were in the warehouse.

Oakland city officials, however, are also culpable. The LA Times reports that, since 2014, several complaints were lodged for building and fire code violations without apparent action by the city after investigation. The Fire Marshall blames severe understaffing for the shortcomings, the responsibility for which must also be borne by Oakland’s city government. Zac Unger, an official with the firefighter’s union, was quoted as saying “Had a fire inspector walked into that building and seen the conditions in there, they would have shut the place down.”

Unfortunately, the responsibility for your safety may ultimately lie with the average citizen. Incorporate situational awareness into your mindset when in any public venue, and you’ll stand the best chance to avoid and escape becoming a casualty of a fire or any other calamity.

For more information on becoming situationally aware and how to deal with building fires, read my articles “How a Fighter Pilot’s Strategy Could Save Your Life: The OODA Loop” and “Surviving a House Fire”.

Joe Alton, MD

When Walking Alone: Observe

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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

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

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

Walking on the street

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

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

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


Walking through public parks

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

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

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

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

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


Sitting in a cafe, restaurants, etc.

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

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

Riding in a taxi

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

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

Walk away

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

Avoidance and retreat

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

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The Surprisingly Simple Way To Avoid Being Robbed

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The Surprisingly Simple Way To Avoid Being Robbed

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Let me start this out with a bit of a test for you. Try to answer the following questions:

  • The last time you stopped for gas, how many other cars were getting gas?
  • What color socks was your boss wearing today?
  • What did the people in front of you and behind you at the grocery line look like?
  • How many of your neighbors left this morning, before you did?
  • Were there any unusual cars parked on your street when you got home today?

If you can answer any of those questions, without it being pure guess work, you’re doing good. The truth is, though, that most of us can’t. We become used to the situations around us and then just stop noticing them. Then, when something new or different comes along, we don’t even recognize it for what it is.

Instead, we’re looking at our smartphones — checking email, texting friends, or posting pictures to Facebook.

“So, what?” you might say. “Who cares about my boss’s socks or the other people stopped in the same gas station?” If that’s your reaction, trust me, you’re not alone. Most of the adults on this planet would say more or less the same thing. But then, those same people would step on a land mine, without even realizing it until it went “boom.”

The thing is, not being aware of what’s going on around you can be deadly. Just about every dangerous situation we can find ourselves in has some sort of warning. But like the intelligence before the attack on Pearl Harbor, ignoring those warning signs can have grave consequences.

What we need is situational awareness. Situational awareness is nothing more than being aware of what is around you and what the people or things around you are doing. It is being so aware of your surroundings that when something changes, you notice it. It’s knowing what to expect, so that the unexpected stands out. More than anything, it’s seeing things that could be a threat, and analyzing that threat before it can manifest.

Without situational awareness, we’re more likely to get mugged, to get carjacked, to get pickpocketed.

Be Prepared. Learn The Best Ways To Hide Your Guns.

I recently re-watched one of the Sherlock Holmes movies, starring Robert Downey, Jr. At one point in the story, his female companion asked him, “What do you see?” To which he responded, “Everything. That’s my curse. I see everything.” That’s part of what made Sherlock so successful. He saw things that others didn’t see. Had he been a real person, rather than just a character in a story, his situational awareness would have served him well.

Ask any soldier who has been in war, and they’ll tell you how important situational awareness is. Seeing things that can be a threat, before that threat manifests itself, can be the difference between life and death, especially in the close environment that is urban warfare.

The Surprisingly Simple Way To Avoid Being Robbed

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But situational awareness goes totally against our nature. We are creatures of habit, and we normally go through life without noticing things around us. Few of us can remember details of what happened in the television shows we watched last night, let alone tell what the person in front of us ordered at our favorite coffee house. Thus, we’ll never be a Sherlock Homes and if we are ever put into a position where seeing is survival … we might not make it home.

Developing Situational Awareness

So if situational awareness is so important and is against our nature, how does one acquire it? What can we do, to make ourselves more aware of our surroundings, than we are today?

To start with, we must make a decision to become more aware — not a wishy-washy decision, but a firm one. That, in and of itself, will make a huge difference, simply because we’ll be thinking about the need to be aware. We’ll open our eyes and start looking around us, just because we know that we should.

Still, that isn’t enough. It’s just a start. Building situational awareness requires practice. We’ve got to train our mind to pay attention to what our eyes are seeing. So, we need to develop a series of exercises, which will help us to see. Things like:

  • Make a habit of knowing how many people are within 100 feet of you, where they are and what they are doing.
  • Count the number of cars of a particular color as you drive somewhere.
  • Look at what a co-worker wears to work every day and try to remember it. See how many days’ worth of attire you can recall, and if you can recall the last time they wore a particular shirt or outfit.
  • Learn what cars your neighbors drive. Then, make it a habit to look for new or different cars, every time you step out of your home. Look for patterns, to see if certain cars show up at certain times.

Once you are more aware, it’s time to start putting that awareness to use. Start looking at people to see what they are doing and try to evaluate how much of a threat they are. Use a scale from one to 10, with one being no threat at all and 10 meaning it’s time to draw a gun to protect yourself. Rate each person, even if there are many people around you. Then, keep track of those with a higher score, updating your score as you go.

Ultimately, that’s what situational awareness is all about — finding threats. Once it becomes a habit, it will help you in countless ways.

What advice would you add on becoming more situationally aware? Share your tips in the section below:

If The Grid’s Down And You Don’t Have Ammo, What Would You Do? Read More Here.

Opinion: Taking sides…

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From Elie Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Price acceptance speech in 1986: And then I explained to him how naive we were, that the world did know and remain silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the […]

Opinion: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a healthy future…plus, PODCAST!

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14046128_10153637470286268_6038572892736391891_nUpdate: In case you don’t know, I’m going under the knife next week. T minus 2 workdays until *New Knee Day*… As before, the pain level escalates. Had to use the cane today at work, and had to explain to most coworkers why the cane…because my meds are not helping with pain management, since I’m […]

Gathering Intelligence And Collecting Information Of World Events

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Preparedness includes gathering intelligence, knowledge, and information regarding global / world current-events. It is a form of situational awareness that will help guide you towards more effective risk assessment – which may influence specifics of your preparedness. If you only watch one channel, your knowledge and perception of world current-events will be limited to what […]

Update, Content, News, and months of podcasts.

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Well, it’s been a minute since I’ve posted here on the blog of SurvivalRing, and I do apologize. Life has been rather full outside the front door, and the moments in front of my computer (normally plural…the laptop is still down with a *Windows 10* infection) have been focused on research, online radio work, and […]

5 Great Situational Awareness Tips You Need To Practice

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Situational Awareness tips

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Situational Awareness

I realized I haven’t written about situational awareness in depth since back in 2012. I know from my day to day activities that surprisingly everyone in the world has not read that article and mastered it. In fact, a shit ton of people is still completely oblivious to their surroundings. They have no clue what’s going on around them. 

I have a hard time even imaging how people are so out of touch. I was born with a well-developed situational awareness. Guess it makes up for my complete lack of mathematical skills. 

So before we dig into it I guess I need to define it for those of you that don’t know what situational awareness is.


Situational awareness is the perception of environmental elements with respect to time and/or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time.


It’s knowing where you are and what’s going on around you. 

Tred Carefully

I count watching where you walk and the space you move through as part of situational awareness. You have to be aware of the space you move through both on foot and when driving. I’m sure you all know a buddy that is like a bull in a china shop. That one guy that is always knocking things over. 

This is a lack of total situational awareness. You don’t know where your limbs are in relation to your environment. You absolutely need to know where you are going and what’s there. Watching your steps is so important to preventing injuries.

Don’t know how this is situational awareness? 85% of all snake bites are below the knee. Hrm, I wonder why that is? It is people not watching where they are stepping. They just assume that the ground is all level and free of dangers. 

The same applies for driving a car. If not even more importantly so. This is how my Uncle taught me to drive when I was a teenager. 

“James watch all these idiots on the road and stay away from them.”

That has served me to avoid being in a wreck so far. The road is full of idiots so give them room and be aware of what is going on.  


Be Aware Of  Your Environment

Please know what’s going on around you. Look around, listen and use all of your senses. If you choose to walk around with ear buds in your ears looking at your phone you are setting yourself up to be a victim. You are the one that’s going to trip, get mugged or bit by a snake.

Don’t forget the other senses besides sight either. I use my sense of smell a lot. It might be my strongest sense. Like wolverine from the x men or something. This has some drawbacks with strong smells making me nauseous. 

If you smell something out of place don’t ignore it. Find the cause of it. A big one is a natural gas leak. A sulfur smell is added to natural gas to detect it. That is a smell that is hard to ignore. But I would bet some lazy ass people have. 

Don’t Be Snuck Up On

This one really gets me. Do you know someone that is always surprised? That is always getting snuck up on? Serenity, I’m calling you out here. 

They are not aware of their environment and who’s in it. If you manage to sneak up on me you deserve a prize. If I don’t see you walking up I will hear your footsteps, or smell you. 

Not that It can never happen but with proper situational awareness being snuck up on will happen much less. With practice, you can get better. 


Feel The Mood 

No, I’m not going to get into airy fairy crap here. Having a clue what the environments mood is can be very helpful. The podcast we just did on how to survive a riot, hit on this. If you are out and you see and feel the mood change to violence get out of there. 

Clues for feeling the mood are listening to the tone of the people, observe their body language and your own gut. You can tell when someone is agitated. Their body language will reflect it. Often they will have a hard time remaining still. If you have a feeling that a crowd is going to riot just get out. I would rather see on the news I missed a riot instead of having to try to escape once it is happening. 



Trust Your Gut

I have mentioned a few time to trust your gut. There are times to not listen to it. But you have to be aware of it and make a decision. Trusting and being aware of your instincts is a powerful tool in your situational awareness toolbox. 

Instincts were developed by our ancestors to know when a lion was waiting in a bush to eat us. Now they usually just tell us not to go talk to a pretty girl. One has major consequences. They other has none. You have to be aware of the gut instincts and know when to listen and when to ignore them.

I like to base it on the outcome. What’s the worst that could happen if you ignore the instinct and what is most likely? If the worst outcome isn’t fatal then it might be better to ignore it. 

In Conclusion

No one is perfect and certainly not 100% of the time. With situational awareness I want you to practice and strive for better. Perfectionism of the killer of the good. Be more aware daily. If you notice that you are zoned out bring yourself back. 

If you hear noise look in that direction. In fact look around at times. Don’t dart your eyes around like a creeper but look around. 

Practice active listening. Hear footsteps, talking and odd noises. If you hear things look into them. Or act accordingly. If you hear shots you probably want to go the other way. If you hear falling stuff or crying you should check it out. 



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The Number One Way NOT To Become A Victim On The Street

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I’ve posted a number of articles on the subject of personal security and situational awareness in the past. This one reinforces a message of how simple it is to avoid becoming a target, a victim, while on ‘the streets’. While there are exceptions to every rule, this particular rule (a single word) will likely provide […]

Lessons That Could Save Your Life in a Terror Event

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I’ve written quite a bit lately about shooting and terror events, but recent events highlight the fact that gun violence isn’t the only way that a terrorist can fulfill their mission of making casualties out of decent citizens. Clearly, bombings, stabbings, or shootings can occur literally anytime and anywhere in the U.S.: at churches, clubs, holiday parties, schools, the mall, at 2 in the morning or in the middle of the day. They’re part of what I call the “New Normal” and we have to be prepared to act if we’re caught in one of these events.

Although I write mostly about disaster medical preparedness, a terror event is a different kind of disaster. It’s one where you can prevent becoming a casualty if you simply know what to do when danger presents itself.  Indeed, if you don’t train yourself to anticipate these events, it could be hazardous to your health and that of your family.

I’ve mentioned the concept of “situational awareness” as a way to decrease your chances of becoming a victim in future terror attacks. In these days of Pokemon Go and other smartphone distractions, you’re seeing more and more people not paying attention to their surroundings. In the past, this might get you a bump on the head for walking into a lamp post. In today’s world, however, it could cost you your life.

Situational awareness involves understanding what’s going on in your immediate vicinity that might be represent a threat to your well-being. I don’t mean second-hand smoke here; I’m talking about knowing what immediate dangers may exist that you can avoid or abolish with your actions. Especially important for soldiers in a combat zone, it’s now become just as important for the average citizen in any public space.

In an area at risk (anyplace where multitudes of people gather), simple things might save your life. Things like not having your hoodie up, which can be like blinders on a horse. Things like making a mental note of the nearest exit at the mall. Things like looking around for people who are acting strangely or, perhaps, dressed too warmly for the weather.  Someone who might be paying too much attention to an everyday object, such as a trash can (which might contain a bomb).

Behaviors normal in some settings might be an “anomaly” in others: Hopping up and down and screaming may be normal behavior at a rock concert, but not at the local mall.  By looking for anomalies in what should be normal behavior in a situation, the situationally aware person will have the best chance to plan an escape when an attack occurs. 

To do this effectively, you should always be in a state of what I call “Yellow Alert”. You’re calm and relaxed, but taking in your surroundings: Always observing how people behave, where the nearest exits are, and formulating a plan of action if you’re in a crowd or other at-risk scenario.

In the case of the terrorist who stabbed nine people in Minnesota, it’s likely that he was in a state of agitation, his hands constantly touching the pocket where he kept his weapon. These are anomalies; things you should watch for whenever you’re in a public place.

In a crowd, it would pay to be at the fringes and not in the middle. Having a wall to your back would eliminate a danger that might come at you from behind. Indoors, for example, in a movie theatre, you want a view of the exits as well as the screen. If someone is behaving strangely, move away from them. If someone is screaming at the employee at the local burger joint (I said NO CHEESE!), maybe you should leave and order a pizza instead.

Air Force Colonel John Boyd devised a situational awareness strategy, called the “OODA Loop”, originally meant for aerial combat. It has practical applications, however, for everyday life. The components of the OODA Loop as it pertains to terror events are:

Observe: Stay at Yellow Alert whenever you’re in a public place where groups of people gather.

Orient: Identify behaviors that are not appropriate for the situation. These anomalies will tell you who and what to keep an eye on.

Decide: Determine the best course of action that will allow your escape or might eliminate the danger altogether.

Act:  Initiate the plan of action and commit to those actions.

It’s difficult to instill a culture of situational awareness in a population, but doing so would save lives. Teaching your kids the basics can help keep them safe, especially if you start early. When you’re out with the kids, tell them to pay attention to what’s going on where you are. Once the family has left the area, ask them how many people were there, what they were wearing, or other details. Ask them what they would have done if something happened. Do this often enough, and it will, hopefully, become common practice. They’ll learn to pay less attention to their smartphones and more to their surroundings.

It would also benefit society if the next generation is taught what to do to help those wounded in a terror attack. In this scenario, law enforcement must pass the wounded by until the terrorist is neutralized. It may surprise you to know this, but there’s someone out there making more casualties, and the police, first and foremost, must abolish the threat. Yet, it’s thought that 1 in 5 deaths from hemorrhage might be avoided with the quick action of bystanders.

It may be time to add a fourth “R” to education. In addition to Reading, (w)Riting, and (a)Rithmatic, Reducing hemorrhage might be a useful thing for kids to learn once they reach a certain age. Indeed, I predict that there will come a time when first aid kits will occupy a space on the walls next to the fire extinguishers and automated defibrillators in schools and other public places.

All this attention to detail may seem paranoid to you, but it’s time to realize that these are dangerous times.  Incorporate situational awareness into a calm, observant mindset and you’ll gain those extra seconds that could mean the difference between life and death in troubled times.

Joe Alton, MD


Learn about active shooters, stab wound management, and mass casualty events in the new 700 page third edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Help is Not on the Way.

Situational Awareness!

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Situational Awareness Are you Aware? Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps” Have you ever been out in public and noticed people walking down the street and see them with their noses in their phones and completely unaware of what is going on around them? I know I have, and I often wondered what these people would … Continue reading Situational Awareness!

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Preppers Need to Continuously Practice Situational Awareness

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

We’ve all been guilty of it at one time or another…our mobile phone rings as we’re exiting a store and, for one reason or another, we decide to continue talking to the caller rather than opting to “call them back”.  As a result, our attention is not 100% focused on our surroundings as we navigate our way through the parking lot to our vehicle. Normally, having our attention diverted to “something else”—even if it’s only to a voice in cyber-space—is “no big deal”. It’s the kind of thing that if we dared mention it to our teens, we’d very likely get the “roll of the eyes” or  “that look” which is commiserate with “whateeeeever, Mom….”

This is one thing that kids just “don’t seem to GET” these days: the need to be AWARE of their surroundings AT ALL TIMES—not JUST when their “public” isn’t screaming for their attention! That is one of the main problems with social media—it sidetracks attention—if only “momentarily”—from the here-and-now.

Most of us have heard about or actually read for ourselves the accounts of people—mainly women, of course—being mugged in parking lots. Frequently, they’ve had infants/children in tow who’ve distracted them, or they were struggling with parcels or other purchases. Perhaps they weren’t even aware of the panel-van that was strategically-parked alongside their car—the sliding-door of the van positioned right beside their driver’s-side door. In barely an instant, the woman is abducted, leaving her child/children abandoned.

We are, essentially, losing an entire generation to the lure and glamour of social media.

Why is situational awareness important?

In a perfect world, all children would learn—and practice—what’s known as “situational awareness”. They would all instinctively know what to do—and the reason for the need—that when they enter a new place that they visually scan the room for fire extinguishers, make mental note of ALL of the room’s potential “exits”, consider if there are any potential “threats” in the room, including unsavory people or any persons who might be dressed in a way that “doesn’t jibe” with either the weather or what others are wearing.

Case in point: several of the “school -shooters” were garbed in long trench-coats on warm, sunny days when such apparel was really inappropriate. The appearance of such an outer-garment SHOULD HAVE alerted someone, as it was unnatural and illogical for someone to be wearing such as that. The truth is, that several “someones” probably DID notice the in-congruence of it, but they failed to say anything to anyone about it and their failure to do so resulted in the deaths of many innocents, indeed, they themselves may have become a statistic due to their inattentiveness or lack of appreciation of the importance of their observation.

How often do we, as parents, make sure that we choose a seat in a restaurant or meeting place that faces the main EXIT? Do we even realize the importance of doing so? We are so much more likely to recognize a potential threat when we “see it coming” our way.  We can identify the odd behavior, the odd or inappropriate apparel, the things that our intuition tells us are “just not right” so that we can act immediately and instinctively to protect ourselves as well as others. We have a much better chance of intervening in a potential catastrophic situation—and protecting not only ourselves but those around us from impending disaster when we face the path of ingress/egress instead of sitting in an opposite-facing seat.

Once we’ve identified a potential threat, we need to know and understand our “options”. What should we choose to do about it? Do we have “escape options” or would it be better to “hide”? As parents, we inherently know the difference between “hiding”, also known as concealment, and “taking cover.” Hiding under a table or behind a chair would do little to protect me, personally, from the danger of any attack, much less gunfire, though it might conceal me from a bad guy IF and only IF said bad-guy had incredibly-bad eyesight! It might, however, be the perfect hiding-place for one of my more diminutive grandsons!

Know the difference between concealment and cover

“Concealment” is defined, quite simply as hiding behind or under something. It’s quite possible that that particular hiding place might conceal me or one of my precious grandsons from a “bad guy”, yes, but simple concealment is no protection from a bullet.

When someone yells for you to, “Take cover!”, it means for you to immediately hide behind or under something that offers real protection from gunfire. This could be a concrete or brick wall, such as found in many commercial buildings nowadays. Typically, the kinds of metal doors found in many buildings prove to be better cover than is a wooden door of any kind. And if there happens to be a metal filing cabinet nearby that can be pushed up against said door, so much the better!

The truth is that we need to take responsibility for and be pro-active about what happens in our day-to-day lives. It’s way more than just teaching our children! If we will personally be assertive enough to make sure that we procure that door-facing seat for ourselves—even to the point of asking our waitress to seat us at a different table—or being willing to wait for a different table to become available, if that is the only option—we can INFLUENCE our children and even those around us positively. Our kids will understand the importance of why we’re making those choices and, just possibly, they’ll begin to make those same choices for themselves—but we must take the effort to explain our actions so that they can develop an understanding.

After all, by very definition, it’s when we least expect it that “unexpected things” occur.  Right? If we had any idea that something life-threatening or catastrophic would happen, we wouldn’t even be leaving our house that day, would we?

Please, too, be assertive when joining a friend who’s chosen the “more-desirable” seat…ask them to please exchange places with you and explain that it’s part of your “mitigation” training—to always have “eyes-on” the door—for their protection as well as your own. This revelation can be the beginning of a very worthwhile and life-changing conversation with your friend. One never knows whose life will be impacted positively by imparting such knowledge. And, truly, the life that is saved may be that of someone you love.

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Video: The OODA Loop of Situational Awareness

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Are you safe here?

In this companion video to a previous article, Joe Alton, MD, aka Dr. Bones, discusses a fighter pilot strategy that might save your life in a terror event. Originally meant for aerial dogfights, the OODA loop was developed by Colonel John Boyd and has been used in everything from business to active shooter scenarios. Incorporating the OODA loop into your mindset will help instill the culture of readiness that is so important in the New Normal of the uncertain future.

To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best of help in good times or bad,


Joe and Amy Alton


The Altons

How a Fighter Pilot’s Strategy Could Save Your Life: The OODA Loop

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It’s pretty clear in these uncertain times that there’s a New Normal out there. There will always be the possibility of a terror event or shooting whenever crowds of people gather. Almost daily, a terrorist or madman causes death and destruction somewhere. If you learn to be situationally aware, you won’t be a soft target for these savages.

ooda loop graphic

the OODA loop


The basics of situational awareness are described in what is called the OODA Loop. It was first devised by Air Force fighter pilot Colonel John Boyd. Originally meant to help in an aerial dogfight, it’s useful in all sorts of settings. The four steps of the OODA Loop are: Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. It’s a loop because you go back to the observe step after you act, to determine if the situation has resolved or if further action is needed.


Observe: Yellow Alert

yellow alert image

Stay at Yellow Alert when in crowds

You’ve heard of red alert, but let’s go to yellow alert as our stance in most cases. Yellow alert is best described as “relaxed awareness.” you have your head up and scanning the surroundings with all your senses. Most people associate situational awareness with what they can see, but you also learn a lot from the sounds (or lack thereof) and even smells in the environment.


It’s important to stay relaxed. Staying relaxed ensures that you remain focused on the important aspects of the environment, but not to the exclusion of new factors that might arise.


Put yourself in a position for optimal observation. You need to be able to take in as much of your surroundings as possible. When you enter any environment, place yourself so that you can see as much of the area in question. If it’s a restaurant, have a view of the exits (maybe a table by a wall). You might not be able to choose which table to sit at, but you can pick a chair which gives you the best view of what’s going on.

 observe view ooda

Orient: Baselines and Anomalies


Being observant, however, isn’t enough. You have to know what you’re looking for and then put that information into context. The Orient step establishes baselines and anomalies for a particular environment and the human behaviors that match it or don’t.


Whatever setting you’re in, establish a baseline. A baseline is what’s “normal” in a given situation, and it’s different for different instances. For example, the baseline at Starbucks is people reading books working on their computer, or talking with friends. The baseline at a rock concert would be loud music and people jumping up and down and shouting. If someone is jumping up and down and shouting at Starbucks, that’s what we call an anomaly.


Anomalies are things that should happen in a situation but don’t or things that do happen but shouldn’t, and are what we need to focus on. Questions you might ask yourself in a crowd: What’s the general mood? How should people be behaving? Who is doing something that’s different from the norm?


For example, is someone acting in an aggressive manner? Most people are in submissive mode normally. We all want to get along, after all. If someone is at a burger joint, screaming at the guy behind the counter “I said no cheese, you idiot!”, that’s someone to keep an eye on.


Is someone acting too interested in something that ordinarily wouldn’t catch their attention? If you see a guy staring at the garbage can in your workplace, that’s an anomaly. If they’re too uninterested, though, that’s also something that’s not normal. Say there’s a ticking suitcase in the middle of the mall, and only one person isn’t paying attention to it, that’s an anomaly.

batman and robin

Gee Whiz, Batman! That guy looks like an anomaly!

Perhaps the most significant anomaly is someone that’s acting uncomfortable in a place where everyone is relaxed. People appear uncomfortable in many ways. One of them is constantly checking their “six”; that is, always looking nervously behind them. If someone is constantly looking over their shoulder, that’s an anomaly and deserves your attention. That’s not to say that everyone who’s uncomfortable is a threat. They might be late for work, for example, or just had an argument with a significant other. Still, you might want to keep an eye on them.


On the other hand, someone who’s comfortable when others are in a panic, such as videos of the Boston Marathon bombers showed, could be someone who expected the disaster to occur.


You might take a look at what people are doing with their hands. Law enforcement often wants to see the hands of someone they’re suspicious of. People who are constantly patting a pocket or reaching inside a jacket, especially if a jacket isn’t warranted for the weather, could be concealing a weapon or worse.


Decide and Act


Once you decided that there’s an anomaly that might represent a threat, have a plan of action to counter it. If a guy with a gun shows up at your workplace, the best course of action might be to hoof it out of there. If he’s right next to you and escape is unlikely, however, your best choice might be to act to incapacitate him.


To recap: Observe the situation. Orient to establish baselines and look for anomalies. Decide on an action. Act.


All this attention to detail may seem paranoid to you, but it’s time to realize that these are dangerous times. Incorporate a constant state of Yellow alert by putting away those smartphones and incorporate the OODA loop whenever you’re in a crowd. Do this and you’ll be situationally aware enough to gain extra time that could mean the difference between life and death.

Joe Alton, MD


Joe Alton, MD

Human Nature: The most dangerous survival lesson of all

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Human Nature- Dangerous LessonI grew up and spent a good deal of time with petty criminals, a handful of whom had a dangerous human nature. Maybe that doesn’t say much for me, or maybe it does, because it quickly hit home with me that I preferred being a law-abiding citizen rather than a law-breaker. For any number of reasons, the law enforcement career I had planned on just didn’t happen, but over the years, I’ve spent more time learning about and observing criminals than most civilians.

It’s been eye-opening, to say the least. As a psychology major, I was able to learn even more about how the criminal mind works, as explained in this excellent book by a former FBI profiler.

The other day, my wife mentioned a Facebook article she had read and said it had really hit home what we could be facing as the fabric of our society continues to break down. The author, Greg Ellifritz, is a veteran police officer and tactical trainer for his central Ohio agency. He knows more than a thing or two about the criminal mind. He writes:

Our thief today is homeless. He’s 32 years old and overweight. He’s a regular consumer of crack cocaine. He has no job and no place to live. He sometimes stays at friends’ apartments, but his permanent address is a local homeless shelter. The sum total of his possessions consisted of a change of clothes, a broken phone, and less than $4 cash.

When I asked the man why he stole the bike, his comment was enlightening:

“I took it because I have the chance to stay at my friend’s place tonight instead of the shelter. My friend lives in (the next town over) and it would be about a four hour walk to get there. It rained all day yesterday and it looks like it’s going to rain some more today. I just didn’t want to spend four hours walking in the fucking rain and getting soaking wet again. I figured a bike would be faster.”

He continued by saying: “I knew it was wrong to steal the bike, but I just don’t care. I didn’t want to get wet no more. I saw an opportunity and I took it. I’d do the same thing all over again if I got the chance. Biking is just faster than walking.”

A petty crime, important to no one, really, except the owner of the bicycle. The point that Greg is trying to hit home, though, is how criminals never give a thought to the person whose life is affected by their actions. If they see something they want and you own it, you become just an obstacle in their way. They may violently push you aside, if you’re lucky, or kill you. What they want at that moment is more importat than your life will ever be, to them.

Greg goes on to explain:

This is what most folks don’t understand about serious criminals. The fact that the victim of the crime would be affected in a negative manner is not even an afterthought. Your feelings and concerns mean absolutely NOTHING to the criminal. He doesn’t care if you live or die, let alone how “inconvenienced” you will be if he takes all of your stuff or beats you within an inch of your life. If you literally had ZERO concern about the well being of your neighbors and fellow humans, what kind of atrocities would you be capable of committing? That’s something that few people consider.

Unfortunately, the majority of the hard core criminals I encounter feel the same way. You are literally nothing more than an obstacle they must overcome to achieve their goal. Most of the serious criminals out there think you and I are merely pawns on the chessboard of life. They will destroy everything you know and love if it means that they will benefit in the wake of the destruction. You are completely expendable in their eyes.

Recognize that. Recognize also that we aren’t going to be able to “fix” many of these criminals. They are out there among us every day and can’t be avoided.

This worries me when I consider TEOTWAWKI type scenarios, because during those days, months, or perhaps years, there may be no law enforcement at all. Some people like to use the acronym WROL, Without Rule of Law, to describe such a world. Those who have criminal impulses, maybe even instincts, but have been held back because they fear arrest and prison, won’t have those restraints anymore.

Today we mostly have to worry about a relatively small number of criminals, some petty, some hardened. We can add a security system to our homes, be constantly aware of our surroundings, teach our kids situational awareness and self-defense — but what if, someday in the not too distant future, ordinary Americans join these ranks because their families are starving, and they have lost absolutely everything? Might you become expendable in their eyes?

This is a depressing scenario to think about, much less discuss, because most of us want to believe that during hard times, like the Great Depression, most people will rise to the occasion and nobly help their fellow man. One of my favorite books about that era tells real life stories of a people who gave selflessly, were optimistic, and banded together to endure har times.

Based on current trends, I don’t think we live in that country anymore, except for specific, isolated areas. Even a greater level of danger when you consider who has crossed into America — members of ISIS? Members of the most violent gangs in South America? Hardened drug criminals from Mexico? No one really knows.

Greg did provide a very small ray of hope with a few suggestions for avoiding becoming a victim to criminals of all types:

  1. Harden anything the criminal might target. Put a fence around it, post a home security system sign, do anything to cause a criminal to think that the risk isn’t worth it.
  2. Make all targets appear undesirable. Maybe having the fanciest looking house in the neighborhood wasn’t such a good idea. When we bought our current house, what I liked about it was that it’s a one-story, surrounded by very nice looking two-story houses. It’s set back from the road a way and is painted in muted colors. That doesn’t mean we’ll never be targeted, but honestly, from the outside, we sure don’t look all that attractive to thieves.
  3. At a personal level, make yourself look undesirable as a target. Make eye contact. Walk with a strong, confident stride. NO electronics when you’re out in public. No flashy jewelry or expensive looking clothes. Getting killed for a pair of expensive Nikes just isn’t worth it.

We need to teach our kids these practices as well. I have one kid who has been a “gray man” since she hit 8 or 9 years of age and another one who loves the flashy lifestyle and impressing people with cool clothes and electronics. We use stories in the news and that we hear about from other families to gently explain to our kids how to avoid becoming a victim. I’ve also used the example I read a while back in this article to teach my kids to identify potential predators.

Above all, acknowledge that evil exists. I don’t worry too much about hurting someone’s feeling by recognizing what they do is evil and some people are just evil to the core. It’s normalcy bias, as explained in this article, that tries to convince us a certain person, group, or event is just fine in spite of our gut saying that it’s not.

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How to Develop the Situational Awareness of Jason Bourne

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Situational awareness isn’t something anyone can do whenever they want–it takes practice. Even if you start paying attention to your surroundings, you still won’t notice if you’re being watched or followed if you don’t know what to look for. Situational awareness isn’t just observation, it’s also orientation. What is orientation? It has to do with […]

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American Survival Radio #18

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American Survival Radio

American Survival Radio is Joe and Amy Alton’s second and latest podcast, focused on current events, health, and politics. It is separate and distinct from The Survival Medicine Hour, which continues as before focused mostly on health issues as they pertain to preparedness and survival.  If you’re interested in Survival, your own and that of your country, we bet you’ll like both!

In this episode of American Survival Radio, Joe and Amy Alton discuss the just completed Republican convention, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Also, Zika virus throws health officials some curves with cases of female-to male transmission, caregiver infections, and possibly local infections being reported. A total of 400 U.S. pregnancies infected with Zika virus have been identified, with 12 babies born with birth defects so far. An equal number are being followed in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

Plus, Dr. Alton talks about the truck attack in Nice, France, and how being “situationally aware” may save your life in a terror attack. What do you have to do to change your mindset and instill a culture of readiness, not victimization, in the general public and, especially, our next generation?

All this and more in (click to listen) American Survival Radio #18!

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

Video: Situational Awareness in Terror Attacks

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Boston Marathon

Terror events: Part of the New Normal

In this companion video to a recent article, Joe Alton, MD tell you how being “situationally aware” could save your life in a terror event. It seems that a day doesn’t go by without some heinous action by terrorist cells, and this video discusses how we can replace a culture of victimization with one of readiness for any disaster. We now know that terror events can happen anywhere, anytime: Malls, schools, nightclubs, holiday celebrations, and more. Throughout the world, no one who ventures into a crowd is safe anywhere. It pays to be aware of your surroundings. Situational awareness could save your life.

To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,


Joe and Amy Alton


Joe and Amy Alton

How To Know If Its About To Get Stupid In A Public Place

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The situation: You are out in public. Maybe you’re simply walking the sidewalk. Maybe you’re sitting in an establishment having something to eat. Maybe you’re shopping. No matter where you are in a public environment with others around, how do you know if it’s about ‘to get stupid’… in other words, how do you tell […]

Situational Awareness Could Save Your Life

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On France’s equivalent of Independence Day, a large truck plowed through a large crowd in the southern city of Nice and engaged in a gunfight with police. Bystanders noted that the truck appeared to accelerate into the festive throng, killing dozens and injuring many more.

It seems that you can’t read the news without a report of a terror event somewhere, and it’s clear that there will be more to come. Although we don’t know the exact circumstances at this early stage, I believe that this is just part and parcel of what I’ve called the New Normal in recent articles.

I’ve mentioned the concept of “situational awareness” as a way to decrease your chances of becoming a victim in future terror attacks. In these days of Pokemon Go and other smartphone distractions, you’re seeing more and more people not paying attention to their surroundings. In the past, this might get you a bump on the head for walking into a lamp post. In today’s world, however, it could cost you your life.

Situation awareness involves understanding what’s going on in your immediate vicinity that might be hazardous to your health. I don’t mean second-hand smoke here; I’m talking about knowing what dangers may exist that you can avoid or abolish with your actions. Especially important for soldiers in a combat zone, it’s now become just as important for the average citizen in any large crowd.

In an area at risk (anyplace where multitudes of people gather), simple things might save your life. Things like not having your hoodie up, which can be like blinders on a horse. Things like making a mental note of the nearest exit at the mall. Things like looking around for people who are nervous or, perhaps, dressed too warm for the weather. The situationally aware person will have the best chance to plan an escape when an attack occurs.

In Nice, France, the terrorists waited for the crowd to be distracted by fireworks. Spectators who had their eyes glued to the sky wouldn’t have time to react, and this greatly increased the casualty count. The situationally aware person would always be looking around for possible threats, and these days in France, the threats are everywhere.

In such a crowd, it would pay to be at the fringes and not in the middle. Having a wall to your back would eliminate a danger that might come at you from behind. Indoors, for example, in a movie theatre, you want a view of the exits as well as the screen. If someone is behaving strangely, move away from them. If someone is screaming at the employee at the local burger joint (I said NO CHEESE!), maybe you should leave and order a pizza instead.

It’s difficult to instill a culture of situational awareness in a population, but it can be done if you start early. When you’re out with the kids, tell them to pay attention to what’s going on where you are. Once the family has left the area, ask them how many people were there, what they were wearing, or other details. Ask them what they would have done if there was an attack. Do this often enough, and they may begin to pay less attention to their smartphones and more to their surroundings.

All this attention to detail may seem paranoid to you, but it’s time to realize that these are dangerous times.  Incorporate situational awareness into a calm, observant mindset and you’ll gain those extra seconds that could have meant the difference between life and death for so many in Nice.

Joe Alton, MD


How To Choose The Best Safest Seat In A Restaurant Or Public Place

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Whether being seated in a restaurant or some other public place, those who are in tune with ‘situational awareness’ will run through a set of criteria in their mind before settling upon a particular best, safest, seat. Why would anyone care about how to choose a so called ‘safest’ seat? Answer: Because being in a […]

Current Events and Prepper Awareness

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Recently, there were two incidents which I feel preppers should stop and take stock of. Situational awareness is broader than just your immediate surroundings, it is the world we live in and the trends swirling around us every day.

The post Current Events and Prepper Awareness appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

How Will You Get Home Post-Collapse?

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Have you noticed a trend in the prepping community? It’s not new, yet it could mean the end of many folks who might not make it in the coming collapse. I’m talking, of course, about the tendency to buy tools and gear and ignore survival skills and think about disaster scenarios. Today I want to […]

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Martial Law Survival Strategies You Should Know – By Bob Rodgers

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June 25, 2015 by Bob Rodgers We live in uncertain times and with constant threats knocking at our doors. One day, we might live under Martial Law and although the use of Martial law should bring end to the scenario that imposed it, most of the times it will lead to further violence and chaos. … Continue reading Martial Law Survival Strategies You Should Know – By Bob Rodgers

Situational Awareness, 12 Things You Need to Know

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situational awarenessThis morning I have been thinking about situational awareness and how my perspective has changed over the years.  Twenty plus years ago before I retired I was very aware of what went on around me.  Situational awareness was something that was foremost in my mind.

Today I have come to the conclusion that without the constant reminders that we used to receive, I have dropped my guard to a large degree.  This is a mistake, I need to step up my game and pay much more awareness to situational awareness.  In the town in which I live, homelessness is becoming a problem and street crimes are up.

So today I want to list a few ideas that I need to put back into my life and maybe they will help you.  Basically, it is knowing what is occurring around you and using the information to avoid trouble.

  • Never sit with your back to the door in public buildings. Make sure you have an unobstructed view of who is approaching you,  preferable with your back to the wall..
  • Always know where the exits are.
  • When walking down the city street, know who is behind you. You can often use the store windows to see behind you.  Always watch your back.
  • Don’t be obviously looking over your shoulder. But pay attention to somebody who is, that is unusual.
  • Pay attention to anything out of the ordinary.
  • Don’t walk around looking at your cell phone. Some guy in Southern Ca. was so engrossed in his the other day he walked off a cliff.
  • It is not just people; you pay attention too, what about that strange backpack sitting on the street corner.
  • Know what is normal in the area you are at.
  • Look for people who are acting pushy, authoritative, overbearing, uncomfortable or just out of place.
  • Watch the hands, if people are armed with a gun or a knife they will often pat the area to be sure it is still there.
  • If you see a dangerous situation starting, don’t be afraid to walk away and call someone.
  • When you are driving pay attention to your rear and see if anyone is following you.

Now this is very basic information and it sounds simple, but to get good at it you need to practice.  Most people start out by trying to have their head on a swivel and end up attracting attention.  Don’t be obvious.  When you leave an area talk to your wife or children and see what they noticed.  You can make a game of this.  Don’t look like you are paranoid, but at the same time be a little paranoid.  I intend to start paying more attention to what is going on around me; I suggest that you do the same.


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26 Basic Life Skills: Survival Skills for All Ages, a book series

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26 Basic Life Skills-

A major component of being well prepared for whatever life may bring is building a repertoire of skills and a bank of knowledge. If you’re on a journey to enrich your own life and become better prepared, check out this new book series by Liz Long, a long-time contributor to The Survival Mom blog.

26 Basic Life Skills is the first book in a new series (Survival Skills for All Ages) that covers important skills to survive and thrive in life. Some, such as trusting your instincts, are really the same in every day life as well as in an emergency. Others, like doing laundry, can change drastically in an emergency. A few, such as staying warm when your heating system goes out, can be an emergency in and of themselves.

Beginning with 26 Basic Life Skills and then continuing through the additional books in the series, each skill is covered first from the point of view of every day life, then from how it might be different in an emergency. Even something like having your heating system go out can either be the result of your furnace being broken or a complete power outage, leaving you with no on-grid way to stay warm and no way to use any other electrical device or appliance.

The 26 chapters are divided into 5 parts, or categories. Every chapter ends with an activity to help practice that skill, a five question True/False quiz, and a series of resources to deepen your knowledge. These resources include online articles, books, related Scouting badges (BSA and GSUSA), and videos that provide more detailed information and fun activities to reinforce the topic.

To give you an idea of what you’ll find in this new book, here’s a sneak peek:

Part 1: Basic Survival Life Skills

These life skills are so basic, almost no one talks about them. Trust your instincts. Know who to trust. Be aware of your surroundings (situational awareness). Practice problem solving and plan ahead. Dress for the weather. Stay physically fit.

Situational awareness and staying fit are both discussed a lot in prepping, but not necessarily in practical terms for regular people. Situational awareness is about more than recognizing someone trying to steal your purse or break into your compound. It’s about being aware of what is going on around you, in general, and noticing things that are out of the ordinary.

Rather than just talking about the need to move and be healthy, the focus on physical fitness from a survival stand point is on activities that can help you get fit and be better prepared for emergencies at the same time. Activities like hiking, biking, and backpacking are all fun, enhance fitness, and are good for emergency preparedness.

Other basics discussed in this chapter are learning to trust your instincts and knowing who to trust. What I was impressed with was how thoroughly each skill is covered, with examples from Liz’s own experiences and family life.

Once you cover these basics, it’s time to move on to what most consider the basics: Food and water.

Part 2: Food and Water

As much as we all want to believe we never have to worry about safe drinking water, the news periodically proves that is not true.

Learn about important fundamental skills in these chapters. Does your family know how to determine if water is (or can be made) potable? Do you know uses for non-potable water? What about skills needed to grow food and then preserve it for future use?

Now that you have food and water, do your kids know how to make it into a meal?

Part 3: Cooking and Cleaning

The first step in making a meal isn’t cleaning or cutting up the food. It’s meal planning – deciding what to have, preferably in advance. This task doesn’t sound like much fun until you realize that whoever plans the meals knows that they will like (or at least not hate) what’s for dinner!

The next concern is food safety. Food must be kept at a safe temperature and handled with care. An oft-forgotten part of food safety becomes very important in an emergency situation: Recognizing and disposing of spoiled food. Of course, hygiene and sanitation are part of this as well.

Once you have the meal planned and understand basic sanitation and food safety, it’s time to actually prepare the food. Do your kids know something as simple as how to measure food without making a mess? Do they know the difference between chopping, dicing, and mincing? Can they use basic hand tools such as a whisk or an egg beater, or kitchen appliances such as a slow cooker or food processor? I have used a whisk for decades, but I still learned something new while writing this book  from a video that demonstrates how using a side-to-side motion is more efficient than a circular one. For the many people who rely on electric appliances, this is a good refresher on basic hand tools in the kitchen.

The life skills in this section can not only be useful in everyday, non-emergency life, but should be used in everyday life. Kids may not be planning meals for the whole family but there is no reason they can’t plan their own lunches. Even kindergardners can choose from a list of choices to build their own menu and look at the school menu to decide what days they really want to buy lunch.

Anyone who messes up on basic sanitation or disposing of spoiled food may end up sick. How do you handle that?

Part 4: Health and First Aid

In this section, chapters 17-20 detail basic and not-so-basic skills that help insure safety and good health.

Calling 911 seems so basic that including instructions for it must be a joke, but consider this: What do you tell (and not tell) the operator when they pick up? Do your kids know what to say? Many cell phones automatically call 911 for the area closest to the billing address. What do you do if you are traveling?

Do your kids (and your spouse) know about family medical issues? Can they rattle off a list of who is allergic to what and how they respond (rash, anaphylaxis, etc.)? Do they know where to find this information in case of emergency? Do they know where to find critical medical items including epi-pens and insulin?

Many home remedies, and a lot of basic first aid, are so simple even preschoolers can handle them. Aloe vera for a burn, cayenne pepper for a heart attack, Epsom salts for sore muscles: These are just a few of the many easy, proven home remedies everyone should know.

A discussion of common first aid classes rounds out Part 4.

Part 5: Miscellaneous Survival Skills

Like most of the life skills in this book, these are skills most of us need in daily life. Sewing, swimming, safe knife use, and surviving without any heat in the house are clear examples of this.

Sewing can be as simple as re-attaching a button or fixing a tear, or as complex as a beaded, multi-tiered custom wedding gown, but it all starts from a few basic skills. There is no need for fancy, expensive machinery. Remember, the complex gowns of the late 1800s were all created with, at most, a very basic machine.

Safe knife use may not seem like an important skill in daily life if whittling and outdoor use are the only things that come to mind. When you consider how much we use knives in the kitchen, it doesn’t take long to see how important it is in daily life.

Other skills covered in this final chapter are how to build survival packs and how to safely and appropriately react to the sound of gunfire — a skill that is sadly needed in today’s world.

These 26 basic life skills aren’t complicated or exotic, but they are important in everyday life and emergencies. I recommend 26 Basic Life Skills: Survival Skills as a manual that can guide you and your family toward better preparedness. It’s well researched and provides lists of additional resources for deeper learning. Add this one to your family library of survival books!

Want to win a copy for yourself?

26 Basic Life Skills-FB size

Test Your Situational Awareness By Watching These Short Videos…

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Situational Awareness (a semi-regular topic here) is a condition that is GREATLY lacking among the common public at large. It makes sense I suppose, given our modern society filled with safety nets. There’s little reason to hone one’s situational awareness skills. Or is there? It does seem that as we descend further into socioeconomic decline […]

How to Develop Your Situational Awareness Skills

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One of the most important parts of preparedness and survival (or surviving emergencies) and one of the major keys to keeping yourself safe is Situational Awareness. For those of you that don’t already know, Situational Awareness is when you are observant of your surroundings and are aware of what’s going on around you at all times.

Developing your situational awareness skill set will not only bring you better insights in the present moment, but will also help you assess resources and hazards in your everyday surroundings and community.

I once read somewhere that approximately 90 percent of the threats and attacks you could potentially face are preventable; therefore by implementing the techniques described in the article below you can take actions to improve your situation, increase your resilience in various scenarios and keep yourself safe!

Read more at…. How to Develop Your Situational Awareness Skills

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Situational Awareness: It Could Save Your Life

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Situational Awareness Save Life

Woman accused of intentionally driving her car into a crowd of pedestrians along the Las Vegas Strip Sunday night December 20, 2015. One dead and 37 injured. This after 14 killed in San Bernardino California and after 130 killed the Paris attacks.

These events make us all wonder if it is safe to go out in public anymore. Public places are probably as safe, or as dangerous as they have always been however. There are, of course, parts of any city that are more dangerous than other areas. As a tourist or a resident, you would know or should take the time to know what areas to avoid, but what about your local mall, your local grocery store, your bank, which by all accounts appear to be safe environments in which you feel comfortable.

As we have stated in previous articles it can be just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You can however, reduce your risks while out in public by simply paying attention to your surroundings and by avoidance.

Avoid the middle of the crowd. You have nowhere to go if trapped in a crowd. Work along the edges of a crowd so you have a clear view in all directions and can move to a safe area if something happens.

If you are buried in the crowd and someone plows their vehicle into the crowd, you could be injured or killed by panicked people stampeding, and not to mention killed by a 2,000 pound vehicle. The person that rammed their car into the crowd in Las Vegas allegedly did so several times. You would apply the same tactics when in a movie theater, restaurant, or a mall.

There you are crushed in the crowd and nowhere to run after a driver has already hit a dozen or so pedestrians and now you see the car getting ready to slam the crowd again. You were knocked to the ground by others, and your leg is hurt, your arm aches and your head is swirling from the impact with the ground, this is not where you want to be when there is an attacker that has not finished their work. You should be on the move in the opposite direction.

Do not go out in public drunk or buzzed, or under the influence of any drugs, prescription or otherwise, that may impair your thinking. There are those that intentionally prey on people that are obviously impaired by alcohol or drugs. If you are not thinking clearly then you are not paying attention.

Do not let the crowd dictate your actions. People get together, have a few drinks and the next thing you know someone in the group is pushing the envelope, pushing others to get more daring and soon enough you are no longer watching your surroundings. You are being led by someone that does not have any self control.

This is not to say that you or anyone could have stopped the horrific vehicular attack along the Vegas strip, but by paying attention you may be able to avoid certain dangerous situations. The thing about attacks is if you are not the first victim, then the sounds of gunshots and screams of injured are the alarms that go off warning you to take action to save your life. This is unfortunate, because there is always a first victim, but that first shot or screech of tires and the sounds of metal impacting a human body are your warning bells, and you have to react.

You can’t, and for the most part most people will not avoid public places. If you and others did avoid all public places the cities and towns you live in would dry up and blow away. There may be times when you should not go out, and you always need to give careful thought to where you are going, how to get there, and ask yourself can I get home on foot or by other means if something happens, and my vehicle is not accessible.

Percentage wise your chances of getting killed in a terrorist attack is low, much lower than your chances of being killed in a car crash, dying of a heart attack, falling down the stairs at home and we could go on, but this means nothing if you are actually involved in an attack.

Like it or not you do have to change some habits to meet the challenges in today’s world. Anything can happen to anyone at any time. Threats evolve, and you have to evolve along with them. Fair or not it is the reality. You as an American can come and go as you please with certain limitations of course, but while coming and going as you please, pay attention to the comings and goings of others.

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Report: Terror Cells In America: 100 Disposable Cell Phones Purchased In Missouri: “These People Were Foreign Speaking”

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By Mac Slavo –

In the aftermath of the San Bernardino massacre we noted that the available information at the time suggested that there were more people involved than just Farook and Malik. Though the FBI along with their mainstream mouthpiece were careful not to implicate Islamic terrorists and instead chose to refer to the incident as an act of “workplace violence,” The Daily Sheeple reported within hours that police scanners identified one of the suspects as a male of middle eastern descent.

As more information became available it became clear that the attack was inspired by the Islamic State, that more people were likely involved and that the intent here was premeditated Jihad. We made a similar assessment following the Parisian attacks, noting that unbridled immigration into the European Union meant that scores of terrorists were likely hiding among the migrants. That assessment has now been confirmed, as within the last 24 hours authorities in Switzerland arrested two Syrian passport holders for the transportation of explosives and toxic gases. Moreover, their counterparts in France last week seized “a lot” of war-grade weapons during raids on mosques and residences.

And while many Americans may think that San Bernardino was an isolated incident for which widespread firearms bans are the solution, the fact is that terror cells are actively operating on U.S. soil.

The latest incident that highlights just how serious the terror threat may be comes from Missouri, where witnesses report that a number of foreign speaking males have purchased as many as 100 disposable cell phones from at least three separate Walmart locations, but possibly as many as six. And if that’s not enough, also in Missouri, police report that scores of propane tanks have been stolen from various locations.

Missouri police are investigating after at least 100 cellphones were purchased at three Walmarts during the past week


“It’s not right, it doesn’t make any sense,” a witness, who did not want to be identified, told ABC 17 about a sale in Columbia. “Who’s going to order 50 phones for Christmas? Who does that?”

The first reported purchase happened Friday night, when several men bought dozens of phones around 9:30 p.m. at a Columbia Walmart, ABC 17 reported. The men paid in cash, according to a witness.

Then, just before 4 a.m. on Saturday, two men bought about 60 phones in Lebanon, according to KSPR. Police were called and interviewed the men, but did not detain them.

“These people were, they were foreign-speaking,” said Laclede County Sheriff Wayne Merritt, who encouraged citizens to call the cops if they observed odd activity. “You need to take notice. You need to let us know about it, because it doesn’t hurt to check on it. You’re not being racist or anything like that. You’re just protecting yourself.”

Via Fox News

Utilizing disposable cell phones is a tried and true method for drug dealers to keep police of their scent, but even they know to make their cell phone purchases in small quantities. Further, the cell phones purchased in Missouri were reportedly purchased by foreign speaking men.  This suggests that someone may be looking to keep their communications hidden from intelligence agencies.

Couple that with reports of propane tanks being stolen in Missouri and it’s quite possible that someone is planning an attack, perhaps even utilizing their newly acquired cell phones to detonate improvised explosives devices remotely:

A large number of propane tanks have been stolen from several locations near Kansas City.

WDAF-TV reports that a BP gas station in Lee’s Summit had 18-20 tanks stolen from outside cages last month. A CVS reported the same crime on the same night. Two weeks later another CVS in Independence was hit and 28 tanks were stolen from that location.

The FBI says it is up to law enforcement to connect the dots.

There are, of course, any number of reasons for why someone might want to steal a bunch of propane tanks and killing innocent civilians is one of them. Considered with the cell phone purchases in mind, connecting the dots may not be that difficult of a challenge. Even on their own the bulk cell phone purchases themselves are highly suspicious, especially if the people who purchased them didn’t speak English.

Regardless of the above, one thing is for certain: there are terrorist cells operating in America right here and now.

The connections that the San Bernardino terrorists had with others who knew of their activities confirm this. Second, we know for a fact that individuals with ties to terrorist have crossed into the United States via our porous Southern border. This has been confirmed by law enforcement personnel and most recently by the capture of at least eight Syrian refugees in Texas.

Right now somewhere in America those who mean to do us harm are actively planning, collaborating and preparing for Jihad operations. Those operations are designed to kill as many people as they can including you, your family members and friends.

The time for platitudes and half-measures is over. It’s time for Americans to prepare for worst case scenarios – including but not limited to eliminating a terror threat in real time should it happen to you.

As controversial Presidential candidate Donald Trump has warned, “we are at war.” That is the mindset we must have should we ever come face-to-face with a Jihadist.

They are prepared for war.

Are you?

[Image Credit: Captured by U.S. Army 1st Lt. Chris Heathscott, the above image shows an improvised cell phone trigger device seized during a raid in Taji, Iraq in 2004. Via Blackfive)

This article first appeared at Report: Terror Cells In America: 100 Disposable Cell Phones Purchased In Missouri: “These People Were Foreign Speaking”

Also Read:

Prepare For Anything: A Step-By-Step Guide

More Attacks Are Coming: “The Intent Here Was Jihad And It Was Carefully Premeditated And Planned”

Chemical Weapons Plot Foiled In Switzerland; War-Grade Weapons Seized in France

Report: Terrorists Captured At Mexico Border… But Homeland Security Denies Any “Credible Threats”


Filed under: Civil Unrest / War, News/ Current Events

Situational Awareness=Staying Alive

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Radar2Note= As I began writing this, the Muslim terrorist attack in California began. It is time to wake up and stay awake in more ways than one people. There are no more civilians in this religious war that has been fostered on us. There never really were. The world is an increasingly dangerous place. Violent crime, expanding terrorist attacks, and the increasing possibility of economic collapse are all wake up calls to anyone with two brain cells working in tandem.  There are no magic bullets to keep you safe at all times. But there are techniques you can develop to give you the best chance. And that’s what it is all about.

Situational awareness is a topic that has been studied and written about for years. As a military and security professional, I have seen countless times where people have been killed or seriously injured because they walked right into a situation that they should have seen coming, and didn’t. The practice of situational awareness would have prevented much of this.

situational awarnessSo exactly what is situational awareness? It is paying attention to what is going on around you. But it much more than that. It is also the ability to recognize when things are not normal, draw the proper conclusion about the anomaly, and make the correct decision as to how to respond, and then acting on that decision. Situational awareness can be developed by understanding one concept and employing one basic technique. The technique is staying in Condition Yellow in the Color Codes of Awareness and the concept is Boyd’s OODA Loop.

The Color Codes of Awarenesscooper-color-code-definition

I wrote a more in depth article on this subject titled Defensive Mindset. The Color Codes.  But for our purposes here, it is important to learn to stay in Condition Yellow. This is a state of mind best describes as relaxed alertness. It is not paranoia. It is the state of  mind that a good driver is in. Head up and moving, checking the mirrors for what is behind and to the sides as well as what is at a distance up ahead. You are aware of what is going on around you 360 degrees and you are prepared to react to any immediate situation. This is the mental mindset you need to cultivate and stay in.  It takes practice, and later we will go over some techniques. If you really don’t understand the various mindsets as labeled by color, I urge you to read the article I linked to above. O.K., so you learn to pay attention to what is going on around you. So what more is required?

Boyd’s OODA Loop

Col. John Boyd

Col. John Boyd

For an in-depth discussion of this, I refer you to my article Boyd’s OODA Loop. No It’s Not A Cereal. Col. John Boyd was a fighter pilot who did a serious study of why fighter pilots won or lost a dog fight. The results of his study gave him a logical system that is applicable in any endeavor in life whether a one on one gunfight, a serious financial negotiation, or avoiding being done in by Achmed trying to get his 72 virgins. Lets analyse OODA.

Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.

OBSERVE= What is going on around you. Especially if it is something happening that concerns you,

ORIENT= Yourself to the situation. This may be a physical orientation, or a quick mental change based on factors such as long-term memory, training, past experiences, and your genetic heritage.

DECIDE= On a course of action based on your understanding of the situation.

ACT= On that decision.

situational awareness._You then start over as the situation developes. This mental process is a continuum of beginning at Observe and working your way through the situation, and the idea is to get inside an adversaries (or situations) loop. So how does this work in real life? A quick example= Terrorist points a gun at you (he has Observed you, Oriented on you, Decided to shoot you, and is now Acting on that decision).  He is committed to an action and you need to disrupt and get inside his loop. You do something unexpected like throw your keys at his face while attempting to escape or fight. You just got inside his loop because now he has to process what you are doing that he didn’t expect and go through the OODA process again because the situation has changed for him.. You are now ahead of him. This is a simplistic explanation but it serves to show how the process works.

Developing a Habit of Situational Awareness0e5587a45a951c15f4dcb5a8514b31c4

Learning to live in Condition Yellow . Keep your head up when walking around. Develop the habit of scanning what is going on around you. Learn to pay attention to all of your senses, including hearing and smell. When using your cell phone in public, stop and place your back against a wall and use your peripheral vision while glancing up and around frequently if texting. Look around you constantly if speaking. When approaching your car in a parking lot, is anybody near it and how do they look? Anyone in the back seat or under it? When in a public eatery, try to sit where you can observe the entrance and know where the exits are. Use windows as mirrors to keep track of whats behind you. At the ATM do you look around to see if anyone is coming up on you? Always try to keep yourself in a position of optimum observation. Once you get into the habit of doing things like this, many other techniques will come to mind.

O.K. so you are alert. What are you looking for?

Do your due diligence. Have you ever walked into a place and felt that something just was not right but you were not sure what?  Well, something wasn’t right. It may not have been dangerous. it may have been something as simple as the flowers arranged wrong. But your subconscious was telling you that something was out-of-place. Trust your instincts, but you have to develop them first.

Schizophrenia_PET_scanBefore you can identify that something is wrong, you need to know what “right” is. Start with your home. You should be so familiar with where you live that you can navigate your house in total darkness. How about your route to and from work? Do you really pay attention to what goes on with the houses and business along the way or do you just focus on following the car in front of you? At your workplace, how well do you know your co-workers? Do you know them well enough to detect if they are acting strange? The places where you shop. What is the normal situation there? Start paying attention to the small details. Really look at things around you as you go about your daily business. Make a game of it. What color eyes did the waitress at lunch have? Can you tell me right now what color the houses on either side of yours are? Can you count the number of windows in your own house from memory? Once you have programmed your subconscious to understand how things should look right, it will be easier to suddenly spot when they look wrong. And once you have Observed that something is wrong, you can quickly Orient yourself for possible action, Decide on what that course of action should be, and then Act on it.


Situational awareness is a combination of staying alert in condition yellow, being able to identify when something is out of order, being trained well enough to draw a proper conclusion, and quickly acting on the decision you made. Stay alert and watch six.

Filed under: Azweaponcraftprepper Tagged: New preppers, Personal defense, Situational awareness, Survival and Prepping

DC Police Chief Encourages Citizens to “Take Out” Terrorists

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cathy lanier wikimedia

Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple

In a recent interview with 60 minutes, Washington DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier addressed the Paris terrorist attack, and how residents of DC should respond to any future mass shooting events that might happen in their city. However, her advice was in stark contrast to the suggestions that are typical of most police departments.

Lanier told Anderson Cooper that “Your options are run, hide or fight,” before adding that even the best police departments wouldn’t be able to arrive on the scene until after most victims have been killed. She then encouraged citizens to fight back against the gunmen if they are in a good position to do so. “If you’re in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there.”

Lanier admitted that this may seem counterintuitive, since it flies in the face of what police have been telling citizens for decades. “We always tell people, ‘don’t take action, call 911, don’t intervene in the robbery.’ We’ve never told people, ‘take action.’ This is a different scenario.”

Of course, none of this is really counterintuitive or strange for any normal human being with a sense of self-preservation. Lanier thinks that she’s providing groundbreaking advice, when in reality, average citizens have always been in a better position to defend themselves and to stop terror attacks than the police. Ironically, she’s preaching this message to a city with some of the most stringent gun laws in the country, and where it is next to impossible to receive a concealed carry permit. I suppose she expects us to fight these active shooters with sticks and pocket knives.

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple: DC Police Chief Encourages Citizens to “Take Out” Terrorists

About the author:

Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .





Filed under: Civil Unrest / War, News/ Current Events

Prepper Journal: Ramblings and Musings About Your Security

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Situational Awareness

Given the recent and not so recent events in the world, the desire to hunker in a bunker is understandable. Does it make sense however, and will it increase your chances of survival if you fortify your home to the point it turns into a bunker.

Once you start putting up fencing topped with Concertina Wire you have evolved from a home or shelter to a compound. Everyone has an opinion about compounds and pre-conceived ideas of what a compound might be hiding. Right or wrong, fair or not, perception becomes fact, in most people’s minds.

Once someone or some group believes you have something to hide, or something worth surrounding with barricades, then you are in a defensive posture whether you know it or not.

There are websites, forums, and blog posts that actually describe how to fortify your home to withstand a .50 caliber round, hand grenades, and flame throwers. It always boils down to who, what, when and where however, and remember there is a difference between survival, a SHTF scenario and all out warfare. What exactly are you preparing for?

You always have to take into account the skill level of those that would pose the greatest threat. Some people are convinced that the government right now is getting ready to declare Martial Law. Martial Law means federal troops and once that happens, according to some, there will be gun confiscations, supplies taken, and people who do not cower will be herded off to some FEMA camp to be re-indoctrinated.

Anything is possible, but what is more likely, is what you have to ask yourself. If you believe all this a fortified compound is your best bet then, but remember those on the other side of the wire have all of the advantages. They will have fresh personnel rotating in every shift. They will eat regularly, have hot showers, and can resupply at will as they wait you out. What would you be doing hunkered down in your bunker, wondering if you have enough food, water and ammo and wondering if the walls really will stop even one .50 caliber round.

You have to assess the threats and be prepared to respond accordingly. You simply cannot prepare yourself for an all out frontal attack by any army let alone the United States Military. Regardless of your training or preparations, you as a single person, family or Prepper group, cannot defend any structure or piece of land against overwhelming force, such as would be the case if the U.S. Army came calling.

Of Course You Need To Defend Yourself and Your Home

The recent terrorist attacks have everyone on edge. When is someone going to walk into a shopping mall, grade school, or someone’s work place wearing a bomb vest in this country? What causes such angst is the fact you cannot prepare for something like this in any real sense.

If you see something, say something, but we all see things every day, weird stuff frankly, so we would be on the phone all day, everyday claiming we have seen something. Once you see it in many cases, it is too late, because the bomb is already detonated, or the trigger is being pulled by some shooter. Then its cover and conceal and get out of the area. The point is there is a greater chance of being put in a survival situation just walking around in public than at home.

The opposing forces out there are homicidal maniacs, terrorist, poor construction methods that allow balconies to collapse, or tired, or drunk drivers that plow into a tourist bus. You do not need to fortify your home so much as you need to fortify your mind and develop situational awareness. Boarding up your home and carving out gun slits in the shutters will not do you any good.

Mass shootings happen in crowded places, terrorist blow up and shoot up places where people, where innocent people gather. There are occasions where terrorists have attacked fortified positions, but they usually do not succeed in killing many people, so they choose the soft targets, ones that would not normally have a serious security posture. In other words, places where no one is expected to fight back and where he or she can kill more people more quickly.

You need to be prepared to defend your family, your home, and yourself, but also understand that in certain situations the best you can hope for is to escape the situation alive. Situational awareness will help you escape, because you will know where the exits are, know where you can seek cover and where you may conceal yourself.

Some Websites and Articles Claim To Know How to Survive a Terrorist Attack

The only sure way to survive one is not to be there when the bombs are detonated and when the shooting starts. Otherwise, the only way to survive is not to be the first one shot or blown up. The first shots are the warning, so you can cover and conceal and get out.

If you have no warning, and shots are fired and you are hit and killed you do not survive, its quiet simple. In most cases, you would not be able to look up or look around and see someone getting ready to detonate or to fire their weapons. In most cases, but not all cases, you may see it all unfold but what do you do. You will only be aware in most situations of something happening after the first shots or explosions, and then your only recourse is to get away from the area while seeking cover as you do so. You cannot fight back against bombs being detonated by people willing to die. You have to be away from the kill zone, away from the blast zone.

The post Prepper Journal: Ramblings and Musings About Your Security appeared first on Preparing for shtf.

Eight Cell Phone Security Tips

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cppsIt has been nearly two years since I wrote a post on cell phone security, after multiple of recent incidents of people sharing their life issues on their cell phone while out in public, I decided it was time for a reminder. The most recent incident happened today. I was at a local business working […]

The post Eight Cell Phone Security Tips appeared first on Vigil Prudence.

Prepper Courtesy Wake-Up Call

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My dog is an a-hole. Seriously, she is. Just before midnight last night, my wife and I are awoken to the sound of her barking from the lower level of our house. It wasn’t the kind of bark that indicated an intruder or stranger on the property, just a sharp, shrill teeth-on-edge bark that she […]

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The value of human life. My personal brush with death…and survival.

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Time to get back to work on my writing and posting on SurvivalRing…so here’s my biggest personal survival story. Having been on the dark side of life for a point in time, really brings things into perspective for me, and why I still walk among the living. It was touch and go for a day, […]

Infographic: Displacements Due to Natural Disasters – Spending and Solutions

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Dangerous worldwide environmental disasters put millions of people at risk every year. Events that can range from floods to tornadoes are known to devastate entire cities and landscapes, and often leave people to fend for themselves for days, or even weeks or longer. In particularly high-risk zones, many people have to cope with loss on […]

…and we’re back…News from Rich and SurvivalRing…

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Hi folks, It’s been a while since my last post, although I’ve been in the backroom of SurvivalRing every day for months, keeping things tuned, tight, backed up, and secure. I’ve thought about posting a lot of things, and often I was poised and ready to add my thoughts to the blog, and at the […]

Learning the Art of Situational Awareness May Keep You Alive

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What if I were to tell you that one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself safe doesn’t have anything at all to do with your every day carry gear? Would you be surprised? Now, before you think that I’m off my rocker, I’m not suggesting that you should stop carrying your choice of self-defense gear. What I am suggesting is that a thing called “situational awareness” may be one of the single most important skills that you can develop when it comes to keeping yourself safe from potential threats. Developing this ability can help you…

The post Learning the Art of Situational Awareness May Keep You Alive appeared first on Preppers Illustrated.

INFOGRAPHIC: Risk Areas Of Natural Disasters in the USA

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Life throws you curveballs, and there are many things in life that you can’t prepare for. However, you can prepare for natural disasters and severe weather that’s likely to come your way. Different areas of the United States are more likely to encounter certain kinds of dangerous weather, and by knowing what your region is […]