10 Medical Resources You Can Get from Nature

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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

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

Turmeric

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

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

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

Cinnamon

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

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

Rosemary

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

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

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

Ginger

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

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

Garlic

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

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

Holy Basil

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

Aloe Vera

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

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

FeverFew

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

St. John’s Wort

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

Saw Palmetto

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

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

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5 Reality TV Shows That Can Help You Prep for a Disaster

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Written by Laura Johnson on The Prepper Journal.

Despite all of the unnatural intervention, there are some reality shows that preppers can get more from than strictly entertainment. These reality shows can help you prep for a disaster.

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Lessons from History – Staying Warm in Winter

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Whether bedding down in a sturdy home, on the move, or making a temporary camp for the snowy season, there are a lot of lessons we can take from history to keep us safer and more comfortable.

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Ensure Your Family Has Safe Water If the Grid Goes Down

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Written by John Hertig on The Prepper Journal.

The only problem is, this continuous availability of water depends on a lot of infrastructure, and if some or all of that collapses, water is going to “dry up” quickly.

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

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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

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Tactical Gear List & Considerations for SHTF

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Written by Orlando Wilson on The Prepper Journal.

The below personal tactical gear list is taken from a proposal I put together for counterinsurgency / tactical team in West Africa a few years ago, this should give you a few hints on kit etc.

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Practical Bug Out Reloading

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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

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Winter Prepper Project Ideas – Outdoors

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

There’s a lot that winter (or early spring) can tell us about our properties, both for planting decisions, siting various things around our property, and for mitigating some of the weather that comes with winter and spring.

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For Those of You Waiting on Financial Collapse…

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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

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Stacking Functions: Increasing Efficiency with Multi-Function Spaces

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Analyzing homestead elements for multi-functionality and redundancy were covered in the first article. This time we’ll look at combining them into multi-function spaces.

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Stacking Functions: Increasing Yields & Decreasing Labor with Multi-Function Elements

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Stacking functions is a quick term for the concept of planning things (elements) and areas (space) to perform the most services for us.

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Planned Parenthood for Preppers

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Managed Livestock Breeding Livestock keeping is one of the things that those interested in self-sufficiency regularly end up considering. There are factors involving breeding, especially, that can increase our success and let us custom-fit our livestock’s needs to our situations. While some aspects of controlled breeding may seem obvious, especially to experienced livestock keepers, other […]

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Is Stocking up on Gold and Silver Smart?

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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

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3 Ways Prepping Pays Off Right Now

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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

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

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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

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Field Weapon: Constructing a Bow & Arrows Using a Knife

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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

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Booby Traps – A Historically Proven Component of Psychological Warfare

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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

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

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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

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Metallic Cartridge Reloading In The Prepper Tool Kit

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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

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

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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

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The Keys To Effective Prepper Communication

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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

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Self Defense Options: More than Just Guns

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Personal Defense                

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Non-Gun Weapons

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

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

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

Dogs

Best Prepper Dog for SHTF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Emergency Medical Preparedness: Prepare Yourself for a Medical Emergency

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So go out and get prepared. Learn.

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Shoot To Kill: Instinctive Shooting

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Written by Orlando Wilson on The Prepper Journal.

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In close quarters, defensive shooting, you do not aim as such using your handguns sights, because you usually you do not have time for this. You use a method known as instinctive – or point shooting. Instinctive shooting is simple you point the gun and pull the trigger. You need to ensure you have a good grip on your handgun, your wrist is locked and the forearm of your gun hand is in line with your handgun.

For instinctive or point shooting at ranges of about 3 to 10 yards, you should bring the handgun up with stretched arms at chest or chin level, with both eyes looking at your target area. Point the handgun at the target area (i.e. head or chest); when the target is aligned, you fire. There is no need to use the sights, you simply point and shoot. I have seen students, who have been taught to always use the sights on their handguns, even at close quarters, and have difficulty getting good results when shooting. This is usually because they are concentrating too hard on lining up their sights. They are usually amazed how easy, fast and what good results they can get from point shooting. You want to practice instinctive shooting with an unloaded handgun before you go to the range. To start, pick a point in the room you are in, for example, a light switch. Now with a straight-arm point your finger at the switch. Look down your arm and see where your finger is pointing- it should be pointing at the switch.

You have been pointing at things your whole life right? Practice this a few times and then try it with an unloaded handgun. Point the handgun at the switch without using the sights and then look down the sights to see where the gun is pointing. It should be pointing at the switch. If not, adjust your aim and try again. You should practice this strong and weak handed while sitting, standing or lying in bed, this will build up your muscle memory and make you flexible with the weapon. You want to work up to drawing from a concealed holster, pointing and dry firing (handgun unloaded) at different points, from different position, this is good training and will improve your shooting.

Instinctive Shooting takes practice

To train in instinctive or point shooting at the range with live ammunition, place a silhouette target at approximately 5 yards down range. Hold your handgun with a relaxed two-handed isosceles or modified weaver / boxer’s stance and pointed at the bottom of the target. Look at the chest area of the target and raise your handgun until it is pointing at the area where you are looking at, without using the sights. When your gun is stable fire one shot, check the target to see where the shot hit. Lower the handgun and continue with this until your shots regularly hit the chest area, then move on to the head. Next bring the target in to 2 or 3 yards and practice firing from the hip. The handgun should be fired with one hand; just look at the chest area of the target and point the handgun where you are looking and fire one shot. Check the target to see where the shot hit and adjust your aim as required. Continue with this until your shots regularly hit the chest area. You need to practice these drills strong and weak handed, I will discuss this more later.

You want to practice instinctive shooting with an unloaded handgun before you go to the range.

You then want to progress to firing two quick shots; this is called “double-tapping”. At first, take this slowly; as you get more confident and accurate, speed up, make sure both of the shots hit the target. You want to work up to being able to fire at least five shots instinctively, rapidly and accurately into a target at 5 yards/meters and beyond. If you are involved in a hostile situation you need to put as many rounds as possible into the criminal as quickly as possible to end the confrontation before you, your family or clients get hurt. Remember, you need to have a good grip and keep your wrist locked and forearm aligned with your handgun. As you will see Instinctive, or point shooting, is simple: just get a good grip on the weapon then point and shoot. A lot of instructors over complicate things to try to make themselves look intelligent. This is OK for competition shooting but could ultimately cost you your life in a street situation- keep it simple.

As I have previously stated, if you are unfortunate enough to ever have to use your handgun for defensive reasons, you need to continue to put rounds into the criminal or terrorist until they go down and no longer present a threat. If you do not think you could ever shoot and possibly kill a person, then don’t carry a gun and consider other non-lethal methods of self-defense. If you pull a gun and freeze, you could be giving the bad guys a weapon they could take from and used against you.

When starting out use the center of the chest area of the target as your point of aim and, in time progress to head shots. As you will have read, the best place to shoot someone in order to immediately incapacitate them is in the head. The issue with head-shots lies in the fact that the head is a smaller area to aim at and hit than the chest. You stand a better chance of getting a bullet in your opposition by aiming for the center of the chest but one round to the head and the confrontation will be over. You must remember that in a real-life situation things will happen quickly, as you and your target will most probably be moving and chances are it will be dark and you will need to put bullets into your opposition quickly. Head-shots are best and you should train for them, with practice you should be able to put rounds into the head area of a silhouette target at 5 yards/meters with little effort. A lot will depend on your capabilities with your handgun, if you know you cannot get head-shots past 5 yards/meters go for the chest. If you are engaging moving targets at your medium distance go for the center of the chest and as always fire multiple rounds.

When starting out use the center of the chest area of the target as your point of aim and, in time progress to head shots.

Do not get into the habit of shooting the center of mass on police qualification silhouette targets as this is usually the middle of the stomach area, shots there will kill someone in time but there are no vital organs there that immediately incapacitate someone. A good example of this could be the Toulouse (France) terrorist incident in March, 2012 where the terrorist “Mohamed Merah” was killed by French Security force. The terrorist “Merah” was responsible the numerous attacks on unarmed French military personnel and Jewish families which resulted 8 deaths and others wounded. The French police and security forces located Merah at his 2nd floor apartment and a siege situation developed. After several days, the tactical team “RAID” assaulted Merah’s apartment, which he had barricaded to slow down attackers. When the RAID team made entry Merah attacked them with guns blazing, in the resulting gun battle 3 members of the RAID team were shot. Merah was shot over 20 times but still managed to jump through a window, where he was finally killed by a sniper with a head shot.

It was reported Merah received multiple shots to the arms and legs, it’s clear the RAID assault team were not going for head shots, the after incident reports state over 300 rounds were fired. Especially at close quarters you must be hitting vital organs and bones to end the situation as quickly as possible. The RAID team is very highly trained but at close quarters when lead is flying and there is no cover luck has a lot to do with not getting hit! So, avoid the situation or end it as quickly as possible!

After a while of practicing instinctive shooting, you should be consistently hitting the target in the chest and head areas, without using your sights and firing multiple rounds. You should then practice with the target at 7 yards and then at 10 yards as your shooting gets better. Novice shooters are usually surprised at how inaccurate a handgun can be. Numerous times we have had students who fire a 5-round aimed grouping at a target 25 yards and are baffled why they missed. Everyone misses to start with and you must remember that you cannot become an expert marksman after shooting 50 rounds- it takes time and practice.  It is only in the movies that someone can shoot from the hip with a handgun and hit a person running 100 yards/meters away. Handguns are meant in general for close quarters conversational range targets.

You need to practice firing with one and two hand grips both left and right-handed, firing from cover, firing from a seated position, firing from a kneeling position, etc.

If you intend to carry a handgun, you must learn to draw the handgun from your holster. You should buy a quick draw holster, without thumb breaks or retention devices, but I will discuss this in a later chapter. To draw a handgun, you simply grip the handgun, pull it from the holster and point it at the target in one smooth movement. The handgun should take the shortest route from the holster to the target. Care must be taken when you initially start drawing from a holster and you should practice first with an unloaded handgun until you feel confident enough to draw with a loaded handgun.

When you can draw from a holster and instinctively shoot and hit your target make things a little more difficult by practicing drawing while wearing a shirt or jacket. Additionally, you need to practice firing with one and two hand grips both left and right-handed, firing from cover, firing from a seated position, firing from a kneeling position, etc. Again, these drills can and should be practiced dry firing, until you feel comfortable enough to do them with a loaded handgun.

If you are training properly after putting several hundred rounds down range, you should be able to smoothly draw your handgun from a concealed holster and put multiple rounds accurately into the vital areas of two targets at 7 yards/meters. You will then be ready to carry a handgun for defensive purposes and be better trained than many supposed professional’s firearms experts, criminals and terrorists.

About the author: Orlando Wilson is ex-British Army and has been in the international security industry for over 25 years. He has initiated, provided, and managed an extensive range of specialist security including investigation and tactical training services to international corporate, private, and government clients. Some services have been the first of their kind in the respective countries. His experience has included: providing close protection for Middle Eastern Royal families and varied corporate clients, specialist security and asset protection, diplomatic building and embassy security, kidnap and ransom services, corporate investigations, and intelligence, tactical, and paramilitary training for private individuals, specialist police units, and government agencies. You can learn more about Orlando and his services at his site Risks Incorporated.

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Survival Group Selection: Would You Take Yourself?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

What skills do you bring to a survival group?

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

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

Guerrilla Gardening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How Chemistry Class Saved My Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Winter SHTF Planning and Preparation

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Written by Huples on The Prepper Journal.

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

 


Currently enjoying the first real Winter storm of the season up here in Canada and I must say I really like it. Got me thinking about those things relating to Winter survival that are either not really talked about or, worse yet, ignored. I am assuming you do not have a massive solar array and geothermal power. I am also assuming you live in the snow belt meaning two to five months of Winter and arctic temperatures.

It is Snowing. A lot!

Here at work I just opened our Storm accommodation plan so staff can sleep overnight rather than risk life, limb, and fenders trying to get home as 20cm of snow falls (8 inches). They have the option to sleep in warm, dry, secure location and get a free meal voucher. Awesome deal but in SHTF when it snows hard it gets complex. Stay or go? I’d stay put until the obvious storm front has passed me by as I really will have no idea if the snow is stopping in an hour or going to keep dropping the next three days.

This means in the Winter season you always need to have a Winter bug in kit on you at all times you know you cannot easily get back to home base. You should always have a compass on you in SHTF as fog, rain, and snow can easily get you lost real fast even close to home base. This is my minimum gear I’d have on me if venturing any distance in the Winter season in Southern Ontario away from the home base.

  • Emergency bivvy bag. Many makes of these are available. Get an expensive one you can reuse. In SHTF you cannot reorder from Amazon easily.
  • Emergency stove and fuel. The goal here is to boil water for hot drinks and food and to get a bit of heat. I’d use my BioLite but a basic rocket stove made from an old number 10 tin can would work great. Carry fuel and ignition. Snow means getting a new supply might be impossible. The BioLite Wood Burning Campstove is expensive and heavy but really awesome on fuel usage and heat. It also charges a good light source (get the orange one not the blue version)
  • The clothes I’d be wearing would be Winter proofed. Look up and learn how to dress for Arctic temperatures. I’d have extra gloves, hat, socks, and leg/arm thermal wrapped in the pack as well.
  • Metal water container that can be used to boil water. Some emergency filters won’t work so well in minus temperatures however hard you suck on the ice!
  • Emergency shovel. Dig a hole and then a ditch around the base so water will run away from you. Consider covering it to make a snow cave. Know how to do this safely.
  • Those high calorie life boat rations and MREs would also be great in this situation. I’d want 5000 Cal minimum but 10000 Cal would be safer. Candies and a couple of boil in the bag meals will help with variety.
  • A couple of Mylar survival blankets and a 6 by 10 piece of transparent plastic sheet. The better the survival shelter, the warmer you will be.
  • 50 feet of paracord.
  • Decent amount of duct tape
  • Folding saw and a knife in case fuel is available
  • Flash light that works without solar or batteries. Hand crank or squeeze (I use the BioLite for this one).
  • Sun glasses
  • Sun screen. I never use it except in the Winter. So easy to burn your face

At this point you are probably rolling your eyes but this kit is for my local conditions not for yours! Deep snow is a killer up here and will be much worse in SHTF. Mostly I won’t venture more than 2 miles from home base and this is my minimum carry is for extend trips beyond 10 miles in December through March. It would be a lot smaller for local sojourns. If you can safely get back to home base then get back to it. If unsure bug in and make camp until it is safe to walk home. What did I miss? What should I not carry? Let me know in the comments and why of course.  I excluded snow shoes as I’d have them on if it had already snowed but would not carry them if it had not. I can make a pair using the folding saw, knife, and paracord if I had to.

Winter Storm in SHTF from your cozy bug in or bug out location

If you have prepped right and have been lucky then you should have adequate calories and comfort to survive the storm. If not then you are SOL. However these are some of my ideas that might be overlooked by some in SHTF.

Toilet Paper

I have loads of it but it will run out. The supply I have will be withdrawn from circulation after the first four weeks of SHTF. I will tell my girlfriend she has to let go of the past and embrace the now. Likely she will leave me at this point and I will have doubled my supply of white rice! The paper toilet paper will be strictly only for use if sick or in deep Winter (and her birthday. I’m not heartless). I have precut a large supply of linen toilet ‘paper’ from old jeans and shirts. In the warmer months that is what is used to wipe and polish. In deep Winter the ability not to have to wash the toilet rags will be an awesome asset (pun intended) and avoid a real problem in arctic temperatures.

Fuel

For me this will be wood. I plan worse case and SHTF forever. You need about 5 cords of wood to get through the Winter here but around my bug in home I can collect wood for sure 10 months of the year so this can be reduced. At my bug out cottage that drops to about 8-9 months of the year. Sure I can hack down standing dead trees but realistically how many of them will be close to me abode after a few months? Wood gathering and storing will be a continual endeavor all year-long. Collect birch and ignition materials will also be a yearlong activity. However if I can avoid chopping and processing wood when it is below minus 10C then I absolutely will. Sure that makes for great looking prepper videos but to me it means they did not prep smart.

Exercise in SHTF should be avoided and exercise in arctic temperatures should only be done in a life or death situation. Like the bears your plan should be to basically sleep through the worst of the Winter. Using wood from one or two years ago that has been stacked properly is a great idea but think for a moment. In SHTF you will probably use your entire stock of wood in the first year if you neglect to add to the supply each and every day. Like toilet paper you never, ever can store enough wood but try.

Fuel Storage

Fuel for me means wood. I do not expect gasoline or propane to be widely available in SHTF and do not construct my preps around anything that cannot be found or used 5 years down from the SHTF event(s). Wet wood needs to dry before use. Cold wood needs to be warmed before use as does kindling. You can, with effort, work around this but why even try? Your bug in or bug out place needs to be able to accommodate a large supply of wood and ignition material inside the place. Going outside in a storm is the last thing you will want to do and having an ample inside store means not opening the door and prewarmed and dry wood. Have lots of mouse and rat traps as the critters love wood piles. In the Spring store wood at least 30 feet from your shelter. Have a wheelbarrow to help move wood and water around when there is no snow.

Water

If safe to drink then snow can easily be melted provided you have lots of wood available. Remember to add unfrozen water to the pan and add snow slowly in small amounts and stir. If can and will burn if you just dump it into the hot pan. You need to use a window or an additional chimney to direct the steam outside your shelter. Water vapor gets everywhere and moisture can kill you in SHTF. Bang a few empty cans together and use aluminum foil to funnel the rising steam into the cans. Have it open through a window and use bubble wrap and duct tape to seal. Block the inside end with cloth when not creating steam.

You should have a lot of treated water stored year round but remember to move it inside the warm room before freezing starts to occur.

Home is where the hearth is

One room is your home in the deep Winter. Heat that one room and use plastic sheets and Mylar to reflect heat back into the room and trap heat in the room. Bubble wrap should have been hoarded for all the windows before SHTF. Hand plastic sheets on both sides of all the doors and avoid using them as much as possible. Stack soil and wood around the outsides of that inner room to add insulation but make sure it is in trash bags and is dry.

Set up a tent inside this room to sleep in but, as with the plastic sheets make sure there is zero risk of a fire or a melting happening. Have several fire extinguishers and a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm inside this room as well. If you cannot set up adequate ventilation do not use anything other than the fireplace to cook in. I’m using the BioLite as well as the fireplace but with the additional ventilation system for steam described above.

Plan how to gather more fuel and food in the warmer months. Figure out how to preserve that food for the next Winter. Keep mentally busy as Winter is not a great time to wander around outside when snow is on the ground. It takes far too much energy to do so and has a lot of risks.

The Roof

Have a suitably angled roof for your worst case snow fall activity. Sure you can go up a ladder and sweep it off but I can tell you a lot of elderly males get spinal injuries each and every year in Ontario from doing that. Have your roof renewed more frequently than you need as roofers will be in short supply in SHTF.

Winter SHTF is not all suffering, eh?

Can you skate and do you have frozen rivers and lakes near you? For most of Ontario’s history travel in the Winter was easier than in the Summer and this will happen again a few years into SHTF as the bridges fall and the roads fail. Good time to go out and meet the neighbors. Winter is a wonderland and a great time to think about ice fishing.

Keep a supply of pre SHTF goodies hidden away and some tinsel. December 25th or as near as you guess the date to be wrap up some presents using newspaper and eat some decent food. Sing carols and make merry. This birthday and special day celebration is what makes suffering through SHTF worth while. Never neglect to think about how to make yourself happy in SHTF even if most days it will be as awful as the weather is right now 🙂

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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Bug Out- Building a Load out Plan for Your Vehicle

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Plano 1919 Sportsman’s Trunk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Feeding the Beast During SHTF – Soups & Substitutions

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Sometimes we may feel pigeonholed or daunted by the storage foods we can afford, or overwhelmed by how we’re going to use those storage foods without the endless repetition taking a toll. Here are some formulas and ideas for turning common storage foods into actual meals, increasing the variety of meals we can make with a few standard ingredients, and some substitutions that can lower our costs or improve the serving size, nutrition, and flavor of our cooking.

I’m not a big baker and I don’t thrill to the stove top – only the dinner table. Given the amount of work a lot of us are going to be doing just hauling water where it’s needed, plus the labor of gardens and any animals, rearing our children, cooking from scratch, cleaning without a dishwasher and washer-dryer, I’m planning to go simple with a lot of my cooking. So even if you’re not a big cook, there are ideas here that can help, ideas that can be made even with off-grid cooking methods.

Replacements

While I’ll get into some specifics in a minute or two, one thing to consider in our disaster cooking is simple substitutions.

Wheat is commonly pushed for home storage due to the price and condensed calories, and then people feel obligated to buy a grinder, and then they feel like slackers for not practicing their home-ground wheat flour bread options. I do think we should practice what we plan to use, but I don’t think everybody with buckets of wheat actually has to view it as only a future bread dough.

Wheat can be boiled and served with the same seasonings as every side dish, from herbed buttered noodles to fried rice.

Whole wheat berries & fruit in cream

Wheat berry & white bean soup

It can also be boiled to be part of or replace oatmeal and cream of wheat (soaking it overnight will make it boil faster in the morning).

If there’s a soup that calls for barley, couscous, or rice, wheat will work there, too, and cooks in about the same amount of time as barley, maybe a hair longer if it’s stored oxygen free and is older than 2-3 years (45-60 minutes usually, without a pre-soak).

Having an alternative use for the first 50-300# (or more) of wheat can buy us a little more time before we get pushed into buying not only a good grain mill, but then all the replacements for it.

Point in fact, most of our grains, from starchy dent corn to barley, wheat to quinoa, and amaranth to rice are fairly interchangeable. They take different times to cook in some cases, they definitely have their own flavors, but there’s little that can’t be made to work for any of them.

Likewise, spaghetti can be very easily used in place of an Oriental noodle, especially whole-grain spaghetti or angel hair pasta. That’s pretty handy, since even the good stuff is pretty cheap, and two pounds of spaghetti stores in about the same space than two packages of ramen.

Those substitutions exist all over.

And once we do get our grain mill, don’t neglect the other things in the pantry.

We can grind dry oats – even rolled oats – to replace part of our flour as well.

Old dry beans that don’t want to soften can be turned into flour to replace a quarter or a third of a recipe, either bread or fry batter or even for gravies.

Until recent times, we used flours from barley and maize as often as we did wheat, and a lot of the world still uses them – just as often or as a partial replacement for flavoring. So can boiled or roasted acorns. We can grind dry oats – even rolled oats – to replace part of our flour as well. Doing so can sometimes to often improve the protein components of our foods, decrease the glycemic index, and help us use something that’s not really moving in our pantries.

That inexpensive oatmeal can also be turned into homemade granola bars, muffins, and griddle cakes, decreasing the amount of flour we need to use and providing a fork or finger-food in a world of spoons.

Recipes

When seeking out recipes specifically for preppers, a fair number use a lot of ingredients or require a fair bit of prep. Call me lazy, but I’m just not there, even in today’s world. Camping and backpacking recipes regularly seem to call for things we might not have on hand anymore, too, and a lot of perishable foods these days.

One, a lot of the no-fire, no-gas cooking methods really lend themselves to such. Two, the less ingredients and effort, the more time reading with kids, playing a game, or sitting with my eyes closed listening. I kind of like those options better.

Pioneer Soup

If you’ve heard of 3-5-7 can soups, you’re familiar with this. It’s basically just a rule of thumb to help check the boxes on the main “eating” components:

  • Filling/satiety
  • Fast-access energy
  • Slow-access energy
  • Proteins
  • Vitamins

The general concept is to pull 1-2 items from each category to make sure the body is getting all the nutrients it needs, which is increased by consuming a rainbow. That said, even I don’t make broth with just one seasoning. Still, the lists from the guidelines can help.

One that I ran across breaks it into “Five F’s”:

  • Fat: Oil, margarine, butter, lard, tallow, fatty meat (bacon, salt pork, hocks)
  • Flavor Root/Shoot: Garlic, onion, scallion, celery/celeriac, turmeric
  • Flavor Leaf: parsley, marjoram, thyme, oregano, basil, nasturtium
  • Filler (starches): Potato, pasta, grains & corn, pseudo-grains, cattail root
  • Fuel (protein): Legumes (beans, peas, lentils), jerky, meat sticks/sausage, ham, fish, game

The breakdowns are nice as more than a check-box guide to make sure nutritional needs are being met.

Sometimes soup get pigeonholed, which is a shame, because from a creamy red bean and rice soup to veggie to chicken-noodle to some of the Oriental soups and things like borsch and solyanka, we have a ton of options available to us. Even working off of simple, cheap, condensed-calorie prepper staples and garden veggies or wild edibles, we can present a huge variety.

Alternating what we combine and even how we serve it can help avoid appetite fatigue, which is another aspect where limiting ourselves to 1-2 items from each category can help.

How we present soups can make a big difference as well, creating significantly different feels to meals even with the exact same ingredients, or very minor twitches.

That applies whether we use the 5-F method, or one of the other guides.

One of those other common formulas for pioneer soup breaks it into three fuel categories – the primary fats, proteins, starches – and then three filler (belly filling, short on calories) and flavor components:

Veggies – tomatoes, tomato powder, green beans, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, radish and mustard sprouts, cooking/roasting radishes, autumn squash, bell peppers, salsify, turnip, parsnip, beets, etc.

Leafy Greens – spinach, beet tops, lettuce, swiss chard, mizuna, cabbage, endive, turnip tops, dandelion, plantain, nettles, borage, leeks, ramps, radish tops, water or upland cress, mustard greens, mache/corn salad, sweet pea leaves, dock, kale, sprouts

Herbs & Seasonings – tart/sour berries, garden herbs, cress, wild onions, hot radishes, horseradish, onion, garlic, ground or cracked mustard seed, modern-day seasoning blends & stock bones

Soup Alternates

Part of what makes soup an economy food is that the broth helps us feel full and increases the satisfaction from the meal.

That said, we can break apart our general standard for pioneer or 7-can soup and still get the benefits of economical belly filling balance and variety.

A pasta salad can easily be made from storage foods and fresh garden or foraged goodies, especially if we plan ahead for something like powdered Parmesan cheese that can be a pick-me-up. Three or four roasted autumn veggies on a pile of fresh or wilted leafy greens creates another fork-ready meal.

We can turn our protein component into a creamed soup or just serve a broth beside either of them to get some of the belly filling aspects back, or incorporate dried beans or cut-up dry sausage (or Slim Jims).

Shrimp Tacos

Likewise, we can turn simple ash cakes or thinned-down Bisquick into tortillas or crepes, mix up a cabbage slaw, and bust open a can of small shrimp to sear in fajita spices as a pick me up. Just a few shrimp and a couple of tacos can provide the mental boost of a non-spoon meal, even served with a pile of rice on the side and-or a cup of spicy black bean puree soup.

Instant Potatoes

Potato buds that say they’re ready to eat and just need water are telling bald-faced lies. That said, instant mashed potatoes are in a lot of kits and come pretty inexpensively on their own. Even without extra seasonings and evaporated milk for them, instant potatoes have a lot of value, especially in conjunction with our pioneer soups.

One, little says I love you like a wedge of shepherd’s pie. We can use those general basic flavorings to make a brothier version to make it stretch further, or increase the veggies beyond the usual ratios.

We can also indulge in things like a broth-heavy roasted marrow meal or just serve our Bear Creek or homemade beef or veggie soup with a happy mound of potatoes to the side or right in the middle. The seasonings from the soups will (hopefully) help mask the bland flavor, and it creates a different presentation – which is good for the mental aspects of eating, especially if a lot of our diet is rice and beans and boiled wheat.

Two, instant potatoes can be turned into goodies like potato pancakes. Or, we can mix them as directed (even in cold water; they’ll absorb it in a minute) and then bake them off to create a pseudo-dumpling or biscuit with little effort and little clean-up.

Instant potatoes can be turned into goodies like potato pancakes.

Instant potatoes also make a great thickener for our soups. We can use them to create a gravy-like broth or to imitate a creamed soup or chowder. They can also make a nice, easy flavor and calorie base for standard potato chowder without taking as much time as potatoes would to cook and mash.

Assortment of foodstuffs with a high fiber content, including various fruits and vegetables, wholemeal bread and baked beans.

Emergency Foods

While things like soup and the common basics for food storage focus around economy, it doesn’t mean we have to break the bank to jazz it up one way or another. We can avoid falling into ruts – now and later – by figuring out new ways to use the items we already have.

We can apply a little creativity and still get meals that offer variety by adding in a few things like a variety of pasta and some feel-good seasonings like powdered parm and fajita spices. Spices and sauces like soy, Dale’s, Old Bay (or the generic) and Adobo powder pack a lot of bang for the buck. We can make use of things like hot radishes, sprouts, microgreens, and wild edibles to season and bulk up our serving sizes.

We can also ease our workloads by harkening back to pottage with soups, casseroles, and one-pot meals.

In some cases, examining where we stand on our preparedness arc and how balanced our preparedness health wheels are invaluable, because it can help us decide if we need something expensive like a good grinder or a wood stove, or if our storage is at a point where a smaller set of fixes makes more sense – at least for now. Being able to buy inexpensive foods like grains, pasta and dry beans, and still create filling, varied, satisfying meals out of them, can help open up the budget for those items.

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Cupcakes and Conservatives

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Written by John D on The Prepper Journal.

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


An unusual phenomenon is occurring on College Campuses these days. It seems that students are offended by just about everything. Microaggressions, is the term used to identify a ludicrous branch of political correctness that defines certain everyday words or behaviors as offensive, bigoted or racist. Commonly used words and phrases are causing so much stress and anxiety, that students now need “safe spaces”, to escape. In addition to hurtful words and phrases, certain Halloween Costumes have been banned, and posters are only permitted in so-called “free speech” areas. Tampons are being placed in men’s restrooms, which would be considered odd, if not for the fact that some students don’t seem to know which bathroom to use. Counseling has been made available for those who can’t deal with the election of Donald Trump.

If you see a college-age student wearing a safety-pin (on his shirt, not holding his diaper up), you should know that he or she is doing that to show support for people who may be frightened. Be advised that the safety-pin wearing person won’t do anything to help you, other than to run with you to a safe space. They’re very good at running away from threats, real or perceived.

Safe spaces are designed to give students who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. Rooms are sometimes equipped with coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets, and videos of frolicking puppies. Yes, I’m talking about college, not kindergarten. This avoidance of anything unpleasant by college students suggests a level of unpreparedness when dealing with difficult conditions. If harsh words and unpleasant situations are too much to deal with today, those precious snowflakes certainly won’t be prepared for the realities of life after the SHTF.

The problem exists because many liberal professors on campus view conservatives as inferior, and not worthy of respect. For the most part, college students are impressionable, and easily duped. College students are sheltered from reality. They are without children, and carefree. They don’t pay taxes, and don’t know what if feels like to earn $100k per year, only to have $50k of that taken away from them. College students are away from their parents for the first time, living on their own and making their own decisions. They see their conservative parents working productively in order to cover college expenses, but at the same time are exposed to liberal professors who promote themselves as intellectually superior. They don’t seem to see the irony; while liberal professors tend to have no skills, other than teaching, they view productive and multi-talented conservatives as inferior to them.

It’s understandable, I guess, that college students tend to be more open-minded than their old-fashioned, conservative parents. It’s actually a good sign. It suggests that young liberals can turn on a dime, and adjust to life after an apocalyptic event.

Because you’re reading this, you’re probably not one of those delicate butterflies. You may ask, “what does this pussification of young adults have to do with me?” It’s simple; in a post-apocalyptic world you’ll have to live among them. They’ll be the ones who’ll come to you begging, when they realize they have no survival skills. So what do you do, give them pictures of frolicking puppies and send them on their way? You’re not going to have time to coddle, or retrain them. You’ll be too busy focusing on your own survival.

Having been thoroughly indoctrinated in liberal ideology, some of the precious snowflakes will not respond well to retraining, especially training from someone they regard as inferior to themselves. They’ll be confused at first. Why is it, they’ll wonder, that this clearly inferior person is living comfortably, while I’m suffering? They need to learn early on that they can’t survive if they cling to their current mindset. They are in desperate need of a paradigm shift. When things are crumbling around them, your voice of reason will do more good than you can imagine. It may take a little time to sink in, but eventually they’ll learn that they can’t survive, expecting others to be responsible for their well-being. Perhaps the best you can do is give them survival literature, and hope they’ll transform by themselves. You might have an opportunity to teach them about bartering. If they come to you expecting a handout, ask them to provide a service, such as working in your garden, in exchange.

For those who remain hostile to views not aligned with the political left, make it clear that you won’t tolerate liberal behavior, and that you have no tolerance for Prima donnas. You’re a survivor, and you don’t have time for that. And, you certainly won’t tolerate efforts to redistribute what little wealth you may have. This will be a time for tough-love. Excessive generosity not only diminishes your survival potential, it is counterproductive as far as the precious snowflakes are concerned. The only exception, that is to say the only reason to give generously, is to help the disabled, the sick, the very young, and the very old. Our Christian values demand that we do that.

To survive, all able-bodied people need to pull their own weight. Liberal cupcakes can be a valuable asset, due to their knowledge, if they can adjust. Among them will be medics, engineers, scientists, agriculturalists, etc. However, it’s not enough just to provide services. They can’t just run off to a safe space, every time someone speaks harshly to them. It’s not enough just to grow, process, and store food. It has to be protected. Those providing services after a catastrophic event must be reliable. The only “safe space” should be the womb. Ironically, even that is not a safe space today. Thanks again, liberals.

The problem exists because many liberal professors on campus view conservatives as inferior, and not worthy of respect.

There will be plenty of time to reintroduce liberal principles once society has stabilized. In a post-apocalyptic world, there will be those who’ll do exceptionally well. Perhaps some will amass a great deal of wealth off of the backs of the poor. In time, due to a sense of guilt, liberals will once again emerge. To deal with the guilt, they’ll promote government handouts. They’ve never had a problem giving away someone else’s money. That’s what liberals do. Liberalism will be less absurd in a post-apocalyptic world. It must be. It will be a time to show more compassion to the victims, and less to the criminals. In a pre-apocalyptic world, a theft might be covered by insurance, or used as a tax write-off. In a post-apocalyptic world, a theft may impact your survival.

Conclusion

Our police, military, and firefighters risk their lives for us every day. Expecting snowflakes to pull their own weight is not asking too much. Survivors in a post-apocalyptic world will be those who can work with others, invent, build, grow, and fix things. Many of those who cannot do those things will die off, but all should be given the opportunity to adjust. Don’t despise those who don’t seem to have any skills, encourage them. They just need to be reprogrammed, that’s all. Don’t be upset because some don’t know which bathroom to use. Retrain them. Let them know that gender is based on reality, not on how they feel on any given day. In other words, it’s time to reintroduce common sense into their lives. Watch out for those who don’t adjust, and those who believe they’re entitled to what you’ve worked for. Those begging for food or supplies need to learn that they must give, in order to receive. Expect that. Lead by example. If you offer something in exchange for labor, keep your word. Be humble. If you’re fortunate enough to live a long productive life, eventually you’ll need someone to take care of you. Be kind, be fair, and be ethical. Today’s precious snowflake may be tomorrow’s post-apocalyptic doctor, who’ll save your life.

I know that not every college student, or professor, is a liberal. I know that some liberals are not as extreme, or as incompetent, as I’ve portrayed them in this article. Still, for many, it’s time to grow up.

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Survival Without Prepping

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


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

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

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

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

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

The Winter Survival Handbook: 157 Winter Tips and Tricks

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

Read More: Winter Car Survival Kit

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did I do next?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Importance of a Medical Kit in Your Preps

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


Medical Kit: Is it important?

OF COURSE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Basics of a Medical Kit:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CPR Rescue Mask, Adult/Child Pocket Resuscitator

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

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

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

The Not-So-Basics:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Honcho Poncho: Prepper Gear Review

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


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

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

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

honchoponcho1

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

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

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

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

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

honcho_poncho

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

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Prepping After 60

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


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

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

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

womanfarming

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

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

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

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

texasfarm

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

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

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

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

womanshotgun

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

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

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

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

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

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Pocket Illumination: Shedding Light on EDC Flashlights

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Characteristics of a Good Every Day Carry Flashlight:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

flashlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Introduction to Building a Storage Shed – Part 2

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Written by John Hertig on The Prepper Journal.

In Part 1 of Introduction to Building a Storage Shed we considered why as a Prepper or survivalist you might want to build a shed, and gave some options and preliminary decisions to make and checking out to do.  In this part, we will look at some other things to consider before you install your storage shed.  And some general lessons learned to keep in mind through the process.

Storage Shed Kit Sources

Doing an online search seems to be an effective method.  Doing a search for “shed kit” on eBay gave me an idea of what was available.  Searching for the top brands found companies specializing in shed kits such as ShedsForLess.com.  Once I found the make and model I was looking for, more specific searches found the best price.  Prices seem fairly universal, although I did happen to find a sale on my choice.  A local source may be cheaper since delivery can be handled in house, but will be increased by sales tax, so the total price should be compared with companies which have to include freight in the cost but don’t have to charge tax.  It seems that shipping is usually “free” (more accurately, included in the cost) on some of the major brands.

Keep in mind that the floor is usually not part of the kit, although often can be ordered with the kit.  Often it is delivered first, from a local source, which means the quality might not be optimal.  On mine, most of the joists could be forced into place, but I had one beam which was warped at a knot, and attempting to force it straight caused the beam to snap.  Replacing it was not trivial, since the only receipt I had was the shipping order, and it took a long time for the local store to find it in their system, since it did not have my name on it or even the name of the company I ordered from.  It was under the name of the kit manufacturer.

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There are kits which are material only, and those which are pre-cut.  The latter is easier to assemble and requires less equipment.

Also, when pricing a (wood) kit, keep in mind that hardware is often included, but paint and roofing are usually not, and these products are not cheap.  I could not believe they get over $30 a gallon for paint these days; fortunately Ace had a buy one gallon, get one gallon free sale.  For most (wood) sheds, the specified roofing is shingles, and those run about $1 a square foot.    Flooring, roofing and paint was about 1/4 of the total cost of my kit, and that did not include the roofing gun and scaffolding which will be used for other projects as well.

Options

Often a kit company will offer “options” such as additional or different doors, windows, a ramp, shelving/cabinets and various ventilation methods.  If offered by the kit company you pretty much have to order it with the kit.  Ventilation is good to prevent heat build-up; a “ridge vent” methodology is probably the best, but usually not available with the kit.  If you are going to use the shed strictly for storage, then windows would seem to be pretty silly since you lose wall space and reduce the security.  However, if you are going to be spending much time in there, a window or two will be quite helpful for light, ventilation and to reduce claustrophobia.

storage-sheds-building-4

What to Have on Hand

The first thing to attempt to arrange is other people.  There are a couple of aspects of building the shed which will be very difficult for a single person to accomplish, without using “tricks” which need to be purchased or constructed.  More people not only allow completing these aspects in a “normal” manner, but will make things quicker and perhaps even “more fun”.  After all, if a single person needs to drive 1000 nails, two people only need to drive 500 each, and so on.  Plus, don’t discount the motivation having others involved provides.  If you can arrange for a person or group to help, that should be great.  If you don’t have people available or that you trust, it does not mean you are out of luck, just that you will need to approach the project differently.

There are certain basic tools you will need.  For a pre-cut wood building, that will be a hammer, drill (primarily for driving screws), tape measure (25′ may be adequate for medium sized buildings), level, framing square, carpenter’s pencil and a circular saw.  Having a cut-off saw was nice (more ergonomic and precise), but is not really needed by the pre-cut kit; the square and circular saw will suffice since there are not that many cuts left to be made.  A panel saw would have been handy, but for the one cut needed for the floor of my kit, a long straight edge, a pair of clamps, and the circular saw did just fine.  And you will need a ladder or two.  And, of course, don’t forget safety glasses and work gloves.  Plus arrange for the equipment for your preferred painting methodology.

Remember those 1000 nails?  I’ve used a nail gun for construction and it is very helpful indeed.  However, since the kit came with all the correct nails, I did not bother getting the pneumatic equivalents.  However, roofing nails were NOT included, and roofing is enough of a pain; I got a roofing nail gun and the nails for it.  Some kits say that “felt” under the shingles is “optional”.  I disagree.  Not only does it provide protection from a small leak in the shingles, but it protects the shingles from the roof panels and vice versa.  For the felt, you will need a hammer stapler and staples (no, a pneumatic stapler won’t do; it goes right through the felt, and your hands will hate you if you try using a standard squeeze stapler).  For the shingles, a utility knife and a bunch of hook blades for it, and a pair of tin snips (for the edging).  Be sure the hook blades fit your utility knife; my knife had a couple of extra pins which match up holes only in the same brand’s (much more expensive) blades.

10x12-storage-shed-plans

This list assumes that everything goes perfectly, which it sometimes does not.  For instance, if there is a warped or twisted board, it can often be forced into position using a pipe wrench.  Or a twisted beam can be encouraged to stay in place with a long bolt and nut, tightened with a wrench and socket wrench.  Some places get rain, and getting raw wood wet is not wise.  A tarp big enough to completely cover the roof (and bungee cords to fasten it down with) can be a great help.  Things sometimes don’t fit quite right; I found a package of composite (not wood) shims (from Timberwolf) to be of great help in these cases.  If you end up with a crack or hole that insects can get through, some spray foam like “Great Stuff” can help.  Although roofing CAN be done with ladders, it is a tedious, slightly more dangerous process.  Buying or renting scaffolding can make it go quicker and is a bit safer to boot.  Of course, it might be easier and not much more expensive just to hire someone to do the roofing.

I used several other tools which I had on hand, to overcome problems and make “enhancements” to the shed.  These should not be normally needed.

Caveats

It is tempting to just order the kit and work on the site when the floor kit arrives.  This can be problematical; it took me over a month to get the floor flat and level (since the ground was very much neither).  Yet, the shed kit arrived only a few days after the floor kit.  Be aware of what the relative weather is between the source and your location.  My kit came from Pennsylvania when it was cold and wet, and arrived in Arizona where it was warm and dry, and sat in that wildly different environment for over a month.  It is not surprising that I had more warping and twisting than expected.  Two lessons learned.  Prepare site before ordering, and be aware of relative weather between source and destination.

home-show-010-small

The floor kit is often delivered by a local lumber outfit, who may have a trailer and fork-lift, and can put the pile in a relatively out of the way location.  The shed kit may be shipped by a standard shipper who has nothing other than pallet jacks to move things around with.  Pallet jacks require a smooth, solid surface, so they had to leave my kit in the road and I had to quickly and manually move it into my pickup.  The total kit weight is a bit over a ton, so to move it from curb to site will take more than one trip with a “1/2 ton” pickup.  When you get to the site, have something for the materials to sit on to keep them off the ground, sort the parts by size, and then stack them with the last needed pieces on the bottom and the first needed pieces on top.  I had two stacks, one of boards and one of sheets.  Cover with tarps if precipitation is expected.

Find the inventory list before you start unpacking and use it to verify the contents as you unpack.  I did a manual inventory, and matching it with the official one I found later was a bit of a challenge, since my descriptions did not match theirs.  There were a couple of pieces missing and a couple which were unusable; a call to the company got replacements sent right out.  Read the manual from cover to cover before you start, then follow it “exactly” (except for any typos) unless you are doing the build by yourself.

It was annoying that the 16′ shed floor kit came with 8′ runners; it was a challenge to keep them together and straight; I eventually gave up and used “StrongTie” connectors to hold them together end-to-end.

Standard felt is very easily torn.  It usually takes two people to install, and after we got one side up and took a break; the wind, more accurately a gentle breeze, ripped most of it off.  I finally had success with double thickness felt which is somewhat stronger, a “tool” I built which allowed me to put it up by myself, and putting on the edging as quickly as possible to prevent  wind from getting under the felt edges.  Yes, you need more rolls (being thicker, there is less length in each roll), but in climates such as ours, you generally put on two layers of standard felt anyway.

How to start

The first step is to figure out everything you want to accomplish with your shed, then find out any limitations on what you are “allowed” to put up and where you want to put it.  This includes finding out what is required by building codes.  Make sure you have plans for any alterations to be made to the shed; find the materials and figure out when in the build process you will need to diverge from the standard instructions.  Next, find the model or models of kits which you like, and get an idea of the pricing.  Arrange financing (cash or credit), prepare the site (marking and leveling for wood, forms. rebar and pouring for concrete), then order the kit.  Find out when it will be delivered and arrange to be available, with a truck or two to move the parts from where they deposit them to the construction site, and preferably people to help to load and unload.

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Feeding the Beast During SHTF – Bread Options

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

A crisis of any scale is a tough time to either have to learn to do without, or create a lot of work for ourselves. With a little practice and planning, we can still have things that make our next dish of soup or pinto beans or squirrel a little happier, and give us some versatility in how we use flour and mixes for baked goods. We can do it without adding a ton of steps, mess, and in most cases a lot of ingredients to our daily tasks. Whether we’re at home or on the trail, that can save some sanity as well as time and labor.

This is me, so you’re mostly going to see 5 ingredients or less through here, and a focus on cleanup. I’m just not Martha Stewart. But I do like my breads and I do like something sweet now and again, so here’s half a dozen ways we can still get them, even without a working oven or supermarket.

Ash Cakes & Bannock 

What would a soup be without some sort of bread? Not as happy, that’s what. Two of the simplest breads to make have already been talked about in the 6 One-Day Projects article, down in the list of other things to try. 

Any flour will work for either an ash cake or bannock bread, even purchased mixes like the dinner rolls Augason Farms apparently figures I’ll be making – ever, but especially in a disaster. Even when it’s got extra stuff in there, I go ahead and follow the cup-tablespoon-teaspoon ratio for bannock, or just drizzle in water or milk for an ash cake.
biscuit-dumpling-i
Those ash cakes and bannock can also be augmented by rolled oats, rolled wheat, or instant rolled barley, although you need to let those sit for 10-20 minutes to make sure they have a chance to soak up some liquid, and you’ll probably need to add more liquid than usual. It’s a way to both add some texture and variety to diets, as well as use up some of the cheaper ingredients like oatmeal that are in our storage even when we haven’t planned for no-bake cookies.

Any cornbread or cornmeal can also be turned into ash cakes or pseudo-Johnny cakes, to go beside a soup or under a stew, or to add variety to our breakfast meals.

Drop biscuits & dumplings

Most pancake and dinner roll mixes have the potential to turn into nice, easy biscuits; and anything that’s a biscuit (or bannock bread) can be dropped by mounded tablespoons into a simmering pot of broth, gravy or soup, simmered for 10 minutes, flipped, simmered another 10-12 minutes, and whala – we have a fluffy(ish) bread right there in our soups.

Head’s up: Biscuit dumplings will regularly turn your clear, light broth into something thicker and more gravy like. That is not a bad thing, just a point.

Something that can be a bad thing, is that if you completely cover the top of your soup with dumplings, it gets really hard to stir the bottom.

Both of those factors go away if you opt to make your meal in a solar oven or similar. You can do it one of two ways, just like a regular biscuit bake – stick the biscuits/dumplings on the bottom to slowly rise and fluff, or space them out on top from the get-go or after part of the bake time has elapsed.

biscuit-bake-ii

An advantage to dumplings over other ways of getting a breading into our soup meal is that it’s still only one cooking pot.

Drop biscuits have advantages in clean-up, too, and in time and waste. When we mix a batter and then spoon biscuits out onto a sheet pan, we don’t even have to dip our fingers in flour for molding them. We sure don’t have to flour a counter and a rolling-pin or drinking glass (which is also what I usually use for a cutter).

When I make drop biscuits, they’re ingredients to oven in 5 minutes or less, and my cleanup involves a bowl and two spoons. When Mr. P makes *real* biscuits, I consider just torching the kitchen and starting over.

In a life with limited water, limited resources, and a lot of labor involved with every aspect of survival, the differences can matter. The same holds true for the drop biscuit dumplings instead of rolling out and cutting even more to make flat drop dumplings.

Hardtack

hardtack
Hardtack is definitely an option to go with our soups, just like it was in colonial and pioneer days. There are lots of recipes online for baking it.

There are not as many as I’d have expected where people actually eat this stuff, and discover that it’s best soaked for a few hours first, then simmered right along with broth, tea, or soup, anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending on the alignment of the stars*.

*Snicker; but not entirely kidding on the predictability front.

That veers it away from a convenience food, but if you’re using a crock pot or equivalent, or are simmering soup for a few hours anyway, heating the house anyway, it’s pretty handy to be able to pop open a bucket of these things 2-5 years after you made them and have a nice, portable, calorie-dense portion to pick up and eat or saw with a fork and knife. We can even sub in some of our crazy flours like ground dry beans, acorn, and barley if we’re so inclined.

Just be aware that real hardtack is not Mountain House pilot bread or a cracker, and that 5-20 minutes under gravy or in a fry pan goes nowhere without a pre-soak once it’s hard and dry.

Beer bread

I am lazy, if it was not obvious from the articles about bed sheets, laundry, and gardening. I’m also not big into babysitting food at timed intervals.

Beer bread fits me to a T.

Price out some inexpensive light beer, and don’t neglect the option of a local store ordering a couple flats of forties for you. They’re actually the cheapest option for me, both bottles and cans, because I’m not willing to buy Natty Ice even for a disaster, even though there’s boxed wine in case I decide a wine IV or camelback is necessary for my sanity.

There are many recipes online. I like this one, although I sometimes just omit the butter entirely or use oil instead. This one skips the salt and goes straight to self-rising flour. We can sub in a dinner roll mix or Bisquick for either.

And the sifting … I call it optional.

We can use a beer bread recipe in any kind of cooker, from a crock pot or facsimile to a solar oven. We can make it in little cans around a campfire or rocket stove, too, or atop a clay pot candle heater.

Spread out in a pie plate or frying pan instead of a loaf pan, or separated into muffin pans, it’ll cook faster and be easy to portion out.

That can save arguments over who does or doesn’t get the heels (there are freaks out there who consider that a lesser slice). It can also just make it faster and less messy to serve, while also saving cooking fuel and time.

If you want more flavor to your bread, you can go with heavier and darker ales as you like. While I’m happy sipping a well-built Guinness or Killian’s Red, I don’t actually like them in my bread and that bread is no good for PBJ.

Griddle Cakes 

Another cheat I learned for backpacking is that you can make any baked good into a griddle cake. For those of us who want fast and easy in a disaster, or who aren’t *ready* yet and are dying for a quick and easy treat, bag and box mixes I have successfully made into little rounds of goodness with a pan or on the greased top of a canteen mug and any heat source include:

  • Oatmeal cookies
  • Brownies
  • Muffin mixes
  • Cake mixes
  • Scone mixes
  • Cornbread & corn muffin mixes
  • Hushpuppy batter

You can follow the directions (or portion them, depending on how easy fresh or powdered eggs and oil are to divide) or cut some of the liquids, and they come out about like puffy pancakes.

Thin them down a fair bit, and, boy oh boy, we’re starting to look into the gourmet side with crepes.

They can be eaten as-is like a soft cookie or roll-up, or topped with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, ice cream and milk flavoring syrups, nuts in syrup, honey, tree syrup, Karo, and jelly.

Frosting in a Ziploc bag offers the ability to make cute spirals and grids or fluffy artistic mounds. Pudding can be reserved and mixed thick to do the same, or used as a filling for crepes.

They can also be topped or filled with canned or rehydrated fruits, cannoli filling, pie filling, cream cheese, or peanut butter. You can also play with adding shredded coconut and nuts (and chocolate) to German chocolate frosting, or use sweetened condensed milk and shredded coconut as a super-sweet filler.

Fun note: They can also be baked in a skillet to cut like wedges of cornbread. I regularly bake muffin mixes in a pie pan to create thin little slices that are usually drizzled with something. Tuna cans and soup cans can also be used for any batter, as can small Pyrex bowls or ramekins. Those containers are also all options for baked pancakes, such as this one .

Off-Grid Cooking

Even when we’re not as prepared as we’d like to be, or when we like convenience and we want to continue to have convenient options in a disaster, we can still get the feel-good foods that bread and even “baked” sweet treats can be.

Whether it opens up options for us, just provides some extra backups, or becomes part of our daily habits, keeping an open mind about what we can accomplish – and how much effort it has to take – can only benefit us in the future.

This focused on my weakness: Breads. (And laziness, okay.) I totally endorse knowing how to do and make things from scratch. There are preservatives and cost issues with some of my cheats. However, from things like ash cakes and bannock that truly need few ingredients, to new ways to make and use mixes we might already have around, we don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves, especially if our disaster plans involve holing up in summertime or a lot more physical labor year-round.

Other things to consider when we look at these lists are the amount of fuel some of the treatments take, the amount of pan scrubbing and kitchen cleanup involved, and even the cookware we have at our disposal.

We also might want to look at some of our guilty pleasures when it comes to eating. Even if we don’t stock our cupboards to make it a daily or even weekly staple, we might consider stashing some premade mixes, hiding away some beer, and holding onto some tin cans so we can pop them out now and then for special occasions.

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Radiological Medical Response Kit: Ideas to Manage Injuries in a Radioactive Environment

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Written by Huples on The Prepper Journal.

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


Seems everyone online is focused on prepping for a nuclear war these days. Shows the stupidity of humanity that this is even a thing but it is, so I thought I’d share the contents of my radiological medical response kit. There are plenty of excellent sources out there covering the other issues around this topic but get a hard copy of Nuclear War Survival Skills. There is a free download is the 1987 version. There is a 2012 updated version for purchase but I do feel some books require owning as hard copies and this is one of them.

My kit started in 2008 before I became a prepper after attending a compulsory Canadian Government conference for a few days on the Medical Emergency Treatment for Exposures to Radiation (METER) . I am sure some of you have had more recent training and I’d love to read about USA and UK equivalent training. The course enrolment in 2008 was managers of trauma hospitals and emergency services and included a dirty bomb table top exercise. It was fascinating stuff and great speakers. I am including some more recent information from the Ontario Government Radiation Response Plan.

I did not use FEMA for this article but this slide show is interesting if you want more background of a general nature on Medical Management of Radiologic Casualties

I am including some directions to take materials and over the counter medications to limit radiation dosing but you should only take these on medical advice and under medical supervision. No self-treatment even in the apocalypse!

Treating a Casualty

Read More: Generic Procedures for Medical Response During a Nuclear or Radioactive Emergency.

I am not going through the types and methods of exposure, or the protective materials/clothing/masks. Look that information up but there are a few things the average person might overlook. I am giving the general ideas here and some will not work in a nuclear war but work great if it was a dirty bomb or power plant incident so adapt as required.

Exposure to Radiation

Exposure to Radiation

If treating an exposed casualty keep them outside an established Cold Zone (an area where outside material, clothing, foot wear never enters. The area of treatment is a Hot Zone so protect yourself as best you can while there. Try to avoid treating for prolonged periods near the casualty as they might be radioactive enough to give you a lethal dose. Have your Cold Zone at least 5 metres (About 20 feet) away from any casualties and preferably with a concrete wall in between. Alter this if contamination is everywhere but even if they have driven to you still remember they might be a radioactive source internally or externally.

Decontamination is supposed to occur after treatment of any regular injuries but honestly I would decontaminate first to avoid exposing yourself while treating. Minimum here is double gloves and plastic suit with duct tape sealing the arms and legs. An NBC mask would be great but goggles and a N95 mask might be all you have. None of these supplies should be reused if possible or left anywhere near the Cold Zone after use. Be checked or check yourself every 5-10 minutes to make sure your gear is intact. Approach the casualty with the wind to your back if possible. Remove all their clothes by cutting gently to avoid making anything airborne and dispose away from the casualty and the Cold Zone.

Use potassium iodide to block your thyroid's absorption of radiation.

Use potassium iodide to block your thyroid’s absorption of radiation.

Water is not recommended for decontamination but likely it will be all you can find to achieve removal of visible and invisible external contamination. Pour clean water over them and hose them down if you can. Try to make sure this water runs away from the Cold Zone and think about any drains it might enter. If you have enough consider using wet wipes rather than water and will you have enough clean water anyway for this sort of thing in a nuclear war? The goal is to remove anything visible and then hopefully wash off any invisible sources of radiation. This will not make them safe to enter the Cold Zone as they might have absorbed, ingested, and/or inhaled radioactive material and remain deadly to you. A few hours to a day will tell as they will show obvious signs they are going to die. If you can keep them outside the Cold Zone for at least 24 hours and a week would be good but again depends on who it is and circumstances locally.

Treat injuries but place Cold Zone equipment in minimal amounts on doubled clean tarps not the ground. Remember not to kneel down or rest against walls or the casualty. Ideally the casualty should be doing all of these interventions themselves with you shouting encouragement and throw gear to them. If you have to move them then place them on a thick clean tarp and a sheet and literally wrap them up entirely to avoid contact for the transport.

They are contaminated until a Geiger counter says they are not or several days have gone by and they are showing no major progressive radiation illness. Until then treat them as if they are radiative to you. Do not forget this ever. As the hours and days go by the threat of this lessens but it does not take much source material to kill.

Radiation Sickness

Occurs a few hours to several weeks after exposure and are mainly the signs and symptoms from dead stem cells that you will see. Of interest if you have seen Threads or any film it takes 2-4 days before you see gastric signs. Diarrhea and abdominal pain take about 48 hours for most lethal doses to appear so being fine a day afterwards means nothing for survival. Gastric symptoms lead to a horrible death in about ten days so if they get to two weeks it looks good but… it takes 30 to 60 days before you know they will not die from blood failure. The earlier lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting (persistent), and lack of energy occur the more likely it is the casualty will die.

See graph page 21

The most useful sign is their consciousness as it gets hit hard early by lethal and high radiation. It can kill in 24-48 hours but expect drowsiness and feeling very ill even in none lethal exposures. Diarrhoea is always a bad sign for survival and remember that poop might well be radioactive so keep away from it and keep it away from your Cold Zone.

Bleeding and vomiting and diarrhea can all occur within minutes of high level exposure. Interestingly a type of pneumonia can occur after about 50 days and pulmonary fibrosis can occur about a year afterwards. Carry a few N95 or similar masks with you everywhere you go as inhaling is the easiest way to become contaminated in a nuclear incident.

Radiation Symptoms and Management.

Radiation Symptoms and Management.

Treatment

This gets complex but basics are needed such as an antiemetic (Gravol). Antipyretic such as Tylenol but do not use Aspirin as they are likely to bleed and this really won’t help that. Keep hydrated and warm. Treat other injuries as best you can. Use ciprofloxacin and/or cephalosporin antibiotics and consider also using Vancomycin (Gram Positive antibiotic) and Amphotericin B (anti-fungal). You will need a Doctor to prescribe these but Vets have these and there are sources available to treat your tropical fish that might help in a pinch. Antivirals (acyclovir) are good but there is no information on using HIV treatments for Acute Radiation Sickness but if available I would consider it. The casualty is going to feel really ill from this therapy but worth a try if available and if not obviously dying.

Cutaneous Syndrome

Typically a hand or foot might develop this even if there are no signs of systemic Acute Radiation Sickness. Of note the First Aider is at high risk from this if the casualty has high doses. This is basically a really bad burn that swells and then develops tissue death. Treat with removal of dead tissue, ingesting steroids, eating lots of protein, and avoiding nicotine (vasoconstrictor). Pain killers will be nice here as it is agony so consider early amputation if loss of the area is clear.

My Radioactive Medical Response Kit

Most radioactive elements are not easily absorbed by the bowels but Iodine, Tritium, and Cesium are 100% absorbed. Strontium is about 30% absorbed while most other elements about 10%. This is an ongoing issue in a radioactive environment so consider using double bag clean soil and secure water barrels to construct your Fall Out shelter with and using these for food production later on after clear vegetation and soil from your garden (this is arguable as might put you at risk of inhaling)

Metamucil. High fiber intake promotes bowel clearance to flush out any ingested radioactive materials. Start as soon as you think there is a radiation issue. Vegans clear the bowel in less than 24 hours and meat eaters about five days.radiationsickness

Use Potassium Iodide tablets to block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland in the neck. Ontario Government gave me free ones but I’d go for 14 days supply for all members of the group and a 28 day supply for all people under the age of 25. Make sure they are not allergic to iodine (shell fish) and it only works if taken before exposure and only helps the thyroid not the entire body. A 130mg tablet provides protection after six hours and last about 36 hours. One tablet for adults a day and half a tablet ages 3-18. Under 3 years give a quarter of a tablet. Under one month an eight of a tablet. Only used if intake of radioactive Iodine is likely. 130mg of Potassium Iodide is equivalent to 170mg of Potassium Iodate.

Drink fresh water in large quantities (3-4 litres a day) as it helps flush some elements out and you need to be hydrated if you get sick. Urinate outside the Shelter and think about drainage away from the Shelter. Not likely to be radioactive but no point doing all this and overlooking the portable toilet in the shelter that is emptied every week. The goal is to reduce all radioactive exposure as far as possible and for as long as possible.

Barium Sulphate (not commonly available but see if you can get a friendly ICU nurse to get you a supply). Not an enema but the oral version as it is really good at binding to Strontium and excreting it via the bowels. Your poop will by clay like and you should consider it to be radioactive. Use one oral dose of 300mg but repeat is ingestion reoccurs. I’d basic this on where the food is from and if your poop is normal again but honestly do not eat or drink anything that is not from your stores to avoid this fate. It causes constipation so a mild laxative added to the Metamucil is a good move.

Use Prussian Blue by mouth as it is absorbed in the bowel instead of Cesium, Thallium, and Thorium which is then pooped out. Your poop is highly radioactive in this case. Use about 3gm per day for a minimum of 30 days. It is not absorbed by the body and is relatively harmless. It will cause constipation and your poop will turn blue. If used, maintain a high potassium diet as it rips this out of you as well and that can easily kill you.

Maalox or similar. You want colloidal Aluminum Phosphate or Aluminum Hydroxide (antacids). Hard to find these days as the anti-aluminum movement due to Alzheimer’s risks means many brands no longer contain Aluminum. Read the label. Use about a 2.5 gm dose once a day for five days. It binds to the radioactive elements in the bowel allowing you to excrete them in your poop .

Sodium Bicarbonate. This helps depleted or enriched uranium leave the body by the kidney. I can only find intravenous doses but it seems a spoonful a day for a week might help if you can stomach it. The dose is two tablets every four hours until three days after there are no symptoms but tablets might be hard to find. Use pure sodium bicarbonate powder and check the label for additives.

You might consider charcoal ingestion but this is not recommended for radioactive contamination as it does not do much to block absorption and can lead to vomiting and then aspiration of radioactive material into your lungs which is a far worse issue than in the bowels.

I also have the ability to stop all treatment humanely. Well that is my kit and the background to it. Enjoy!

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Safe, Effective Concealed Carry Policies in the Workplace

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


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

Law vs. Policy

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

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

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

ConcealedCarry

Safety First

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

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

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

ConcealedCarry

Follow Examples

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

Belly bands make a good concealed holster for some people.

Belly bands make a good concealed holster for some people.

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

More General Guidelines

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

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

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

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Introduction to Building a Storage Shed – Part 1

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Written by John Hertig on The Prepper Journal.

Why would you want to do this?  Look at the name:  STORAGE Shed.  Most everybody “needs” more storage because they can’t bear to have less stuff.  And someone preparing for bad times probably has more stuff than a person who doesn’t believe anything bad can happen and expects their parents and/or government to take care of them no matter what.  Some of that extra stuff you really don’t have room for in your house, and some of your prepping supplies you REALLY don’t want to have IN your house.  Such as a generator and fuel, oil and vehicle parts, battery banks and so on so building a storage shed makes a lot of sense in some situations.  You can, of course, rent storage space; there is a large industry devoted to just that. 

There are a few problems with that solution though.  One, you have to go there to get your stuff, and that assumes that you have a working transport AND that they can or will let you have access if they have no power or their computers don’t work or the people in charge are honesty challenged.  Two, you have signed your stuff over to them if they don’t receive payment for any reason (such as banks being closed).  Three, you are usually contractually obligated NOT to store some of the things you don’t want in your house.  And four, they can raise their rates whenever they please unless you have a long-term lease.  The place I am at currently is charging me TWICE what someone walking in off the street pays, and won’t reduce it.  I could rent another unit, move my stuff over, and cancel the first place, or move to another location, but I know the new price will just start moving up again.  The cost of a storage shed may seem large, but I did the math, and it will be paid off by two years of storage fees, and that is assuming they don’t raise the rate again, which is a very poor assumption.

Look at the other part of the name:  Storage SHEDDo you have a “post Apocalypse” trade planned or set up; blacksmith, gunsmith, leather worker, seamstress/tailor, weaver, or the like?  This could be used for your business or the tools and supplies.  Plus, a shed looks like a shed, but it does not mean it must be ONLY a shed.  It could provide camouflage for an entrance or exit from an underground area.  It can be built with concealed areas.  Some sheds are designed as, or can be converted to, a green house, if you are interested in growing your own food and/or medicinal plants or setting up an aquaponics system.

Ok, let us assume you have decided you want a storage shed.   But can you have one?  Like it or not, there are a number of people or organizations who have control over what you put up.  Do you own the property?  If not, the owner has complete discretion over what you put up, if anything.  And if you don’t own the property, do you really want to make improvements to it?  An option in this case might be “portable” storage, like a trailer, or one of those transoceanic shipping containers.

diy_storage_shed3

Do you belong to a “Home Owners Association”?  If so, you have contractually agreed to give them complete control of the exterior of your property.  Read the bylaws to see what is currently allowed.  Figure out what you can do which abides by any restrictions.   And once you come to agreement on what they will accept “today”, get documentation which grandfathers your shed against any future changes to the bylaws.

How close are the neighbors, and are they reasonable?  If you follow all the legal requirements, they may not be able to prevent you from doing what you want, but if they get annoyed enough, they can still cause you plenty of grief.

Dealing with Governments

And then there is the city, town, township, parish and/or county.  Each level of government will have restrictions on what can be done, based on the “zoning” of the property in question.  The less remote the property is, the more stringent the restrictions are likely to be.  These include things like the percentage of the property which can be “covered”, height restrictions, required distances from property lines and other buildings, and many other things, collectively known as “Building Codes”.  Your safest bet is to get a “building permit”, but this has some downsides.  First of all, as a survivalist, you should attempt to stay “under the radar”.  You would be hard pressed to be more obvious than having your plans on public accessible file with the government, and having inspectors checking you out each step of the way.  Second of all, it will cost.  The building permit has a fee, often based on type of building and square feet.  I once wanted to put up a carport, and they told me I would have to pay $5 per square foot just for the permit.  For posts and an aluminum roof; the building permit would have cost more than the carport.  Not only that, but it is likely they will factor this “improvement” into your property value when computing future property taxes.

By all means, find out all the restrictions on what you can put up; violating restrictions has potential for serious annoyances if the government wants to raise a fuss (and they usually do if violations are brought to their attention).  However, if you can avoid getting a building permit, that might be a good path.  For instance, here, if the shed is less than 200 square feet, you don’t need a permit.  That means a 12′ by 16′ shed (192 square feet) can be put up without a permit being required.  Just because a permit is not required, does not mean the restrictions can be ignored; you just won’t have the public records and government monitoring.

shed

Ways to Get a Storage Shed

The “easiest” way is to have someone build it for you.  This will not be the cheapest option, and a competent builder will likely insist on a building permit, meaning not only public records and government monitoring, but the builder and perhaps others will know all about your shed.  The incompetent builder will refuse the permit and perhaps build something which violates code, with potential for eventual legal challenges or structural problems.  For smaller sheds, you might be able to have it pre-built and delivered.  You could build it yourself, which means you have to come up with a viable design (not that hard) and get the materials, which may be a challenge.  I don’t know about your location, but the lumber here is crap; warped, twisted, split, insufficiently dried.  As my dad said when we were trying to get lumber to replace a rotted porch, “I wouldn’t use this stuff for firewood”.  The remaining option is a “kit”.  This has the advantage that the design, acquisition of materials and much of the cutting are already done for you.  A good kit will have better quality material than you may find locally and instructions which most everyone should be able to follow.

Types of Storage Sheds

There are a number of architectural shed types.  Chose what you like, and what fits your landscape and restrictions.  I’m partial to the “barn” style, because it gives you more height, and even “lofts” in some models.  Possible materials include wood, steel, aluminum and various “plastics”.  Plastic and aluminum tend to be the hallmark of cheap “department store” sheds, great for lawnmowers and garden tools, but not what you would call “durable” or “secure”, and usually limited in size.  For a substantial shed, wood or steel is usually the way to go.  I’m more comfortable working with wood, so that is the path I chose, although steel seems like it might have some advantages.

Modifications

Depending on what you will use the shed for, you may want to make modifications or additions.  For instance, wiring it for electricity may be useful.  But since there is no guarantee electricity will always be available, make sure you have the ability to plug-in a generator (via a transfer switch), or add solar or wind generation capability.  In some cases, you may want to add plumbing.  Note that no matter how much of the electrical or plumbing work you are willing and able to do yourself, you should consider getting a permit for this work and having it inspected.  Unlike the structure, which is hard to mess up (especially if professionally designed), a mistake in the design OR execution of electric or plumbing can cause fire, electrocution, leaks, odors or rot/rust.  And if not up to code, an insurance company may refuse to pay off on a claim.  Wherever practical, have the shed “completed” so it looks like you are “adding” the electrical or plumbing and follow all requirements for what must be visible to the inspector(s).  Of course, if you got the permit for the shed in the first place, follow their instructions on when in the process the various inspections should be scheduled.  If temperature control is a concern, you may want to add insulation, cooling or heating.

Flooring

shed-floor

This foundation (literally) of a shed is an important decision.  The common choices are concrete, or joists with flooring panels.  Concrete may be “better” and in some cases easier; pick your location, set up forms and rebar, and have it poured.  It may be more expensive, and less versatile (it is kind of hard to dig through concrete if you decide a partial “basement” would be handy), and “impossible” to move.  Joists are likely to be less expensive and more versatile, and if the ground is not even, may even be more practical.  There will be beams running the length of the building, with the joists running across the building between the beams.  Flooring panels are laid across the joists and fastened in place.  Note that the beams and joists are in contact with the ground and so are at risk for rotting and/or insects.  Thus pressure treated lumber or corrosion resistant metal is critical here.

Site preparation is highly important, since in order for the floor to be flat and level, and stay that way, the ground must be flat, level and stable.  If it is not, you may be able to compensate by having a variable thickness concrete floor, or building a foundation or partial foundation for your beams out of blocks and concrete.  A “better” floor system is to have runners the length of the building, on which the beams and joists sit.  As long as the runners are flat and level (and adequately supported), it does not matter if the ground is, plus it also allows ventilation below the shed, which can help with cooling and reduction of condensation inside.  It also puts the flooring higher, which may make entry more difficult, but on the other hand, gives more protection against minor flooding.  The runners, of course, must also be pressure treated wood, corrosion resistant metal, or even concrete and/or blocks, and a ramp can compensate for the step up.

What Next?

Does this sound like something which might be of value to you?  Check out Part 2 of the Introduction for some more pre-build details.

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The post Introduction to Building a Storage Shed – Part 1 appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

How to Remain Anonymous Online

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Written by Cornelia Adams on The Prepper Journal.

Google is watching you. No matter which way you look at it, Google has a hand in what you search for, comment on, watch, download, share or publish. Every time you search for a location or use Google maps as a Sat-Nav that information is stored. If you type in the latest bestselling book, blockbuster movie or front-page celebrity, those searches are also saved. Websites send small packets of data known as Cookies, to help them remember you choices or personal information for the next time you visit. These Cookies help build an online profile which allows that creepy banner advert for the product you have just been looking at to pop up on a completely unrelated website, or your details to be remembered the next time you pay a visit your favorite online retailer. It’s like that odd shop assistant who always remembers who you are and what you want.

This detailed information is of course interesting to governments, law enforcement agencies and marketers, providing a very detailed map of a person’s movements, habits and preferences. Despite this unprecedented level of data collection and surveillance, there are ways to avoid being tracked and remain anonymous online.

It has never been so easy to track someone. Pretty much every person over the age of 5 has a small electronic device in their pocket that is constantly transmitting signals and revealing its location. Users even make tracking easier by searching for a nearby restaurant or asking Siri where the cheapest dog food can be found, giving away information on where we are going and why we are going there. All of this stored information can be accessed; Google Timeline provides a very spooky map of everywhere you’ve been since you created a Google account. Google also creates a nice history of every website you have searched for or visited. Yes, there’s the locally stored history everybody knows about and deletes after they’ve visited a website they’d prefer other computer users not to know about, but there’s also a more complex Google search history linked to your account. This can be accessed and cleared, unless you want Google to know exactly what you’ve been looking at since you created your account. You can also ask Google not to save your results or track your movements via your account preferences.

Sweeping Away a Search History - Molly Wood

Sweeping Away a Search History – Molly Wood

Emails should be a safe haven. Traditional post is still considered to be pretty secure and letters can be sent anonymously, so online mail should reflect this. But this isn’t the case. Gmail messages carry your IP address, so the location you send an email from is logged and whenever you download a message, your location is given away again. These settings can be changed, but not many people realize this location sharing is a default setting.

Even your YouTube video watching habits are being monitored, stored and acted upon. Have you ever noticed that after spending a Sunday morning watching hilarious cat fails and shark attack videos that the next time you log in, there are many other cat and shark videos on your ‘recommended’ list? Guess what – it’s not a coincidence. Fear not however, your YouTube viewing history can also be cleared and settings tweaked so that anything you watch in the future can be forgotten instantly.

When it’s time to buy Grandma’s birthday gift, make sure the connection you are buying over is secure. Look for a padlock, https: prefix or green ‘verified’ box in the address bar or alternatively, shop using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN will encrypt any data transmitted and will make it difficult for snoopers to view sensitive details such as credit card details, or even what you are buying for Grandma.

privacy

If you type in the latest bestselling book, blockbuster movie or front-page celebrity, those searches are also saved. Websites send small packets of data known as Cookies, to help them remember you choices or personal information for the next time you visit.

If you’re going for a walk and don’t want anyone to know where you’re going, enter your phone’s settings and turn of location services. This is the software setting responsible for transmitting to applications like Google Maps exactly where you are, based on your phone’s GPS signal. This allows Google to build a detailed profile of where you’ve been, where you ate and what you’ve been doing for last four hours.

There are lots of easy ways for people to find out lots of information about you. If you have several social media accounts that use the same email address, there are intelligent Chrome web add-ons such as Prophet and search techniques that will allow a complex snapshot of your life to be created. If you use the same email address for Facebook and LinkedIn for example, and you don’t have strict privacy settings on Facebook, your real name, occupation, address, favorite football team, sexual preference, age, phone number, number of children, pets and names of your family and loved ones can be collated in seconds. For identity thieves, this makes things easy. Consider using a different email address for different social media accounts and make your Facebook profile inaccessible to strangers, or limit the amount of information you put on there. Did I mention Facebook also monitors and collates your likes, where you go and what you do as well?

As technology progresses and more is done with the information we give out freely, it will only get worse for people wishing to benefit from the digital world but remain off the grid at the same time. It is virtually impossible to live an online life without giving away more personal details than necessary, but with the right precautions, you can limit the amount of data that is freely available and decrease the chances of your personal data being taken advantage of.

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What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us – Livestock Edition

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Livestock keeping requires some research. It seems obvious, but it’s apparently not. It really merits researching in great depth, because there are a lot of investments and there are some issues that regularly crop up, having somehow have escaped a fair number of the people who choose to get livestock. I developed this article because I’m running into some of the same issues, regularly from people who really ought to know better. This is basically a primer on those situations. The information is not hidden, but seems to somehow end up overlooked – repeatedly.

I’m going to hit a few things that I run into (regularly) in quick little bullets. They’re tips for animal safety, the protection of genetic lines (ours and also a buyer’s), and successful breeding. They may be taken at face value, or they’re points for research.

I don’t mean to insult anybody’s intelligence. Some of them just keep repeatedly cropping up. With any luck, old hats will read it as well – if nothing else, maybe for some commiseration. I’d really like them to add the trends they see as well, though. The more information available, the better off all livestock keepers will be.

The Biggies BLUF Style

First off, I’d like to say: Do the research. This article and every other TPJ article about livestock in general and specific species and breeds should only be part. “Back To Basics” is only a primer. There are too many resources, completely free in many cases, for folks to end up as overwhelmed as they sometimes do.

Second: Go buy one of the type you’re going to raise or breed, just one. A spring kid, a rabbit, an aging-out hen, even a calf – although I suggest the smaller animals. Care for it for a season or longer. Then slaughter it. If you can’t, there’s only one animal eating you out of house and home, not a pair or a handful that can continue to multiply until it’s out of control. Even if you hunt, even if you slaughter poultry, make sure you can do it with the next livestock type – a lot of people can’t.

Hobby Farm Animals: A Comprehensive Guide to Raising Chickens, Ducks, Rabbits, Goats, Pigs, Sheep, and Cattle

Hobby Farm Animals: A Comprehensive Guide to Raising Chickens, Ducks, Rabbits, Goats, Pigs, Sheep, and Cattle

I mention these two because I’ve volunteered for livestock rescues, I consult on sustainable systems (which include livestock), I’m on several forums, and I have personal relationships with livestock keepers. I have run into livestock costs and numbers getting out of control in numerous ways.

Rescues end up taking on the burdens in a lot of cases – when it’s just too much work or too much effort, too much expense, when it’s too hard to kill and eat an aged-out hen or the fluffy bunnies, when things spiral so long that the whole experiment fails and people lose their homesteads.

So beginners and expanding keepers: Start small – very small.

The Birds & The Bees

Sperm wilts in Summer. This is especially true of rabbits, who already face a lot of physical stress from heat. Litters will be typically smaller and there will regularly be fewer fertile eggs in the hottest periods for all stock. In some cases, you’ll need to plan more frequent and longer exposures to studs to have a pregnancy take.

farm-sign-iiHens make eggs. They don’t need males to do it. Males are only needed to make more birds.

Dairy animals need “freshened”. Cattle, sheep, llamas, yaks, camels, and goats…

A.) Must have a baby (and thus be bred) before they make milk.

B.) Only produce that milk for a period of months before it dries up, and they have to have another baby.

Animals lack sexual mores. Livestock has no qualms about inbreeding with parents, siblings, grandparents, and close cousins. Wildlife ends up spread out and thus genetically diverse by numerous mechanisms. They cover more territory than domestic equivalents, and in some cases – like science is proving for wild ducks – they’re rampant adulterers even when forming seasonal or lifetime partners. We take that away from livestock. It can lead to serious genetic faults.

Livestock breeds early. By species, livestock can be breeding by 3-5 months of age. Failure to identify and separate or neuter males leads to inbreeding and overpopulation.

Separation is necessary – breeding I. Livestock will mate again as soon as they’re able. This leads to worn-down females, as well as overpopulation.

By their size, it’s easily possible that these rabbits have all reached sexual maturity – which means half or more of these animals could be gestating another 6-12 rabbits each. If they’re a mother and kits, especially if they’re not handled and examined regularly and a male hid his limas for a while, it’s not just the potential 48 new hoppers. It’s also inbreeding.

By their size, it’s easily possible that these rabbits have all reached sexual maturity – which means half or more of these animals could be gestating another 6-12 rabbits each. If they’re a mother and kits, especially if they’re not handled and examined regularly and a male hid his limas for a while, it’s not just the potential 48 new hoppers. It’s also inbreeding.

Castrating hoofstock creates options. Once altered, especially young, male animals are no longer a threat to the studs, or to our genetic lines and feed/housing budgets. They can stay with sisters and mothers, or go be a stud companion. They can also leave our properties, even if they come from faulted genetic lines, because they’re no longer a threat to others’ bloodlines even if they prove too cute/clever to slaughter and become a pet.

Neuter/Castrate early I. Testes will drop in a matter of days or weeks. The longer we wait, the more the at-home tools to castrate cost and the fewer options we have. By 2 months, some species are already getting too big for some of the less-invasive, non-surgical methods, and by 4 months, anything non-surgical is usually off the table.

Callicrate Smart Bander Kit

Callicrate Smart Bander Kit

Neuter/Castrate early II. The earlier we alter male mammals, the easier it is. One, smaller is easier to wrestle. Two, there’s less time (and pain) involved in either crimping or banding a small mole than there would be for crushing off or wrapping a rubber band around a finger and waiting for it to rot off. Same deal with testes.

Separation is necessary – breeding II. Males are really into the passing down of their genetic material, and they will bloody and kill each other to do so. Wildlife doesn’t fight to the death over sex because the losers have enough room to run away. Livestock doesn’t (usually).

Separation is necessary – breeding III. Stud pigs and rabbits will kill off even their own young, and mothers will attack other pigs or rabbits and the young of a previously peaceful companion. They want the chance to mate again, or to eliminate competition for resources for their own litters or possible threats to their litters (it’s instinct).

Friends are fine. There’s nothing wrong with combining studs or grow-outs from different species while separating them from their original herds, or keeping the cow (and her calf) with the ram. They’ll gain valuable socialization. They can also share in the protection of numbers and combined body heat.

sheepcow

Limit unaltered males. It helps reduce the competition. That can lead to quieter, more peaceful barnyards. Especially with chickens, at high ratios of hens to roosters, you’ll find roosters are less sexually frustrated (and more tired), and thus less like to attack vehicles, other animals, and people.

Breeding affects female health. Pregnancy and lactation take a physical toll on dams, even with proper feed. So does egg production. Even though most livestock mammals can become pregnant again while still nursing the last young, it’s not always the best choice. A break in the cycles for recovery is of huge benefit for both poultry and mammals. Especially with mammals, we can gain years of useful life by providing rest cycles.

Dairy Drive-By’s

Sample goat milk before you buy. Not just any goat milk; that doe’s. If it’s not possible to sample the milk of the doe you’re getting, sample her mother’s and sisters’. While some breeds vary hugely animal-to-animal, most will have some similarity to their nearest relatives, especially if the stud line is the same.

Separation is necessary – Bucks effect milk. Lots effects milk flavor, from breed and feed to how fast we can cool it off, to a tiny little amount of dust.  But bucks really do contribute hugely to that goaty flavor.

Separation is necessary – Milking.  If we want to milk once daily, we can separate overnight after the first milks finish. If we want to milk twice daily and bottle feed numerous times a day, we can separate as soon as the colostrum finishes.

lucy-triplets

Separation is necessary – Weaning. Livestock will not usually forcibly wean their own young until they are near birthing again or naturally dry off. Even then kids/calves/foals will sometimes try to continue to nurse – even off other dams. This creates undo stress on the dual-nursing mothers, and competition for the newborns losing the highest fat and highest production milks.

Triplets are trouble – the birth. Sheep seem to handle triplets like champs, but goats and especially cattle regularly end up needing help with them – or with the last one, at least. It’s not uncommon for that third to be stillborn, or unable to nurse a first time.

Triplets are trouble – the kids. Between bottle feeding and super-productive dams, there are plenty of survivors. However, one of the triplets is sometimes seriously stunted, and due to competition for colostrum and high-fat milk, is likely to lag behind and be more susceptible to illness for life. Conversely, sometimes one kid is significantly larger than both its siblings and will take a lion’s share, leaving both behind the curve as they split the remains.

Triplets are trouble – the dam. I know people who won’t burden a doe with a third kid, because even if she has enough milk early, it will put enormous strain on her body and she may not be able to maintain that production when they get to the pre-weaning stage and are taking quarts off her. I also know people who milk colostrum and early milk for runts, then bottle feed a different mother’s milk to get enough volume for all three. Time available, the presence of other dams, whether we want to share that much milk for triplets (or cull early) all impact our decisions, as do our future herd needs.

Chickens Are Vicious

chicken-647226_640(Newsflash: So are geese.)

Roosters are lean & active. The earlier we harvest our male birds, the less tough and “gamey” the meat will be – and the less disruption from excess roosters we’ll deal with over weeks and months.

Roosters are rough lovers. Even within the unaided egg season, hens can use a break from roos. Roosters break and pull feathers as they mate, and their favorites can end up pretty bedraggled. Unfortunately this leads to…

Hens Peck Injuries. Chickens will keep after a flock mate with a visible wound or bare patches of skin, reopening and enlarging injuries, and can end up killing them.

chickensaddle1_large

Chicken Saddles & Blue Dot can help. We can cover a love-torn or injured bird in a chicken saddle (or sock sweater for young/small birds) and we can treat with a spray (which leaves blue dots). Ideally, we also use them on uninjured senior animals. If all (or half) of the flock also sports saddles or blue dots, the flock won’t focus its attention on the oddball, and the oddball has a chance to recover without separation.

Separation is necessary – Injuries. Chickens especially may need separated if they have a serious injury. All livestock may need a smaller pen or box to provide recovery, limit activity, or so they aren’t taken by predators while injured.

Chicks need protection. Chicks commonly need heat lamps, special food, and water they can reach. They also slip through smaller cracks, are susceptible to damp grass and cold ground, and fit in more mouth sizes. Whether we incubate and box chicks, or provide them with a broody hen, they need some help.

Chicks can be left in a flock. If a broody hen is of high enough seniority, and a flock is relatively small (under 10-18), hens can raise their nests right there in the existing coop. Otherwise, multiple hens that will sit nests within 4-6 weeks of each other can be removed to an adjacent coop. Being adjacent, having high-ranking, dominant mothers, and being in higher numbers can ease…

chicks-in-flockPecking Order – It’s a real thing. It’s when birds use pointy beaks to peck others and establish their dominance. It gets brutal.

Integration of flocks takes time. One, separated and new birds need to be exposed to the flock through a fence or crate for days and weeks, not hours. Two, new and re-introduced birds really need to be of compatible size with flocks, especially big flocks. Otherwise, birds will be injured and-or killed.

chicks-separated

Roosters don’t share well. Sometimes birds raised as brothers will share a flock, just like lions sometimes work in pairs. Usually, there’s fighting. And if a stud is kept with hens, and sexually mature baby roo’s are outside that fence, they will …

A.) Fight through the fences.

B.) Crow challenges constantly.

C.) Find new and creative ways to get inside the fence to the hens/rooster.

D.) Regularly become aggressive/more aggressive with other living and inanimate beings. Good times.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Some rabbits get along. Many don’t, especially rabbits accustomed to life in their own cages, and rabbits that aren’t spayed and neutered.

Breeding pairs need introductions. You arrange hutches so that a male can ideally be between two females, so his hutch slides and overlaps two females’, or leave empty spaces he can occupy for at least a couple weeks. That way, they’re accustomed to each other when they’re plunked in together.

Bunnies need buddies. They’re social creatures, just like dogs. Adjoining hutches allows for social interaction, as well as the potential for combined body heat if temperatures dip.

rabbits-hutches

Females go to males. Neutral ground is iffy, but a male entering a female hutch can lead to…

A.) Distraction, with the male sniffing and marking instead of crooning Barry Manilow.

B.) The female taking offense to a male rushing right up to her.

C.) A female taking offense to a male poking through all her private spaces (especially if she’s raised kits in there and has a permanent box).

Bunnies need watched. Even if introductions and mating went well, sometimes you want your own space back, or somebody’s toes get stepped on. Hot weather makes everybody more cranky, too, and rabbits are no exception. Bunnies do their business, then get separated again.

Feeding – Them & Us

Feed is expensive. Whether we’re feeding off forage that takes time to recover, or buying sacks, there’s a cost associated. We need to know how much animals eat, and how many we can afford, before we create situations for breeding.

baconMeat animals are for eating. Don’t breed animals until you’ve tasted that species’ meat, and don’t breed animals whose meat you don’t like. (Riiiigghhtt???)

Harvest meat by size/age, not season. Big animals might lend themselves to waiting until after frosts, but when we’re feeding ourselves or other livestock off what we raise, we don’t have to wait for some magic season any more. In the case of chickens and rabbits especially, just a month or two delay greatly affects meat quality and flavor.

Eat some early. Doing so can save money on feed and wear on pastures, lower water hauling in late summer, and prevent aggression or breeding within the confines of limited infrastructure and labor. Just because typical butcher weight is 100-350# for pigs doesn’t mean we have to hold a whole litter for 6-9 months, especially the males. Some species lend themselves to waiting at least a while, but we can select 28-day poussin or 3-month pullets, lamb and kid and veal are traditional feasts, and suckling pig is a treat, whether it’s truly <8 weeks or we’re harvesting tender vittles once a month until the last few are freezer-filling beasts.

Nutritional needs change. As animals progress through their life-cycles, the nutrients they need change, as do the amounts of feed they need. Feeding everybody expensive game bird starter or lactating-female levels wastes money.

Feed type matters. Nutrients in bagged feeds & supplements and in pasture/forage/fodder vary, and affect health as well as the time to production or harvest.

Not everybody grazes. Ducks aren’t really grazers at all. In the case of free-range or foraging fowl, the accessible sources for feed changes by age, just as it does for wild birds like quail (quail lifecycle habitat is an excellent research point for creating pasture for poultry).

Llama grazing with sheep.

Llama grazing with sheep.

Worms steal nutrients. Parasites take from our animals. Regular deworming can prevent it. We can also rotate pastures. It limits re-exposure. It also allows pastures to gain height, which impacts hoofstock – worms occupy lower levels with the feces; if the livestock is grazing well above that level, it can break the fecal-oral route and lower belly loads.

Forage-based eaters are different. Free-range, pasture-fed animals that forage significant portions of feed are slower by as much as half-again or twice the time it takes commercial-diet fed animals to reach target weights, and production can be lowered for eggs and dairy as well. They’re also going to be leaner, and meat and eggs will change flavor seasonally.

Predators eat, too. Also, accidents happen and animals roam. Proper housing and fencing – before we bring home livestock – is vitally important. “Proper” varies by species and sometimes breed, and by climate. It’s also affected by rotation plans, keeping style, and the threats within our property and from our surrounding areas, or the natural barriers and safeties we can introduce, to include Livestock Guardian dogs, donkeys and llamas.

Not-So-Short Primer

So that’s the Big List of Bullets that made the cut for sharing. There are others, but I tried to come in under War and Peace, and the others come up more sporadically.

The over-breeding, misconceptions about which livestock needs mates and how often, when we harvest animals, and the inbreeding are biggies. Overpopulation due to males and females in constant exposure, and due to owners’ inability or unwillingness to cull flocks and herds also crops up – constantly, even among manly men who have deployed as grunt infantry and who hunt very similar deer, quail, turkey and duck. I also see a lot of people miss the opportunity to cut feed costs for other livestock or companion animals by using gluts of eggs and milk or meat they don’t want (goats), or who don’t *really* handle livestock and then run into problems moving and vetting them.

Hopefully, there was a nugget in there somewhere for almost everyone – and if not a nugget, some snickers and laughter and the joy of realizing you’re not the only one that ran into a head-scratcher.

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Survival Scenario: Any Car Is Better Than No Car

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


So long as its reliable

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vehicle Maintenance is Key

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Survival Skill: Unarmed Combat

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


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

Assess the threat

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

Basics of Self Defense

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

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

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

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

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

Tough Parts of the Body

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

Delicate Parts of the Body

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

Unarmed Assailant

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

Armed with a Knife

knife

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

Armed with a Firearm

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

Arm Yourself – Improvised Weapons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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The Bible, Preparedness, and the 2nd Amendment

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

Different Views of Scripture

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Protection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The government has guns so do you need them?

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

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

Prepare but for the right reason

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

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

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

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Natural Disaster Hotspot: Preparing For The Unexpected

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

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

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

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

Cyclone Storms (Hurricane)

hurricane

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

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

Beat The Clock Before It Gets to Zero

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

Downpour (Flash flood)

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

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

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

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

Make Sure You’re Prepared and Protected

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

Foreshock (Earthquake)

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

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

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

Don’t Get Shaken Up and Caught Off Guard

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

Tsunami (Harbor Water)

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

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

Surf Your Way to Safety 

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

Common Practices For All Natural Disasters

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

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

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

●  Learn evacuation routes.

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

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

● Drink contaminated water.

● Be selfish, help those around you.

● Leave food outdoors for a long period of time.

●  Forget to wash and sanitize all eating utensils.

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

●  Panic. This will only make things worse.

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

Stay safe!

——-

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

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

References:

 

 

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The post Natural Disaster Hotspot: Preparing For The Unexpected appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

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

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


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

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

Be Patient

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

Cut it Off

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

85

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

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

Budget Everything

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

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

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

Learn and Practice

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

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

Don’t be a Gear Snob

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

thrift-store-outside-haltom-city

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

Hoard, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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

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

Public Resources

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

Save up

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

Live, Now

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

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

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The post Poverty Prepping: Getting Ready With Less Than $10,000 a Year appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

The TOP 11 Gifts For Non-preppers

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Written by Mike Harris on The Prepper Journal.

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


With the Holidays fast approaching I know how frustrating it can be trying to get loved ones that perfect gift that is not only practical but will benefit them in ways a flashy pretty piece of jewelry or a cool video game can’t. Having first hand experience with getting high dollar prepping items for non-preppers who not only don’t appreciate them but also shake their head in disdain is a feeling all to familiar to me. So here I have compiled a list of 11 gifts for non-preppers under $50 that can put that loved one in a better predicament of preparedness without them even knowing it. This list is non-excusive that will make for great prepper gift ideas for both guys and gals of all ages!

Portable Power pack

Portable Power packs come in all shapes, sizes, colors and capacities. I have found these not only extremely well received by non-preppers but unprecedented by most in the overall preparedness value it brings. The typical iPhone battery is about 2,000 mah of power. With power packs ranging from 2,000 mah to the 50,000 “All Powers” external power pack. The user can charge their portable electronics many times over. Not only are their uses for small electronics great but also they provide so much diversity in regards to their many colors, sizes and applications.

15600mAh Portable External Battery Charger Power Bank with iPower and Quick Charge Technology

15600mAh Portable External Battery Charger Power Bank with iPower and Quick Charge Technology

Giving your loved ones the ability to meet all their small electronic needs is a huge prepping multiplier! We all know inclement weather, terrorism, earthquakes, accidents, and overall disaster will happen it’s never been a matter of if but when. According to Current statistics there are over 260 million cell phone users in the United States of America! With this knowledge in mind equip your loved ones with the ability to send that text message, write that tweet, updated that Facebook status, hash tag their ideas, post that controversial idea, record that memorable moment. But most importantly give them the life saving power they need to get in contact with Emergency services and loved ones in the event something goes wrong! You will be happier and can rest assured knowing you have set them up for success.

Foldable solar panel

Small foldable solar panels are not only “hipster and progressive” (air quotes emphasized for meaning attractive to a younger audience) in many aspects but provide a wealth preparedness capabilities unparalleled in many respects. Not only do foldable solar panels provide an unlimited amount of electricity when the sun is out but are very easy to store and user-friendly to use. Requiring virtually no maintenance upkeep, they can be that lifeline you can depend on when everything around you is falling apart. They can be used and implemented anywhere at anytime as long as there is light, even under bad forecast they can provide you the life saving power you or someone you know may need in the even of a disaster.

Now couple this with an external power pack and now you have an unlimited power source that can keep you off grid indefinitely! You will be hard pressed to find something that brings more independence and stress free-living then being able to personally provide for all your small electronic power needs free from the power grid!

Solar flash light/ Lantern

Light more often than not is something that is taken for granted by the average person. Fortunately most of us live in a world where we can flip and switch and magically we have light. While this is ideal it’s not always the case when disaster strikes. Solar Lighting not only gives the user the ability to have light where they may otherwise not have it but also allows them to have lighting abilities indefinitely because they are not susceptible to depleted disposable batteries, or oil sources like what we see with traditional flashlights and oil lanterns.

MPOWERD Luci Original - Inflatable Solar Light

MPOWERD Luci Original – Inflatable Solar Light

Natural sunlight light can be taken advantage of during the day and can be used at night. Also like the already mentioned items many of them have the ability to be also used as an external power pack giving them more than one use. We don’t realize the importance of light until the light goes out and we hear that boom in the middle of the night! Remember two is one, one is none. To see the capabilities these light devices have check out a couple of product reviews.

Cutting Tools

When you say cutting tools you are referring to a broad diverse spectrum of “sharp objects”. This was done purposely –  every one is different and requires different types of cutting tools. What I would give a college sorority girl who drives a Toyota corolla and has no preparedness inclination versus an avid hunter that drives a lifted 4×4 truck and stays off the beaten path for days at a time is going to be different in style and ergonomics; but the methodology and application will be very similar.

SOG FastHawk

SOG FastHawk

Examples for a self-defense situation I would be more inclined to give a college sorority girl a “Honeycomb Hairbrush concealed stiletto dagger” or a “Cat personal safety keychain”. They are complete concealable very fashionable that can go with any purse or outfit. These items will provide a quick control for an unprecedented attack while serving primarily as an everyday use item. While for my avid hunter, Military, or EMS person I might give a “SOG FastHawk Hatchet” that can be used as a self-defense tool, extrication device, wood cutting tool etc. As you can see cutting tools have a wide range of styles and uses that can serve a diverse array of preparedness needs without coming across as such.

Portable water filter

Portable water filters are one of those small cheap out of sight out of mind water applications that quite frankly will at a minimum sustain life! These make a perfect gift for all people regardless of age, gender, or lifestyle. I can say from personal experience being well-traveled around the world these have been a game changer. Being in other countries where the tap water was considered unsafe due to viruses and bacteria I never had to worry about where I got my drinking water. Especially with products like the “Sawyer mini Water Filter” that will easily screw onto any commercial water bottle I was able to fill up my bottle (from any local water source) attach the filter and keep moving without any fear of contracting any water-borne illnesses.

Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System

Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System

Most commercial portable water filters on the market today will remove over 99% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli and remove over 99% of all protozoa elements such as giardia and cryptosporidium. The “Sawyer Mini Water Filter” Claims it can filter up to 100,000 gallons and weighs only 2 ounces. According to science the average adult human body is 50-65% water. On average the everyday American uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day. While this is taking other water usages into calculation one can still see the importance of water especially when considering that in a disaster the average person will be expending more calories and using more water. No matter where you are whether that be in a local park, traveling in another country, or in the safety of one’s home drinking clean potable water is an absolute necessity and water is unequivocally the giver of life! Make having clean and potable water a necessity!

Waterproof speakers with external charging capabilities

The waterproof speakers with external charging capabilities are what gets the person from the sidelines into the action in regards to preparedness. This is a gateway preparedness gift. Regardless if you are an NCAA Cheerleader, Surfer, camper, Military Service member, or the everyday person the ability to access to and have all their music and electronic needs met is an extremely good selling point. According to a Nielsen’s Music 360 2014 study, 93% of the U.S. population listens to music, spending more than 25 hours each week jamming out to their favorite tunes.

Anker SoundCore Sport XL Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Anker SoundCore Sport XL Portable Bluetooth Speaker

The waterproof speakers encourage the user to take their lives off the beaten path, to push beyond the realms of their typical everyday habits. The external charging capabilities give the user an added layer of support and comfort being outside in those environments. Now add a foldable solar panel and the possibilities for adventures off the beaten path are endless. It’s much easier to engage someone in a “what if” scenario or talk about preparedness if your already off the beaten path, outside the “safety confines” of the power grid simultaneously creating your own endless energy while listening to their favorite music. I’m just saying!

Seed Bank/Plant

Seeds and plants are one of the only preps “gifts” what will give back in dividends that will well exceed the initial cost. Being able to take a handful of seeds or a plant and create an endless life-sustaining ecosystem is truly beyond words. Permaculture does more than just provides a means by which to feed ones self. Permaculture in many respects is one of the most rewarding pursuits we can do as human beings. Giving us the ability to create and take care of life, being independent of the corporate bureaucracy of Big Ag, and allows one to create their own sustainable paradigm.

15,000 Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Survival Garden

15,000 Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Survival Garden

The lessons gained from the successes and losses of growing.  Not to mention the invaluable skill set that has been slowly taken out of our modern-day society. Living in a day and age where we have become so dependent on a system that could care less the consequences of their actions and practices should worry us all. So stay one step ahead of chaos get someone you care about a small seed variety pack, or a tomato plant. If you really like them get them a moringa tree!

Multi-Tool

Multi-Tools are invaluable to anyone, they provide hundreds of functions and are more compact then wallet or small makeup case. Yet it provides the essentials to most day-to-day maintenance. Whether we are talking about opening a bottle or performing a plumbing task using pliers and a cutting tool. The Multi-Tool is a silent hero; it can be carried as an EDC or left in the glove box of a vehicle until needed.

Leatherman - Wave Multi-Tool, Black with Molle Sheath

Leatherman – Wave Multi-Tool, Black with Molle Sheath

It’s a jack-of-all-trades but master of none. You won’t necessarily build a house with it but it can get you out of pretty much any tight situation you might find yourself in. To top it off, in modern-day 2016 Multi-Tools are no longer big bulky steel bricks carried in the same old leather or webbing straps. They come in all styles, colors, and designs. They even have bracelet Multi-Tools!

Hand-Crank Emergency Power Source

I’ll let you choose what features are important to you but having a power source independent of another source but your will is absolute by its own definition! We don’t get to choose when disaster will strike, or how it strikes, or what is affected. What we can do is decide for ourselves how prepared we will be. Having the ability to provide an indefinite amount of light, power, and communication etc. day and night is what preparedness is all about.

Emergency Radio & Portable Phone Charger (3 in 1) Solar, Hand Crank Dynamo and USB Power

Emergency Radio & Portable Phone Charger (3 in 1) Solar, Hand Crank Dynamo and USB Power

How many times have we looked down at our cell phone and realized we at minimum battery life now, now throw a wrench in your charging plan. That’s where these device swoop in to save the day. Many Hand-Crank Emergency Power Sources charge at the same rate as plugging it into a wall outlet. So in a few minutes you can bring a phone back from the dead regardless of the time, emergency, or situation you find yourself in!

Emergency Car Kit

Do you know a loved one with a vehicle? Do they have an Emergency Kit in their vehicle? If they don’t they are wrong and so are you! In the United States alone, approximately 7 tire punctures occur every second, resulting in 220 million flat tires per year. Approximately 50% of Americans don’t know how to change a tire (That’s just reported). I could talk to you for days on this subject but at the end of the day one must ask him or her self some simple questions. In an emergency situation will you depend on technology (AAA), the kindness of a stranger, or empower your self and loved ones to be self-sufficient?  I can’t tell you how many people I have helped that have found themselves broke down on the side of the road. It breaks my heart because I know somewhere down the line they were failed! Don’t fail your self or your loved ones. Give them and yourself the tools for success and most importantly train them to do the basics!

Candles/Fire-Starter

Last but certainly not least we have candles and fire starters. I put these two in the same category because they go together very interchangeably. For the record U.S. retail sales of candles are estimated at approximately $3.2 billion annually, excluding sales of candle accessories (Source: Mintel, 2015). Candles are used in 7 out of 10 U.S. households, and are seen as an acceptable gift by both men and women. Not to mention Candles come in an endless variety of shapes, sizes and uses. We see this from votives to floating candles to those that are used in religious and ritual like settings. Regardless of why or how you use candles the ability to hold a flame is paramount in a disaster situation! So if holding a flame is paramount starting a flame is essential. Now I’m not advocating going out and getting everyone a Ferrocerium rod bush craft kit with char cloth all included. Nor am I saying go out and get your 19-year-old college sorority daughter a pack of cheap plastic bic lighters either. The great thing about fire starters now-a-days is that they come in all styles and colors. You have the Colibri Scepter lighter that looks like a tube of lipstick for the ladies to the custom Harley Davidson zippo for the seasoned veteran biker. In my humble opinion I would say that candles and fire starters are not only the easiest, and least expensive gifts to give but will arguable be, the first thing one reaches for in the event of a disaster. The ability to have a lite candle not only helps our physical needs in regards to light and heat. But the psychological ones are just as important if not more. The flame’s soft illumination reaches the soul; it can deliver hope and instill a calming relief.  This coupled the aromatherapy of a scented candle can literally make all the difference in a disaster setting!

This completes my Top 11 gifts for your non-prepper friends and family. While the old slogan “it’s the thought that counts” may resonate with a lot of people it’s important to realize that your feelings and thoughts won’t be the deciding factor in who lives and who dies. Their ability to react logically and swiftly with the right tools will be the deciding factor. While you may not be able to control ones actions you can equip them with the right tools and get the brain working in the preparedness mindset without them even realizing it and that is the purpose of this article. I can tell you from personal experience when I realized this reality. I was there when the May 3rd Tornado that hit the Midwest in 1999. Not only do I remember the destruction that it left in its wake in my small Cleveland County, Oklahoma town. I remember my mother reaching under the bathroom sink to grab three candles so she could provide just a little light to her 3 confused and frightened boys. I remember her lighting these candles she had received as a gift. I don’t remember who gave them to her, but I can tell you I will never forget the smell of that first apple cider candle she lite, nor will I forget the impact of what a simple candle can do for a small frightened family in a ravaged home. I don’t personally think that individual who gave us those candles envisioned the scenario that they would be used for. Nor do I believe they knew the impact that such a small gift would have on someone’s life. But what I can say unequivocally was that small flame ignited hope, determination, and most importantly a unquenching desire to seek knowledge on all that is preparedness and to teach others everything I can. So wherever you may be, wherever life might I have taken you I want to say from the bottom of my heart; Thank You.

I hope you guys enjoyed this article, I hope to bring you more content in the future.

About the author: Mike Harris is a full-time RV’r spending the last couple years traveling not only the country but all over the world. Being a 4th generation sailor he has not only operated all over the world but grew up experiencing the rich diversities that make this world great but also a dangerous place. He is still Active duty he is a Search and Rescue Corpsman (Flight Medic) and an Aerospace Medical Technician.  His preparedness and desire for sustainability are deep-rooted in reality. Having to endure and face catastrophe is not just a job description but also his personal mission. He has trained both local and federal agencies as well a foreign. He done real life missions he was there during hurricane Sandy and was also apart of the 2515th NAAD. When not working or prepping you can find him traveling the country in his RV, hiking off the beaten path or enjoying much-needed catch up time with friends and family. You can catch his adventures on his YouTube channel.

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When Walking Alone: Observe

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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


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

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

Walking on the street

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

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

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

follow

Walking through public parks

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

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

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

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

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

beingfollowed

Sitting in a cafe, restaurants, etc.

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

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

Riding in a taxi

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

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

Walk away

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

Avoidance and retreat

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

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Vote for Your Favorite – Prepper Writing Contest Round Six

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

The election caused more chaos than even I realized becuase it was only today that I realized round 6 of the Prepper Writing Contest had ended and I completely forgot to open up the polling to all you to choose the winners. Please accept my apologies for the oversight.

Even if you thought the fun of Election night was over, you get another chance to voice your opinion! I have chosen the 5 finalists for the last round of the Prepper Writing Contest. Submissions ran the gamut from new contributors to old friends in lots of different areas that preppers are debating to this day. I want to thank everyone who entered and remind you that Round Seven of the contest has already started so get your entries in now. Previous winners can still win again!

I will leave the voting open for a few days so please let me know which article you think is the best. The five articles in contention for the 3 prizes of Amazon gift cards are (in no particular order):

Vote Now!

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Apocalypse Training 101: Learn How to Survive the End of the World

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

Sponsored by 5.11Tactical

When non-preppers think about how to survive the end of the world, they usually think about hoarding supplies, finding a secure place to store them and hunkering down to wait it out. It’s a nice fairy-tale, but in the real world, when SHTF, true survivors have to know how to hit back.

While it is important to stock up on supplies that you might need to survive TEOTWAWKI, having all the supplies in the world won’t help you if you can’t get to them when an apocalypse event strikes. What about defending all your supplies from desperate people trying to get them? What about protecting yourself and the people you care about? What if a flood or fire break out and you end up stranded with nothing? Even if you do manage to make it back to your supplies and feel safe, what happens when the inevitable occurs and your supplies run out?

Fitness is the First Step to Survival

The truth is, prepping is about skill and knowledge, first and foremost. Knowing what matters most is the true key to apocalypse survival, and having the skills to do whatever it takes to keep going isn’t about buying stuff; it’s about building your skill-set. That’s why the first step in learning how to prepare for the end of the world is always getting your body ready to handle whatever might come your way. In reality, every moment is an opportunity to train for the end of the world.

The Elements of Physical Fitness

crossfit

Diversify your training to see the greatest results.

Endurance. Strength. Flexibility. Creativity. These are the essential elements of apocalypse survival and training. The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities in your everyday life to increase your overall capacity to execute these skills – if you make the time for it. Here’s a quick guide on how to physically prepare for SHTF:

  • Endurance. There’s just no way to build your stamina without getting after it, every day. Endurance is quite literally a marathon sport. Even if it starts with a simple walk, find a way to get moving and keep moving every day. Aim to continually increase the amount of physical activity you do, the kinds of activities you try and their level of difficulty.
  • Strength. Bodyweight exercises are a great way to strengthen and tone without a ton of equipment, while there are a range of targeted activities like CrossFit and Krav Maga that can help you home in on and improve your weakest skills.
  • Flexibility. It may not seem very tough, but staying limber is essential to staying alive. Stretch while you strengthen, and you’ll be able to do more and recover faster after intense physical activity.
  • Creativity. Diversify your training to see the greatest results. Try different combat methods and improvise with the environment around you to identify your strengths and weaknesses while making it easier to respond effectively, whatever your situation or surroundings.

Apocalypse Training Techniques

combattraining

Learn how to defend yourself in a lethal situation without a weapon.

Ultimately, fitness training for SHTF situations is about applied knowledge, not book learning or simulations. The people you’re fighting against when SHTF won’t follow the rules of sparing or good sportsmanship. At TEOTWAWKI, you’ll be fighting for your life with whatever you have available. That means you need to be prepared to fight on all fronts.

Train in three ways for maximum effect:

  • Functional Training. Use what’s around you to build practical strength, like tires, ropes and more. This idea is the cornerstone of CrossFit and parkour training.
  • Combat Training. Learn how to defend yourself in a lethal situation without a weapon. Mastering a martial art that’s specifically designed for tactical fighting like Krav Maga can be your greatest protection in an apocalypse situation.
  • Tactical Training. Firearm training is a no-brainer. Having a gun won’t help you if you don’t know how to properly use it or don’t consistently practice and improve your shooting skills.

When deciding how to build your skills in each of these three areas, think about the ultimate goal of any technique you learn. Your primary objective is to survive, not simply one-up your assailant. Find tactics that will help you stay one step ahead of an opponent both mentally and physically. Approaching your training this way is how to survive the end of the world. Survival isn’t about winning a trophy or a championship belt. It’s about making it out alive.

Tactical Survival Training for TEOTWAWKI

Focus on developing the kind of skills that will serve you under pressure when preparing for the end of the world. PHOTOGRAPHER: Lauren Harnett

If you really think about it, it makes sense to focus on developing the kind of skills that will serve you under pressure when preparing for the end of the world. You won’t be facing rainbows and words of encouragement in the end of days. When training with firearms, spend the majority of your time building and practicing fundamental skills so they become natural reflexes when you’re fighting for your life, rather than focusing on tricks and complicated techniques that will take time to recall.

The tactics you have to think about are the ones that will do the most damage when it’s time to make a split-second decision in a fight or flight situation. It’s better to stick with tactical techniques that complement what naturally happens in your body and brain when adrenaline spikes. This means sticking with methods that retain your accuracy and control, even when you’re under serious stress.

Practice the Basics. Then Practice Differently.

The tactics you have to think about are the ones that will do the most damage when it’s time to make a split-second decision in a fight or flight situation.

The first key to effective firearm use is mastering the basics, including your stance, grip, target acquisition, sights, trigger control, follow-through and ability to disarm an opponent. Here’s a quick breakdown of each and what you should focus on to improve your fundamentals.

  • Power Stance. Improving your overall fitness level will help you find a stable, mobile and balanced stance when shooting your gun, but it takes practice to find the power stance that will protect you from recoil, while letting you stay agile, aggressive and in control.
  • Grip. Make your grip firm, tight and with your thumbs curled down. Firearm expert and master trainer Massad Ayoob calls this the “crush grip,” and it’s one of the five elements he considers most crucial to have in your arsenal before firing a gun (Ayoob, 2012).
  • Target Acquisition. This skill covers the rapid vision transition that must occur after you’ve spotted a target and before you shoot. Practice adjusting the focus of your eyesight from a natural target to your sights quickly so you program the movement into your eyes’ muscle memory.
  • Sight Alignment and Picture. Two essential yet separate elements of proper shooting, sight alignment requires that your front sight be centered between the rear sights with your rear sights horizontally aligned, while sight picture is the relationship of your sight alignment to your target for accurate execution. Understanding the relationship between sight alignment and picture takes practice and depends on your individual gun.
  • Trigger Control. Your grip will go a long way toward improving trigger control, which is the act of pulling the trigger without pushing the nose of the gun up or down, jerking the trigger or otherwise disturbing your aim. Smooth and consistent squeezing is key.
  • Follow-Through and Reset. Follow-through is about squeezing the trigger until it stops moving, while reset is about getting the trigger ready to fire again. After your follow-through, practice releasing the trigger to the point of reset and firing again. Sometimes, the trigger break and follow-through positions are the same, sometimes not. Your trigger reset is rarely the same position where the trigger rests when untouched. Practice to determine both the follow-through and reset positions of your specific guns.
  • Disarmament. Whether you’re facing a knife, gun or concealed weapon that you can’t identify, you have to know how to disarm an assailant coming at you with a weapon – not only to protect yourself from other people, but also to anticipate how someone else might try to disarm you and prevent it.

There are a few simple drills that can help you get the basics ingrained in your brain, round out your shooting skills, and give you the confidence and versatility you need to shoot well when SHTF. Remember to practice shooting both moving and still targets, work with both two-handed and one-handed grips, and incorporate movement into your tactical training. If you aren’t shooting, move.

You should test out different kinds of firearms, including rifles, shotguns and handguns, and practice drawing and shooting them all until you find the weapons that work best for you. Your gun will do you no good if you can’t draw it fast enough and shoot it accurately. Practice in low light environments, try shooting multiple targets to improve your agility, and practice safely shooting from behind cover and concealment. All of these techniques can give you a huge tactical advantage in a lethal confrontation.

Mental Readiness: The Real Key to Apocalypse Survival

mentalreadiness

Having a strong mind and body and the right functional, combat and tactical training will go a long way to getting your ready for TEOTWAWKI – much more than stockpiling supplies can ever do.

Mental preparation is about conditioning yourself to handle the inevitable emotions during an apocalypse. Fear, concern, hopelessness, helplessness, defeat. Being better prepared than most can itself be a liability, since you can’t save everyone and trying to could ultimately end your own life. How will you determine when to stand firm, when to offer help and when to move on?

Mental preparedness doesn’t mean being weak. In fact, working on assessing, identifying and controlling your emotions will improve your ability to stay assertive, aggressive and in control instead of breaking down in the face of disaster. Often, appearing aggressive is enough to keep weaker would-be threats at bay, without the risks of direct engagement.

Having a strong mind and body and the right functional, combat and tactical training will go a long way to getting your ready for TEOTWAWKI – much more than stockpiling supplies can ever do. I hope this article gave you a good understanding of where to put your focus to really prepare for SHTF. If you get after it and train to improve a little each day, you’ll be better prepared than most when the end of the world arrives. Good luck.

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5 Emergency Food Mistakes Preppers Make

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Storing food improperly

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

moldy_food

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

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

Not having enough variety in your storage

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

Forgetting “the little things”

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

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

Not rotating food or letting it go bad

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

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

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

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How to Maximize Crop Yields

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Written by Cornelia Adams on The Prepper Journal.

Whether you want to make money from your yard, save money on groceries, enjoy foods you can’t easily buy, or simply get more out of the experience of gardening, growing your own food is a great choice, and it’s easier than you might think. As long as you have a spade or fork, a rake and a hoe, and a sturdy trowel, you can make a go of it – additional tools help but aren’t essential. These handy tips will help you to get started.

Caring for the soil

All sustainable gardening begins with taking care of the soil because plants need nutrients in the growing medium almost as much as water and sunlight. Investing in fertilizer will let you enrich the soil easily but it can be expensive, so if you want to save money you can create your own compost from garden waste and leftover food scraps. If you know someone who keeps cattle or horses, there’s nothing like well-rotted dung for nourishing your plants. You can also bind nitrogen into the soil by growing peas or beans, or if you have a fish pond – or even an aquarium – you can use the nitrate-rich wastewater from that for irrigation.

Choosing the right crops

The right crops for your garden will depend on how acidic or alkaline the soil is, how much rainfall you get at different times of year, and what you actually want to eat. Don’t grow food in quantities that overwhelm you, and bear in mind that having a lot of variety in your yard reduces the risk of losing everything to pests. Choose crops that fit around one another over the course of the year, so you can be ready to plant one as soon as you harvest another. Keep moving your crops around within the yard because they will take up different nutrients from the soil, so this will help to avoid exhausting it.

Extending your growing space

Composting is a simple way to enrich your garden soil and reduce trash.

Composting is a simple way to enrich your garden soil and reduce trash.

If you have limited room for growing crops in your yard, ask yourself if you’re making the most of all your options. If there are paved areas you don’t want to dig up, you can still grow things in pots on top of them. Running trellises along your walls or fences will enable you to grow things vertically. You can also bring plants indoors – south facing windows act like greenhouses and are great places to grow tomatoes or bell peppers.

Extending the season

Setting up a proper greenhouse with some heating in winter will allow you to grow food all year round. Simpler devices like cold frames can also make a big difference; you can get plants started earlier in the year. Not every crop takes a full season to grow, so with good planning you can fit in multiple harvests. Potatoes, for instance, can produce three crops a year, and you can harvest radishes monthly.

There are thousands of DIY Greenhouse plans on the internet.

There are thousands of DIY Greenhouse plans on the internet.

Preserving your post-harvest crops

Experts predict that the world is heading for a food shortage in the years ahead so post harvest food preservation is now a vital area of scientific research. Population growth, increasing demand from emerging economies and the adverse effects of global warming will be the main causes of the problem. This might be hard to believe now with food from all over the world currently displayed for sale in supermarkets, however, the growth in crop production won’t continue forever, and waste must be reduced.

Scientists all over the world are addressing the problems of food supply sustainability with some urgency, and agriculture executives such as Jai Shroff, who is CEO of UPL Ltd, have worked hard to provide more support for small-scale farmers and gardeners. Shroff’s initiatives have seen the development of practical preservation solutions for those with limited harvesting options. The company has also developed affordable fertilizer products to fit with a sustainable approach and they are a more practical choice for growers who don’t have sufficient land to let areas lie fallow for extended periods. Shroff’s LinkedIn page states: “By providing the agriculture sector with quality seeds, plant nutrition, and post-harvest preservation products, he aims to strengthen food security in over 120 countries.”

An effectively planned kitchen garden can work well in even a small area and should produce an abundance of fruit, salad crops and vegetables.

An effectively planned kitchen garden can work well in even a small area and should produce an abundance of fruit, salad crops and vegetables.

Food security is already a worry for many of those countries that are striving to meet today’s demands, and the development of new preservation methods that will play an important role in the future is becoming essential. Until those new methods become available the conventional methods of preservation will continue to be used. Storing fruit and root vegetables in temperature-controlled conditions or freezing as soon as possible after cropping are still the favored options to prolong the life of foods and reduce waste.

Keeping a kitchen garden

An effectively planned kitchen garden can work well in even a small area and should produce an abundance of fruit, salad crops and vegetables. If you’re a keen cook you’ll need herbs as well as fruits and vegetables. Herbs can be grown in all sorts of little niches where other plants won’t fit, such as hanging baskets or well-secured mini-beds running along the tops of your walls. This will help you to use up every bit of space and will give you many more flavor options when it comes to making use of the things you grow. Just bear in mind that some – especially mint – grow like weeds, so you’ll need to keep a close eye on them (best in containers). Choosing flowering herbs is a great way to give an extra boost to everybody’s favorite garden helpers, bees.

Growing your own food requires some manual work. You’ll need to weed your yard at least weekly, turn over the soil after harvesting and pay careful attention to draining and irrigation. When you sit down to enjoy a hearty meal of home-grown food, however, that work definitely feels worthwhile.

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Vehicle Security Basics for Survival in Bad Times

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Written by Orlando Wilson on The Prepper Journal.

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


Wherever you are working or living at some point you will have to use vehicles, for most people they are part of their everyday lives. Driving itself can be a dangerous task in many places and as we have seen many kidnappings, robberies and assassinations occur when people are in or around their vehicles.  In times of civil unrest or if you’re traveling to a potentially hostile area your vehicle security and travel must be planned for and taken seriously.

Vehicles should be regarded as an important piece of your equipment and should be well maintained and never treated as a toy.  Before you take a vehicle out basic maintenance checks need to be done, like checking the battery, oil, fuel level, tires, water, spare tire, break down and vehicle emergency kit. You should always ensure you have a good means of communications and that you regularly check in with trusted people who can send assistance in the case of an emergency. You should also always know the routes you are driving and the location of any facilities along those routes that could be of use to you whether it’s a coffee shop with a bathroom or a hospital with an emergency room.

Basic Vehicle Security

Vehicles need to be secured or manned at all times, if they are left unattended, they, and the area around them, must be searched for IEDs, electronic surveillance devices, contraband and anything suspicious. The area around a vehicle must be searched as you approach it for any suspicious vehicles or people; the criminals may have found your car and are waiting for your approach it to kidnap or assassinate you. I always try to park my car as far away from others as possible, that way there is no cover for anyone to hide and if any other car is parked close to mine they are immediately suspicious.  If you keep the vehicle in a locked garage still always lock doors and trunk, you will also need to search the exterior of the garage for IEDs, electronic surveillance devices and signs of forced entry in a high-risk environment.

If the vehicle cannot be garaged, try to park it in a secure, guarded area or somewhere that is covered by surveillance cameras. Drive-ways and regularly used routes from your residence to main roads should regularly be search for IEDs and signs of criminal activity. A vehicle needs to be searched after being serviced or repaired and after being left unattended for any length of time, here are some guidelines on how to search a vehicle:

  • 100 Deadly Skills - Great information for people who want to make sure they can survive any dangerous situation.

    100 Deadly Skills – Great information for people who want to make sure they can survive any dangerous situation.

    Always search the general area around a vehicle for any explosive devices or suspicious people waiting to ambush you. Always check the outside of a garage for any signs of a force entry before you go in and check garage doors and drive ways for signs of booby traps, land mines and ambushes. The roofs of garages need to secured!

  • Turn off all radios and cell phones and check the immediate area surrounding the car for disturbances, wires, oil/fluid stains, footprints, etc. It helps to keep vehicles a little dirty as you will be able to see smears in the dirt if someone was trying to break in.
  • Visual check through the windows for anything thing out-of-place or wires, etc.
  • Get down on your hands and knees and check underneath the vehicle, inside fenders, wheels and arches for any devices. Also check for cut tires, lose wheel nuts and devices placed under the wheels. This is where a flashlight and a search mirror can come in handy.
  • Check the exhaust as it is a very easy place to put an improvised explosive device. You can have bolts or wire mesh put in to exhausts to stop IEDs from being placed in them; if you do this, make sure the bolts or wire mess is not visible as this can draw attention to the car.
  • Slowly open the car doors and check the Interior of the vehicle even if there is no signs of a forced entry. Do the same for the trunk and make sure to search the spare tire and break down kit.
  • Open the hood slowly and check the engine. Again it might be helpful to keep the engine dirty as new wires and hand prints are easy to see.
  • Final turn on the engine and check all the electrics.

This is just a guide to searching vehicles but as you can see to do a thorough search can take time and would require someone to be watching the back of the searcher. Your best defense is to deny the criminal access to your vehicle but this can prove to be very difficult in the real world.

Vehicle Drills

If you are consider undertaking some advanced driving training, I see little need for evasive driver training but can see applications for people to learn to be able to handle vehicles at speed and in hazardous weather.  Again, vehicle drills cannot be learnt from manuals or videos, you will need to learn them from an experienced advanced trained driver. Always check out the instructor’s background, qualifications and reputation, look for those that offer sensible driving courses and not wannabe spy holidays.

6-cases-that-show-why-you-should-always-have-a-gun-in-your-car-evasive-driving-661x496

The main thing you need to learn is how to drive safely and to be able to identify any possible threats and avoid them. In most large towns and cities you will not be able to perform such things as J turns or other evasive maneuvers due to lack of space and traffic, so you must always be aware of what is going on around you.  The main thing I tell people is to keep as much space as possible between you and the car in front as this can give you some space to maneuver in congested traffic.

When you watch the movies and there is a car chase and the cars are skidding all over the place check the state of the roads they are on. Chances are the roads will be wet, and the tires on the cars will have minimal tread. This is the same on most evasive driving courses, but these are also usually done on private roads or open areas where there is no other traffic.  Think about why you put decent tires on your vehicles; to stop them from skidding and spinning out of control right? When you are driving around you always want to be thinking of where you could take evasive action, in urban areas there will be few places where you could spin your car around and drive against the traffic flow; that’s Hollywood.

If the criminals or terrorists are in any way professional they will attack you when your car is penned in and you cannot take any evasive maneuvers, not on wide open roads. It’s a common street kid tactics in a lot of Latin American cities to rob cars at traffic lights that are at least two cars back from the stop light with other cars behind them; these cars are stuck and cannot escape. If street kids on bicycles with at most a rusty revolver have worked out how to jack people in cars don’t you think their big bothers have also?

I am regularly asked about whether I favor armored cars or not, as with everything they have their pros and cons. Armored cars do have an application, the first thing you need to consider is what level of armoring the car your buying or using has. I have come across people driving around in cars armored to stop pistol caliber rounds in areas where the bad guys carry assault weapons, they thought an armored car was all they needed and were unaware of the different levels of armoring. You will also need to confirm where the car is armored; doors, windows, floor, engine, roof etc. Some cars may only have some armored panels in the doors and rear seat, always check for yourself and do not believe what people tell you.

highthreat1

Now think like the criminals, if you knew your target was driving around in a SUV armored to B6 level are you going to shoot at them when they are driving around or wait for them stop and get out of the car, or stop them and make them get out of the car? Think about how can you get someone out of a car; what would you do if a female driver bumped into the back of your car, get out to inspect the damage and then possibly be kidnapped by her two armed accomplices crouched in the back seat of her car? Always be aware of decoys that are intended to make you stop and get out of your vehicle, such as accidents or even bodies next to the road. Basic rule, stay in your car and keep moving between safe areas.

A criminal tactic when targeting armored cash-in-transit vehicles is to box them in, cover the van in gasoline, then give those inside to option of throwing out the cash, surrendering or being burnt alive. An issue with armored vehicles is that you cannot shoot at the criminals from the inside. There was one incident I recall from the mid 1990’s where an unarmored van that was moving cash was stopped and ambushed in an Eastern European country, the fact the van was unarmored enabled the security personnel inside to be able to shoot through the sides of the van and drive off the criminals, which they could not have done if they had taken an armored van that day. There have also been numerous incidents where criminals have assassinated targets traveling in armored vehicles with IEDs, Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) and improvised shaped charges. An armored vehicle can assist you in your security program but it should not be all there is to your security program.

Security Considerations when using vehicles

  • Always check the area around the vehicle before you approach it.
  • Search the vehicle prior to use for IEDs, electronic surveillance devices and contraband.
  • Always keep a spare set of keys for the vehicle on you in case the driver loses his or is taken out by the criminals.
  • Be aware of the vehicle’s capabilities; make sure the driver has experience driving that type of vehicle.
  • Always drive safely at the maximum, safest speed, within the legal speed limit.
  • Always carry out basic maintenance checks, before you go anywhere and check that communications work before leaving a safe area.
  • Make sure you know what to do if your car breaks down; will someone come to get you or will you call for roadside assistance?
  • In rural areas things that should be included in your break down kit should include cans of fix-a-flat, air compressor, jump leads, tire plugging kit, tube to siphon gas, gas cans and a tow rope.
  • Know which routes your taking and keep maps in the vehicle for all areas you’re traveling in. Also have alternative routes prepared that have been driven and checked out.
  • Inform personnel at a location 10 to 15 minutes, before your arrival.
  • Constantly check behind you for criminal surveillance vehicles and be suspicious of motorbikes, especially with two people on them.
  • When being followed by a motorbike always watch to see if both the rider’s hands are on the handle bars, if you only see one hand, what is the other holding or doing?
  • Make full use of your mirrors; put a mirror on the passenger side for the passenger to use.
  • Regularly carry out counter-surveillance drills and always be watching for any cars following you or suspicious people along regularly used routes.
  • Keep a good distance from the car in front, so you can drive around it in an emergency and try to avoid being blocked by other vehicles.
  • Never let the vehicle fuel tank to go below half full and know where all gas stations are along your route.
  • Keep doors locked when traveling between locations and in urban areas do not open windows or sunroof more than an inch, so things cannot be thrown in.
  • Always be prepared to take evasive action, be aware of danger points on your routes and drive towards the center of the road to have space for evasive maneuvers.
  • Blend in with your environment; don’t drive expensive cars in poor areas, etc.
  • Be suspicious of all roadblocks, temporary stop signs and car accidents, etc. Never stop to pick up hitchhikers or help other motorists, as these could be covers for an ambush or carjacking.
  • Keep vehicle keys secure and know who has all the spare keys and access to the vehicle.
  • Remember others can monitor tracking devices and help services such as OnStar, then get the details of where you are and you’re routine without the need for surveillance.
  • Be extra vigilant at traffic lights and in slow-moving traffic.
  • Keep the vehicle in a locked garage when not in use and lock all doors and the trunk.
  • Wherever legal reverse park; this will help if fast get away is required.
  • Always use seat belts, especially when driving at speed or taking evasive action.
  • Keep a safety knife handy to cut away seat belts and break windows in the case of a crash.
  • When driving on dangerous roads or taking evasive action open the vehicles windows to make escape easier in the event of a crash.

About the author: Orlando Wilson is ex-British Army and has been in the international security industry for over 25 years. He has initiated, provided, and managed an extensive range of specialist security including investigation and tactical training services to international corporate, private, and government clients. Some services have been the first of their kind in the respective countries. His experience has included: providing close protection for Middle Eastern Royal families and varied corporate clients, specialist security and asset protection, diplomatic building and embassy security, kidnap and ransom services, corporate investigations, and intelligence, tactical, and paramilitary training for private individuals, specialist police units, and government agencies. You can learn more about Orlando and his services at his site Risks Incorporated.

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