10 Fundamentals Of Air Purification That Could Save Your Life

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Watching the horrors of the fires in California is making more people than usual think about air quality and what to do about it in an emergency situation. Some of these people don’t realize that there is already unfolding crisis when air quality problems appear in the United States.

As asthma and other breathing related problems skyrocket, the question of how to purify air may become crucial. Learn how to purify the air in the event of some other crisis such as a major fire, gas, nuclear, or disease based crisis. Consider both DIY and pre-manufactured options to survive poor air quality.

Here are the ten things you should always keep in mind on this topic.

Finding Out What Needs to be Filtered Now

Before you start buying air purifying systems, find out what you need to filter out, following:

How much dust and “large” sized particulate is in the air?  If you can see a haze of dust, then you will more than likely need at least a MERV 5 or 6 prefilter in front of any other filter that you decide to buy for your system.  (MERV is an acronym that stands for Minimum Efficiency Rating Value.

The higher the number after the MERV designation, the smaller the particles and greater percent of them the filter is capable of removing from the air.  3M and some other brands use the MERV rating while other manufacturers use different designations.  In all of them, the higher the number, the better the filter.)

How much pollen, mold, and mildew spores are in the air?  You will either need to build an Arduino unit for detecting particles this size and slightly smaller, or purchase a pre-manufactured meter for this purpose.  While it takes some effort to learn how to assemble and program Arduino boards, they are also very versatile.

This means you can add different kinds of sensors to the board at a fraction of the cost of buying them separately.  When it comes to detecting gasses and toxins, you will find that Arduino controllers are truly your best and most affordable option.

If you are looking specifically for mold and mildew, you can also purchase testing strips or kits that can be used to capture spores from the air.  After you collect these samples, you can send the kit off to the lab to find out what kind of microbes are present.

While these kits are highly specific insofar as what is actually in the air, they are not reusable.  In addition, no matter what kind of mold or mildew you have growing in your home, the methods for getting them out of the air will be the same.

Since the Arduino system or a pre-manufactured sensor will alert you to the presence particles in the appropriate size range, this may be all you really need to know at this stage.

How much automobile exhaust, methane from waste dumps, and other chemicals are in the air.  In order to detect these gasses, you will need to build your own sensors using an Arduino board. Sadly, even a single device for a single gas can cost several hundred dollars pre-assembled.

By contrast, you will not spend more than 100.00 between the Arduino main board and an array of sensors that will cover most of the gasses that may be in the air right now.

Know What Air Quality Issues that May Occur During a Crisis

No matter how bad the air quality may seem right now, it can get much worse during a major crisis.   Consider that there are several cities in or near the major fires burning in California.  Even though the residents of these areas are accustomed to high levels of smog and other forms of air pollution, the addition of the smoke from the fires is causing many to evacuate.

In a similar fashion, even if you live in a rural area, or some place else with better air quality, there is a chance that a major fire would either force you to evacuate or attempt to clean the air.  Without a question, if you are determined to bug in, or build a survival shelter, then concerns about smoke from fires would be one main reason for focusing a good bit of attention on air purification.

Here are some other crisis related scenarios that would require a good air purification system:

Nuclear attacks where you must be able to filter out dust and other debris.  Since some of the dust may be smaller than pollen or other very small particles, you should be prepared to install at least a MERV 7 prefilter in front of others in the array, and then follow that with a MERV 14.

Remember, during normal operations you may only have one pre-filter in your system, but during a major crisis, a set of washable and reusable pre-filters will be very important when it comes to prolonging the life expectancy of the higher rated filters sitting behind it.

Gas or other chemical attacks.  Unlike pollen, dust, or other forms of debris, it is not possible to filter out gasses by using progressively smaller holes in a filter. Instead, you will need to use activated carbon or some other material that is capable of locking these gasses into the pores of the material.  For gas attacks, as well as most kinds of chemical pollution, you will need filters impregnated with activated carbon.

Biological warfare or germ attacks.  Getting these pathogens out of the air can be very difficult.  You will need at least a MERV 12 filter for the innermost layer of filters, or go as high as a MERV 14 or 15.  Since most hospitals use MERV 14 and above for air based pathogen control, this would be a good choice.

Just remember, however, once you go past MERV-13, even in a home built air purification system, the reduction in air flow may be enough to reduce the overall effectiveness of the system.  If you are going to use higher than a MERV-13, set aside just one or two units, and leave the ones with lower level filters for increasing air circulation.

Must Have Sufficient Air Flow

Did you know that the biggest problem in most homes is the lack of good air flow.  While you may be constantly trying to block off air leaks for the sake of improving heat efficiency, the actual air quality in the house is always going  to be lower than what is outdoors.

This Device Easily Turns Air Into Water!

By the time you factor in pollution buildup from various fumes, odors from normal household activities, and imbalances in humidity, controlling internal air quality may seem impossible.  On the other side of the equation, the hidden secret to most of these problems is as simple as improving air flow throughout the building.

Today, many people mistakenly believe that dedicated air purifiers, electrostatic systems on the central air system, and even de/humidifiers can all do the job without blowing lots of air around the rooms.  This, in turn leads to a situation where most people give up on these expensive systems because they see little or no benefit.

Interestingly enough, the average pre-fabricated air purifying system only puts out between 100 and 500 CFM. As you can see from the tables in these links, that may be enough to filter air in small rooms, but it may not be enough for survival needs let alone modern heavily polluted homes.

By contrast, the average box fan puts out a whopping 2500 CFM, which means that pairing it with the right filters will give you a much better solution.

Filtering out Toxic Gasses

As noted earlier, MERV ratings, and to some extent, even a robust air flow won’t do much when it comes to getting rid of toxic gasses.  While increased air flow can make the gasses easier to dissipate, you will still need something else to capture the gases.

Typically, activated carbon will offer you the ability to filter out the widest number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other toxic gasses.  These filters are also readily available in disposable form and will last for about three months.

For an added layer of purification, you may also want to experiment with the polymers and other materials that are used in gas masks.  In this case, you will need to get ahold of the filter media and then figure out how to make it into a suitable filter.

Remember, when it comes to filter efficiency, the size of the filter is every bit as important as the speed of air moving through it.  A 10” x 10” filter may work just as well as a 20” x 20”, however the smaller filter will fill up faster and either excessively impede air flow or become unable to retain gasses.

Dust, Pollen, and Mold

When you go to the store and look at different kinds of filters, you may be led to believe that the biggest filter will always remove the most particles.  There is, however, a second part to MERV and other efficiency ratings.

Essentially, just because a filter will trap some smaller particles, that doesn’t mean it will remove every particle in that size range that encounters the filter.  As a result, you will find that a MERV 8 or above will be rated for filtering out pollen, however it may only remove 50% of those particles.

By contrast, a MERV 12 may remove well over 80%.

This is just one of many reasons why working with pre-filters is so important when it comes to creating a viable air purifying system.  Since you can easily find lower MERV rating filters in the washable and reusable forms, it is best to use those as pre-filters so that you can extend the lifespan of the higher capacity disposable ones behind it.

Meters and Gauging Success

Once you build a series of meters for detecting indoor air quality issues, you should continue to use them to see if your system is actually working.  While some people will go by changes in how they feel, measurements are still very important for managing a crisis.

A nuclear bomb, a fire, or some other crisis generating event can cause air quality to decay faster than expected. In these situations, you will need the meters to tell you when it is safe to remove gas masks, as well as to gauge how well the system is doing with managing the crisis.

If you keep a good recording of readings on a daily basis, you will also have a chance of estimating the systems effectiveness in other situations.  As an added bonus, if you continue to measure the air quality after the system is built, it gives you a chance to improve efficiency as well as to test out different products to see which ones work best for  your situation.

Recycling and Rehabbing Used Filters

Pleated filters offer the best in terms of filtering out particles from the air, but it can be both expensive and difficult to obtain pleated media in a time after a major social collapse. This is just one of many reasons why you need to learn as much as possible about rehabbing and extending the life of both disposable and permanent air filters.

The main problem with extending the life of pleated filters is they can become a source of microbe contamination. They can also build up quite a bit of mold and mildew as the spores are captured in the filter. If you can find a chemical that won’t ruin the pleated material, but will kill off the micro organisms, it may help you extend the life of each filter.

As with water filters made with activated carbon, it may also be possible to rehab the carbon in air filter media. Failing that, you should know how to make your own charcoal, and then add it to a cleaned up pad based filter.

Remember that these filters can also be a breeding ground for mold and mildew. You will need to make sure you can thoroughly clean them in order to avoid this problem.

Providing Power for Air Filters

A standard box fan is likely to take less electricity than a conventional air purifier.  Sadly, when you have no electricity at all, the fans will be useless.  Unless you can generate enough electricity to power the fans, you may have to look for smaller fans that can be used with batteries.

In many other situations, you might want to consider using gravity powered fans or others that do not require electricity. While these devices may work well enough for generating small amounts of electricity or pushing some air around a room, they are not likely to have enough power to cycle enough air in a short period of time.

That being said, you can always experiment with different fan blade designs to see if you can come up with something that spins faster while using less energy.

What About Ozone Based Air Purifiers?

Aside from trapping particles and gasses, some people claim that ozone generators can also solve air quality problems. Sadly, there is little if any scientific evidence to back up these claims. Here are some of the main problems you may encounter when using an ozone based air purifier:

ozone can interact with other gasses in the air and form even more harmful compounds than the ones you are already dealing with. Because of all the pollution in the air these days, there is no telling what you may wind up breathing in. One thing is for certain, simply changing the composition of a gas molecule doesn’t get rid of it, let alone make it safer.

Ozone cannot actually destroy mold, pollen, dust, or other particles.  If you purchased an ion generator, that may cause larger particles to clump together and fall out of the air.  This is still not as efficient as conventional filter media and a fan.

Aside from creating dangerous chemicals, ozone itself can cause breathing problems.  In fact, if you have an air purifier with an ozone generator, it may be more than worth  your while to see if you can find something that doesn’t generate ozone.

Even in situations where ozone is credited with cleaning up some air problems, it takes months to years to see results. If you must get rid of radioactive dust or other hazardous materials in the air, even a few hours is a long time to sit around in a gas mask.  At least conventional filter media will get the job done in a more reasonable time frame.

Natural Air Purification Methods

Did you know that some plants are capable of removing formaldehyde, methane, and other toxic fumes from the air?  As an added bonus, plants are the only air filtration method available that can use the carbon dioxide removed from the air in order to produce much needed oxygen.

As a result, if you are concerned about air purification for survival shelters, plants may be a very important part of your system.

While some plants are more effective and efficient than others when it comes to filtering gasses, sufficient numbers of them can improve air quality without the need for buying and replacing more effective filters.  Unfortunately, plants won’t get rid of pollen, mildew, mold, and other particles that are also a part of air quality problems.

You can use plants to increase oxygen levels and decrease toxins, however a comprehensive air purifications system will still require filters and the capacity to circulate large volumes of air.

If you do enough research on air purification, you will soon find that it is similar to purifying water.  There is no such thing as one filter, chemical, or device that will satisfy all of your air purifying needs.  The best you can do is start off with a basic filter system and a batch of air cleaning house plants and work upward from there.

It is also very important to start off the process with a suitable set of meters and testing equipment so that you can see how much progress you are making, and how much of an impact various changes make to the air quality.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Investment Alternatives To An Overpriced Stock Market

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Be you an institutional investor, a pensioner looking at your retirement portfolio, or a young 20 something looking to open your first retirement account, a problem facing all investors globally is that nearly every investable asset class is overpriced.

Due to:

  • previous generations investing trillions of dollars into their pensions and retirement plans over the past four decades,
  • central banks across the globe tripling their respective money supplies,
  • as well as China’s economic success creating an investor class bidding up asset prices globally.

The price of stocks, bonds, commodities, treasuries, T-bills, convertible bonds, preferred shares, derivatives, mutual funds, real estate, precious metals, industrial metals, REIT’s, ADR’s, collectables, scotch, even Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have been bided up well beyond what their cash flows and intrinsic values warrant.

This presents a problem for all investors because as income accrues into larger and larger savings balances, the money needs to be invested somewhere, lest it lose its value against inflation.

But with prices so high, your rates of return are driven so low that you’re looking at a mere fraction of a percent return on savings accounts, a paltry 2-4% on safe, quality bonds, and a pathetic 2% dividend yield from your average S&P 500 stock.

So Where Do You Invest?

The trick is not to look at traditional investments that we have been conditioned to invest in either through “Wall Street” movies, conventional retirement planning, or the tax incentives governments provide for officially sanctioned retirement plans.

It’s to revisit PRECISELY what is an investment and look at our entire personal financial lives to see if there isn’t some unforeseen or overlooked investment we missed.  And when we do this, I think you’ll find there are plenty of investment opportunities, many with lower risks and higher rates of return.

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First, understand an investment has a rate of return.  There has to be some kind of cash flow or profit it generates for its owner.  Stocks pay dividends.  Bonds pay interest.  Real estate pays rent.  These assets are investments because they generate (in theory) more money or “cash flow” over the course of their lives than what you paid to purchase them.

This differentiates these asset classes from commodities, currencies, or collectables since precious metals do not pay dividends, Yen does not pay interest, and baseball cards do not generate rents.  These types of assets are merely SPECULATIVE in nature.

You buy them now in the hopes you can sell them for more later.  But there is no underlying cash flow or profits they generate, therefore, in theory, they have no real value and are therefore NOT investments.

So with this understanding that it is cash flow and profits that make an investment, where else in your personal life can you find an opportunity to pay some money today to increase your cash flow tomorrow?  And there are four general areas in most people’s personal financial lives such a situation exists:

Private companies/Entrepreneurship
Paying off debts
Real estate/rental property
Education/training

These investments may not have the convenience of merely setting up an online brokerage account and trading away or the tax-deductible blessing of your government, but they are mathematically, financially, and factually investments.  Investments that can potentially provide better rates of return than today’s financial markets.

Private Companies/Entrepreneurship

Just because a company isn’t publicly traded on a stock exchange and conveniently purchased via a brokerage account, doesn’t mean you can’t invest in it.  There are thousands of private companies out there, all of which need capital, and at times seek investors from the public.

However, usually they seek investments via “angel investors” or “private equity groups.”  This relegates investing in private companies to those of you who have significant sums of money, usually $250,000 or more.  Still, if you have such sums you may want to consider contacting a private equity group and seeing if they have some investment opportunities for you.

This could range from buying equity in a company (stocks) or lending a company money (bonds), or some kind of hybrid between the two where you lend the company money today and could become a part owner tomorrow (convertible bonds).

However, you don’t have to be rich to invest in a private company.  You can do yourself one step better.  You can start your own company.

Entrepreneurship is, frankly, the best and most self-respecting form of investment out there.  If successful you will be your own boss, all the profits are yours, and if done right you will get much higher rates of return than you will in today’s financial markets.

The only problem is starting a company is hard and takes some creativity, innovation and insight.  Still, this doesn’t mean you can’t pursue some kind of entrepreneurial endeavor in your free time.  And truth be told most forms of entrepreneurship are work you’re already doing but on a contract basis or “moonlighting” on the side.

Programming, accounting, welding, even teaching dance classes after work is more often than not a better expenditure of your time and money and will yield higher rates of return than the paltry 2% dividend you can expect from the market.

Unfortunately (unless you make the company a tangible firm that could potentially be sold later, say like the copyright to a program), there is no opportunity for capital gains in these entrepreneurial endeavors, but again, an investment is NOT “I hope to buy it now for $X and sell it more for $Y.”  It is “what kind of cash flow will my investment generate over the course of time.” 

And I think you’ll find self-employment a much more profitable option than your 2.5% government savings bond.

Paying Off Debts

I always get a kick out of my clients asking me “where should I invest?” when they are loaded to the hilt with debt.

Student loans.
Car loans.
Credit card debts.
Mortgages.

All with interest rates ranging from 4.5% to 23%.

So let me ask you this question:

What is the difference between investing in a bond that pays 4% or paying off your debts that charge an interest rate of 4%?

The answer is nothing.  It results in the same cash flow.  So paying off your debts is no different than had you invested that money traditionally in a stock or a bond.

But paying off debts provides one HUGE advantage over other forms of traditional investing.  It’s risk free.

Realize that when you invest in a stock or bond there’s always the risk you won’t get paid back, the company files for bankruptcy, or there some kind of embezzling or corruption that renders your investment worthless.

But when you pay off your debts it’s 100% risk free because YOU’RE THE RISK.  Your lender is taking the risk that you won’t pay them back.  So paying off your debts is quite literally the only risk free investment in the world.

Additionally, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a better rate of return than the interest you’ll save paying off your loans.  The lowest interest rates are typically mortgages at 4% or so.  Highest interest rates are typically credit cards around 23% or so.

The stock market only pays a rate of return of 2% in dividends.  Ergo, since most people have some form of debt, that is by far usually the highest returning and risk free investment one should make, and it should be made immediately before any other investments.

Real Estate/Rental Property

Though real estate has certainly been flooded with all sorts of money, both domestic and foreign, real estate does still provide your average investor the potential for higher rates of return than the financial markets.

The key though is that whereas stocks, bonds, and mutual funds are largely susceptible to global economic forces, the individual investor does hold considerable sway and control over which specific pieces of real estate they will invest in.

You can choose whether to invest in a duplex or triplex.  Storage property or a parking lot.  Leasing farmland or and RV park.  Additionally, it is much easier to analyze the profitability of a piece of real estate because most of the variables are either known or can be accurately estimated.

A bank will give you a quote on your mortgage.  An insurance company will give you a quote on your insurance.  Property taxes can be looked up on the internet. And a simple market study will tell you what your likely rents are.

With these variables you should be able to tell whether an individual property will provide the rate of return you need or not.  And if it doesn’t, it’s merely a matter of finding a piece of property that does.

There are risks, however, with investing in real estate.  Namely, people.

Tenants can be a nightmare to deal with as they destroy your property, fail to pay rent, even sue you if local laws favor tenants’ rights over land lord rights.  Because of this you may want to consider properties that do not house humans, but rather things such as storage facilities, parking lots, and garages.

Education and Training

Finally, there is education and training.  One might be confused as to how going to college or learning a trade is an investment, but once again it is no different than paying money now to increase your cash flow later.

And though there is a huge education bubble in the world, if you choose the right degree, profession, or skill, a $20,000 investment today can increase your lifetime earnings by millions, even if you are currently gainfully employed.

The trick is to make sure it’s an investment and not a hobby.  The United States is flooded with millions of young fools all majoring in English, Poetry, Communications, Women’s Studies, Hispanic Studies, Sculpture, and even “Puppetry.”  All of which are hobbies, none of which are investments, let alone professions.

You need to look at fields such as engineering, programming, medicine, accounting, actuarial science, and other fields that are actually in demand in the real world and command a good wage.

And do not think it is only the “esteemed universities and colleges” where you have to fork over 4 years of your youth and $75,000 of your money to earn a coveted degree.  Trade schools, community colleges, programming bootcamps, even self-study and self-certification via (free) online classes like Khan’s Academy and YouTube can provide you the skills you need to significantly increase your future cash flow, all well beyond investing the same money in a bond yielding a whopping 4%.

Look Inwards

The larger point of looking for alternative investments for your money is to focus on cash flow in your own personal life and your personal finances.  Since very few people do this, and most eyes are focused on traditional forms of investment, you’ll be surprised how many genuine investment opportunities there are right in your own backyard.

And while this isn’t to say setting up an IRA or contributing to your pension account isn’t a good idea, it is to say that you can improve your personal finances markedly, perhaps drastically to that of your regular, ole, ho-hum index-investing strategy recommended by today’s conventional finance professionals.

This article has been written by Chris Mills for Survivopedia.

Survival Uses For Diapers That Might Save You One Day

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When an article about keeping diapers in my stockpile came across my feed, I thought it was some kind of gimmick until I started thinking about it.

I keep tampons, maxi-pads, and mini-pads in there for medical uses, so why not diapers? They’re absorbent and lightweight, and cover more than a maxi-pad would.

So I started checking, and found even more survival uses for diapers than I’d thought of.

Cloth or Disposable?

Both! Cloth diapers are typically made out of cotton, which means they’re extremely absorbent tolerated by  most people. They’re also washable and even bleachable since they’re made for a pretty heavy-duty purpose.

Many cloth diapers are also reinforced with several layers down the middle third, when absorbency is needed the most.

Disposable diapers have the benefit of sodium polyacrylate, also known as hydrogel. If you’ve ever torn a diaper open, you’ve seen the little crystally popcorn balls, or if they’ve already been exposed to water, it’ll appear as a gel. Hydrogel can absorb up to 300 times its weight in tap water and even more if the water is distilled.

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In addition, you can still buy the diapers that are plastic on the outside, or at least leak-resistant, which opens it up for a whole other world of uses.

Bandages

This is the obvious use, other than the intended one, that is. Both cloth and disposable diapers make good bandages.

Cloth diapers are a little more resilient because they’re flat and can be folded and molded to fit wherever you need it to, but disposable diapers are good if you want absorbency, or even the ability to fasten it around something without needing pins.

Because there are times when the cloth diapers with the thicker strip down the middle can be too bulky for what you need, but can be extremely beneficial in other times, I recommend getting a couple of stacks of both.

Ice Packs

You know those ice packs that are moldable and easy to work with?

You can make those at home by pulling the polyacrylate out of the disposable diaper – or just putting the whole diaper in – and putting it in a Ziploc bag. Add ½ cup-1 cup of alcohol or vodka and about the same amount of water.

If it’s not quite gooey enough, add a little more water. When it’s that gel substance instead of dry, you’re ready to freeze it. It will stay cold longer than regular ice and the alcohol will keep it from freezing solid.

Treat Hoof Issues

Ever tried to get a horse to stand in a bucket for a medicinal soak? I have. And it’s like stuffing a cat in a feed sack. Good luck. But horses get abscesses sometimes. An abscess is an infection in the hoof and will keep your horse lame for months if you don’t treat it properly.

When I was showing horses, we always had a disposable diaper – as well as maxi-pads – in the med kit because if you need to soak a sore knee or cover a wound, a diaper is a great way to do it.

To make a poultice to treat an abscess, dissolve 1 cup Epsom salts in hot water then add 2 cups wheat bran. Add more water if need be to make it into a wet paste.

Clean the hoof well and, if possible, break the wall of the abscess. This may be something you have to wait on, but there’s no need doing the poultice till the abscess works its way to the surface and ruptures.

At that point, make the paste above and pack it into the hoof, then hold it in place with a medium diaper. You may want to add another diaper or wrap it in duct tape or a gauze bandage.

Not for nothing, but this would work if you got sores on your feet, too.

Shoe Padding and Insoles

The last thing you need if you’re in a survival situation is to rub blisters or open sores on your feet. Nor do you want your feet to be sweaty and hot.

Both are breeding grounds for infection. The polyacrylate is fluffy and makes for a great padding that you can use as an insole or on spots that may be rubbing.

Since it’s absorbent, it’s great to use just as a replacement for a fancy insole that you may not have access to or be able to afford.

Water Filtration

A cloth diaper is made with tightly woven fibers to help stop leaks, so it’s perfect for filtering water. Just place the diaper over the container you want the water in, leaving it dipped into the  container in the middle like a cup or a funnel.

Pour the water into the diaper and let it run through. Remember that this is only filtered, which means you’re removing the debris. It doesn’t kill any pathogens or remove any chemicals.

Cooling Towel

Heat stroke is a real danger in the summer, especially now that it’s getting so much hotter. Disposable diapers are designed the hold in moisture, so use this to your advantage.

All a cup or two of water to the diaper then refrigerate or freeze. When you’re going outside to do something that’s hot, just put the chilled diaper on the back of your neck – it’ll wick away moisture while helping keep you cool.

When you’re in need, you have to survive with what you have on hand. Diapers might be one of the items that you have around, so be aware of their uses and try to make the most out of it!

These are just a few of the uses that I found for diapers. Can you think of more? If so, tell us about them in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Dressed to Survive: The Rules Of Survival Clothing & Accessories

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Your clothing can make it difficult to come out on top from a life or death situation, and might even affect the lives of your loved ones. Or leave you snug, warm and safe, against the harshest of elements…

So, here’s one question you really have to answer: how much are your clothes helping or hindering you?

Keep reading to find out the rules of survival clothing and accessories!

Briefly:

  • Turnout bags are not just for first responders, they work great for preppers too.
  • Use an EDC Valet to organize your gear at the end of the day and keep it from wandering off.
  • A core layer of Survival/Self-recovery gear should be worn and carried in your pockets instead of beingstored in your pack which gets doffed every time you climb into a vehicle, rest or take a swim. You pack is often separated from you when you need it most
  • Every survivalist should carry bandanas, a neckerchief, a shemagh or some type of swatch of cotton fabric. It is one of the most useful and adaptable things you can carry. They are also inexpensive and low tech.
  • If they have working legs, quality boots and socks should be one of the very first things survivalists should buy.

Modular, Layered Approach to Survival Clothing

This section classifies the core layers of clothing and equipment discussed in this article in the context of the Modular Survival Kit.

Turnout Bag & EDC Valet

In my role as a first responder, the turnout bag enabled me to dress fast without forgetting anything.

As a prepper, I had the same need, so I adapted the turnout bag for survival use and it works just as well with only minor modification. The principle modifications were to add and EDC Valet, checklists, modules and the creation of more than one turnout bag.

As preppers, environment, mission, roles and the threats we face determine the most effective clothing and equipment to survive. If I respond as a first responder, I need to wear my uniform and Personal Protective Equipment.

But If I respond to an emergency as a private citizen, depending on the threat and circumstances, I may want to blend in to a crowd or blend in to the environment using covert or overt camouflage.

Reversible clothing can help with this to a degree, but these environments generally dictate different clothing, so I have overt, covert and uniformed turnout bags.

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Climatic conditions, mission, specific threats and environments can require the addition of special clothing and equipment. My solution to this was the creation of climate, environment and threat-specific modules and ensembles, so if I am going out into a blizzard, I add an extreme cold-weather ensemble.

If the threat is chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear, I add the CBRN ensemble. If I am going hunting or fishing, I may not need a specific turnout bag or ensemble for either of those activities, but having my gear together in one place does mean that it’s organized and that I will not forget anything.

Using the same system every single day means that I will go through the same motions on autopilot when I am getting ready under stress instead of freezing up. Since we fight the way we train, there is a certain logic behind using the same system day in and day out.

The role of the EDC valet is that once you dress, whether it is out of a turnout bag or out of a dresser. (These can be one and the same. Simply line drawers with removable turnout bags.)

EDC gear can be added independent of which turnout bag you dressed out of. At the end of the day, EDC gear goes back in the EDC Valet or tray, ready for the next day.

Since EDC varies greatly depending on whether you are going to work out or for a swim vs layer for a blizzard vs leave and possibly never come back, checklists ensure that nothing gets left behind and are especially helpful when dressing in a hurry under stress.

Clothing

In general terms, survival clothing should be clean and worn in loose-fitting layers. This way, layers can be added or removed as needed to adapt to ever-changing environmental conditions.

In the context of the Modular Survival Kit, clothing starts from the skin out and does not include PPE, footwear, accessories, EDC or other listed categories.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE is eye protection, hearing protection, antimicrobial, dust or gas masks, Tyvek® suits, elbow and knee pads, gloves, headwear and footwear designed to prevent injury, infection or exposure to hazardous materials.

Accessories

The accessory layer includes headwear, footwear, jewelry, watches, handkerchiefs, bandanas, headwear, belts and other clothing accessories.

Restraint Escape (RE)& Covert Survival/Self-recovery (SSR) Core Layer

This layer includes equipment and tools to facilitate escape from illegal or enemy restraint, escape, survival and self-recovery that is hidden on the person or disguised to avoid detection and confiscation.

Every Day Carry (EDC) & Survival/Self-recovery (SSR) Core Layer

This is the same category as the category above, only the equipment is not deliberately hidden or disguised to avoid detection and confiscation because of practical limits of what can be effectively concealed.

A core layer of SSR should be carried in your pockets instead of your pack which gets taken off every time you rest, climb into a vehicle and is easily separated from you when you needed most.

Survival Clothing

Features, materials and attributes that make clothing well-suited for survival use can vary widely. Clothing is best chosen based on your roles and pattern of life and the environments, climates and threats that you face.

General Survival-specific Features

There are too many features, materials and attributes that might be listed, but let’s list a few to provide guidance and get you thinking:

  • Abrasion-resistant
  • Antimicrobial–Cuts down on stinky clothing.
  • CCW-specific Features– Concealed carry-specific clothing solves many of the problems that come with carrying concealed and is much safer than carrying in bags that get set down or stolen.
  • Cotton– Cotton clothing could get you killed in winter or save you in the summer even in the same state, so “Never wear cotton.” Is bunk advice. Wear cotton when appropriate.
  • Covert Tactical and Concealed Carry Features– Concealed carry-friendly clothing is a priority for me, but survival clothing does not have to scream, “Tactical!” If your clothing is recognizable as overtly tactical, you might as well wear a t-shirt that reads, “Shoot me first!”, especially if you are a military-age male.
  • Creepy Crawly-related Features – Cuffs, Insect Repellant, Insect Netting, Snake-resistant boots
  • Drainage Holes
  • Elbow & Knee Pad Pockets
  • Field-washable
  • Field-repairable
  • Fire-Resistant (FR)–Survivalists work around fire a lot. A single spark or ember can create a baseball-sized hole in some synthetic fabrics and some melt and drip when they catch fire, exacerbating burns. FR fabrics or wool are a better choice around fire in general.
  • Gussets– Crotch and should gussets allow better range of motion and create less resistance against as you work.
  • Long Sleeves & Long Pants–Long sleeves and pant leg protect against sun burn, wind burn, cold, insects, poisonous plants, ticks and other parasites.
  • Merino Wool – One of the best all-around outdoor fabrics, Merino Wool is naturally antimicrobial, naturally fire resistant and retains a high percentage of its insulative property even when wet.
  • Microphone Loops – Microphones loops pockets or tabs position external speaker microphones of radios and are a feature on some shirts.
  • Pockets – Pockets with smaller internal pockets or retention loops in common formfactors (multi-tool/pistol magazine/flashlight, rifle magazine/water bottle) are very useful. Pockets should fasten securely.
  • Quick Drying – Humans need to be clean and dry to be comfortable. Wet clothing is no fun and worse than that, it can result in hypothermia or death from exposure, making quick drying fabrics important.
  • Reinforced– Reinforced, bar tacked stitching and reinforced high-wear areas such as seats, knees, shoulders and elbows can greatly extend the life of clothing.
  • Reversible– Reversible clothing is very useful to the survivalist as it aids in transitions from wild to urban areas, between terrain types and enables rapid change of appearance around other people.
  • Subdued Colors – Subdued colors and earth tones do not attract undue attention in cities and blend in to natural environments. Lighter pants and slightly darker shirts and jackets also blend in better. You will notice that many species of animals have a lighter belly and darker back to help camouflage them.
  • Wicking–Moisture next to your skin causes blisters, chaffing and hypothermia. Wicking base layers are a plus.
  • Zippered Vents – Allow ventilation in arm pits and crotch to prevent overheating and sweating when active. Zip closed for more sedentary activities.

Worn Survival Accessories

Jewelry

Unless it is intended to be bartered, survival jewelry should not appear to be of value. It if includes restraint escape gear, that gear should be well disguised or concealed and the piece should also not appear to be useful in escape or survival roles or it will mostly likely be confiscated upon capture or shortly thereafter.

I have a modular necklace kit of my own configuration that I am seldom without. The benefit is that even in my swim trunks, I can:

  • Produce enough light to gather firewood or find my way
  • Break a car window
  • Cut a seat belt
  • Escape most restraints
  • Subdue and enemy with a garrote
  • Use it as cordage
  • Start a fire
  • Use the tiny general direction compass made from powerful rare earth magnets it contains to find my way.

That is a lot of functionality in something I can wear on wave runner in swim trunks and forget it is there. On multiple occasions, I have been searched and even handed right to police and security personal, had them inspect it, decide it was harmless and hand it right back to me.

Hat

While reading an old cowboy’s description of survival against all odds, one of the primary things stacked against the desert survivor was that he had lost his hat.

The hat is a valuable survival tool that it is no wonder that he would list it so prominently as he factors odds of life or death in the desert, and this is obvious to anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors.

But there is such a disconnect with people who live in the shelter provided by cities that a cowboy or explorer turning to face danger to retrieve his hat is common comedic feature in films targeted at city-dwelling audiences.

A broad-brimmed hat provides protection from sun, rain or can fan a fire. A brim with a dark-colored underside reduces glare.

Brimmed hats should include a chin strap. Many hats feature hidden pockets, insect repellent treatments and antimicrobial linings.

Flotation is also a good feature to aid in recovery if lost on the water. Hats can also insulate against the cold and include cold-weather features such as ear flaps.

Belt

Belts do much more than hold your pants up. They provide a solid platform for holsters and knife sheaths which is important for self defense as it is best if your sidearm in consistent position and orientation to aid in grip indexing as a consistent and solid grip is key to an effective draw and engagement.

Some belts have storage pouches for SSR gear, precious metals or money or buckles that conceal knives, but a belt does not have to be a rigger’s belt or have hidden pockets to be useful for survival.

On a much more practical level, leather belts make great strops for sharpening knives.

To integrate with the rest of my modular survival kit, I do not like to carry a lot of gear right on my belt because the waist belt of my pack usually goes over the top of it and that can cause discomfort and make gear hard to access, so I use drop down loops or panels.

To lower sheath knives, pouches or openly carried side arms down out of the way or on my legs. This also makes them much easier to access in vehicles. Keep backpacks, self-defense and transportation in mind as you decide where to position equipment for carry.

Kerchief

Whether called a neckerchief, handkerchief, cravat, shemagh,tenugui,bojagi, tengkolok, fichu, keffiyeh, bandana, do rag, head scarf, scarf or something else pretty much every culture I have studied has some type of multiuse swatch of cloth carried as a clothing accessory.

There are far too many uses to list here, but they span every basic area of survival, including security, improvised munitions,first aid, exposure, cordage, fire, water, food, navigation, signaling, carrying loads and many others.

The neckerchief eventually evolved into the cravat and handkerchief and then the modern neck tie and pocket square. It was much more useful in neckerchief form. Before cotton, wool, linen or silk were used, but once cotton became available, most cultures switched to cotton.

I typically carry a handkerchief and a couple of bandanas. Sometimes I wear a shemagh or carry one in my go bag.

Useful Patterns and Colors of Bandanas or Cloth Accessories:

  • Flags – Useful as Identifier Friend or Foe (IFF) to prevent fratricide.
  • Yellow– Contagion flag used to mark buildings or ships under quarantine.
  • Orange– Distress signal. Best placed in threes.
  • White– The white flag of parlay or surrender is the universal signal for, “Don’t shoot! I give up or do not pose a threat!”
  • Red– Red flags are used to flag homes in disaster, telling rescuers and other survivors that assistance is needed.
  • Green– Green flags are also used to mark homes in disasters, signaling to rescuers and other survivors that your home is OK and that no assistance is needed.
  • Red and Yellow Bandanas, folded in half and sewn together along the folded edge and then around the border can be attached to two shortpoles to improvise semaphore flags and communicate via flag semaphore.
  • Green, Yellow, Red, and Black – Can be used to flag treatment areas for a mass-casualty incident under the Incident Command System (ICS).
  • White, Black, Yellow, Blue and Red– With these colors of cloth, the survivalist can create any flag in the International Code of Signals or NATO Code of Signals.

Balaclava

While any balaclava is useful against the cold and to protect identity, a balaclava in a tone close to that of your skin does not attract undue attention or make you look like a terrorist.

Fire-resistant Drymax® models wick moisture and are low bulk. In the age of facial recognition and cameras hoodies and balaclavas are gaining popularity.

Tubular Headwear

Gaiter, Buff®, Recon Wrap®, sorgo, and some insect head nets are all useful tubular headwear. Tubular headwear is very adaptablewithout having to tie as many knots as you would with a neckerchief.

Uses/Modes of Wearing Tubular Headwear

  • Face Mask/Dust Mask
  • Hat Band
  • Helmet Liner
  • Sweat Band
  • Do Rag
  • Neck Gaiter
  • Balaclava
  • Goggle or Sunglass Cover
  • Insect Net
  • Camouflage Veil or Netting

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE is important for the preppers There are far more hospital admissions after natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornados that due to the severe weather events themselves. This is bound to happen any time people who normal work in offices run chainsaws. Do not say, “It will not happen to me!”

  • Eye Protection – Sight is crucial to survival and eye injuries are often more easily prevented that treated in austere conditions.
  • Hearing Protection – I have tinnitus from high explosive breaching charges even though I wore both in-ear and over-ear hearing protection and can only imagine how bad it would be had I not worn hearing protection. Unless you enjoy answering that aren’t ringing, carry a pair of earplugs. You can also use them with a buff or shemagh over your eyes to catch some z’s in a noisy, overcrowded shelter.
  • Gloves–Most frequent injuries are hand injuries
  • IFF – Identifier Friend or Foe. Uniforms, flags, signal panels and IR IFF tabs help prevent friendly fire.
  • Steel-shank Footwear– Prevents penetration of boot soles by nails which is important when working in rubble.
  • Elbow & Knee Pads– Prevent injuries when kneeling, crawling and belly crawling.
  • Bump Liners, Hats & Helmets – Prevent head injuries.
  • Antimicrobial/Dust Mask – I sew a couple of snaps in my buffs and shemaghs so I can snap in N99 activated carbon filters for use as a dusk mask, antimicrobial PPE and for scent discipline while bowhunting, making them even more multi-use and the filters fold flat, so they take up precious little space in a pocket which can also be sewn into your headwear.

Watch

Outdoor watches now integrate compasses, altimeters, chronometers and barometers. High end watches integrate basic computers and heart monitors. One model even features a personal locator beacon.

Footwear

Your feet are your primary mode of transportation. Sorry Cody, but a great pair of boots is some of the most important equipment you can possibly own. Without them, even with conditioned feet, people just cannot keep up. Outside of a few limited examples restricted to specific environments, there is no comparison.

If you are captured, your boots will be among the first gear you can expect to be relieved of, so they may not be the best place to stash restraint escape gear, but quality boots should be one of the very first purchases for any survivalist. Quality socks should be purchase with them.

As you can see, there’s more than styling and comfort related to choosing the clothes that you need to survive different scenarios. Be smart when choosing garments, and think about the uses they have beyond their basic role of covering your body.

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

Urban Survival: 10 Worst Places To Hide In The City If SHTF

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Even though the stock market is soaring, our nation is in more danger than ever because of extreme natural disasters and rogue factions itching to run riot.

Now consider these problems along with the very real potential for food shortages, an escalation of the war with North Korea, and general increases in contagious diseases.

No matter how much or little prepping you have done, the fact remains something can still catch you off guard at any time. If you are in a city, and need a place to hide, it is very easy to make a bad decision.

Have a look at 10 places you might go to without thinking, and wind up with even more problems than you had before.

Open Areas Above Ground

There are many situations where you will need to get out of the building you are in as quickly as possible. If there is a fire, flood, or the building is struck by some kind of bomb, then you have to get out before the building collapses.

Once you are clear of the building, the worst thing you can do is stay out in the open, as a lot of bad things can happen:

  • Debris and smoke from the building can easily fly in all directions and land on you.
  • If you ran outside because of an earthquake, surrounding buildings may also begin to cave in and send debris in all directions.
  • If the situation involves several buildings, other people will also be panicking and trying to get out of the buildings as fast as possible. You can easily be stampeded or injured as people try to get away from danger as quickly as possible.
  • Do not make the mistake of trying to get in your car and hoping it will shelter you. A car has an even weaker frame than a building. Falling debris can easily crush it and leave you trapped inside. In addition, if there is a bad enough panic, people may literally try to tear your vehicle apart or take other actions to prevent you from leaving the scene.

After you successfully leave a building that you feel is dangerous, the best thing you can do is get underground as quickly as possible.

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Find out in time which manhole covers in your city offer safe access tunnels or other areas to hide in. In general, service tunnels will be safer than subways or other popular public areas in situations where hostile forces are attempting to take over the city.

Upper Floors of Any Building

Unless you are dealing with a hurricane or other flood that prevents you from getting to the ground level, stay away from the upper floors of a building. The upper floors are always the weakest, and also the hardest to escape from on your own.

No matter whether you are afraid of your building being taken over by hostile forces, or you must escape a fire, once you reach the top floor, you can still wind up being trapped. If you must go to the upper floors of a building, try to have the following on hand:

  • A cell phone, pocket mirror, or something else you can use to signal that you need help
  • Heavy duty rope and hooks that you can use to attach the rope to another building. You will need to practice your skills to make it safely from one building to another.
  • An ax for breaking down walls or through roofs An ax can also be used for defense if nothing else is available.

Places With Easily to See Doors or Windows

The ability to get out of a building easily can also spell disaster if unwanted people can get to you and trap you in your location. If you are truly trying to hide from other people, the worst thing you can do is be anywhere near a door or window.

If there is a visible door or window that can be breached, people looking for you or anything of value will try to get in. If you have a panic room or a basement hiding place, maintain their exits without drawing unwanted attention:

  • Use poison ivy, nettles, and other noxious plants to cover secret entrances and exits. This includes exit points coming up from tunnels or other underground locations. Just remember to have coveralls and suitable tools for cutting the vegetation away so that you can make your escape with as little pain as possible.
  • Cover up a back door, side entrance, or window with faux siding. Repaint your home or take other steps to make the covering look as permanent as possible. You should still be able to knock the covering out with ease in time of need. Your goal is to make the window or exit invisible to outside observers. Even if neighbors do remember a window or door in that location, the covering will hopefully make people overlook the area since they will think it is closed off.
  • Try to make at least one exit tunnel in your basement or crawlway to a location at or near the boundary of your property. Be sure you know where all gas and other maintenance lines are so you do not tunnel in those areas.

Near Roadways or Other Traffic Areas

Regardless of the crisis type, people will be trying to escape in their vehicles, and the worst thing you can do is try to hide in a traffic jam or near a crowded roadway.

In these instances, road blocks, surveillance teams, and even hostile forces can see you and control you with relative ease. No matter whether you have plans to get out of the city, or you decide to stay close to home, it is never a good idea to be near roadways or heavy traffic.

If you must use roadways or be near them, you can choose one of two times:

  • First, if you are certain that you can get through a roadblock or other impediment with no problems, then do so when it would be normal for people like you to be passing through the area.
  • Second, you can try to slip through when there is a situation going on. If someone else panics or causes a disruption that leads to a grouping of people around an area away from a passage point, you can try to slip through.

Schools

One has only to look at the number of mass shootings in “gun free” school zones to know they are absolutely the most dangerous places on Earth. Aside from that, never forget that Timothy McVeigh and many others intent on mayhem these days don’t need guns to destroy schools.

People with criminal intent will go there first because they know they will have as much time as they want to carry out their sick plans before someone with a gun gets there to stop them at the scene or apprehend them later on. No matter where you go, if you are in a city and need a safe place to go, avoid schools at all cost.

While most people in the United States don’t give it much thought, schools are also likely to be the target of hostile takeover in a time of riots and other forms of severe national distress. Any criminal or terrorist will flock to a school first because it is poorly defended and helpless children in harm’s way makes for a huge media splash.

Schools are also not the best places to go in the event of a natural disaster. Even though they often have generators and the room to accommodate large numbers of people, many of these buildings are on the verge of being structurally unsound.

Check the maintenance records and needs of local schools, and you may be surprised to find out they may not hold up very well in the face of a hurricane or other severe weather condition. Without a question, if you are in an inner city area or other poor neighborhood, the schools may be in worse condition than other buildings in the area.

Hospitals

In many senses, hospitals are as dangerous as schools, and for the same reasons. Hospitals may have weak or failing building structures, and they also house vulnerable people whose condition may easily grab media attention.

While hospitals do have better security staffing than schools, it may still not be enough to overcome problems created by large numbers of people in panic mode. If the situation is bad enough, people may even try to storm the hospital to steal food, drugs, or anything else than can be of use.

At this time, we would all like to think that in time of need, hospitals will be safe from scavenging and other predatory behaviors because our culture has deeply ingrained values about the sanctity of a medical setting.

That being said, we also live in a culture of sick video games and the unhealthy crossing of many other boundaries. Do not be surprised if at some point hospitals also become prey to predation during times of crisis.

Depending on the situation, hospitals can also be places where you can catch some very dangerous diseases. Right now, hospitals do have better air filtering systems than you would find in other areas. On the other side of the equation, if the cause of the crisis is disease related, that also means people infected will go to the hospital for treatment.

As a result, if you are still healthy, going to the hospital may expose you to the disease unnecessarily.

Churches

When I was growing up, my mother always said “if you are in a bad way and have no place else to turn, go to the church”. While many of the things my mother said have withstood the test of time, I cannot help but question going to a church for safety in time of need.

As with schools, churches have become the target of lunatics and predators seeking to harm the unarmed and the vulnerable.

To add insult to injury, as our society slips closer and closer to complete mass disruption, it is possible that churches will be targeted just to kill off those who avow a specific faith. Our history as far back as time goes is one in which people are ruthlessly slaughtered for their beliefs and affiliations.

Depending on the type of crisis, going to a church for shelter may truly be the worst thing you can do. While a church may offer suitable shelter from a blizzard or other relatively short term situation, I don’t recommend it for matters where civil unrest is expected.

Above Ground Areas of Malls or Other Public Gathering Locations

Large numbers of people in malls or other large public shelters can pose a number of problems. First, under stressful situations, you never know what, when, or how a stampede will get started. As the waves of panic ripple through the crowd, it may be impossible for you to escape.

If you are dealing with any kind of hostile takeover, rest assured that occupying forces will always look to subdue the largest numbers of able bodied people as quickly as possible. This, in turn, means, they will go to the malls and other areas where large numbers of people will prevent evacuation and escape.

Needless to say, if you are concerned about air raids, bombings, or other hostile acts, the enemy will still seek to hit maximize casualties by hitting large and popular public areas.

It is important to remember that underground areas of malls may still provide a safe place to hide in the city. For example, older malls may actually have long forgotten bomb shelters in the basement, or other areas that are fortified enough to ensure some degree of safety.

Therefore, if you have malls nearby, make it a point to see if underground parking garages or other underground facilities housed in the mall may be of use in a time of need.

Temporary Camps

During crisis, there is a natural tendency for people to try and organize in order to regain stability as quickly as possible. Some say temporary camps may be useful in the first hours or days after some natural disasters.

Here are just a few problems that you might face if staying at a temporary shelter in a city for too long:

  • Within a fairly short period of time, criminals and other unsavory people will try to take advantage of the situation, trying to rob you or hurt you. Order can, and does, break down very quickly in temporary camps despite access to food and other basics.
  • As with hospitals, you may also wind up being exposed to many illnesses, which is especially important if the crisis occurs during the flu season or another time when communicable diseases are likely to spread quickly in tight quarters.
  • If extensive areas of the outer society collapse, you will be a sitting duck and forced to go wherever you are told to go. While this may not be a problem if it is our national guard, police, or FEMA officials directing you to a safer location, it can be a huge problem if an invading force or hostile insurgents take over the camp.

Overall, temporary camps set up for crisis management can be of help, especially if you have no bug out plans or do not know where to begin to put your life back together after a large scale crisis.

It is still worth your while to get out of the camp as quickly as possible so that you can avoid problems associated with living in such close contact with others.

Places Where You Do Not Blend in With Others

Many people believe there is safety in numbers. As long as you are wearing the same kinds of clothes and act the same as the local people, then it is possible for you to hide in plain sight even in a big city during a major crisis.

On the other hand, if you don’t fit into the local scenery, then you may become a target for just about anyone that decides they have a reason to attack you. The only way to make sure you will be safe merging into a crowd for any reason during a crisis is to practice your skills now.

Just because you live in a city, that doesn’t mean your local area cannot be hit by massive floods, fires, or hostile takeovers. In fact, if you are in a city during a major crisis, the sheer number of people trying to deal with the situation can easily work against you.

When facing these kinds of situations, you must always think objectively about possible places where you can go to be safe.

Avoiding the ten problem areas listed in this article, and you may have a better chance of survival and find a suitable shelter before it’s too late!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

The Best 10 Tips For Survival Camping In The Rain

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You might love walking in the rain, but it doesn’t mean you enjoy being stuck in the rain while camping. If you are in a situation where you are camping out of necessity, getting caught unprepared for rain storms can lead to illness and many other problems.

Survival camping in the rain does not require much equipment, but you will still need to know what to do to get the most out of the basics you should already have in your everyday carry (EDC) bag.

Important Items to Have Onhand

Whether you are camping in an open field, a forest, or some other outdoor setting, you need basic items onhand. Ideally, these items (and others) should be with you at all times, regardless of where you go, so you could use them for your survival.

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If you already have them in your pocket book or some other wearable EDC (they take up about 1 liter of space or the size of a medium fanny pack), then you are well on your way to being fully capable of camping comfortably and safely in the rain.

  • Your EDC bag should be waterproof. Failing that, everything in the bag should be kept in Ziploc freezer bags or some other waterproof container.
  • A printed instruction book – you can use anything from laminated index cards to a small notebook for storing important information on how to start fires, treat medical emergencies, purify water, and build a basic shelter. You can start with the basic topics in this article, and then build on the information to address other scenarios. Do not forget you can also print diagrams and other pictures from online resources and include them in the book.
  • A knife
  • Flashlight
  • Waterproof matches, tinder cloth, and tea lights
  • Paracord
  • Screwdriver kit
  • File or emory boards
  • Sewing kit
  • Bandages, gauze, tweezers, cotton swabs, tissues, and tape
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Medicines and herbs in accordance with your needs. Do not forget you can divide salves and powders into straws and seal both ends for single use packages.
  • Rubbing alcohol or swabs
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Heavy duty construction bags
  • Plastic shopping bags
  • Rice (approximately 2 cups stored in a waterproof bag)
  • Small packets of salt, sugar, electrolyte, and nutrition bars
  • Water
  • Compass
  • Water purifying straws
  • Solar powered battery charger
  • Dish towel
  • Pair of socks
  • Electronic devices in accordance with personal needs and preferences

Avoid Lightning

While you may be more concerned about getting away from all the rain, it is very important to make sure you remain safe from lightning.

Here are some basic tips:

  • Don’t use an umbrella or anything else metallic that will draw lightning to you.
  • If you have a tent, make sure it does not conduct electricity.
  • Don’t camp under trees or areas where lightning may jump onto you.
  • Try to stay in areas where shrubs or low growth is of uniform height
  • Don’t go to the high ground or any area where lightning will try to use you as the fastest path to the ground
  • Remain in the trench or safe area for at least ½ after you no longer see lightning or hear thunder.
  • Stay away from water, especially in ponds, mud puddles, or any other standing water. Even if lightning does not hit you, but does hit the water, it will still shock you and may kill you.
  • If you try to wait out the storm in a ditch or other depression in the ground, make sure water is not flowing in it. You may have to abandon the ditch if you see water starting to build up or flow. In this situation, stay as close to the ground as you can while moving to another area of safety.

Avoiding Flash Floods and Related Hazards

In some ways, staying safe from floods and mudslides while camping in the rain is just the opposite of staying safe from lightening. When it comes to floods, you will be seeking the high ground as much as possible.

The best way to avoid problems with flash floods and mudslides is to be familiar with the area you are in. Stay away from areas where flooding and mudslides occur.

If you are not familiar with the area, then make sure you know the signs of areas where floods and slides are likely. This might include studying signs of previous floods in creek beds, rock patterns, and other indicators that problems may develop during a rainstorm.

Waterproof Shelter

With a few hours and suitable natural resources, you can build a shelter that will last for several days and be waterproof. This includes making small A-frame shelters from saplings as well as using vines and other materials for thatching and walls.

Video first seen on Haven.

If you do not have tarp on hand to build simple shelters, you can still bind together large leaves or grasses to make a mat. This includes using rushes and reeds found near the edge of ponds and streams. Insofar as short term shelters, just about anything will do as long as you can braid or knot it to keep the pieces together.

Once you have a basic mat built, you can plug up any holes in the structure with a mixture of grass and mud. Alternatively, if there are pine trees nearby, you can collect the sap and make pitch out of it.

If you happen to find a small hill and have more time, you can also create a small dugout shelter. Just make sure that you fortify the walls and have a suitable exit in case the structure floods or leaks in the rain.

If the rain hits suddenly, you can use a large size construction bag as a poncho until you find a place sheltered enough to build a fire. Keep at least one bag ready for this purpose.

Just cut a hole for your head to fit through the bottom of the bag and then pull the bag on when needed. When cutting arm holes, make sure there is enough plastic to drape wide over your shoulders so that rain doesn’t drip into the sides of the bag.

If there is a breeze, or you must move around to accomplish some other task, simply use some paracord to tie the bag closer to your body.

Starting and Maintaining a Fire

From drying out clothes to keeping animals away, being able to build a fire in the rain is the most important thing you can do. If you are carrying waterproof matches, tinder cloth, and tea lights, most of the work of finding suitable burn materials will already be done. All you will need to do is find some dry wood for the fire.

This may include anything from saplings to the inner material of fallen tree trunks. To start a fire with what you have:

  • Use the waterproof matches to ignite the tinder cloth. Some people also use cotton balls or dryer lint soaked in petroleum jelly for this purpose.
  • A tea light will provide necessary fuel until smaller bits of kindling catch fire. If you do not have a tea light, try using a pine cone.
  • There are several different ways to stack the logs when building a fire . Try out different methods before you are caught in the rain to see which one you are most comfortable with.

Get Dry and Stay Dry

Once you have a decent fire going, dry out your clothes and remove as much dampness as possible from your skin. This is especially important if you are prone to taking chills, or catch colds easily.

If you have a small towel on hand, use that to dry off, and then use the fire to dry out your clothes.

Unless you have a shelter, staying dry can be difficult as long as it is still raining. A plastic bag poncho will still keep the worst of the rain off you, but it can also block off the movement of sweat away from your skin. As a result, you must be very careful to pay attention to when your clothes feel damp, or open the bag up to allow it to vent from time to time. Needless to say, you will not be able to use the bag as a covering when sitting by the fire.

Drying Out Electronic Devices

Unless you are camping during a complete social collapse, you might obtain cell service as long as your phone works. In addition, you may also need your phone to access other information, especially if you don’t have a set of printed notes with you.

If your cell phone or solar power charging kit got wet, start off by removing as much moisture as you can with cotton swabs and tissues. Do not forget to remove the battery and dry as much as you can in the battery compartment.

Be careful when drying off the gold contacts located on the battery as you do not want to inadvertently short it out. From there, if the device doesn’t start working when you reinstall the battery, store it in a bag of rice for 24 – 36 hours.

The rice will, hopefully, absorb enough moisture so that your device will work properly again.

Navigating in the Rain

Many people that go camping stay in one place while it is raining. While this may have advantages insofar as keeping a fire going and having a reliable shelter, it may not work in a survival situation.

If you must reach a distant location in a short period of time, you may not have hours or days to waste sitting in one location. You will also need food and water fairly quickly. Even if you aren’t going to move very far away from the campsite, you may still need to find your way around and back to it.

Video first seen on The Hidden Woodsmen.

When navigating in the rain, keep in mind a few things.

Use Laminated Maps

If you are traveling a distance, laminate your maps on both sides, with the edges sealed, and keep them in a waterproof bag.

There are few things worse than thinking your map is waterproof, only to lay it down on a damp surface and see it get soaked from the bottom. By the same token, a map that does not have sealed edges can also pick up moisture very quickly and carry it into the printed area.

Write Down Your Position

Always write down compass readings while moving away from the campsite, to have a better chance of backtracking to find your previous location. Remember, even if you only go a few feet away from the campsite, it can be very easy to get confused and wind up going in the wrong direction.

Leave Trail Markers

You can use anything from patterns of stones on the ground making arrows to carving markers in trees to help you find your way back to the campsite or some other area of interest.

Use a Walking Stick

In order to reduce the risk of falling or incurring other injuries, use a walking stick while it is raining and the ground is wet. Wet leaves with hidden mud under them can easily cause you to slip and fall, especially if you are traveling along a decline and hidden rocks slip out from under your feet.

Using a walking stick will also help you avoid stepping on snakes or other creatures that might be hiding in the leaves. If you are not a seasoned hiker or aren’t paying enough attention to where you put your feet, it is very easy to get startled, lose your balance, and wind up with sprains, cuts, bruises, or broken bones.

Put the Fire Out Before Leaving

Even if you are planning to return to the campsite, put the fire out before you go. It is never a good idea to leave a fire unattended regardless of the weather or how assured you feel that you will return in time to take care of a problem. It simply isn’t worth the risk to keep a fire going if you don’t have eyes on it at all times and are ready to put it out if something goes wrong.

Signaling Without Electronic Devices

Unfortunately, if it is raining, you will not be able to use a mirror to capture light from the sun and signal for help. If your cell phone isn’t working, that leaves using sound and smoke.

Here are some things you can try to draw helpers to your site:

  • Use the fire to generate a smoke signal. Make sure the fire is in an open area where as much smoke as possible will be seen by others.
  • Make a whistle from reeds or other hard, hollow stems. You can also use your knife to carve out a whistle that may send sound further out.
  • If you have been hunting, take skins from fish or animals and stretch them over a hollowed out tree stump. Next, simply beat on the skins to create a drum sound.
  • Make a bullroarer or similar device – these devices have been used for thousands of years and in cultures all over the world to send information over long distances. They are little more than thin pieces of wood attached to a rope. As the wood is spun, it makes a sound that can be heard for miles around.

Video first seen on Jungle Jay Adventures.

Managing Illness and Injuries

Overall, there isn’t much difference between managing illnesses in the rain and when the weather is clear. You will still need to keep wounds clean and dry.

If you have a sprained ankle or broken bone, you will still use the same methods to isolate them in order to prevent further damage. That all being said, when it rains, you may want to take some extra precautions to avoid getting sick.

For example, if you are comfortable with using garlic, ginger, or other herbs that reduce inflammation and kill off a wide range of bacteria, you may want to take them to stave off an infection.

Camping in the rain can come with a set of special challenges that you may not give much thought when the sun is shining. Even people that have gone camping before may not always think about keeping a set of tools in their EDC that can be used in case they are stuck in a situation where they must camp outdoors for survival purposes.

Today, you can look over your EDC gear and see if you have everything you need to survive camping for a day or more in the rain. If you do, then you will be well served by practicing your skills the next time it rains.

Even if you camp out in your backyard for a few hours, it will give you some good ideas about what skills you need to hone as well as how best to use the gear that you have on hand. Use any opportunity to practice your survival skills as this can save your life one day!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

7 Ways To Fry Your Electronics (Beside EMP)

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As preppers, we necessarily expend a lot of energy in preparations against EMP because of mankind’s enormous exposure to that threat, but in doing so, could there be other threats that we are forgetting?

Beside EMP, what threats are there to electronics? There are at least 7 other factors that can broke your electronics, and you have to learn how to control, so they would keep working and serve you.

Keep reading to find our what they are! 

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Briefly:

  • Sometimes electronics are cheap enough that you can store spares, but when you may be fixing it yourself, industry-standard, component-based electronics are much easier to fix and find parts for than proprietary architecture equipment.
  • Ever had alkaline batteries leak and ruin electronics? Lithium batteries are a better choice for electronics stored in vehicles when they must be stored with batteries installed to be effective.
  • Wear an antistatic wrist strap and connect it to bare metal surface on the chassis of the electronics you are working to minimized risk of damage from ESD.
  • Electronics that specify a ground do so for a reason. Go around them and you are asking for trouble.
  • Online, 3-phase uninterruptible power supplies prevent a whole host of power problems, prevent damage from bad power and greatly extend equipment life.

Proprietary vs Open Architecture

For a survival vehicle, you are better off with a vehicle that can be fixed relatively easily and with commonly-available parts. That easy-to-fix survival vehicle is like a computer that is not proprietary. (It is OK to be a driver and not a mechanic, but it is important that the vehicle be field-repairable by someone nearby and for a reasonable cost.)

The same is true, to a degree, of electronics. With less-expensive electronics, you may be able to get around this, to a degree, by stocking spare electronics instead of spare parts. The larger and more expensive systems are, the harder it becomes to stock spares because of cost and space.

So, consider where it makes sense to purchase highly-integrated and proprietary electronics and stock spares and where more modular, repairable electronics and spare components and tools to repair them would be more effective.

Enemies of Electronics

Battery Problems

Have you ever left a flashlight in the car and opened the battery cover to find that alkaline batteries have corroded and leaked? If stored long enough, without maintenance, a battery leak can ruin some electronics.

A simple fix is to switch to lithium batteries. This is especially important for gear stored in vehicles that need to be stored with batteries installed. Lithium batteries store longer, are lighter weight, last longer (especially in high current applications) and are far less likely ruin valuable electronics if stored too long.

Unfortunately, lithium batteries are also more expensive. If cost is an issue, store alkaline batteries separately and install them only when you use the electronics.

Lightning

Lightning is beautiful and awe-inspiring when observed and the wrath of God when experienced. I will address lightning separately because it is not always so much a power problem, but is induced by the environment.

Lightning protection equipment routes surges of more than then 300 volts to ground, but surges lower than 300 volts can still damage connected equipment, so lightning protection must be used in tandem with surge protection.

There are four parts to protecting a building from lightning:

  • Lightning Protection System
  • Building Ground System
  • Surge Protection
  • Connected Equipment Properly Grounded.

Phones, electrical, antenna, conductive underground piping … everything should be tied into the building’s ground system. This ground should be singular, continuous (not spliced or brought to a terminal strip) and properly designed and installed.

Lightening will take the path of least resistance, so all connected equipment must be properly grounded. If connect your computer to a little two prong extension cord without a ground prong or use adapters that eliminate the ground, you are asking for trouble.

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)

You know that little shock you feel and see when you touch a conductor after rubbing your feet on the carpet? The spark occurs as the electric field surrounding your body, balances with the electric field of another object. The spark is called electrostatic discharge and it is why electronics come packaged in static bags.

You can build up an electrostatic charge on your body by rubbing a balloon on dry hair or a loose knit sweater, combing dry hair with a plastic comb, or by dragging your feet on carpet wearing socks. These examples build up electrostatic charge in a process known as tribocharging, which builds a charge when two materials are brought together and then separated.

You may have felt this as you have removed products from certain types of plastic bags. This is the result of tribocharging causing electrostatic buildup as packages are jostled during shipping.

Microelectronics incorporate tiny transistors that run at very low voltages. This makes them cheaper, cooler, faster and more energy efficient. It also makes them more vulnerable to ESD. Microchips are particularly vulnerable to ESD.

Precautions against ESD are especially important when humidity is low (below 30%), and when wearing baggy or woolen clothing.  The chassis of most electronics offers a degree of protection against ESD, but when handling or working on electronics, on electronics, (such as removing a card or memory from a computer or opening protective cases) an antistatic wrist strap should be worn.

Connect the wrist strap’s alligator clip to a non-painted, conductive metal surface of the chassis of the electronic device you are working on. This balances your electric field with that of the object you are working on and prevents ESD. Take care not to touch circuits or contacts with fingers or conductive tools and protect vulnerable electronics with static bags.

Moisture

Moisture, salt air and high humidity (above 80%) can cause corrosion. Corrosion can prevent electrical contacts from making an effective connection or worse. Corrosion is a frequent problem with automobile battery connections and electrical plugs on trailers because they are often exposed to the elements and not frequently disconnected and reconnected.

Auto battery terminals can be cleaned with a saturated solution of baking soda and water. Care must be taken not to get battery acid contained in the white, powdery corrosion residue in your eyes, on your skin, clothing or the vehicle’s paint.

Clean any tools used to work on battery terminals as well. Saturate a bowl of water with baking soda until no more will dissolve and add another teaspoon or two, which will collect in the bottom of the bowl.

When you place a battery terminal in the bowl and gently swirl the solution onto it, a chemical reaction will begin as the baking soda solution dissolves the acid buildup. Baking soda will be used in this reaction and some of the baking soda in the bottom of the bowl may dissolve and become suspended in solution.

Dry the terminals with a disposable rag or paper towel and immediately dispose of them to reduce chances of acid damage. Then use a battery post and terminal brush to clean up battery and terminal connections.

Electrical connections between vehicles and trailers are typically best cleaned with very small wire brushes. Once corrosion is cleaned up and contacts restored, keep them from corroding again with felt discs impregnated with corrosion inhibitors or corrosion inhibiting spray.

Moisture can also be a problem when storing electronics long term or caching them. Use desiccant packets, and seal electronics in plastic bags treated with a dry vapor rust preventative like Zerust or add plastic tabs impregnated with it. This method or storage does not involve liquids that can short circuit electronics or messy cleanup.

Sunlight

Sunlight’s UV rays can damage some parts of electronics, turning them weak and brittle. When you read general storage directions, they typically tell you to store things out of direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place.

Temperature Extremes

Extreme heat can cause electronics to malfunction or permanently damage them. Extreme cold, can sap batteries, freeze moving parts or cause parts to become brittle. Most electronics have recommended operating temperatures. Pay attention to these when purchasing electronics, where applicable.

Today, it seems that many people accept the integration of electronics even in applications where live depends on their proper function, and do so with little thought as to potential reliability problems.

A few years ago, some US soldiers realized that some optics issued had questionable reliability in extreme cold and this caused quite a stir in the optics industry.

The optic for my Dragunov has a cold-weather battery compartment that I can clip inside my clothing when the temperature drops to ensure reliability of its illuminated reticle. If you operate (or may be forced to operate) in extreme heat or cold, take these factors into consideration to keep your electronics working.

Power Problems

You have probably heard about the aging patchwork electrical infrastructure millions of American lives depend on. The power supplied to your electronics by the utility can cause problems or even damage equipment and you can expect even more power problems during periods of high order volatility.

Fortunately, connected equipment in your home can be protected from power problems by power protection equipment such as the Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS.

  • Interruption – The power problem that is probably most visible to most people is the complete interruption of power, commonly known as a blackout.
  • Surge/Spike – Surges or spikes are short increases in voltage that can trip fuzes, damage or destroy electronics and are caused by lightning strikes, improper wiring or load shifting by utility companies.
  • Sag/Under-voltage – Sometimes called brownouts, while a surge is too much voltage, a sag is too little, can be cause by heavy demands on available power, poor circuit design or too little power being produced, and can degrade electronics over time, trip fuzes or damage them outright. Sags can last from moments to hours and are much more common that blackouts, but may go unnoticed.
  • Line Noise – Distortion caused by Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) or Radio Frequency Interference (RFI), line noise can be caused by high voltage power lines, bad fluorescent light ballasts, severe weather or radio signals. Line noise can cause electronic degradation over time, snow on video electronics or static noise on audio electronics.
  • Swell/Overvoltage – Swells or overvoltage involve too much voltage like surges and spikes but are of longer duration.

Home Power Protection

In addition to the steps mentioned under lightning protection, home power protection is typically accomplished by pairing electronics, or small clusters of them with an UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply).

Quality UPS’s are three-phase, converting the AC power supplies by the utility over to DC power and back to AC and protect against all the power problems listed above. They also feature a battery to supply power until power is restored or until equipment is safely and properly shut down, which can be accomplished automatically with most computers.

If longer duration of battery-supplied power is needed, some models allow for additional batteries to be added to increase total battery capacity, but for longer term needs, a standby generator is typically installed.

UPS’s can also be wired directly into electrical building electrical systems in applications where one to one or cluster installation would be less-effective.

Many power problems may go largely unnoticed or users may fail to connect the fact their electronics have been damaged to the power problems that caused the damage. A quality UPS can prevent many of these problems and extend equipment life.

Be smart and protect your electronics so you could use them at the right time!

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

The 3-Days Survival Blueprint Everyone Should Follow

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A major disaster hitting in your area might leave you high, dry, and helpless unless you can think ahead, react quickly, and shield yourself and others in a crisis.

If you would only knew in time… And if you would, how much could you do to prep. Let’s say, could you prepare for any disaster in just 3 days?

Let’s see where to start from, and where to head to, in order to survive!

Briefly:

  • “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” – Harry Callahan. While survival is largely a DIY proposition, you have to realize your limitations and when calling in a specialist is your most effective move.
  • A plan needs a Statement of Commander’s Intent (SCI) to keep everyone’s eye on the desired end-result.
  • Using a modified version of the “Rule of Threes” as a mnemonic for survival priorities enables the survivor to plan for a wide range of survival scenarios without missing key priorities.
  • “Skills trump gear.” Is an oversimplification that reflects ignorance of the fact that both skills and gear are necessary to save lives in most life-threatening emergencies. Used effectively, emergency tools and supplies save time and calories, and saving time and calories saves lives.

A Loud Knock at the Door

Let’s say you’re not a prepper, and you are enjoying your favorite TV show when you are startled by a loud knock at the door. You approach the door and peer out.

To your relief, you see a beloved family member staring at her cellphone. It’s been a while as she has been busy with work as the county emergency manager and you are glad to see her. As you open the door, she bursts in and hurriedly explains that there a new airborne pathogen is raging out of control and that the math cannot be refuted.

A global pandemic with a mortality rate above 50% has begun, and the federal government is already frantically preparing. The feds will not announce the threat for 72 hours to give them time to move personnel and supplies, but a longtime colleague at the CDC could not bear the guilt and tipped her off.

She simultaneously pleads with you and issues a mandate that within three days, you must quarantine your home for 90 days to have any hope of your family surviving this without loss of life. You must be ready before the announcement because panic will surely ensue.

You knew that a major disaster was a possibility, but just did not ever think that it would happen during your lifetime. You have never seen the need to prepare before now, but then there was no concrete threat at your door.

Now things have changed and so your vision has changed. You have experienced the all-important paradigm shift and now have precious little time to act.

How much could our survivors possibly prepare in just three days?

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

I know plenty of folks who have been preparing for months, years and even decades who don’t feel they are adequately prepared! Well, I enjoy a good survival challenge, so let’s take a stab at it.

3 Days to Be Prepared Blueprint

Even a relative novice to preparedness would be quick to concede that being prepared involves more than just equipment and supplies.

Our survivors must execute some immediate actions to give them any realistic hope of survival beyond sheer luck and the compassion and forbearance of others.

Immediate Actions

1. Establish Leadership

First things first, someone needs to step forward. A leader must be decided. Chain of command must be established. A state of emergency should be declared. There will be times when they can, and should, be democratic, but this is not one of them.

The leader should explain that this is not permanent. They should also explain why the changes are necessary and clearly describe the circumstances that will bring it to an end and they will step down and things will get back to normal when the family is out of danger.

2. Secure a Plan

Normally, I would say to create a plan, but as the family in our case study could not hope to become experts in any aspect of preparedness in just three days, our would-be survivors would do well to enlist the services of a competent emergency-preparedness expert to guide them in their preparations.

Our new leader does not have to be an expert to execute a well-drafted plan, and everyone would benefit greatly if that plan was drafted by someone with considerably more experience than they currently possess.

A realistic appraisal of the situation and decision to pay the price to bring in an expert would be our new leader’s best move. The plan should be simple and focus on the basics necessary to survive the situation at hand.

3. Execute the Plan

In executing a plan, the family should be instructed to pay attention to the first lines, which will communicate the Commander’s Statement of Intent. It this case, it will should be along the lines of “Enforce a strict quarantine of the structure occupied even if the use deadly force is necessary to enforce the quarantine.”

Systems will be put in place to warn the public to stay out and hopefully make the use of any level of force unnecessary, but since is the number one place the plan could break down, the family must be ready, unflinching and must not hesitate should use of force be necessary. If they pay attention to this, it is possible that everything else could fall into place.

4. Understand Physiological Responses to Danger

For most people, functioning effectively in an emergency is more easily said than done. Academics use the 10/80/10 Rule to describe this: Only 10% of people respond effectively in an emergency, 80% freeze, and 10% panic or respond in ways that are counter-productive to survival, such as drinking seawater or opening an emergency exit on a pressurized airplane at 30,000 feet.

You may have heard disaster survivors describe instances of tunnel vision, tunnel hearing, feelings of time slowing down, instances of victims repeating, “This is not happening.” over and over or outright refusal to recognize threats.

Physiological responses like tunnel vision and normalcy bias occur when the brain provides less detail in effort to prevent us from succumbing to analysis paralysis and freezing like a deer in the headlights. The connection I think academics fail to make is the role that the modern pattern of life we have engineered for ourselves plays in this process.

“Developed” modern city life insulates people from life and death decisions to such a degree that it causes the evolved protective response to backfire, resulting in paralysis, like it evolved to prevent. Understanding that physiological responses to danger exist is the first step to overcoming them.

5. Improvise, Adapt and Overcome

Emergencies are dynamic and even the very best plans do not survive contact with the enemy. Survivors plan to shelter in place and end up having to move to another dwelling or location to survive. It is not the strong who survive, but the adaptable.

The Plan

What might the plan look like?

Depending on the size of the household, the family may benefit greatly by doubling or tripling up with other families as they may not have the manpower to mount an effective watch and secure the quarantined structure. The best candidates would likely be other family, friends or neighbors who are already prepared. Our professional would surely advise them of this need should it exist.

As mentioned under immediate action number 3.) the plan will be headed with a Statement of Commander’s Intent (SCI). The rest of the plan will support this statement. Beyond the SCI, the plan should include pre-quarantine, quarantine, end of quarantine and post-quarantine phases, and should focus on the following principle areas:

  • Quarantine/PPE
  • Security
  • Austere Medical
  • Shelter
  • Water
  • Food
  • Hygiene
  • Communications
  • Morale

Pre-quarantine (The next three days)

I will detail the pre-quarantine phase of the plan since that is that phase that this article deals with. The pre-quarantine focus will be a three-way split:

  • Procurement
  • Preparation
  • Training

Procurement

Most of the procurement should be done locally. Again, the survival consultant or experienced survivalist uses established best practices (based on a modified rule of threes mnemonic) to guide the family in creating a list of supplies to procure in order of importance and urgency:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Antimicrobial Products, Antibiotics, First Aid & Austere Medical Equipment
  • Air Filtration, Positive Air Pressure, Quarantine and Barrier Materials
  • Zoned, Layered Security, Lighting (and a renewable energy solution to support it), Movement Denial & Self-Defense Gear Including Bullhorns, Materials for Signs, Yellow Quarantine Flags and Field Phones (to act as an intercom and avoid face to face communication and create space and time to react), Firearms, Ammo, Concealed Carry Gear, LBE, Cleaning Gear and Force Multipliers such as Night Vision if resources allow for such.
  • Appropriate Clothing, Heaters, Interior and Personal Lighting, Cordage & Tools
  • Water, Water Treatment, Transport, Storage Supplies, Drinking Water Hoses and Buckets
  • Food Storage, Stove, Cooking Fuel, Fire & Carbon Monoxide Safety Equipment
  • Hygiene Supplies and Accommodations
  • Bug Out Bags, Service Vehicles, Gasoline Storage, Map & Compass
  • Battery-powered Radio Communications Gear
  • Reference Library

Preparation

A quarantine zone must be established. Ideally, it should establish a posted perimeter to create a reactionary gap and identify the home as quarantined.

The principle aspects of the household must be modified to operate off-grid since infrastructure requires maintenance and an event like this would almost certainly affect the workforce that maintains the infrastructure that the family depends on for power, water and trash pickup.

  • Establish Perimeter, Area Denial, Signage, Communications Points, Entry/Exits & Decontamination Points
  • Seal the Structure, Establish Positive Air Pressure, Air Filtration, Entry/Exits, Decontamination Points and a Quarantine/Treatment Area (in case someone becomes infected.)
  • Establish Security Barriers, Fighting Positions, Listening Post/Observation Post (LP/OP), Guard Posts, Charge of Quarters Desk and Duty Roster
  • Create and Stock Medical Triage and Treatment Areas
  • Establish a Mud Room, Heating Systems and Fuel Stores
  • Establish Water Storage, Treatment, Transport & Hygiene Systems
  • Setup and Test: Lighting, Renewable Energy & Communications
  • Create Hidden Off-site Caches of Emergency Supplies and Weapons (This way you may still be able to survive if your home is captured, destroyed or surrendered to a superior force. Do not inform the children of their existence.)

Training

Three days is not a lot of time, but it is enough time to get a lot done. Luckily for our survivors, three days is enough time for an initial training, followed by three spaced repetitions. This will get the best bang for our buck memory-wise given the time available with the instructor.

After that, the family will have to continue training on their own. Unfortunately, the first day is going to be a long one, but it’s OK if the family doesn’t not have high initial retention. Repetition is the key.

Training sessions will be short, but they will be hands on. The basics of each topic will be introduced the first day and repeated once each day. Classes will be videoed for reference and the family will learn the material knowing that each of them will have to re-teach it. The training regimen will be along these lines:

  • Biohazard PPE & Enforcing Quarantine of an Occupied Structure
  • Quarantine and Treatment of an Infected Individual
  • Armed Self-defense & Defense Drill
  • First Aid
  • Shelter
  • Water Treatment
  • Food Preparation (using the fuels and gear they will be using), Preservation and Food Storage
  • Hygiene Under Quarantine Conditions
  • Renewable Energy, Lighting & Communications

Prologue

Should we consider a longer-term scenario? The problem is that no amount of stuff can ever make you prepared for a more challenging ordeal, and three days would not give a person who had not started preparing a realistic chance.

Still this less-challenging, shorter-term scenario is more easily survivable, not because training and skills trump gear, but because you need BOTH to realistically give you the best chances and to help prevent the morale compromise and traumatic experiences that result when survivors lack either. If you do not cache supplies, you are not likely as skilled equipped to deal with serious survival ordeals as you think, and cannot possibly know until you are already in the situation … and that is too late.

There is an attraction of carrying a little less equipment and supplies than you need and relying on your wits and skills to see you through. That is an effective way to train and develop antifragility, when you have a safety backup, but not such an antifragile approach to actual emergencies.

It is thinly disguised too little, too late and the story too often ends with a damaged operator, which not antifragile, it is just plain fragile.

The moral here is to prepare. You do not have to identify as a “Prepper” to be responsible, stay fit or to survive a disaster.  The truth is that if you have a first aid kit, exercise or a keep a little cash on hand, you are already preparing for emergencies and fit the widest definition of a “Prepper.”

It is my hope that more people will recognize that emergency preparedness is simply a responsible behavior, just like owning a fire extinguisher, volunteering or brushing your teeth, and that these actions are responsible independent of labels or stereotypes.

This is what actually makes the difference between a victim and a survivor!

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

Surviving Winter: 10 Easy Ways To Cut Your Electricity Bills

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Each time you get your electric bill, it is sure to be a revolting experience. If you live in a highly regulated community, have little property to work with, or live in an apartment, it may seem like you will never find a way to generate sufficient electricity.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do with relative ease to cut your electric usage by 50% or more.

Target the Most Power Hungry Devices First

If you stop and think about where the most electricity is being used in your home, you’ll immediately name:

  • electric hot water heater
  • air conditioner
  • electric heaters
  • central heating blower
  • electric cooking stove
  • refrigerator
  • washer/dryer
  • dishwasher

As you look at this list, you may feel even more helpless because it may seem like there is no way to cut back on the usage of these appliances and still live comfortably. There are actually several ways to cut your electric usage from these devices with relatively little effort and almost no cost.

You may need to make a few adjustments to how you go about each day, it will be more than worth the effort.

Turn the Hot Water Heater on Only Once a Day

If you have an electric hot water heater, chances are it runs around the clock. Do you really need hot water at 2 am?  Is it really necessary for that heater to be going on and off all day long, even when you aren’t home or using the water at all?

Some people can afford the expense of a flash heater that produces hot water only as needed, you may find it necessary to improvise.

The easiest thing you can do is take a look at your power box. The hot water heater uses more current, so it has a circuit breaker all its own. If you cannot afford an electrician, or don’t’ have access to the hot water heater’s power switch, simply throw the circuit breaker that goes to the heater. When you need hot water, simply set the breaker so that current can flow to the heater again.

At the beginning, you will need to figure out how much time it takes for a tank of water to heat up.

For example, if it takes one hour to heat the water up, then you would turn the heater on one hour before you do the dishes, take a shower, or use the hot water for some other purpose. Once the water is hot enough or you are ready to use it, simply shut the heater back off.

Insulate the Hot Water Heater

If you aren’t comfortable with turning the hot water heater on and off, then you can at least insulate the heater. All you need is fireproof sheet insulation for this purpose. In fact, most hardware stores sell insulation for this purpose.

Depending on how cold the area is where the hot water heater is located, you may want to wrap the insulation around the heater more than once. Just make sure the insulation does not touch any electrical parts or areas that need to be left open for one reason or another.

As an additional note, if you do decide to turn the heater on and off manually, you can still increase your savings by insulating the heater. Whether the heater is located in a cold basement, or is in some other out of the way place, the insulation will reduce the amount of heat escaping from the unit.

This will also cut down on the amount of time required to heat the water, which, in turn, can only help reduce your electric bill.

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Use a Wet Fabric Barrier in Front of Box Fans

If you thought the hot water heater was an energy hog, chances are you don’t feel much better about the air conditioner.

So when temperatures soar into the 90’s or into the triple digits, then you will need to do something to cool down your home or risk getting very sick. In many cases, you can reduce your air conditioner usage by 30% or more by taking advantage of box fans and moisture.

Evaporating water leads to cooling until such a time when the air can no longer take in more water. This point is determined, in part, by the temperature of the air. If you are using box fans, you can increase the capacity for cooling by putting a screen of wet fabric in front of them. Use thin to sheer fabrics that will dry easily in the draft from the fan.

For the sake of saving space, and creating an increased flow of cool air, you can also try making an “air conditioner” from a 5 gallon bucket fan and a desktop fan.

fan should fit without falling

This design can be adapted to fit all different sized fans and areas.  In fact, if you are looking to build an air conditioner on a budget, you can even use buckets from the dollar store, and cheap fans from the flea market.

Take Advantage of Solar Window Sill Coffee

While you are in the process of taming major energy hogs such as the heating and cooling systems, look at any appliances you use as a matter of routine. Many people are truly amazed at how much electricity it takes to make a pot of coffee in an electric coffee maker, and then keep it warm.

Unless you are in a household where four or five people want a cup of coffee all at the same time, it will make more sense to brew your coffee on a window sill. There are a number of solar powered coffee makers that will produce a single cup of coffee, or keep it warm for several hours.

Just put these solar coffee makers in a windowsill and fill them with water and coffee.  Even if you still need a cup of coffee from a conventional coffee maker before the sun comes up, you can still use the solar powered coffee maker for the rest of the day.

If you don’t mind instant coffee, you don’t even need a dedicated window sill coffee maker to get a hot cup of coffee. Take a mason jar and paint it dull black. Set the jar in a small box made of aluminum foil, and let the heat and light from the sun land on the aluminum foil. As the sun hits the foil, it will bounce onto the blackened mason jar. The black paint will absorb the heat, which will warm up the water inside the vessel. Once the water is hot enough, all you need to do is add the coffee.

Solar Cooking in the Summer

Chances are, during the summer months, you won’t be as interested in hot meals. You may also exchange using the stove top and oven for the microwave. Even if you have a small, low wattage microwave, it will still use a good bit of power.

You can achieve the same results as you would get on your stove top or conventional oven by using a solar cooker. To get started, you can experiment with a cardboard box and some tinfoil. Later on, as you get accustomed to solar cooking, you may want to build something that remains in one place.

Aside from being healthier and cheaper than using a microwave, solar cookers can also be adapted for drying foods in bulk. If you have a garden, or go to local farms during peak crop seasons, this is the perfect way to dry foods for usage later on.

Try Thermos Cooking

Have you ever noticed that there is not taking the place of a bowl of oats, a plate of spaghetti, or a cup of hot soup? There is no reason to give up your crock pot, you can use thermos cooking for some meals, as well as for warming up others.

Video first seen on TheModernSurvivalist.

Basically, instead of cooking food or heating it up all the way on the stove, you let it finish to cook in an insulated vessel such as a thermos.

To get the most from this form of cooking, keep the following in mind:

  • Typically, you will save anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes of active heating time depending on the food type
  • Meat, eggs, and other foods that can carry disease should still be cooked to the proper internal temperature and for the proper duration.  While you may want to mix them with other foods for warm up, they should not be cooked using thermos cooking methods.  For the most part, you will be somewhat limited to pasta, grains, beans, and pre-cooked soups.
  • As pasta cooks, it continues to absorb water. You will have to watch carefully to make sure it doesn’t absorb too much water while it is sitting in the thermos.  Different pasta shapes will also absorb water at different rates.  Elbows tend to take longer to turn into mush than spaghetti strands, so it may be best to master them before moving onto other shapes.
  • A good quality thermos with good insulation will be more effective than a cheaper one. Remember, it is the insulative properties of the thermos that will enable the food to continue “cooking” using the heat already contained by the food.
  • You may need to use different sized thermoses based on the amount of food you plan on preparing.  Remember, air inside the thermos will also heat up. Therefore, if you don’t want the food to lose all of the heat it contains, it is best to use a smaller sized thermos for smaller amounts of food.

Insulate Your Refrigerator

If you have children at home, then you know just how much electricity is being used each time the refrigerator door is opened or closed. While you can’t do much of anything about this particular problem, you can take steps to make sure the cold temperatures are preserved as much as possible.

As with insulating the hot water heater, you will be amazed at how much electricity you can save when you insulate the refrigerator. In this case, you can save 10 – 20% of your total electric usage by adding insulation boards onto the sides and top of the refrigerator. Remember to insulate the doors to save even more.

When it comes to reducing the electrical usage for your refrigerator, it may also help to take a look at where it is located. For example, is it located near the stove, heat registers, or some other area where heat builds up? If so, move it to a colder or draftier part of the kitchen. Not only will the refrigerator will be in a naturally cooler place, it may even warm that corner up a bit with the heat released from the device’s operations.

Use Salt and Ice in the Freezer

Unlike your hot water heater, it isn’t so easy to simply shut the refrigerator off and remain confident that foods will remain at a safe temperature. A refrigerator or freezer may go for as much as 24 – 48 hours in an emergency situation, but it doesn’t mean you should make a habit of shutting the fridge off for this long.

On the other hand, there are some things you can do to keep foods frozen even if the temperature setting is a good bit higher than what you would normally use.

Once you get accustomed to this method, you may also be able to shut the refrigerator down altogether for a few hours at a time and still not have to worry about added electrical usage to regain a suitable temperature. Just make sure that the compressor unit and other parts will not be damaged by being shut off and on in this manner.

Storing foods in ice mixed with salt will keep them in good condition for several days even without electricity. When combined with insulating the outside of the refrigerator unit, you may be able to cut freezer usage by as much as 50%.

As an added bonus, since the freezer always takes more energy than the refrigerator, you can have peace of mind knowing that you cut back on a major part of electricity usage for this particular appliance. From there, all you will need to do is figure out how you will cut back on the refrigerator side of the unit.

Some options may include buying a very small, energy efficient refrigerator unit and insulating it to get the most from it so that you don’t have to worry about the larger unit taking up so much electricity.

Put Computers and Other Appliances on a Power Strip

Computers, printers, and all sorts of other electronic devices draw small amounts of current even if the power switch is shut off.  While it may not seem like much at first glance, it can add up to as much as $20.00 or more per year.

This constant flow of electricity through TVs, monitors, and other appliances can also wear out power switched and shorten the life of the device. The easiest and cheapest thing you can do is put all your appliances on a power strip, and then shut down the switch on the strip when you are done using the devices.

Today, you can also purchase good quality power strips with fuses and circuit breakers on them that will help protect your devices from brownouts and power surges.  If you decide to experiment with generating power later on, these power strips can truly be very handy and save you a bit of money.   Just be sure to replace them on a regular basis, as the surge protection parts can degrade over time and fail when you need them most.

As you set up your system of surge protectors, you may also want to add timers. Let’s say you decide to put the coffee maker, toaster, or other appliance commonly used for making breakfast on a power strip. An external timer that doesn’t use electricity to count down can still be used to make sure the device(s) have power so they start up at the proper time.

Trying to find ways to cut back on the electric bill can seem like a daunting task. Whether you are stymied by the power usage for large appliances or small ones, there are always ways to cut back without losing all that you gain from having electricity.

While you are formulating plans to generate power, you can still take these simple steps to save electricity and see how they work for you. Once your electric bill starts going down, you are sure to be more motivated than ever to see how much more you can cut, and then see how best to meet the electricity needs for what is left on your list.

Keep looking for new ways to reduce your costs, as it will help your long term prepping!

 

 

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

15 Survival Movies To Teach Your Kids Prepping

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If you’re into prepping and you have kids, it would be wise to start teaching them disaster preparedness at an early age. There’s nothing better than growing up awake and prepared to face the unexpected, especially in volatile times such as these.

Having basic survival skills at an early age can be priceless and survival movies are a quintessential tool to use in this endeavor, as they combine learning with having fun, which translates into a win-win situation, especially if you’re a kid.

Of course, watching movies shouldn’t replace other “real life” activities, such as going camping with your bambinos.

Teaching your kids to survive on their own for a few days in an outdoors scenario is hugely important, not to mention that a camping trip builds confidence on their capability to be self sufficient, and also raises awareness on their personal hygiene in an off-grid scenario.

Furthermore, they’ll learn to be alert about the presence of dangerous wildlife and so forth and so on.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

It’s also worth mentioning that playing outside is essential for sparking a kid’s imagination (as opposed to pecking at TV/smartphones/tablets all day), as a pile of sand will quickly become a beach where the pirates of the Caribbean buried their treasures, and the trees and bushes behind the house morph into a luscious jungle, where monsters roam free, you know what I am talking about.

However, survival movies can be successfully used to prepare/teach your kids ahead of their real-life adventures, especially if they’re very young. So, let the games begin.

My number one choice is Walt Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson, a movie released back in 1960 and recommended for ages 8 and up. This Disney classic makes for the ultimate outdoor fantasy for a prepper’s family. The movie revolves around building a complex tree house on a Paradise-like tropical island, playing with animals (they are friendly, no worries), but also defending it all against pirates by using very sophisticated booby traps.

Let’s move to a more recent flick: Nim’s Island, a PG rated movie released back in 2008 (ages 8 and up), which makes for a contemporary thriller about a girl (Nim) and her dad, a science guy, both living on their private island. After her father goes missing during a storm, Nim is left (almost) alone on the island to take care of herself, with a little help from an agoraphobic visitor, but I will not spoil it for you.

If you’re looking for a good wilderness story for kids, Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog comes highly recommended. Released in 1995, the movie tells the story of a boy and his dog surviving in the wilderness and it emphasizes the importance of practical skills, self reliance and the value of knowing how to survive outdoors.

Cast Away is one of Tom Hanks’ best movies, as it explores a modern day’s man ability to survive in a very hostile environment, yet it encompasses almost zero violence, which makes it perfect for kids.

Everything in this movie is centered on a Federal Express engineer whose airplane crashes into the ocean, forcing him to live in seclusion on a deserted and remote island in the middle of nowhere. This is a modern-day Robinson Crusoe’s story of survival and it’s also massive fun to watch.

The Day After Tomorrow is a catastrophic flick which depicts a world collapsing after the planet experiences a dramatic climatic shift, which results in a new ice-age (what happened to global warming?). The movie is very interesting (read special effects) as it depicts a frozen America from coast to coast, while emphasizing the importance of survival skills in sub zero temperatures, planning ahead and having good gear at the ready if SHTF.

The Day After Tomorrow is a PG-13 rated movie, but as far as I remember, there’s no violence to speak of. However, there are some scenes depicting horrific injuries, and some characters drink alcohol as a way to mitigate their sadness after watching the destruction of much of the world as they knew it.

The Impossible is a very tragic survival movie which tells the story of the 2004 Tsunami that obliterated parts of Thailand. The Impossible is focused on the survival of a tourist family in Thailand, whose members were split up in the aftermath of the disaster, making for a true story of the people who had to stay alive through an incredible SHTF event. The story is very intense and the movie is rated PG 13 due to the fact that it sometimes depicts people suffering severe injuries.

A Cry in the Wild is a nineties flick about the sole survivor (a 13 year old boy) of a plane crash that got unreported. The hero’s name is Brian and the movie is about him trying to survive in the Yukon wilderness by his own wits, as he’s all alone. Your kids will learn essential survival skills from this movie: how to find food in an outdoors scenario, how to find shelter and also how to stay away from dangerous wild animals until you’re found.

Against the Wild is a 2013 “lost in the wilderness” movie following a plane crash (this is a recurrent theme, you can’t help it) about 2 siblings (teens) and their faithful dog. The trio must learn how to trust their instincts, and how to combine their skills in order to navigate an untamed and beautiful terrain. The struggle for survival is kind of mild and pretty boring for my taste, but given the fact this is a family movie, it contains zero violence, hence it’s perfectly suitable for your kids, being filled with positive messages and having positive role models.

Life of Pi tells the story of a young man’s epic journey of discovery and adventure after surviving a disaster at sea. As he’s cast away, he makes an unexpected friend, a Bengal tiger (another survivor).

The movie is great for kids, as it makes for an emotional, intense yet beautiful story of friendship and faith, as the heroes are trying to survive against all odds. There’s virtually no explicit violence, sexual content nor strong language in Life of Pi, while its impressive CGI makes it a powerful movie that will make your kids cheer in triumph or shed a tear as the story develops.

Twister is a nineties disaster flick about a couple of storm-chasers who are trying to build a state of the art weather alert system by putting themselves in the path of violent tornadoes. While you’ll find some violence and strong language here and there, the movie is very fun to watch overall, and your kids will be taught everything there is to know about the dangers of tornadoes (read severe weather conditions).

The Blue Lagoon is a movie made in the eighties about two 7 year old cousins who survive a shipwreck and find themselves deserted on a beautiful island in the Pacific. The movie is centered initially on the basics of survival, but later on it evolves into a love story, as the marooned couple slowly discovers sex, love and loneliness in this incredibly beautiful tropical paradise.

Lost in the Barrens makes for another “lost in the Canadian wilderness” survival tale about a Cree Indian boy and a white teen working together in sweet harmony in order to get through alive.

Wall-E is one of Pixar’s best, a romantic adventure flick, filled with action and environmental subliminal messages, which makes it ideal for the young prepper. Your kids will learn the importance of recycling and scavenging in a fun way, i.e. knowing how to make the most out of your trash, survive loneliness and finding hope in a SHTF environment.

The Wave is a rare Norwegian disaster movie about an implausible SHTF scenario, i.e. a fjord collapses and creates a tsunami, with our heroes getting caught in the middle of it and trying to survive.

Flight of the Phoenix tells the gripping story of the survivors of a plane crash with zero chance of rescue, who work together as they’re trying to build a new plane in the Mongolian desert. The action takes place in a harsh (even brutal) environment, with scarce resources and it includes a self-defense scene, as our heroes are attacked by desert smugglers.

The main lesson to be learned from this movie is that strong and loyal people who are committed to working together for a common goal in a SHTF scenario will survive almost anything.

These movies are good at explaining that a major calamity might struck you when you least expect it but never giving up and always thinking positive is what matters in a SHTF situation. That’s the mindset that would help your kids survive, beside the skills that you’re teaching them!

I hope the article helped. If you have other ideas or recommendations, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

6 Tricks For Self-Defense Everyone Should Know

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From everyday life to times of social unrest, everyone should know at least a few tricks for self-defense. The worst thing you can do is be a passive target to those who intend to hurt you.

Keep reading to get the self-defense tricks that help you stay safe and survive a bad situation.

As with anything else related to self-defense, there are no shortcuts. Spend some time each day honing your skills, and you will have a better chance of tipping any dangerous encounter in your favor.

Situation Awareness

There is no such thing as a punch, kick, weapon or move that will work if you aren’t aware of what is going on around you. but are you paying enough attention to what’s going on around, so you wouldn’t be caught on wrong foot and pay with your life for it?

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

If you can’t afford to take classes that teach these skills, or don’t know where to start, you can use the color code system below in order to help you tailor your responses to any given situation.

Level 1 – White

At this level, you are paying little, if any attention to what is going on around you. Should something happen, you will more than likely startle and then waste precious seconds panicking or coping with being spooked.

While you may feel perfectly safe staring at your smart phone while walking, or looking down at the ground, it sends a signal to criminals that you are an easy target.  When you are away from home or any public setting, you should never be at Level 1.

Level 2 – Yellow

In this stage, you are still relaxed, but paying attention to everything going on around you without necessarily focusing on it. You will be cataloging unusual garments for the time of year, erratic behavior, evidence of concealed weapons, signs that an argument has occurred, or anything else that might be problematic.

People around you are fully aware that they have been seen and cataloged, but not necessarily feel threatened or unnerved by your actions. A criminal, however, will realize they cannot startle you, so they will look for an easier target.  This is the ideal state to be in when away from home or in a public setting.

Level 3 – Orange

At this level, you conclude that a specific threat may be present and are figuring out how to neutralize it.  Because this level does induce some stress, staying in it too long can make you appear hyper-vigilant.  It does take a bit of skill to disguise this level of awareness.  At this stage you can still choose to avoid a fight or take steps to escape.

Level 4 – Red

At this stage, you either commit to escaping or fighting. You will feel a surge of adrenalin, and may experience tunnel vision, loss of hearing, panicking, and uncontrolled actions.   Even though this is the optimal level for fighting or escaping, you must practice managing and controlling your adrenalin surges in order to succeed.

If you are going to be an effective and successful fighter, there is no getting around the need for practice over time.  Failure at this stage can lead you straight into Level 5 both suddenly and without warning.

Never forget that even if you start off doing well in a Level Red threat situation, you can still lose control if you haven’t trained hard and honed your responses to the unexpected or the overwhelming.

Level 5 – Black

This final stage of threat management is one marked by blind panic and shut down. You will be at the mercy of your attacker, and the situation.  If you survive, the incident will more than likely trigger PTSD responses for the rest of your life.

Your Mindset is Important

In order to survive a violent encounter, you must be one step ahead of your attacker. If you have a sense of disbelief about the risks to your life, then you will not fight as hard, and will more than likely lose.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

While you should not overestimate your attacker to the point where you panic and freeze, it never hurts to believe that you might die in the encounter.

Many hunters, experienced hikers, and others who frequently spend time in nature know that there are certain things you must do to avoid being attacked by wild animals. Typically, the things you do early on in the encounter vary depending on the species.

In a similar way, when another person is about to attack you, there are things you should do to help prevent the attack from happening.

Rather than running away from a prospective attacker, you should advance on them. This response by a prospective victim can catch an attacker off guard and disrupt the belief that you are weak, afraid, and easy to dominate.  At this stage, you can either launch an attack of your own, or seek to escape.

Don’t Be Overwhelmed by Lacking a Weapon

Anything can be used as a weapon if you don’t have one. If you are looking to improvise, anything that is harder than your knuckles and sharper than your finger nails could be a good weapon. A cane, umbrella, or a pen can all deliver crippling or lethal blows if you know how to wield them.

As a basic rule of engagement for these weapons:

  • Hard or heavy objects should be smashed against bone.
  • Pointed objects should be stabbed into soft tissue.
  • As you advance in technique, both weapon types can deliver increased effect by aiming for nerve junctions or other sensitive areas.

Using Your Body as a Weapon

Aside from studying martial arts and taking self-defense classes, there are some simple things to avoid, as well as things you can do to make the most of your current skills.

Kicking

Typically, kicking is only effective if you are at the right distance from the adversary. Depending on the height of your kick and the target area, you can easily miss, or worse yet, wind up with your attacker grabbing your foot or leg and using it to pull you down.

If you must kick, avoid kicking with your leg alone, as this is the least powerful way to deliver a blow. Instead, kick from your hips and put the full power of your body into the kick.  Always aim for the body part nearest you.

Knees make an excellent target because your attacker may be focusing on your upper body, and not paying as much attention to feet and legs.  Once you successfully hit your attacker’s knees, he/she will be well on the way to losing the fight.

Punching

A straight punch is an effective way to stop a frontal attack. To get the most from this punch, push from the ball of your foot and thrust your hip and fist forward at the same time. When your fist hits the target, the contact area should be the part of your index finger and the knuckle of your middle finger; not your ring and pinky finger knuckles.

A rotation punch differs only in that you start off by holding your fist in an upright position near your hip, and your arm should be fully extended and driving into the target at time of impact.  As you step forward, rotate your forearm so that your fist is in the proper position at the time of impact.  You must step forward to put the most power into a rotation punch.

Use the Triangle Trick for Defense

To use the “Triangle Trick”, start off by imagining that your body is divided into a right and left side, with a center area that goes from head to toe. Your attacker will more than likely aim for targets around the center line.

When moving, try to avoid simply going forward or backward. Your goal is to move your center line around, which means you must zig-zag from side to side, pivot, or use other means to disrupt the location of your center line.  Ideally, you should seek to move along a “triangle” so that both the location and distance to your center line changes constantly.

Follow and Aim for Weak Points

No matter how big or well trained your attacker is, there are weak points that can be hit and lead to disabling pain or loss of muscular control.  When defending yourself, aim for the following weak body parts: eyes, nose, ears, throat, kneecaps, and groin.

You can also hit an attacker at the ankles, behind the knees, above the elbows, and along the forearms.

There are also several other pressure points that you can learn about in martial arts training.

The human skull is also a powerful weapon.  Headbutts are very useful when someone grabs you from behind.  Try bashing his face with the back of your head. It is easier than elbowing the attackers ribs or stomping their toes.

Self Defense Moves

When you are in a confrontation you may have one or two (at most) moves before an attacker gets full control of you. Do everything in your power to inflict injury and conserve as much energy as possible to get away.

The following self defense movements are suitable for men, women, and teens to use:

  • Poke or gouge at the attacker’s eyes with your fingers, knuckles, keys, or any sharp object.
  • Strike the attacker’s nose with the heel of your palm to strike up under the nose. If your attacker is behind you, hit his/her nose from the front or side with your elbow. Either way, your target is the nasal bones.
  • Neck – The side of the neck offers a big target area with plenty of options.  Use a knife hand strike (hold all your fingers out straight and held tight together with thumb slightly tucked and bent at the knuckle) to the sides of the neck, or a punch straight to the windpipe.  For even more injury, thrust your elbow into your attacker’s throat while pitching the weight of your body forward.
  • Knees – Are vulnerable from every angle and very easy to kick without the risk of your foot being grabbed.  To cause knee injury, or to partly incapacitate your attacker, kick the side of the knee. Kicking the front of the knee can cause more injury, but is less likely to cause imbalance.
  • Groin – If the attacker is too close to punch, you may still be able to launch a knee kick to the groin.  To make the most of this move, the bony part of your knee (not your thigh) should hit the groin area of your attacker.  Before using the knee kick, try to grab the attacker between the the neck and shoulders and hold on to as much skin, muscle, and clothing as possible.  This will give you more leverage to kick harder.

You can also use a front kick to the groin. Start by pushing forward from your hips, bend your striking leg knee, and keep your heel back. To complete the move, extend your knee and leg forcefully to impact the attacker’s groin with the top of your foot. Move your leg back to it’s original position as quickly as possible.

Getting Out of a Bear Hug Attack

If you are grabbed from behind and your shoulders are restrained, resist the instinct to grab the attacker’s elbows and trying to pry their arms away from your body.  Your best defense is to drop as low as you can toward the ground and squirm as much as possible to wriggle out of the attacker’s hold.

Make yourself as difficult as possible to control by lowering your center of gravity. This makes you more stable and harder to lift.  You want to be as difficult as possible to control.  It also gives you a new angle to knee strike, groin kick, or throw a punch to the attacker’s eyes, throat, neck, nose, or ears.

Defending Yourself Against Choke Attacks

If someone has their hands or arms wrapped around your neck, you have less than 8 seconds before you begin to lose consciousness. Do not waste them with futile moves such as trying to pull the attacker’s hands off your neck.

Instead, if the attacker is in front of you, bring your hands up between his/her arms and push hard at the radial nerve junction above or below the elbow. Strike at the attacker’s eyes, neck, or throat to weaken the hold and escape.

Video first seen on DarkMagician70.

If you are caught in a choke hold from behind, you can also try hitting the radial nerve junction, or use the steps in this video.

Video first seen on Darrick Bynum.

Simple Weapons and Distraction Aides

Almost anything can be used as a weapon or a distraction device when the need arises.  The trick is to make it look like it is not a weapon so that it can be carried anywhere openly.  Here are a few that  are easy to find and keep with you:

Magazine or newspaper

Roll magazines or newspapers and use them to jab or strike at the eye, nose, or throat. If you are going into a bad area, pre-roll these items and keep them tight by using rubber bands. Carry them under your arm, and be ready to use them.

Flashlight

A small pocket flashlight about 6” long makes a good defensive weapon.  In some states if these flashlights have a strike bezel, they are classified as weapons and may not be legal to carry concealed.

Nevertheless, even a flashlight without a strike bezel can do a good bit of damage. To get the most out of a flashlight as a weapon, target the eyes, nose, or throat.

Canes

A good cane makes an excellent weapon.  It can give you more reach, can hit harder, and give you more leverage to disarm or trip an attacker.  The trick is to pick a cane that doesn’t look like a weapon.

Find one made of hardwood with a brass derby handle.  If you are using a cane as a self defense weapon, pretend to have a slight limp. Putting a small coin in one of your shoes will make it easier to create this effect.

Pens

Any pen can be used as a weapon. Simply grab the pen in your fist so that an inch or two sticks out from the pinky side of your fist. Use the pen to stab or punch holes in fleshy parts of your attacker’s body, or strike at sensitive nerve junctions.

Loose pocket change or folded bills

Money can be used to distract an attacker. When the attacker demands your money, give it to him by throwing it quickly into their face and screaming free money.  This can distract the attacker long enough for you to get away.

Starting off with a few easy things is important, however you must always continue learning and expanding your self defense skill set. They might seem hard to acquire, but the effort will be paid off eventually by helping you and your family to stay alive!

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

From a Homesteader’s Handbook: How To Survive Kitchen Disasters

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Whether you cook a little or a lot, you’re eventually going to have some sort of kitchen disaster. It may be a fire, or you may just burn the cookies or put too much salt in the soup.

Relax, because we’re going to talk about the solutions to many of these problems over the next paragraphs.

Keep reading!

1. Kitchen Fire

Fire is a tricky thing, especially in the kitchen, or if you’re cooking on a wood fire. Most of the time, the fires isn’t started by burning food, but rather by burning oil. And throwing water on an oil fire is a bad thing, to say the least.

Video first seen on KCCI.

You should always keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen or in your camper but if you don’t have one handy, at least have salt or flour.

It’s a huge mess to clean up, but either will smother a fire – flour is better than salt – and a mess on the stove is much better than a burned-down house, camper, or forest.

2. Burned Coffeepot

We’ve all done it – forgotten to turn off the coffeepot. When you do that when there’s just a tad left in the bottom, it’ll burn into a crunchy, caramelly mess. And since you can’t get your hand down in there, how are you supposed to clean that?

Easy, actually! Drop some ice cubes in there, then sprinkle salt in over the ice and swirl it around. In just a few swirls, you’ll see a noticeable difference and it won’t take more than a minute to have it all cleaned off.

3. Burned Pan

I’m a baker. I’m also extremely busy and tend to rabbit trail, especially when I’m on a deadline, have company coming, have to clean my house, and need to take the dogs out all within the same 10-minute span. Needless to say, dinner is occasionally burned.

That means that your saucy, delicious lasagna is now a baked-on caramelly mess on your glassware. There’s no need to throw it away a perfectly good pan, though. Depending on the type of pan you’re using, you can just soak it in hot water, scrub it, and call it done.

This is perfectly fine for cast iron, stainless steel, copper, or aluminum. If you’re using Teflon, this won’t work, though. Yet another reason I avoid Teflon.

If it’s particularly stuck on, put water in the pan and warm it up on the stove or in the oven, whichever is appropriate, then, while it’s still warm, use a spatula to scrape the bottom and sides. Again, this won’t work on Teflon.

4. Baking Gone Wrong

Baking isn’t like cooking – it’s serious chemistry. Ingredients work together to form chemical reactions that determine whether it rises, whether it’s light and fluffy, dense, crispy, or soft and chewy.

If you don’t use the right combination or the right ingredients, or if they’re old, you’ll have brownies that turn to cake, cake that turns to brownies, biscuits that break windows, and cookies that fall apart when you pick them up.

So, know your ingredients. Also, always use fresh ingredients and follow directions. Now that we’ve said that, how can you fix baking errors? Well, really, you can’t. If it’s important, I always do a small test batch to see if the recipe is good and to make sure that my ingredients are fresh.

This Timeless Collection of Forgotten Wisdom Will Help You Survive!

A few hints to prevent baking from going wrong:

  • Let butter soften naturally because it and your sugar, and possibly eggs, work together to form the structure of the cookies or cakes. The sugar creates air pockets in the butter, then they’re filled with flour and CO2 from baking soda.
  • The process of kneading activates the gluten proteins in flour. This is a good thing when you’re using yeast in breads, but a horrible thing when you’re making biscuits or cookies that have no yeast. Handle them as little as possible.
  • Set your timer for a couple of minutes before what the recipe says. If your oven cooks hotter than what it should even by a few degrees, those couple of minutes will be the difference between done and burned, especially with cookies or breads of any sort.
  • Let your eggs come to room temperature before you add them to your recipe. There are a few different reasons for this depending on the situation, but it’s always a good idea.
  • Cream your butter and sugar before anything else for a lighter, fluffier texture cookie or cake.
  • Always measure when baking. You can get away with a pinch of this and a shake of that when you’re cooking, but not when you’re baking. The only change that it’s really ok to make is to back the flour off a couple of tablespoons (up to 1/4 cup) in cookies to make them moister.

5. Too Much Salt

Oh my goodness! You’ve just tasted your soup and realized it’s WAY too salty. The best way to fix this is to taste, then add a little, then taste again because you can always add more, and it will get saltier the more it cooks down.

Taking it out is sometimes another story. If you’re making soup or something liquid, it’s a fairly easy fix as long as you still have some cooking time left. Just peel a potato, cut it in a few pieces, and toss it in. It will absorb the extra salt, and when your meal is done, toss it.

Supposedly, recent reports show that this doesn’t work, but it always has for me.

Another option if you have some cooking time left is to simply take out some of the liquid, then add more in. I always keep some chicken and beef broths in the pantry just in case this happens. You can also buy veggie broth in case it’s for a vegetable soup.

Random Tips

These are just one-offs that may help.

Make sure you’re using the proper container for the proper appliance. Some pans are good for the oven and microwave, but not the stove, and vice versa. You’ll only blow up one Pyrex pan by leaving it on a too-hot stove to learn this lesson.

To skim fat off the top of a sauce or gravy (or even soup) skate a couple of ice cubes across the top. The grease will stick to it, or at least stiffen, and you can scoop it right out.

And finally, don’t rub grease on a burn, no matter how many old wives tales you hear. It holds the heat in and actually makes the burn worse. As long as the skin is closed, run it under cold water, then but some burn cream or Aloe Vera on it.

There isn’t such a thing as being totally safe even in your own home, because small disasters can and would happen. Be prepared to face them too, and think about them as a small rehearsal for the bigger game! Learn the tips and train your skills to find the best way to solve them too!

Do you have any other good suggestions about how to help with kitchen disasters? If so, please share them with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Survival Foods: Can You Live On Just One?

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If you’re reading this, you’ve likely seen at least one article listing foods that you should have in your survival stockpile because you’re interested in it. But … what if you only had the option of living on one food?

You’re stuck after a SHTF scenario with one crop and nothing else but it, other than water. Is there one food that you could live on? Let’s talk about that.

There are two factors to consider since we’re already assuming that you have one single food in a large enough quantity to survive on. That’s a pretty big hurdle in and of itself. Some people might think they wouldn’t make it. Would you?

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

But say you do have one food only. Those two factors are nutrients and food fatigue.

We’ll address nutrients first.

Macronutrients aren’t optional

Your body requires three macronutrients to keep the balance and live: fat, protein, carbs, fiber, and water. If you don’t eat carbs and fat, your body will start consuming first its own fat, then muscle tissue.

Your heart is a muscle, so this is bad. Especially if the meat is particularly lean, like rabbit.

Fat

If you don’t eat fat, your organs will shut down. Your gall bladder, for example, requires a certain amount of fat just to function. Something like 40 percent of your brain is fat, and lack of fat, particularly essential fatty acids such as omega-3, and an overabundance of carbs have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. So, eat fat.

Protein

If you don’t eat protein, your muscles will degrade, and your body won’t be able to heal and generate new cells. There are 20 amino acids that are the building blocks of protein, and 9 of them are essential – our bodies can’t make them so we have to eat them.

Other Nutrients

Not only do you need these macronutrients, you also need micronutrients – vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.

For example, if you don’t get any vitamin C, you’ll have scurvy inside of a month. Listing all of these wouldn’t just be another article; it would be a book.

Here’s a chart to help you out. In addition, you also need about 40 grams of fiber to keep your digestive tract and cardiovascular system healthy.

Food Fatigue

There are documented cases where entire villages have starved to death with readily available food within access. A good example of this is rice. Your body gets so tired of eating only one type of food for a long period of time, especially if it’s only prepared one way, that it will literally make you sick rather than allow you to eat any more of it.

This could be because it’s lacking nutrients that the food is missing, or it has an overabundance of the nutrients in the food because it can’t process them due to missing necessary macronutrients or micronutrients. For whatever reason, it’s a reality.

That being said, there are places on the planet where people survive almost solely on one food, usually rice. Maybe the key word is “almost.”

Is There a Perfect Food?

So, knowing what we know now, is there one food that provides all of the nutrients in adequate amounts that you need to survive? No. There are some that are close, but none of them meet all of your needs.

So which ones are the closest to perfect?

Potatoes

People have survived solely, or almost solely, on potatoes for centuries. For instance, during the Irish potato famine, the impoverished portion of Irish citizens lived off of potatoes and, when available, milk.

And the Scots will joke and tell you that a hundred years ago, their diet was potatoes, milk, oatmeal, and kale. Nutritionally, you could survive quite well off of that combination.

Also, there was Andrew Taylor. For the entire year of 2016, he lived on a potato diet, but there were a few caveats. He ate both white and sweet potatoes because just one or the other didn’t provide the nutrients he needed, and he occasionally threw in some tomato sauce, soy milk, salt, and herbs, and he took a B12 supplement. He did well, but it still wasn’t technically an all-potato diet.

They provide protein, carbs, and, especially if you combine the two, all of the macro- and micronutrients you need, except for molybdenum, which you can get from oatmeal. White potatoes are lacking in vitamins C and A, too, and calcium, which is where the kale and milk comes in.

Milk

Milk, especially fermented milk (aka yogurt, kefir, sour cream, some cheeses) is pretty darned close to perfect, too. Actually, human milk is the perfect food but that’s probably way outside the realm of reality, so we’re not even going there. Other milks, though, are still good.

You could meet your protein, fat, and carbohydrate needs, but it has zero vitamin C or iron. It’s missing several minerals, too. So, you couldn’t live off of milk.

Kale

Serious superfood here. Plenty of fiber and vitamins A, B6, and C – as a matter of fact, just one cup gives you 134 percent of your daily value of C. It even has protein, but you’d have to eat twenty cups a day to get enough protein, and then it’s not complete.

There’s no fat to speak of, and it only has 33 calories – 2 grams of carbs – so you’d have to eat at least 30 cups a day to meet minimal requirements. It’s also missing several micronutrients. So, no.

Your body is a complicated machine. Saying that you could feel it one food is sort of like saying as long as you keep the air checked in your tires, your car will run just fine. It’s just not the same.

Could you survive off of one food? Yes. If you had to, I’d go with potatoes. But if you have to do it long-term, you’re going to be suffering from vitamin and mineral deficiencies within a couple of months.

Do yourself a favor: stockpile a variety of foods. Make sure you have plenty of beans, rice, flour, and sources of vitamin C, because that’s a serious one that will have rapid negative results. You do not want to develop scurvy.

Think ahead and plan your survival! You never know when a disaster will hit!

Is there a food that you think may be complete enough to survive on long-term? If so, please tell us about it in the comments section below and get a dialogue going.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

How To Disappear Online And Fly Under The Radar

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There was a time when you didn’t have to look over your shoulder to see if you’re watched. Privacy was as normal and real as paying the bills at the bank, or buying milk from the grocery. Those days are gone. You don’t need to go to the grocery to buy milk or enter the bank for paying the bills. Thanks to internet, they are just one click away.

But even if you can’t see anybody standing right behind you, you know they are there, watching every page you visit, every payment you make, and following your traces through the virtual world. Then they could easily steal your data, empty your card, build your profile and scan your everything till you have nothing private left.

Are you ready to face these scammers and protect your right to privacy? Here’s what you need to know!

This is why conventional survival defense won’t work!

To make it short, there are four things you should keep in mind about going under the radar on internet. Keep reading the article to see what’s to be said about each of them.

  • Privacy isn’t typically compromised due to poor SOP, it is typically compromised by human error, complacency, short cuts and failure to adhere to SOP.
  • Compartment identities, devices and where you use them. Have separate devices for each identity and use them at different locations.
  • Emails, credit cards, phone numbers and even addresses can all be masked at low cost by services such as Blur.
  • Tails is an OS that enables you to use TOR to access the internet, and send encrypted email and text messages from virtually any computer or phone by connecting a multiport USB flash drive, leaving no trace that you were there.

Manage Your Expectations

For most, compartmenting identities mitigates the need to disappear completely, even online. If your needs go beyond compartmenting identities, you will need to learn more than it is possible to teach you in an article, even just to disappear online, but I will touch on the more general aspects of this undertaking.

Make sure your expectations are realistic. Even if you opt out of programs, scour the internet and are successful in getting everything deleted that is currently online, there may still be copies saved in historical internet or government archives.

You may need to ask, petition or compel entities to delete information that you consider to be sensitive, but you will not likely be able to get data deleted from secret archives that you may or may not even know exist.

Nonetheless, though you may not be able to get all your sensitive data deleted, you can still slow it or stop it from spreading and keep it out of the hands of most people by reducing your online footprint.

Privacy May Not Be Convenient, But It Is Worth It

Privacy reduces stress and keeps you free. One thing privacy is not, is convenient. Many people are addicted to convenience these days, but reclaiming your privacy, like most things worth doing, is neither easy nor convenient.

When I was a kid, long distance phone calls out of country were extremely expensive. So was air mail! So, we sent letters by surface mail and then we would wait over a month for a reply.

I have read journals of my immigrant pioneer ancestors in the old West. They would have thought I was spoiled as a kid because it was not uncommon for them to wait years for letters from family. Now, if the power grid or the internet hiccups, even for a minute, folks just go nuts. In emergencies, people often endanger themselves for a chance to get information that is often nothing more than rumors!

If you are addicted to convenience, you will never know privacy or freedom until you overcome this addiction. The best way to do this is to sufficiently commit yourself to the cause of privacy right from the start.

If you fail for want of motivation, it will not likely be because you lacked self-discipline, but because you were not sufficiently dedicated to the cause. If your motivation wanes as the battle drags on, revisit the reasons why privacy is so important.

Disappear Online and Fly Under the Radar

Develop a Privacy SOP and Stick to It

The quality of your IT OPSEC/PERSEC SOP and the competence and discipline with which you execute it are, far and away, the two most crucial factors in determining whether you will be found or successfully disappear online.

If you are a smart, that’s great, but genius hackers get caught all the time.

Identify Who You Are Hiding From

Who are you hiding from and how much money, time and human resources are they willing to invest in finding you?

These are huge factors, because hiding from a stalker with limited financial resources, intelligence and contacts is very different from hiding from an evil genius billionaire or a superpower willing to create entire departments dedicated to your capture.

If the entity you are hiding from can, and is willing to, allocate satellite time and Santa Clause budgets to teams of analysts, you truly have your work cut out for you.

The more money and resources those searching for you are willing to invest in finding you, the more likely it is that they will eventually find you. Will they spend $50, $500, $5K, $50K, $500K, 5M, 50M or more?

It helps if you can estimate that number because every tier, it becomes exponentially harder to hide from them. Up to $500, you will probably go to your grave without being found. 5K gets tougher if they hire a competent professional. At 50K their reach extents well across international borders and they can pay for a lot of IT analyst time. At 500K you are in serious trouble.

Compartment

How deep you take it is up to you, but compartmenting is an effective and somewhat idiot-proof way to keep from screwing up the execution of your SOP. Compartmenting should go much deeper than we will take it here, but it will give you the idea and you can extend it to other areas (banking, mailing addresses, vehicles and so on.)

  1. Identities – Criminals have aliases. Good guys have alternate identities, pen names, stage names, travel names, undercover names and call signs. Separate the identity with which you deal with the government from other identities, including any other identities that you use to access the internet.
  2. Hardware – You can use the internet and talk on the phone using your legal name and alternate identities, but using separate phone(s) and computer(s) for each identity is a simple and robust way to compartment. This way, the IP for the online identity you want to keep under the radar has different Mac and IP addresses from the person your neighbors know.
  3. Locations – You can use computer(s) and cell phone(s) with each identity, but do not use them in the same place! Every time your cell phone connects to a cell tower, analysts have an opportunity to get a pretty good idea of where you are at. If your device has a GPS and it is enabled or able to be enabled remotely, they know right where your phone is at, and for most folks nowadays, their phone might as well be surgically implanted, because it is always with them.

The IT forensics bag is a great tool for maintaining compartmented locations because you can drop a phone in one of these bags and its heavy EM shielding prevents it from communicating with cell towers, wireless routers, skimmers and any other wireless technology that could tie the location of the device to locations frequented by your other identities. If two of your identities frequent the same place or their paths cross, that would be a good place to setup surveillance, search for a dead drop, etc. and connect the two.

Make Your Computers and Devices Hard to Track

1. VPN (Virtual Private Networking) Service

VPN establishes a point to point connection from your computer to another computer somewhere on the internet. Information is then sent and received through an encrypted virtual tunnel, protecting your privacy.

Because the data is encrypted, even if it is intercepted with a packet analyzer, without the correct encryption key the intercepted data will just be a bunch of meaningless characters.

VPN Service is a paid internet service that establishes a VPN connection from your computer, to a random computer at your VPN service provider. This way, when you surf the internet, the websites see the IP address for the computer at the VPN provider, not your computer.

If you choose a VPN service provider that owns vast banks of IP addresses in many countries, all with laws that do not allow good cooperation with your country, even getting your address out of your VPN provider as part of an investigation becomes problematic and expensive, helping to protect your identity and privacy.

Criminals, web sites or stalkers will not likely be able to get you address and private investigators would have to spend a lot of money and time and likely break a lot of laws get ahold of your IP address.

2. TOR (The Onion Router)

It is free software maintained by volunteers that can enable you to share information over public networks, like the internet, without compromising your privacy.

It does this by connecting through a series of virtual tunnels, using the computers of other TOR users instead of connecting directly.

3. ORBOT

This is TOR for Android.

4. Blur

Blur is a service by an online privacy company called Abine. A very common need online is to provide an email address, which needs to be verified to open an account. Blur solves this problem by giving you the ability to create an unlimited number masked emails and forwarding the mail sent to them to another email address that you designate.

If that email is used to spam you, you can block it with a single click. The free service gives you an encrypted password manager, masked emails, tracker blocking and auto-fill, which greatly simplify account creation, which you will be doing a lot of if you maintain multiple identities.

The paid Blur service adds masked credit cards, a masked phone number that also works with text messages and a backup and sync service. If you get unwanted phone calls, you can block them. If you don’t want to give your banking information to some shady vendor on eBay, give them a masked card, email and phone number.

Blur is not the only free service that provides masked emails. Some other services are not based in the US, which is a plus, and do this in an even more secure fashion where the email only exists for a short time and is then gone forever without creating any records to subpoena, but Blur is the most comprehensive service I have tried so far.

5. Tails (The Amnesiac Incognito Live System)

A magnificent privacy tool, Tails is a live operating system built on a Unix-like OS called Debian built with one thing in mind: privacy. Tails can start from most USB sticks or a DVD, uses TOR to access the internet anonymously, leaves no trace and includes tools to encrypt files, email and instant messaging … built in. Best installed on a multiport flash drive with iPhone, MiniUSB OTG, and USB connectivity.

So, why aren’t you downloading it yet? If you aren’t or haven’t you should.

6. Panopticlick

A tool by the EFF that tests the uniqueness of the configuration of the internet browser you use to access the site. If you have a very unique browser configuration, this can be used like fingerprints or DNA for your browser, identifying your computer with a certain probability like 1 in 500K. Or 1 in 200 … even over VPN!

Encrypt, Encrypt, Encrypt

Think of encryption as a final layer of defense in the even that your privacy measures are compromised.

Click here to get your guide to a layered survival defense!

I truly believe that one day, professors will refer to our time as the “Neo-encryption Era” … and that they will point at us and laugh.

You see, they will dig up hard drives and M-Disks in landfills, buy them from junk dealers or study them in museums and still be able to read the data as much as a thousand years later. They will have a look at our lives in unprecedented levels of detail.

They will have HD video, medical records, credit card, bank and other financial records. Customer loyalty records will tell them everything your bought from the grocery store and they will examine it, and likely draw conclusions out of context.

They will have phone records and ISP records that may show everyplace you ever go with your cellphone turned on, every email, every text and secret government records that you probably don’t even know exist. They will have records created every time cameras mounted on patrol cars and tow trucks image your license plate in parking lots.

From these records, they will determine, where you go to church and how often. Where you eat and where you shop. Meetings, work days and gun shows will be analyzed, as will everyone you knew who was also there. They will probably draw all kinds of conclusion that may or may not be correct about why you were there and with who or that that some place you went to regularly was within walking distance of where a friend’s spouse worked or a gay bar or mosque, and so on … and they will do this, in part, because we were too ignorant or lazy to encrypt our data.

Some encrypted email providers, like Countermail in Sweden, support hardware (USB) encryption keys and even accept cash payments through the mail. If you don’t have a little encrypted server space in another country and the ability to create untraceable email addresses, today would be a great time to start.

Reduce Your Online Footprint

DeleteMe! – DeleteMe! Is a another service by Abine that removes personal info from the major online data brokers, substantially reducing your online footprint. The service ranges from $69-$129 per person per year with discounts if you add additional people or pay for more years. But you can do the same thing yourself if you have more time than money and Abine has a great resource page to help you do just that for free right here. Some data clearinghouses do not make this process convenient, but you are going to need to do a certain amount of legwork even if you pay for some services.

Privacy Badger – Blocks spying ads and invisible trackers.

DuckDuckGo – Search engine that doesn’t track you.

Firefox – Internet browser for those concerned about privacy. Firefox has many plugins, such as NoScript, HTTPS Everywhere, Ghostery, Cookie Monster, AdBlock Plus and others that contribute to safer, more private browsing experience.

EFF Surveillance Self-Defense – A great collection of tips, tools, tutorials, overviews, briefings and how-to articles you can use to education yourself about privacy. Study it and fill in the chinks in your armor.

If you’re tired of all the stuff every employer, cyber stalker, or online criminal can find out about you and your family, this is the right moment to protect yourself and go unnoticed. It’s one big step to a secure existence and stay safe in these turbulent times!

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

9 Tips To Smoking Meat Any Prepper Should Know

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Oh the delicious flavor of smoked ribs, brisket, or even fish and seafood…

It’s a distinctive flavor, but varies significantly based on your methods. It can be sweet and fruity, or deep and woodsy, or anything in between. The beauty is that you can mix and match and blend to find your favorites and make them your own.

Smoking used to be used as a preservation method but that fell out of use with the invention of refrigeration and isn’t a great method anyway, as it requires a smokehouse and another preservation technique such as salting to ensure food safety that changes the taste and palatability of the meat.

There are also seven ways to Sunday that you can ruin meat while you’re smoking it, too, and that’s not only expensive, but disrespectful to the animal. In a survival situation, it may also mean the difference between eating and going hungry.

Old Days. Old Ways. But The Food Never Tasted Better.

The main issue that you may run into is that you’re going to burn it up. Until you get the hang of it, it’ll be easy to go from not-quite-done to oops-I-made-leather.

So, to save you time and money, and to save wasting perfectly good meat, we’ve gathered some tips to help you get started.

Choose the Right Smoker

There are four basic types of smokers, and the first decision you need to make is which one’s best for you.

Electric Smoker

Electric smokers are probably the easiest to use because all you have to do is plug it in, put the meat in it, and forget about it until the timer goes off.

It’s basically a crock-pot for smoking meat. There are a couple of downfalls, though. It’s pricey, and you don’t quite get that deep smoky flavor.

Gas Smoker

This is the next step in easy smoking. Using a gas smoker gives you the safety measure of controlling your temperature while still being able to add wood chips for flavor, though it won’t permeate the meat and give it that deep, smoky flavor. Also, you have to have gas (propane) to run it, so it won’t be much of an option if SHTF.

Charcoal Smoker

Now you’re getting into an area that requires skill. Charcoal smoking is a favorite even among professional meat smokers because charcoal burns long and steadily and you can add wood to imbue the flavors that you want. You have to know what you’re doing if you’re going to successfully use a charcoal smoker, but it’s nothing you can’t pick up with practice.

Wood Smoker

Cooking with wood is the most difficult method but also imparts the biggest, purist smoky flavors. It’s tricky to cook only with smoke because it burns at different speeds depending on the type of wood you use and how seasoned it is.

You need to tend a wood smoker closely because you want to maintain an even temperature that’s hot enough to cook but not so hot that your meat will be charred on the outside and raw in the middle. You’ll use a combination of chips and blocks to maintain the temperature and you’ll also need to watch the airflow closely so that you’re not getting gusts that cause fluctuations in the temperature.

Choose Your Wood

OK, now that you’ve chosen your method, you need to choose your wood. Different woods imbue different flavors, and some go better with certain meats over others. In other words, match your meat to your wood, or even to the occasion and what other sides you’re going to be using.

  • Hickory will add a strong smoky flavor so it needs meat with big flavor. It goes well with lamb and beef. I like it with venison, too.
  • Cherry has a sweet, mild flavor. It’s good for meats that you aren’t going to be seasoning heavily because the seasoning will cover the delicate flavor of the wood. Cherry’s great for poultry, red meat, and pork, as long as you’re just highlighting the flavor of the meat.
  • Apple and Alder are kind of like cherry. It’s sweet and mild. I like it with fish because I’m not a fan of heavy smoke flavor on my fish. It’s also good for poultry and pork.
  • Mesquite is probably the most recognizable, along with hickory. Many barbecue sauces use these in their labels. Mesquite is great for big flavored meats like beef or pork, specifically ribs or steak, because mesquite is super strong and smoky. Use it when you’re grilling something quickly rather than smoking for a long time.
  • Maple is sweet and smoky. It’s not light like apple or cherry; it adds plenty of flavor and is great with poultry or pork.

Soak Smaller Chips in Water

You can either toss them in and they’ll burn up quickly, or you can soak them in water for several hours so that the wood doesn’t burn up quickly. Wet wood also smokes more. Remember, smoking is meant to be a long process.

The standard with the pros is to use logs and larger pieces dry and smaller pieces and chips wet. Another advantage is that if the wood is wet, it helps prevent flare-ups.

I have a friend who’s big into smoking and he soaks his in Guinness, which gives the meat a little extra something, and he says he’s also soaked it in wine, but I haven’t tasted it when he’s done that. Chances are good that if he did it, it was delicious.

If you soak your chips, wrap them loosely in foil and poke holes in it.

Pick Your Meat

Ahhh … the meat of the matter! The entire process that we just discussed depends largely upon personal taste and what type of meat that you’re going to use. Remember that smoking is usually long and low, or at least medium, so you can get away sometimes with using a larger cut of meat, and sometimes a tougher cut, though you don’t want to go too cheap on the meat.

  • Brisket
  • Ribs
  • Corned Beef
  • Ham
  • Venison Roasts
  • Brisket
  • Pork Roasts
  • Trout and other sturdy white fish
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Turkey

Marinade or Rub?

Fights have been started over this question in parts of the country where smoking is a point of pride. If you decide to use a marinade, whether yours or one you buy, score your meat a little so it’ll soak it up better, and leave it in the fridge for at least 8 hours.

Find the Right Temp

Smoking is a low and slow game. You don’t want it to get over 220 degrees except in the very beginning before you put your meat on. As soon as you put your meat on, get it back down then keep close track of the temperature after that.

If you’re using a charcoal or wood smoker, you can use a pan of water to help keep the temperature regulated and keep the meat moist.

Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad

The general rule of thumb is that smoking shouldn’t take up more than half of the cooking time. Also, you want the smoke to be a steady stream, not huge and billowing.

White Smoke is Good, Black is Bad

White smoke means that everything – wood, meat, ventilation, temperature – is good. Black smoke means that you don’t have enough ventilation or your meat is dripping onto the wood and burning the fat. That’ll make your meat taste burnt.

Leave it Alone!

Leave the lid shut. When you open it, you let the smoke out and you mess with the temperature inside the cooker. If you want it to be awesome, leave it alone.

Respect the Meat!

The star of this show is the meat, not the marinade, the rub, or the smoke. Everything you do is to enhance and complement the flavor of the meat. Respect that. Don’t use anything that’s so strong that it covers up that natural deliciousness.

Now that you have a general idea about smoking, what are you waiting for?

Are you a long-time smoking pro? Share some of your tips with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Survival On A Budget: Prepping When You Live On Social Security

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Let’s face it, prepping can get expensive. I don’t care who you are, unless you have a rather sizeable income, trying to be prepared to survive a disaster is going to take e sizeable chunk out of your budget; that is, unless you are extremely careful with your money and know how to make the most of it.

Most of us who call ourselves preppers aren’t wealthy. Oh, there are wealthy preppers; but for the most part, they’re the ones who are buying their survival retreats in New Zeeland or buying a private island.

While they may read some of the same materials you and I read, their idea of prepping is a whole lot different, simply because they can afford to do things that you and I can’t afford to do.

“I would like to see a web page or series  on “the Poor Prepper”.  I am on social security and have very limited funds.  I would like to know what to begin with and where I should put my priorities.  I would also be interested in what gives the greatest reward for the money.”

Survivopedia reader

What if you are on a limited income; what do you do then? Is it still possible to be a prepper, even if you’re living on Social Security or some other form of fixed income?

What do You Need?

To start with, we’ve got to understand what we need to have, in order to survive. Otherwise, it’s real easy to get caught up in thinking we have to have the latest survival gadget.

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Granted, some of those gadgets are nice, but you don’t necessarily need to have them, in order to survive.

The basic survival needs are:

  • Maintaining your body heat – You can die from hypothermia (loss of body heat) in less than 30 minutes.
  • Drink enough clean water – The human body uses water for a lot of things; so you can only go about 3 days without water. It has to be clean water too, as many harmful bacteria and other microorganisms can be found in unpurified water.
  • Have enough food – You can live about 30 days without food; longer if you’re overweight. But survival is going to tax your energy, meaning that you’ll burn more calories than you’re accustomed to.

To provide yourself with these three basic needs, as well as taking care of some other basics, you’ll also need:

  • To be able to start and maintain a fire – We use fire to keep warm, provide light, cook our food and can even use it to purify water.
  • Take care of our health – This means treating injuries, treating sickness and personal hygiene, which is necessary to prevent disease.
  • Defend ourselves – There are two-legged predators out there, who would like nothing more than to steal what you have, especially in a post-disaster situation.

These six areas are your priorities, so when you make decisions on what to stockpile and how to spend your money, keep them in mind. Your first priority should be to make sure that you can keep warm in the winter. Then that you have a means of purifying water, and then that you have food to eat. The other things come after that.

The Big Challenge, Stockpiling

While you can spend a whole lot of money on survival equipment, you don’t really have to. I’ll talk more about that in a minute. Your real area of expense is going to be in stockpiling supplies; especially food. But with some judicious buying, you can even do that on a tight budget.

The first thing we have to take into consideration is that this is survival, not normal living. That means that we have to be ready to give up a lot of things that we enjoy, for the sake of surviving. Many of the things we enjoy in life are actually luxuries, not necessities. We might convince ourselves they are necessities, but they are not.

When it comes to building any stockpile, it’s difficult to do it all at once. Rather, try to build a small stockpile and then make it grow gradually. In other words, start out by building a one-month stockpile. Once you have that, work on increasing it to two months. That two months can then be expanded to three; and on and on, until you get to a year, or whatever end point you have picked.

Working on a stockpile slowly allows you to make it a part of your budget, spending whatever you feel like you can afford on prepping. Even if this is only $5 a week, that’s probably more than your neighbors are investing in their future. Five dollars can go a long way, if you use it judiciously.

Building a stockpile slowly allows you to spread the expense over a longer period of time. While you may feel an imperative to do everything right now, that’s really not possible. Rather, work on making your prepping a part of your life, where you are doing it little by little. Remember, everything you do improves your chances of survival a little bit more. So even if you don’t reach all your goals this month, you should be better off at the end of the month, than you were at the beginning.

Stockpiling water shouldn’t cost you anything. You don’t have to buy bottled water to build a stockpile of water. Rather, use the tap water from your home, storing it in whatever containers you can find. Plastic milk jugs work extremely well; but if you don’t buy milk in plastic jugs, you can use just about any sort of closable container, jars, bottles and jugs.

There are many ways you can save on food. Start by taking advantage of sales and coupons, buying whatever you can use that you can get at a discounted rate. Buying in bulk helps with this too, as part of what you are paying for is always the packaging.  Just make sure that it is food which will keep for a prolonged period of time.

The most expensive part of building any food stockpile is protein, specifically animal protein. This is the big challenge for most of us. You can start by using other sources of protein, rather than animal protein. Beans are an excellent source of protein and are very inexpensive. So, beans need to become a part of your stockpile.

For the rest, your best deals are going to be buying canned meats. I’ve found some excellent deals on canned chicken, more than any other meat. You can also do extremely well with Spam, potted meat and Vienna sausage. While these may not be your favorites, they will provide you with the nutrition you need.

Make Your Own

One of the best ways of saving money is by doing things yourself, rather than paying someone else to do it for you. I’ve made a lot of my own survival gear, from solar panels to knives, even firearms. This has saved me a lot of money, freeing up that money for other needs. If you’re on Social Security, you obviously have time, so why not use some of that time to make your own survival gear.

Probably the best way of using that time to help you with prepping is to grow a huge vegetable garden and can the produce you grow. I imagine that once a major disaster hits and society breaks down, we’re all going to be doing a lot of gardening. Better to get a head-start on it and preserve some of that food for a time of need.

Make Use of Garage Sales

You can actually find a variety of different survival supplies at local garage sales, if you take the time to look. While you won’t be able to find everything, there are some key items that you are probably going to be able to get a great deal on, at one garage sale or another.

  • Candles – Candles are a time-honored source of light, which people have used for centuries. But buying candles in the store today can be a bit expensive. So instead, buy them at garage sales. I find candles there all the time. They can either be used as-is or melted down and remade into more practical survival candles.
  • Rugged Clothing – When you’re in survival mode, you’re going to be much harder on your clothes than you normally are. Make sure that you have a good supply of rugged “work clothes,” including some good hiking or work boots.
  • Canning Supplies – Canning is one of the easiest forms of food preservation to learn; and it’s extremely secure. If you are going to try your hand at gardening for food, something we all should do, then you’re going to need canning jars. Don’t pay full price for them; you can always find canning jars at garage sales.
  • Blankets – If you’re going to be heating with wood, then you may find that you have trouble getting your home as warm as you would like. The way our ancestors handled that was to pile lots of blankets on the bed. Extra blankets can also be put over windows, to act as insulation and help keep your home warmer.
  • Food – Yes, you can actually find food at garage sales, believe it or not. Often, this will be bulk food, which is ideal for your prepping needs.
  • Gardening Supplies – From pots to plants to tools, you can find all sorts of gardening supplies at garage sales, usually from people who have given up.
  • Hunting and Fishing Gear – It’s not uncommon to find camouflage gear or fishing poles at garage sales; ones that people either outgrew or replace with newer ones. That’s fine, you can use them.

For much of my life I was way down there on the income curve. Working as a missionary doesn’t exactly bring in a huge income. Yet even though we didn’t have much, we still managed to prepare for Y2K and other disasters. How did we do it? Following the steps that I’ve just mentioned.

Take them one by one and be ready to make the most out of anything. This is what real survival is all about!

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

These Are The Best Survival Businesses To Start Off-Grid

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As the rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang has heated up, so has the risk to the United States. Recent missile and nuclear tests by the North Korean regime have made it clear that they are closer to their long-stated goal of attacking the United States than ever.

After their sixth nuclear test, in which they exploded what was supposed to be a two-stage hydrogen bomb, the North Korean news agency started talking about an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack against the United States for the first time.

What’s next for us? A totally off-grid world, where the survival of the fittest would become effective?

In a way, it’s surprising it’s taken them this long, considering how long I and others have been warning about that possibility.

Any county that is smart enough to develop nuclear bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) has to have people in their war plans department who are aware of how effective an EMP is and who would be punching the numbers to figure out how to use their nuclear arsenal in that regard.

An EMP attack doesn’t preclude the possibility of conventional nuclear war and we shouldn’t assume that it will. Regardless of the flaming rhetoric coming out of Kim Jong-un and his Secretary of State, they have to realize that they can’t win a nuclear exchange with the United States.

No matter how effective they are, we have way more nukes than they do.

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Even if they are able to take out Washington, a few other major cities and our entire electrical grid in one coordinated attack, we have more than enough nuclear missiles in submarines and nuclear bombs on aircraft carriers to turn their entire country into a parking lot.

But don’t think that will deter them from this course of action. This is a grudge match for them, wanting to get even with us for the first Korean War.

Based on that grudge, the North Korean government is bent on destruction and the people of that small country are willing to die in support of their leadership. If anything, that increases the likelihood for a combined EMP and conventional nuclear attack. They want to punish us and they want to punish us good.

Should that happen, our chances of surviving the attack unscathed are minimal. While we do have some anti-ICBM defense, there aren’t enough, especially not for a southern approach. So, the best we can hope for is that North Korea destroys a few cities; the worst is an effective EMP.

That’s the scenario we have to prepare for; an EMP taking out our electrical grid and turning the clock back 150 years or so, technologically speaking. The possibility of us surviving any sort of nuclear exchange, unscathed, is minimal.

The Worst Scenario

This is the worst possible scenario we face today; and it is not one that we can ignore. While I will be absolutely thrilled if our missile defenses are able to neutralize such an attack, I don’t believe that it is something we can count on.

With that being the case, you and I need to be ready to survive in a post-EMP world; one in which we don’t have electrical power; one which most people are unprepared to live in. According to the reports of the EMP Commission, as much as 90% of the US population will die of starvation. That sort of world. Somehow, we’re not only going to have to survive in it, but rebuild as much of our lives as we can.

This is why we are preppers; in order to ensure our family’s survival in the case of such an event. Everything we do is ultimately for this reason. But that isn’t enough. If all we do is ensure our own survival, what about our kids? Our grandkids? The human race in general.

That’s why it’s going to be important to be able to rebuild as much of society as possible. Then, and only then, will we be able to guarantee the survival of our children and grandchildren. That’s going to require the right sorts of skills, many of which aren’t common today.

Fortunately, there is still time. So if you don’t already have the right sorts of skills, you could at least try to learn some of them. There’s no way that anyone could possibly learn all of them, but the more that you can learn, the more valuable you will be in that post-EMP world. Perhaps you could be valuable enough that others would help to guarantee your survival and that of your family.

Of course, you’ll want to get something for your skills. That means turning those skills into some sort of business; a business where you can produce a product or provide a service to people who will be struggling to survive and rebuild their lives.

Valuable Businesses in a Post-EMP World

Any business you attempt to build for that post-EMP world will have to operate under the assumption that you won’t have any electrical power available to you, other than that which you produce yourself.

So, one of the things you may want to consider, as part of starting your off-grid business, is making sure that you can produce enough electricity to meet your basic needs, both in your home and in your business.

Other than that, plan on using hand tools, rather than electric ones. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that you should make or buy the necessary tools now, because you probably won’t be able to find them when the time comes. Besides, getting them now gives you the chance to learn how to use them effectively.

Growing Food

The biggest need that most people will have is for food. According to the EMP commission’s report, the vast majority of the people who will die after an EMP, will do so from starvation. The vast majority of the farms in our country are owned by giant corporations and grow food (mostly grain) in bulk.

Without fuel for the farm machinery, those farms won’t be able to operate. Without fuel for trucks, that food can’t be hauled to processing plants. Without electricity to run the plants, the raw food can’t be turned into packaged foods.

All food production will have to be local. Local farmers will do well, assuming they can get fuel for their tractors and combines. That will be the problem.

Likewise, local ranchers and shepherds will find themselves sitting on a goldmine, with people needing the food that they can produce. The ability to grow food may very well be necessary for your family’s survival. Growing more than you need will give you the opportunity to trade food for other essentials.

Charging Batteries

As a society, we are addicted to our electronics. While most of those will be destroyed, there is a good chance that small portable electronics will survive if protected in a Faraday cage. These will become like gold, as people try to cling to the pre-EMP past.

If you are putting in alternate energy for your home anyway, you could offer battery charging services to friends and neighbors. Solar panels will actually survive an EMP, with a loss of only 5 to 10 percent of their efficiency. However, the solar charge controller and voltage inverter for your system will probably be fried by the EMP; so make sure you have a spare.

Herbal Medicine

The current pharmaceutical industry will collapse, as will many other industries. This means that the only medicines any community will have will be those in people’s homes and in local pharmacies. When those run out, there won’t be any replacements.

However, modern medicine is an outgrowth of herbal medicine. Quite literally, all medicines started out as plant products. Big Pharma has synthesized the chemicals found in those plants, in order to make medicines which they could patent and sell.

Knowing which plants offer which medicinal properties and growing those plants could allow you to open up a post-EMP natural pharmacy, providing medicines to your local community.

Of course, you’ll need to educate the doctors, some of who will resent you. But the truly smart ones, who care about their patients, will take knowledge wherever they can get it.

Blacksmithing

Before the industrial revelation took over from them, most metal products were the handicrafts of some blacksmith. They made everything from tools to nails, with andirons in between. But they were one of the earliest casualties of the industrial revolution. Factories took over much of what they made and then cars took over from horses, eliminating the need for shoeing.

While there will be many tools and other metal objects laying around in the post-EMP world, there won’t be the old kinds of tools that people need for working with their hands. Blacksmiths may very well find themselves in a crucial place once again, helping to rebuild society.

Building Trades

While the EMP itself won’t damage homes, factories, stores and other businesses, it will make some drastic changes to society. People will find themselves needing to build outbuildings behind their homes, for their home-based business.

Others will need to change their plumbing, so that it will work off a well. There will always be a need for the building trades.

Taking this a step further, linemen for the phone or electric company will probably find gainful employment trying to put together local phone systems, build small hydroelectric dams and otherwise help rebuild society.

The skills these people have will become an important part of rebuilding.

Practical Engineering

When I say “practical engineering” I’m not talking about someone who can design a computer chip, but rather someone who can design simple devices, of the type that we will need to have, in order to rebuild our lives. Designing a loom for weaving fabric will be important, designing a computer won’t.

These people may not even be working as engineers right now, or might be considered technicians in business and industry. But they know how to put things together that will work. If we are going to have to rebuild turbines to create power, we’ll need people who can do the job from the ground up, starting by melting down the copper and drawing wire.

Another important characteristic of the type of engineer I’m talking about is the ability to repurpose items and turn them into something useful. Without gasoline, we won’t have much use for cars and trucks, but the axle from that truck might be very useful in building a wagon. That’s the sort of engineering we’re going to need.

Mechanics

While most vehicles will be off the road, due to a shortage of gasoline, there will be some that are running. We will need mechanics not only to fix those vehicles, but to find ways of making others run, ways of modifying engines so that alternate fuels can be burned, and taking engines out of cars to be used as power sources for other things.

Good mechanics, especially good shade-tree mechanics, understand the engines they work on, better than the engineers that designed them. This knowledge gives them the ability to modify those engines in a number of ways, such as increasing the power they produce.

I’m betting that if we get mobile after the attack, it will be because of mechanics that come up with some breakthrough new ways to use the internal combustion engine.

Making Bio-Diesel & Methane

Two of the most promising fuels sources in a post-EMP world would be bio-diesel and methane gas. While there are few cars on the roads today which burn these fuels, it is possible to modify some engines to burn them.

As these two fuels are some of the easiest to produce, requiring the least amount of equipment, this could very well turn into an effective business.

General Repairs

Like mechanics, people who can repair other things will have a ready business in a post-EMP world. There will be a need for repairing just about anything, as the factories will be closed and production will come to a standstill. All we will have is what we have at the moment the attack happens.

These people will also be likely to be the ones who work together with the practical engineers to create new things or reinvent old ones. In many cases, the materials to make those tools and equipment will come from cannibalizing existing machinery, appliances and other things that no longer work. Gears and pulleys don’t care what they’re working in, they’ll still do the job.

Gunsmithing

It is widely believed that a post-EMP world will be violent, due to a breakdown of society. As such, people will need their guns, and those guns will probably get a lot more use than they do today. Guns that get used stand a chance of getting broke. Hence, the need for good gunsmiths.

For that matter, the ability to make ammunition will probably become a high priority, especially with people trying to hunt for food. Anyone with a reloading press and the appropriate dies could have a ready-made business, without any further investment.

Make Sure You’re Prepared!

Most of the businesses I’ve mentioned will require some sort of materials and supplies. Gunsmiths won’t be able to go online and order gun parts, nor will blacksmiths be able to pick up steel at their local steel supply. In both cases, the craftsmen will either need to make their own materials or find a way of reusing materials that currently exist.

Don’t count on local warehouses having what you need either. They’ll probably have enough at the beginning, but those supplies will eventually run out. When that happens, you’ll need to have a Plan B that you can put into effect. That plan may require you making things yourself.

What I’m trying to say here is that you need to think through thoroughly any off-grid business that you try to create. Don’t think of it in terms of today’s world, but in a world where you won’t be able to just buy the parts and materials you need. How will you get them? Can you scavange? Can you find the raw materials in nature? Can you repurpose old stuff, melting it down to make new stuff again?

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Must-Have Medical Supplies For Seniors’ Survival

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Though we may still be plenty capable of taking care of ourselves no matter how old we get, it’s a sad fact that as we age, our bodies just can’t take the abuse that they could when we were 20.

Everybody should have a medical supply kit,  and there are few extra items that seniors may want to throw in along with the bare-bones necessities.

Keep reading to find out the list you should follow to set up your medical supply if you’re a senior.

Trading medical skills and services may be a great way for you to contribute to your group or trade for things that you need, so if you’re stocked up, you’ve just made yourself more valuable.

Medical supplies tend to be pricey, but if you keep an eye on local sales, you can pick much of it for almost nothing (literally) if you combine sales with coupons. Sales tend to run in 6-week cycles. In other words, if peroxide is on sale this week, it will be on sale again in 6 weeks or so. Catch them when they’re on sale and stock your medicine cabinets for next to nothing.

This is the Best Natural Painkiller, and Grows in your Backyard!

Incidentally, and completely off topic, all hygiene products do that too. If you pay attention to sales and are willing to clip a few coupons, you’ll never run out of shampoo, soap, razors, toothpaste, or any of the other typically-expensive products. Since both medical and hygiene items may end up making great barter items, and you may not be able to perform such tasks as carrying wood, barter items are a great thing to have a plentiful supply of!

Building Your Basic First Aid Kit

Though these are available for purchase as entire kits, we prefer to build our own first aid and med-surge kits. That way, we can ensure that we have plenty of everything that we’ll need without having an entire box full of stuff that we’ll likely never use.

Just like with your stockpile, rotate the items in your medical kit so that bandages don’t dry rot and super-glue doesn’t harden. Yes, we said superglue. Have it in your kit because it makes a great substitute for stitches if you have to other alternative.Start with this list of items to carry in your box. Have plenty of backup stored in your stockpile, especially of items that you already use:

  • 1 package fishing line, 8lb test
  • 1” surgical tape
  • 2” bandage – 1 roll – in a pinch, you can always roll 4” bandages in half
  • 30-day supply of any life-sustaining prescription medication, more if obtainable
  • 4” gauze bandage – 1 roll
  • 550 parachute cord – 20 feet minimum. We like to actually have these made into bracelets and pet collars so that it’s decorative, handy, and doesn’t take up space in our kits
  • 97% isopropyl alcohol – 1 bottle
  • Ace wrap
  • Acetaminophen 500mg
  • Adhesive bandages – 1 box multi-size
  • Alcohol pads – 10 packs minimum
  • Antibacterial Ointment
  • Anti-diarrheal
  • Aspirin
  • Aspirin 350mg
  • Bandage scissors
  • Benadryl – 1 box
  • Burn cream – 1 tube
  • Butterfly-type wound closure strips – 1 box
  • Cayenne Pepper – can stop a heart attack and helps stop topical bleeding
  • Denture adhesive
  • Diabetic sugar tabs or individual packets of sugar
  • Dial Liquid Gold Soap
  • Epi-Pen – 1 if obtainable
  • Extra bandages, especially stretchy ones. These are great for using as circulation wraps on your arms and legs should the need arise.
  • Fiber to assist with bowel movements. This may not sound serious now, but impacted bowels can be a serious issue for older people who are experiencing stress and a drastically-altered diet.
  • Gauze pads, 2×2
  • Gauze pads, 4×4
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Heat packs
  • Hemorrhoid cream
  • Hemostats – 2 pair
  • Hydrocortisone cream – 1 tube
  • Hydrogen peroxide – 1 bottle
  • Ibuprofen 500mg
  • Ice packs
  • Iodine
  • Iodine – 1 bottle
  • Kitchen-sized garbage bags – 1 roll – great for everything from carrying supplies to building a tent
  • latex gloves – 5 pair minimum
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Matches
  • Minimum 30-day supply of all medications
  • Needles – 1 pack various sizes
  • OB tampons – 10 – you can use them for their intended purpose or to pack wounds
  • Pencil and small notebook
  • Plain sugar – 2 packs standard or more if you’re diabetic
  • Quik-Clot, 2 packs
  • Razor blades – Single-edge, 1 box
  • Safety pins – several large and small
  • Saline solution – 1 bottle
  • Scissors
  • Super Glue
  • Suture Needle
  • Tooth wax – 1 pack
  • Topical analgesic cream, 1 tube
  • Treatments such as hot packs and rubs for sore muscles
  • Triangular bandage to use as sling
  • Tweezers – 1 pair
  • White 100% cotton thread – 1 spool
  • Zipper top plastic bags – 1 box – quart or gallon size

Have Extra Equipment

If you need special equipment on a day to day basis to help you see, eat, get around or otherwise make it through your day, it’s a good idea to have extras on hand in case your device gets lost or damaged in an emergency situation. Here are a few examples.

  • Eyeglasses
  • Canes or walkers
  • False teeth
  • Shower chairs
  • Hearing aids (and batteries)
  • Diabetic socks
  • Diabetic testing supplies
  • Safety rails
  • Wheelchairs

Learn How to Replace Meds with Natural Alternatives

As seniors, having enough meds is of bigger concern because often the medications that you take are quite literally life-preserving. The good news is that there are some natural alternatives to some medications.

There are also a few handy tricks that can actually do just as good a job as the medication but for the most part, these are suggestions to naturally reduce or eliminate the condition that requires the medication.

Get more exercise, lose weight if you need to, eat healthier foods, reduce consumption of high-cholesterol, high-saturated fat foods and just take better care of yourself in general. It’s much better to not need medications to begin with than to try to find substitutions for them if SHTF and you don’t have access to a pharmacy.

Pain Killers and Anti-Inflammatories

Pain and swelling can make you miserable, but many meds cause further harm to your body (liver damage, increased risk of heart attack, cataracts, and macular degeneration). Here are a few substitutions to consider in case you don’t have access to your meds.

  • Gingko Balboa has been used forever as a clotting agent and to improve circulation.
  • Turmeric and Ginger both have anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties.
  • Vitamins B-6, D, and E all work as natural blood thinners. Natural vitamin E (100 IUs) works as well as aspirin as a blood thinner, and natural sources of E include spinach, tomatoes, mangoes, peanut butter, almonds, kiwi and sunflower seeds.
  • Organic strawberries, pineapples, raisins, prunes, cranberries, blueberries grapes, oranges broccoli, avocados, cherries, Brussels sprouts, almonds, apple cider vinegar, and honey all work as blood thinners when incorporated as part of your diet. Dried fruits are actually best as blood thinners. High amounts of vitamin E are generally key.
  • Fish oil works nearly as well as Coumadin to thin the blood, according to some research.
  • Devil’s claw has been used in teas and tinctures for centuries as an anti-inflammatory and pain. reliever. It’s frequently used to treat arthritis, tendonitis, and muscle pain and stiffness.
  • Herbs and spices that reduce inflammation include black pepper, cayenne pepper, basil, cardamom, chamomile, chives, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, ginger, parsley, nutmeg, rosemary, and turmeric. Therapeutic dosages vary per herb and per person so if you need a natural anti-inflammatory, do your research.
  • Water is one of the best blood thinners that you consume. It may sound cliché, but it’s true!

High Blood Pressure Meds

High blood pressure is one disease that is largely avoidable by practicing a healthy lifestyle. It’s one of the few diseases you can actually get rid of, too. In some cases, though, it’s genetic and you’re just going to have to deal with it. There are several natural approaches to controlling your blood pressure:

  • Water plays a huge part in regulating your blood pressure. Make sure that you drink plenty of it!
  • Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium play roles in sodium absorption, which is crucial to maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Consider stockpiling supplements but if you do, be careful. Too much potassium or magnesium can be lethal and too much calcium can cause kidney stones. No fun. Good natural sources of potassium include bananas, strawberries, cantaloupes and potatoes.
  • Sodium is essential in your blood but unless you suffer from a handful of relatively rare conditions such as hyponatremia (low blood sodium), you need to watch your sodium intake as you get older because there’s a direct link between sodium intake and blood pressure. You can significantly reduce your blood pressure by reducing your sodium intake.
  • Coenzyme Q10 naturally reduced blood pressure
  • Garlic is just good all the way around. Eat it. Supplement with it if you don’t like to eat it.
  • Hawthorn, Basil, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Celery Seed, French Lavender, and Cat’s Claw are all herbs that are linked to reducing blood pressure.

Antacids

Heartburn and indigestion are frequent companions of those of us who no longer get carded for buying our wine and it’s an issue that’s plagued mankind since the first buffalo pterodactyl wings were served.

It’s often controllable by avoiding foods that cause it but not always. And it could be that you’re just not willing to give up those delicious sauces or fresh veggies that cause your chest to feel like it’s on fire. If so, no worries, even if SHTF, there are some natural cures.

  • Almonds naturally reduce stomach acid. Much on a handful of them and you’ll feel better in 15-30 minutes. Plus they’re awesome for you.
  • Aloe Vera Juice may not taste fabulous but it’s been used for ages to sooth stomach agues. This is great for survival purposes because aloe is easy to grow and is also great for treating burns and abrasions.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar is almost as versatile as garlic and is one of those must-have stockpile items. To get rid of heartburn, drop a couple of tablespoons into a glass of water and drink it. A slice of fresh apple helps, too.
  • Baking Soda, though not entirely pleasant to consume, will get rid of heart burn if you mix a teaspoon of it in a glass of water. Don’t use this often if you have high blood pressure because it can increase your sodium levels.
  • Bananas are extremely soothing to your stomach. Plus they’re a good source of fiber. Handy tip – almost all of the vitamin K in a banana is found in the hard, dark tip that most of us throw away.
  • Basil leaves, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Fennel, Garlic (yes again), Ginger, and Peppermint are all herbs or spices that will help get rid of heartburn or upset stomach.
  • Buttermilk is an old wives’ cure but it works. Just sip a glass and you’ll feel better in no time.

Statins, aka High Cholesterol Meds

High cholesterol is another condition that you can often eliminate if you’re just willing to make some lifestyle changes. Get up, put down the cupcake, and exercise. If you’re one of the unfortunate people who do that but still deal with high cholesterol, here are some natural alternatives to chemical medications such as Lipitor and Zocor.

  • Coconut oil and other medium-chain triglycerides are your best bet for fat because, unlike saturated fat, it raises good cholesterol right along with “bad” so that it balances out.
  • Dark Chocolate, Soy Beans, Garlic, Olive Oil and Omega-3s all help to reduce cholesterol.
  • Red wine is rich in resveratrol and other antioxidants that can help reduce cholesterol.
  • Fiber-rich foods such as veggies and fruits help reduce cholesterol.
  • Rosemary, ginger, turmeric, yarrow and holy basil are herbs that may help to reduce cholesterol.

Antibiotics

In a post-SHTF scenario, infections and diseases caused by bacteria are going to be huge issues. Particularly for people who may not have the strongest immune systems, the absence of antibiotics may turn out to be lethal. Having a sustainable source of natural antibiotics is simply logical.

Several different natural antibiotics are easy to grow. Some treat a wide range of conditions while others are suited to specific infections. Either way, learn how to use these before you just eat them or make tea because “natural” does not imply “safe”.

Remember, arsenic is a naturally-occurring mineral! Many times, herbs can cure you in a small dose or kill you in a large one so study up and have a herbal guide in your medicine kit for reference purposes.

  • Honey is a natural topical antibiotic, antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal. Rub it right onto the wound to protect it from infection and to kill bugs that are already trying to cause trouble.
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis) is an herb native to the northwest US. It’s used to treat sore throats and digestive infections that cause diarrhea. It’s also useful for soothing and treating respiratory, digestive tract, and genitourinary infections.
  • Oregon Grape is also native to the Northwest US and contains berberine which keeps harmful bacteria from sticking to the walls of your intestinal or urinary tract. Drink it like a tea to sooth and treat UTIs or take a liquid tincture or dried capsule to fight bacteria that cause digestive conditions such as infectious diarrhea.
  • Andrographispaniculata is an Asian herb that’s been shown in modern studies to disrupt the quorum-sensing system of bacteria. This is basically the homing beacon that pulls bacteria to each other so that they can set up camp and really do some damage. It’s commonly used to treat upper respiratory infections and sinus problems.
  • Horseradish is used to successfully treat urinary tract infections, respiratory infections and sinusitis.
  • Turmeric has a ton of research that supports its effectiveness as an antibacterial. It’s effective against Bacillus cereus, Bacillus coagulans, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
  • Ginger has been used historically, and has medical studies backing it, for treating respiratory infections and infections in the mouth caused by pathogens.

Some people prefer to store their first aid supplies in a 5-gallon bucket. We personally prefer to use a more traditional case that opens in such a manner as to display the contents. We like the cases better because in an emergency, you can just open it up, look for what you need, and grab it.

If all of your supplies are in a bucket, you’ll need to dump the bucket out in order to find what you need, then put it all back in. At the very least, you’re wasting time and at the worst, you’re contaminating the contents of your kit.

How’s your medical supply? Are you ready to face a disaster with what you have at the moment? Or are you going to rely entirely on your skills and on what nature can provide you for survival?

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

What Makes A House A Shelter?

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Of all our survival needs, shelter is high up on the list. It is shelter, along with clothing and heating, which helps us to maintain our body heat, regardless of how frightening the weather outside might get.

This explains why we all collectively spend roughly one-third of our income on housing, whether that is buying a home, renting one, renting an apartment, or even paying for a trailer to live in.

But what makes a house, or any of those other things I mentioned, work as a shelter?

Basically, it’s three things:

  • The ability to keep the rain off our heads
  • The ability to block the wind
  • The ability to hold in or hold out heat

While there are a lot of other factors that go into home design, it is those three things that have dictated the basic design concepts of homes since the beginning of time. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about living in a cave, a Mongolian Yurt, or a modern home, the walls and roof are there to accomplish those three basic tasks.

Everything else about home design is about making the space more comfortable to live in.

This is Why Conventional Preparedness Wisdom is Deadly!

Homes Under Attack

But as the recent spate of hurricanes has proven, not all homes are created equal. Sadly, many of the homes in Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other Caribbean Islands were severely damaged or even destroyed by the winds and flooding that those hurricanes wrought.

Granted, many of the homes destroyed in those hurricanes were not built to American standards, or even to the International Building Code standards. That’s because most of the homes that were destroyed belonged to the poorer people living in the islands, who build their homes however they can, out of whatever materials they can and with no attention to the building code.

But to be honest, American homes are hard pressed to survive such an onslaught, and many of those didn’t fare all that well either. The basic problem in those cases is usually flooding, which American home building techniques and the materials we use, can’t handle.

By comparison, I’ve spent a fair amount of time south of the border, in Mexico. Rather than being built out of wood, like our homes are, most of theirs are built out of cement block, with tile floors. While that may not make for as attractive a house, and it definitely doesn’t make for as well insulated a home, it does make a home that is much more water resistant. When those homes flood, it’s a mess to clean up, but that’s about it. They don’t have to tear out drywall, insulation, carpeting and underlayment.

If we were to adopt their building techniques, we would have homes that were much more resilient to hurricanes and other natural disasters. But there are tradeoffs as well, especially in the area of keeping our homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The only problem with that idea, is that most of us already have our homes built. So it would be impractical to build ourselves new homes and abandon our old ones.

With that in mind, what we really need to do is find a way to improve our existing homes ability to withstand the forces that nature can bring against them.

How Does Nature Damage Homes?

There are actually quite a number of different ways in which nature can damage our homes. Each natural disaster has its own damage it can produce. Even normal storms can cause damage. Allow me to briefly summarize this damage:

  • Hurricanes: High winds can tear off roofs, blow out windows, and even flatten walls. Flooding can weaken foundations and damage the materials the home is made of, especially on the interior of the home.
  • Tornados: Even higher winds than hurricanes produce can tear off roofs, drive loose objects through windows and some walls, and generally tear things apart.
  • Flooding: As with hurricanes, flooding can damage the materials the home is made of, requiring major rebuilding, as well as undermining the foundation.
  • Earthquake: Literally shakes the house to pieces.
  • Hail: Damage to roof shingles.
  • Wildfire: Burning the home down; many of the materials our homes are built from are flammable.

Of course, it’s unlikely that your home is in a place where you are subject to all of these possibilities. It seems that some parts of the country are more susceptible to some, while other parts of the country are more susceptible to others.

Nevertheless, while some of these forces of nature are so severe that there is nothing we can do about them, there are others which we can effectively combat, protecting our homes from damage and destruction.

Protecting Your Home from the Ravages of Nature

With all this potential for damage and destruction, it only makes sense to ensure that our homes are as well protected as possible. After all, for most of us, our home is our biggest investment. With that in mind, it only makes sense to take good care of it.

While there are specific actions that we can take to ensure the soundness of various parts of our homes and their ability to withstand damage, it should be noted that the overall maintenance and condition of your home is important. The better condition that your home is in, the more likely it will be to sustain rough weather, without damage.

Much of the damage which can happen to our homes starts with one loose board, shingle or brick. Wind or rain gets in there and the damage can spread. This can take minutes or years, depending on the nature of the damage and the severity of the weather.

But if we can deny the weather that first opening, we can avoid a lot of damage.

Windows

As we all know, glass is fragile, easy to break. Yet we still use glass windows for our homes, mostly because there really is nothing better to replace them with.

Oh, I suppose you could replace your glass window with a polycarbonate material, like Lexan, which is considerably stronger than glass, as well as more expensive, but even Lexan can be broken by objects driven by the wind.

Nevertheless, this is one option to consider.

Some people recommend taping windows with masking tape or packing tape to keep them from breaking, but that doesn’t work.

There are two basic problems with that. The first is that the tape only makes contact with a small amount of the window’s surface area, so the rest of the window can still bust out. The second is that the sun bakes the adhesive from the tape onto the window, making it hard to remove it.

The best way of protecting windows is probably the oldest, shutters. People have been using shutters to protect their windows since before glass was used in them. They aren’t all that popular today, but if you have shutters on your home; real shutters that is, you’re ready to protect it.

If you don’t have shutters, you can simulate them by cutting pieces of plywood and putting them over your windows. That’s quite effective in the face of a hurricane; but there usually isn’t enough time to even bother when there’s a chance of tornadoes.

Even thin plywood will offer a lot of protection to the glass, helping prevent it from being broken.

The other option is to add security window film on the inside of the windows. This is something like window tinting film, but it is clear and thicker than tint. What it does, in addition to making the glass stronger, is keep the glass in place, should it get broken, much like a car’s windshield is designed to stay intact, even when it is shattered.

Roofs

After windows, the roof is the most vulnerable parts of your home. Hail can fall upon it, causing damage and high winds from hurricanes or tornadoes can lift it right off the home, more or less intact, depositing it some distance away. It can also be damaged by tree limbs falling on it, as they break off of trees.

The typical asphalt or fiberglass tiles we use for roofs today are not the best roofing material you can buy. Nor is a typical two-sloped roof the best design. Roofs made with two opposing slopes leave vertical walls at the gable ends. In contrast, a hip roof, with four or more sloped surfaces, eliminates this problem. Eliminating the gable ends eliminates the large sail area for the wind to push against.

Standard two-sloped roofs can be converted to hip roofs by removing the trusses at the ends and framing in the hip roof portion. Any framing contractor can do this work. While it might be expensive, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as expensive as replacing the roof.

The biggest wind force working on a roof is updrafts. This is caused by wind hitting the wall of the home and looking for the easiest direction it can travel. Those updrafts catch on the roof overhang, pushing up on it and sometimes even tearing the roof off, lifting it right off the house. A smaller amount of overhang, with narrower soffits reduces this risk.

The other thing that should be done with roofs is to have the trusses installed with hurricane clips. These are metal straps, which attach the trusses more firmly to the wall structure, fighting against the propensity for the updraft to lift the roof off the home.

Another thing to consider is changing your roof shingles, replacing them with another material, which is less susceptible to damage. Of all the common roofing materials used, metal roofs are the best for this. Even if they become pock damaged by hail, it will not affect the ability of the roof to protect the home.

Finally, if you have any trees, whose branches overhang your home’s roof, you should cut off those limbs. This is especially true of old or diseased trees, where the branches might be weak and susceptible to breaking in high winds. A tree limb falling on your roof can do a lot of damage.

Exterior Walls

The exterior walls of your home are much less likely to become damaged than any other part. However, there are some things that can happen, especially if your home is not properly maintained.

High winds can peel off wood, aluminum or vinyl siding. All they need is a loose corner or edge. The corner trim on your home is intended to protect against this, so you want to check that your corner trim is firmly attached, that the siding does not extend out past the corner trim and that the siding is attached firmly to the home.

It’s also a good idea to caulk the seam between the siding and the corner trim. A good painter will do this when the home is painted. If you paint your home yourself, be sure to include this in your prep work.

Flooding

Of all possible damage that can happen to a home, flooding is the hardest to prevent and the hardest to repair.

Our homes are not designed to be boats or dams, withstanding the rising waters. Even so, there are some things that we can do.

Brick homes withstand flooding better than wood-sided ones do, as the brick is not as badly affected by the water. It also makes a better barrier against water, if it is properly sealed.

However, most brick homes will have spaces between bricks, near the bottom of the wall, which are not filled with mortar. This is done to allow vents for equalizing air pressure, as well as places for water to drain out of the wall. For the wall to be waterproof, these must be filled.

Even with this done, water can get into your home, simply by flowing under the doors. This is why most people who live in hurricane zones will put sandbags in front of their doors, anytime a hurricane is on the way. If you don’t have sandbags, the same thing can be done by filling kitchen trash bags 1/3 full of water, and attaching the drawstrings for those bags to the door frame, holding the bags up. The water in the bags turns the bags themselves into very effective barriers against minor flooding.

Of course, that’s only going to work for low-level flooding, say a foot or less. For more than that, you’d need to have either a sandbag wall running all the way around your home, an earthen berm, or one of the inflatable water dams (inflate with water), which have been designed to replace sandbag walls.

There are farmhouses and whole towns in North Dakota, which have been built with an earthen berm all the way around them. This was done to combat the annual spring flooding that happens there. It floods a lot because the nearby river dips south, and then turns north again, before going back south. So, that point where it turns back north stays frozen, while the farther south parts thaw, effectively putting a dam across the river and causing flooding.

Regardless of whether sandbags, inflatable dams or an earthen berm is used, the barrier must be out away from your home, leaving at least a three foot gap for you to walk through, checking for leaks. Some leaks are likely to happen, so you should have transfer pumps, which you can use to pump that water back out over the barrier.

While adding this sort of barrier is a expensive, as well as a lot of work, it’s the only sure way of protecting your home from flooding. So, if you are living in an area which is prone to having problems with floods, this is something that you might want to consider.

Overall, having a shelter is one survival need you have to start with. Now check your home and see if you can call it a safe shelter.

If it’s not, what do you expect to turn it into one?

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

What You Need To Know About Waterproofing Your Stockpile

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The recent spate of hurricanes hitting Houston, the Western part of the Florida peninsula and Puerto Rico have given many of us an opportunity to rethink our prepping plans.

That’s as it should be, as we should always be looking to improve, and one of the best tools we have for that is to analyze the disasters that happen, looking for lessons to be learned.

I’ve lived through hurricanes before, as my home is in a hurricane zone, but never as severe as these three have been. More than anything, the big difference that I noticed from these three hurricanes, was the amount of flooding they caused. That made the ones I lived through seem rather minor indeed.

What these hurricanes made me rethink was, not surprisingly, my stockpile. But not what’s in it, rather how protected is it from damage.

Major flooding was not part of my thinking, when I was working out what to store and where to store it. Considering that I live in a hurricane zone, I decided that maybe I need to rethink it.

I have to wonder is any preppers living in Puerto Rico, Florida and the part of Houston that got flooded are really much better off than their neighbors, especially the people of Puerto Rico. While many homes in Puerto Rico are made of cement block, which is pretty much impervious to flooding, the poorer people make their homes of whatever they can. So many of those homes might be made of much less substantive material.

Of course, the people who own those homes probably aren’t preppers anyway.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

The reason that I bring this point up, is that the average American home doesn’t stand up well to flooding either. The people who live in the parts of Houston which flooded are left with the need to largely rebuild their homes, as well as replace just about everything that was on the ground floor.

For most of us, this would probably also mean replacing most of our prepping stockpile, especially if we stored it in the basement. Anything left there would certainly be waterlogged after the home flooded.

Not All Waterproofing is the Same

When I first started thinking about this, one of the first things I realized is that not all waterproofing is the same. Let me explain.

Our homes are waterproofed or maybe I should say water resistant, at least from rain. But they are not waterproofed from flooding. They are only water resistant to water falling from the sky. So, when we talk waterproofing, we need to make sure that we understand what we’re talking about.

Basically, there are two different types of water we need to concern ourselves with, both of which can come from a hurricane or storm. One is water falling down, or rain, and the other is water coming up, or flooding. That one has to include the storm surge that a hurricane can cause too.

I’m not sure if there are actual stated levels of waterproofing that apply to a stockpile, but I haven’t seen any. However, I can easily see four different levels of protection that we should consider:

  • Waterproof – You can submerge it in water and it won’t be damaged. Think a sealed can of food.
  • Water resistant – Water can fall on it and it won’t be damaged, as long as the water flows off of it. But, if it is submerged in water, even partially, it will be damaged. Think a roll of TP, wrapped tightly in a plastic bag.
  • Floating – The item itself isn’t waterproof or water resistant, nor is its container, but it will float, without the water being able to soak in. Think supplies in a plastic storage bin.
  • Out of the water’s reach – The item is stored inside a building, so the rain can’t get to it, but high enough off the ground that the flood waters can’t get to it either. Think something sitting in the attic of a two-story home, but only the first story floods.

Our efforts to protect our stockpiles from the water can consist of a combination of these different strategies, depending on the particular item and where we are going to store it in our home. Items stored in the attic might only need to be water resistant or in floating containers, especially since they are probably out of the water’s reach. But items stored in the basement probably have to be waterproof, as any flooding will flood the basement first, so even if it is water resistant or in floating containers, it won’t do any good.

Waterproofing Your Food Stockpile

Now that we’ve established our ground rules, let’s start looking at some specific items. We’ll start with food, because that is the biggest part of any of our stockpiles. Fortunately, the way we package food for long-term storage gives us a great head start.

Much of the food that we buy at the local supermarket is not packed in a way that makes it waterproof, so we repack it for our stockpiles. One of the few things that is truly waterproof is canned goods. Other than the risk of the can rusting through, there is little that can happen to a can to allow water into it.

The problem comes in with dry foods, which make up the bulk of our food stockpiles. Since these foods do not typically come in airproof and insect proof packaging, we typically repack them in five gallon buckets, lined with aluminized Mylar bags. In this process of trying to protect it from bacteria, insects, rodents and oxygen. In the process, we also make it waterproof.

The bigger problem with our food is that these waterproof containers could actually float off, if our home becomes damaged severely enough to allow it.

That may not seem like much of an issue to you, but if you look at photos taken of the results of floods, you’ll see a lot of stuff scattered around, some of that stuff is a whole lot bigger than buckets of food. I distinctly remember seeing video of cars and whole buildings floating away during the tsunami that hit Japan.

So, how can we solve this?

Simply by anchoring our buckets of food in a way that won’t allow them to float off. That can be done by running a chain through their handles and anchoring it to the walls of your basement, or by making your storage room into a cage that will remain intact, even if your home becomes destroyed.

Another way of protecting your food from floating off is to bury some of it.

Five gallon buckets are ideal for burying food, as there’s nothing that will decompose or become damaged by contact with dirt and water, other than the wire handle. But plastic handled buckets won’t even have this problem.

Making Practical Decisions About Waterproofing

The bigger problem isn’t waterproofing your food stockpile, but everything else that you have stockpiled. While some of that might also be in five gallon buckets, which would make it waterproof, most probably isn’t, leaving it vulnerable to damage.

Solving this problem can be extremely challenging, mostly due to the vast volume of other supplies that you might have. In many cases, rather than actually waterproofing the items, you may be able to give it adequate protection, by utilizing one of the other levels.

Take a wood pile, for example. Buying enough waterproof containers to keep your firewood safe from flooding is a big unrealistic. There are few containers that are large enough for more than a few pieces of wood, so it would take an awful lot of container to fully protect your entire stock of firewood. However, chances are that it wouldn’t really need that level of protection.

Before waterproofing anything, you need to determine what level of flooding you are going to protect yourself from. That depends on a combination of the types of floods your area is potentially subject to, and where in your home any particular item in your stockpile will be stored.

If you live near the ocean, where you might have to deal with the storm surge from a hurricane or a tsunami, then you need to consider the highest level that could reach. If you live inland, any flooding you are likely to encounter would be by an overflowing lake or river. How high the water level would be from that depends on the amount of rain falling and the terrain.

Actually, terrain is a very important factor, no matter where you live and what sort of flooding you might be subject to. So as part of your prepping, you need to get topographical maps of your area, including any bodies of water which might cause flooding. From those maps, you can see how high the water would have to rise, before it could get to your home, how much lower-lying land would have to flood first, and hopefully make some determination of some signs that would give you warning about potential flooding.

Technically, your home is flooded if any water running across the ground can get into it. One inch of water is still flooding, just like 20 feet of it is. It’s just that 20 feet of flooding can do more damage.

The other factor to consider, as I mentioned, is where the item is to be stored in your home. Items that are stored in the attic may not need to be waterproofed, simply water resistant, because they won’t be submerged in water. If your roof becomes damaged, those items may get rained on, but chances are they won’t be submerged. If they are, it would mean that your home was totally destroyed and you probably wouldn’t be able to find those items anyway.

Basement Storage

People who have a basement tend to put their stockpiles there. I agree from the viewpoint of food, as food is already going to be packed in waterproof containers. Therefore, it will survive any level of flooding you are likely to encounter.

But not all your food should be stored in your basement, simply because it will also be the part of your home which retains water the longest. So, you might be in your home and needing to make repairs, but unable to get to your food supply. A few buckets of food, stored in a closet or laundry room could make all the difference in that situation.

Second Floor Storage

If you own a two-story home, you have an advantage over those who only have a one-story home.

I have seen many flood situations where the first story of the homes is flooded almost up to the ceiling, but the second story is dry.

If there is enough advance notice of the pending flood, furniture and other items can be moved from the first floor to the second, in order to protect them from damage.

This advantage also works for your prepping stockpile. The buckets of food that I was just talking about keeping out of the basement can most effectively be stored on the second floor of the home, protecting them from flooding, while keeping them accessible.

Attic Storage

I store a fair number of supplies in my attic, although I do not store food there. Anything stored in the attic has to be more of less impervious to heat, and food isn’t. However, many other supplies are. In this case, the supplies can be made water resistant, rather than waterproofed.

My wife has put in a good stock of toilet paper, enough to last us over a year, even if our kids come back home. That is left in its original plastic packaging and then placed in large plastic trash bags (55 gallon bags), which are sealed with packing tape. While this is not fully waterproofed, it is highly water resistant and will float. Until the water attacked the tape for long enough to destroy the adhesive, it is essentially waterproof.

Most of the other items we have stored in the attic are stored in plastic storage bins. These also have the lids held on by packing tape, but not to make them waterproof, but rather to keep the kids from coming off.

As these bins will float (we get rid of ones that are cracked or have holes in them), everything stored in them is fairly water resistant, unless the house is totally underwater, preventing the bins from floating.

There Are Limits

Keep in mind that there are limits to what you are going to be able to do. One of my big concerns is my workshop, which is in my garage. There is no realistic way of keeping my tools in waterproof containers, as I use them regularly.

All I can hope is that the doors of the garage aren’t breached and that my tools will all be there when everything is said and done.

Another area that is limited is bulk storage of things like firewood. There is just no practical way of storing large amounts of firewood in a way that is waterproof. The best that you can hope for is that the flooding isn’t so bad that it floats the wood out of the storage racks.

As long as the wood stays there, it can be dried out and used, after the flooding is over. Hopefully, the top of the wood pile won’t get wet, so will be usable.

Now you should be able to fix the way you keep your stockpile so you and your family would stay safe. But if you lose it, would be able to survive without it?

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Bugging In: These Smart Water Solutions Will Save Your Life

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If hunkering down is your choice, either due to your living circumstance, or simply to avoid the hordes on the highway, your bug-in bag should have all the essentials you need.

Anything less will not only waste your time, space and money, but will pin your hopes to a fool’s promise, endangering you and others too. And water is one of those issues that you just can’t take easily when bugging in.

You probably know that a single gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds and takes up quite a bit of space. If you are having problems keeping 1-2 gallons in your living space on a regular basis, you’ll find it almost impossible to store enough water away for your long term survival.

This is just one of many reasons why you should only store away 5-10 gallons of water to get you started in a crisis, and devote your prepping to smart management and finding ways to procure water. Pulling water from the air is one of the solutions, and there are several ways you can do it.

Once you pull the moisture from the air, you will still need to make sure it is fit for drinking and bathing. But all of these obstacles can be overcome with solutions that are small enough and easy enough to store in your bug in bag.

Keep reading to see how to solve the water problem when you’re bugging in!

6 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Water

Even though there are actually thousands of gallons of water sitting in the air around you, actually converting that water vapor into usable water can take a bit of effort.

 

This Device Easily Turns Air Into Water!

 

You still need to know how to conserve water and recycle it as much as possible. If you have to fine tune water production systems, you will have a bit more time to achieve that goal.

Use Dirty Water and Dosage for Flushing the Toilet

You might know already that the fastest and easiest way to cut back on toilet water usage is to gather water from other activities such as cooking and cleaning, and then simply dump it down the toilet.

On a day to day basis, you can also fill a ½ gallon milk container with water, cap it up, and set it in the toilet tank. This will take up area that would normally be taken up by water that would be used for flushing the toilet even though it isn’t necessarily needed.

You can add more milk jugs if you find that you want to reduce the amount of water used for flushing even more.

Smart Cooking Will Save Your Water

When preparing meals, combine as many things as possible so that you do not have to waste water. You can also reduce the amount of water used to cook many items by using lower cooking temperatures or other methods.

For example, if you want to make spaghetti or macaroni, try boiling just enough water to cover the pasta. Thermos cooking also offers a number of ways to reduce both the amount of water used to cook food and also the energy required.

Change Your Washing Routine

When it comes to washing your hands and face, there are a number of ways to save water that don’t necessarily rely on pre-moistened wipes or other stores that will run out.

To begin, instead of turning on the tap, and letting it run, pour water into a bowl instead. From there, dip your hands in the bowl and lather up. Once that is accomplished, take a towel or sponge to get the majority of the soap off your face.

Follow up with some additional splashes of water to get the remainder of the soap off your face. From start to finish, you should only need about ½ gallon versus 2 – 5 gallons for each minute that a faucet would be running. You can also use small bowls for brushing teeth and then a larger one for sponge baths.

Don’t Cut Off House Cleaning

Contrary to popular belief, don’t believe that all house cleaning will end in the post crisis world. If you do not keep floors, walls, furniture, and other internal landscape parts clean, you will soon be in a disease filled, hazardous environment.

From that perspective, toilets and sinks will still require water for cleaning. In the case of toilets, you can use leftover water from cooking or other cleaning chores, just as you would for flushing the toilet.

Grow Food that Doesn’t Rely Much on Water

If you are planning to bug in, then it makes sense that any food growing will occur indoors. First of all, switch to a low-water garden so you could grow your food with a minimum consumption of water.

There are also a number of growing methods that reduce reliance on water to well below what you would use in a conventional outdoor garden and also a container garden. This includes utilizing different potting arrangements and also tried and true ways to preserve moisture as much as possible.

For example, just because your container garden is indoors, that doesn’t mean you can’t use plastic mulches or other covers that will prevent water from evaporating back into the air.

Prevent Evaporation

There are also a number of misting techniques you can use when watering plants to ensure they get as much moisture as possible where it is actually needed. For some species of plants, this includes misting under the leaves, since this is where the leaf is actually able to take in the most water.

If the outdoors are dry enough, you will see tree leaves turn upside down so that those pores can take in the rain as quickly as possible. From that perspective, if you mist under the leaves instead of on top, the plant will get more water, and less will evaporate off the top areas that may have wax or some other natural coating to help prevent evaporation.

How Much Water Do You Need Each Day?

Before making any plans for pulling water from the air, you need to know how much water you’ll need per person. Under normal conditions, you can expect to use 80 – 100 gallons of water per day.

Here are some rough estimates to go by based on routine needs in a survival situation compared to routine times:

The Basic Ways to Pull Water from the Air or Ground

There are many people interested in pulling water from the air, or from brackish environments. Some of the most innovative methods are making use of wind turbines or with alternative blade forms.

Even though these systems tend to rely on condensers and coolants, they can still offer some useful insights. If you can design something based on these systems, or integrate passive heating and cooling into the design, you will spend less money and have a system that will work in any emergency type.

Remember that the ultimate survival water purifier and generator must have the following features:

  • It must use as little energy as possible
  • It must be easy to build and maintain
  • Must require a minimum of moving parts in order to reduce energy consumption and the need to replace parts
  • Must produce enough water on a daily basis for your needs
  • Must be portable or easy enough to move around in case you have to leave your current location or put the equipment in an area where it can gather more water.

Condensation Methods

These methods are designed to work when there is a sudden change in air temperature, which affects how much water vapor the air can hold. Typically, when temperatures drop, this will increase the odds of precipitation.

There are many different ways to use condensation methods to retrieve water from outdoor settings, however they may not yield as much water, if any from indoor locations. Regardless of the system that you use, the hours before sunrise are apt to yield the most water because they are the coolest hours of the day.

Pulling water from the earth is actually fairly easy. Just dig a hole and place a bowl, pot, or cup in the center of the hole. Next, spread some plastic sheeting across. Make sure that the edges of the plastic are sealed off. Use a rock in the center of the plastic so that the lowest point of the plastic is aimed into the cup or bowl. As the ground temperature changes, water vapor will rise up and be trapped by the plastic.

From there, the water droplets will roll down to the center point of the plastic and finally drop into the vessel waiting below. Depending on the moisture levels in the soil, you can collect as little as a cup or as much as several gallons of water in a single night.

Water stills can also be very useful if you have used cooking water or other water that needs to be purified before it can be used for consumption and bathing. Basically, in these systems, the water may be in a bowl, cup, or even housed in the ground as in the method listed above.

For this version, the plastic tent will have an upward high point instead of a low point. As the sun or other heat source causes an increased temperature inside the tent, water vapor rises up and encounters the top of the tent.

From there, water droplets adhere to the sides, and then to waiting cups along the inner ring of the plastic. This water will, or should be, free of chemicals, heavy metals, bacteria, salts, and minerals. Therefore, not only can you use this system to produce fresh water, you can also use it as a final stage for purifying any water that may be on hand.

As with other systems that use plastic, always make sure that the plastic remains clean and free of bacteria, mold, mildew, or other forms of soiling that can make the water unfit to drink.  For long term usage, you may prefer a glass tent, however this will weigh more and require additional support structures for daily needs.

Once you start your indoor container garden, simply enclose the entire area in plastic (basically you will be creating an indoor greenhouse), and then make depressions in the roof that will point to cups or pots waiting below.

This method is one of the most passive and easiest methods for gathering water from the air, and will also help conserve overall moisture used for growing food.

Desiccants

You probably know that silicon and table salt are two commonly available desiccants. If you are seeking to make water for consumption, bathing, or other purposes, then use salt as the desiccant in your system. If you look at some commercial atmospheric water generation systems, you will find that many different desiccants are used for this purpose.

When choosing the chemicals, consider how much energy it will require to remove the chemical from the water, and also how much water yield you will get with each desiccant when compared to table salt.

Air Pressurizers

These systems are somewhat similar to a modern air conditioner in the sense that they blow air over cold coils in order to reduce the air’s temperature, which causes moisture to drop into a waiting receptacle.

While these systems can pull a good bit of water from the air, the coolants can be quite expensive, as can the electricity required to run them. In a bug-in situation where you have limited power and resources, this system may not be a viable option.

Even if you can purchase a miniature system that runs on batteries or solar power, it will not produce as much water as other methods. It may also be very noisy and break down sooner rather than later.

Think in advance about how you can take advantage of new technologies and ideas to make your bug in location more suitable from a food, water, and breathable air perspective.

There are options open to you, and it only takes will to experiment with new materials and concepts to put up a comprehensive plan that would later save you and your family!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Survival Defense For Women: 10 Tricks Against Sexual Predators

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Contrary to popular belief, men who target women for harassment, stalking, rape, and other forms of sexual predation do not limit themselves to targeting strangers. In fact, a significant percentage of rapes are “date rapes”, and other situations where the woman actually knows her attacker.

If you are a woman, remain safe from sexual predators following these 10 tricks!

They will help you correctly asses the situations where you know the man in question, and will also give you hints on how to recognize malicious intent in strangers.

Avoid Traveling Alone

Sexual predators are similar to any other criminal in the sense that they will target those they perceive as the weakest. Typically, this means if you are traveling alone, a sexual predator will think you are an easy mark.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

Whether you just go to the store, or go out for a short walk, try traveling with someone else. You never know if a stalker has been waiting for just the right moment, or a complete stranger with criminal intent may decide to attack you.

If you travel alone, here are some things you can do to remain as safe as possible.

Always remain in well-lit areas and as close to a group as possible.

When in a store, after you pay for your purchases, ask for an escort to your vehicle.

Have a running conversation with someone on your cell phone. Make sure the person knows where you are. If you suspect someone strange is around, tell the person you are talking with.

If a stranger approaches you, do not leave the safety of the place you are in. You can always take that person’s number, and contact them later on if you want to have coffee, lunch, or go on a date.

When in doubt, always, go back to “old fashioned” respect and do not allow yourself to be rushed or swayed by something that occurs “out of the blue”. Just because you don’t know who approached you, it doesn’t mean that person hasn’t been stalking you, or doesn’t know who you are.

Considering the increasing number of date rapes and other forms of sexual predation, wait until you gather some facts before you go anywhere with that person.

Be Careful With Makeup, Jewelry, and Clothing Choices

As Western and Islamic cultures continue to meet and find places of disagreement, it is often said that the Islamic treatment of women is far worse than anything you would find in the United States of America. Irresponsible flashing of expensive jewelry, or wearing garments inappropriate for a specific settings, can spell trouble for a woman.

There are also specific meanings for makeup choices that cannot be ignored. What a woman wears or her body language could never be an excuse for sexual harassment or rape, but when you are in a public setting or with people of the opposite gender, it has an impact on the situation. You will always be best served by wearing clothes that are respectful of your body and your goals.

Aside from avoiding wearing expensive jewelry or clothes that make you look like you are for sale, it never hurts to wear clothes that you can defend yourself in.

For example, if you are fan of high heels, do not hesitate to wear heels that are sturdy enough and sharp enough to cause some damage to an attacker’s foot.

You should be able to run comfortably, and have confidence that the shoes will not fall apart or you’d twist an ankle when you need to kick or move for self-defense.

Blue jeans or pants are always going to be easier to defend yourself in, especially if they are loose fitting and do not restrict motion in your legs and hips.

Try to avoid garments that will wrap around your arms or legs or in some way prevent you from moving freely and easily.

While a long flowing scarf or shawl can be used to disguise the motion of your hands and arms, it can also be used to strangle you. Therefore it is still best to avoid garments that are too drapey, or can be used to restrict your movements if an attacker grabs them.

If you wear clothes that are not easy to defend yourself in, make sure that you are with someone you trust completely, and that you are safe in the setting you will be in. There is a big difference between traveling to a family member’s home for a holiday dinner and going to a restaurant in an area with a high crime rate.

In the latter case, no matter how much you may trust the person you are with, there is still a risk because of the setting you are going into. Even though wearing sensible clothes based on your location will not necessarily prevent an attack, it may still give you an edge when it comes to defending yourself and preventing a sexual attack.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings and Self Defense Training

Sexual predators are also similar to other criminals in the sense that they will look for people that aren’t really paying attention to what’s going on around them.

Situational awareness is one of the most important things you can do for yourself; both to stave off a sexual predator as well as any other kind of criminal. While there are no concrete answers for why it works, the fact remains when people are aware that you know they are around, and that you see them, it seems to deter criminal activity.

Today, many people think they know what situation awareness, is yet they are sadly ignorant. It’s about a lot more than knowing how to use window glass to see what’s going on around you, as well as other well-known tricks.

There is a specific body language that you must use, as well as how you look at people. Even if you think you are very proficient insofar as knowing what’s going on around you, and conveying that fact, you will be well served by taking a class in self-defense. These classes can and should teach you the difference between awareness and hyper-vigilance.

Typically, if you appear nervous, or transmit signals that you are unsure of yourself, it can put you in danger, even though the predator knows you see them. You should also learn some basic techniques for getting away from an attacker regardless of whether or not you are carrying a weapon.

Keep a Record of Suspicious Activity

As noted earlier, many women are surprised when they know the person that attacks them. Even if the situation isn’t a date rape or one in which the woman knows the man personally, they may recognize the attacker by sight.

It is always very important to listen to your instincts. If you pay attention, when you see a man for the first time, you may feel a specific repulsion, or a sense that something isn’t right.

In this era of cell phones with good quality cameras, it only takes a second to snap a picture and make a note to yourself. Later on you can always ask your friends or other people that you trust if they know the individual or if they have seen him around.

You may be surprised to find out that you aren’t the only one that has a strange sense about the man in question. This act alone, can also raise awareness for other women that may be at risk from this individual.

Just remember to conceal your actions as much as possible when taking the picture, as you don’t want to convey interest or create a situation where the potential predator can open a conversation with you or try to pursue you.

Keep Your Technologies Updated

Not so long ago, you would have been technologically advanced if you had a “panic button” on the keyless entry device for your vehicle that would cause the horn to honk. If you weren’t that close to your vehicle it was completely useless.

Today there are several technologies that women can take advantage of to stay safe and just about any setting. Here are a few important ones to consider.

Location Trackers

These devices can be kept on a keychain or in your pocket. As long as they have a SIM card in them, they will transmit your location. You can also choose devices that will let other people hear what is going on around you.

Simply leave this information with a friend or someone else that you trust, so that if you go missing, that person can give the necessary information about how to find you.

Undercover Colors

This is a special nail polish that will change colors when dipped into a drink that has known date rape drugs in it. Even if you make a mistake and go out with someone that has this kind of intent, finding out about the drugs before you swallow them can save you from disaster.

Video first seen on FOX 10 Phoenix.

Know the Signs You are Being Followed

Depending on the skill of your potential attacker, you may or may not detect if you are being followed. In the end, always assume that you are being followed, especially if you have a strange sense about a man in your area. When in doubt, walk into a public place where other people may act as a deterrent.

Here are some clues that may help you to determine if you are being followed, however this list is not exhaustive.

If you speed up or slow down your walking pace, the person following you may also adjust his pace.

When looking into a window that reveals the man behind you, or into a mirror, you may notice that they are staring at you or focused on you in some way.

While walking along a street, or through a mall, or even in a store, go to an area where you would not expect this man to follow (a restroom area, a lingerie department, or someplace else where it may seem strange). Pay careful attention: if the man is especially sloppy, he may follow you right into an area that isn’t normal for men to enter.

If you have a more experienced stalker on your hands, the man may stop short of the department you’re heading into or the store you are aiming for. Spend some time in that area, and while you are browsing around, look to see if he is nearby or watching. Don’t assume you are safe, just because the man seems to have walked by your area, or is someplace else yet still in visual distance.

Your litmus test, if you are in a store, should be if the man is visible at or near the checkout area. This includes outside or any other area where it would be easy for him to spot you again and follow you.

Before an actual attack occurs, any criminal or predator must get within 1 to 2 feet of you. Some men may try to advance quickly, while others may try to casually approach and start a conversation. Always be ready to defend yourself without appearing hyper vigilant or nervous.

Social Background Check Before You Go on a Date

Your greatest defense against getting involved with sexual predator is the experiences of other women. No matter whether you are new in an area, or away at college among strangers, immerse in the female social network around you. Include in your network women that know the area, and have a good sense of who the men around are.

Even if you have had several conversations with a specific man, and think you will be safe, remember that date rapists have some very polished social skills. As a result, they are very good at biding their time, and they will attack when you least expect it.

If the man in question is a relative stranger to the area, try to find out about other women in the area and where the man lived before. Try to find contacts that know the man in question for at least five to ten years. Female family members, former romantic partners, and others familiar with the man in question can all be a big help to you.

At the very least, try to establish a connection with your potential date on social networking sites, and review friend lists and conversations. If you cannot see the man’s friend list, or feel that information is being hidden from you, do not enter into a dating situation.

While this may seem extreme, remember that abuser doesn’t change just because they move from one area to another. Old social connections that may have kept up on social networking can still offer valuable clues and give you a chance to avoid a very nasty situation.

Make Self and Mutual Respect a Relationship Foundation

Do you remember the days when words like respect and morals had a tangible cultural meaning? Many women considers themselves “liberated” and look down on a man that wants to hold a car door open for them, etc., we have lost cultural signs of respect for ourselves and the opposite gender.

As corny as it may seem, without these ingrained cultural cues, it becomes difficult to read the intentions of people around you and remain within acceptable relationship boundaries. While most men may not enter a relationship with the intent to sexually abuse or harm their partner, the lack of cultural guidelines and self-discipline might lead to that.

No woman should enter into a date or relationship without the clear understanding that both parties must establish respect for themselves and each other. Even though this won’t necessarily guarantee your safety from a sexual predator, it can help you to avoid making some serious mistakes while playing the field.

Demand Reduced Legal Restrictions on Women for Self Defense Scenarios

Did you know a woman can face criminal charges if she brandishes a gun even though she is afraid she may be raped or attacked? These are just some of the many gun control laws that serve to intimidate and harm a woman’s right to protect herself.

Because women are at such a high risk from sexual predators, and also because men know women are less likely to carry a gun, it is absolutely necessary to significantly lower the “shoot don’t shoot” standards for women who carry guns.

The bottom line is, if a woman feels she is threatened with any kind of physical harm, she should be allowed to stand her ground, brandish her gun and to use it as she sees fit without fear of facing criminal charges.

Sadly, more than a few women have avoided being raped or murdered, yet wound up in prison because gun control laws dictated they somehow committed a crime. This problem can only be addressed through getting rid of these laws, and to set unfairly convicted women free; plus pay them for wrongful conviction.

Today, sexual predation on women is reaching epidemic proportions. Knowing how to defend yourself is crucial, as well as knowing how to prevent a situation from happening.

Would you know what to do to stay safe? Would you know how to survive an attacker?

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

10 Ways To Repurpose A Lawn Mower Engine

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Have you ever noticed that the body of your lawnmower wears out long before the engine? If so, then you may even have a few extra engines laying around, but have no idea what to do with them.

There are several ways to reuse a lawn mower engine to meet a range of off gridding and survival goals. Whether you use an engine that was sitting in your garage for years on end, or you happen to find one abandoned by someone that saw no use for it, there is a chance you can use it for any of the following purposes.

Here’s how!

Build a Generator

From surviving the aftermath of a hurricane to trying to cut back on your electric bill, you would be amazed at how much electricity you can get from a lawn mower engine.

Depending on the horsepower of the engine, you could power household lights, and perhaps a few smaller, low drain appliances. For example, if you have RV or other 12 volt appliances on hand, you should be able to run them with ease.

Unless you convert the lawn mower engine to run on some other fuel, you will need gasoline. Fortunately, you will need far less than what you would need if you were running a conventional generator.

Even if you do not get as much power from the lawn mower engine, it will still get you through though times as long as you pair it with energy conserving appliances.

This smart device will help you slash an excess of 70% off your power bill overnight…

Power Transport Vehicles

Let’s say an EMP blast has wiped out most computers, and most cars and other vehicles that rely on computer are unable to run. If you have a lawn mower engine that doesn’t have any computerized or electronic parts, you can use it to power smaller vehicles.

Here are just a few options you may want to consider:

  • Bicycles – the lightweight frames and large wheels make it possible for even a small lawnmower engine to power the bike at a fairly good speed. For the sake of balance, you may want to add training wheels on the back wheel of the bike. Don’t forget to make sure that you can still use the brakes and turn the bike easily while the engine is running. You can also power tricycles using a lawnmower engine.
  • Motor bikes – even though motor bikes and scooters may not move as fast, they will still get you from one place to another.
  • ATVs, Go Carts, and Other Small Vehicles – You can power just about any light weight vehicle suitable for carrying one person with a lawn mower engine. This includes designing your own vehicles that will incorporate elements that you feel will be most important during a major crisis. This may even include a small side cart where you can put supplies, larger tires, or even tracks for navigating off road and in rough terrain. You may also want to include other design elements that will help you navigate in the snow or ice if you will be traveling in areas where these forms of precipitation will lead to problems. Just remember not to exceed the weight bearing capacity of the engine you are using to power the vehicle.

Power a Wheelchair

Even outside of a crisis situation, many people that need wheelchairs cannot afford motorized versions.

While these people may be able to get around a small room using a manual wheelchair, the lack of a motorized transport device makes it impossible for them to go the park or enjoy other activities in places where a motorized wheelchair may not be available.

In order to use a lawn mower engine to power a wheelchair, you would need to start off by building a suitable frame. Depending on the person, you can build a recumbent design, or something that looks more like a conventional motor driven wheelchair.

Regardless of the design you choose, a motorized wheelchair driven by a lawn mower engine is not suitable for use indoors or other areas with poor ventilation. As with any other gasoline driven engine, a running lawn mower engine still gives off carbon monoxide and other toxic gasses.

Build a Power Wheelbarrow

More than a few people interested in gardening these days live on very small pieces of land, or have medical conditions that make it very hard to tend a conventional garden. If you have a small deck or porch, a power wheelbarrow can be of immense benefit in setting up a container garden.

Among other things, you can fill it up with soil or compost and bring it to the site where you intend to plant. As long as the wheelbarrow has suitable wheels, it will be able to travel from one area to another with relative ease.

Video first seen on Roy Rickstrew.

When powering wheelbarrow with a lawnmower engine, it will more than likely have to run on at least three wheels. If you include longer handles for leverage, keep the single wheel in the front. This will enable you to use the wheelbarrow as a manual design as well as a motorized one.

If you plan on bringing soil and compost indoors to grow plants in a single room, it will still be best to have the lawn mower engine turned off.

During the process of building a power wheelbarrow, you’ll still need some way to steer the device even though you will not be sitting in it.

Your best option is likely to be an Arduino controller that has a remote controller on it. For the most part, once you know how to use Arduino to control a remote control car model, you can adapt the same methods for controlling a power wheelbarrow.

Power an Air Compressor

If you have ever worked with hand tools, then you were sure to be amazed at the ease and convenience associated with power tools. While you may need to go back to hand saws and other simple devices in a time of need, chances are you still love jig saws, circular saws, drills, and rotary tools.

As wonderful as these tools may be, many people that have used compressed air tools tend to think of conventional power tools as nice, but primitive. If you are serious about repairing cars or working materials that require a lot of force to manage, you are likely to want to use compressed air tools.

One of the most disappointing things is an air compressor connected to a tiny tank that won’t give you compressed air or time to get much of anything done. The most useful air compressors with big tanks or the capacity to deliver air without going to a tank can be expensive and bulky, so it makes sense to make an air compressor from an old lawn mower engine.

As with generating electricity, you will find that just about anything that spins can be combined with other parts and materials to compress air.

 

This smart device will help you slash an excess of 70% off your power bill overnight…

 

Power a Small Boat

As you look at the scenes of devastation in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, it becomes clear that transport over land may not be the only cause for concern during a crisis.

Small conventional boats can be powered by lawn mower engines. It will will take some extra fitting to ensure the lawn mower engine doesn’t get wet, however it is well worth the effort, especially if you have to travel a significant distance in order to get to some kind of safety. The boat will have to be fairly small for this to work, and consider keeping it at home in a garage or some other area where you can get to it easily if needed.

Aside from conventional boats, consider adapting a lawnmower engine to run an air boat. If you take a careful look, in particular, at the pictures from Texas, you will find these boats are very important and useful when there is a lot of flooding combined with the potential for excessive amounts of underwater debris.

As with navigating through swamps or marshes, an airboat may be a much better choice if you are in a city or other suburban area and need to get out through flooded streets.

Build a Rotary Tool

Even though most people use hand held rotary tools without a stand, it is also possible to use them while suspended to a platform. Since a lawnmower engine can deliver plenty of power to spin a central shaft, it can be used to take the place of many different kinds of rotary tools. This includes:

  • Drill presses, screwdrivers, and power drills. Even though you cannot simply lift the lawn mower engine by hand for the smaller hand drilling devices, you can still use an extension that will deliver the spinning motion to a tool that you hold in your hand. For example, Dremel, Foredom, and other rotary tool manufacturers all make flexible shafts that fit onto the main rotary appliance while it it is mounted on a platform.
  • Polishers – you can use rotary tools to polish everything from metal and stone to wood. You will still need the proper grits and pastes to create smooth, even polishing effects.
  • Stone or Metal cutting and embossing – if you are interested in creating stone or metal art, it always helps to have a rotary device that can cut through these materials. In addition, you can also adapt rotary tools to polish and sharpen knives or other metal equipment that you buy or make yourself.

Depending on how you line up the equipment extending from the shaft, you may also be able to make a very crude wood and metal working lathe. Just be aware of the fact that the platform for this kind of application can be very tedious to design and will need to withstand a good bit of vibration without moving. You will also need proper tools for forming the items being spun by the lathe.

Power for Water Irrigation and Transport

If you own a homestead, you may have ponds or streams on the land that can be used for irrigation. If you have to get the water to move uphill or around complex land features, you’ll need pumps or other devices to ensure adequate water movement.

Combine a lawnmower engine with an Archimedes Screw or other devices in order transport water during times when the flow is too slow for your needs. This may also include pumping water up from shallow wells or other underground resources.

Even though it is true that there is no place for water to go during a major flood scenario, there are just as many other times when you can direct the water away from your home and property and have a reasonable expectation that it won’t just come right back. Therefore, converting a lawn mower engine to be used as a sump pump or other water draining device also makes a good bit of sense.

Many people going off grid often find themselves wondering how they can capture rainwater and deliver it inside their homes as efficiently as possible. If you need a low budget option, try using a lawn mower engine converted for pumping water so that you can move water from the rain trap through pipes to a tank inside your home.

Depending on where the tank’s lowest point is in relation to the other pipes, you can still get a reasonable amount of water pressure for household needs, or you may still need to add extra smaller sized water pumps around the house.

Power Heavy Lifting and Towing Equipment

As a budget conscious prepper, you might think that you will only have simple devices such as rope hoists and levers to move heavy equipment around.

On the other side of the equation, the spinning shaft of a lawn mower can be used to power hoists and pulley systems. Just convert the motion of the lawn mower shaft so that it wraps the rope around a reel, then you’ll have to work out a method to release the rope once the weight is removed from it.

Unless you feel like creating some type of transmission, it will be very difficult to create a “reverse” motion with the lawnmower engine.

You may be surprised at the number of times you will need to haul something big and heavy from one place to another. For example, if you are clearing trees or need to move bulky logs, you could create a cart and then attach a pulley system to it.

From there, you can attach the lawn mower engine to the cart, and then use the pulley system to drag the object from one place to another. As with any other moving device, you must also be able to stop the cart from moving forward, and you must also be able to lock the wheels in place for stationary use.

Learn the Fundamentals of Engine Cleaning and Repair

Today, more than a few people are interested in retrofitting cars or putting older ones back on the road. But as these vehicles become scarcer, you may be forced to try and refurbish a vehicle that has serious engine problems.

A lawn mower engine has the same kind of piston and cylinder system as a conventional gas engine, so you can take it apart and learn the basics on a much smaller device. As you go through this process, learn and practice good disassembly and assembly practices as well as learn how to clean and evaluate parts.

You won’t be spending thousands of dollars on a vehicle, and then find out that you do not have the skills necessary to rebuild the engine. While there will still be a learning curve in transiting from lawn mower engines to old style automobile gasoline engines, it will not be as steep or complicated.

Over the years, many people have thrown out perfectly good lawn mower engines because they saw no other use for them. But lawn mower engines are small, durable, and reliable. With just a little bit of adaption, they can be used to meet a range of homesteading and survival needs.

No matter whether you start adapting lawn mower engines to other uses as a matter of hobby or necessity, you are sure to learn a lot, and enjoy a lower budget useful task at the same time.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Retirement Prepping: How Illness Can Ruin Your Plans

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Pretty much everyone looks forward to retirement. Finally getting away from the daily grind; being able to do what you want to; and not having a boss who is breathing down your back all the time are only a few of the attractions of finally getting to retire.

Some people have big plans for their retirement; while others are merely looking to settle down and watch the grass grow.

Regardless of your retirement plans, it can be an exciting time of your life. For many, this is the chance to do things they couldn’t do when their kids were growing up. For others, their jobs got in the way. But regardless of what your ultimate plans are, you want to be able to make the most of those years, not to spend them worrying about money.

But sadly, reality is often much different than our dreams. As we age, our bodies suffer. Some of this is self-induced, by not taking care of ourselves when we are younger; but the vast majority happens to us for no rhyme or reason, just because we are getting older.

Way too many people have their retirement plans destroyed by illnesses of one sort or another.

It’s bad enough having to put up with that illness, but what makes it worse, is having your life’s savings destroyed by the medical industry mugging you every time you need something. Today’s medical costs are outrageous, structured for insurance and Medicare to cover; so they can move you to the poorhouse, if you’re not ready for them.

Here are some ways that you can save on your own medical costs, reducing the “sticker shock” of going to the doctor or hospital.

Get in Shape

Many of the medical conditions that people suffer from in their latter years are self-inflicted. Specifically, they’re inflicted on us by our diets.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar are directly related to poor diet and exercise. Our ancestors didn’t suffer from these problems as much as we do, mostly because they were more active. Their work required them to move around physically, rather than sitting in front of a computer all day.

I’m currently on a diet, in which I have lost 50 pounds. I still have another 50 to go, so that I can reach my target weight. If I actually reach it, I will be down to the same weight that I had at 40. That will put less strain on my legs, less strain on my back and less strain on my heart. I’m also hoping it will help to bring down my cholesterol and blood sugar, eliminating those problem areas.

Of course, the other part of this is exercise. A good exercise regime doesn’t mean that you have to become a body builder. Rather, it means that you have something you do, which raises your heart rate and helps you burn off calories. At the same time, it will help you to improve your muscle tone, which will help reduce stress on joints and ligaments.

Go Natural

I have to confess that I’ve never been a big believer in eating healthy. That is, until my doctor told me that I had high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol. That changed my thinking a bit. My choices were to change my diet or end up in a lot of problems. I chose to change my diet.

Sadly, few people follow in that example. They are unwilling to give up something they like, just to have good health. When they do that though, they’re saying that they’ll accept the bad health.

I didn’t want that. I have things I want to do with the rest of my life, and I can’t do them if I’m stuck in a wheelchair or can’t walk around without a walker to help me.

Boil this plant to get the most powerful painkiller! It literally grows everywhere!

When I say “go natural,” I’m not really talking about becoming a health food nut. What I’m talking about is cutting down on processed foods and eating the things that don’t have as many chemicals in them.

In other words, when you go into the grocery store, do your shopping around the fringe, not in the aisles.

Natural Means Medicine Too

But there’s another side of this too; that’s medicine. Most new medicines are horribly expensive, especially medicines for treating cancer. The American pharmaceutical industry is dumping billions into research and passing those bills on to their customers. So if you have anything seriously wrong with you, the cost of the medications is enormous.

We need to keep in mind that the goal of the pharmaceutical industry isn’t to cure people of what ails them, but to get their money. So they’d rather develop drugs that keep you alive, controlling whatever medical condition you have, than make you well, eliminating the problem.

On the other hand, there’s natural medicine, sometimes referred to as herbal medicine. Now, I know there are a lot of quacks in the herbal medicine realm, but there is also a lot of truth.

I have had friends who have been cured of cancer with herbal treatments. If the right sorts of foods and herbs can cure cancer, which medical science still doesn’t have a cure for, then I’m willing to try it.

Besides, all of the medicines that pharmaceutical laboratories produce originally come from nature. The scientists working for those companies look for chemicals in nature, which can treat various illnesses.

Then they develop a way of producing something that’s just about the same, which will provide them with the same results, but created artificially. They do this, because you can’t patent something that you get from nature. So to protect their discovery, it has to be artificial.

Of course, many of those artificial solutions have other problems associated with them as well. We call them “side-effects,” some of which can be quite serious. Using natural solutions usually eliminates those, providing a much better solution.

Don’t Accept Everything the Doctors Say

Most of us accept whatever the doctor says, almost without question. In doing so, we become lab rats for whatever sorts of experiments they want to conduct on us. Not only that, but we pay them to use us like lab rats. Doesn’t sound like a very good deal to me.

A moment ago I mentioned friends who have been cured of cancer. I’ve also had friends and family members who have died from it. While I don’t want to start any conspiracy theories here, every one of those who died of cancer followed the advice of their doctor, rather than trying a more natural means of dealing with their illness.

I don’t know about you, but on general principles I don’t like the idea of feeding someone poisons, just to kill cancer. But that’s exactly what chemotherapy is. The idea is that the poisons will kill the cancer faster than it will kill them.

Then there’s radiation therapy. Once again, the idea is to kill cells. By targeting the cancer with the radiation, they try to limit the number of other cells that are killed. But gamma rays kill every cell they pass through; so once again, it’s an attempt to kill the cancer, faster than killing the patient.

My father-in-law ended up dying of lung cancer. But they didn’t discover it until it was stage four. By then, it was too late for the doctors to do much of anything. From the time they discovered the cancer, till the time he died, was about six months.

My sister-in-law struggled with that. She lived close to them and was the one who tried to take care of them. So in her mind, she had failed her father, not forcing him to go to the doctor and get checked for cancer. But in reality what she did was to give him two years of peace, in which he was able to enjoy his life, rather than put up with the pain and rigors of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Make your own decisions; don’t let the doctor make them for you.

This may sound cruel, but if you’re going to die anyway, why make your last year or two be years of suffering? Isn’t it better to be able to enjoy them?

Give Your Assets Away

You’ve paid for Medicare all your life, right? So it’s reasonable to expect that Medicare will pay for your expenses once you retire. That’s true… at least to a point.

The problem is, Medicare, like other “entitlement programs” is deeply interested in your bank balance. If you have too much, you either have to pay your medical bills yourself or pay back the government for paying for your medical bills.

What this means is that anyone who has done what financial planners say and has their million dollars in the bank to retire on, suddenly finds themselves saddled with their own medical costs, at a time in their life when those costs are the highest they have ever been.

I’ve seen a number of people whose medical bills ate up their entire life’s savings, even the value of their home. After pinching and scraping to make it through life and maybe leave a little to their kids, the doctors and the hospitals get it all.

There’s a simple solution to this problem though, assuming you trust your kids. That is, give them everything now, before you run up those high medical bills. Sign the house over to them, empty your savings account and sell your stocks. Then, live off of Social Security and whatever “gifts” your children give you out of that money.

In other words, have them give you a regular stipend so you can pay your bills, but keep your bank account empty.

Medical Tourism

One of the best things you can do to reduce medical costs is go somewhere else. That sounds overly simplistic, but it works. There are many cases where you can get your medical needs met for a whole lot less than what you’d have to pay here in the USA.

Granted this won’t work for emergency medical treatments. Those don’t give you the opportunity to make travel arrangements to go overseas somewhere. But for things that can be scheduled, like getting a root canal and crown on a tooth, you can save enough money going to some places overseas, to cover the cost of the trip.

I live just a few miles from Mexico and go there for pretty much all my medical needs. We even have a private hospital we go to, for times when we need more than just a trip to the doctor’s office. There are actually a lot of doctors, dentists and pharmacies in the border towns, which are there to cater to the medical needs of Americans.

The average root canal costs $700 for a front tooth and $900 for a molar in the United States. Crowns cost anywhere from $875 to as much as $3,000 per tooth. In comparison, both crowns and root canals cost $200 each in the Mexican border towns near me; and they’re just as good as American ones.

Medicines are much cheaper too. I know a fair number of retired people who come down here once a year, just to buy their medicines. While it’s much harder to give a price comparison for medicines, what I’ve seen ranges from 25% of the American price, all the way down to 10%.

The problem is with newer medicines, which may not be available in Mexico. But any standard medication is much cheaper.

You can also order medications online from Canadian pharmaceutical houses. While the prices aren’t as low as they are in Mexico, they are still considerably lower than they are here in the USA.

So, whether you travel to another country or simply use the internet to find what you need, you can save a small fortune in medical costs, simply by looking outside of our borders.

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Nuclear Prepping On Fast Forward: 10 Cheap & Easy To-Dos

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North Korea doesn’t have the power to wipe out the United States. They can take a lot of lives and make us uncomfortable, but they won’t be able to destroy us.

Our nation still faces a nuclear crisis; and it may come right from our own nuclear power plants.

No matter what nation you look at these days, there are hackers that can turn our power plants against us. This is an imminent threat that can disburse lethal radiation to just about every corner of our nation.

If you have been putting off nuclear prepping because it seems useless or expensive, then you may be wondering if there is something you can do right away. Keep reading to find out!

Here are 10 things you can do in just a few minutes to 48 hours to secure your survival in the outer bands of a nuclear crisis zone from the time the event occurs to 5 days past the main event.

Know Where the Nuclear Shelters are in Your Area

One of the first things you should do is find out where the local blast shelters and fallout shelters are located. You can try doing a web search for this information in relation to your local area, and also ask at your town or city clerk’s office.

Since the United States has become remarkably lax in this area, you may not get any viable answers.

 

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If you find that you cannot get the address and information on a viable nuclear shelter, then start looking around for places that might make a viable shelter in time of need. Old brick churches, schools, or other sturdy buildings with solid basements might be of some use.

Do not overlook underground parking garages or other places where you can put a lot of heavy material between you and the radiation. If you find a viable place, but no plans have been made to store water, food, and other supplies, now might be a good time to approach the owner and get some volunteer efforts going in that direction.

Given the current state of the news, you may find people are more amenable to these ideas than they would have been even a year ago.

Have a Plan for Getting Underground and Test It

It is often said that most people living in a city will be doomed if a nuclear bomb is detonated. On the other hand, if the city buildings survive, there is every chance the lower and underground levels of the buildings may be suitable for a fallout shelter.

Therefore, if you live in a city, locate at least five buildings with basements that you can get into quickly in a time of need. Try to space out the buildings so that you can get to them in under five minutes on foot.

If you have to approach a building owner or superintendent to make these arrangements, do not forget to add extra supplies. Unfortunately, people can become very untrustworthy in a time of need, however you may still find others that will honor their agreements.

No matter whether you live in a rural area or a location in the city where you can dig into the ground, build a small fallout shelter that you can reach in a matter of minutes. There are several resources online that you can use for starter plans to build everything from a foxhole design to larger ones.

When building your shelter, you must make sure you have at least 3 feet (6 – 7 feet is better if you can manage it) of well packed soil around you and above you. Just remember to make sure there is also enough room in the shelter to store at least 5 days of water, food, and anything you may decide to take along to another area.

If you are looking to build the shelter in less than 24 hours, you can also add a vent shaft, however the air will need to be pulled in through a MIRV 16 filter or better in order to remove as much radioactive dust as possible.

Be Able to Calculate When and Where to Go

As soon as you find out there is a nuclear blast and that you are in the radiation zone, get underground or put as much material between you and the blast site as possible. When you find the safest possible shelter, you’ll need to stay there for about 5 days.

When it comes to short term, fast prepping for a nuclear disaster, you will find the time after this much more challenging. Even though the most immediate threats from heavy doses of radiation will be over, you must still contend with all the contaminated things in your area. This includes food, water, tools, and anything else that would normally be of use in time of need.

Insofar as where to go after emerging from your blast/fallout shelter, it will depend largely on where the blast occurred and what else is going on in surrounding areas.

If you are dealing with a single nuclear power plant, you must know where the radioactive fallout is most likely to be carried by wind and water currents. Heading away from the projected fallout zone will be your best bet.

Make sure you know where all the nuclear power plants are within a 500 mile radius of locality. Some college campuses also have nuclear reactors for research purposes, so make sure that you know where those are in case they also get hacked.

Listen to the radio and find out what other areas are contaminated so that you have a better chance of picking a safe area. Take geographic features such as mountains and fresh water resources into consideration when deciding where you will go.

At the current time, relatively few analysts think that North Korea has a vehicle capable of reaching the eastern areas of the United States. Most also think North Korea has not yet developed a MERV device, so it is likely you will be dealing with a single detonation as opposed to a localized pattern.

On the other hand, a strike far enough into the west coast can still bring a lot of radiation to the eastern areas in a matter of a day or two. It is important to know how to get to the mountains or other areas where air and water currents from the west will be mainly blocked out.

Prepare for Radiation Sickness

You can start preparing for radiation sickness by having potassium iodide tablets on hand. Even though you will not need them until a nuclear event happens, it is still important to have them on hand. If you live close enough to a nuclear power plant, they may give them out for free if you ask for them.

There are also some vitamins (E and C) that can help reduce the effects of nuclear radiation, however they are best taken beforehand. Do not take more than the recommended amounts of these vitamins as some can be poisonous if you take too much.

See our articles on foods and vitamins for prepping to see what you need to be consuming right now, as well as which foods are best to store. Fortunately, the most useful vitamins for nuclear prepping can be found in a good quality multi-vitamin.

Just make sure that you include a new bottle in your food cache so that you have an uncontaminated supply at your shelter location.

Overall, treatment for radiation sickness will entail managing symptoms such as nausea, vomit, cough, and bleeding. To keep things as simple as possible, buy extra of any OTC medications you use for the most common symptoms and keep them in your shelter area. This includes any herbal remedies that you may already have experience with.

There are also some medications you can use to remove radiation from your body if you become exposed to it. The cheapest and easiest to obtain will be activated carbon capsules and zeolite capsules. When using zeolites, bear in mind, however, that it can be carcinogenic. Try not to use zeolites for a prolonged period of time.

Build a Radiation Detector

The fastest and cheapest way to build a radiation detector is to follow the designs for a Kearny Fallout Meter.

Try to build at least three or four of them, and place them in different areas. Once you know how to read the meters, it will be easier to determine when radiation levels are elevated in your area.

If you have some extra money, you can also buy a device that will attach to your cell phone that will act like a Geiger counter.

Secure a 5 Day Food Supply

One of the most important things you can do is store away at least five days worth of food. Stick to canned, dried, or powdered foods that do not require heating.

At least half of your food choices should be items that will shield your body from radiation or remove it from your body. It may also help to store away a few MREs for more balance. Sadly, I would not necessarily recommend putting food in a bug out bag, as it will get contaminated by radiation while you are moving to a place of safety.

Store your foods in your fallout shelter, and the remainder under at least 6 feet of dirt, and then retrieve when it is safe to do so.

Water Cleaning During a Nuclear Disaster

The cheapest way to remove nuclear radiation from water is to use uncontaminated dirt. Zeolites and activated carbon will also remove some radiation. Later on, when you emerge from your shelter, the best thing you can do is distill the water.

Even though this will not remove tritium, it will still get rid of all the other nuclear contaminants. It is also very important to have a 5 day supply of bottled water in your fallout shelter.

The plastic bottles will shield the water from the radiation. Be sure to wipe all dust off the bottles so that you do no contaminate the water with any fallout that may have gotten into the shelter.

Secure Decontamination and Hygiene Essentials

With the exception of Gamma radiation, almost all other radiation will be trapped by your clothes. Therefore, it is very important to have a change of clothes in your shelter.

The most effective decontamination is a long shower and scrubbing with lye soap. Since it is not likely you will be able to create an underground piping system for this purpose in a day, your best bet will be to make sure as much of your skin and hair as possible remain covered with white fabric.

Include a bandanna or scarf (preferably sari cloth as it can also double as a water filter) that you can quickly and easily slip over your nose and mouth to block out as much dust as possible. Even weaker Alpha and Beta radiation particles can wreak havoc if they get into your body via your mouth or nose.

Insofar as hygiene, store away wet wipes and other aides for keeping yourself as clean as possible without using water.It will also be useful to store away bags that can be used for urine and stool as you will not want them building up in the shelter. These can be pushed into an adjoining tunnel from your living area, and then sealed off with dirt or a door.

As much as you may be tempted to find a way to put these bags above ground, I do not recommend it. They can leave you open to detection by people above ground. You will also be exposed to radiation each time you emerge from the earth.

Be Ready to Defend Yourself

If you have a gun and ammo, you will be ahead of the game. That being said, it is also important to store away knives and anything else you can use as a weapon. Try to practice basic self defense moves now and do what you can to brush up on your situation awareness skills. Even 15 minutes of practice each day can be of benefit.

Depending on where you live and the severity of the blast in your area, it is possible that people will be roving around while you are still underground. These people are likely to be looking for food, medicine, and water. Even if they are suffering from radiation sickness and have just a few days to live, do not be surprised if they try to get into your shelter to steal from you.

Do what you can to disguise your shelter so that no one can find it once you enter it. If you have neighbors, it will be best to dig and work on your shelter during night hours or other times when no one knows what you are doing.

Communications and Gathering Information

Other than medical devices, your phone and radios are the most common electronic survival tools that will be damaged by an EMP.

Be sure to put an unlocked smart phone, a mobile SIM (Freedom Pop gives you free minutes and time every month), and backup computer files in an EMP proof bag, and store them in your shelter.

Even if cell service and internet go down, you can still use the phone for accessing digital files. Most web pages can be easily saved as PDF files, and it is also possible to download many useful YouTube videos for viewing offline. Build your library now of information that you may need while you are in the shelter, and once you emerge.

It is also important to store away a radio that gets AM and FM bands. If the radio is based on transistors or IC circuits, it should also go in an EMP proof bag. Include a solar battery charger and sufficient rechargeable (and fully charged) batteries to last 5 days for all your devices.

You may not be able to use the solar charger during the first five days of a nuclear crisis, but you can use it once you emerge from your shelter. Since crank radios can be quite expensive, you may be better served by storing away simple materials that you can use to build a foxhole radio and a simple transmitter.

Right now there are several things you can integrate into your daily life to prepare for a nuclear emergency. There are also some cheap, fast things you can do in a weekend that will put you well ahead of anyone else that makes no effort at all this direction.

While these suggestions will not take you much past five days, they are an important start that will give you an advantage that can still be wielded once you emerge from your shelter.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/natural-remedies-for-radiation-exposure/

http://www.oism.org/nwss/s73p919.htm 

Planning To Retire Off-grid? Here’s Where To Relocate

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One of the big challenges for retiring today is being able to afford retirement. Many of us are in the difficult position of not having company retirement benefits to fall back on. What that means is that all we have to retire on is our Social Security benefits. That’s not all that much.

Having money in savings doesn’t help all that much either. It used to be that if you have a million dollars in the bank, you had it made for retirement. Your million would net you $50,000 per year at 5% interest; but with today’s interest rates, you need five times as much in savings, to net the same amount of income. That’s more than most of us make in our entire life.

So, how are you going to survive?

There are two basic ways that people try to deal with this situation; either downsizing to reduce costs or trying to find a retirement business which can augment their retirement income. Both of those possibilities are workable, although neither is easy.

There is another option; that of going off-grid somewhere and becoming self-sufficient. If you’re not sure what I mean by that, it refers to a self-sufficient lifestyle, where you are not dependent on public utilities, but rather have an autonomous home, generating your own electricity and pumping your own water. For some people, it even includes growing their own food.

Not everyone views living off-grid the same way.

For some, producing your own electricity means that you would have to produce as much electricity as you use now, powering air conditioners, computers and massive entertainment centers.

But for others, living off-grid means changing their lifestyle, simplifying it to the point where they don’t need to produce as much electricity as what most of us currently produce. Financially, at least, this option is much easier.

 

This smart device will help you slash an excess of 70% off your power bill overnight…

 

Living in such a way is extremely cheap, especially if you own the property you’re living on. While this would require a total change of lifestyle, retirement is a massive change anyway. Living off-grid would even give you something to do, tending your garden and feeding your chickens.

If you own a home now or have any savings, this is a real possibility. Selling your home would provide you with funds to buy property for an off-grid home and hopefully even to build the home. Whatever retirement savings you might have could be used for that as well, investing those funds in making it possible to retire in a comfortable, albeit different, way.

Basic Off-Grid Requirements

So, where are the best places to go, if you want to retire off-grid? That seems to be the question. Let’s lay out a few requirements for such a place, then we can discuss some likely locations.

  • It needs to be a remote enough area that you can buy a few acres at a reasonable price.
  • While being remote, it still needs to be accessible.
  • It needs to be close enough to a population center to allow the easy purchase of supplies.
  • It needs to have ample natural resources, especially water (which may require drilling a well).
  • It needs to be someplace where the law allows living off-grid (some states do not allow this).
  • It needs to be an area with a low cost of living.

Weather would probably be a factor as well for most people. Living in a hot climate, without air conditioning, may be fine for some, but others would really struggle with the heat. Likewise, living in a cold climate and heating with wood could cause serious problems for others. Ultimately, you have to find what works for you, not what works for someone else.

Weather can also affect your ability to produce your own electrical power. If you were to live in Washington State, you might have trouble with solar panels, as the constant rain would reduce the available sunlight. For that, you’d be better off in the Southwest, where it is dryer and there’s lots of sunlight.

Of course, there’s always a lot of tradeoffs when looking at different places. That location in the Southwest might give you ample sunlight, but it will also be a whole lot hotter. So, you’ll probably need more sunlight, so that your solar panels could produce enough electricity for your air conditioner.

Domestic Retirement Destinations

Most people will want to retire somewhere in the Continental United States, so that they can be close to family and friends. While this isn’t as cheap as living overseas, let’s face it, making a move that keeps you within the country is considerably easier than going outside the country.

Cumberland Mountains

The Beverly Hillbillies probably made one of the most expensive moves in history, moving from the Cumberland Mountains to Hollywood, California. Personally, I think that old Jed Clampett would have been better off building himself a nice house back home in Tennessee, but then, he wouldn’t have had his own television show if he had done that.

The Cumberland Mountains straddle Kentucky, Tennessee, and a bit of the western part of North Carolina and the Virginias. It’s beautiful mountain country, which really isn’t all that densely populated. That makes for rather low cost of living, as well as not a whole lot of government officials breathing down your neck about regulations.

But the real trick is to get yourself up in the backwoods, where nobody will be looking for you.

While I would personally prefer living in the Rocky Mountains myself, living in the Cumberlands would prove to be a whole lot cheaper. Land in the Rocky Mountains is high, pretty much anywhere you go.

Ozarks

Like the Cumberland Mountains, there are a lot of backwoods areas in the Ozarks, which includes the northern parts of Arkansas and the southern part of Missouri. There’s some beautiful hill country there, even though it really isn’t mountainous. People tend to be friendly and the cost of living is rather low.

One nice thing about this area is that the climate is rather temperate. You’ll have four full seasons, without winter coming so early that you can’t get a crop harvested from your vegetable garden. At the same time, you won’t have the really hot summers that are common in the Deep South.

The Northwest

I’m not sure that calling it the Northwest is the right term, but the area of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas is one of the more sparsely populated parts of the country. As such, it’s a great place to go if you’re looking for a lot of wide open country. In fact, the state of Montana is nicknamed “Big Sky Country.”

These are fairly strong conservative states, so there’s not going to be as much government meddling in your life as there would be in the coastal areas.

That makes it much easier to establish an off-grid lifestyle, without having a bunch of bureaucrats telling you what’s wrong with that. It’s also great country for hunting, allowing you to augment your larder, without spending a fortune at the butcher shop.

Rio Grande Valley

The southern tip of Texas is known as the “Rio Grande Valley;” three lies for the price of one. That term was coined by real-estate developers who were trying to talk settlers from the east into buying farmland there. Invoking the image of a wide, green valley might have sold land, but it wasn’t very honest.

The problem with the Rio Grande Valley is that it’s hot and dry. If you like that, then it’s a great place for you. But I’ll warn you, hot there is really hot. They say that people who live there won’t have to go to hell, because they’ve already experienced the heat.

On the flip side of the coin, the Rio Grande Valley is one of the cheapest places there is in the country to live, with one of the lowest costs of living. Maybe that’s why it’s such a popular retirement destination, with mobile home parks all over the place, dedicated to retired people.

Land is also relatively cheap, allowing you to buy a couple of acres outside of town much lower than you can in many other parts of the country.

The hot temperature does provide one great advantage for those who live there; you can grow crops pretty much year round. So, if you’re planning on growing a lot of your own food as part of your off-grid strategy, the Rio Grande Valley is the destination for you.

Buy an Island

Ok, this one probably isn’t practical for most people, just because of the high price tag, but I like the idea anyway. That is, buy yourself a private island. Yes, there are islands for sale, mostly in the Northeast and Northwest.

While island living isn’t cheap, it’s a great way to get away from it all; and who is going to complain about you living off-grid, when there’s no easy way to get electricity and city water to you?

Islands, by their very nature, are easy to secure. So you probably wouldn’t have much of a problem with the neighborhood kids stealing your hubcaps. For that matter, you might not have any hubcaps anyway; more like a boat. Any car you owned would probably have to be stored on the mainland and would only be used for shopping trips.

Foreign Retirement Destinations

For those who are a little more adventurous, moving outside the United States can provide you with one major advantage, it’s cheap. As long as you stay out of Europe and places like Singapore, the cost of living in much of the world is much cheaper than it is here at home.

Nor is living off-grid considered to be strange. In fact, there are many millions of people in third-world and emerging countries who live off-grid, simply because they don’t have the option of living on-grid.

You can forget about the idea of laws that prevent you from living off-grid; even if you have electricity and water available, nobody is going to think anything of you, if you choose not to use them.

Mexico

Our immediate neighbor to the south is probably the easiest destination to move to. The cost of living in Mexico is considerably less than the United States, even though some things are pretty much the same. That is, the cost is low if you stay out of the tourist destinations.

I live close to Mexico, and I’ve found that Mexican doctors and dentists are excellent, as well as being cheap by our standards. Mexican pharmaceuticals are much cheaper too. In fact, some retired Americans come to the border yearly, just to buy their medications.

There are a couple of potential problems with moving to Mexico though. First off, you really need to speak Spanish, at least enough to carry on a conversation. While there are some people in Mexico who speak English, you really can’t count on finding one when you need them.

Secondly, Mexican law doesn’t allow foreigners to buy property within 25 miles of the borders or large bodies of water. There is a way around this though, simply have a lawyer set up a trust and have the trust buy the land.

Belize

Speaking of Latin America, there’s an even better destination to think about than Mexico, that’s Belize. This small country, located just at the southern tip of Mexico, has a low population and not much else. But English is the predominant language there, making it much easier to move to Belize than to move to Mexico.

In fact, there are enough Americans moving to Belize to retire, that there are real estate companies which specialize in servicing them. But I’d avoid them if I were you, they make their money by selling Americans property for about three times what they pay. You’re much better off buying privately.

Bahamas and Caribbean Islands

While most of us think of the Bahamas and Caribbean Islands as nothing more than vacation destinations, someplace to go on a cruise, they’re actually wonderful retirement locations.

There are a number of the islands which are extremely cheap to live on, if you get away from the tourist traps, and most of the governments will be glad to leave you alone, thankful for the American Dollars you bring into their economy.

These islands also offer you the opportunity to establish a retirement business, serving other Americans who go there on vacation. If you really want to go off-grid, just buy yourself a sailboat and make the islands your home.

There are a lot of options to choose from! Whatever you do after retirement, plan it wisely and prepare for the worst!

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Rappelling: A Guide To Basic Equipment And Knots

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When it comes to learning new survival skills, there are several things that many think of as sporting or hobby techniques as opposed to something that can save your life in a crisis.

For example, many think of rappelling as a hobby for people interested in the outdoors or mountain climbing instead of something that may be needed to escape an inner city skyscraper or some other area where great heights are involved.

Keep reading and you’ll see what you’re missing!

Before you begin learning how to rappel, it’s important to get good quality gear and know how to tie the basic knots used in this activity.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

Remember, no matter where you are rappelling down from, you will be relying solely on your equipment and proper technique. If the equipment or your knots fail, the odds are you will die.

Mandatory Equipment You Need for Rappelling

Gloves

Having and wearing good quality leather climbing gloves is a good idea when rappelling. They will protect your hands from rope burns (especially if you are moving down the rope too fast) as well as from getting dirty from contact with the rope.

Ropes

Actually, this should be the first to mention. The next questions is, what kind of rope should you use? If you climbed a mountain to reach a point to rappel down from, you will more than likely use the same ropes that were used during your ascent.

Before rappelling with these ropes, check them over for signs of stretching, cuts, or other damage that occurred while climbing. I’s always helpful to keep a spare set of unused ropes that you can use for rappelling in case the first set is damaged. Use different colored ropes so that it is easier to figure out which one to pull on.

In the US the standard length of rope for rappelling is 200 feet long. If doing a long rappel two of these ropes must be used. These two ropes are joined together by one of four rappelling knots.

If you are doing a short rappel of under 100 feet, then double back the rope on itself to allow for the 100 foot rappel.

It is safer to use ropes with a 10mm to 11mm diameter. This diameter rope will give more friction when they feed through the rappelling device than smaller diameter ropes. Also, the thicker ropes are less likely to be burned or cut than the thinner ropes.

Safety note: Never tie a thick cord to a thinner one. There is a chance that the knot might work itself loose and create a situation where you will fall to your death.

Rappel anchors

For your safety, a minimum of two anchors are needed to rappel off a cliff. Some people consider three anchors a redundancy, however it never hurts to use one more just in case a problem occurs with the other two.

Anchors can be bolts, pitons, cams, trees, or tied off boulders.

Rappelling ropes

Are always threaded through metal anchor material such as screw quick links, steel descending rings, carabiner.

Never, under any circumstance, use nylon slings as an anchor. These slings can melt, break, or fail if they come into direct contact with the rope and the friction it produces as you are rappelling.

Rappelling device and locking carabiner

The choice of rappelling devices depends on the situation. To help cut down on your climbing weight, it is best to pick a rappelling device that could also be used as a belay device.

Black Diamond ATCs and Trango B-52s are excellent choices for rappelling devices.

Some climbers like to use the Figure-8 descender because it is easy to use and gives the individual a fast smooth ride down.

On the down side, the Figure-8 descender can put kinks in the rope and cause a twisted mess to uncoil that will have to be fixed before you can finish a safe rappel to the ground.

Safety note: Be sure you have a sturdy extra large auto locking carabiner to attach the rappelling device to your harness. A screw gate carabiner will work, but bear in mind it can unscrew and open under load causing serious safety issues.

Harness

Safety note: Always use a climbing harness when rappelling.

A harness forms a comfortable seat for rappelling. The harness is fitted around the waist and upper legs. It is very important that the waist belt fits tightly, has no cracks or worn spots, and has a belaying loop on the front.

If you don’t have a harness, you can make one from webbing.

Personal anchor tether

If you are going from rappel station to station or plan on multiple rappelings, you will need to immediately clip yourself into the anchors at the bottom of each rappel.

If you have already rigged a personal anchor tether on your harness, then it is possible to clip into them as soon as you reach them. Now that you are safe, you can unhitch from the rappelling device and ropes to let the next person rappel down to join you.

Important Rappelling Knots

The autoblock knot

When rappelling, safety must always be your first consideration. As a safety back up, always use an autoblock knot.

This knot is tied below the rappelling device and will prevent you from sliding all the way down the rope if you happen to let your hands go from the rope, you lose control of the speed of descent, or you need to stop traveling downward.

If you stop, this particular knot will tighten automatically and prevent you from rappelling further.

The autoblock knot works well for rappelling because you can loose it and tighten it easily as you move down the rope. It will lock and release while under a load and remain safe. This is also one of the easiest friction knots to tie and remember how to use.

Video first seen on REI.

You are always in control when using an autoblock knot. It allows you to stop and hang to do the following without endangering yourself:

  • Clear rope snags.
  • Toss a rope farther down a cliff.
  • Free twists and knots from the rope.
  • Keeps you from losing control on free or overhanging rappels where you can’t touch the rock.
  • Stops you if you get hit by falling rocks.
  • Prevent you from falling if you feel sick, or something else causes you to need to stop unexpectedly.

Safety note: If you need to stop make sure you let go of the knot. Beginners have died because they gripped the knot, which can cause it to slips and fall apart. Remember to let go and let the knot do its job and lock.

How to keep the autoblock knot from jamming

To keep the autoblock knot from jamming, make sure the cord or sling that forms the autoblock isn’t too long. If it is too long, then the knot can jam in the rappelling device when you stop.

To avoid problems make sure the sling is short enough before rappelling. If it’s too long, tie a knot in the end of the sling to shorten it, or extend the rappelling device from the harness by attaching it to a sling.

Safety note: Always get in the habit of using an autoblock knot whenever you are rappelling.

Stopper Knot

For safety sake always use a stopper knot on the ends of both rope ends to keep you from rappelling off the rappelling ropes.

Video first seen on Gearaholic.

The actual knot configuration is a matter of personal choice. An overhand or a figure eight knot will do well, and is preferred by many rappellers.

4 Important Knot Configurations

The following four knots are the most commonly used and are the best knots for tying your rappelling ropes together. All of these knots are good strong knots.

To work right, however, these knots must be tied right. Your life depends on it. Take the time to practice these knots until you can tie them in the dark, without looking at them, even if you are very tired and exhausted. The more you practice tying these knots, the better chance you will have of tying them correctly in time of need.

The knot you use to tie your rappelling ropes together is a personal choice. It is to your advantage to pick one knot and use it every time you rappel.

Whichever knot you choose, you must be very familiar with it. You must know how to tie it, untie it, and know how much tail to leave at each end to tie the backup knots.

Safety note: All of the 4 rappelling knots except the double overhand knot must have a fisherman’s knot tied on either side for safety.

1. Double overhand knot

This is the fastest and easiest knot to tie of the four rappelling knots. It has less bulk which makes it less likely to snag or get stuck on the surface you are descending.

Safety note: Warning do not use on ropes of different diameters because the knot can untie with very little tension.

2. Double figure 8 fisherman’s knot

This is the usual way to tie rappelling ropes together. It is the strongest of the four, and if tied correctly, will not come undone. It is easy to visually check, and can be used to tie ropes together of unequal diameters.

It is also fairly easy to untie when weighted. On the downside, this knot is quite bulky and can get caught in cracks or other features of the surface you are rappelling down from.

3. Square fisherman’s knot

Of the four rappelling knots this not is the easiest to tie and untie. This knot is just a square knot backed up with double fisherman’s knots on either side.

Safety note: When using this knot always use the back up knots. It is possible for this knot to come untied without them.

4. Double fisherman’s knot

This was the traditional knot to tie two different diameter size ropes together before other knots became more popular.

This knot is hard to visually check, and very hard to untie when wet or being weighted. Today it is used more to tie thinner pieces of accessory cords together.

Even though rappelling equipment isn’t especially complicated, it is still very important to choose good quality gear. When you aren’t using the ropes and other equipment, make sure that it is stored in a clean, dry place.

Do not forget to examine your ropes often and always make sure they are in good condition. No matter whether you are rappelling from a skyscraper or a mountain cliff, it will do no good if the rope has been rotting for several years before you actually need it.

As with many other aspects of prepping, maintenance of your rappelling gear is every bit as important as knowing how to use it. And remember that skills and training are much more important than any gear you might have, becausethey are making the difference between a victim and a survivor!

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

4 Ways To Solve Hydration During A Disaster

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You can go several days without food, but going without water for more than a day isn’t an option. Especially if the disaster destroyed your home or took out your power, you’ll fade fast after twenty-four hours.

Your judgement and cognitive processes will be compromised and your energy will flag. Then after a few days, your organs will shut down and you’ll die.

It’s as simple as that. If your disaster involves extremes of temperature of the need to stay on the move, your window is even shorter.

So what do you do to stay hydrated when you’re in a disaster?

Prepare in Advance!

I can tell you from personal experience (I live in Orlando, Florida) that if a major weather event is announced, people lose their minds. Many of them quite literally buy 15 or 20 cases of water that they won’t need but that makes it impossible for you to buy a single case.

Of course, after the emergency is past, they’ll return it all en mass (seriously – I’m writing this immediately post-hurricane and it’s happening as I type). But that won’t do you any good for the days that you may be out of power.

So, it all goes back to being prepared before the emergency is upon you. Most everybody drinks bottled water so keep a couple of cases around. Restock as you use it then you don’t have to worry about that dingbat that believes the sky is falling and she needs 15 cases of water and 40 cans of tuna.

Gallons of water are dirt cheap, too, and you can get more water into the same space as a case would consume.

If you don’t have enough stocked back to allot a gallon per person per day in case you lose power or something else interrupts your access to water, get it in gear. As soon as you hear the first whisper of a significant weather event, go shopping.

Please, though, buy what you need, but don’t be ridiculous about it. A gallon of drinking water per person per day is enough for hydration and minimal personal needs such as brushing your teeth or cooking a can of condensed soup.

When calculating your water needs, take extreme weather into account. If your power is out and you don’t have air conditioning – or heat – your body will need more water to stay hydrated. In the heat, you’ll sweat it out. So include at least an additional 8 ounces, and 16 are better.

If you’re going to be working hard and sweating profusely, allow an extra 36 ounces. As a baseline to determine your water needs if you’re inside and not sweating it out, divide your body weight in half and that’s the number of ounces your body needs. If you need to trim it back a little, that’s fine for a short time. But don’t cut it back by much.

You Don’t Need Bottled Water

If you don’t have the space to stockpile enough water on a regular basis, or you just got caught unprepared, then chances are good that you’ll be facing empty shelves at the store.

 

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I personally always keep a couple of cases of water around just because we go through it, but when that a hurricane is heading our way, I stockpile tap water in milk jugs.

I don’t recommend storing water in milk jugs long-term because the plastic is thin and easy to puncture, but for the short-term, they’re great. There’s nothing wrong with faucet water in the case of emergency, and it won’t cost you anything over your regular water bill.

The same thing goes for ice. Most of us are big fans of multi-purpose products, so once you fill up your jugs with water, pop them in the freezer. Then you’ll have ice and drinking water in the same container, and solid blocks of ice melt much slower than smaller cubes.

One water need that many people don’t consider is having enough to flush the toilet. After a few days in 90-degree weather, an unflushed toilet gets foul and can actually be a health hazard.

So what do you do? Fill up the bathtub before the storm! That water will even work for drinking water if need be, or can be used for personal hygiene or washing the dishes before you use it to flush the commode.

Consider Alternate Hydration Methods

It’s always the water that people rush to snatch off the shelves, but it’s not your only option for proper hydration.

It’s most certainly the best, but it’s not the only option. You can use sports drinks – not energy drinks! – to meet some of your hydration needs.

You can also use sparkling water, seltzer water, mineral water, or club soda because they’re just different forms of carbonated water.

Club soda usually has small amounts of table salt, potassium bicarbonate, or sodium bicarbonate to add a slightly salty flavor. It always surprises me when I see the water shelves cleared off but the club soda is still well-stocked.

Other comparable substitutes for part of your water needs are tea and coffee, but they’re diuretics, so don’t substitute more than a cup or two and go for.

Coconut water is also an excellent substitute – maybe even better for water for hydration. A note of warning for those of you who haven’t had coconut water: it’s an acquired taste and it doesn’t taste like coconut.

Sports drinks and club soda may be most effective following physical exertion because your body has just expelled minerals as well as water and these drinks are specifically designed to replace what you lost.

You may not consider it, but pre-made Jell-O is also hydrating but it’s also full of sugar, so tread carefully.

Adhere to Water Advisories

If you’re on city water, you probably won’t lose water, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to drink. Main lines break or flood water breeches them somewhere along the way and contaminate it so pay special attention to local official warnings to boil water.

If you’re on a well, it’s always best to assume the worst and boil your water for at least a minute before you drink it. Sanitation tablets also work, but you need to let the water sit for an hour or so in order to give the sanitizing solution time to work.

This isn’t just a matter of being cautious – it may actually mean the difference between being healthy and being sick. In another article, I discussed the dangers of post-disaster contaminated water, but to summarize, the bugs that contaminate your water often cause diarrhea or vomiting – both of which contribute to rapid dehydration.

So, your drink water to hydrate and it’s swimming with bacteria that make you lose hydration. Boil and sanitize your water if there’s any doubt whatsoever about its cleanliness.

And whatever you do, don’t drink from springs, ponds, or rivers without purifying and sanitizing it first.

Water isn’t optional regardless of your situation. If you need to ration, do so, but make sure that you’re getting at least the minimal amount to keep you going. You can skimp on food to a certain extent, but water isn’t an area where you can really do that.

Prepare in advance and follow safety precautions after a disaster!

As we all know, the best way to avoid being caught without what you need is to be prepared well in advance so that you don’t have to beat the neighbors to a limited water supply.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Q&A On Storing Meat Without Refrigeration In Hot Areas

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You work hard to stretch your grocery dollars, but there’s no way around it – meat is expensive. When you find a good deal, or if you’re preparing for an emergency, you stockpile. Also, if you’re a hunter like most of the people in my family are, you probably bring in game meat.

Regardless of how much meat you have in the freezer – a lot or a little – when emergency strikes, you don’t want it to go bad.

“How can I store meat in Florida with no refrigeration? Your attic is not cool, your storage building is not cool, and if you go underground it is still only about 68°F if you are lucky. Can you please give me some ideas?

Thank You.

Frank “

Yes, Frank, you got it right! This isn’t much of an issue if you lose power because off a blizzard in Connecticut in February. That’s an entirely different set of worries, but keeping meat cold isn’t one of them. But if you lose it because of a hurricane in Florida or Texas or the Bahamas in September, you have a problem. I know it because I live in Florida too.

Once meat defrosts, you’re on a pretty strict time-clock, especially if you don’t have a fridge. There are, of course, refrigeration units that you can build that don’t need power, but chances are good that if you’re reading this, you’re probably a little too far behind the eight ball for that kind of info to do you any good.

Here are some tips that may help you get a bit more mileage before your meat goes bad. None of them are long-term solutions to refrigerating meat without power, but they’ll help you get through a little longer.

Freeze Jugs and Baggies of Water

If you know the emergency is coming and you have meat stored in your refrigerator, prepare. Block ice melts much slower than bagged, cubed ice, plus you’re probably not going to be able to lay hands on a bag of ice for two hundred square miles.

I save milk jugs and juice jugs (a couple of different sizes) and fill them with water. I usually fill some quart-sized baggies, too, then I freeze them. Typically, it takes a day or a day and a half for the milk jugs to freeze all the way through, and less for the smaller containers and baggies.

I realize you may not have much room in your freezer to hold the jugs, but since you’re only a few days away from the storm, Throw the frozen ones to the back of the top shelf of the fridge where it’s coldest and throw a few more in the freezer.

Basically, what you’re doing here is creating the elements for an old-fashioned ice box that will keep the inside of your fridge and freezer cooler for longer. For Irma, I froze 5 gallons of water one half-gallon and several baggies. You can also use them in coolers, and when it melts, you have drinking water. Double duty!

For that matter, freeze your milk, juice, and other perishable liquids to extend their lives and to have additional “ice” to keep the inside of the freezer, fridge, or cooler cold.

Use the Igloo Effect

Group food together into piles in your fridge or freezer. Doing so will keep it all colder longer. This is something you can do before a major storm as part of your preps.

Make a few smaller clusters that you’ll use in one day, then you can just pull them from the freezer all at once and close the door for the rest of the day.

Dry Ice

Dry ice is -140 degrees F. That’s cold enough to freeze your skin instantly, but it’s a good thing when it comes to power outages because 50 pounds of dry ice will keep a fully stocked 18-cubic-inch freezer cold for two days and it’s not that hard to come by.

I know that there are places in Miami and Tampa in Florida that sells it, and I’m sure that there are other places, too. Plus you can order it and have it delivered. May be a worthy investment if you have a ton of meat.

Make a Clay Pot Cooler

This is actually a really good idea and can be made pretty much on the fly if you have two unglazed terra cotta pots – one bigger than the other.

It works no matter the size of the pots; as a matter of fact, it’s based on the same premise as modern refrigeration: evaporative cooling.

Video first seen on GlobeAware.

Here’s also a Survivopedia article that walks you through it, even though it’s a simple project, I would hypothesize that if you used extremely cold water, the temp inside the pots would drop significantly, too.

Don’t Freeze it to Begin With

Yes, I realize this is a case of pointing out the glaringly obvious, but it’s only glaringly obvious because you’re sitting there with a freezer full of thawing meat and no idea what to do with it.

The bottom line is that without refrigeration, your meat is going to be bad in a few days, and in the heat, there aren’t many viable options for keeping meat cold other than electric refrigeration. Store meat in other ways – can it or dry it – if you want to have it for emergencies.

You can find a lot of helpful info in this article about canning meat, and you can also get the proper way to dry the meat if you read this article.

If you’re worried about wasting it, the only real solution is to cook it up and what you don’t eat, give away.

For Irma, a bunch of us got together and had a huge barbecue. Not only did it keep us from wasting meat, it gave us all a much-needed morale boost and some leftovers to throw in the cooler. Also, keep your coolers in the shade to extend what little bit of cold you have left for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of options for keeping meat cold for longer than a few days in hot regions without refrigeration. Heat trumps ice every time.

But there are ways to do it, same as our ancestors used to do it. Check the banner below for more!

However, I hope that some of these tips helped at least a little bit, and if you’re in this situation, please share it before you just let it go to waste. In those situations, there’s never a lack of people who could use it.

If you have any other suggestions for keeping meat cold in hot climates without refrigeration, please share them with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

When Canning Goes Bad: 9 Common Mistakes To Avoid

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If you’re like me, if you see something you like, you wonder how to make them instead of just buying it from somebody else. This is how many of my friends have gotten into home canning – they’ve tasted something that I’ve made (I regularly give away my jellies, jams, and salsas as gifts) and then they want to learn how to make it.

When I tell them, I also teach them how to avoid several common home canning mistakes, and now I’d like to share them with you.

Whether you’re making peach preserves or entire meals in a jar, don’t make the following mistakes!

Not Wiping the Rims

This is one of those rookie mistakes that a person only makes large-scale once. It’s common even for an experienced canner to have a jar or two not seal, especially when canning greasy foods like meat or sauces.

Having just one or two not seal is fine; you just throw it in the fridge and eat it soon. Losing a whole batch, or at least several jars, is a disaster. It’s a waste of food, time, and money and is terribly discouraging.

But you can avoid it. My approach to canning is that you can’t be too careful with any step. It’s a precise process, sort of like baking. You need to complete each step properly if you want a successful end product.

In that vein, I wipe all of my rims with a clean, damp cloth, then go back and wipe them with a dry cloth just to make sure.

Not Sterilizing the Jars

While it’s true that the food inside the jars boils, you run the risk of locking pathogens in the jar if you don’t sterilize them first. Trust me – if there was a way to skip this step, I would. But there’s not. As a matter of fact, you can’t skip any of the steps in this article – that’s why I’m emphasizing them.

All you need to do is scrub them well in hot, soapy water and rinse them well. Now you know that there are no pathogens and there are no traces of oils or any remnants of food left from whatever you used the jar for last.

Even if it’s new, you still need to wash it. I’d venture to say, especially if it’s new!

Over-filling or Under-filling the Jars

It’s important that you leave enough room – called head room – in a jar to allow for expansion and boiling, but it’s also important that you fill it enough that the jar will seal properly. If you have a lot of air left in the jar, it may be tough to get the jar to seal or stay sealed. Usually a half-inch is about right.

Your recipe will tell you exactly how much space to leave, so follow that. If you have a little left over, instead of using a jar, throw it in the fridge.

Not Processing Correctly

If you don’t take anything else away from this article, this is the one to hold on to. Non-acidic foods such as meat, some fruits and most vegetables MUST be pressure-canned. Unless of course you fancy a raging case of botulism, which attacks your neurological system and kills you and stuff. Personally, I’ll use the pressure canner.

Seriously, though, the reason that this is necessary is because botulism is anaerobic, meaning that it thrives in low-oxygen environments. It doesn’t do well in an acidic environment, but when you get a low-acid, low-oxygen environment, you’ve basically built it a beach house and rolled out the welcome mat.

Each recipe will call for a different time and pressure, so it depends on what you’re making and what type of machine you have. Don’t let this intimidate you; I know a lot of people that don’t use pressure canners or pressure cookers because they’re scared of them. Follow the directions and you’ll be fine. Plus, you can cook a roast in a pressure cooker in forty-five minutes or so. Bonus!

Signs that your canned goods are contaminated with botulism are bubbles at the top (after it’s been sitting for a few weeks or months), a popping sound when you open it, a leaky lid, and a slimy white film on the food. If you have any of these, don’t risk it – toss it. A jar of green beans is not worth dying for.

Not Releasing the Air Pockets

You need to use a spatula or wooden spoon to release the air pockets in the jar so that it will seal properly. There’s actually a tool designed specifically for this if you want to buy it. You want all of the air out of the jar for a couple of reasons – first, it seals better when there’s very little air. Second, botulism that we talked about above.

Once you fill your jars, run the spatula or spoon down the sides of the inside of the jar and just wiggle it around a little so that all of the air pockets release. Do this right before you wipe your rims so that you can add more water or sauce if you need to.

Putting Cold Jars in Boiling Water, or Vice Versa

Canning jars are known for their durability, but be careful mixing temperatures. Even the best glass can only take so much. You need to be especially careful going from hot to cold. Never put a hot jar in cold water.

As a matter of fact, when you take it from the canner, handle it carefully because there’s still quite a bit of pressure in there. I’ve pretty much blown up a jar a time of two because I knocked it on the edge of the counter pulling it out of the bath. You want them to cool slowly, too, so cover them with a towel when you take them out of the bath. That’s not a requirement, but I’ve found that my stuff seals a little better if I set them on a towel, then put another towel over them.

Using Damaged or Non-Canning Jars

It’s perfectly fine to reuse Ball or Mason (or whatever) jars that are made specifically for home canning, but using commercial jars like pickle jars that aren’t meant for home canning aren’t acceptable. Now that you have the right jars, check them for cracks and run your fingers along the rim looking for chips. If there’s even the smallest one, don’t can with it.

Re-Using Lids

I know a few people who re-use their rubber-sealed lids and to be honest I’ve done it myself when I was in a pinch and was one shy of having enough. But don’t. Seriously. There’s no way to make sure that they’re free of bacteria and the rubber is only made for one use so there’s no way to guarantee that it will seal. If you have a thing about throwing stuff out like I do, keep it to use on jars that aren’t going to be used for canning.

There are now reusable canning lids available though. They appeal to my sensibilities and in the long run are cheaper than single-use lids.

Using Over-Ripe Fruit

You want your produce to be ripe, but if it’s too ripe, it’ll cook to mush. On the other side of the coin, if it’s not ripe enough, the flavors won’t be fully developed. There are different guidelines for every fruit and vegetable, but in general, you don’t want it to be so ripe that it’s soft. At that point, it’s either time to eat it or turn it into jelly or sauce.

Canning is a pleasurable, satisfying end to all of your hard work, as long as it works out well. It’s a relatively easy process as long as you follow the basic guidelines and avoid the home-canning mistakes made above.

And the most important thing is that you’ll be able to make your own food for long term survival, so you won’t rely on what you may or may not find on the shelves!

 

 

I know that there are all kinds of mistakes that you’ve made if you’ve canned much, so please share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Survival Gun Tips: How To Buy A Rifle Scope

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There is a sheer volume of different scopes and rifles on the market, so it can take some research to figure out which one will best match the types of shooting you intend to use it for.

Some hints can be followed though, so you could choose the best for you.

Read the article below to find them! 

Overall, there are three basic steps to take when choosing a rifle scope:

  • Start off by deciding what kind of shooting you plan to do.
  • Look at basic scope features and make a list of those that will best meet your needs.
  • Study manufacturers, models, and testimonials to determine which scope will give you the best quality for the lowest price. Speaking of price, since some scopes can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Rather than cover all possible options, I will focus on features that you can get on most scopes for under $500.00.

Two Questions to Ask before Buying a Scope

Why do I need a scope?

A scoped weapon can enhance accuracy over longer distances, improve range estimation, and improve target estimation. That being said, even the best scope cannot compensate for poor shooting technique or lack of practice.

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What type of shooting will the scope be used for?

There are three basic types of shooting:

  • Target – Consider whether the distance is greater than 100 yards, the size of the targets, and your eyesight.
  • Hunting – Think about the kind and size of the game, and the terrain you will be hunting in.
  • Self defense – The amount of land you must cover is important. A high magnification scope will not be of use for a small parcel. In this case, you will need to focus on low magnification scopes.

12 Aspects to Consider when Buying Your Rifle Scope

Beside the purpose of buying the scope, you should take into account a few more things before purchasing this item.

Price

A scope can cost anywhere from fifty dollars to thousands, however most people spend between $400 – $1200.00. Here are some of the most important features to consider while you are shopping:

Power Settings (X Settings)

A 10-14x power scope will give you a reasonably clear picture of the target. If you need something clearer for target identification and spotting, move to a 20X or greater.

The better you can see the target the more accurately you can place the cross-hairs as long as you don’t outdistance the rifle’s accuracy range.

For lower caliber rifles, a 4 or 6x power scope will work well because it has a shorter maximum effective range.

When it comes to getting the most from the scope’s power settings, remember that higher power optics also have more distortion from the wind; and mirage will distort the clarity. If shooting from an unstable position, choose the lower power settings to cut down on the target “jump”.

Adjustments

No matter which scope you choose, it should be easy to make sight adjustments. Some scopes you may need a screwdriver to make adjustments, while others may only require turning a knob.

There are scopes that use ¼ MOA, ½ MOA, or 1 MOA adjustment increments. Some scopes also have bullet drop compensators. They have bold numbers on them that once zeroed will act as a guide for which yard line equals what scope setting to use.

Good bullet drop compensators have a fine tuning of ¼ MOA or ½ MOA for more accurate adjustments.

Durability

If you drop your scoped rifle, it is always important to re-check the zero before any serious shooting is done.

If the scope can’t hold a zero, or there isn’t a distinct click when turning the adjustment knob, or the scope body is bent, don’t use the scope. Even though most scopes are built to take rough (but not abusive) handling, it is still important to examine the warranty details as well as what is required to keep the scope in good condition.

Reticle

There are many reticles that are commonly used in scopes. They are Cross hairs, Dot, Mil-dot, BDC, and Duplex.

  • Cross hairs – This is an older reticle that uses one horizontal and one vertical line that cross in the center to make the aiming point.
  • Dot – Uses just a dot in an open circle to tell you where the target is. This reticle may also include cross hairs to extend through the full field view.
  • Mil-dot – These ballistic reticles are measured in Miliradians (Mrad) At 100 yards 1 Mrad = 3.6”. At 1000 yards= 36”. This reticle was designed for the military as a ranging reticle and doesn’t use MOA. It is used to give the shooter the approximate size and distance of the target as well as the bullet drop. Some hunters use this reticle type for extreme long distance hunting shots with excellent results.
  • Duplex – Uses thicker lines that thin out to draw your eye to the center of the cross hair. This is the most popular reticle for hunting, and is also considered useful for general purposes.
  • Bullet drop compensation (BDC) – This reticle will give your true point of aim for a known distance to compensate for bullet drop. It is an excellent scope for long range hunters.

Low light capabilities

In low light conditions, the target may be visible, but not the cross hairs. To resolve this problem, choose a scope with an illuminated reticle (ILR). There are different types of (ILR) scopes.

Depending on manufacture, the scope may only light up a red dot, the center cross hairs, or the entire reticle.

Size of the objective lens

The larger the objective lens, the more light that you can gather into the scope, which makes longer cross hairs more visible in lower light conditions.

You will also have a larger field of view, especially in the lower power settings. If you do choose bigger objective lenses, however, remember that you will need higher scope rings, and possibly a higher cheek piece.

Accessories

The following accessories should be bought as a package to insure they are correct for the scope you intend to buy:

Bases

  • One piece – The one piece base is made of a single piece of metal. It is better than a two piece base because it flexes less and also keeps the scope and rifle together better. This enhances your ability to shoot tighter groups.
  • Two piece – This base is made of two pieces of metal. It won’t give good consistency, and will also flex more.
  • Tapered and flat – This base will be needed for longer ranged shooting. Some scopes run out of adjustments for elevation after 500 to 600 yards. A base that is tapered to approximately 20 MOA enables the shooter to save some elevation adjustments on longer ranged shots.

Rings

  • Use a good quality ring that will not strip out easily if you need to change it or readjust it.
  • Always use hex head screws over Allen screws. The hex head screws are stronger and will not strip out as easily as Allen screws.

Scope covers and flip up caps

  • A good scope cover or flip up cap is a necessity. It keeps the scope lens and scope body protected from dirt and dust.
  • If the scope cover is padded, it can give some protection to the scope if it’s dropped or bumped.

Shooting data information cards

These cards give you a good point to experiment with rifle loads to get the optimal performance. They should have the following sections listed on them:

  1. Date, time, and location where the shooting took place.
  2. Type of rifle and scope used.
  3. Type of ammunition used.
  4. Distance shot to target.
  5. The altitude, humidity, and barometric pressure of the area you were shooting at.
  6. The temperature of the location you were shooting at.
  7. Number of shots fired.
  8. Record the elevation and windage adjustments used on the scope from the scope’s known zero.
  9. Your call of each shot as to where it hit the target (on target, pulled shot up, down, right, or left).
  10. Type of targets used.
  11. Light conditions when shooting.
  12. Record the speed and wind direction of each shot.
  13. Notes section used to record other important information dealing with that day’s shooting.

How to Setup a Rifle Scope

Let’s say you bought your prefered rifle scope and now you want to make use of it. You need to set it up first, and here’s what you need to do.

Mounting the scope to your rifle

Buy scope bases and rings that are compatible to your rifle. When using scope rings, remember the inside diameter of the rings must match the outside diameter of the scope. Mount the rifle base and rings to manufacturer’s instructions.

Setting up your scope

Before you can use any scoped rifle, it must be setup correctly. The first thing that must be adjusted is the reticle and the eye relief.

To adjust the reticle, loosen the mounting rings a bit and turn the scope until the reticle is upright and centered. Once the reticle is in the proper position and you can see normally in the firing position, lightly tighten down the rings to hold the reticle setting in place.

The eye relief is properly adjusted when you see the target clearly through the scope when they eye relief is 3 – 6 inches from your eye. On most scopes you will have to move the entire scope back and forth through the scope rings slowly to get the correct sight picture.

After you have set the reticle and eye relief, apply Loctite to the lock ring screws and firmly tighten the mounting rings.

Scope adjustment knobs

On most scopes, there are two and sometimes three control knobs that must be adjusted to get the scope zeroed in.

Windage

This knob is usually located on the right side of the scope. This adjustment moves the reticle from side to side to compensate for the blowing wind and any effects the wind has on bullet travel.

Elevation

This knob is located on the top of the scope and allows you to control the adjustment of the reticle up and down. On long shots, the reticle will need to be elevated slightly to make the bullet travel further.

By adjusting the the elevation, it is possible to bring the target back to zero even though the bullet must travel in an arc to get there.

Parallax

Scope manufactures usually set their scopes up to aim properly out to 100 yards. If you are not using a zoom scope or other ways to increase the magnification, your scope will not have a parallax knob.

If you are using high magnification on the scope, there should be a parallax knob located on the left side of the scope.

You will only need to make parallax adjustments at higher magnifications if the position of your eye changes to see clearly though the scope while keeping your aim on the target.

Sight picture

Before firing the rifle your sight picture should be perfect. To check the sight picture of your scope:

  • The reticle should be upright and centered.
  • The target should be crisp and clear. Any black on one side or the other should be symmetrical.
  • If any of these properties are not exact, readjust them now.
  • Check to make sure your eye relief setting is correct. If you feel the eye relief is too close, this is the time to add another inch to be on the safe side. Remember, you will not want the rifle’s recoil to push the scope backwards into your face.

Basic sighting

In this sighting phase you will be sighting in the target through a scope with live ammunition. At this stage, you might have to make several adjustments before hitting a bullseye. Just take your time and work through the steps until the scope is properly sighted.

Adjust elevation and windage adjustments

Elevation adjustments moves the point of impact up or down.

  1. Aim through the scope putting the reticle exactly on the target. Before making any adjustments, shoot a 3 shot group.
  2. If the bullet hits too high, move the reticle upwards. Alternatively, if the bullets hit too low, then move the reticle downard.
  3. Continue adjusting after each 3 shot group is fired until the bullet hits at the exact height where the reticle is on the target.

Windage adjustments moves the point of impact left or right

  1. Aim through the scope putting the reticle exactly on the target. Before making any adjustments, shoot a 3 shot group.
  2. If the bullet hits to the left, then move the reticle to the left. If the bullet hits to the right, adjust the reticle to the right. Keep firing and adjusting until the bullet hit is at the exact center of the target.

Zeroing in

  1. Place the rifle in on a rifle stand so it will not move. Use the adjustments on the stand to zero the reticle onto the target.
  2. Just like basic sighting, fire a 3 shot group, and check the results.
  3. Use the elevation and windage knobs to zero in the scope.
  4. Fire as many shots as needed until each shot is hitting consistently in the center of the target.
  5. Once the scope is properly sighted, you should hit the bull’s eye. In the field, if you keep the rifle perfectly aimed and still, all of your shots will be directly on target and zeroed in.

Preset scope adjustments for non-zoom scopes

If you are going to shoot targets at a certain distance, it will be to your advantage to zero in the scope for that distance.

  1. Set up a target at the required distance.
  2. While the rifle is on a stand, adjust the reticle to compensate for the bullet arc. Once you make this adjustment, you will not have to guess how much elevation to add in order to make the shot hit in the center of the cross hairs.

Preset scope adjustments for zoom scopes with parallax adjustment knob

  1. Set up a target at the required distance.
  2. Once again, set the rifle on a stand and adjust the reticle until you see it and the target clearly at the desired magnification and distance.

In conclusion, now that your scope is mounted and zeroed on your rifle, it is time to practice with it at many different distances.

This will help you to learn the capabilities of the rifle and scope. If you want to be a better shooter, there is still no substitute for practice and patience. These are the skills that save your life!

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.accuscopeusa.com/using-your-accuscope-chart.html

Best Bushcraft Tips To Learn And Share For Survival

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Bushcraft survival tips are a very hot topic in the prepper community, especially considering that old saying about “the more skills one has, the less gear one needs.” This “omnia mea mecum porto” (a Latin proverb meaning “all that’s mine I carry with me”) mindset is a prepper’s greatest asset, and I really did not mean it to rhyme.

To begin with, one may ask what on Earth is bushcraft?

In layman’s terms, bushcraft is what kept our ancestors alive and kicking for tens of thousands of years, well before the invention of agriculture, cozy cities, and our modern-day conveniences. Bushcraft is the ancient art of survival in the wilderness, using only the (sometimes scarce) resources provided by “the great outdoors.”

Keep reading to get the essentials!

Bushcraft is basically a fancy Aussie word for wilderness survival and it combines the know-how with regard to DYI-ing basic tools with how to use animals and plants at your disposal for outdoor survival in a SHTF scenario.

 

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For true-blue preppers, learning bushcraft skills will increase your survival chances exponentially in a nasty environment/situation, via  increasing your ability to adapt to new challenges and unforeseen situations.

You Can’t Skips the Basics

The more self-sufficient and confident one is, the better. The quintessential bushcraft skills to master include hunting/trapping game, food foraging, shelter building, water gathering/purification, and fire making.

Basically, everything that revolves around food-water-shelter, the holy trinity of survival, is an essential skill to master for a survivalist.

Let’s make a basic list, so you could count them better!

  • When it comes to living off the land, as in food foraging, one must have in-depth knowledge of local flora, which is essential when it comes to efficiently harvesting edibles whilst at the same time avoiding toxic plants.
  • Camp cooking is also a must-learn skill for outdoor enthusiasts. And speaking of flora, remember that cattails are edible and easy to find in shallow waters along the shore. Read my article about cattails for further reference.
  • Trapping and hunting/stalking game is all about knowing how to build snares, how to use lures, how to fish (always remember to pack fishing gear in your survival kit), how to read animal signs while hiding your own (human) scent, making cordage, tying knots, cleaning/dressing/cooking game in the field, and the whole nine yards.
  • A solid survivalist must be able to gather and purify water by using an improvised water filter, and also know how to make a fire for boiling/purifying water, and so forth and so on.
  • Shelter building skills must include knowledge of how to make cordage, how to tie a good knot, how to harvest building materials (branches, fallen trees), how to use a knife for batoning, how to waterproof/make natural insulation for your shelter, etc.
  • Knowing how to start a fire in the wild using readily available materials is a must-learn art, including gathering tinder, collecting wood, building a fire pit, building a fire plough/a bow drill, or other device, and you should also know the different types of fires and their best uses in a particular situation.

If you’re just starting out in the fine art of bushcrafting, you should focus on basic survival skills, such as batoning wood, making simple tools, knot-tying techniques, basic fire starting, and building basic camp structures, including the tripod.

If you’ve already acquired basic bushcraft skills, you should concentrate on shelter building, foraging for food, building a fire without lighters/matches, basic trapping and making snares, and water purification.

For advanced bushcrafters (I am not sure that word really exists), you can engage in complex projects, such as land navigation (celestial navigation for example), making cordage and rope using plant fibers or animal tendons, tracking, and advanced structure building.

Now, let’s talk about some tips and tricks, because after all, that’s what today’s article is all about.

Tell Someone That You’re Leaving

To begin with, remember that communication is key. Before going out on a trip, tell someone about your plan, including where you’ll be going, for how long, and also share if you have a specific route set up (it would help with tracking you down in a SHTF scenario).

Don’t Lose Your Temper

Next, remember to keep your composure in any situation. Always remain calm, cool, and collected, think positive, and hope for the best while preparing for the worst. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but optimism goes a long way, even in a SHTF scenario. No matter how alone and scared you may feel, everything starts with your attitude in a survival situation.

If something doesn’t work as it should – let’s say starting a fire in the wilderness, for example – keep calm, don’t rush, and don’t panic. Just stop, relax, breathe in-out and try something else.

Proper Tools

Remember that at its most basic level, wilderness survival, aka bushcraft, is surviving out there in the woods with nothing more than an edged tool (say, a knife) and the clothes on your back.

Which takes us to the next tip: a blade (read survival knife) is one of the most important tools to have in a survival situation.

A light and sturdy blade is as important to the bushcrafter as the katana is for the samurai. And yes, I am  talking about a high-quality, full-tang blade, which may be used for a multitude of purposes, ranging from self-defense to digging a shelter.

Another must-have and highly versatile bushcraft tool is a hatchet or a tomahawk. Given its design, a hatchet is perfect for heavy-duty tasks such as chopping wood, splitting logs, hammering (posts or stakes), butchering large game, and so on and so forth. If two items are too much for your “money”, you can go for the ultimate bushcraft tool: the machete.

A machete can be described as the best of both worlds, being a hybrid of sorts between a hatchet and a knife. And yes, a high-quality solid machete can be used for digging, chopping wood, clearing bush, batoning, and more.

However, the best bushcraft tool is the one you have on your person, so don’t complicate things too much, alright?

Considering the fact that death from exposure is a regular occurrence when it comes to outdoor survival scenarios, you must always pack some type of shelter in your EDC survival kit (a poncho, a $1 tarp, etc.), together with a couple of large, contractor-sized garbage bags.

When filled with leaves, the garbage bags will make for awesome insulating pads on which you can sleep or sit.

Video first seen on KGB Survivalist.

You should  carry a good-quality fire starter with you at all times, tied and braided to your knife lanyard, and I am talking about waxed jute twine. Always remember to pack a couple of protein bars in your survival kit; they’re incredibly nutritious and lightweight. Also, they don’t spoil easily.

Learning basic body insulation methods may be a life saver in many survival scenarios. Think about stuffing leaves, newspaper, or dry grass under your clothes, so you’ll be retaining body heat in harsh weather conditions.

If you wrap plastic bags (remember those garbage bags?) around the leaves on a tree, the sun will evaporate the water from the inside of the leaves, which will then be forced to condensate on the inside of the plastic bag (read trapped inside).

The same trick can be used to extract water from plants.

Now that you know these survival tricks, would you make it on your own if stranded deep in the wild?

Now, it’s your turn. What are your favorite survival tips you’d like to share with us?

Feel free to comment below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

The Ugly Part of Water Purification: Top 5 Mistakes You Make

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Water is part of the survival triad – water, food, shelter. You can only live for about three days without it and even after twenty-four hours, you start experiencing physical and cognitive decline.

Right now, it’s easy to turn on the tap and get fresh, clean water, but even without a SHTF situation, many of us are doing what we can to live off the grid. I’ve written several articles on collecting rain water and purifying water, and now I’d like to discuss how to make sure that your water is safe to drink.

Water purification is a primary skill that you need to have even if you don’t know much about other facets of survival because if you don’t have clean water, you’ll die. It’s that simple.

The EPA warns that as much as 90 percent of all of the water on the planet is contaminated in some way, so this is becoming a bigger issue for many of us who are trying to go off the grid. Even rainwater can be contaminated, and it’s best to assume that all ground water needs purified.

Even though being able to purify water during daily life and in an emergency situation is critical, you need to do it right. Improperly purified water can be just as fatal – but much more miserable – than having no water at all, so be sure not to make these mistakes.

Mistaking Water Filtering and Water Purification

There are many water filters out there; there’s a good chance that you have one in your fridge right now. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that filtered water is the same as purified water. Most water filters do exactly what they say: they filter out physical impurities such as debris, minerals, and pollutants such as insecticides. Most of them don’t purify the water, though, because illness-causing microbes are too small to be caught in the filter, nor are the filters designed to kill them.

 

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Your water may look clean and clear and delicious, but it may also be deadly. There are only two ways to ensure that your water is pure – heat and chemicals.

Not Getting Water Hot Enough

Though pathogens start to die as the water heats, at 160 degrees F to be exact, there are many disease-causing bacteria and viruses that won’t die until the water reaches the boiling point of 212 degrees F. Keeping that in mind, you need to maintain a rolling boil for at least one minute, and three is better, especially at higher elevations.

If you’re short on water and worry about losing it to evaporation, putting a lid on the pot will help with that. Then just leave it covered until it cools.

Using Chemical Purification Incorrectly

There are a few ways that you can mess up chemical purification. First, you can use too much. This is most definitely not a case of more being better because whether you’re using iodine, sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or calcium hypochlorite (pool shock), too much of it can make you sick or even kill you.

  • If you’re using iodine, use 5 drops/quart for clear water and 10 drops/quart if cloudy
  • If you’re using bleach, use 5 drops/quart for clear water and 10 drops/quart if cloudy
  • If you’re using calcium hypochlorite, dilute a teaspoon of the powder in a gallon of water, then add 2/3 ounce of that to a gallon of water. A small shot glass is useful because it usually hold one ounce.

There are also a few things to keep in mind when choosing your water purification method. Liquid bleach has a shelf-life of six to twelve months, so it expires and loses its strength. Pool shock keeps forever and a one-pound bag will treat 10,000 gallons. Iodine makes the water taste weird, but if you let it sit for an hour, you can add vitamin C (Tang drink mix or something similar) to eliminate most of the bad taste after the purification period is up.

Make sure that if you’re using bleach or pool shock that the product is pure without any additional additives such as perfumes. Let the water sit for at least 30 minutes before drinking.

Cross Contamination

This one seems like it may be simple, but it’s easy to re-contaminate purified water. Make sure that you don’t use the same containers or utensils for the clean water that you used before it was purified. In other words, don’t gather the water from a stream in your water bottle, boil it, then put it back in your bottle. You just re-contaminated your water and wasted time and fuel.

If you’re purifying in your bottle, make sure to pour some of the chemical into the lid and around the threads/ mouth of the container.

Failing to Purify AND Filter

This is another reason that you need to understand that filtering and purifying are two different processes. You need to purify your water to rid it of illness-causing pathogens, but you need to purify it to remove chemical toxins such as fertilizers and insecticides.

Of course, it also removes any other debris such a sand, rocks, and minerals. It doesn’t really matter what order you do it in, but I’d recommend filtering first then purifying just because it’s cleaner and there’s less risk of cross-contamination.

Either way, strain water that has visible debris in it before you purify it or filter it. Run it through a coffee filter or a densely woven cloth such as a bandana. Just a note: chemical purification is most effective if the water is at least 60 degrees F.

Studies show that at 50 degrees, only 90 percent of Giardia cysts were inactivated after thirty minutes. Warm up the water in the sun (or after it cools a bit from purifying), or let the water sit for an hour.

Failing to purify your water can cause such diseases as cholera, E.coli, rotavirus, hepatitis, staphylococcus, cryptosporidium and Giardia. These cause everything from upset stomach and cramps to severe vomiting, diarrhea, and even death. In other words, it’s nothing to mess around with, unless you want to die a slow miserable death.

Don’t put your life at risk! You need only clear water to stay safe!

 

 

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Survival Defense: How To Hide In Plain Sight

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Most people wrongly believe that it is difficult, if not impossible to hide in plain sight. If you want to avoid detection even when surrounded by other people that may be looking for you, you have to change your way of thinking and learn how to blend into your surroundings.

Once you have mastered how to do this, you can hide in plain sight without family, close friends, or co-workers noticing you.

9 Ways to Make Yourself Invisible With What You Have on Hand

Sometimes individuals have distinctive features that make them stand out in a crowd. It could be a scar, tattoo, or the color of their eyes. The following items can help to make you invisible.

Hats

Use a hat to cover hair styles or colors that are not common where you are. If no one is wearing a hat and you are, take it off or wear a scarf instead rather than take a chance of your hair standing out in the crowd.

Glasses

If you have distinctive colored eyes, wear different colored contacts, sun glasses, or regular clear reading glasses that have fake lens. Once again, the style and design of the glasses should match what is popular in the area so that you do not stand out.

Hide Distinctive Signs

If you have scars or tattoos on your body, wear long sleeve shirts or jackets to hide them. If in an area where almost everyone has tattoos or scars, then don’t try to cover them unless they make you easy to identify.

For example, if you have fairly common tatoo design such as a rose, it will blend easily enough in the crowd. On the other hand, if the tatoo has an uncommon word in it, and people know to look for that word, it might be better to cover up that tattoo rather than take a chance of it being spotted.

Use Makeup

Use makeup to hide scars or a distinctive face, and it is also possible to use makeup to make you look older or younger. Using temporary glued on beards or mustaches can also help to hide your actual facial structure. Remember that this makeup must make the wearer fit into the crowd, not draw attention.

For example, if the people around you don’t wear a lot of cheek color or eyeliner, try to avoid these options. If you are a male, be very careful about how you apply makeup so that it isn’t obvious you are using this particular aide.

Trick Technology

To hide from facial recognition technology, if you are in an area that is covered by video cameras, you must change the basic facial structure of your face. This can be done by puffing out your cheeks or packing your nose with tissue. Try not to over do it, because this will draw attention to you as well.

Fix Your Hair

Wear your hair in the style similar to what others in the area are wearing. If people around you have messy looking hair, don’t make yours look neat and clean. By the same token, if everyone is wearing long hair that is straight and neat, don’t walk around with a permanent or hair that looks messy.

Clothes

Your clothing must not stand out from other individuals around you. You must know what is considered to be the norm of the group in the area. If you don’t look like them, you will stand out and attract attention. You must dress yourself up or down by adding or removing ties, jackets, or shirts.

Usually, neutral colors will blend in better. Always choose gray over black or white over red because these colors blend better and can be visually harder to follow at a distance.

The Way You Walk

If you must temporarily change your looks to stay invisible in a crowd, you may also have to change your gait. If you are making yourself look older then walk slower and more carefully. Using a small stick as a cane may also help people think you are older or disabled.

You can also add a small coin or stone in your shoe to give you a small limp. When trying to look younger, walk a little faster than normal, but not so fast it draws attention to you. Never ever run unless it is an emergency!

Jewelry

If you must wear jewelry or a watch, make it simple and match what the local people wear. If they don’t wear any jewelry, take all yours off as well.

The Dos and Don’ts of How to Act When Hiding in Plain Sight

Even though you may want to move through an area a quickly as possible, haste can lead to making mistakes that cause you to be easily spotted.

It is better to go through each of the following points so that you don’t overlook anything important:

  1. Observe the area you will be traveling through to see what people are expecting to see in individuals traveling through this area.
  2. You must have a plan to blend in. The look that you decide on must enable you to merge into the crowd you’ll be hiding in.
  3. The plan should cover what colors to wear, what type of accessories to wear, and what type of footwear will match your look and the crowd.
  4. Look like the average individual in this crowd. The more you look like everyone else around you, the harder it will be to spot you as someone different, and therefore worthy of interest.
  5. People will always notice what is out of place. To keep from creating problems or other distractions, follow the crowd in all aspects, otherwise you will become the problem or the distraction that others notice. When walking in a crowd, stay near the center of the group, as this is the most populated area, and therefore makes you the least conspicuous. Never stay long in the center of the group or go near the fringes. If others are moving from one area to another, match their patterns so that it looks like you have the same interests as everyone else assembled.
  6. If you must change direction or cross the the crowd, do it as smoothly as possible. The trick is to mimic what the crowd is doing to better fit in with the movement of the group.
  7. When walking with crowds, you must look, walk, and act like you belong there for the same reason everyone else does. Act like you have a purpose and know where you are going. Fast walking, being skittish, and looking in all directions quickly will make you look suspicious and draw unwanted attention to you.
  8. To keep a low profile, remain silent. If you must talk to someone, use a softer than normal voice that will not travel far. Using your normal voice volume may give you away if it’s different than the locals. If you are traveling overseas it is good to speak the local dialect or use the accent of the region you are living in. Failure to do this will immediately reveal that you are not a member of the crowd. When speaking to other individuals in the crowd, follow the local body language customs. If people are smiling and agreeable, do the same thing. To keep from getting unwanted attention, don’t stay silent or ignore people when they try to talk to you. Keep the answers short and to the point, but still within keeping for the group.
  9. Trying to hide in plain sight it can be a very stressful. You must act and move in a casual manner. All of your body movements should show others that you are not in a hurry or nervous, and that you are one of them.
  10. Avoid eye contact, but don’t go to extremes. Making eye contact is a way two or more people acknowledge each other. You must not look people in the eyes that are close to you. Instead look at the ground 25 to 30 feet ahead of you. Don’t make it obvious that you don’t want to look others in the eye or this will also make you memorable or worthy of suspicion.
  11. Try to obey all laws and city ordinances in the area you are hiding in. Nothing attracts attention like jaywalking or walking on posted park grass. Obey all traffic laws. Monitor all vehicle lights and replace all burned out lights immediately. Be sure driver’s license, license plates, and all other permits are up to date. The last thing you want is the police to notice you or stop you. This is how a lot of “invisible” individuals get caught.
  12. Have a good sense of situation awareness. Be able to look and study a crowd without looking like you are doing so. As you watch the crowd, you may be able to spot individuals that are looking for you. If possible, notice how they stick out, and the response of others around them. Make sure you aren’t duplicating their obvious behaviors and mistakes.
  13.  Even something simple can cause you to become visible when you want to stay hidden. It is to your advantage to practice your own skills, and also observe people in crowds as much as you can. Make note of things people do that make them stand out, and then see if you have the same or similar habits. The more you observe and practice, the easier it will be to stay invisible when you really have to.

How to Hide From Some While Remaining Visible to Others

You need a plan that you can use in case you must escape a situation where you need to hide from someone like an active shooter while being easy to find by the police or others trying to help you. To help you to easily remember the parts of the plan, use the acronym ALICE, which stands for:

  1. A= Alert – notify the authorities and the people around you of the problem.
  2. L= Lock down – Find and secure yourself and others in a location that is to hard for unwanted people to get to.
  3. I= Inform – Keep the authorities informed of the situation and know your surroundings.
  4. C= Counter – If there are no other options, confront or interrupt the attacker.
  5. E= Escape/Evade/Evacuate – do so if you can manage it.

Other important parts of your plan include the following:

Always stay positive

A calm outlook and attitude can help you avoid panic. Try to maintain a positive outlook and maintain clear, logical thinking. Never let go of the belief that you will survive and that an opportunity to reach safety will present itself as long as you are capable of looking for it.

Know the source of the danger

Always be aware of where the danger is coming from and stay away.

Know where the exits are located and where they go to

Get away from the immediate danger and find the nearest exit that can get you away and outside of the danger zone.

Arm yourself

Remember anything can be used as a weapon. Make yourself as dangerous as possible in the event you are forced to defend yourself and others.

Always be prepared to move quickly when necessary to get you and your party to safety.

 

The SEAL Survival Guide to Staying Alive in the War Zone Called “New America”

Use cover

When on the move, always use cover to protect you as you travel from one strong point to another. Never stay in the open longer than is needed.

Don’t travel along walls

Always travel at least six inches away from walls to stay away from ricocheting bullets.

How to Find the Best Position

If you are visiting an area that might be targeted by terrorists or hostage takers, always do the following:

  • Locate as many exits as possible that lead away from the main area of the building.
  • Look for offices, classrooms, or storage rooms that can be barricaded and defended.
  • Make these safe areas very hard to break into. Usually, attackers will skip over areas that are hard to get into and seek easier targets.
  • Locate areas that provide good to excellent cover or concealment.
  • Find and use an area that has good cell phone reception to contact the authorities.
  • Keep track of where security or other personnel may be. If they aren’t already targets of the criminals in the situation, they may still be able to help you.

How to Keep Children Silent

It is extremely important that you stay calm when in a dangerous situation. Don’t be reactive to the situation and you must find ways to keep and stay calm. Remember, children take their cues of behavior from adult’s actions. If you stay calm, so will the children. If you lose control and panic so will they.

To help children to be silent and under control in an emergency, practice and rehearse emergency survival situations. The more everyone practices together, the more you will be able to handle any kind emergency situation. If the children know what to expect, there is less a chance they will cry, scream, or panic.

How to Breath and Reduce Stress Levels

It is important to teach yourself, and children stress reducing techniques that will aid in calming and slow down breathing.

  • Breathing exercise 1- count to 10 slowly, breathing in and exhaling with each number. This teaches you how to slow down your breathing, which can create a sense of calm.
  • Breathing exercise 2- This is a three count exercise. Breath in for a count of three. Hold for a count of three. Exhale for a count of three. Repeat this exercise three times while thinking and focusing on the word relax. This will help to calm your mind.
  • Isometric exercises- squeezing and releasing all the muscles in your body isometrically and simultaneously can make your muscles relax. Do this three times. This will reduce stress levels quickly.
  • Visualization – Close your eyes for one minute while focusing your mind on a calming memory of a favorite place (your happy place). Hold this image to the count of three. This will lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels.

Everyone should know how to hide in plain sight. To do this you must make yourself invisible to all others inside and outside of a group. If mistakes are made they will be noticed quickly by all groups concerned.

If you are in a dangerous situation, blending in with the other individuals in the group can save your life!

 

 

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Top 10 Rules To Follow When Choosing Protective Clothing

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Whether you are planning to go camping, do some yard work, or live outdoors, you’ll need appropriate clothing. From extreme temperatures to injuries, health risks, and even dangers posed by other people, these specific fabrics and garment will keep you safe.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to buy new clothes or even ones that are pre-made, and stockpile them for a crisis situation.

Focus on these 10 questions about material and fit, and you can easily find good quality clothing that will remain in good condition over time.

Is It Easy to Wear in Layers?

If you are expecting to be outdoors in cold weather, it is very tempting to look for the thickest, heaviest garments that you can find. While a certain amount of density in the fabric is important, the ability to have air spaces is also vital for retaining heat.

Choosing thinner garments that you can wear in layers creates air space, and also gives you a greater range of temperatures that you can feel comfortable in.

When choosing garments for layering, you must also pay attention to the garment size and how easy it will be to shift it comfortably between layers, or eliminate altogether.

You may need to buy a ½ to a full size bigger as you reach the outer layers. If at all possible, see if you can try on all the layers at once to see if they feel comfortable and don’t limit your range of motion.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

Does the Fabric Wick Well?

No matter what the temperature and humidity conditions are, your body is going to release sweat. If you are active and moving around a lot, your body will release even more sweat in order to cool down.

A buildup of moisture next to your skin can cause several problems including:

  • an increased risk of skin breakdown, especially in areas where garments rub into your skin
  • an increased risk of infection in any are where the outer layer of skin has been compromised
  • because your body produces sweat in order to cool down, you may lose vital heat if too much moisture stays near your skin. Even if you are in very cold temperatures, the sweat your body produces will cause this cooling effect and spell disaster. Fabrics that wick away moisture will help keep your core body temperature stable.

Will the Fabric Resist Tearing?

You might be going through dense underbrush, or areas where there are apt to be thorns that would scratch your skin if your garments didn’t protect you properly.

A scratch from a thorn or a shrub branch may not seem like more than an inconvenience, but your skin can infect if left unattended. This is especially important if you’re traveling through damp areas or other places where mold, bacteria, mildew, and other pathogens can be introduced into the opening in your skin.

To add insult to injury, if your clothes do not wick correctly, or are uncomfortable to wear, these problems can also make the skin wound even worse.

Choose at least one outer layer garment that is as tear resistant as possible, to prevent this kind of problems. Look for lightweight clothes that are designed to be worn outdoors and a name brand that have a good reputation for producing tear free garments.

Remember, even if you cannot afford new garments, it is not all that difficult to create a loose fitting shirt and pants from suitable material. You may also be very surprised at what you will find at estate sales, yard sales, and flea markets.

How Will the Colors Affect Heat Absorption?

You know that white blocks energy and black absorbs, but you may not give it much though when choosing clothes for outdoor wear. If you are going to be out in colder weather, have an outer layer garment that is black or some other dark color.

On the other hand, if you expect to be out in warmer or hot weather, wear something white or light colored. Bright colors will also absorb heat from the sun, so it is best to reserve them for cooler or mid-range temperatures.

When you are planning an outdoor excursion, make sure you have at least one white, one black, and one neutral color so that you can switch them on and off as needed for your outer garment layers.

Also, if you need different sizes for the inner layers, take along at least one white garment so you can wear it as a single inner layer if you happen to be in hotter temperatures and need to remove all but one layer.

Choose a garment that has long sleeves or legs so that you can still protect yourself from injuries created by thorns, underbrush, or insects.

Can I Adjust the Visibility of this Garment?

Regardless of whether you hunt or not, you may be at risk of being shot or injured in the woods if you aren’t aware of where people are hunting.

You may also come across intentional poachers or those who are hunting out of extreme need outside of legally defined hunting seasons. That’s why it’s best to wear clothes that will ensure you are easy to see and that you will also not be mistaken for game.

Typically, blaze orange is the best color for wearing in an area where hunting will occur because it will not be as easily mistaken for colors found on certain animals.

On the other hand, you might need to escape from a city during crisis or prefer other people be unable to spot you. In these situations, wearing blaze colors, or even white might spell disaster. If your prime concern is visibility, wear a neutral color for the terrain you are traveling through.

For example, you might choose a dark green for the woods, or a tan for desert terrain. If you find that you want to be seen easily, then carry blaze orange arm bands, patches, scarfs, or other coverings that you can easily affix to any outer garment.

What Temperature Ranges is it Best Worn in?

Many people think that layering garments means you can simply wear the same garments all year round, but just add or subtract layers as needed. This won’t always work because different fabrics have different densities to their weaving that make them suitable for some temperatures and not others.

Pay attention to the fabric type and density so that you know which garments may work better for the season. You can still keep one or two items on hand that will fit a mid range, however the rest should be divided between materials suitable for hot or colder temperatures.

Here are some common fabrics and the temperatures they will work best in:

  • Linen – hot weather – this fabric breathes and wicks well, dries fast, and is also lightweight.
  • Cotton – depends on the weight. Lighter weight cotton can be used for summer and hot weather, and then use heavier weights for mid range temperatures. Never use cotton for cold weather or any temperature where you must preserve core body temperature because it sucks up sweat easily and will pull heat from your body with the sweat.
  • Polyester – cold weather – use for inner layers to build air spaces. This fabric does not breathe well, so try to keep it away from your skin.
  • Wool – cold weather. Is a good insulator and also dries quickly.
  • Nylon – use as an outer layer for keeping dry and as a wind breaker. Nylon also doesn’t breathe well and should be reserved for outer layers that can be opened up easily to improve air circulation.

Is it Waterproof?

Aside from needing to find out if an outer layer of clothing will withstand rain and other forms of moisture, you have to evaluate the same information for inner layers of outdoor clothing.

While you will want at least one garment to wear when it rains or you need to keep excess moisture out, it will not be a good idea to have waterproof material on any of the inner layers of your outdoor clothing.

Typically, waterproof garments do not wick well, and they will also prevent moisture that has been released by your skin from escaping, which can cause hypothermia in cold weather, and increase the risk of infections because of poor air circulation.

Does it Cover Me Properly for Woods and Rough Terrain?

Have you ever been outdoors in hot weather and didn’t even want to wear a T-shirt? If so, then you may also be tempted to wear the lightest and skimpiest thing you can find to go in the woods.

Unfortunately, this can be a recipe for disaster because:

  • As you travel through underbrush, you will inevitably brush into brambles, thorns, and twigs. These can easily cut your skin and leave an opening for infection.
  • Ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects are drawn to anything that might look like a meal. In this case, they can easily land on the back of your neck, upper leg, or other areas where you won’t notice them until it’s too late. The best way to prevent Lyme disease and many other insect borne illnesses it make sure the bugs can’t land on your skin to begin with. Insofar as clothing choice, your best option is to wear garments that cover as much of your skin as possible.
  • Many people think they can just spray insect repellent on their skin and clothing, and then avoid wearing clothes that cover their skin. These sprays are expensive and exposing you to dangerous poisons that can have long term health consequences, are not likely to be available in the post crisis world. Choose and wear clothes that will cover your skin properly now so that you won’t have to adapt later on.

Can I Adjust the Garment to Keep Out Ticks and Other Insects?

Aside from choosing garments with long sleeves and legs, make sure you can use rubber bands, velcro, or something else to seal off sleeve and pants cuffs.

Add a lightweight turtleneck stop shell in order to prevent insects from landing on the back of your neck. If you cannot find one for sale in a suitable fabric, you will find they are very easy to make.

Make sure they are properly secured and sealed to the garment below them so insects cannot crawl in.

How Well Will it Protect from UV Radiation?

Are you the type that packs the sunscreen away as soon as summertime is over? If so, then you need to use fabrics that have a proven SPF rating for outer layer wear all year round. As long as there is sunlight available, UV rays can reach your skin and cause damage. Even if it is a cloudy day or a very cold one, it is important to wear UV proof clothing.

Contrary to popular belief, fabric garments will not automatically block out all UV. To perform a quick test, hold the fabric up to the light. If you can see any light at all shining through, then the garment will allow UV to reach your skin.

Since you will be buying lighter weight garments to create layers, this test is extremely important all year round. To be on the safe side, choose at least one outer layer garment from a reputable company that gives an SPF rating on the label.

As with choosing garments that can be adjusted for keeping insects away, choosing garments that protect your skin from UV can help in a major social collapse scenario. Why worry about buying sunscreen when you can use these garments to do the same job. You can increase the lifespan of your sunscreen stockpile until you figure out a way to make your own using natural materials.

If you visit any department store or mall, you will find all kinds of expensive “outdoor” gear, and find yourself wondering what to buy. Try starting off with lighter weight garments that can be worn in layers, and then focus on color, visibility, waterproofing, UV protection, and insect management.

Asking ten simple questions about each garment, and thinking about how you will use it, will also help you evaluate garments in other places.

No matter whether you visit a second hand store, flea market, or decide to sew the garments, you will have confidence in evaluating the garment and fabric within the context of your needs as opposed to always relying on name brands and testimonials.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

7+1 Survival Video Games To Play For Training Your Skills

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What do video games and survival have in common? The simple answer is: not much.

However, considering the fact that we’re in 2017 A.D. and basically living inside of the (digital) matrix, maybe we should consider that it’s entirely possible for you to play video games, and at the same time, hone your survival skills.

That’s an interesting concept, isn’t it?

I don’t pretend to have a definitive answer to the fundamental issue of whether it will work for you. However, since prepping and survival are now mainstream things, as opposed to let’s say ten years ago, I’ve noticed an interesting trend: survival-based video games are actually becoming popular with the new generation.

I’m not a hard-core gamer (not a gamer at all, to be perfectly honest), but I’ve played my share of video games back in the day and this new idea has made me curious.

Another thing that video games and prepping have in common is that survival has been an intrinsic part of every gamer’s DNA since the days of old-school Atari.

The point of Frogger was to get across the road without dying. Basically, in almost any video game, if you’re still alive at the end, you’ve won. There are a few exceptions to that rule, but survival and video games are almost synonymous.

However, are there lessons to be learned from playing video games? Survival lessons that is?

 

The SEAL Survival Guide to Staying Alive in the War Zone Called “New America”

 

Well, the short answer is yes, there are things to be learned about survival/prepping even if you’re a pro-gamer who doesn’t get out much from his mother’s basement.

I’m kidding a little bit there, but there are a lot of games which make me remember my first survival book: Robinson Crusoe. Since survival revolves around the holy trinity of food, water, and shelter, Robinson Crusoe can be described as the quintessential survival book, as it makes for a fascinating journey inside the mind of a guy stranded on a remote island.

Survival in such conditions requires exploring, living off the land, scavenging for resources, hunting, fighting the elements, huddling around a fire, and so forth and so on. And if you think about it, all these trials would make for the perfect premise for a (survival) game.

Here are 7+1 games that I’ve picked for you and suggest you should try.

Minecraft

To begin with, I must confess that I firmly believe Minecraft to be the quintessential survival game. Yes, I am aware of the fact there are people in this world who have not (yet) enjoyed this thing of beauty, but that can be remedied easily, especially for preppers and survivalists. The thing is, your only excuse for not playing Minecraft is the fact you did not know it’s a survival game.

Minecraft can be best described as a castaway game which includes all the perks of Robinson Crusoe (the book) and incorporates all the cool elements required from a survival game. Minecraft is the legend of the 21st century, a phenomenon into itself, and before it got famous, it was, first and foremost, the first true-blue survival game.

Playing Minecraft will teach you the importance of building a home/shelter for yourself if stranded in the wild, of gathering resources, and of knowing how to defend yourself (well, against zombies in the game, but that can be extrapolated to anything else less other-worldly). Minecraft was also the first video game that started the modern trend of incorporating survival elements into basically anything.

Video first seen on TeamMojang.

Truth be told, Minecraft can be anything you like, but if you’re a prepper, you’ll definitely enjoy venturing into the wilderness trying to conquer the elements, hiding in the night,  and fighting for survival tooth and nail. In my humble opinion, it remains one of the best games to date in the survival genre.

Miasmata

Another must-try survival video game is Miasmata, a game that will teach you a little bit about homeopathic/traditional medicine.

The thing is, in Miasmata you’ll find yourself alone on an island whose population was affected by a deadly disease/plague, and of course, you’ll have to cure the disease via research. The trick is, the island is bursting with medicinal plants and your job is to find that particular species that will cure the disease.

The atmosphere is very jungle-like and playing Miasmata will make you a wannabe botanist if you’re not already one. Learning holistic medicine is a very important survival skill, at least in my opinion, and Miasmata would make for a great game to play with your kids.

Video first seen on GOG.com.

Rust

Rust is another hugely popular survival game. The game is cruel, harsh, and even bullish, but it will teach you a little bit about outdoor survival basics.

The game begins with your spawning into the Rust-World. This is a multiplayer game unlike Minecraft and Miasmata, both of which can also be played in single-player mode.

In the beginning, you have basically zero tools on your person (you’re a naked caveman), besides a rock. The game will teach you the importance of building a shelter and quickly gathering resources in a SHTF scenario (outdoors), along with other survival essentials like, you know, staying alive.

Video first seen on Surge.

Don’t Starve

If you want to learn about the importance of finding food in a survival situation, I must recommend the Don’t Starve video game. I just love it when a game’s title matches its game-play, and Don’t Starve is the perfect example of that philosophy.

The whole experience in Don’t Starve revolves around survival essentials such as finding food/resources for staying alive in the wilderness for as long as possible, but the game also captures one of mankind’s primal terrors, the fear of the dark, which I find to be a quintessential component of a survival video game.

Video first seen on Workard.

The Flame in the Flood

Another cool survival-based video game is The Flame in the Flood, provided you don’t have a problem with being a girl.

The main character in this game is a little girl named Scout who travels/stumbles upon the collapsed society of the United States together with her dog-companion Aesop. They’re trying to stay alive, obviously.

When playing The Flame in the Flood, you’ll learn basic survival skills necessary while traveling mysterious territories, i.e. rafting, gathering resources off the land, fending off wild creatures, how to avoid dying from exposure, and how to seek shelter.

Video first seen on GameSpot.

The Long Dark

If you’re into hunting/tracking/trapping/survival in the wintery wilds and the whole nine yards, in other words, if you’re a survival wilderness freak, you really should check out The Long Dark. While playing this baby, you’ll learn how to keep your calorie intake on the up and up in a wilderness survival scenario.

The game is basically a wilderness simulator in a post-apocalyptic world and it will teach you about the importance of having hunter-gatherer skills, with a focus on the former. Hunting is the name of the game in The Long Dark, together with avoiding being hunted by bigger predators than you.

Video first seen on Eurogamer.

Metal Gear Solid 3

Metal Gear Solid 3 is a good survival game onto itself, as it teaches you how to catch and eat wild animals and how to patch cuts and heal broken bones. For tricks to picking up those skills, it’s almost perfect.

Video first seen on José Mellinas.

DayZ

Last but not least, let me tell you about DayZ. The early version of the game’s best features were its gritty realism and realistic shooting mechanics as the hero is thrown in a post-apocalyptic world packed with aggressive zombies.

Video seen on Olga Okuneva.

Playing DayZ you’ll understand the importance of gathering basic essentials, including clean water and non-rotten/spoiled food, together with warding off diseases like hepatitis, cholera and dysentery.

There’s a big chance your character will get hurt during the game, but you’ll see that recovering from illnesses and injuries such as a gunshot wound is not that simple; i.e. you’ll have to bandage up the wound if you don’t pass out in the first place and so forth and so on.

 

 

These are what I choose, a selection that it’s far from being perfect or complete. Now, it’s your turn. What are your favorite survival games you’d like to share with us?

Feel free to comment in the dedicated section below. And don’t forget: play hard, go pro!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

What You Need To Know About Owning Body Armor

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We’re living uncertain times, when everybody needs to feel safe and protected. Under the circumstances, owning body armor comes with many benefits for civilians.

However, before you buy any particular type of body armor in the USA, you should understand the existing laws and regulations. It’s mostly legal to wear body armor for civilians across the United States but there are some states with certain restrictions.

Keep reading to find out what they are!

All civilians in the US have a right to protect themselves and their families but certain restrictions apply. For example, if you’ve been convicted of a felony, then you surrender their right to own body armor, since the US has a federal ban on the possession of body armor by convicted felons (18 U.S.C. 931).

But if you have written permission by an employer stating that you need if for your work, then you may purchase body armor.

One more thing to keep in mind about owning this item: retailers and distributors are not liable for what happens to body armor after it is sold.

Regulations by State

Let’s see what laws apply regarding this kind of ownership in every state:

Alabama

Alabama does not have any additional body armor laws. In Alabama, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or in person.

Alaska

In Alaska, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Arizona

Like many states, Arizona has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers.

Arkansas

In Arkansas, it is a Class A Misdemeanor to possess body armor if you have been convicted of murder, manslaughter, aggravated robbery, assault, or battery, and this law does not affect body armor retailers.

In any other case, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

California

In California, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Colorado

In Colorado, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Connecticut

Of all the states, Connecticut has the toughest law on body armor, prohibiting residents from buying or selling body armor except through a face-to-face sale. Online retailers cannot market and sell to Connecticut residents.

In Connecticut, it is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both, to sell or deliver body armor unless the transferee meets in person with the transferor to accomplish the sale or delivery.

The law exempts sales or deliveries to:

  1. authorized officials or sworn members of local police departments, the State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice, the Department of Correction, or the Board or Pardons or Parole;
  2. authorized municipal or Department of Administrative Services’ officials who buy body armor for the above agencies;
  3. authorized Judicial Branch officials who buy body armor for probation officers; and
  4. members of the National Guard or armed forces (CGS § 53-341b).

Delaware

Delaware has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers.

Florida

Florida has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime, and, and this does not affect body armor retailers.

In Florida, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Georgia

Georgia has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a violent crime, or while trafficking drugs. This does not affect body armor retailers.

In Georgia, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Hawaii

In Hawaii, all civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Idaho

In Idaho, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Illinois

Illinois does not have any additional body armor laws pertaining to retailers. In Illinois, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

However, it is illegal to for individuals to wear body armor while in possession of a dangerous weapon, other than a firearm, during the commission or attempted commission of any offense. Unlawful use of body armor is a Class A misdemeanor.

Indiana

In Indiana, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or in person.

A person who knowingly or intentionally uses body armor while committing a felony commits unlawful use of body armor, a Class D felony (up until July 2014, when a new law takes effect). The new law states that a person who knowingly or intentionally uses body armor while committing a felony commits unlawful use of body armor, a Level 6 felony. Again, this law effects criminals, not retailers.

Iowa

In Iowa, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Kansas

In the city of Topeka, Kansas, it is illegal to possess, carry or wear a bulletproof vest during protests, parades, rallies, assemblies and demonstrations. This statute does not affect retailers.

In Kansas, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or in person.

Kentucky

In Kentucky, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Louisiana

Louisiana has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime or on school property. This does not affect body armor retailers. In Louisiana, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Maine

In Maine, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Maryland

Maryland law mandates that all civilians with a prior conviction for a crime of violence, or a drug trafficking crime, are prohibited from using, possessing, or purchasing bulletproof body armor without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Maryland State Police.

A civilian with a prior conviction for a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime may file, for good cause shown, a petition with the Secretary for a permit to use, possess, and purchase bulletproof body armor.

 

The SEAL Survival Guide to Staying Alive in the War Zone Called “New America”

 

Massachusetts

Massachusetts has a law in place that makes it a felony to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. In Massachusetts, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Michigan

In Michigan, any civilian of age can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that civilian has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

In Michigan, an individual who commits or attempts to commit a crime that involves a violent act or a threat of a violent act against another person while wearing body armor is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both. This is not applying to state officers and security officers performing their duties while on or off a scheduled work shift.

Minnesota

In Minnesota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Mississippi

In Mississippi, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Missouri

In Missouri, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Montana

In Montana, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Nebraska

In Nebraska, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Nevada

In Nevada, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire has laws in place that make committing a crime while wearing a bulletproof vest a felony, but does not have laws in place that prohibit sales of bulletproof vests by retailers.

A person is guilty of a class B felony if he commits or attempts to commit any felony while using or wearing body armor.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Additionally, in New Jersey, a civilian can be charged separately for wearing a bullet proof vest while carrying out criminal acts. The practical effect is more jail time and fines. Separate penalties have a wide range depending on the seriousness of the underlying crime.

Experimental body armour from World War I

Experimental body armor from World War I

New Mexico

In New Mexico, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

New York

In New York, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

A civilian is guilty of the unlawful wearing of a body vest when acting either alone or with one or more other persons he commits violent felony offenses while possessing a firearm, rifle or shotgun and in the course of and in furtherance of such crime he wears a body vest. The unlawful wearing of a vest is a class E felony.

North Carolina

North Carolina has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. In North Carolina, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

North Dakota

In North Dakota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Ohio

Ohio does not have any additional body armor laws. In Ohio, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma has a law in place that makes it a felony to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. In Oklahoma, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Oregon

In Oregon, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania does not have any additional body armor laws. In Pennsylvania, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

In 2012, Rhode Island’s General Assembly passed a bill that forbids anyone convicted of a felony that is a crime of violence from buying or possessing body armor. This does not affect retailers of bullet proof vests.

South Carolina

South Carolina has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. In South Carolina, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

South Dakota

In South Dakota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Tennessee

Tennessee has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. The unlawful wearing of a vest is a Class E felony. This does not affect body armor retailers. In Tennessee, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Texas

In Texas, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Utah

In Utah, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Vermont

Vermont does not have any additional body armor laws. In Vermont, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Virginia

Virginia has one additional body armor law, like many states: Any person who, while committing a crime of violence or a felony violation, has in his possession a firearm or knife and is wearing body armor designed to diminish the effect of the impact of a bullet or projectile, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony. This law does not affect retailers.

In Virginia, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Washington State

In Washington, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

West Virginia

In West Virginia, a civilian who wears or is otherwise equipped with body armor while committing a felony offense, an element of which is force, the threat of force, physical harm to another or the use or presentment of a firearm or other deadly weapon, is guilty of a felony. This does not affect body armor retailers.

In West Virginia, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

In Wisconsin, donning a bulletproof vest during a felony or attempted felony can lead to an additional felony conviction, or the adding of extra years to the final prison sentence. This law affects certain individuals who might wear bulletproof vests, but does not affect retailers.

Wyoming

In Wyoming, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Where to Buy Body Armors From

Body armors can be sold to any person in a face-to-face transaction. No ID or background check is required and no special record keeping is needed.

Body armor can also be shipped to 49 states, while sales to customers in Connecticut can only be done via face-to-face transaction, since they cannot be sold via the post.

If you are interested to have a body armor, you can find it and buy it via a store, gun show, website, via the phone or catalog. But you cannot ship, take, bring, or send body armor outside the USA without Federal permission.

Whatever you choose, choose wisely and be aware what using this item means for you and your family protection!

 

 

This article has been written for Survivopedia by Thomas Bowman from SafeGuard.

Size Matters? How To Choose Your Bushcraft Tools Wisely

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You know the old saying that bigger is better, right? Well when it comes to bushcraft tools, one may wonder how to choose wisely the right tool for the job. Since the name of the game is wilderness survival, the perfect multi-purpose tool for the job is the proverbial blade also known as the survival knife.

And if you’re wondering why I am talking about knives when we’re supposed to be discussing bushcraft tools, a high quality, solid knife is the perfect bushcraft tool, at least in my opinion. Depending on its size and shape, a bushcraft/survival knife can be described as the quintessential multi-purpose tool.

For tens of thousands of years, the cutting blade was a man’s best friend in the wilderness, as it was an indispensable tool in basically any survival scenario. The bushcraft knife will serve you well when it comes to meeting basic survival needs, also known as the holy trinity: water, food, and shelter.

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On top of that, a bushcraft knife will play a big part in making a fire. If we’re talking about a jack of all trades, a full tang-high quality blade is a must have bushcraft tool in any scenario imaginable. Which brings us to today’s topic, because size matters: how much blade (as in length) is enough?

How much blade do you need?

Are you playing in the Crocodile Dundee category or do you just want the perfect all-arounder to fulfill your specific needs?

Video first seen on Dave Hughes.

Well, this is an almost philosophical question because everything depends on personal preferences.

However, a proper bushcraft knife must help you survive, and for that to happen, it must be able to handle a variety of functions, including self-defense, digging (very important when building a shelter), slicing, cutting, food-prep, first aid (as a tool of sorts), hunting weapon, fire making, prying tool, hammering … you get the idea, right?

Why Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better

When choosing the perfect bushcraft tool, whether it’s a knife or anything else, you must keep in mind that less is typically more, as function always trumps styling, regardless of what you’ve seen on the lobotomy box (TV).

Which brings us to our initial problem: size matters, indeed, but bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to choosing the perfect bushcraft tool. If a blade is way too big, you won’t be able to use it for detailed tasks such as carving precision gear (think snare sets) or dressing small game.

However, there’s a flipside to that coin: a small blade can’t be used for heavy-duty tasks or rugged jobs like chopping and batoning. A bigger blade would come handy when splitting wood or cutting trees, provided you don’t have anything available but your bushcraft knife.

And there’s always the issue with the ratio between the blade’s thickness and its length. The thing is, a longer blade will provide you with more leverage for heavy-duty tasks.

There are disadvantages too; for example, as the leverage increases, so do the odds of breaking the blade. A long and thin blade can be compared to a kitchen knife, while a shorter and thicker blade is more like a chisel. Do you see where this is going?

A bushcraft knife should be thicker and probably shorter than a regular knife if you’re looking for sturdiness and reliability.

After using a number of survival knives, I think the ideal size for a bushcraft knife is about 10 inches, and I am talking about overall length, which puts the blade length at about 5 inches, give or take, depending on the design.

Obviously, a hardcore bushcraft knife must be a full tang-fixed blade – forget about folders as they’re not as reliable/durable as fixed blades.

A 4-5-inch blade, provided it’s made of high quality steel, can be used for basically any task imaginable, making for the ideal combo of portability and efficiency. And speaking of practicality, a 5-inch blade knife is very comfy to carry around at all times.

The thing is, the best knife/bushcraft tool in the world would not help you out a bit if it sits cozy in your closet or in your gear bag. What you have on your person when SHTF is what makes a difference in a survival situation, right?

Big knives like machetes or 10-12-inch long bowie knives are pretty cool looking and definitely usable in a survival scenario, but they’re not the definition of practicality. A large blade can be really useful when it comes to chopping wood, yet it would never match an axe/hatchet in this department and it would be completely useless at finer tasks.

And if you think you can’t fell trees with a 5-incher, think again; everything’s about technique.

Video first seen on IA Woodsman.

However, if you’re looking into serious woodwork, you should consider carrying a hatchet together with your bushcraft knife. A medium-sized, 5-inch blade together with a hatchet would make for the perfect bushcraft survival combo.

Carrying a large knife only (a 12-incher for example, or a machete) would fill an intermediate role but it would not excel at either end compared to a a 5-incher/hatchet combo.

So, now that we’ve been through all the reasons, hopefully you can see why I believe that a 5-inch blade would make for the best bushcraft tool.

It’s fairly easy to carry around and it can be used for a multitude of purposes, i.e. to cut branches for improvising a shelter, to prepare firewood, to clean small game/fish, and it’s also more likely that you’ll have it on your person 24/7, whereas a 12-inch bowie knife or machete is more likely to sit at home on a shelf or stuffed in your bug-out bag somewhere.

When all is said and done, a smaller knife would serve you best as a bushcraft tool. You can go a little bigger, but I’d recommend keeping it under 7 inches, with the ideal size being between 4 and 5 inches.

If you take a look at what bushcraft experts are carrying, you’d see that Ray Mears, Mors Kochanski, Les Stroud, and Cody Lundin are all using bushcraft knives of roughly the same size: 4-5 inch blades.

And forget about the appeal-to-authority fallacy: just try it for yourself, and bottom line, choose wisely and don’t skimp on quality when it comes to survival gear! Your survival might depend on this!

I hope the article helped. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

Unnoticed Survival Defense: The Best Way To Carry Concealed

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As with choosing a gun, the type and design of the holster for concealed carry is a personal choice and preference. There is no such thing as one holster that will work for everyone, let alone one design or body placement that everyone would agree is the best.

To get started, ask yourself: “What is the best way for me to conceal my firearm that will give me the quickest, safest draw, and still allow for comfort?”

It’s up to you to choose between fashion, seasonal dress norms, and a holster that will enable you to draw fast and shoot if needed. Whatever is the idea you follow, choose a holster that you are willing and able to carry at all times.

As with the gun itself, if you are going to leave it home or avoid wearing it because of discomfort, it is best to look for something more suitable.

General Holster Choice Considerations for Women

Most dresses, skirts, evening wear, and even some business wear for women are designed to flatter the body, not conceal a handgun. Aside from the weight of the fabric being all wrong, the lack of pockets, belt loops, and other items make it hard to conceal a gun, magazines, or speed loaders.

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Women should choose garments or holster types carefully to avoid having a gun print while trying to wear it concealed. Let’s see what the options are, as well as some pointers to keep in mind while choosing between them.

Purse or Fanny Pack

There are many purses, handbags, and fanny packs sold that have special compartments to conceal firearms, like those from Gun Godess, even if you want to carry a larger gun. Be sure to choose a purse or fanny pack that has a hidden holster that is secured by a fast opening zipper.

Don’t use a purse or fanny pack that doesn’t have a holster. It is to dangerous to keep an unsecured handgun loose in a purse or fanny pack.

Overall, a fanny pack or purse is not a very safe place to keep your firearm even with the special holster option. A gun should never be in pack or bag that others can snatch because purses and fanny packs are always eye candy and prime targets for robbers.

Purses and fanny packs frequently wind up in shopping carts, left in bathroom stalls, or even laying on the floor of the car. If you do choose a fanny pack, make sure that you feel comfortable enough that you never have to remove it while wearing it. Remember, when carrying concealed, it is still your job to keep the gun from being stolen, and to have control of its location, and use at all times.

Some people choose a fanny pack or purse thinking that they can simply shoot through the material without having to actually draw the gun from the holster. Doing this may cause the weapon to malfunction, miss the intended target, or the bullet may not rip it’s way through the purse or fanny pack material.

Drawing and firing from a fanny pack or purse takes a lot of practice and can be time consuming. It should also be noted that a gun can easily get tangled up in purse or fanny pack straps as you are trying to draw the weapon.

Bra

The bra concealed carry has made a new comeback with Flashbang holsters. This holster is connected directly to the bra and can be worn below or between the breasts. It uses a Kydex clamshell design holster to better secure the handgun and protect the trigger guard; which protects the wearer from accidental discharges that could be fatal.

For best results when drawing from this holster, you must have easy access to it. The more clothes you are wearing, or the tighter they are, the longer it will take to draw the gun. Clothing wise, you will do best with a well fitting, sturdy bra. Light weight tops that are easy to lift up and replace will also make it easier to draw as quickly as possible when needed.

Garter or Thigh Holsters

These holster types are suitable if you prefer to wear dresses or skirts. The thigh holster is kept in place by a wide elastic band around the upper thigh that keeps the holster from slipping down. It should fit snugly on your thigh and the holster should also have features that protect the trigger from accidental discharge.

Garter and thigh holsters can be a bit uncomfortable and slip down if the gun is too heavy, so you may need to carry a lighter weight gun.

Ankle

Some women like the idea of an ankle holster because it’s off the waist line and easy to hide under a pair of wide legged pants.

There are two ways to wear an ankle holster. The first is to use an elastic garter system that fits snugly around the calf of your non-dominant leg with the holster attached just above the ankle with an adjustable Velcro strap. The second way is to just have a Velcro wrap-a- round adjustment strap to secure the holster.

Drawing from an ankle holster can be very awkward under normal conditions, and also when driving. In a situation where you must fight or dodge blows, it may be nearly impossible to draw the weapon and remain safe while doing so.

If your normal concealed carry weapon is too heavy or too large, it can disrupt your gait, and also be very uncomfortable to wear over a long period of time. You may have to use a lighter or a smaller caliber handgun to use the ankle holster safely. Insofar as manufacturers, I recommend Uncle Mike’s and Galco.

Inside the Waist Band (IWB)

If a woman wants to use the IWB carry, jeans or other heavy cotton pants work best. These pants need to have belt loops that will be able to support the weight of the handgun, extra magazines or speed loaders, a flashlight, and a knife.

To cover up this type of carry, wear a shirt, sweater, or light jacket that offers quick access to the firearm. Most individuals that use this carry prefer to wear their cover clothing over the outside of their pants.

When compared to other holster types, this one is safest because the gun is always on your body. It is also located in a place where you will be able to grab it fastest without having to shift your body around.

IWB holsters such as the Kydex Hybrid inside the pants holster by Cleveland Holsters are also the hardest to detect because you can easily wear bulky or loose fitting clothes that will prevent it from printing.

General Holster Choice Considerations for Men

If you are a man and wish to carry a handgun concealed, it can be just as complicated as finding the right holster for a woman. While your body placement options will be different, the ability to conceal a specific gun size and avoid printing can still be challenging.

Here are some of the most popular body placements to consider as well as things to consider about how they are used.

Shoulder Carry

This holster positions the handgun in the vertical or horizontal position on one side of your rib cage, below the armpit. A coat or jacket will be needed to hide the shoulder rig from sight. You can carry larger weapons easily with this holster type, and also conceal them with relative ease. It also gives you plenty of room for more than one magazine, a flash light, and a knife.

Since you can position items all over the harness, it is easy to balance out the weight around your body. Insofar as drawing from the harness, you will need to practice a weakside holster with a strongside cross draw across the chest. This can take some getting used to.

Holster Shirts

As the name implies, this is a tight fitting t-shirt with carry pouches on either side of your body under the armpits. Each of these pouches are designed to carry a pistol or a magazine, depending on your dominant shooting hand. It’s to your advantage to wear a loose fitting shirt when using this carry to keep from printing as well as for easy access to the pistol. Tucked in shirts will do nothing but slow down the draw. Many men prefer holster shirts to shoulder carry because holster shirts are newer, and are therefore considered more fashionable.

Inside the Waist Band Holsters (IWB)

This is one of the most popular and carried concealed carry systems because it is easier and faster to draw from than any other holster type. IWB holsters also have a reputation for being one of the easiest kind to conceal. If you are right handed the pistol is usually carried around the 5 o’clock position.

For left handed shooters the pistol is carried around the 8 o’clock position. To keep the holster stable, belt clips wrap around your belt and offer greater retention of the holster, extra magazine holders, flashlights, and knives. To cover the IWB holster, wear long pants with your shirt or sweater not tucked in for faster drawing.

The IWB carry is excellent for anytime of the year. Always be careful what you plan to carry depending on the time of the year. If it is warm and you are wearing light weight clothing, it is possible to print the weapon on your shirt or pants (which could get you arrested in some states).

To avoid printing, use a firearm that works with your body type and wear looser fitting clothing. Choose dark colored shirts instead of white or light colored ones to prevent the gun color from showing beneath your shirt.

Pocket Carry

The pocket carry is a very popular concealed carry for men because it is easy to hide in shorts as well as long pants. The main challenge with this holster type is that it is primarily designed for smaller pistols such as the S&W Bodyguard .380 or the Ruger LCP.

It is very important to only carry a pistol size that fit properly into the holster without trying to squeeze it in. You must also be very careful to choose a good quality model that has a trigger guard. If your gun has a manual safety, make sure it is engaged and functional when wearing this holster.

While these holsters may sound appealing and conceal well, they can also be the most dangerous when it comes to accidental trigger pulls. The last thing you will want to do is shoot yourself in the leg, testicle, or elsewhere because the trigger accidentally depressed while the gun is in the holster.

Learn how to draw and release the safety as fast as possible rather than take the chance of hurting yourself by leaving the safety off when using this kind of holster.

Ankle Carry

The ankle holster is another popular concealed carry that works well with smaller sized pistols. If you do a lot of sitting during the day, this holster can give you fast and easy access to the pistol.

As with women, however, you will find it challenging to draw this gun if you are standing, running, or walking. In a self-defense situation where you are fighting, it may be nearly impossible to manage every other move you must make and draw the weapon.

You may also find that an ankle holster will disrupt your gait or lead to muscle soreness on one side if you don’t shift the carry from one leg to the other on a regular basis. Alternatively, you may need to choose a lighter, smaller weapon for the sake of comfort and safety.

It’s very important for both men and women to think carefully about where to place a concealed carry gun on their body and which holsters will work best. Once you find a holster design and body placement that works, practice regularly with it until drawing techniques become second nature and encoded in your muscle memory.

As with the gun itself, in the end, the best holster will be the one that you are comfortable with and actually use and practice with so that you can succeed in defending yourself quickly and efficiently.

 

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

10 Essentials For Surviving In The Wilderness At Night

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You are convinced that it could never happen to you, don’t you? But there is no escaping the fact that you might be stuck out in the wilderness at night.

If you have no experience with camping, or have spent little time in the woods, this can be a frightening and dangerous experience.

Even if you are completely alone, knowing how to do these ten things can keep you safe and in good condition.

If you ever have to survive some sort of disaster and decide to stay in a wooded area, you will be much closer to being able to stay in this setting for weeks, or even months if needed.

Be Mentally and Emotionally Prepared

You emotional and mental preparedness for surviving in the wild should start before you find yourself in the woods and have to face the experience.

Remember, nature is not your enemy. The woods and its inhabitants usually kill or maim only in the course of trying to survive, defend themselves from predators, and raise their young. As long as you do not interfere, you can live comfortably in the woods regardless of the time of day.

If you are reading this and know nothing of living in or traveling through the wilderness, start learning from now. Read articles, go camping with experienced groups of people, and do all you can to gather factual and accurate information on how to live in the woods and understand its inhabitants.

The more you know about living in these conditions, the less you will fear them. The less fear you have, the easier it will be to go about taking care of basic needs if you must stay in a wilderness setting at night.

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Maintain Appropriate Body Temperature

As with any other place, temperatures are apt to drop at night. If you did not bring extra clothing, or the right kinds of clothes, you will need to find some other way to keep warm. Here are a few things that can save you:

Plastic Bags

Always keep a construction grade plastic bag with you, it will be large enough to line with leaves or other insulating material to sleep in.

Remember to leave some room open even around your body so that sweat evaporates properly and air continues to circulate around your skin. In extreme cold temperatures, moisture near your skin can cause your core temperature to drop to dangerous levels.

Build a Fire

Learn how to build a fire safely and effectively, including how to build a fire in the rain. Pack a tea light, and remember to search for pine cones. Both will make excellent tinder material.

Don’t forget to bring along a fire starter such as waterproof matches or some other type of fire starter that you feel comfortable with.

Cover Yourself with Leaves

As long as the leaves aren’t damp and are free of bugs, mold, and mildew, they will keep you warmer than not covering with anything at all.

Find and Purify Water to Stay Hydrated

Maybe you aren’t lost, and still expect to arrive back in a populated area in a few hours. Even though you may not think much about water, it is still need it on hand and to stay hydrated all the time.

When you are stressed out, engaging in more intense physical activities, or dealing with increased temperature changes, your body will release more sweat, and also use more water for other vital processes.

So you need clean water on hand and use it when you are trying to survive in the wilderness especially if overnight. Ideally, you should be able to purify at least ½ to one gallon of water for your overnight needs.

Here are some things you can keep with you as well as skills to develop:

  • Know how to capture water from leaves, earth, and rainfall.
  • Keep a long tube sock, bone char, some sand, and activated carbon in your travel gear at all times. You can use them to make a filter to remove chemical contaminants and debris from the water. It is also important to have some kind of vessel to boil the water in so that you can kill off any pathogens that may be in the water.
  • There are also filtering water straws available that come with a complete water cleaning system. Just make sure you drink through the straws, and you will have clean water.
  • Carry water purifying tablets. Be sure to always know the limitations of these tablets so that you can use other systems if needed.
  • Learn how to make charcoal and bone char.
  • Contrary to popular belief, boiling water alone will not produce clean water. It will only concentrate heavy metals and other poisons, making the water more dangerous to drink. If you are concerned about removing pathogens from the water, it is better to put the water in a clear plastic bottle and let it sit in the sun for a few hours. UV from the sun will kill the pathogens without causing water to evaporate.

Obtain Food

You might be too stressed to eat, but it have to know how to get food in the wilderness during the night hours. Since many animals are more active at night, you can try hunting them, or set traps.

If you happen to be near a pond, you can set traps for fish, or try to hunt for frogs.

When hunting at night, always be aware that the animals you are hunting may also be prey for another animal in the woods. That animal, in turn, may decide you are competition and hunt you instead.

Before you go into any wilderness setting, always know how the local food chain works so that you can steer clear of predators and still take the game you need for survival.

As with any other time of day, lichens, moss, berries, and fruit will still be available. Learn the Universal edibility test, and practice using it so that you can avoid being poisoned.

If you decide to carry food with you, choose high calorie items that do not require heating. You can also bring along a few ready to eat meals that come with warming packets if you want a more complete meal. Even if you only have enough packets to last for two or three days, it will be enough until you are able to gather food on your own.

Shelter From Storms, Wind, and Other Bad Weather

Aside from being colder, you may also wind up dealing with rain, wind, or other weather elements that you will not want to be out in.

As long as you have a knife (or a sharp edge on a rock) branches, vines (or long stemmed plants), leaves available you can make a shelter that will keep you dry and warm.

Here are some other things you can try:

Look for a Cave

Caves offer plenty of protection, however they are also likely to be dens for bats, bears, and other animals that won’t want you spending the night with them.

If you do decide to spend the night in a cave, make sure you check all passages and all areas of the cave to make sure you aren’t taking up space in another animal’s territory. This includes snakes, spiders, and other animals that can hide easily under rocks and in shaded areas that you might overlook.

Dig a Hole in the Ground

Dig a small hole or depression in the ground, and then put leaves over it. Try to build up the sides a bit to prevent rain from flowing in. This makeshift shelter will not last more than a few hours, but it will get you through the night.

Tree Trunk Protection

Look for a hollow in a tree trunk, or at the base of an uprooted tree. These areas will shelter you from the wind and rain, depending on the direction it is coming from.

As with caves, make sure there are no animals and insects already living there that might cause you problems. In this case, you would be looking for squirrels, raccoon, snakes, and biting insects known to live in or near rotting wood or in tree trunks.

Discourage Predatory Animals and Prevent Insect Bites

For the most part, if you know how to build a fire and can keep it going through the night, predatory animals will stay away from you.

On the other side the equation, many insects are drawn to light, and will gravitate to the fire. You will need to experiment to find the best distance from the fire to avoid falling outside its light, be close enough to stay warm, and still not be swarmed by insects (that will be killed off eventually by the flames).

Insofar as discouraging predatory animals, you will need to know which ones are usually in the area, and also how best to deter them if they appear. Some animals may run away if you yell, while others may decide to attack. A good understanding of animal psychology is essential.

In order to prevent insect bites at night, your best option will be to wear long sleeved shirts and pants. Make sure that all cuffs are sealed off with rubber bands and that the hems of your pants are also tucked into your socks.

To protect your face and neck from insect bites, take a wide brimmed hat and attach some fine webbed fabric over it. Let the fabric drape down to just below your neck, and then make sure it seals to your shirt. Do not put the fabric too close to your face or neck, or the insects will just find a way to bite through it.

Manage Hygiene and Sanitation

Even though you can washing your hands and face with wet wipes, it never hurts to carry a small bar of lye soap and some towels with you.

In particular, if you are spending the night in the woods because of a nuclear disaster, you will need the lye soap for washing off any dust or debris from your skin.

Managing sanitation is also very important because predators can find your urine and stool even if you bury them. Make sure you stay away from areas where water and food are likely to be found, as predators will check there first for prey.

Take Care of Routine and Emergency Medical Needs

Even if you don’t have any injuries, or don’t feel sick, it is still important to know what to do and have some tools on hand. Here are some things you should carry and skills you should learn:

  • know the signs of food poisoning or allergy. Keep Benadryl with you and an epi pen. If you suspect you ate something poisonous, make sure you know how to vomit it back out if it is still in your stomach, or use activated charcoal to try and absorb it and move it out of your system.
  • Always know how to make a tourniquet, splints, and wraps for joint support.
  • Keep essential oils, herbs, and at least a week’s supply of any medications you may be taking onhand. It also never hurts to know what plants in the woods might be useful for taking the place of your medications if the need arises.
  • Know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on yourself, just in case you are alone and swallow something the wrong way.
  • Understand water safety and know how to build a flotation device so that you don’t wind up drowning.

Be Able to Signal for Help

If you were traveling, got lost, and left travel plans, there is a chance searchers will be looking for you. Depending on the weather conditions, rescuers may or may not try to look for you at night. If you built a fire (use a triangle shape), knowing how to create a smoke signal may be of some help.

In addition, if you happen to hear a random chopper overhead, you can try to get their attention with the fire, a flashlight, red laser, or flares if you have them.

Remain Concealed if Needed

During a state of emergency or some kind of major social disruption, you may decide that you’d prefer to avoid the attention of rioters or anyone else that could hurt you. Under these circumstances, building a fire for any reasons is not likely to be an option.

By the same token, sheltering on the ground is also apt to be a problem. Try concealing yourself in a tree or some other location where people aren’t likely to look. If you must stay on the ground, make it a point to cover yourself with leaves or stay in a bunch of brambles so that you are harder to see.

Here are some other things to consider:

  • know how to stay perfectly quiet. People pursuing you may have dogs or other tracking animals trained to pick up on even the slightest sound that you make.
  • Tracking animals can also pick up on your scent. Never pick a place to rest near where you have buried waste, eaten, or carried out some other task.
  • Learn how to use backtracks and other tricks to ensure an animal following your scent cannot pick up your trail.
  • People tracking you may also use thermal profile systems or metal finders to locate you and anything you are carrying. It is very important to know how to break up your thermal profile. Try to avoid lumping all metal objects together in your camping gear, or carry as few metallic objects as possible to keep avoid being detected.

Much of surviving in the wilderness at night is about common sense. You will still need some basic tools such as a knife, fire starting gear, heavy plastic bags, and drinking water bottles to make things a bit easier.

As with anything else, even if you start off with a few tools that you know how to use, and then build on your skill and knowledge levels, it will be easier to spend a night in the wilderness, and come to enjoy the experience as many hikers and campers do.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Deer Hunting: Best Practices For The Novice

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Deer is one of the most commonly hunted animals within the United States. For good reason too, they’re the smallest and least elusive of the large game animals and the tags usually aren’t going to break the bank.

It’s not quite as simple as sitting in a stand waiting for them to walk under you though, many of those who oppose hunting have no idea just how much goes into properly filling the freezer with venison.

So let’s talk a little about some of the lesser known practices that can help you bag a buck.

Hunting Variations and Deer

There are, essentially, three types of deer hunting which are used. You don’t just walk into the woods with a rifle and find a deer, the way many people imagine.

The most common, undoubtedly, is that of blind hunting. It’s mostly used by rifle hunters and is the “good-ol-boy’s” favored method. If you’ve got access to the land for it, you’ll build a box blind in the off-season.

One of the main things people forget is that it is not the blind which needs to be hidden. It’s the movement within the blind while you’re lining up the shot. Ideally, you should have built it large enough you can rest your rifle and sandbag or bipod as you prefer without the barrel protruding. This is obvious to all but the most obvious of hunters, of course.

The second big thing which can go wrong with a blind is not painting the interior. You need an interior color which can hide you, because you’ll stick out like crazy moving against a plain wooden interior. If you wear old olive drab BDUs while hunting? Go with OD green and you can’t go wrong.

From here, you’ll need to be still and quiet and as long as you’ve set up in the right area you’ll be in good hands.

Stand hunting is often favored by bow hunters. In this case, you’ll find that safe construction of a stand and the ability to remain still for an extended period is your best friend. When it comes to this kind of hunting, your ability to choose a proper shooting lane is your best friend.

Stalk-and-spot hunting isn’t commonly used by many, rifle or bow. This will entail you moving very, very slowly through the woods. Remaining behind cover. Your glass will be your best friend in this case.

Did we mention moving slowly? Because a step every fifteen to thirty seconds isn’t uncommon once you’re in the right area. For bow hunters this is even more essential, due to the limited range of their weapon.

It’s an extremely difficult form of hunting to master. No hunting is really just walking into the woods with a weapon, but extremely rewarding. If you’re a complete novice to hunting, you may wish to try with less wary prey than deer, many of us started with small, fast game like rabbits and ground fowl before even attempting to move on to larger game.

Deer, in particular, are notoriously difficult to hunt in this way and success isn’t guaranteed for anyone but the virtual master.

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Deer Behavior

Deer are commonly seen as peaceful, kind of docile animals.

This is a huge misconception in hunting season. A doe or buck that gets even an inkling of a human being can be gone before you can blink. While the does with young you see in more urban areas aren’t super human shy, during the hunting season in areas where you are allowed they are extremely alert.

Sight

The senses of deer are very finely tuned, but often in quite different ways than people assume.

The primary difference between being “sharp” and being different, however, lies within their sight. Their eyes see in a completely different spectrum than humans, many people think their cheap woodland camo is going to keep them hidden well.

It will… from other humans. Certain dyes used in manufacturing clothing are actually ultraviolet reactive, and it’s common for this to be seen in much of the “hunting” gear you see at large. Always test your camo.

Use a black light, if it fluoresces then you may as well be glowing to the animals while you’re hunting. This is especially important when you’re hunting from within a blind.

There are products available to kill the optical brightening of these dyes, and they can be found readily online, so test and treat your gear.

Deer vision, apart from this remarkable quality is still not great, but here’s the thing… they lack visual acuity. Movement sense and their field of vision is actually still remarkable, but they’re not as “sharp” as humans which makes it a bit easier to hide your human form.

Smell

Their hearing and sense of smell, on the other hand, are remarkable. A deer can smell you from half a mile away, they also process smells much differently than we do.

This is why it’s so important to cover your scent trail in any way possible. One of the best is simply to make sure that you go through the usuals of covering your scent.

Thankfully, in most areas this isn’t as large of an advantage as you might imagine. Deer are wary, but no one would be bagging them if they bolted at the first sign of human scent. Do your best using the traditional methods and you should be fine.

Hearing

Deer hearing actually isn’t much better than a humans. They just tend to be more wary than a human, after all… you’re a big predator. If you hear a stick crack, you’re not likely to jump while out in the woods unless you’re already aware there’s a bigger predator in the area.

Deer, on the other hand, are constantly on the look-out for their predators.

They do have one distinct advantage however: their directional hearing is much better than ours. They can hear slightly higher on the scale than humans. A noise you’re likely to barely notice, a knife being slid slowly out of a sheath or a quietly moved bolt on a rifle, is enough to set most deer off.

What all of this sensory information really brings us to is one thing, however.

Awareness

Humans live in noisy environments. Even the best of us aren’t likely to be spooked by a slightly off noise. A trained human might be able to discern something really off, around us. A knife clicking open, a pistol being cocked, or quickening foot steps behind us, but even the average “aware” person isn’t going to immediately react to this.

Deer, on the other hand, aren’t just being hunted by us. They live their lives surrounded by predators in an environment with predictable noises. This means that the slightest thing off makes a deer wary, and something being really off will set them running.

Keeping this in mind, in addition to the sensory information above, is your key to understanding their behavior.

Basic Scouting

Most hunters with private land have a fairly predictable method. You make a blind, you plant food plots around the area in order to ensure that you attract deer, and then you’ll spend some time waiting in a blind during deer season.

When you’re on public land, or land which is improperly prepared things are different. Even if you’re not going for proper spot-and-stalk style hunting you still need to know where to set up your pop-up or temporary stand.

This means locating animal trails, water sources, and likely food sources for the animals in question. You’ll likely be spending a good amount of time in the woods even in the off-season in a new area.

Frankly, some of us get bored doing this after five or six trips. Grab a decent Gamo and bag some rabbits or tree squirrels if they’re in season while you’re doing it if you find it too boring, but keep in mind you’re learning their habits not just small game hunting.

You need to know not just habits, but also shooting lanes if you’re a rifle hunter.

Making the Kill

Shooting lanes are possibly the most important part of your making the kill. Look, if you’re not competent enough to hit the deer in the first place, you should be at the range and not in the woods.

A shooting lane means an area where you’ll have the distance a deer can’t quite detect you without obstruction. Don’t trust “brush guns”, I’ve seen .45-70 rounds deflect by up to six inches from hitting light bushes. If your area is too densely overgrown, then you may have to make some or rely on shooting from height.

Once you have a few established shooting lanes, whether from your blind or stand, it’s time to discuss the actual kill shot.

The Best Place to Shoot a Deer

There is always going to be debate about this aspect. The obvious goal is always one-shot one-kill. However, there’s a certain level of marksmanship which will go into each and every shot that you’ll make.

At less than 150 yards a competent rifleman, shooting at a still deer, can be taken in the head. This offers the best chance of the deer dropping either instantly or within five to ten feet. There three accepted ways to do this:

  • Brain shots are very hard to pull off. You basically fire between the tear ducts, instantly destroying the animal’s brain.
  • Secondly, by shooting behind the eyes you can instantly destroy most of the brain, usually dropping the animal almost instantly.
  • Lastly, a shot into the top four pieces of the spine, just below the base of the skull has much of the same effect.

 Of course, not all hunters are expert riflemen, and I wouldn’t imply you need to be. The other commonly accepted shot is the “double-shoulder” shot. You are trying to shoot through the actual shoulder blade of the deer in question. This shot is usually done with a fairly large round, a .308 or .30-06 for example. In this case, the shot will generally lodge in the opposite shoulder blade, in effect this snaps the deer’s spine.

The typical “heart-lung” shot is perfectly viable as well. In this case you shoot through the front of the torso in the “boiler-room” area. This is perfectly viable, hard to miss, and with luck will drop the deer quickly enough you won’t have to give much chase.

As far as pros and cons go, it’s a pretty easy break down:

Head shots are an instant kill.A near miss can damage the jaw or miss the deer entirely, it’s only recommended for expert riflemen.

The shoulder shot is a big kill, and fairly easy to make. It does, however, damage a lot of meat since you’ll need to use a high caliber round to do it effectively.

The heart/lung shot is a reliable kill. It is not, however, always a fast kill and if only a single lung is damaged the deer may escape and even recover.

With a bow, you are nearly always best off taking the shot in a way that it goes through the heart and lungs. Arrows cause considerable tissue damage but lack the concussive force for a high shoulder kill and the probability of a head shot being both viable and accurate enough for it to matter is too risky to make it an ethical shot for anything but a chance encounter at fifteen yards or less with a powerful bow.

Common Mistakes

There are a lot of common mistakes that inexperienced hunters make, and to be honest most of them are drawn from misconceptions that people who’ve rarely been in the field make.

Not wearing blaze orange in deer season, especially on public land, is asking for trouble. Some hunters don’t follow safety rules, and taking a bullet wound is not worth the risk. Vests and hats should be a minimum, jackets are better.

Making tons of noise is also something common. Not just the obvious talking. Tighten knife sheathes in multiple areas to avoid “slapping.” Look for softer outer clothing to avoid scraping noises as well. Secure your pack as well as possible and if you must lean on something, then be careful getting off and on it in order to make sure you don’t make any “scraping” noises.

Always be aware of your surroundings.

And above all, this is the most common mistake I see people make: examine every piece of a failed hunt. Observe the routes you moved, the gear you used, and always question each and every possible misstep you made.

In many ways, a failed hunt can make you better at hunting than one where you got lucky.
That is what truly separates a good hunter from a failed one: the ability to analyze your mistakes. Hunting is an art, it is skill, and it is a constant learning process.

Learning to be a Better Hunter

Always learn about your quarry. Always sharpen your skills. Always examine your mistakes.

If you do all of these, you will find yourself progressing at a rate you never thought possible. You will fill tags season after season.

If you don’t, well, it’s no shame to just spend a couple of days in the woods with friends but don’t expect as much success as those who are constantly trying to better their skills.

Either way, happy hunting!

This article has been written as a guest author for Survivopedia by Kevin Steffey, the founder of Deer Hunting Field

How To Survive When Caught In The Middle Of A Shooting

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In today’s modern world, robberies, shootings, muggings, and other criminal activities have become more common place.

If you don’t know what to do in these situations, the odds are you could become a victim of a shooting.

Here are some things you can do if you wind up in the middle of a shooting and need to avoid getting hurt.

Scenario 1: The Shooter is In Your Area, But Not Close to You

If you are not armed or don’t have sufficient training with the gun you are carrying, the best thing you can do is run away from the shooter and get to a safe location.

Once there, call 911 and report the incident.

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Scenario 2: The Shooter is So Close You Cannot Run Away, But You Can Still Hide

Depending on the situation, you may only have enough time to find a place to hide, but not completely leave the scene. Evaluate possible covers that will give you the most protection and also the ability to maneuver if you need to – a school, restaurant, other place of business, or a even a home.

Here’s what to do to save yourself.

Find a Hiding Spot

Find a room that is out of the shooters view and away from the path of murder, and destruction.

The room must offer some protection from incoming bullets such as thick heavy doors and walls.

Lock or Block the Door

The hiding area door should be heavy duty, lockable, and without windows (unless they are steel wire reinforced safety glass).

If not lockable, it must be possible to barricade the door closed. Use heavy items like tables and chairs, heavy storage boxes or anything else that could greatly slow the shooter down. The shooter must be made to feel that it will take too long to break into this area.

If they think it will take too long to get in, or it isn’t worth the time or trouble, they may leave the area to look for easier targets.

Put a Solid Barrier between you and the Shooter

It is always to your advantage to know as much as possible about the construction of any building that you are in.

For example, if you are in a store, is the back delivery area divided from the rest of the store by a cement wall? What about the bathrooms, specialty centers, or other areas that may have a cement or other thick wall that can be put between you and the active shooter?

If you are in a restaurant, pay attention to counters and other areas that may be fortified.

Find Safety in Small Spaces

Always know where the staircases and paths to the cellar or basement are located. There is a chance the active shooter will be pointing upward, not down while on his/her path of destruction. In addition, staircases may have closets or small rooms under them that may be built of cinder block. They may also have metal lining or some other heavy material that will make them more resistant to bullets.

Aside from that, the shooter may be looking to find as many people as possible, so there is a chance they will look for bigger, more obvious rooms instead of waste time with what looks like a closet.

While You Are Hiding in Place

Once you find a suitable location, it will still take some work to remain safe. If you have children hiding with you, they have to follow these guidelines too. You should also be teaching your children about how to hide, and stay safe when hiding as soon as they are old enough to remember and understand what you are telling them.

Stay away from the door and make no noise. Do not talk, whisper, or pray out loud. Turn cell phone ringers and vibrators off. There must be complete silence. If someone can’t comply, gag them! Everyone’s survival depends on it.

These days, many people also have service animals or small pets with them. It can be very hard to keep a dog from whimpering, barking, or even growling if they sense an emotionally charged situation. If you have a service animal, practice hiding drills with them. This includes making sure they will stay as silent and still as possible until you direct them to pursue more normal activities.

Crouch behind heavy items that can offer protection from incoming fire like heavy furniture, tables, or full large shipping containers.

If there is a closet or bathroom in the room, hide in there. The additional walls will give some extra protection from gun fire. In addition, if the shooter looks into the outer room and sees no one, they may not bother to look in the other enclosed areas within the room.

Dial 911 to let the police know that there is an active shooter at your location. If the shooter is close, keep the phone line open for police to hear what is going on. Do not put the speaker phone on. Remember, you don’t want any stray sounds to give away your location.

Sometimes shooters will yell, knock on doors, and pretend to be police to fool hiding individuals to come out of hiding. Don’t open the door for any reason. If you have a cell phone with you, find out from the emergency dispatch if the police have arrived, and if they are at your door. Be as quiet as you can. Wait for confirmation before coming out of hiding.

Scenario 3: When You Can’t Get Into a Room

Consider a situation where you are in the middle area of a store, or some other area where it is not very easy to get to a room or other safe enclosure. The first thing you will have to do is decide which direction is best to go in when you have a chance.

Usually, the back of the store will have a loading area, as well as rest rooms and building maintenance rooms. Unless you are a dealing with a work place violence scenario, these rooms may be the best ones to head for. You may be very tempted to head for the front of the store, but you run the risk of being caught in the crossfire, especially if the police are surrounding the area.

Once you have a general direction to head in, you can use the aisles and anything else in the area for cover. Do not rely on the shelves or items on them to stop bullets.

Stay as low as you can to the ground, and also try to avoid aisles with anything that might explode or catch fire if a bullet hits it.

Scenario 4: Hiding Outside

Many people think that if they are outside, there is no real need to worry about the presence of an active shooter. On the other side of the equation, if the shooter sees you, they may shoot through a window or decide to go outside and see if there are other targets of interest.

You should still focus in getting as far away from the scene as possible, but it may still be necessary to hide.

Here are some things you can do:

  • If you are outside and shots are being fired in your general direction, try to hide behind a concrete wall or a large dirt mound. These items offer both good cover and concealment.
  • Places that offer concealment will only hide your presence, but they will not stop the bullets from hitting you. Tall grass, bushes, or even wooden signs will work for this purpose. If at all possible, lay flat on the ground so that you don’t cast a shadow. Try to pick an area that has a slight depression so that you won’t be as likely to be hit by a stray bullet. At night, you can use darker shadow areas as hiding places. Try to choose a spot where a flashlight shining won’t give away your presence.
  • If there is a car nearby, try to stay near the engine area, as it is the most likely to stop the bullets. Remember, the shooter may see your feet under the car, so try to remain crouched, but keep your feet so they are not visible behind the tires.
  • Deep drainage ditches with 3-4 foot diameter conduit piping can also be used as a temporary hiding place. Here you would be out of sight and hopefully out of mind.
  • Getting into a storm sewer drainage system or under ground utility service tunnels may not be easy, but it will provide excellent cover and safety from a topside active shooter. Just remove the cover and drop down to safety, replace the cover if possible, and move out of the well lit areas.

What To Do While Hiding in Place Outdoors

As with hiding indoors, make sure you remain as quiet as possible. This includes making sure the cell phone ringer and vibrator are turned off.

Keep a low profile and stay down as low as possible. Do not move unless you absolutely have to.

Call 911 to give the police your location and tell them if the active shooter is still in your area. Keep the phone line open for the police to monitor the situation.

Never light matches, turn on lights, or turn on anything that might reveal your presence. This is especially important if you decide to take refuge in a tunnel, conduit, or other dark area. If an active shooter suspects that people are hiding in these locations, they may follow you in. Staying as invisible and quiet as possible will be to your advantage.

Scenario 5: Escaping While in Plain Sight of the Attacker

Even though there may be no cover available, there may still be a chance for you to escape, if you know what to do. Here are some tips that you can help you avoid as many bullets as possible:

Zig Zag Running

When running away from an active shooter, never run in a straight line. Always run in a zig zag pattern.

Doing this forces the shooter to keep changing his shooting and aiming angle.

Don’t be an Easy Target

If there are closer individuals running in a straight line, the shooter will usually switch to shooting the easier targets.

Look for the Dark Side

It is possible to use darkness or low lighting conditions to escape from an active shooter at night even if they see you. The trick here is to get the shooter to fire at something other than yourself.

Once the shooter fires, they will have just destroyed their night vision, and it will take a minute or two for them to spot you again. Use that time wisely to either take cover or travel as far away as you can. Remember to stay low and move fast.

When escaping at nighttime, be aware of how much the moon lights up the escape route. If it is a full moon, there will be enough light for the shooter to see you clearly and take the shot. If there is a new moon or no moonlight at all, the lack of lighting will help to conceal you and will make it easier to escape.

Against the Light

In daylight, try to get in a position where the sunlight is low on the horizon and behind you. Here the shooter has to deal with bright sunlight and must overcome its blinding effects to shoot at you. This kind of lighting can also produce shadows that will serve to hide you.

Find Cover

Even though the area you must run through is in plain sight, that doesn’t mean the land is totally flat or with no place to hide. There will always be little depressions or rises in the land that might be used to hide in or behind. Drainage ditches and other depressions will work for this purpose.

If there is a fire hydrant or a traffic light control box in this area, use it as a temporary cover, then move out again towards a safer location. Remember to zig zag until you reach an area of safety.

Using a storm sewer or an utility conduct service tunnel would be an excellent way to get safely across this area and beyond.

No matter whether you took refuge indoors or outside, there is still a chance that the shooter will remain close by for some time.

If you happen to be carrying a gun, or can make a weapon from something nearby, try and neutralize the shooter. Even something as simple as a broken bottle or a piece of metal can be used to injure or kill an attacker. The keys to succeeding will still include training and practice with improvised weapons as well as knowing what to look for insofar as a viable opening to use the weapon.

In today’s high crime areas it is important to know how to stay safe and not to become a victim. Learn how to be street smart, learn how and when to hide, and how to blend in with your surroundings.

Along with situation awareness, practice hiding as well as escape methods that will serve you well in time of need. It takes practice to get a survivor mindset and skills!

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

6 Things You Must Know When Choosing A Biofilter

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If you are interested in building a homestead or want to live as well as possible while all the world is falling apart, you’ll have to face the challenge of sewage and waste disposal. On the other hand, there are so many pollutants in the air, ground, and water, that you will need a way to manage harmful toxins and chemicals on your own.

Biofilters can be used to manage these and other problems.

Do you know what to be aware of when buying a biofilter? Here’s what you should know before any acquisition. Keep reading!

What is a Biofilter?

If you have ever kept an aquarium or fish pond, then you may already be acquainted with the concept of a biofilter. Basically, these filters rely partly on mechanical media to remove debris, toxic gasses, and other pollutants from a surrounding substance that is pumped through the media.

The filter media is also used as a growing place for bacteria that can break down even more chemicals and turn them into something less dangerous. For example, in an aquarium or pond, nitrifying bacteria break down ammonia excreted by fish and turn it into nitrates. The nitrates, in turn, are used by plants which release oxygen into the water.

Modern biofilters for aquariums and ponds still rely on the same bacteria to keep the water clean and in as good a condition as possible for the fish living in it. Other biofilters are emerging to take care of many other needs.

Some use other kinds of bacteria, while others use fungi and other micro organisms. Since different chemicals and molecules require different micro-organisms to break them down, you will find that each filter has a specific purpose and may not be usable for other applications.

This proven-to-work portable device which provides clean fresh water 24/7! 

What a Biofilter Will and Won’t Clean

Basically, a biofilter can break down or “clean” just about anything that can be metabolized by the micro organisms living in the filter. Many are only available to businesses, government, or other commercial consumers, but biofilters for different purposes are making their way to the masses.

If you wonder what kinds of micro organisms are used for such a dirty job and what could they deliver, here are a few examples:

  • Bacteria that break down sludge and sewage – these biofilters are available to consumers at all levels. For example, you can buy sludge removers for drains as well as for septic systems. There are also composting toilets available that utilize these kinds of bacteria.
  • Bacteria used in hydroponics, ponds, and aquarium systems – you get these bacteria “for free” along with any fish you might buy, and there are also jump start bacteria that you can use to establish them even faster in a new aquarium or hydroponic setup. In addition, there are newer and more powerful biofilter/pump systems arriving on the market that take even more advantage of these filters to accommodate larger aquariums and volumes of water.
  • Bacteria that break down plastics – these bacteria are very important for dealing with plastic waste that you don’t want to bury or have leaching into the soil. These bacteria and appropriate media are not readily available to the public, but you can expect to see these devices making their way onto the market as the technology gets cheaper.
  • Bacteria and fungi that break down volatile organic compounds – these biofilters are not widely available. They are designed, however, to break down paints and toxic gaseous pollutants in the air. You may not be able to buy a biofilter for air filtration, but you could make your own. In this case, you can make a fairly large on using a fan to move contaminated air into a pipe that leads under a bed of peat, wood chips, straw, or other appropriate media. Today, these filters are being used on commercial farms that are located near residential areas affected by the odor from animals living on the farms. You can also build a similar system for a homestead, especially if you are going to keep large animals in a relatively small or enclosed area. You can still use the same fan and pipe arrangement for pushing contaminated air into a location where it will be exposed to the micro organisms in the filter.
  • Other filters for water, or mud (soil that has been liquefied enough to pass through the filter). Even though these filters may not be readily available, you can still get pumps that will move thick mud or sludge around. From there, you may devise your own screens and media, as you would for making a biofilter for the air.
  • Bacteria that break down radioactive materials – these bacteria are still being studied and researched to see if they can be used to manage nuclear waste sites as well as other locations that need to be cleaned up. Sadly, while many people are at risk from exposure to nuclear radiation and debris, it is not likely that appropriate bacteria and filter systems will be made available to the public anytime soon. Since these bacteria are also rare and notoriously difficult to find, it may not be possible to obtain them from natural settings.

How Different Filter Parts Work Together

Consider the power and durability of the pump that will be used to take the contaminated materials and move them through the filter media.

A weak pump will not work as quickly, and may also burn out as the media fills up or begins to clog from debris buildup. Overall, the stronger the motor, the better it will be. Even if you push the filter to its maximum limit, a stronger motor gives you room to expand as well as reduce the risk of break downs.

Filter size is also important. Larger filters media beds can accommodate more bacteria and also process more material at one time. This reduces the speed at which clogs will develop. A larger filter surface are can also reduce impact on the pump and filter because it has more area to pull a “smaller” amount of material through.

Ease of Cleaning the Filter

When people hear about biofilters, they often start off by thinking that the filter should never, or rarely need cleaning. For example, in an aquarium filter using floss, you may even have been told that the floss only needs to be rinsed from time to time.

While some filters last for a long time without clogging, others need a bit more care. In fact, if you don’t clean a biofilter, the clogging can easily damage the pump and motor as well as kill off the organisms that you need for breaking down toxins.

Since you will also need to avoid killing off the bacteria or fungi employed while cleaning the filter, ease of maintenance is important. Most filters on the market today use drop in cartridges or screens that can be rinsed out, but they can also be quite messy to work with, especially if they have been immersed in water or mud.

Take the time to look at the filter schematics before you buy.

If a floor model is available, find out if you can test assemble and disassemble a unit to see how you feel about it. There are few things worse than trying to install new filter media when the clamps get stuck, or some vital part is stuck in a place that is hard to see or reach. Spend a bit more on a filter that is easy to care for than a cheaper one that is harder to maintain.

Is it Possible to DIY Replacements and Repairs?

Some biofilters have flexible media, while others require special cartridges that cannot be substituted.

For example, if you are considering buying a biofilter for a pond, it may require special cartridges that cannot be rebuilt or substituted with something that you make yourself. Other filters have non-DIY cartridges because the media the micro organisms grow on may not be readily available at the consumer level. Some may require special plastic films, while others may only grow in special chemical solutions that are housed maintained in some kind of ceramic matrix.

Either way, this can pose a problem for off gridders and preppers that want to be completely sufficient. It can also pose a problem for anyone that buys a system, and then find out that they can no longer obtain filters for a unit that still works perfectly in every other way. These are just a few reasons why you should shop around for a filter that you can make replacement cartridges for if needed.

If you do some research on biofilters, you will find out that some are fairly easy to make.

Let’s say you want to use a biofilter to process pond water. As you browse through listings for these devices, you may find there are several dozen models on the market, each with a different size cartridge.

When building your own system, you can always find a motor and pump that will match the models you are looking at, and then build a canister that will accommodate multiple sized filter cartridges. Even if building a custom canister doesn’t save you money, at least you will still be able to keep the system going even if the preferred cartridges are not available.

In this case, a custom canister can also be of immense help if you want to make sure you can use alternative media.

For example, there is no such thing as an aquarium, pond, or hydroponics filter that can’t use floss fiber or a sponge as the supporting material for nitrifying bacteria. Even if you have to fold up old fabric or loosely woven sari cloth, it can be used as a matrix for the bacteria.

You can also use prefilters featuring tighter or looser weaves so that you disrupt as little bacteria as possible when you need to change these filters.

No matter how careful you are about choosing durable biofilter with a good quality motor and pump, eventually it will fail. Under these circumstances, you are best served by having a filter that has a pump and motor in an easily accessible location.

If you can’t do the repairs yourself, look for a filter with a bit more flexibility, able to swap out different motors and pumps and still have them fit in the casing.

Powering the Biofilter

Electric pumps and motors are very convenient devices, and when it comes to household current usage, they can also take quite a bit of current: the larger and stronger the device, the more power it will need.

If you don’t have a viable source of electricity, your biofilters will also stop working. This is just one of many reasons why you should think about pump mechanisms that will work without electricity. Here are some other options:

  • for pumping water you can use an Archimedes screw or a ram pump. You’ll need larger or more loosely packed filters and then let the water drain down into a catching receptacle before feeding it back into a pipe for use in the house.
  • Instead of using electric fans to push air into a filter, try gravity fans.
  • If you must process large amounts of mud or sewage, choose either a water wheel or some other device that can operate a non-electrical pump.
  • Depending on the devices you have at hand, you could generate small amounts of electricity. Instead of powering one large device, build networks of smaller systems able to effectively use the power you have at hand. Let’s say you can generate 12 volts of power with a solar backpack or some DIY solar system. Let’s also say you have built 4 of them, and can easily build several more. Rather than try to operate one large fan, pump or motor, focus on smaller motors that can run on what you have. From there, you may need to make smaller filters and clean them more often, however they will still get the job done.

As more people become interested in prepping and off gridding, biofilters are also emerging as a technology of interest. Whatever you need to clean – clean water, air, or soil, biofilters could be the solution.

Just remember that each item you want to clean may require a different filter because each toxin you need to break down may require a different micro organism that has specific growth requirements.

Having a wide range of biofilters onhand and knowing how to choose the proper one will help you a lot. You need clean water, so be sure you’ll be able to provide it for you and your family!

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

https://www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/manure-management-and-air-quality/air-quality/biofilter-design-information/

This Is How Summer Can Kill You

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With summer comes great joy, but great dangers also lurk around almost every corner. Okay, the situation may not be as dramatic as I describe it, but the thing is, summer’s heat waves do present a clear and present danger to one’s health, especially in a survival situation.

The thing with summer is that almost all of us are gearing up for going out and experiencing epic adventures. Summer is vacation season and the best time of the year for businesses such as water parks, hot air balloon rides, bungee jumping resorts, para-sailing docks, and so on and so forth.

You see where this is going, right? Keep reading to find out!

Well, while you’re standing in line at any of these fine establishments, the thought that goes through your mind is probably, “This is how I’m going to die?”

Truth be told, this pessimistic state of mind is the logical consequence of years of horror stories pushed by the mainstream media, depicting terrifying accidents and misfortunes that people suffered during their summer holiday.

People died in all sorts of gruesome circumstances while having the time of their lives, i.e. when their hot-air balloon drifted into high-power lines, their parachute failed or their boat flipped at high speeds or on rushing rivers. Folks died or lost limbs while enjoying the ultimate ride at amusement parks or when hiking without proper training/guidance etc.

The nightmarish stories of good times gone bad go on and on.

And then there’s always death from exposure. To give you a grim statistic, heat exposure kills thirty outdoor workers on average on a yearly basis.

What we’re about talking here are agricultural, roofing, construction and landscaping workers; these folks are particularly at risk, especially during heat waves which promote heat-related deaths and illnesses such as heat stroke and heart attacks.

How will you survive when there is no doctor around? 

Keep in mind that the elderly are particularly affected by heat waves and in some geographical locations (like Arizona), air conditioning is not a luxury, but a necessity.

#1 Killer in the Summer Is…

So, let’s begin with the biggest killer during the summer season, which is heat, obviously.

Prolonged exposure to heat – especially humid heat – would have immediate effects on one’s health and state of mind alike. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are the most common issues associated with scorching heat, but sometimes the effects of prolonged exposure to excessive heat may take odd forms.

The most important thing one must realize during the summer is that dehydration is a killer. To stay properly hydrated, you should drink at least 2 liters of water per day (or approximately half a gallon), but that’s an average figure and it depends upon your age, gender, physical condition, and circumstances.

For example, you’ll require way more than 2 liters of water per day if you’re hiking in scorching heat or if you’re working out, rather than staying indoors in a house without air conditioning etc. That’s common sense, though.

If you don’t drink enough water to replace the loss of fluids which occurs via sweating, you’ll put your body in a state of emergency, as your body is losing salt and water and not getting enough electrolytes.

Salt, magnesium, and potassium imbalances caused by dehydration may cause cramps, cardiac arrhythmia, dizziness, and confusion – basically your brain doesn’t work right.

For people who aren’t used to heat, there’s also always the risk of heat edema and, worst case scenario, a fatal heat stroke when your body gives up and stops sweating. This occurs when you’re exposed to extreme heat for long periods of time and is called anhidrosis.

However, the most common problem that occurs during a summer heat wave is heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion is a consequence of one’s body losing significant amounts of salt and water; sans electrolytes, the body can’t cope with heat anymore. Salt and potassium are the two primary minerals that control your blood pressure and when you sweat, they’re two of the first that you lose.

Obviously, heat exhaustion and all heat related ailments are particularly dangerous in a survival situation, i.e. when you’re outdoors hiking, climbing, or whatever.

Heat exhaustion’s first symptom is when the core temperature rising above 98.6, your normal body temperature, resulting in intense thirst, heavy sweating, dizziness, and an overwhelming feel of fatigue. Your body is literally starting to cook.

The first thing that you need to do is get out of the heat if possible and hydrate, obviously. Avoid strenuous activities during the day in open sunny spots, especially if there’s a heat-wave warning.

Now, if heat exhaustion sets in, you must find a cool, shaded location and remove the victim’s clothes, including (especially) the shoes and socks then, apply wet clothes to the victim’s  face, head, neck, and if possible, their feet.

Spray with cool water if possible. Encourage the victim to drink as much water as possible. Sport drinks (if available) are great, as they contain minerals and vitamins (the famous electrolytes included) together with sugar, which gives the body a boost but push water, too.

Try to get medical aid as soon as possible, especially if you spot the early signs of a heat stroke (way worse than heat exhaustion), which include:

  • profuse sweating or hot,
  • dry skin,
  • a core temperature of around 104 degrees F (or higher),
  • feeling cold (yes, it seems strange, but it’s a fact),
  • loss of consciousness, and/or seizures.

All of these symptoms are signaling that the body’s mechanisms for coping with heat have failed and he/she’s at the death’s door. Heat strokes are very serious as they have a mortality rate of about ten percent, and yes, people really do die in extreme heat conditions, and it’s not rare.

Most people who die during heat waves are elderly folk living in big cities in the upper floors of buildings, especially old, inadequately ventilated condo buildings. Just in the US, over 600 people die annually and thousands visit emergency rooms due to extreme heat conditions.

Since we’ve already established that heat is a silent killer, as the weather gets more extreme, avoid the main danger by staying out of the sun. If you’re outdoors on foot, avoid traveling during the day, and do it by night, like Bedouins.

If you find yourself traveling or lost in the wilds in the heat, drinking lots of water and covering your head and your entire body in white (best case scenario) sheets would go a long way toward preserving your body’s reserve of electrolytes if traveling during the day.

The rule of the thumb is that when your core temperature gets above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re in serious trouble.

Obese and elderly people are especially vulnerable to heat, and small children have tiny hearts which are not always capable of cooling their bodies efficiently. Kids also have a slow sweat response, which puts them in danger in extreme situations.

And here are a few more hints on surviving the heat:

  • try to avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages (they act as diuretics) during heat waves,
  • maintain a proper level of hydration at all times,
  • when indoors, try to eliminate extra sources of heat (computers and appliances left running, computers, etc.),
  • don’t eat big, protein-rich meals as they warm the body by increasing metabolic heat, be ready to recognize the early symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and take action.

Beware the Dangers in the Water!

Another thing to keep in mind during the hot summer season is that jumping in public swimming pools, lakes and ponds are not the best ideas for beating the heat wave. You should think at least twice before diving in these cesspools, which are giant petri dishes by any definition, leaving aside that going into cold water when you body is overheated can bring on a heart attack.

Even chlorinated swimming pools are filled with chlorine-resistant bacteria (think Cryptosporidium, a bacteria living in the stomach, E.coli etc.) which can cause all sorts of disease, especially for people with immune issues.

Freshwater lakes and rivers are also home to a myriad of bacteria, viruses, and amoebas. All these tiny bugs that flourish in warm water may cause diarrhea and vomiting, which are exacerbating the dangers of dehydration, if you catch my drift.

And with dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are just around the corner, provided you don’t deal with it immediately. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes – less than 30 – for the situation to go from bad to worse if the conditions are right.

Besides the relatively harmless e Coli and Cryptosporidium, there are killer bacteria and viruses in lakes and rivers, which can infect you via water getting inside the nasal passage and then to the brain.

For example, Naegleria fowleri can cause a deadly infection of your CNS (central nervous system), called amoebic meningo-encephalitis.

There are dangers in paradise too, especially during the summer season when these places are packed full of people trying to relax and enjoy their vacations.

When Summer Turns into Disaster

The beach may look like paradise on Earth, but it’s not all fun and serenity. Beaches are also filled with dangers, and we’re not talking about heat stroke alone. Coastal areas in some parts of the planet are prone to tsunamis and others to hurricanes.

One may say that beaches are prime real estate when it comes to natural disasters, hence, stay frosty and learn your escape routes just in case disaster hits. Most coastal areas are using early warning systems including sensors which monitor storm and earthquake activity and issue hurricane/tsunami alerts.

Toxic algal blooms happen almost every summer in places like Florida, on its Gulf Coast especially. Algal blooms kill fish and shellfish and they also render them unsafe to eat. Remember to avoid eating shellfish and fish from areas affected by toxic algal blooms; also, avoid swimming in waters infested by these critters.

Even if shark attacks are relatively rare, keep in mind that where there are fish in the ocean, there also might be sharks, hence avoid swimming near fishing areas and also avoid murky waters and areas were fishing boats and diving sea birds abound.

It’s also important to remember not to swim alone, sharks or not, and never at dawn or dusk because that’s when sharks feed. Watches and jewelry gleam like fish scales in the water, so get rid of them.

Another danger for beach goers is rip currents, which may pull even the Olympic swimming champion away from the shore. These fast-moving currents of water kill at least one hundred people annually, especially at surf beaches, and those are just US figures.

If you’re caught in such a rip current, try not to fight it. Go with the current and swim parallel to the beach, and try to swim back to shore once you manage to pull out of the current. If that doesn’t do the job, try to float/tread water until the current stops and try to call for help.

Edge Sports Have Their Price

Parasailing is an awesome summer activity for thousands of Americans. If you’re not from this planet, parasailing means that you’re towed behind a boat using a parachute canopy while flying like Superman.

Even though this may sound safe as far as extreme sports go, the majority of fatal parasailing accidents occur as a result of high wind conditions. To play it safe, make sure the weather is friendly before engaging in such crazy activities, alright?

Scuba diving is another all-time favorite activity doing the summer season, but is plunging in deep blue waters safe? Well, pretty much yes, but there are caveats to that.

The most common causes of death during scuba diving are oxygen supply problems, cardiac issues, and emergency ascent. To play it safe when scuba diving, make sure you are prepared for the water and you’ve learned all the techniques from your instructor.

Next on the list is skydiving. Skydiving is immensely fun for those crazy bastards with no self-preservation instincts. I’m kidding, but yes, skydiving is becoming increasingly popular among certain folk during summer vacation.

Even though you’re more susceptible to death by a lightning strike or a bee sting than due to skydiving gone wrong, make sure to look for riggers, jumpers and pilots with proper certification before making the big jump into the abyss. The same goes for bungee jumping.

White water rafting is another dangerous summer activity and there are tons of potential hazards involved in this awesome water sport. To reduce risks associated with white water rafting, never boat alone, wear a life jacket and a helmet at all times, and don’t overestimate your skills.

If you’re a hot air balloon aficionado, make sure your ‘ballooner” has all the necessary paperwork and be aware of adverse weather conditions, especially wind, before getting in the basket.

Whatever you do during summer, stay safe and be aware of the dangers. Ultimately, learn your lesson about first aid and surviving without medical assistance. Click the banner below to get the knowledge!

I hope the article helped. If you have other ideas or comments, feel free to use the dedicated section below!

Prep Blog Review: 5 Survival Lists To Keep On Hand

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Everybody uses lists, it’s a fact. Whether we like it or not, we need them to keep things organized, or to remember and prioritize activities. You can’t skip them while prepping, so let’s make use of them here too.

I’ve gathered a few tops and lists to remember about different aspects of prepping, after stumbling upon other survival websites this week. And what do you think I’ve came up with in the end? You guessed: another list. Here it is!

3 Incredible Stories of Survival: What We Can Learn From 3 Men Who Beat All the Odds

“Hello, my friend and welcome back!  Today I have a great post for you from Chris Browning and it’s a good one.  He is the editor of Gun News Daily – www.gunnewsdaily.com.  It’s longer than what I usally post,  but well worth the effort.  The best way to learn to survive is to learn from those who have had to fight to survive already. Their stories and insights provide the best training you can get.  Grab a cup of coffee my friend and have a seat while we visit.”

Read more on American Preppers Online.

23 Herbs and Veggies You Can Grow on Your Porch

“Urban gardening is all about making the most out of the space you’ve got. All it takes to turn your outdoor balcony or back porch into a full-on garden is a pinch of creativity and a dash of strategy.

Rather than planting one crop in one small pot, we are going to focus on planting multiple crops in one sizeable pot. This method makes the most of your space and gives you the most variety of veggies and herbs possible.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

19 Survival Uses for Plastic Bottles

“I must say that it saddens me seeing what humans have done to our planet.  Any time you find a water source, you will likely find trash scattered along the shore.

Often times this trash is going to be plastic bottles.  It seems to be the most common item to be tossed aside, especially in water.  This littler is absolutely destroying our planet.

However, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  I cannot tell you how many times I have used garbage in the wild to get through survival situations.  Plastic bottles are one of the most common and most useful pieces of trash you will ever find for survival. I can assure you that we will show you enough uses for plastic bottles that you will think twice about walking past one in the wild.”

Read more on Modern Survival Online.

16 Things to Stockpile for the Next Blackout

Major blackouts are more common now than ever before. Most of us have experienced a blackout for a few hours. A blackout is a power outage that can range from a few hours to months. They might happen because of a major storm, a hurricane, a transformer blowing, or other issues. It is a good idea for everyone to stockpile things for the next blackout.

You might be new on your preparedness journey or find it strange to prepare for an entire year without power. No matter where you are on your journey, I encourage you to prepare for at least a two-week period without electricity. Why? There are dozens of examples of this happening. If you live along the coast, a major hurricane can wipe out the power grid for multiple weeks. Earthquakes, major storms, and blizzards all frequently cause blackouts. Everyone is at risk.”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

6 Principles of Survival – Maintain Core Body Temperature

“Shelter and Fire are ONE.  Long term survival requires the proficiency of both.  Maintaining Core Body Temperature is vital, and without shelter and fire the body is highly susceptible to hypothermia.

In this two part series we will look at the concept and application of Shelter and Fire. Maintaining a solid 98.6o will ensure your body does not become susceptible to hypothermia or hyperthermia.”

Read more on Survival School.

This article has been written by Gabrielle Ray for Survivopedia.

5 Classic American Recipes We Love

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We all have that one family dish that we’re known for, the one that was passed down to us from our ancestors.

It may be a dip, or a cake, or your grandma’s meatloaf, but if I ask you what your favorite family recipe is, I almost guarantee something instantly comes to mind, and odds are good that we even have it committed to memory.

My family is full of cooks, though traditionally most of them are women.

My former father-in-law Max, on the other hand, probably taught me more about cooking than I ever learned from my family, because he taught me the WHYs of cooking, not just the hows. He taught me how to make all of my grandmothers’-and of course his-recipes come out right every time. Even if they don’t, I have a good idea of what happened.

So, which is MY favorite family recipe?

There’s no way that I can pick just one, so I asked many people across my various venues what they thought, and there were a few good old American recipes that just kept cropping up time after time. You can find some of them in my book, Forgotten Lessons of Yesterday.

But for now, in no particular order, here are the top recipes that I came up with.

Apple Pie

We would be absolutely remiss if we didn’t start with the one food that has a place at any holiday, picnic, or any other event where people gather to eat, drink, and be merry: apple pie!

There are about a million different variations on the recipe, but the traditional, lattice-work pie is the one that instantly jumps to mind.

I’m going to share three tips here that Max taught me for a flaky, fabulous crust – use very cold water, add a ½ tsp of vinegar to your water, and butter is king. My grandma used lard, back when it was readily available because they made it.

Many people turn to Crisco, which is fine, but lacks flavor and is hydrogenated. The flavor of butter is incredible and the texture is light and flakey.

Dough:

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. fine salt
  • 1 ¾ stick cold butter, diced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 2 tbsp. ice cold water

Filling:

  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 lbs. baking apples like Golden Delicious or Granny Smith
  • 2/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on the pie
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Directions

To make the dough by hand:

Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Using your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles yellow cornmeal mixed with bean-size bits of butter. (If the flour/butter mixture gets warm, refrigerate it for 10 minutes before proceeding.)

Add the egg and stir the dough together with a fork or by hand in the bowl. If the dough is dry, sprinkle up to a tablespoon more of cold water over the mixture.

To make the dough in a food processor:

Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles yellow cornmeal mixed with bean-size bits of butter, about 10 times.

Add the egg and pulse 1 to 2 times; don’t let the dough form into a ball in the machine. (If the dough is very dry, add up to a tablespoon more of cold water.) Remove the bowl from the machine, remove the blade and bring the dough together by hand.

Form the dough into a flat circle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.

For the filling:

Put the lemon juice in a medium bowl. Peel, halve and core the apples. Cut each half into 4 wedges. Toss the apple with the lemon juice. Add the sugar and toss to combine evenly.

Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the apples and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer, about 2 minutes. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the apples soften and release most of their juices, about 7 minutes.

Strain the apples in a colander over a medium bowl to catch all the juice. Shake the colander to get as much liquid as possible. Return the juices to the skillet, and simmer over medium heat until thickened and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.

Toss the apples with the reduced juice and spices in a medium bowl. Set aside to cool completely. (This filling can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated or canned, or frozen for up to 6 months.)

To assemble the pie:

Cut the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a circle 11 to 12 inches wide. Layer the dough between pieces of parchment or wax paper on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.

Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with one of the discs of dough, and trim it so it lays about 1/2 inch beyond the edge of the pan. Add the apple filling to the pan.

Cut the second round into 1/2-inch thick strips. Lay strips of dough, evenly spaced, across the entire pie. Weave more strips of dough perpendicular through the previous strips to make a lattice or basket weave design across the entire pie. Trim the excess ends from the strips of dough.

Pinch the bottom crust edge and lattice edge together, and flute the edge as desired. Make sure that the lattice is closed around the edges so that the filling doesn’t boil out. Brush the surface of the dough with egg and then sprinkle with sugar. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Bake the pie on the preheated baking sheet until the crust is golden, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 3 hours before serving. The pie keeps well at room temperature (covered) for 24 hours, or refrigerated for up to 4 days.Discover the golden days’ practice for getting all you can eat food without buying from the supermarket!

 

Pot Roast

America is a place where nationalities blend and merge to create a new, unique set of ideals and goals. As such, our recipes are a beautiful hodge-podge of different ethnicities, intertwined and adjusted to make them as American as we are. There’s probably nothing that represents that better than the good old pot roast!

Like every other recipe on the list, there are a million variations, but here’s mine.

  • 3-5 lb. chuck roast
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 pounds baby carrots
  • 5 medium potatoes
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Heat olive oil in your Dutch oven on medium heat and sear each side of the roast. Remove roast. Add onions and sear on each side. Remove and do the same with the carrots. Remove; pour in 3 -4 cups water.

Scrape all of the deliciousness off the bottom, then add the roast and top with the onions and carrots. Sprinkle the seasonings over the top and around the water.  Put the lid on the Dutch oven and bake for an hour per pound.

Meatloaf (or amazing meatballs!)

  • 3 lbs. ground beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 3 tbsp. mustard
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

This one’s easy. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine everything in a bowl. If it’s a little sloppy, add a bit more oats. If it’s too dry, add a bit more ketchup. You want to be moist enough to form into a loaf but not so wet that it sticks to your hands.

Ideally, you should be able to form it into a meatball that’s a little mushy. Press into a loaf pan or square iron skillet. Bake for 1 ½-2 hours until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Fried Chicken

Picnics and Sunday dinners all across the South wouldn’t be the same without fried chicken. It’s crispy, crunchy, and oh-so-juicy!

Chicken:

  • 8 serving pieces chicken, light or dark meat
  • 2 cups milk or buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2-3 cups peanut oil, more if needed
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Put oil in a large skillet (you want about an inch) and heat to 375 degrees. You’ll know it’s hot when you toss in a bit of flour and it sizzles. While your oil is heating, combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl, and place the milk in another.

Dredge the chicken through the milk then through the flour mixture so that it’s well-coated. Drop gently into the oil. You’ll hear it sizzle. When it stops sizzling and is brown on one side, turn it and cook it on the other side.

When it quits sizzling, it’s done. Drain on paper towels and enjoy.

Buttery, Flakey Biscuits

I’m from the South, but biscuits are eaten in all parts of the south. Biscuits were a staple food for our ancestors and this recipe has been passed down to me via my father-in-law. The important part about keeping your biscuits light is to knead them only enough to combine them. Unlike bread, the more you knead biscuits, the tougher they get.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold butter (1/2 cup) cut into eighths
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup 2% milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine all of the dry ingredients then cut the butter in until you have coarse crumbs, with no chunks bigger than a pea. The goal is to incorporate the butter throughout the flour. Then whisk together the milk and egg and add to the flour. Stir to combine, then knead no more than necessary to make it smooth.

Roll it out to about ½ inch thick and cut with a biscuit cutter or water glass. Place in a greased baking dish so that they’re touching a bit and bake 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve piping hot!

If the article you’re reading provides less than you need about these old food habits, grab my book – Forgotten Lessons of Yesterday – for more!

Now that I’ve shared my favorite recipes with you, return the love! What’s that one recipe that’s been handed down through the generation in your family?

Let us know in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Top 9 Civil War Survival Recipes

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The Civil War was brutal. That’s all there is to it. If you’ve seen The Free State of Jones, even the first fifteen minutes of the movie bring home some of the atrocities that men – on both sides – had to endure.

While it’s true that the Union soldiers were generally better fed than the Confederate soldiers were, Neither side was eating steak and eggs, at least not with any kind of regularity. Because an army really does march on its stomach, food supplies going both directions were interrupted as often as possible.

Unfortunately, that often meant burning fields and slaughtering animals, leaving them to rot, as a regiment passed through an area, in order to keep the other side from eating. The casualties of those actions weren’t just soldiers – the families who depended upon those animals and crops to exist also starved.

How did they manage to survive? Keep reading to find out!

Because food conditions became so brutal, especially in the South, both soldiers and families had to learn how to survive with very little food. I don’t think I know a single person who hasn’t seen Gone with the Wind, and though it’s not one of my favorite movies, it does point out some valid points.

The land was destroyed and plundered. A woman who had been raised “gently” aka- spoiled, and had no skill or knowledge whatsoever, learned what she needed to in order to survive. Scarlet isn’t necessarily the greatest example of how things went down simply because she was entitled and duplicitous, but the movie did have a realistic element to it.

So what was a man to do if he was on the march and had very little time to cook, and very few ingredients to do it with? And what about the women and infirm left at home?

How did they live? The answer is: simply and with what little they had on hand.

The one advantage that both sides had was that the country was still agricultural. People, at least in the part of the country where they were fighting, weren’t dependent upon outside sources for survival. Family or estate gardens were the norm rather than the exception and fruit trees and wild berries grew in abundance.

This allowed the soldiers to grab food from along the trail and it allowed families who may have lost most of everything else to have at least enough to survive. Remember, too, that canning was a huge part of life back then, so if families managed to hide their food or were fortunate enough to remain off the marching trails, they had food stockpiled.

The marching soldiers weren’t quite so lucky, and it wasn’t always because food was scarce. There was also the fact that most of the men had no idea how to cook; they’d never had reason to learn because they had women or servants to do that.

The North had an advantage here at the start of the war because they had the United States Sanitary Commission watching out for them. They were a system of volunteers that were trained to find and distribute food to soldiers in the field.

They knew about what was in season where, and how to preserve it and transport it. It was their sole job to keep the soldiers constantly fed. That doesn’t mean the food tasted good, though, and they didn’t always come through so the soldiers were left to their own devices.

It was so bad that a hotel owner named Sanderson proposed that they actually teach two people per 100 to cook so that somebody had at least rudimentary skills. He also wrote a cookbook that offered suggestions on cooking methods and some simple recipes.

Discover the golden days’ practice for getting all you can eat food without buying from the supermarket!

On the other hand, the Confederacy was a ragtag team who came together as farmers, miners, plantation owners, and other working men who were fighting for what they believed in. They weren’t soldiers and didn’t have any sort of organized system in place. They ate on the run and were dependent on what they could catch, hunt, pick, or pilfer. Families along the way were often sympathetic to the cause and would offer what they could.

Either way, if you have an entire army of people who are great at shooting a rabbit but have no idea how to cook it, you can imagine that foodborne illness was a serious issue.

The typical daily allotment for a confederate soldier was twelve ounces of back and a pound of cornmeal (also called Indian meal) or hardtack. In the beginning, sugar, beans and coffee were part of the allotment, but faded out as food supplies dwindled.

Union soldiers received salted pork or beef, coffee, sugar, vinegar, salt, and dried fruits and veggies when they were in season. There were also civilian merchants called sutlers that set up shop in camps and sold canned fruit, sugar, tobacco, and coffee.

Hardtack was a staple on both sides and often was the only thing that stood between a man and starvation, though it hardly qualified as food and had practically no nutritional value other than carbohydrates because it was flour and water. Both sides also carried a canvas bag with buckles called a haversack that held their food and anything else they needed to survive for a few days on their own.

Finally, Confederate soldiers would often trade tobacco to Union soldiers for coffee beans, though it was done in secret because, obviously, fraternization was frowned upon.

I think it’s critical to remember here that these were brothers fighting brothers. Unlike other wars, these men were still countrymen, though their convictions had brought them to war. Sometimes, men managed to find uneasy peace long enough to help each other.

By the end of the war, things were so bad that there were food riots in many southern cities because food lines had been severed, personal food sources had been pillaged and/or destroyed, and people were starving. Even rats were fair game.

Here are a few recipes that soldiers used, and note that there are often no amounts listed but it was just a “make-do” type of cooking:

Battlefield Cornbread

Mix cornmeal with enough pork fat to make a stiff batter. Spin your bayonet in it until coated, then hold over the fire to cook the bread.

Indian Sagamite

This was simple – three parts corn meal and one part brown sugar, browned in a skillet. In small amounts, it allays hunger and thirst, making it a good food for scouts.

Coffee Substitute

Wash ripe acorns in the shell dry them, and parch them until the open. Take the shell off and roast the nuts with a little bacon fat and you’ll have a “splendid cup of coffee.”

Chicory was also used, and chicory coffee remains a southern thing.

Plain Irish Stew (Feeds 50)

Cut fifty pounds of mutton into ¼-pound chunks. Put them in a pot and add twelve pounds of whole potatoes along with 8 tablespoons of salt and three teaspoons pepper. Cover with water, about a half-pint to each pound of meat. Light the fire and simmer (well, it says 1-1 ½ hours of gentle ebulation).

Hard Tack

Dissolve 1 ½ tbsp. salt in 1 cup water. Mix into 5 cups flour. Knead into a dough and roll out to 1/3-inch thickness. Cut into 3-inch squares and pierce each with a fork or whatever is available.

Cook on low temperature of 250 degrees to prevent burning for at least 4 hours, turning over halfway through.

Johnnycakes

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat

Bring the water to a boil and slowly add the cornmeal. Cook for 5 minutes then add the remaining ingredients. Place a 3-oz. scoop into a hot greased skillet and cook for five minutes on each side or until each side is lightly browned.

Confederate Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons shortening (lard or butter will do. Butter will make them heavier and crispier)
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk

Stir together dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until mixture is the consistency of meal. Stir in the buttermilk. Form into a ball and place on a floured surface. Knead a few times – not much or they’ll be heavy. Pat out into about ½-inch thick. Cut with a cup, tin, or biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Fried Catfish

  • 2 catfish fillets
  • 1 cup flour or cornmeal
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup pork fat

Melt fat in a cast-iron skillet. Mix dry ingredients well, then roll the catfish filets in them. Put in skillet carefully – the grease is hot. Cook on each side for 5 minutes.

Turnip Greens

  • 2 bunches turnip greens
  • 4 turnips
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 piece fatback
  • 4-5 cups water, enough to keep them from burning

Rinse greens well under cold water. Add greens, turnips and onions to boiling water with fat back and salt. Cook for 20 minutes or until turnips are tender and serve.

These are just a few basic recipes that were common, simple foods during the Civil War, and all of them except the hardtack remain common Southern foods today.

As a matter of fact, the biscuit recipe above is mine, handed down to me twenty-five years ago from my father-in-law, who learned it from his grandmother. And the turnip greens recipe is my husband’s, and he learned it from his grandmother. Imagine my surprise when I found near-identical ones on a Civil War site!

I shouldn’t have been surprised, though. Many of my recipes are ones that have been handed down to me from my mother, grandmother, or ex father-in-law, all of whom learned them from their elders. Unfortunately, most of these recipes that were standard foods have been lost.

Biscuits come in cans and catfish comes from a restaurant. Not in my world, though – everybody should at least know how to make them, because they’re easy and will keep you from starving if SHTF.

Because I think everybody should know about how to take care of themselves, I share several of my recipes in my book, Forgotten Lessons of Yesterday, along with many other skills that I was fortunate enough to learn from them. It’s a diverse collection of some of my most valued skills, and I’m proud to share them, as well as the free special reports that expand on what the book has to offer.

Check it out – I didn’t mean for this to turn into a shameless plug, but I’m passionate about these skills and want to share them with everybody!

If you have any old family recipes that you’d like to share, please do so in the comments section below – I love swapping goodies.

7 Survival Movies To Watch And Learn

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Call me old-school, but when it comes to having massive fun indoors (especially with your friends and family), nothing beats watching a good movie while enjoying a cold beer and the traditional popcorn.

It’s also common knowledge that most people would enjoy a proper disaster flick, the likes of 2012, Deep Impact or Armageddon. Disaster movie stories are usually centered on people trying to survive extraordinary circumstances and events.

Now, from a prepper’s point of view, watching a survival movie is something like a sporting event for a normie, and I am talking about what tickles your fancy, so to speak.

While regular folk enjoy watching a good game of football or various TV series/shows (OK, we love doing that too), we preppers also like to watch and debate survival/disaster movies as a way to exercise their prepper mindset and to discuss what the hero’s next move should be, what he or she does good or wrong and what’s absolutely ludicrous.

Sometimes, they’re just a great comedy!

Basically, a good survival movie encourages preppers to think strategically and to imagine their own behavior in a SHTF situation. In my view, well-made survival movies (scarce though they are) are beyond entertainment, being more like a training session of sorts, if you know what I mean.

Also, watching survival movies with your family members (and prepper friends alike) and commenting “live” as things happen on the screen encourages you to think critically about SHTF situations. Also, you try to predict the outcome of a bad decision or a good one made by the hero, with an emphasis on boneheaded ones, which are  often the norm.

Even if Hollywood (read the motion-picture industry) usually produces tons of garbage, now and then a true gem of a survival movie appears almost magically. These rare flicks give us ideas and thoughts on how to prepare for when SHTF.

It really doesn’t matter what a movie is about, as long as we’re talking about a plausible scenario, such as in 2012 or San Andreas, or even a good old zombie/alien movie.

What’s important from a prepper’s perspective is to see and analyze how regular people may possibly react in extraordinary circumstances; that’s what will provide you with food for thought.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

So, after this relatively long preamble, let me share with you what I’ve learned after watching dozens of disaster movies, all of them loaded with awesome survival tactics.

First, teamwork is essential for your survival, despite the “lone wolf” mentality many preppers seem to (wrongfully, in my opinion) have. When a disaster strikes, chances are good that you’ll not going to be “solo.”

Working as a team will increase the chances of survival. There’s strength in numbers and there’s also a thing called the division of labor because you can’t do everything by yourself. That’s been obvious since the dawn of man on Earth.

Also, we’re social animals, centered on community (family, tribe, etc.). Lone wolves sound great in theory, but in real life, even wolves hunt in packs and are social animals.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

To give you an example of fine teamwork from a survival flick, let’s take Dawn of the Dead, an awesome 2004 movie which tells the story of a group of survivors (and we’re using that word really loosely) taking refuge inside a shopping center during a zombie apocalypse.

As more of them arrive in the shopping mall, they realize that they’ll have to stick together and work as a team in order to withstand the hordes of (not so smart) zombies.

Also, Dawn of the Dead teaches you about the importance of planning and preparing: having a good refuge, an escape plan, of being able to determine who’s to be trusted and who’s not and, most importantly, that a group’s cohesion is given by its weakest link (there’s an asshole in every group of random people).

Oh, and on that note, you also learn that sometimes you don’t have to be the smartest one in the group as long as you’re not the dumbest one. I’m kidding, sort of.

Video first seen on Movieclips.

Another lesson learned from watching disaster flicks is that it’s critical to know the risks of your geographical location (as in knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses) in a SHTF situation.

Food for thought: if your city is close to a nuclear plant or in front of a big dam, in the case of a catastrophic earthquake or a nasty meteor impact, or why not, a terrorist attack on critical infrastructure, well, you’ll be forced to deal with some serious issues. Here, the value of an escape plan and escape route comes into play big time.

Also, it would help to understand the science of your region, especially if you live in places like California or Yellowstone. You got the picture.

San Andreas (2015)

Think along the lines of San Andreas, the 2015 movie which is loaded with awesome survival strategies and lessons. San Andreas depicts the horrifying consequences of a massive earthquake in California as a rescue chopper pilot makes a perilous  journey across the state to save his daughter.

Watching the movie, you’ll understand a little bit about human psychology.

For example, in a disaster, especially one of epic proportions, ownership of property becomes a fiction, i.e. emergency stuff can be found in a home or, in the movie, a car that isn’t yours if the situation really calls for it, and looting occurs in a matter of hours, not days. Hence, remember to have your gun for self-defense ready, locked and loaded at all times.

Also, the first few moments after SHTF are critical for one’s survival; if you panic and give in to mental chaos, you’ll just end up as yet another casualty/statistic. Do not freak out, and try to get over that state of shock ASAP, as this will give you a critical advantage over those unprepared for such an event.

Video first seen on Km Music.

The thing is, even in B-rated movies you can see a fact of life: people panic rather quickly and behave badly and stupidly, as life-threating events bring out the worst in many of us.

As shown in many disaster flicks, including San Andreas, the police and firefighters will bail in order to take care of their own families, and that’s quite understandable. The lesson to be taken home is that you can’t rely on the government to protect or save you.

Also, having some basic physics and engineering knowledge couldn’t hurt.

In the aftermath of a major disaster, whether it’s a terrorist attack or an earthquake or whatever, panicked people do the dumbest things imaginable, and that’s another true fact of life, unfortunately.

And that’s due to one’s shattered cognitive dissonance, i.e. modern-day people (especially city dwellers) are used to living their boring and safe lives in the complete absence of any clear and present danger.

They’ve become complacent and take that perceived “safety” for granted. When the universe explodes around them, they’ll behave like the proverbial chicken without a head, while others will be stunned, in shock and awe, and completely incapable of doing the most basic things like running for cover.

The Road (2009)

Another great survival flick is The Road, a movie released in 2009 that tells the story of a man and his young son as they travel by foot in a post-apocalyptic world through the mountains, searching for an illusory safe haven before the coming winter.

The theme of the movie is survival by any means necessary. What’s very shocking about this flick is the accurate way it portrays the dark side of mankind, the way people will resort to anything, even cannibalism, in order to survive.

Video first seen on 0noyfb.

The movie will teach you how to be careful when approaching strangers (not all people think like you, nor are they Good Samaritans), how to carry your survival gear over long distances, and that starvation is not an event but a long and painful process.

Also, having a gun and enough ammo will save your life, while keeping the fire (as in never stop fighting for a good cause) is quintessential. Your faith, provided you’re a “good guy,” will guide you and help your actions, yet you’ll have to be prepared to kill bad people, or you’ll end up getting killed. Also, you’ll learn that groups of desperate people are extremely dangerous and may kill you, or get you killed, for nothing really.

The Day after Tomorrow (2004)

Another disaster movie worth watching is The Day after Tomorrow. This movie depicts survival techniques in extremely low temperatures following the world freezing via a man-provoked ice-age.

Video first seen on Luis Trejo.

What to learn from? Big cities are very difficult to escape in case of a SHTF scenario, i.e. you’ll have to consider relocating if possible and always plan for bad weather conditions.

Zombieland (2009)

A very funny survival flick to watch is Zombieland, which makes for yet another post-zombie-apocalypse survival movie. Watching this gem, which is hilarious to say the least, you’ll understand why you should create a comprehensive set of rules to increase your survival chances.

The first rule of survival: cardio is essential! As in, stay in good shape. Also, people in distress will try to trick you, steal your stuff, and then leave you stranded; this is a trait of the human nature.

Video first seen on Video Clips HD.

Also, don’t scare folks if you don’t want to get shot and Twinkies make for the ultimate survival food (the last one is debatable).

The Edge (1997)

The Edge is the story of a billionaire who survives a plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness, together with two of his friends. This movie depicts in a very accurate manner how people react under stress when confronted with unfamiliar situations.

Also you get how important it is to have basic survival skills, such as knowing basic first aid methods, how to navigate sans gear, how to improvise a compass, how to build basic weapons such as spears, and how to defend yourself against predators.

Video first sen on blackruskie.

Finally, this epic saga emphasizes the importance of knowledge, smarts, and skills over the oh-so-common macho-ninja stuff and special effects.

Into the Wild (2007)

Into the Wild is the true story of a guy named Christopher McCandles who died stupidly as he abandoned his privileged life and adventured into the wild, searching for adventure.

Video first seen on carinemccandless.

The thing is that this guy had absolutely no idea about wilderness survival, no skills, and basically no gear. And yes, he died of starvation in a cabin, which is pretty pathetic, to say the least.

The lesson to be taken home after watching this movie is to never go out in the wild unprepared. Life in the wilderness is not romantic, but a savage and brutal struggle for survival 24/7/365.

The importance of having the right mindset first of all is not a matter to be taken lightly in an outdoors survival situation.

Bottom line, have you seen a good survival movie recently? What did you think? Do you have any survival lessons to add? Share your thoughts in the dedicated section below!

Pioneer Tips for Delicious Baked Goods

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If there’s one thing that I absolutely take pride in, it’s my baking. I was raised eating biscuits. Baking and cooking skills were a source of pride, and insulting somebody’s pie crust was akin to fighting words.

It was scandalous if you showed up to a gathering with a store-bought pie or cookies; I’ll even go so far as to say that a girl would be bake-shamed if she had the nerve to do that.

So I admit that I was socially conditioned to keep my kitchen skills honed, but it’s always been way more than that for me. I love it when somebody groans when they bite into my apple pie, or ask for the recipe to my key lime-pie cupcakes. It’s just what I do.

I was blessed enough to be raised by women who had mad kitchen skills, and I’ve honed my own over the years, picking up lots of tips and tricks of my own along the way. Now I want to share them with you!

If the article you’re reading provides less than you need about this old skill, grab my book – Forgotten Lessons of Yesterday – for more!

Flour Substitutes

First, you need to understand the difference in flours and how to make substitutions. If you have all-purpose flour, you can seriously make anything that calls for bread flour, self-rising flour, or cake flour. It’s just a matter of taking a few extra steps.

  • 1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 ½ tsp. baking powder + ¼ tsp. salt
  • Cake flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour minus 2 tbsp. + 2 tbsp. corn starch. Sift them together well
  • Bread flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 tsp. vital gluten

Let me tell you, though, I’ve never used bread flour in my life. I’ve found that it’s expensive and, for the results, not worth it. I mean, you do get a lighter bread, but not by much. I’ve lived 40 years without it, so I probably won’t start now. If you’d like, though, go right ahead.

Common Substitutions

How often have you been half-way through pulling out everything to make cookies or a cake just to find out that you didn’t have any baking powder, cornstarch, or even eggs? Well, the next time that happens to you, pull up this article, or just print it out now and put it in your kitchen!

  • 1 tsp. baking powder = ¼ tsp. baking soda + ½ tsp. cream of tartar + ¼ tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda = 2 tsp. baking powder
  • Buttermilk = 1 cup milk + 1 tbsp. lemon juice or white vinegar. Let it stand for 5 minutes
  • Buttermilk = 1 cup plain unsweetened yogurt
  • 1 oz. chocolate = 3 tbsp. cocoa powder + 1 tbsp. butter, veg oil, or Crisco
  • 1 egg = ¼ cup applesauce (not exact, recipe will be a bit crumbly)
  • 1 egg – 1 tbsp. flaxseed + 3 tbsp. water
  • 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice = ½ tsp. cinnamon + ¼ tsp. ground ginger + 1/8 tsp. ground allspice + 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 vanilla bean = 2 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup vegetable oil = 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup margarine … wait, what’s margarine? Butter. Always butter. Seriously though, margarine usually responds more like oil than butter in baking.

Remember that when you’re baking, it’s not like when you’re cooking – measurements matter. Let’s break down the science of what goes into things.

  • Eggs add structure. They’re the glue of the recipe.
  • Baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents. They increase the bubbles present in the batter or dough.
  • Oils and butters give baked goods their texture and moisture.
  • Oil adds moisture, but not flavor, so expect a soft cookie or a light brownie or cake
  • Butter adds flavor but is denser, so expect a crispy cookie, a fudgy brownie, and a dense but buttery cake
  • Shortening is all hydrogenated fat and has a higher melting point. Suitable for use in cookies and pie crusts. Cookies won’t spread and will be softer instead of flatter and crispy.
  • Yeast makes bread rise by infusing air via consuming sugar and excreting carbon dioxide and alcohol.
  • Fruits will always add baking time to any product, whether it’s fruit juice, puree, or whole fruit pieces.
  • Chilling dough made with butter will make it spread less and will add more buttery flavor.

OK, now that you understand the basic physics, let’s get down to some tips.

Pie Crusts

There are a couple of secrets to making a crispy, flakey crust. First, use SUPER cold water. Second, add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar per crust to inhibit the formation of gluten; gluten makes your crust tough. Finally, use butter. Shortening will make it crispy and it’ll hold form a bit better, but it won’t be nearly as flakey.

Cakes

To add an exotic flavor to white or yellow cakes, use almond extract instead of vanilla. It was always the secret ingredient in my wedding cakes and people just went nuts for it.

Let your batter sit for 5 minutes or so before you pour it in the pan and it’ll be lighter. It’s kind of like a pre-rise. With cakes, the more you whip them, the lighter they’ll be.

Cookies

As we’ve already discussed, butter makes them crispy, margarine or shortening makes them cakier. Don’t ever use oil. Chill the dough if you don’t want the cookies to spread as much.

Always cream together the butter and eggs. It makes the texture smooth and easier to incorporate with the flour, and it adds air to make your cookies lighter.

Biscuits vs Bread

Use cold butter and cut it into your flour until you have pea-sized crumbles. Don’t add the liquid until last and don’t mix it any more than you have to in order to make a dough.

The more you mix biscuits, the tougher they get. The same thing goes for cornbread. Bread, on the other hand, should be kneaded for a while, until the dough is glossy and elastic. Kneading makes bread lighter.

Use lard or butter in your biscuits, or shortening is fine, but adds less flavor, so using at least a little butter is a must. Vinegar is a must in them, too.

Baking is one of my greatest pleasures, and I really hope that these tips were helpful to you. If you have any tips to share, please do so in the comments section below – it’s great learning new things!

If you’ve enjoyed these tips and would like to learn more of the skills that were passed down to me from my ancestors, get my book, Forgotten Lessons of Yesterday.

It comes with a ton of handy, useful skills that I break down in easy-to-follow steps and it comes with five free manuals that are incredible all on their own!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Survival Defense: How To Keep These Weak Spots Safe

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Fighting off an attacker isn’t just about hitting your opponent hard enough to make them stop trying to hurt you. It is also about making sure that any blows sent your way don’t harm important parts of your body.

When you are in this kind of fight, some of your efforts will aim defending vital body parts even if you’re also trying to strike your opponent. Staying safe comes first!

Here are five body parts that you must defend regardless of the nature of the attack. While not using other body parts will spell trouble, harming these five parts can cause permanent injury or loss of life. Keep reading!

But before going any further, there’s a DISCLAIMER that we should insist on.

Reading this article, or others, or watching videos is not enough to prepare you for an attack. You must practice these moves constantly so that you don’t panic or suffer from other adrenalin response related issues. Practice will also help you build speed, precision, and power behind each move.

In a fight, you may have, at most, 1 to 2 seconds (and that includes situations where you maintained good and accurate situation awareness and/or didn’t stray into a dangerous location) to make a good move and neutralize your opponent enough to stop them long enough to escape or prevent further attack if you decide to remain on the scene.

Watch Your Head

Aside from avoiding damage to your eyes, ears, and nose, protecting your head also helps you avoid loss of consciousness.

Pay attention to how the attacker moves. Usually, if someone is going to punch or use a small knife, their arm will move inward.

If the person moves towards the center of your body, move in the opposite direction instead of trying to “escape” by moving in the same direction or “away”. Even though this may feel like you are putting your head in line with being struck, it may throw off the attacker’s aim.

Remember, the attacker will expect you to startle and move your head away, and may already be compensating for that move so that they hit as squarely as possible.

If the blow cannot be avoided, try to move so that your forehead takes the blow instead of your nose, jaws, or eyes. This may be as simple as suddenly squatting down or using some other means to reduce the height of your head as quickly as possible.

You can also turn this move into the prelude to striking at the attacker’s legs by rolling into them, or smashing into their groin, knees, or other stable or sensitive areas. Clench your neck so that if a blow does land, it will not knock your head back and cause further damage to your neck.

In some cases, an attacker might throw a rock or something else heavy to your head or face. If you can’t move out of the way fast enough, cover your eyes and nose with your arms. Or, if you are already on the ground, tuck your head between your knees, and then cover the back of your neck with your arms.

Click here to get your guide to a layered survival defense!

Protect Your Neck

While your neck is a relatively small target, it is also a key one that many assailants will aim for first, so strengthen this part of your body as much as possible. Neck exercises won’t prevent you from choking, but additional strength in this area makes it easier to defend against any head and jaw blows that reach you.

If an attack is coming, keep your chin tucked in so that it is harder to reach your throat. Throughout the encounter, do not arc your head back, as it gives the attacker a perfect chance to grab your neck.

Make it a point to keep your arms and hands close enough to your head and neck so that you can block incoming blows easily, and also attack sensitive nerve junctions in the attacker’s arms.

Having your hands and arms ready to defend this region can also give you fast access to any other targets that open up on the attacker’s body as they try to strike. Remember, to land blows to your head, neck, and jaw, the attacker must reach in towards you.

There are many maneuvers to destabilize the attacker and send them flying past you as well as ones that can be used to attack in a more direct fashion. Remain calm and you will see the openings that will help you stave off the attack with as little injury as possible.

It may also help to keep your body in a position where one shoulder or the other is pointed towards the attacker. To make it work, however, you have to attack without revealing your intentions by rotating into an optimal position.

Once someone grabs ahold of your neck, it is still possible to escape, however you will need to use these maneuvers in a matter of seconds:

  • If the attacker is trying to choke you from the front, he/she will more than likely be looking to crush your throat.
  • To get out of this attack, put your hands together as if in prayer, and bring them up hard and fast between your attacker’s arms.
  • As your arms contact the inner arm area of your attacker, you can try gouging your elbows into the pressure points in the bicep and also midway up the forearm.

From there, you can use different pressure points to inflict maximum pain to the attacker, however they may not be enough to enable you to escape. Here are just a few options:

  • Continue the motion until your hands grasp the side of the attacker’s head. Next, lock your hands, and gouge your thumbs into the attacker’s eyes as hard as you can. If you cannot reach the side of attacker’s head, then just poke your fingers into their eyes.
  • You can also try sticking your thumbs hard into the mandibular nerve just below the ear, twist your thumbs, and pull forward. If you do this maneuver right, it will cause immense pain and cause the attacker to gag. It can also dislocate the attacker’s jaw if you pull forward hard enough.
  • The area just under the nose is also a trigger point for immense pain if you hit it just right. Needless to say, you can always aim for the attacker’s nose and try to break it. These maneuvers may not work as well because your attacker may try to bite you.
  • When working with nerve points, no matter where they are on the body, do not give up if the first blow or attempt doesn’t neutralize the attacker. In many cases, hitting a second time will neutralize the attacker because the nerve was weakened by the first blow, and may give in completely with the second one. If all else fails, try again; although if you practice diligently, two should be enough because you will know where to hit and have a well honed technique to work with.

Once you have inflicted some pain to the attacker, knee male attacker’s in the groin, perform a headbutt, or use other methods to break the attacker’s hold.

If you are a woman wearing high heels, you can also place the outside of your foot against the attacker’s inner leg, and stamp down hard. Practice this maneuver so that you have a good idea of how to jam your heel into the attacker’s ankle bone.

Don’t aim for the attacker’s foot, as they may be wearing steel toed boots, or something else that will make your heel less effective. On the other hand, even an ankle covered in a boot can be impacted with this method.

Don’t Drop Your Jaw!

A blow that lands squarely on your jaw can render you unconscious and lead to permanent injury.

While tucking your jaw into your neck can protect both vital areas, there are some additional things you must do to prevent damage to your jaw.

As simple as it sounds, keep your jaw as tightly clenched as possible. If a blow does land on your jaw, this will reduce the risk of breaking your jaw, and also help reduce damage to your teeth. A clenched jaw also moves less, which means that there is less chance of being knocked unconscious.

Warming up your jaw with a few exercises can also help reduce injury. But if you are caught unawares, you will not have time to prepare your jaw muscles.

On the other hand, if you have a good level of situation awareness, you will probably have one minute or two needed for these exercises. Individuals that have experience with gaining control of adrenalin responses may also use these exercises as a trigger that will help them prepare mentally and emotionally for conflict.

Solar Plexus and Abdomen

This is one part of your body where some of your defense can be grounded in exercises done before you ever get into a fight. Strong, non-bloated, abdominal muscles will be able to take a blow with less injury and pain.

There are many exercises and methods you can use to build up this core area of your body. Aside from improving the chance of recovering faster from a blow to this part of the body, any move you make will have more power behind it.

If you need to defend against a knife attack or some other weapon other than hands and fists, you will need to use more offensive moves than you would for breaking an attack to your neck.

Here are a few things you can try. Instead of dropping your arms and hands from their defensive position near your head and neck, use your feet and legs instead. Among other things, you can continue pivoting and moving so that your side remains facing the attacker.

If the attacker gets too close, you can pivot slightly towards them and use your knees or feet to attack their shin, groin, or knees. As with blows to the face, someone with a knife may expect you to continue pivoting away rather than take a chance of being stabbed or struck with a weapon.

The opposite move may throw your attacker off for a fraction of a second as long as you don’t give away what you are about to do. Needless to say, if you can kick the knife away or disable their arms first, you will be in a better position.

As you pivot, look for an opening where you can grab the attackers outstretched arm and pull them forward. If at all possible, try to combine this with stamping on the foot, or using your knee to kick behind their knee in order to drop them to the ground.

These actions must be taken very quickly, as they will leave your head and neck unprotected. If you practice enough different kicks and rolls, you can use different maneuvers that still keep your hands free for defending your head and neck.

Back/Spine

Unlike other vital parts of your body, you can harm your back or spine more with improper technique than your attacker can with primary blows. A as a general guide, you better keep your back away from your attacker. If you are facing multiple attackers, put your back against a wall so that none of them can get behind you.

It is crucial to practice falling, rolling, and other techniques used during an attack scenario. No matter how much you practice, or how hard you train, you can expect to find yourself on the ground. To protect your back, knowing how to break a fall and roll will:

  • protect your back and neck much better than simply landing where ever and how ever the fight sends you
  • can also move you away from the attacker
  • can be used to set yourself in a position where you can attack your adversary.

Once on the ground, do not expect to get up immediately, and do not expect your attacker to simply stand around and wait for you to get back up. It may be necessary to kick, or roll out of the way to get into a better position or avoid other blows.

When you watch a skilled martial artist or other fighter, everything they do seems effortless. On the other side of the equation, each move they make is based on careful analysis that happens very quickly because they have the strength, muscle memory, and experience to carry out these moves as efficiently as possible.

Learning about different moves that can protect vital parts of your body will definitely help you face an attacker, but you must also take the next step and find a qualified trainer and a safe place to practice.

Survival defense is one of the skills that you just can’t miss if you want to keep yourself and your family alive. Click the banner for more!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.policemag.com/channel/patrol/articles/2016/04/gaining-compliance-with-targeted-pressure.aspx

This Is How To Stay Clean In The Wilderness

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Do you know that saying, “cleanliness is next to godliness?” Well, it may be true, but how about staying clean in the wild? That’s a pretty interesting concept, especially for modern-day potential survivalists who never get their hands dirty in any real sense of the word.

Today’s article is about funk removal or camp sanitation practices or whatever you want to call it.

It’s all about health and less about the aesthetics of the wilderness. The name of the game is about keeping away viruses, bacteria and other nasties (like foul odors which may attract wild beasts), as efficiently and as humanly possible in a given situation.

Let’s take cats for example: those lovely critters who keep themselves squeaky clean by licking only. Other wild animals also have their own methods of staying clean in the absence of modern-day utilities or running water that’s right there at the flick of a wrist.

Deer, bears, and wolves have automated cleaning systems at their disposal, i.e. they shed skin and fur regularly via a natural process, thus eliminating insects that feed on their blood and skin.

Also, wild animals like to rub up against rocks or trees to scratch themselves, thus removing extra fur and skin and eliminating the dirt and the parasites. And it’s worth mentioning that wild animals take an occasional bath when they cross a lake or a river, too.

Now, think about medieval Europe, especially King Louis 4th of France’s court, when people only bathed maybe once a year. Instead, they used something along the lines of dry cleaning; i.e. they wiped themselves with pieces of cloth impregnated in perfume, vinegar, and mixtures that eliminated of covered odor, plus they changed their clothes relatively often.

When you think of that, our modern-day obsession for cleanliness and sterile food and clothes may seem like an obsessive/compulsive disorder.

However, staying clean as a whistle at all times comes with its own advantages, like vibrant health and a general sense of well-being. So, how can one reconcile the problem of going camping or being stranded in the wild with the need for cleanliness, as the two are basically opposite situations?

The very act of going on an outdoors adventure means you’re getting yourself out of our concrete-made world. You’re going off-grid for real, to dance with the wolves and howl at the moon.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You IF You Would Survive a SHTF Situation

You’re subjecting yourself to the elements with no running water, nor a sanitary way to wash yourself. No plumbing, no toilet to speak of, and reliant on DIY cooking, sleeping and eating on the ground, and so forth and so on.

Even though a rustic camp-out is a must-master experience for any respectable prepper, staying clean throughout the entire endeavor will keep you occupied, provided you care about your physical/mental health and peace of mind.

Everything revolves around quality of life, whether you’re living in a modern city, surrounded by all the gadgets and amenities our 21st century lifestyle affords us, or living somewhere off the grid, with a tin foil hat on your head while reading subversive literature somewhere in a log-cabin in the woods.

I’m only kidding, of course, but in both situations, cleanliness is essential for preventing disease and infections. In a survival situation, things are even worse for folks with poor hygiene, as poor hygiene will reduce the chances of survival.

Now, some of my regular readers, if I have even one, may argue that it’s only natural to smell like a bucket of rotten eggs left out in the sun in 120-degree weather for two days, because after all, when in the woods, you do what the bear does, i.e. you stink; that’s the way it is.

The Sponge Bath

Well, the answer to that is: why don’t you take a sponge bath?

This is one of the main actions you can take in order to stay clean in an outdoors (survival) scenario. Yes, I wasn’t kidding; it’s very important to take a bath (well, sort of) each day, even when out in the wild. Remember my Louis 4th reference in the preamble of the article?

The thing is, you can use a camp towel and some water to wash your pits, your feet and groin properly. These are the main areas that will begin to stink up the place on an outdoors trip, and are also areas that are particularly susceptible to many harmful microbes, or even heat rash, jungle rot, or fungal infection.

Boil you water beforehand to kill all germs, if you’re obsessed with that kind of stuff, or depending on the nature of your water supply.

If you don’t have a towel, which would be weird, you can use a bandanna or something similar as an improvised sponge.

Whenever possible, don’t forget to dip your feet in running water.

If you’ll be able to do that at least twice a day for 5 minutes, then let them dry before you put your shoes back on and move on it will work wonders for mitigating potential blisters and eliminating bacteria and fungus.

This Is How To Survive When All Hell Breaks Lose

And while you’re at it, if you camp near a source of water, which is nearly always the ideal case with well-trained outdoors survivalists, wash your socks and let them to dry near the fire overnight on a daily basis.

The Air Bath

If water is scarce, you can take an “air” bath by removing all your clothes and exposing your naked body to the sun (read germ-killing UV light) and air for at least sixty minutes.

If you don’t have soap, you can use sand or ashes instead, for cleaning yourself thoroughly, provided you have a good water source nearby. Don’t do this if you don’t have a way to rinse thoroughly because the grit will cause irritation and sores that can lead to infection, or at least discomfort.

And don’t worry; you can always improvise soap from wood ashes and animal fat, provided you have the means.

To make “natural” soap, you’ll require some animal fat cut into small pieces then cooked in a pot for extracting the grease. You’ll have to add enough water to the pot to prevent the fat from sticking.

Remember to stir the mix frequently and cook the fat slowly until the fat is rendered. Then, the resulting grease must be poured in a separate container to harden.

The wood ashes (preferably from hardwood if you want your soap to harden) will be put in another container that has a spout near the bottom. Then, as you pour water over the ashes, you’ll collect the liquid dripping from the spout in another container.

That stuff is called lye or potash. Another method for collecting the lye is to pour the combo of ash and water through a filter made from a piece of cloth.

Both of these methods take a bit longer than if you just boil the ash in a bit of soft water – rainwater is best – for 30 minutes or so. Let the ash settle then skim the lye off the top and follow the directions below. Be careful because lye is caustic.

In the next step, mix 2 parts grease with 1 part lye and place the combo over a fire. Allow it to boil slowly until it thickens. After the (now liquid soap) cools, you pour it into a pan and allow it to harden, then cut it into soap bars and there you have it, DIY soap for emergencies.

You can now use a cloth and soapy water to wash your armpits, feet, and crotch daily now, not to mention being capable of washing your hands after going to the “bathroom” in the woods or before cooking food and all that.

Don’t Forget the Teeth!

Keeping your mouth clean is also very important. If you don’t have a toothbrush, you can DIY a chewing stick from a 4-inch-long/1-inch-wide twig. You’ll have to chew up at one end of the twig until you separate the fibers then brush your teeth with the resulting gizmo resembling a toothbrush.

Another method is to use a clean strip of cloth wrapped around your fingers for rubbing your teeth, thus wiping away food particles.

Willow bark tea makes for an excellent mouth wash, together with salt water. You can floss your teeth using fibers or a piece of string.

The campsite must also be kept clean at all times, i.e. do not soil the camp site area with feces or urine. Try to dig cat holes several yards away from the camp and cover the waste for best results.

We’re used to take everything for granted in our modern world, but only some of us would be able to face a major shift in our society. Interacting with nature and using its resources will provide you the means of survival.

Would you make it? Click the banner below for more!

 

I hope the article helped. If you have other ideas or comments, feel free to use the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

15 Ways to Become Self-Sufficient

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Here at SVP, we talk quite a bit about self-sufficiency, but if you’re living in a tiny apartment and making very little money, or even if you’re a CEO at a big company and are stuck living in the city because of your job, it can seem like an impossible task.

The thing is – self-sufficiency is a frame of mind. It’s right there. All you have to do is reach for it. That’s the first step to regaining self-sufficiency.

There are two types of people: those who are happy letting somebody else run the show and those who like to run the show. That’s a bit simplistic, but it’s close enough. If you’re reading this, you’re probably the latter, and you won’t have any problem putting in the effort to make yourself self-sufficient.

We’ve talked about how to become self-sufficient in broad strokes but we’ve never really approached it from the beginning. We’ve never discussed how to change your state of mind from dependent to independent, and that’s really the most important step of all.

Most people have this hugely vague idea of what it means to be self-sufficient. You probably picture the guy on the Alaska show that lives in a hut, kills his own food with a homemade bow and arrow, and camps under boughs of pine trees when he’s stuck away from his hut. Yeah, that’s pretty much extreme self-sufficiency.

Relax – swimming naked across a semi-frozen river in 5 degree weather didn’t even come close to making this list! Settle in, pick a few steps that sound good, and get started. Anything you do will put you closer to being self-sufficient than you are now.

Discover the golden days’ practice for getting all you can eat food without buying from the supermarket!

Learn to Grow Food

There’s more than one reason to grow plants. Sure, you’re going to get delicious herbs, fruits, or vegetables out of the process, but that’s not the biggest benefit – knowledge is. That’s going to be a theme throughout this article, because knowledge is what will separate those of us who can from those who can’t. We’ll know what to do and they won’t.

So, start a few plants. You don’t have to go whole-hog right off the bat. If you don’t have much space, grow some herbs and maybe a few container plants, then move up to trying some upside-down plants after you get the hang of that. You’ll learn how to grow your own food and even if you can’t do it on a large scale now, you’ll know how to if you ever need to, and can grow the skill as your situation changes.

Learn how to Save Seeds

After you’ve got your plants growing, learn how to collect and preserve the seeds. After all, they’re there and there’s no need to waste them. It’s important for you to start with heirloom seeds because they’re the only ones that grow true every year. We’ve written about that here.

Saving your seeds now serves two purposes. First, in the short-term and assuming no SHTF scenarios occur, you won’t have to pay for seeds next season. Second, you’ll know the process, which will be critical if a SHTF situation ever arises. And if it happens between now and next year, you have seeds!

Learn to Cook and Eat at Home

Big deal, here. You may be a candidate for the Next Food Network Star, or you may have trouble boiling water, but there’s always more you can learn, especially about using good equipment. I admit to being partial to one piece in particular – a Dutch oven. That’s because I can use it at home to make an amazing roast, or I can take it camping and make biscuits, stew, or seriously just about anything else, baked, stewed, or brewed.

That’s just one suggestion, though. The idea is to get used to cooking your own food, for two main purposes. First and foremost, if you don’t know how to cook, and how to tell if your food is spoiled, you’re never going to be self-sufficient, and if SHTF, you may actually not survive. Starvation or food poisoning will get you.

Second, cooking at home is more nutritious, much less expensive, and super satisfactory, especially if you’re cooking for yourself.

Learn to Preserve Food

You don’t have to have a full-blown garden to make a big batch of spaghetti sauce, salsa, or soup and can what you have left over. As a matter of fact, you’re serving a few purposes by doing that – you’re stockpiling food in case of emergency, you’re learning how to preserve food, and you’re stocking your pantry in case you’re lazy one night and want something homemade but don’t want to invest the time in it.

Learn how to dehydrate, too. After all, who doesn’t love jerky? It’s the perfect snack just because it’s delicious, but also if you want something you can take with you camping, or to have a quick protein boost after a workout or to get you through that afternoon slump.

Learn how to Compost

You can buy small compost buckets that fit right under your kitchen sink, and let me tell you, it’s great for your plants! You don’t have to have a huge pile in a ginormous back yard to do this, and if something happens, you’ll already know how to do it and will be able to transfer the skill to a larger pile.

Stop Wasting

This is huge step toward getting into the self-sufficient state of mind. How much food do you think you throw away in a month? Or how many half-full sodas or juices do you pick up around the house? Stop it. You’re throwing valuable money down the drain. Estimate how much you’re going to use and don’t buy extra, and don’t impulse-buy. Eat before you go to the store so that you aren’t tempted to buy everything that looks good and stick to your list.

Collect Rainwater

This is a simple thing to do and can be done even with a pail on the balcony. Even if you’re only collecting enough to water your plants, it’s getting you in that frugal, thinking-outside-the-box way that will lead to self-sufficiency.

Learn to Make Your Own Cheese, Butter, or Ice Cream

Have you ever had homemade ice cream? If not, you’ve been deprived of a glorious treat. We used to make it when I was a kid. Mom would make it, then the kids would take turns cranking the bucket. And oh-my-goodness was it amazing! You can also make butter in a jar, and you can make several different kinds of cheeses in no time at all. And you’ll have the skill if you need it.

Use a Clothesline

This is probably the easiest step to take toward self-sufficiency. I have to admit that I’m not a fan of line-dried towels, but there’s no reason that you can’t hang your jeans and t-shirts to dry. And you’ll save quite a bit on your electric bill, too. After all, even a few bucks saved is a few bucks, right?

Be Thrifty

This doesn’t mean be cheap, but it does mean to watch your pennies. Check sales catalogues, use coupons if you’d like, and don’t spend money that you don’t have. It’s always good to have a rainy-day fund rather than a huge barrel of debt. Also, fix things instead of throwing them away if you can, and cut off your old jeans for cute shorts this year instead of blowing money you may not have on new ones. There are a million ways to save money; again, it’s all about building the mindset.

Reuse and repurpose everything that you can. Turn that old sweater into a pillow case. Use the cottage cheese tubs as planters. Look at something and imagine what you can turn it into. That’s a self-sufficient way to think.

Get out of Debt, then Avoid It

You’ll never be self-sufficient if you’re in debt to your eyeballs. Develop a plan to get out of debt as much as possible, then live within your means to stay that way.

Make Your own Soap and Hygiene Products

This is a fun project that I’ve written about elsewhere. The upsides to making your own soap, toothpaste, lotions, and deodorant is that you know what’s in your products, you know how to make them if you ever have to, and you aren’t dependent on the store for it.

Learn CPR and First Aid

There are many classes taught, but the Red Cross offers the most common classes. You’ll learn how to carry people, make splints, treat wounds, and perform resuscitation. This is never a bad skill to have, survival or not. Heck, there could be a car wreck or a kid in the neighborhood could wreck his skateboard. You’ll know how to handle the scene.

Overcome Addictions

Nothing says dependent like, well, dependency. Smoking and chewing are the two biggest ones that pop into my head, but there’s a huge opioid crisis in our country right now, too. Kick what habits you can on your own, and get help for the others. If SHTF, or if you ever want to be able to live a completely self-sufficient life, you’re never going to be able to do it if you have an addiction.

Get Healthy

And the final step on the list – get healthy. Eat right, exercise, meditate. A healthy mind and body are required to be self-sufficient. By treating your body well, you’ll be better prepared to survive in an emergency, and you may also be able to get off of many of the medications that you’re currently on, such as blood pressure meds, insulin, or even pain meds. If you lose weight and have strong muscles, many of your problems will go away.

So, what’s the take-away? Self-sufficiency is, first and foremost, a state of mind. Once you learn how to think like somebody used to solving their own problems, you’ll become a person who can solve your own problems. It’s as easy (or as difficult) as that.

If you have any other tips to becoming self-sufficient, please share them with us in the comments section below. Also, check out my book, Forgotten Lessons of Yesterday, to get more information and instructions on many of the skills that we’ve just discussed as well as recipes.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Prep Blog Review: This Is How To Power Up Your Garden

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Give your garden some love this seasons and it will give you back healthy, delicious crops. I can hardly believe that we are already at this point of the year. July is a great month for you summer garden and the question is: what to do first?

The garden is in full bloom, but in the same time the sun is burning, the rains are heavy and the weeds are growing.

July is a busy month so, with this thing in mind, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered five article on this topic. Of course, if you have tips to add, feel free to comment in the section below.

1. How to Keep the Hot Sun from Harming Your Plants
“Sometimes you need to find a balance between sun and shade, depending on the conditions in your backyard, as well as the crops that you are growing. However, even if you have plants that require full sun, they may be getting too much light, particularly in the summer months when the weather is very hot.

This harmful light can bleach out leaves, and disrupt the growing process, even in plants that supposedly thrive in very hot weather. Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to prevent this from occurring.”

Read more on Be Self Sufficient.

2. 35 Cheap Organic Fertilizers to Power Up Your Garden
“Home gardeners spend millions each year on fertilizer for their gardens and houseplants. WOW! While many scientists agree that chemical fertilizer is harming the environment, organic fertilizer is draining our wallets. The good news is that you can easily make your own fertilizers from organic waste material and other things that you have around the house.

3 Reasons You Need Organic Fertilizer
Your plants need organic fertilizer because:
Most soil does not provide the essential nutrients that are required for the best plant growth and production.
Even if you are super lucky to have rich loamy soil that all of us crave, as your plants grow they absorb those nutrients and leave the soil less fertile.
All of those beautiful flowers, fruits, and veggies that you grew last year took the nutrients that were in the soil. This year, your garden needs another boost of nutrients for this year’s plants.”

Read more on The Grown Network.

3. Shade Loving Plants For Your Survival Garden
“Most of you, by now, have planted your survival garden. You are now counting down the days until you can harvest these vegetables that you have been caring for all season long. Some of you, however, may have left the partially shaded areas of the garden empty thinking that your vegetables may not have successful growth in those areas.

The truth is, there are vegetables that can and will grow in these partially shaded areas. All plants, however, do require some sunlight throughout the day so be sure that these shaded areas also receive a little sunlight as well.”

Read more on Survival Life.

4. The Easiest Way to Compost Garden Waste

5. Too Much Rain in the Garden – Managing Wet Dirt and Waterlogged Plants 
“Rainwater is best for watering your garden, but too much rain is hard on your soil and your plants. I was watching the morning news the other day, and the weatherman said we had rain 15 days out of the last 16. It rained again that day.

My garden is soggy, but most of it is still in pretty good shape. In this article, we’ll talk about wet garden solutions, including steps you can take to prevent damage, and what to do after heavy rains hit. Wet weather might slow plants down, but it doesn’t have to end your gardening season.”

Read more on Common Sense Home.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for survivopedia. 

Things To Do When A Gun Is Pointed At You

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In today’s world, armed robberies and other situations involving guns have become the new normal. Armed criminals have taken over neighborhoods and rule by terror.

While legislative action aimed at gun control will not stop this, and will more than likely make it worse, there are things you can do when someone points a gun at you.

As dangerous as this situation is, you can turn it in your favor. Read the following article to find out how!

What the Criminal Wants Is…

If an individual is bent on killing you they will probably point the gun at you, then he will pull the trigger immediately, or feed off the fear that you’re generating, and then kill you.

If the criminal decides to pull the trigger immediately, the odds are you will be shot before you have a chance to react. Depending on the shot, you may be injured, but not dead yet. You’ll be dazed, stunned, or otherwise unable to respond with any defensive moves you may have practiced. While it may not seem like much, you must still remain calm and see what you can do for your survival.

Sometimes the shooter wants to feed off your fear or other debilitating emotions first. You should try to negotiate your way out of harm’s way before physically engaging the individual. If you are more than a foot away, try running away in a zig-zagging pattern while looking for cover, and hope they don’t have any formal training in how to shoot. This is a much better option than engaging.

When all is said and done, surviving when someone points a gun at you comes down to a decision to stay and fight or to try and escape. In many cases, trying to escape is your best option. If you are unable to do so, and have nothing left to lose, then you might as well give it all you have and fight as best as you can.

Click here to get your Green Beret’s Guide to combat shooting mastery & active shooter defense!

Two Common Mistakes to Avoid and What to Do Instead

Oddly enough, most people are overconfident about their ability to defend themselves. For example, many people think just because they can do household chores and watch a few action movies, they are strong enough and know enough to fake their way through a situation.

These people don’t take into account the very visceral and often debilitating effects that come with realizing that their life is in danger. Without proper training and practicing basic skills, it is very hard to get out of a situation in which someone else intends to hurt you.

Remember, it is overconfidence, sometimes borne of wishful thinking, that usually leads to a vast majority of deaths.

The second most common mistake is made by untrained individuals trying to take on and fight an armed attacker. Sometime you have no choice but to fight for your life, however, as with anything else, you must pick your battles carefully.

Remain Calm

The most important thing to do when an individual holds a gun on you is to stay calm. Clarity of thought is very important.

  • If you are not calm your brain seizes up and you will be unable to think clearly.
  • If you panic you may also cause the person with a gun pointed at you to panic as well. If that person thinks they are losing control of the situation, they will fire.
  • Remember that a criminal thinks they have leverage or control over because they have a gun and you do not.
  • Tell the criminal what you are going to do before you do it. In the case of surrendering a wallet or something else, speak in a slow calm voice, then reach into your pocket, slowly take it out, and give it to them.

Establish and Maintain Eye Contact

You must establish eye contact with the individual pointing the gun at you because:

  • Doing this could cause the assailant to hesitate and think twice about killing you.
  • You don’t want this person to feel out of control, but you want them to feel uncomfortable.
  • You want the robber to start considering the necessity of what they are doing and to begin looking for a way out the situation.
  • If the criminal was determined to murder you, you would already be dead. Remember that, because every second that passes is one passing in your favor when it comes to surviving the encounter.

Study the Criminal

While the assailant is holding you at bay, study them. Instead of trying to memorize exact height, weight, or every article of clothing, try to find something unique about them personally. Unless the person is exceptionally tall, short, heavy, skinny, it is not going to do the police much good later when you are question. As far as clothing goes the assailant is going to change their clothing and their looks as soon as they are clear of the crime scene.

When you are memorizing the criminal, you must be able to distinguish them from other individuals on a lineup that are similar to the criminal’s general features. Pay attention to hairstyle, scars or birthmarks, tattoo, piercings, language style, or anything else that is unique to this individual.

Regardless of specific aspects of the situation, you must always follow these three steps as early as possible in the encounter.  Now let’s have a look at some specific scenarios and some suggestions for getting out of them alive.

What to do if You Are Carrying a Gun Concealed

One of the most important things to remember if you are carrying a concealed weapon is the criminal still thinks they have an advantage. It is best to pretend to be a passive victim until you see a viable window for taking action. Remember, you actually have the element of surprise unless the criminal suspects you are carrying or actually found out via stalking you prior to the encounter.

A concealed weapon carrier must always keep their ego in check! If you don’t there is a strong chance that you could get shot or accidentally shoot an innocent by stander. Never try to draw your weapon in plain view of a criminal unless you have good cover that will stop and incoming bullet. Once you have drawn your weapon, shoot to save your life and the lives of others in the area not involved in committing a crime.

The following YouTube videos will show you wrong and right ways to draw your weapon when a criminal has the advantage over you.

To paraphrase the late, great Col. Jeff Cooper, “Owning a gun doesn’t make you a gunfighter anymore than owning a guitar makes you a musician“. You must know how to use it and, equally important, WHEN to use it.

Video first seen on Active Self Protection

When trying to shoot and hit a fast moving vehicle departing a crime scene.

Video first seen on Active Self Protection

When You Don’t Have a Gun and Can’t Fight Well

There may come a time when you are absolutely sure that an armed individual will pull the trigger and attempt to kill you. Regardless of the shooter’s intentions, you must do everything within your power to to defend yourself.

This may include running for cover, throwing objects at them, poke them in the eye if they’re close enough, or use any form of self-defense that you know of to protect yourself.

These actions are an absolute last resort. You must be ready for the possibility that you may be shot and killed. In this situation, it is better to do something than to do nothing at all.

What About Taking the Gun Away?

Your number one goal in this situation is to save your life. Fighting back greatly increases the odds of losing your life because it increases the risk of getting shot. Quite frankly, it takes a lot of skill and training to pull a gun out of someone’s hand and do it successfully.

If you have never been trained by the police or have not undergone extensive martial arts training, there is a chance you will fail in your efforts. To add insult to injury, even if you do manage to get the gun away from the criminal, that person will try to get it back. This, in turn, means you need to be prepared for an additional struggle.

The safest thing to do when faced with a handgun is to do whatever the individual says. The only exception to this is to get in a vehicle with this armed individual. Remember you are gambling with your life. This is not the movies or TV. The odds are the criminal has more experience in controlling terrified victims and will not think twice about shooting you.  

That being said, there are a few tactics you can try. As with any other maneuver, the more training and practice you have, the better chance you will succeed in your efforts. Once you have good muscle memory for these maneuvers, you don’t have to think about what steps to do in which order. The tactics just flow from beginning to the end without you thinking about it.

All of these maneuvers are dangerous if the criminal is stronger than you. They also increase the risk that the criminal will fire the gun and strike you or someone else in the area.

Criminal Facing You

Move your head out of the line of fire. Grab the gun directly from the criminal’s hand. Twist the gun to the right breaking the criminal’s finger as you do it. Remember the criminals finger will be on the trigger.

Take the gun from the criminal’s wounded hand. Use the right hand to stop the wrist as you use the left hand to bend the wrist, grab the gun, and push the gun down. This is very important. If you don’t grab the wrist before twisting the gun down, there is a chance the criminal will maintain control of the gun.

Video first seen on MMA Surge

Gun Pointed at Your Back

This video will show you the basics of what to do when a criminal points a pistol at your back. These techniques demonstrate a quick and safe way to disarm a criminal and give you the upper hand.

Video first seen on Gun Carrier

Gun Pointed to Your Head

Watch this video for a quick and safe disarming of a criminal. The film will demonstrate how to  disarm the criminal using  a single or double handed pistol holding grip.

Video first seen on Gun Carrier

In conclusion, being held at gun point can be a terrifying and possibly deadly encounter. There are many times when the criminal does not want to shoot, but feels they must point the gun in order to exert control in the situation.

Remaining calm and maintaining eye contact can rob the criminal of some of the psychological reward associated with the situation, and also help you buy some time in which to act. Protect your self by learning some basic self defense moves, as well as when and how to deploy them so that you have a better chance of surviving and coming out of the situation unharmed.

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This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

6 Best Tips For Butchering A Cow

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This isn’t necessarily a topic for the faint of heart, but slaughtering and butchering is part and parcel of being at the top of the food chain in a survival situation unless you’re a vegetarian.

Even if you just want to learn how to break down your meat so that you can buy it in bulk and butcher it yourself, this is the article for you.

Thinking about it, the term “butchered it” is typically meant as a derogatory remark, as in, “She absolutely butchered my hair” or “He butchered that song when he sang it.” It implies that it was hacked up when in fact, butchering is pretty close to an art. As a matter of fact, if you don’t do it right, you really run the risk of … err … butchering a good cut of meat. Yeah, I don’t blame you – I’d groan, too.

Butchering a cow was a skill most pioneers grew up with as an essential part of an independent life.

Discover the golden days’ practice for getting all you can eat food without buying from the supermarket!

Forget About Mad Cow

Before we move forward, let’s clear something up. You’ve no doubt been warned about eating various parts of the cow. You’ve probably been told that you’ll catch Mad Cow Disease. Scientifically known as BSE, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Mad Cow has only been found in one cow – a dairy cow – ever in the US. And it’s not entirely clear that Creutzfeldt Jakob, BSE’s human variant (153 cases, ever) is caused by eating infected animal protein.

In other words, your odds of catching Mad Cow is exactly nil, and the odds of catching the human variant is, well, nil.

What You’ll Need

If you’re going to do this, do it right. You need a crazy sharp knife, non-serrated. I actually have a few different sizes so that I can make long strokes when I need to, but can use almost surgical precision when it counts. You also need a hacksaw (no, I’m not kidding) and a meat cleaver. Though that’s a tool that you may want to use judiciously.

And most importantly – space and containers, then refrigeration or freezer. A cow is big, even when it’s quartered, and you’re going to have a lot of meat.

Finally, use safety equipment including goggles and safety gloves (metal mesh).

Butchering Tips

Remove any membranes from the meat. It will be sort of a bluish sheen stretched over the meat, but you want it off. It’s tough and it gives the meat a stronger flavor

Watch your fingers! You’re going to be cutting blind in some instances so use your head unless you want to lose your fingers. If your knife is sharp enough to cut through cow flesh, it’s definitely sharp enough to cut through yours!

Clean your meat as you go. This is just a personal preference for me, but I’m the rare southern girl who can’t stand the texture of fat. Tendon doesn’t bother me, but it’s tough and unpalatable. So as you clean your meat, trim it before you store it. That way when you pull it out to use it, it’s ready.

Fat and connective tissue (marbling) is what cooks down and makes your steak tender and flavorful, so don’t ruin it by taking the lean route and trimming all of the fat off.

And speaking of the fat, if you’re going to make tallow (and why wouldn’t you?), you need to keep the chunks of fat, then render them down.

Parts of the Cow

Now the first thing that we need to discuss is the parts of the cow. Obviously, there are some folks that enjoy tongue and brain, so that’s in the head. The tongue is removed by simply cutting it out of the mouth and the brains are removed by cracking open the skull.

  • Hind quarters: The rear quarters are where you the rump roast, the round roast, and the shank
  • Front quarters: This is where your chuck roasts. The neck meat is typically used for stew meat or to make hamburger because it has a lot of fat in it. Also, the breast is there, and that means BRISKET!
  • Belly: Flank steak and skirt steak. These cuts are typically tougher than other cuts and are therefore either sliced thin to use in dishes such as fajitas, or are used as stew meat and cooked low and slow for tenderness. You can also marinate them for tenderness.
  • Ribs/Back: Now we’re getting to the good stuff, at least if you’re steak and ribs kinda person. The ribs, short loin, sirloin, and tenderloin are on the back. You can get a variety of cuts from these sections. The rib section has the baby backs and St. Louis style ribs, or you can do boneless ribs. This is also where you’re going to get your steaks from.

Now, let’s break it down a bit further. The ribs are also where you get the ribeye steak, the rib steak, the rib roast and the ribeye roast, depending on how you cut it. As the names imply, the rib roast can be cut into rib steaks, and the same goes for ribeye roast.

The Difference between a Porterhouse and a Filet Mignon

Moving further toward the south end of the cow, you’ll find the short loin section, right behind the ribs. This is where the majority of steaks come from. Top loin, T-Bone, Porterhouse, tenderloin roast and filet mignon, which is just the tenderloin roast cut into steaks.

Now, you may not know this, but all of these steaks are inter-related since they all come from the short loin. Technically, they’re all T-bones, in that they have a T shape to it, with two different cuts of steak – one on either side of the bone. A Porterhouse is cut from the rear end of the loin and is bigger. On one side is a tenderloin, or filet mignon, and on the other is a New York Strip. A standard T-bone is cut closer to the front, is smaller, and contains a smaller portion of tenderloin.

And behind the short loin is the sirloin, which is still a decent cut of meat. As a matter of fact, if it’s cut and cooked right, it’s nearly as tender as the loin. That makes sense considering the tenderloin runs right along the bottom of the sirloin and short loin, coming to a point right behind the ribs.

So, how does all of this information help you? It gives you an idea of what things are going to look like when you get in there. Now you’re ready to start cutting, because there’s no time like the present.

Getting Started

The first thing that you need to decide after the cow is skinned is whether you’re going to age it or not. If so, you need to do it before the roasts are cut into steaks. Many people do it with a steak that they buy from the store and this may be the easiest way for you, too, unless you have somewhere to hang the whole carcass.

The purpose of aging is to break down connective tissue so that the meat is more tender, and to allow the flavors to mellow and develop. Unaged beef will have a metallic, bloody taste to it, but aged beef will have those deep, mellow flavors that are the signatures of a good steak. There are two methods – wet aging and dry aging.

Wet aging is a relatively new process and is done by vacuum-sealing the steak. It’s faster and there is no waste, but you may not be getting the exact flavor that you want. Many people love wet-aged steaks, though. As a matter of fact, you know how it seems that a steak just doesn’t taste the same when you cook it at home? That’s because most store steaks are wet-aged, whereas good steakhouses used dry-aged meat.

The bad part about dry-aging is that you need special, temperature-sensitive meat lockers to do it, and even if you do have them, you’ll lose some meat. Still, I think the flavor is worth it. And you can dry it at home – but that’s an entirely different article!

The only way to truly know your meat is truly safe, is to slaughter it yourself so take the next step to food independence.

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If you have any questions or would like to add anything, please do so in the comments section below. There’s nothing better than talking beef!

 This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

8 Ways You Can Signal for Help if Lost in the Wild

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If you get lost in the wild, you should be aware that search and rescue teams will probably use air resources as the primary means of determining your location. Okay, there may be also ground teams looking for “the lost sheep,” but in any situation, being capable of signaling for help in a survival scenario is of utmost importance.

When it comes to air search and rescue, agencies fly search patterns using small planes or helicopters in a grid pattern, mostly during the day. It’s worth mentioning that if we’re talking about extreme cases, they do perform search and rescue missions even at night, but you’ll have to consider yourself extra-lucky in such eventuality.

Ground search and rescue personnel may arrive at your location on horseback if the terrain is extra-difficult or by using 4×4 trucks, ATVs and sometimes even motorcycles. Tracking dogs are also commonly used in searches.

Now, try to consider getting lost, then being found from a logical standpoint, and from the eyes of the rescue team. Think about what would be the best way to find somebody if you were looking at the ground from a small fixed-wing aircraft, a helicopter, or a ground unit crisscrossing the land, looking along country routes and trying to see through trees. What about the folks walking area trails or driving pickup trucks on remote and sinister roadways? What would draw their attention?

Find a Good Spot

The first rule of escape survival is quite the opposite of the first rule of being lost. You need to know how to signaling for help: the former requires silence and invisibility, which includes avoiding clearings and roadways. The latter stipulates that you should find a large, open area then get out in the open and do everything you can to get noticed; that would be the first step to take in a SHTF, being lost scenario.

Hence, the first thing to do is to find a large open area that’s easy to reach from your shelter (if any). Speaking of large open areas, the spot must be wide enough to allow for a helicopter to land; it should be very large and flat, with no obstructing vegetation/trees/rocks on the ground. That would be the ideal setup. However, in a survival scenario, you’ll just have to settle for what you have close by, so just do the best you can.

Always avoid shaded/shadowed areas beneath/adjacent to rocks, big trees, and other obstacles that will obstruct somebody in the air’s view of you. Shady areas are excellent for hiding, but you’re looking for the opposite if you’re lost. You want to be easily seen from the ground or from the air.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

Use Your Gear

The first thing you need to do after you find a good spot is take a look at your gear and at what’s readily available nearby. Check out and arrange/identify what can be used as a signaling tool. Evaluate each item and opportunity very carefully, as your life actually depends on it.

In our day and age, almost everybody carries a cell phone and/or a GPS gadget. However, high tech gear tends to die quickly and break easily. If you’re lucky enough to have a cell phone with a live battery and at least minimal network coverage, you can try to send an SMS message, even if you don’t have enough reception to initiate a phone call to 911 or a dear friend/ emergency contact. Try to send as much intel as possible in the simplest way, to the person you think most likely to see it immediately, or send the text to a group of people. Keep your text short, saying something like:  “SOS 50deg48 min 51 sec N 122 deg 29 min 31 sec W fall w broken leg injured call 911” or something similar.

But that would be the best case scenario, isn’t it? Find an elevated position, snatch a little bit of signal, send a clever SMS and wait for the Air Cavalry to arrive. In reality, things are rarely that easy, so you may have to settle for the old way: signaling your location by using rocks, sticks, dirt, shadows, signal fires, and so on.

As the general rule of thumb, it’s very important to remember the CLASS acronym with regard to ground to air signaling.

C stands for Contrast. The best way to signal your presence is by using colors which are in contrast to the background. For example, dig a trench, thus creating a black shadow/writing against white snow. You could also use branches. Or, if the soil is covered in green vegetation, an orange tent would draw attention.

L stands for Location, and it refers to the open area (close to your shelter) I already told you about in the preamble.

A stands for Angularity, meaning that in order to catch your rescuer’s eyes, your signals must have as many straight lines and sharp corners as possible, because ninety degree corners in nature are a pretty rare occurrence.

S stands for Size. Size is everything, right? The bigger, the betterMake your letters and fires as big as possible, without burning the forest down.

Finally, the S stands for shape. A large V-shaped sign means that you’re looking for assistance/help, an X signifies that you’re injured, big arrows can be used for communicating the direction you’re traveling to, etc.

If you’re on the move, it’s very important to leave crystal-clear signals, like notes and arrows indicating your intentions, the direction you’re traveling to, or other details that will help your rescuers find you.

Use Signal Fires and Smoke

Now, getting back to business, the best (as in field-proven) method to make your presence noticed regardless of whether it’s day or night is by fire. Fire has been used for thousands of years for signaling for rescue, and it works beautifully. During the night, fire makes for the most effective visual means when it comes to signaling one’s presence.

The international distress signal follows the rule of three, i.e. you must build 3 fires in a straight line (25 meters between the fires) or in a triangle so that you’re not mistaken or a regular camper out having a good time. Always remember to build your fires somewhere visible from the air/distance, i.e. in a location where the foliage/natural obstacles will not hide it.

An excellent way to attract attention is to set a tree on fire by placing dry wood/combustible material in its lower branches and setting it ablaze. For producing smoke (during the day), add green leaves/small green trees to the fire. For best results, when signaling for help during the day, the color of the smoke should contrast with the background, i.e. white smoke against a dark background and vice versa.

Video first seen on Travel and Escape

A large fire smothered with moss or green leaves will produce white smoke. To get black smoke, you must add oil soaked rags or rubber to a fire. However, keep in mind that smoke signals are only effective on clear days, sans snow, rain or high winds.

If you want to get noticed by search and rescue teams in an effective manner, think along the lines of putting yourself at odds with your surroundings. That would require motion, contrast and sound.

By contrast, I am talking about displaying colors and shapes that are strikingly different from your natural surroundings. For example, you can use a space blanket, bright clothing, tarps, tents, ribbons or improvised flags. Searchers are constantly looking for camping equipment/manmade stuff, provided it’s obvious (as in visible) from both ground and air. Motion translates into creating movement that’s different (at odds) with a still landscape. Think along the lines of a flag pole.

In addition to signal pyres, you can also try to reveal your presence by building mounds, i.e. 3 large rock-made piles forming a triangle that can be easily noticed from the air (in an open area obviously). The taller the mounds, the better, as taller structures will cast larger shadows, thus making them more visible from distance.

Write a Message on the Ground

Depending on your location, you can also try to write a message/sign on the ground that can be noticed by search and rescue teams flying overhead. On sand, you can use a big branch to write an SOS/HELP ME message. On land, you may go for branches, rocks or anything else that can be gathered to create (as big as possible) letters.

Use a Mirror

Signal mirrors are used for both motion and contrast in sunlight, as they’re pretty good at providing directed flashes toward ground or air searchers. This type of signal goes a long way and it’s especially effective from an elevated position, such as a mountain or a tree-top.

If possible, try to get to the highest point available when signaling, thus maximizing your chances of getting rescued.

Video first seen on TJack Survival

Use a Whistle

Audible signals are also worth considering, whether we’re talking about shooting your gun (3 shots spaced 5 seconds apart) or by using a whistle. Seriously speaking, there’s no excuse for not having a whistle in your EDC survival kit. Whistles require little effort (compared to yelling) and they never run out of ammo. Always remember the rule of threes when signaling, including when using a whistle.

Wave your Arms

If everything else fails or you don’t have anything else available, you can always try to attract attention via body signals by waving your arms to the side and down. But don’t hope for much when you’re using this method because you’re a tiny person in a world of waving trees, etc.

Finally, I’ve saved the best for last. Remember, we live in the 21th century and it’s the Year of the Lord 2017.

Use a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

What’s your excuse for not having one of these little bad boys with you every time you’re adventuring outdoors? Or even better, a PLB (personal locator beacon)? I know, they’re a bit expensive, but better safe than sorry, right?

Know that you know how to signal for help if lost in the wild, will you be able to protect your own in a life or death scenario?

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

This Is How To Build A Rubber Band Engine

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The rubber band engine is cheap and easy to make, and can be adapted easily enough to run on heat from a solar capture device.

This type of engine isn’t the most efficient device, but if you have been looking into power generation systems, then you already know that most systems are inefficient.

To generate a reasonable amount of electricity, the device either has to be very large or made from materials that are very expensive. Add in the cost of batteries and voltage regulators, and it may seem impossible to gain energy independence.

But why wouldn’t give this little fellow a chance and try to make one for your homestead?

How Does a Rubber Band Engine Work?

I have long been a fan of work with smaller devices that generate small amounts of energy, and then pooling that electricity to gain a reasonable amount of power.

While the rates may vary considerably, as well as the amount of heat required, most solid objects will expand when you heat them and contract when they cool. Rubber is like water in the sense that it will also expand as it cools and contract as it heats up. Unlike water, however, it takes much less heat to cause rubber to contract. Therefore, when arranged in combination with metals or other materials, heating up rubber will cause an object to disbalance. This “disbalancing” will cause the object to spin. As the object spins, you can use that motion to generate electricity with magnets and coils.

GREEN ENERGY – Click Here to find out how you can build your own energy generator.

Will Something Other Than Rubber Bands Work?

Thinking about materials that you can easily obtain, there are no substitutes that will work as well as rubber bands, or be as cheap to obtain in this particular energy generating design.

There are some things you can try and also look for as new technologies emerge:

  • Metals expand and contract at different rates. Therefore, it is possible to obtain alloys that expand much faster when heated, and also cools and contracts faster when away from a heat source. Unfortunately, it may take a bit more energy than it would take to create the same amount of change in a rubber band.
  • If you decide to work with metal alloys, try and see if a spring shape works better than something similar to rubber bands. As the spring relaxes and tenses, some additional capacity to turn the wheel may be produced from this shape.
  • Water is the only other readily available substance that expands as it turns to ice, and then contracts as it shifts from ice back to water. It takes a good bit of energy to cause water to shift between its four phases of solid, water, gas, and triple state. Nevertheless, if you work with smaller quantities of water and generate small amounts of steam that are held in tubes, it may be possible to push a wheel out of balance in a way similar to one of the most basic rubber band engine designs.
  • As research continues on nano-technologies and other studies that lead to development of new materials, it is entirely possible that some solid will emerge that behaves like rubber. If this material turns out to be more durable than rubber bands, then it may be worthwhile to see if you can obtain some and try to build a power generating engine with it.

As a prepper, you may feel a bit frustrated because this particular engine relies on a commodity that may not be available after SHTF.

There are ways to make rubber on your own from various plants, and once you design your first rubber band engine, experiment with growing plants that produce a sap that can be turned into rubber (dandelions, for example). You may have to make thicker bands in order to produce the same level of durability as you will get from commercial rubber bands, it is still worth the effort.

Video first seen on Adam Micolich

Different Ways to Build the Basic Engine

When building a rubber band heat engine, you will need to make sure that you control the amount of heat reaching the rubber bands. Too much heat can damage the rubber bands, so you will usually find that “less is better”.

You will also need to decide whether you will use a bath of warm water, or simply heat up the air around the rubber bands in order to make them contract. Even though you can use anything from old bicycle wheels to cardboard to build the frame for the rubber bands, the engine must have the following parts no matter whether you decide to heat up air or water:

  • rubber bands
  • a central shaft
  • one or more disks that can be mounted to a central shaft. This disk will also have to act as a support for the rubber bands. It will also need to be sturdy enough so that you can mount magnets on it.
  • a means to shield one half of the rubber bands from heat so they expand as quickly as possible
  • a way to heat up the air or water

Of all the designs featured on the Heat Engines page, the design by William E. Wiegand will probably lend itself the best to a wide range of power sources.

It also has a fairly large vertical frame, so there is also plenty of room for adding coils. Needless to say, for anyone interested in making a small central coil, this may also be an ideal way to build an electric motor that runs on heat.

X Powering Methods for a Rubber Engine

Many people are surprised to find out that a rubber band engine is very easy to power. A candle, or even incandescent light bulb will provide enough heat to cause the rubber bands to contract.

In fact, just about any source of heat, even if it is generated as a secondary process (for example, heat thrown off from a running engine) can be used to power the rubber band engine. Just make sure that you can shield the rest of the device so that the central disk keeps spinning.

Here are just a few simple things you can use to power the rubber band engine that will serve a dual purpose:

Candle heater

Set a candle heater to one side of the rubber band engine. As you will recall, this simple device requires little more than a few clay pots and zinc free washers. With 4 tea lights, you can heat up a small room for 2 – 3 hours and run the rubber band engine at the same time.

Alcohol, and Rocket stoves

Why not generate some electricity while you are cooking on these versatile stoves? As with the candle heater, just set the rubber band engine to one side of the stove where it will receive sufficient heat. Camp fires, and any other stove that throws off heat can be used for the same purpose.

Using a rubber band engine instead of materials that generate electricity based on thermal transfer will be cheaper and easier to develop into larger applications in the long run.

Other Sources

If you are serious about breaking away from commercial electricity or other commercial power sources, then you will already realize that solar and wind power offer you the best options. These systems have been hijacked by dirty and expensive “green” technologies, there is still a lot you can do at the consumer level to take advantage of them.

The sun produces plenty of heat that can be concentrated, and stored so that you can run the rubber band engine in many different kinds of weather.

Here are just a few devices you can make from stuff in your trash can or around the yard and use to power the rubber band engine:

Solar can heater

This device uses little more than old food cans, a wooden frame, some glass or plastic, and pipes in the center of each can. Basically, in this system, the cans are exposed to the sunlight, and cause the air or water in the central tubes to heat up.

From there, all you have to do is let the hot air flow into a room in your home, or let the hot water circulate in a water radiator. To run the rubber band engine, it is just as easy to make a second set of pipes that will blow hot air directly onto the engine.

Solar cooker

These devices can produce temperatures hot enough to cook meat, boil water, and bake bread. Just set up a metal coil in the bottom of the solar cooker and set the other end under a metal plate on one side of the rubber band engine. Do not forget to check the temperatures often so that you do not over heat the rubber bands.

Shiny object

The simplest and easiest way to concentrate heat from the sun is to use a shiny object that bounces sunlight onto a piece of metal. As the metal heats up, the radiant energy will disburse near the rubber band engine.

When experimenting with this system, be careful to watch as the sun shifts so that the mirror does not wind up bouncing heat onto dry grass or something else that can catch fire. It can take only a few seconds for to start a fire this way, and a matter of minutes for it to go out of control.

Plastic solar lenses

Water absorbs a lot of heat, and can also hold onto it for a reasonable amount of time. If you are interested in purifying water, then you may already know that clear plastic solar lenses or even a simple clear plastic bottle are very important for this purpose. If you let a contained source of water heat up, then you can also use that heat to power the rubber band engine.

As with the solar cooker, you will more than likely need to use some type of metal to transfer the heat from the collector to one side of the rubber band engine. You can also use styrofoam or other insulators on the metal so that as little heat as possible is lost on the way to the rubber band engine.

Needless to say, if you choose to build a rubber band engine that is designed to work with warm water, then you will not need to concern yourself with transporting the heat to another location.

Friction

Most people will tell you that friction is a necessary evil at best, but friction also generates heat. If you are interested in harnessing wind power to power the rubber band engine, you may look for ways to generate friction as the bladed (or bladeless depending on the design you choose) system turns. You can still use oils and other lubricants to reduce wear on parts, and still gain plenty of heat from friction generated by the parts passing each other. It may be as simple as adding a band around standard wind turbine blades (or make them smaller to compensate for the added wind power to overcome drag) that will produce friction.

How to Get Electricity From the Rubber Band Engine

Once you master assembling coils and magnets to generate electricity, using the rubber band engine will not be much different. Even though you may be tempted to make a central coil, do not forget these coil types are harder to wind. Magnets also weigh less and can be distributed more easily, so I still recommend using them on the spinning area of any given power generation system and then leave the coils stationary.

When generating electricity using rubber bands, remember that a rubber band does not have a lot of strength. Even if you can get the wheel spinning quite fast, it will take several modules going on at one time to generate significant amounts of power.

You are better off building ten smaller units that spin faster than one unit that does not move as well or breaks down quickly because of the wear and tear on the rubber bands.

Finally, as with any other power generation system, you will still need some way to even out the current produced, and then store it for later use. You can use anything from earth batteries to store electricity to twisting ropes that can be used later on to spin the wheel in the opposite direction and produce more electricity.

If you have some rubber bands sitting on your desk or in a drawer somewhere, you may not realize that these flimsy objects may be a key to generating electricity, even if they only produce a few volts of electricity, but enough to power smart phones, flashlights, or other useful small devices.

They are also a perfect way to gain a good introduction into harnessing solar power, or even how to build units that can be combined to generate even more power.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

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How To Survive A Train Accident

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In one of my recent articles, I talked about surviving an airplane crash. Today we’ll contemplate another catastrophic scenario: how to survive a train accident. I know, it’s holiday season, so let be happy and all that, but better safe than sorry, right? After all, what’s happier than being alive?

The thing is, airplane crashes are a rare occurrence and most of them are not as horrible as one may think, i.e. the survival rate is pretty high. The same is true with train accidents; I mean, they don’t happen very often and the number of casualties is relatively low, all things considered. Now, if you enjoy traveling by train, you’ll have to pay attention to today’s article, as I’ll share with you a number of tips and tricks that may save your life in a rail accident.

With regard to train accidents, there are basically two main things that can go wrong: a head on collision with another train (the worst case scenario), or a collision with a vehicle (truck, SUV etc) in level crossings or derailments.

I know that you’re thinking that trains are safe and all that and I agree with you. However, it’s common sense to maximize your chances of not only surviving, but getting back home in one piece.

To begin with, there’s a lot of debate among rail transportation experts when it comes to what passengers should do in order to survive a train accident. If you’re paying attention to the news, you’ve probably noticed the recent derailments and crashes, especially those involving New Jersey Transit and MTA trains. They’ve been pretty shocking for commuters (and residents alike) in New Jersey and New York.

Here are some facts for your viewing pleasure:

Just to recall a few recent high-profile rail accidents, in February, 2016, 6 casualties were recorded and 15 were seriously injured when an MTA train hit an SUV in the Westchester hamlet of Valhalla, on the Metro-North tracks.

Then there was the Amtrak incident in April, 2016, when a train traveling to Georgia from New York through Philly killed 2 and injured scores more. Finally, there was the one that occurred in September of 2016, when 108 passengers were injured and one died when a NJ Transit train crashed at Hoboken. Three in the same year, though that’s an anomaly at least for passenger trains.

Judging from Federal Rail Administration statistics, in 2014, there were 1700+ train incidents, including almost 150 collisions (most with other vehicles), and 1200 derailments, but the vast majority of the crashes involved freight trains. Between 2011 and 2014 there were only four (4) fatalities from train crashes anywhere in the US.

In other words, your odds of dying in a train crash in the US are statistically less than your odds of drowning or getting bitten by a shark (about 1 in 19 million, actually). Now, let’s see about some tips and tricks for maximizing your chances of not only survival, but also for reducing the odds of getting injured in the improbable eventuality of a train crash.

Just like with airplanes, despite what the Federal transportation authority claims, not all seats inside a plane/train are created equal. Everything in life is about location; hence one’s location (as in where you sit) can really make a difference in the eventuality of a train crash.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

Avoid Front Cars

The general rule of thumb when picking a seat on a train is to head for the middle section. If you want to pick the safest spot to sit on a train, disregard what the talking heads on TV are telling you as well as the so-called expert advice; you must go straight to the data, i.e. reports/statistics from federal agencies, the same folks that set the safety standards for both plane and rail companies.

The first thing to take into account: head on collisions are very rare. You should worry about derailments, as a train is 9x more likely to derail at some point during a trip than to slam into another vehicle or train head on. The data was scooped from the Federal Railroad Administration database, and this fact should be enough to change your “seat-choosing” patterns.  According to various studies, in case of a train-derailment, the cars toward the middle of the train are the less likely to tumble off the rails. The same studies revealed that the first to go off track is the lead locomotive/the first vehicle/car, but that’s hardly a surprise.

Bottom line, the sweet spot when choosing a seat is in a car 1 or 2 back from the center of the train.

The next thing to remember when traveling by rail is to not linger in the Café Car. This is not a safe place to be in the eventuality of an accident, whether we’re talking about a derailment or a collision. While the undeniable benefits offered by the Café Car such as overpriced beer and nuked hot-dogs may lure some of my readers, the reality is that you’re better off to eat, swig, and run. The fixed tables and other pieces of furniture will transform in veritable weapons of mass destruction if SHTF and a train experiences a harsh impact or has to suddenly break prior to an accident.

Tables were the main culprits in many crashes, being responsible for countless internal injuries and the Federal Rail Agency is currently redesigning them for improved crash safety. They are contemplating using air bags (yeah, you read that right) for the tables and also crushable edges, the same tricks used in the automotive industry.

A “mainstream” idea pedaled by so-called safety experts is to choose a rear-facing seat. The concept is that a rear-facing seat will prevent you from being thrown forward (in the absence of a seat belt) during a collision. While this may sound like common sense when it comes to a head-on collision, just like all cute but wrong theories, the reality is that side impacts are far more common than rear-end or head-on ones.

Data scooped from the US Department of Transportation d-base shows that side collisions outnumber rear-end/head-on ones by a factor of 9 to 1 (especially on commuter trains), so forget about the nice view and go sit in an aisle seat. And to play it 100% safe, make it rear facing, just to be sure. Bottom line, the safest place to sit is in an aisle  seat, rear-facing, towards the back of the train.

Follow the Instructions

Obviously, in case of an emergency, you should pay attention to PA announcements and follow the instructions to the letter. These guys are trained for SHTF scenarios, especially the train conductor.

If the circumstances really call for it, one should contemplate jumping off the train prior to a catastrophic crash. While this is very dangerous, you should be prepared for the worst case scenario. Try to do this at the end of the last car. If that’s not an option, jump from the door (if you can open it) or from the space between cars.

You can protect your head by using a blanket or something similar (you can secure some padding around your melon with your belt) and the same goes for your elbows, knees and hips. Before you jump, try to pick a landing spot free of trees, rocks, bushes, or  anything that may injure you during the big tumble.

Don’t try to land on your feet because it’s almost impossible to keep your balance, especially at high speeds; get as low to the floor as possible before you jump by bending your knees so you can leap-frog away from the car and jump at a ninety degrees angle away from the train, thus avoiding rolling towards the tracks, and cover your head with your arms while rolling like a log as you land. Keep your body straight so you will absorb the impact over the widest area possible.

Now, following a train crash, provided you’re still inside the car and the train comes to a full stop, don’t linger inside, but go for the nearest emergency exit/window ASAP.

It would be advisable to get accustomed to the emergency procedures prior to an eventual accident. Just like with everything in life, plan ahead, be aware of the situation and the nearest exits, and also try to visualize how to get there.

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If you have questions or comments, feel free to use the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

Prep Blog Review: Gardening Tips For Summer

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Gardening and self-sufficiency go hand-in-hand and summer is my favorite time of the year when it comes gardening. From watering or dealing with the summer heat, to pest control and weeds, there are many things to do in the garden during the summer if you want to develop healthy, productive crops.

With these things in mind, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered five articles on this topic. If you have other gardening tips for summer, share them in the comment section below.

1. Start Gardening Differently

“Preparedness and self-sufficiency usually turns to food production at some point. Whether we’re old hats or just getting started, there are some set standards that tend to take place in the veggie garden. Sometimes they’re very well deserved. Sometimes, though, changing things up can make a difference in our ability to produce foods.

Small scale or large, when it comes to the veggies, doing things differently can buy us the time and space to get started or expand our harvests.”

Read more on The Prepper Journal.

  1. Watering The Garden: How To Avoid The 3 Most Common Mistakes

“When it comes to watering the garden, how, when and how much you water makes all the difference! Although watering vegetable plants can seem like a trivial task, there really is a science behind proper watering techniques.

Bad watering habits can damage plants and reduce harvest levels dramatically.

Of course, watering needs vary based on location and the specific plants grown. But no matter where you live, there are a few simple rules of watering that can really help power a successful garden.

Here are 3 of the most common mistakes folks make when watering the garden, and how to avoid them!”

Read more on Old World Garden Farms.

  1. Learn How To Water Your Garden Wisely

“As a gardener, you will learn the hard way that suitable irrigation is crucial for developing productive crops. As summer sets in it is important to water your garden regularly to keep you plants healthy. More importantly, you need to learn how to conserve water and make the best decision for your garden.

Keeping your plants well irrigated aids in healthy foliage growth and the production of large yields. During heat waves, it is crucial to water your garden following a precise schedule.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

  1. 5 Everyday Items You Can Use To Fertilize Your Garden

Your options for garden fertilizer are either Miracle Grow Plant Food (whose Amazon page includes a legal disclaimer that their phosphorus-containing fertilizer may cause harmful water runoff), or organic fertilizer. Easy choice.

If you’re reading this, then organic is probably very important to you. You aren’t okay with a little pesticide on your salad or using spinach picked from farms in China with questionable regulations. Instead, you want clean produce.

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

  1. The Ultimate Guide To Natural Pest Control In The Garden

“Are you looking for natural pest control options for the garden? Like many home gardeners, I started growing my own fruits and vegetables in part to avoid the toxic chemicals used on most commercial produce. After all, why put in all that time and effort to eat poison? It didn’t make sense to me.

Just walking down the chemical isle in the hardware store, i.e., the “garden helper area” or whatever they call it, gives me a headache. Sometimes I purchase certain organic pest control products, but often you can get rid of garden pests with what you have on hand.”

Read more on Common Sense Homesteading.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

How to Grow Fish in a Tank for Food

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What would you say if I told you that the average suburban homeowner/renter can grow enough fish in the backyard to meet the protein needs of their family? Fish is one of the most nutritious forms of protein, assuming you raise the right fish under the right circumstances so today we’re going to talk about how to grow fish in tanks for food.

It takes much less space and resources to raise fish than it does to raise other farm animals such as cattle, so this is great for folks who don’t have the time or space to raise livestock. Growing fish in tanks is a great way to diversify your dietary choices and work toward food independence.

Discover the golden days’ practice for getting all you can eat food without buying from the supermarket!

So Where do I Start?

Knowing where to start seems to be the most intimidating part of any project, but the answer is always the same: you start at the beginning. Start reading about fish that do well in your area. Learn how quickly they grow and how much food they require; ideally, you want one that grows fast and requires little food. Also it’s a good idea to grow fish that are resistant to disease and parasites.

Study aquaponics because it’s a great way to develop an ecosystem that provides a diverse array of foods.

Study your climate. Fish don’t particularly like to be frozen, so if you live in an area that freezes, you’re going to have to take that into consideration. Also, study the nutrition of the fish that do well in your climate and research the growth requirements for the most nutritious.

How much space do you have? How much money do you want to invest and how many of the supplies can you build or get at a decent price from local sources? As a person seeking food independence, you’ve likely already learned many great ways to score materials for free, so take advantage of that.

You can’t just buy some random fish, throw them in the pool, and call it good. Just like every other undertaking, you’re going to have to do your homework. There is no exact guidebook because everybody’s circumstances are different, but over the next several paragraphs, you’ll have some great ideas and a better feel for where to start.

What Fish are Best to Grow?

There are several fish that are particularly well-suited for indoor aquaculture, which is definitely an option. Personally, I wouldn’t want to do this in the house large-scale because of the smell, but if you have space and are only growing enough to feed a couple of people once or twice a week, it’s certainly feasible in a relatively small indoor tank.

You could also use a greenhouse if you want to have your tanks outside but live in a climate that gets moderately cold in the winter. Here are some common fish that do well in a farm environment:

  • Tilapia
  • Trout (cold water)
  • Catfish
  • Bass (be careful – they eat smaller fish)
  • Carp
  • Koi
  • Salmon (cold water, and a great source of omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Perch (cold water)

Where are You Growing Them?

Are you growing them indoors or outdoors? In tanks or in ponds? If you’re doing it in tanks, then you need to consider how many fish you can grow per tank, and how big your tanks need to be in order to support the growth of your fish.

I strongly urge you to consider aquaponics because you’re getting twice the bang for your buck, or more. You’re getting the fish, and you’re also getting produce. It’s a practical utilization of space and resources and it’s a leap toward food independence instead of a step.

Cage Culture

Ponds are great if you live in the country because you can dig them deep and the fish will grow in a more natural, less labor-intensive environment. You can use the cage culture method and can probably get it ready to go for less than a hundred bucks if you already have the pond.

You build a cage from plastic pipe and rigid netting, then put it in a pond, lake, or stream, then stock it with fingerlings and feed them until you can eat them.

Flow-Through 

This method is similar to cage culture but instead of using a still body of water, you use a stream so that the water flows through it. You can grow a lot of fish in a little bit of water this way. The flowing water is always oxygenated and you don’t have to worry about cleaning the tank.

Note: Check local regulations to make sure that it’s legal to do either of the above, because it’s not in some places.

Greenhouse Aquaponics 

This is the most complicated method because it involves using plants to maintain high water quality for the fish. The water is flushed through plants so that it’s re-oxygenated and the waste is filtered out of it. It’s also the most expensive to get started, but you get that cost back quickly in the form of food savings.

You’ll need tanks, a water pump and aerator, and, of course, water, fish, and plants. You can set the system up in a greenhouse or your garage, though it’s good to have sunlight.

You can grow some aquatic plants to help with the filtering and you can also build a filter using a 5-gallon bucket, so lava rocks, and a pump.

Home Recirculating 

This is by far the easiest, and can be successfully done by anybody that can get an above-ground pool (size depends on your goals) and a water hose. The pools are durable and cost anywhere from $300-$1000 new (but who buys new, right?). You’ll likely need to replace the vinyl liner every few years, but that’s it.

If you want to grow more than 100 pounds of fish in a single season, a 12’x3’ pool will work as long as it’s temperature-controlled, oxygenated, and filtered. (If not, it will only grow 10-15 pounds, even with aeration). It will hold around 2000 gallons of water, even when you leave 8 inches or so at the top.

All of the species above grow well in a home recirculating system, but grow best at temperatures over 80 degrees. If you live in a climate that actually has a winter, your pool won’t reach that so you’ll need a solar dome. It’s like a giant shower cap for the pool and will keep the water warm enough to make this work.

A drum clarifier is probably the easiest way to filter all of the organic gunk from the water. You can set it up just using siphons, or you can use an air pump. The goal is to make the water flow from the pool through two 55-gallon drums that are filled with orchard netting to catch the waste. Then it flows back to the pool.

A bio-filter will remove the toxic ammonia from the water, and you need that to happen. You can make it from a piece of PVC pipe and some other items, or you can buy one. I recommend making it.

Always make sure that you have a back-up power supply because it won’t take long for the oxygen to leave the water, especially if you have several fish in there.

Now it’s time to stock your pool err … water garden with the fish that you’ve chosen from above. Non-meat-eater fish require less feed – 1 pound of pellets grows one pound of fish. The meat-eater fish will require up to 5 pounds of food to produce 1 pound of fish.

If you live in a climate that gets cold, it’s best to plan your growing season around winter in order to optimize your system. Tilapia is great for Florida and other warm climes because they really are a warm-water fish.

Once your fish are grown and you’re ready to eat, all you have to do is pull one out, clean it, and pop those delicious filets right in the pan. It doesn’t get any fresher than that!

There’s no way that I could have summed up every step from beginning to end, but I hope that this was enough information to get you started. If you have information on growing fish for food, please share it with us in the comments section below. We all benefit from shared info!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Expert Advice: Why You Need Physical Training For Shooting

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There is no doubt that physical conditioning is overlooked a lot of times. Human beings get older, and as they get older they have health conditions and they get lazy.

We’re not all in the same shape that we were in our prime, and some of us in our prime are not in the shape that we should be, so there’s no doubt that it affects your overall combat effectiveness.

Does it mean that a person that’s overweight or out of shape can’t shoot as well as somebody that is in great shape?

Not necessarily, when you’re talking just strictly shooting, but when you put the whole package together, then yes, because in order to survive you have to be able to do three things: shoot, move and communicate.

Why You Need Physical Conditioning for Gun Training

In order to shoot, yeah, it can be physically stressful, more so the ability to lower your heart rate and to be able to keep and have good enough cardio that your breathing doesn’t have an effect on your shot group, and that’s something that can happen.

Moving, of those three, is probably the biggest factor in why it’s important to stay in good shape. It just goes without question that the better shape that you’re in, the better you can move. You need to be able to go over obstacles, under obstacles, upstairs, down stairs, down ropes, to high points to see or gain a better shot, to run for cover, or to perform individual movement techniques.

Those things take energy, and the better shape you’re in, obviously the better you’re going to be to do those things. In a real-life situation, you may have to run towards the aggressor, or you may have to run away from the aggressor. Those actions take energy and at least a bit of agility. In order to expel that kind of energy you need to be in good shape, or at least in better shape than the person that’s shooting at you.

So yes, when you look at it as a full package of shoot, move and communicate, being in shape is very important. As far as shooting, I would say that it’s more about being able to control your involuntary physical reactions – those things that we do that physically affect our shot group.

When we aim at something and then we shoot, there are physical factors that are involved that can affect the shot group – your breathing can make that shot go too high or too low if you don’t have anything to support your weapon and you’re just using your body as support. Understanding your breathing and understanding how to shoot during that natural respiratory pause are very important factors in accurate gunfire and they can be affected by the type of physical conditioning that you have.

That is true about just shooting, but more so about everything else. I would say physical fitness affects movement, the ability to move from one covered and concealed position to another. The ability to move quickly under fire and still shoot accurately is all going to be dependent on the type of shape that you’re in. Being in good shape is always going to be a bonus, or it’s always going to be something that can give you that tactical edge that you need to become the victor in any gunfight.

Whether you’re in shape or not could also affect others around you. For instance, what if you get shot and somebody has to drag you? Is it better that they’re trying to pick up a regular sized guy or are they now trying to drag somebody that’s 350 pounds? Think about others around you that may be involved in a gunfight with you. It’s important that you don’t throw them under the bus by making them have to carry your big butt because you didn’t want to do any physical training.

If you get shot, your physical conditioning has a lot to do with your ability to stay alive – the better shape that you’re in, the better your chances of survival when your body goes through a traumatic situation; that’s a proven statement, so it’s very important to stay in shape for that reason, too.

Click here to get your Green Beret’s Guide to combat shooting mastery & active shooter defense!

Being in good shape helps yourself and others, because you can survive a traumatic gunshot wound or getting blown up or fragged or something like that, better if you’re in good shape. If you’re in decent shape, you’re not so heavy that it becomes a burden on others around you to have to carry you out of a bad situation, and also vice versa; your ability to carry other people if they get shot or to drag them to a covered and concealed location.

Those things are all dependent on how strong you are as well, so yes, it is always a good thing to stay in shape and be in the best shape that you can be, that’s why when you look at our elite forces, physical conditioning is such a big part of what they do. It’s for that very reason that they are able to endure hours and hours and hours of high-stress situations.

I guess that the last thing I would say is that it’s also a proven fact that the better shape you’re in, the longer you’re able to endure high stress environments without them having an effect on your heart, on your mind, or on your body. Being in shape has a lot of benefits; enough so that the benefits far outnumber the drudgery of the time that you have to put in to staying in shape. It’s worth it when you do a risk versus reward analysis, so get out there and walk, run, do exercises, keep your cardio strong and maintain (or improve) your ability to lift weights.

I would say, one of the things about exercise that I took from my years in the Special Operations community is that just going through the motions of running or lifting weights can be boring and mundane, but when I got over to the Special Operations community, we did a lot of realistic training that was also very physical. I think that’s one great way to stay in shape.

If you can, set up a big range where you have to run and lift “guys” (aka full feed sacks) up and carry them to safety and then shoot your rifle and do things like that where you get your heart rate way up there. Then you’re incorporating shooting into it, so you’re putting shooting, moving and communicating all into one activity. Do that on a regular basis and you’ll be able to stay in shape. You’ll also be able to shoot, move and communicate which is incredibly important in any type of a situation.

Video first seen on trainmetoday1

Here’s an example of a drill that can help you get fit as well as prepared.

Run a couple of laps, and then get down into the prone or maybe the kneeling unsupported position. Take a couple of shots at a target, then run to a covered position. Get into the standing position, take a shot from either side of an obstacle or a wall, then put your weapon on safe. If you have a wall, climb it.

Once you get to the other side of the wall, take another shot then low-crawl under some wire that you’ve set up. When you get to the other side, take a shot from the prone unsupported position, then run 100 meters to another position and take a shot from the prone supported fire position where you have maybe a sandbag or something like that and you’re laying down.

Make it a competition; go against somebody else and see who gets the best time and the most accurate shot groups. Make it fun but make it realistic.

Incorporate shooting, moving, and communicating into one event and get out there, have a good time, stay in shape or get in shape and become a better shooter.

Why Breathing While Shooting is Part of the Training

How you breathe depends on the type of shooting we’re talking about. The more accurate and the more distance-related the shooting event is, the more breathing is going to be a factor. The further the distance a shot is, the more every little thing is going to influence it.

Video first seen on Rated Red

If you’re talking about a long-range shot, everything’s a factor. Your body position, stance, breathing, trigger control, trigger squeeze; all those things are going to have an effect on where that round impacts. Would you be able to keep them up if not being fit?

Now, is that true at short range or close-quarters combat? Sure, but it’s nowhere near as much of a factor as when you’re talking about long-range shooting, so I guess I would say that I’m going to break this up in two parts.

The first part is about close-quarters combat. When you’re talking about close-quarters combat, the biggest thing about breathing is just to breathe naturally and make sure you don’t forget to breathe when you’re under stress. I know that was an obstacle that I had to overcome in my early days of learning how to shoot in a close-quarter type situation. I tend to hold my breath when I’m under stress, and that’s not a good thing because now you’re cutting off oxygen to your body and to your brain.

It starts influencing cognitive thought and you physically cramp up; it does all kinds of things to you physiologically based off of the fact that you’re not breathing. It also helps you to relax when you breathe. When you relax, you are a better shooter, you make better decisions, and you can think clearly, so breathing is very important when you’re talking about close-quarters combat from that perspective.

When you start talking about the effect of breathing on point of aim/point of impact, we’re talking about those long-range shots, those technical shots, and shots in closer ranges also. When I say technical, I mean maybe there’s a hostage situation and you may not be that far away but you’re trying to take a shot 6 inches away from the person that’s being held hostage. A 6-inch difference in movement of that round could be the difference between the bad guy getting the bullet between the eyes and some innocent woman getting shot in the head.

Breathing is a factor in those types of situations. That and obviously long-range shots where everything that you do influences a round, I mean if you breathe in while you’re pulling the trigger the rounds tend to go low, if you breathe out when you’re pulling the trigger the rounds tend to go high, so that vertical point of impact is going to be affected seriously by your breathing in and out. Also, if you’re not breathing, you can shake and it can do all kinds of things to your composure that are going to influence pulling the trigger and on where that round goes.
When you fire your weapon, you pull. If you don’t breathe, it may cause you to jerk the trigger because you’re not thinking straight.

Be careful about the horizontal shifting left and right. If you are left-handed and you jerked the trigger, you tend to shoot to the right of the target, and if you’re right-handed and you jerk the trigger, you tend to shoot to the left of the target, so those things can all be affected by breathing as well. Mainly, though, when you’re talking about breathing, you’re talking about the vertical impact of the round.

Let’s talk about the natural respiratory pause. What is that? You hear that term a lot in shooting schools. When people are learning the fundamentals of marksmanship training, we’ll teach them about the natural respiratory pause; every 4 or 5 breaths, there’s a natural pause that you take where you’re not breathing but you’re calm and you have plenty of oxygen to the brain at that point. They, whoever they are, say that that’s a really good time to take a shot. But I think that “they” are not reflexive shooters, they are more talking about those long-range shots.

So if you’re talking about using natural respiratory pause to take a shot, my personal opinion is that it’s either for long-range shots or for very technical shots at closer ranges.

When you’re talking about reactive shooting where you’re reacting to something and then you’re using reflexive fire where you’re either putting that aim point of your long gun or the front sight-post of your pistol onto the target and pulling the trigger, I don’t think that breathing is as important as it is for those longer or more technical shots.

It takes practice and time to build the mindset of a warrior, but once you got it you ease your steps to survival.

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This content has been written by Brian Morris for Survivopedia.

Why Rich People Turn to Preparedness

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Throughout history, the wealthy have had options available to them, that the common people couldn’t afford. They were able to buy products, go places and own homes which the rest of the population couldn’t afford; and you can be sure that they took advantage of it. While some say that the advantages of wealth are “unfair” and “oppressive to the masses” there has never been a time in history where there weren’t some people who were better off than others.

Through most of history, those who had it better off were known as kings and nobles. They took control of an area and its population and levied taxes upon the common folk, taking from their earnings to pay for governance and protection. In the process, those who levied those taxes had better things and finer houses that they built from the sweat of the brows of those who were taxed.

It wasn’t until the Renaissance that this really began to change. Traders, especially traveling traders, began to amass wealth, with some of the best of them reaching and even surpassing the wealth of the nobles who were their erstwhile masters.

This gave these wealthy traders the ability to own fine possessions and palatial homes, which they of course took advantage of. Being by and large smarter than the nobles they were gradually replacing, they fixed their sights on the novel, looking for new things from art and science, thereby giving a huge boost to the development of technology and the arts.

Today is no different. It is the rich amongst us who support invention, innovation and the arts, in many cases reaping the benefit of that support. One way they reap that benefit is in owning finer things, with better features than what the middle class have.

But the things that are luxuries of the affluent eventually trickle down to become commonplace. The cell phone is a prime example of this. A generation ago, installing a mobile phone in one’s car cost more than the car did. I know, because my granddad had one. But then, what was considered luxuries in the cars of a generation ago, has become commonplace in today’s cars.

Options like power windows and door locks were an expensive option, only seen in luxury cars or as a purchased option in mid-range cars. Yet today, there is hardly a car sold in America, which doesn’t come with power windows and door locks standard. Sound systems are the same. Fourty years ago, a tape deck (CDs didn’t yet exist) was a high-dollar upgrade or an aftermarket installation. Today, it is rare to see a car leave the dealership with only an AM or AM/FM radio installed.

Prepping Options for the Rich

One of the dreams that most preppers aspire towards is having a survival retreat. To own that proverbial cabin in the woods and have it all set up for survival is the ultimate level of preparedness that most of us can think of. Besides making an ideal vacation spot, it also provides us with a safe heaven to escape to, avoiding the zombies on the streets or the mobs of hungry people looking for a meal.

Yet few preppers can actually afford such a luxury. The cost of mountain land starts out north of $25,000 per acre and can reach up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per acre; and that’s if you’re buying large swaths of land. Buying just a single acre is considerably more expensive.

Of course, building costs in the mountains are higher too, especially in remote areas. Not only do you have to pay to get everything trucked in, you may have the added cost of providing lodging for the construction crew, if they are not local.

This limits the building of such getaway retreats to those who have inherited land or to the wealthy who can afford it. Apparently there are enough of them around, that prices don’t have to drop in order to find buyers. Otherwise, you and I might actually be able to afford that cabin in the woods that we’ve always dreamed about.

While some of the wealthy build or buy homes in these isolated areas just as vacation getaway retreats, more and more of them are buying them as a different sort of retreat. It seems that prepping has reached the hearts and minds of the wealthy, and like everything else they do, they are doing it with style, spending big money in order to have security.

Many of these people are counted amongst the nouveau rich of Silicon Valley. Having made their pile, they are now looking to other needs of their family; most notably, security. As with many of the rest of us, they are recognizing the many risks that we face today and spending at least a part of their fortune to make sure that their family will survive.

But prepping wealthy style is much different than prepping for the rest of us. First of all, few of them are preparing to shelter in place in their homes. Of those that are, most are having expensive, lavishly furnished bunkers built beneath them. But this is only a minority. The rest are planning on bugging out at the first sign of trouble. What’s interesting is the types of places that they are planning on bugging out to and the amount of money they are spending to make that possible.

So, what are these high-dollar survival retreats? They are actually quite varied. But there are some common themes which we see happening today; such as:

  • mountain homes in remote valleys, in some cases, only accessible by helicopter
  • buying a private island and turning it into a retreat
  • New Zeeland
  • converted missile silos, which have been turned into luxury survival bunkers

The beautiful country of New Zeeland has become such a popular survival destination for these people, especially those in Silicon Valley, that the name “New Zeeland” has become a secret password amongst them. Mentioning it means that you’re part of the club or at least thinking about joining. The entry fee? Buying an upscale house on the island nation.

If you’ve seen The Lord of the Rings series of movies, you can understand the attraction of New Zeeland as a destination. The country is beautiful and largely unspoiled. It is difficult to get there from here, but that difficulty is apparently part of the attractiveness. The thinking is that any problem which plagues the United States is unlikely to make it to a country on the other side of the world.

The business in New Zeeland survival retreats is good enough, that there are real estate companies over there, which specialize in selling home to wealthy American preppers. Their business has paid off too, with the sale of land to those Americans quadrupling in the last six years.

Missile silos, leftovers from the days of the Cold War, have been being gradually sold off by the government. A few imaginative investors have bought some of those silos and are in the process of converting them into luxury survival condos. These condos, which are typically only half of a 55 foot diameter floor, generally sell for upwards of a million dollars.

These getaway bunkers are well thought out, with amenities like a theatre, an exercise room and an indoor pool. Security is well thought out and makes extensive use of high tech. They even have underground hydroponic gardens, to provide fresh produce to the residents.

So, Why are the Rich Becoming Preppers?

When the rich start putting their money into something, you need to pay attention. Typically, they have access to sources of information that the rest of us normally can’t or don’t access. You also have to take into account that these are uniformly bright people. You don’t get to be a millionaire or billionaire without being extremely intelligent, no matter what the disgruntled say.

More than anything, these people are concerned about social unrest and a breakdown of society. Current social trends pit the majority of the population against the wealthy, Washington insiders, and those who have influence in the highest places. They are seen as the enemy of the people, both by people on the political right and the political left.

The left’s problem with these people is pure class warfare, with Democrat politicians, celebrities and the media complaining about the “one percenters” and how unfair it is that they have more than the rest. In their eyes, those who are wealthy have stolen from the working masses and especially from the poor. In their zeal for the socialist utopia, they want to take what the wealthy have and redistribute it to the poor, lining their own pockets along the way.

The funny thing is, many of these public figures who are decrying the wealthy are themselves amongst the one percent that they badmouth. But in their eyes, they are the “good” one percents, while business tycoons and especially Wall Street bankers are the “bad” one percenters.

The right’s issues with those in power are totally different. First of all, they don’t have issue with the wealthy, always hoping a little if it will rub off on them. With a greater understanding of economics, they realize that the free-market capitalist system that we have is what allows our society to be as wealthy as it is, which translates into more of the population not being poor. More than anything, it creates and sustains the middle class.

What they do have issues with is crony capitalism. With politicians in Washington focusing on helping themselves, rather than helping the country as a whole. With their tax dollars being wasted by the government to fund liberal pet projects and win votes for liberals, rather than being spent for the protection of the nation, upkeep of our infrastructure and betterment of our nation. They resent their hard-earned wages going to pay for people’s abortions, birth-control pills and transgender operations. More than anything, they resent big government meddling in every area of their lives.

So, while both ends of the political spectrum are fed up with the way things are, they are clearly fed up for different reasons. We can see their level of frustration by looking at the last presidential elections. A lot of the reason that Donald Trump won, was because he was an outsider. Those who are fed up saw him as a much better option than any establishment candidate.

Yet the differences between the political left and right are big enough to cause considerable concern. Talk about a second civil war, which started during Obama’s reign, have increased since Donald Trump was inaugurated. Most of this talk is now coming out of the left, who are still enraged that their candidate didn’t win.

The anger on the left is a palatable thing. It has reached a much higher level than angry rhetoric. Paid leftist protestors are showing up at any Republican event, working to disrupt it. These protesters incite the grassroots people to violence, leading to violent confrontations with the police and with conservatives who merely want to hear what the speaker has to say.

This reached a head recently, with the shooting of a congressman and some staffers by a Bernie Sanders supporter. The victims in the shooting were at a practice for a charity baseball game, when the shooter started picking his targets. Had it not been for the courage of two of the Capital Police Department who were there fulfilling their duty, the casualty count would have been much higher.

These nouveau rich preppers see all this happening and are counting the days until a nationwide meltdown. In their eyes, the years following will be some of the most dangerous in our country’s history, especially for them.

So they are making plans to bug out and spend the next decade running their businesses from remote locations or even abandoning their businesses in the name of survival. Either way, they are preparing now, so that their families will be safe when that day comes.

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Uncommon Off-grid Survival: How to Get Electricity from Mud

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It is no secret that anything from EMP blast and natural phenomena to outright sabotage from inside the country can lead to large scale disruptions in the power grid.

You have at least a few electronic devices that you’ll need to operate until you have made a full adjustment to living without electricity. Regardless of whether you need to access data on the memory chip for your smart phone, health monitoring tools, or even a battery powered radio, you should know how to generate electricity using as many methods as possible.

Overall, generating electricity or other sources of power from mud may be a viable option.

GREEN ENERGY – Click Here to find out how you can build your own energy generator.

How Does Generating Power From Mud Differ From Earth Batteries?

How is this type of generator different from other devices made from similar materials? How a mud based electricity generator differs from an earth battery? Here are the main things to remember:

  • An Earth battery does not require salt or any other electrolyte. You can add salt to increase the amount of electricity produced. On the other hand, generating electricity with mud always requires the addition of salt.
  • To use an earth battery, you can take the soil from any location and it will still work. If you want to generate electricity using mud, you must make use of mud from areas rich in bacteria that do not rely on oxygen. Most people use mud found at the bottom of ponds or other areas that have been under fresh water for some time.
  • When generating electricity from mud, the bacteria responsible for making the electricity must have food. While waste or sewage can be used for this purpose, some bacteria may also require the addition of glucose or sugar. An earth battery does not require living organisms to generate or store electricity, so there is never a need to add food. At most, you will only need to add regular water from time to time in order to keep the soil slightly moist.

How Does Generating Power From Mud Differ From Using Electrolytes?

Even though generating power from mud requires salt, it does not work quite the same way as an electrolyte battery. The bacteria themselves charge up one side of the fuel cell as a part of their biological function.

On the other hand, an electrolyte battery works because molecules break down into ions when mixed with water. These ions gravitate to the different metals at different rates, which produces an electrical charge.

Over the years, many different methods have been used to generate electricity from electrolytes. If you are near the ocean, you won’t need much more than access to salt water and two different metal types that will serve as electrodes. With a few minor modifications, you can also make wet capacitors using similar materials.

If you are going to work with higher voltages, you might need to make this kind of capacitor both for storing electricity and making sure you can create and even discharge once the power is gathered in one location.

Alternatively, if you have pennies made 1983 or later, you will already have two perfectly good metals in the same coin for making an electrolyte battery. All you will need to do is sand off some of the copper from one side of each penny in order to expose the zinc.

Next, make a sandwich of cardboard disks dipped in salt water and add pennies between each set of disks. You can make approximately one volt of electricity for every penny you combine with the salt water and cardboard disks.

Should I Use the Mud Cell to Generate Electricity?

Overall, you will find that a mud cell generates relatively small amounts of electricity when compared to the size of the device. Something is better than nothing, so it will still take a lot of work to multiply that electricity and be able to use it even to produce the same voltage as you would get from a AAA battery.

You can most certainly try building a mud cell power generator to see how it works, and then try to adapt it to produce more power.

Here’s what you need to achieve to produce more electricity:

  • Find some way to get existing bacteria to boost their metabolism 200 – 300 times the current rate.
  • Get the bacteria to multiply faster.
  • To generate electricity, the bacteria actually form networks of conductive “bridges” or “wires” in the growing medium. At this time, it is not known if the bacteria themselves are producing the most optimal pattern for conducting electricity from one place to another. Changing the pattern may improve efficiency and it may also boost the amount of current produced by the generator.
  • Find a way to make the cells smaller: see if you can use a more liquefied mud cell, and then irrigate it with a steady flow of nutrient rich water. Provide some kind of growing film for the bacteria so they aren’t washed away each time the mud cell is bathed in water. Even though nanotechnologies may be outside of your available list of materials, they may one day be useful for making an optimized structure for the bacteria to live in and generate electricity across. This leads to a smaller footprint for each cell, as well as higher levels of efficiency.
  • Get equipment that will help you find out the answers to several questions: a microscope and access to white papers on nanotechnology, conductive material molecular structures, and other materials may be of use to you.

Basic Steps for Building a Mud Cell Energy Generator

To make a microbial fuel cell, start off by gathering the right kind of mud. Dig around in the bottom of a pond that has been around for a few years, and pull up some of the black mud at the bottom. This mud will be rich in the kind of bacteria that can be used to generate electricity.

Next, you will need some salt, water, agar, and PVC pipe. Mix the salt, water, and agar together, and then fill the pipe with them. Once the agar cools, it should be hard enough so that it will not spill out of the tube.

The agar acts as a repository for salt, which restores the ionic balance as electricity is drawn from the cell. You can also try cardboard dipped in salt water or other methods for making the salt bridge.

The microbial fuel cell requires two chambers that are connected by the agar filled PVC pipe. Make sure the seals connecting the chambers are waterproof, and that you can easily replace the salt bridge, so that you can refill or make changes to the ingredients in the other chambers as needed.

After you connect the containers with the salt bridge, fill one container part of the way with mud and insert an electrode. Since the electrode will need a fairly wide surface area, make one from regular wire, and then attach an aluminum mesh to it. Finish filling up the container.

Your next step will be to fill the remaining chamber with distilled water and salt. As with the first chamber, install an electrode and some wire.

You can also insert some air tubing that will be used to run an air pump that will aerate the solution in the water chamber.

If you want to increase the amount of air going into the chamber and ensure more stays in the water, try using an aquarium air stone. If you do not aerate the water in the second chamber, it will produce hydrogen gas.

Depending on the activity levels of the bacteria, you may notice a small amount of voltage immediately. It may still take days, or even weeks for the bacteria to rebuild their transport structure and produce more electricity.

Video first seen on CCS Microbial Fuel Cell

Are there any Other Uses for a Mud Cell?

Many inner city areas are soon to become areas where gas mains will explode and skyscrapers will tumble to the ground. Land with clean water and soil is rapidly becoming something that simply cannot be bought in an area with good weather conditions.

Aside from pointing to inevitable massive depopulation, it also means that if you want a homestead, you may have to settle for land that isn’t as clean or as safe as you would want it to be. This, in return, means that you will need some way to clean the soil. While mud batteries may not do much to generate electricity, they can do a great deal to increase the rate at which other bacteria remove toxins from the soil.

Therefore, if you are interested in owning a homestead, or know that you are already dealing with contaminated soil, you may want to experiment with these batteries to see if they will be of use to you.

Like many others, over the years, I have tossed around the idea of living completely free of electricity and electronic devices. While I have arrived at the sad conclusion these devices may be necessary for years to decades after a major crash, I still give a lot of thought to using as little electricity as possible. Since electricity is used for everything from cooking to home heating/cooling, this also means other fuel types must be considered.

Mud batteries can be used to generate hydrogen and biofuels. Typically, this process only requires carbon dioxide and sunlight. There is a good bit of research going on at this time to determine if this means of making butanol, a biofuel, can replace corn, beets, and other crops normally used for food.

Many people prefer cooking with electric stoves because they are safer, but just about everyone agrees that gas stoves produce better tasting food. You can build a gas stove to run on natural gas or methane, so don’t be surprised that this fuel is of immense interest to off gridders and preppers.

The bacteria that generate methane and natural gas also form similar structures within the growing medium that allow for the transport of electricity. As a result, even if you decide the mud battery is not a feasible option, you could check if the best bacteria for this method will also produce larger amounts of natural gas.

Aside from saving on soil depletion, this method may even be used one day to produce sugars suitable for addition in foods. In fact, bacteria are being used to make omega fatty acids that are added into organic milk. The bacteria strain may be different from the ones used to generate electricity, but never underestimate what mud and different methods for getting bacteria to produce various chemicals can do.

Right now, mainstream media continues to avoid covering topics like the Fukushima disaster, and other issues related to the leaking of nuclear materials into rivers and oceans. Virtually everyone points to other factors and blames them for the rises in cancer rates and other diseases that may well have an origin in hidden exposure to ionized radiation in the groundwater.

The same strains of bacteria used to generate electricity are also capable of removing uranium from ground water. If you are building a homestead near an area exposed to nuclear waste or materials, these bacteria may help. There may even be a way to develop a strain of bacteria that can be used to remove tritium from potable water supplies.

Once you begin exploring how electrically active bacteria work, it seems entirely possible this property can be used to remove tritium from non-radioactive water molecules.

In the case of making electricity from mud, the hydrogen generated by this process may be of more use as a fuel to power some other device that will deliver more electricity or some other useful form of power.

When it comes to generating electricity, cost, availability, and ease of assembly must always be your primary focus points. If you cannot generate enough electricity directly from any given application, see what else you can obtain that may be useful.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://sciencing.com/making-electricity-salt-water-4883969.html

http://theconversation.com/mud-power-how-bacteria-can-turn-waste-into-electricity-3677

Help Your Cow Or Goat Give More Milk!

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If you have cows or goats for milk, you’ve most likely ran into times when milk production goes down.

There’s always a reason for this, but it doesn’t always mean that something’s wrong, and you can’t do anything about it. Many times you can, though. We’re going to talk about how to increase milk production when things slow down.

How Much Milk to Expect

Many new farmers read lots of articles about their milk cows and have preconceived notions about how much milk they should be getting, then think something is wrong when they get less. Rule number one: know your cows. There are many factors that affect how much milk your cow makes: age, temperature, environment, diet, and cycles: there’s no exact answer.

Understand, too, that your cow or goat isn’t going to give milk every day all year round. You need to give her a couple of months off. Actually, she’ll TAKE a couple of months off no matter what, so expect it. Assuming she’s bred back, she’ll stop lactating during the last couple months of her pregnancy in order to give her udder time to heal and get ready for the calf or kid.

Also, for about 4-5 days after she calves or kids, there will be colostrum in the milk, so you need to let the baby have that. You don’t want to drink it. After that time period, though, it’s fine to resume the milking schedule.

Discover the golden days’ practice for getting all you can eat food without buying from the supermarket!

Tips to Count on for Increasing Milk Production

Remember that milk production will ebb and flow even for the same cow, so her production won’t be the same over the course of her lactation period. What you need to watch for is a sudden decrease. Here are steps that you can take to make sure that you’re providing optimum conditions for top milk production.

Water

This is one of the top factors that can affect milk production in your animals. First and foremost, you need to make sure that your animals have plenty of water. A milk cow will drink 30-50 gallons of water a day, and if it’s really hot (or cold) that may increase. It can actually double. A dairy goat needs 2-3 gallons per day.

If she doesn’t have enough water, she won’t produce as much milk. The best way to make sure she’s drinking enough is to provide ready access to a constant supply of clean water.

Diet

What your milk animals eat is important. A lactating cow will eat a hundred pounds of food per day, once everything is included. Even if they’re getting a ton of roughage, they need to eat both forage and concentrate. For cows, the percentages of forage vs concentrate varies depending upon where she is in her lactation cycle, but she should be eating about 3.5 percent of her body weight in food daily between forage and concentrate.

Dry forage is grass, quality alfalfa or alfalfa-grass mix hay, or straw. Wet forage, or silage, is fermented forage and consists of corn, barley or alfalfa. You can feed either or both, as long as they’re getting enough. Concentrate is cereal-based grain/pellets that provides the energy, fat, minerals, and protein that they need.

Finally, minerals are critical to milk production. For goats, the primary minerals that they need are calcium, sodium, and phosphorus. Cows need a wider variety. The easiest way to make sure that your cow is getting enough minerals is to feed quality concentrate and provide a mineral block that they have easy access to.

On the flip side of this, if your cows are overweight, that can reduce milk production, too. Know your cows, know what they’re supposed to look like, and make sure that they’re getting enough but not too much.

Lack of Space

Cows need to have plenty of space to roam and lie down. Standing in an over-crowded, free-stall operation can limit production because, among other things, standing for too long causes fatigue stress. Same thing with goats. They need plenty of room to wander.

Stress

If the cows or does are stressed, be it from heat, a disruptive environment, or illness, their milk production may decrease. To combat heat, provide barns or at least a lean-to if you don’t have plenty of trees so that they have shade. Enough water will help, too.

If the stress is environmental – too much noise, dogs, predators, etc. do what you need to do in order to provide a calm environment in which they feel safe and can get enough rest.

Also, if you’re stressing her during milking, she may not let her milk down.

Health Problems

If your milk animal gets sick, her output will decline. Take care of her teats so that she doesn’t get mastitis, keep her on an effective parasite program, and make sure that the pasture is free of toxic weeds. Also, make sure that her hooves are in good condition and that she’s just healthy in general. A health cow or doe produces optimal milk.

Improper Milking Techniques

You need to know how to properly milk your cow or goat so that you’re getting all of the milk out in a manner that’s not stressing her.

For instance, we have one cow that we can literally milk in the field if somebody holds her halter. Another needs to be in the milking stall with the head gate locked, but she’ll stand there patiently even if she runs out of feed to occupy her. And our problem child is a young cow. It’s her first year and if you don’t get in and get out in five minutes or so, you’re done, even with the kick stop on.

Now, you need to milk her dry, or as my dad says, strip her. If you leave more than a pint of milk in each quarter, for a cow, then you’re asking for problems. Both cows and does need to be milked completely in order to optimize production.

In summary, your goal is quiet efficiency. Start milking within a minute or two of getting her into the stall, get her milked in 5 or 6 minutes, then let her out before she has a chance to get fussy.

Video first seen on The Flip Flop Barnyard

Psychological Trauma

Yes, you read that right. If one of your ladies has had a negative experience sufficient enough to traumatize her, she may have a problem letting down her milk, which means you won’t be able to milk her sufficiently. There’s not much you can do other than provide a calm atmosphere now and don’t make matters worse by being mean to her for misbehaving.

Don’t do anything in that stall other than milk – it’s not the place where she comes for shots or veterinary appointments because you don’t want her to associate it with anything painful or scary.

It’s not that hard – make sure that your dairy animal is healthy, well fed and watered, has plenty of space to move, and is relaxed. And make sure that you milk her properly. A decline in production is going to occur a couple of months after giving birth, and again as her dry cycle nears, but a rapid decline in production is cause for concern.

In short, if you want to increase milk production, take care of your animals. Follow these tips and take one step toward family independence!

If you have anything to add, please feel free to do so in the comments section below. There’s always more to be said on topics like this!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

3 Ways To Make A Torch In The Wild

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A simple hike can suddenly turn into a Bear Grylls episode, a struggle for survival, if you’re unlucky enough to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Basically, in a matter of hours, you may very well find yourself stranded in the wild with no help in sight, completely on your own.

And I am talking here about a sudden change of weather conditions, or you may simply lose your way, which may lead to numerous days of no one (including you) being aware of your whereabouts.

When it comes to wilderness survival, fire is one of the essential things to take care of, as it provides a number of benefits, including warmth, which helps with avoiding hypothermia. It also allows you to cook your food, boil water (read sterilize), signal for help or keep wild animals away.

Today’s article will teach you how to make a torch in the wild.

The first lesson to be learned is to never go into an adventure unprepared! The thing is, if you’re planning an outdoors trip or a hike or whatever, always take survival gear with you, the essentials so to speak, which must include a compass, a map, a flashlight, a knife, a first aid kit, proper clothes, emergency food, waterproof matches/a fire starter kit, and always expect the unexpected.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

Speaking of torches and fire, one of the most underrated benefits of fire is the light it yields. And here’s where torches come into play.

Torches were used by humankind for thousands of years to illuminate the darkness of night, long before we discovered kerosene lanterns or electricity. When SHTF, DIY oil lamps and candles may be the preferred method of lighting for indoors use, but torches are the way to go in a wilderness survival scenario.

DIY-ing a torch using readily available materials is the perfect way to bring light wherever required; hence it’s an essential skill to master if you’re in the survival business.

To begin with, many folks have their minds warped by Hollywood movies that always make everything look incredibly easy, including making a torch in an emergency. If you think about a scene with someone, let’s say Rambo when he’s stuck inside a tunnel or a cave in Afghanistan, you’ll remember how our hero just grabs a femoral bone from some expired explorer, then wraps it up in rags and lights the gizmo on fire. And obviously, the fire lasts for hours and lights up the place like Frodo’s magic light of Earandil (if you know your LOTR). As you may imagine where this is going, reality is not as simple as Hollywood portrays it to be.

How To Make A Primitive Torch

In medieval times, torches were improvised from sticks of wood (or branches), preferably wet/green wood for preventing the fire from burning up one’s little digits. River cane, cattails, reeds and bark can also be used. However, certain types of torches must be bound using twine or similar stuff for keeping them sturdy. Obviously, certain varieties of bark, wood, etc. burn better than others, but in a survival situation, one can’t always be picky.

The most straightforward torch design is composed of a stick featuring a bundle of rags bound to one end, then soaked in tree sap, pitch, oil, or animal fat. In case you don’t have rags or clothes to spare, you can wrap bark around the stick’s end and stuff it with dry grass, moss, small bits of wood or leaves.

You’ll still need to soak some flammable material on the end (animal fat, pitch) to prevent your improvised torch from burning too fast or blowing out when you least expect it.

To get more specific, the most primitive torch that will last you for a while can be improvised from a freshly picked cattail. If you can get your hands on some grease or animal fat, not to mention lamp oil, this incredibly simple survival torch may last you for hours and hours. Here’s a little video.

Video first seen on bushcraftbartons

How To Make A Minimalistic Torch

Provided you can’t get any cattail, you will have to use the good old method of using a frayed branch along with some method for improvising your torch. As I already told you, the idea is to add a slow-burning fuel at the end of the branch, so the torch will burn for a longer period of time.

Rather than simply lighting the end of a branch (which is the most basic type of torch, because it really works, for a while at least), the idea is to create a proper torch that wicks and burns very much like a candle.

It would be ideal to carry some fire accelerants in your EDC survival kit, the likes of paraffin or cooking oil; these are excellent additives for a survival torch. If you don’t have them at your disposal, you’ll have to settle for animal fat (bacon grease if you’ve packed food, for instance) or tree sap.

A minimalistic torch can be improvised from a branch or green stick at least 2 feet long and 2 inches thick, cloth/birch bark, and some type of flame accelerant (animal/vegetable fat, paraffin, kerosene, etc.).

The torch will require a wick of sorts, which can be DIY-ed from strips of cloth. You must tear the respective fabric from a shirt or something similar. Alternatively, you can go for soft barks such as birch; i.e. find a tree and peel off a strip that’s about 2 feet long and 6 inches wide.

In the latter scenario, you’ll also require rope, twine, string or similar stuff to tie it securely into place.

Video first seen on Survival Elements

The wick must be attached firmly to the torch then soaked thoroughly with the flame accelerant before you light it up. A birch wick already contains natural resins that will burn for a long period of time, so you don’t have to soak it.

In the case of fabric/cotton wicks, make sure you saturate the fabric thoroughly with the stuff, whether it’s oil, gasoline, wax, animal fat, or whatever. If it’s dry, the wick will burn rapidly and fall away. Remember, it’s a wick, not firewood; your goal is to burn the oil, not the bark.

How To Make A Tree Resin Torch

One of the most effective torches to be used in the wild is the pine pitch variety. Even if you don’t have access to fuels, pine pitch, also known as pine sap, is an outstanding fuel and also readily available. All you have to do is to find a pine tree then to cut off a branch.

Afterwards, you’ll have to split one end of the stick 4-5 times then jam a handful of thin pine shaving into the gaps of the split end. Upon lighting it, the fire will wick the sap from the branch and it will burn for at least an hour.

Video first seen on OutsideFun1

If you’re lucky enough to have some toilet paper with you, you can DIY a nice  torch with this humble material. You’ll require 1 greenwood stick and about 50 ft of TP of any kind, together with flammable materials, such as cooking oil/animal fat (a cup).

The trick is to wrap the toilet paper around the end of the stick while spinning it, so it will end up looking like rope. The loose ends of the paper must be tucked into the torch head, so it resembles a huge Q-tip. In the next step, you’ll have to stick the wick into the oil and let it soak properly for 2 minutes or so. That’s about all there is to it; now you’ll just have to light it up. This one will last you for up to thirty minutes.

Now that you know how to make a torch, take a moment and think: are you ready to use this knowledge to survive?

I hope the article helped. If you have questions or comments, feel free to use the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black<