My Macdaddy Vehicle Survival Kit

I travel a lot.   Too much for my wife’s preference.  But that is what pays my bills.  My job has me flying and driving around the country, which makes me vulnerable to travel delays and potential disasters.   With any business trip within 200 miles, I prefer to drive.  Any extended business trip (4 days or longer on site) within 300 miles will result in driving as well.  When you add up the time it takes to drive to the airport, park at the airport, navigate the airport, go through security, waiting at the gate, on boarding the plane, waiting for takeoff, flying, deplaning, getting your bags, getting a rental car or taxi, and then finally making a local trip to my destination, it is prudent to measure the costs of time and money in order to justify flying.   Flight was fun many years ago.  Today, flying is just a bus in the air.  Due to typical distances of my trips, I fly more often than drive by a ratio of 5 flights to 1 drive.   Flying results in a greater degree of vulnerability, since fly inherently limits what can be transported on a plane.   But I prefer to drive, whenever I can.  Driving is much more comfortable and pleasant.   I can play my favorite tunes, listen to YouTube, listen to audio books, and talk on the phone while driving.

I prefer to drive to my business destinations because I am in control of my situation.  Statistically, flying is safer than driving, due mainly due to careless idiots and drunks on the road.  Even in this day and age of severe drunk driving laws, nearly every night when I drive from the airport to home, I see cars weaving back and forth across the divider lines.  Driving drunk goes against my survival prepper principals.  But I’m a very safe and cautious driver.  And I am very confident in my driving skill.  The main reason for wanting to drive to my business destinations is my Macdaddy car survival kit.   My car is a typical 4 door family sedan, so that I can haul my kids and my survival kit around town.  My wife drives the mini-bus for primary child troop delivery duties.  Both our vehicles are fully kitted with mac’ed out, fully capable survival kits.

Recently, we have needed our vehicle survival kits.  The severe snow storms the past 3 weeks have tested the capacity of our vehicle kits.  Fortunately for our family, the impact of the severe snow storms were limited, primarily by NOT DRIVING during bad weather.   But I got stranded during one of my recent business tips.   A massive snow storm was a disaster situation for many people, but merely a minor inconvenience for me.  That’s because I was prepared.

Selecting and Preparing Your Vehicle

First place to start with a vehicle survival kit is choosing the right vehicle.  If you live in an area of the country that expects snow or ice during the winter, choose a vehicle with 4-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes, and electronic vehicle stability control.   A rear-wheel drive Mustang in Northern Climates can only be a Summer fun car.   I drive in both Northern and Southern climates, so I have a 4 wheel drive Sedan with all season tires.   As other folks were slipping and sliding in the snow and ice the last three weeks, I was carefully but effectively driving through the winter mess.   If I lived in more rural part of the country, I’d likely be driving a 4-wheel pickup truck.  If I foolishly lived in the midst of a large city, then I’d probably have small 4 door sedan, sized of narrow parking spots.

To have a vehicle survival kit, you need a place to store your vehicle kit.  A small sports car is a non-starter for disaster preparedness.  You need a trunk or an enclosed truck box to contain your survival kit.  Behind the 3rd row is a storage area for my wife’s minivan, where her car survival kit is stored.  My survival kit is in the trunk of my sedan.   And the trunk is filled.

With any vehicle, the first aspect of survival preparations is good and regular maintenance.  Any slack in maintenance is going to show up in during an emergency event.   If vehicle battery is older that 3 years, it is more likely to fail during the next cold weather event.   Haven’t flushed and filled the radiator in the past 2 years, the next heat wave may sideline may result in overheating.  During severe rain or ice storm, bald tires may result in totaling your car.   The best and most important element of disaster preparation while driving is having a well maintained vehicle.  So follow the recommended maintenance schedules as dictated by the vehicle manufacturer.

A place commonly neglected is tires.   When ice storms come through the Southeast US, those vehicle involved in accidents commonly have old, nearly bald tires.   Another component of vehicles that get neglected is belts.  Failure of engine belts is a common cause of being stranded and calling for a tow truck.   Change all the various fluids in your vehicle as the manufacturer recommends.  In maintaining your vehicle, you will have confidence that it will be available during an emergency situation.  With good maintenance practices, not only will you more likely glide through an emergency event, your vehicle will likely last longer also.  Being a sold prepper is about being frugal as well.   Playing for regular maintenance is cheaper than a new car payment.

Communications

If you become stranded or in an accident, the first option for survival is calling for help.  There are several layers of redundancy that I have for travel communications, including:

  • Have a charger in your vehicle for your mobile phones.  While you drive, keep your phone on the charger.  Thus in the event of a break down or being stranded, your mobile phone is fully charged.
  • I carry a spare battery or portable recharger battery when I travel.  My portable battery can recharge my mobile phone twice.   If you are unable to connect your phone to its network provider, turn off the phone for the periods between trying call.  When a phone is unable to connect to the network, it will quickly drain its battery.   When in an emergency situation, call for help first.  Then call your family or friends.  Be brief.  No long chatty talks.  You need to save the precious charge level on your battery.   Quickly say, “Hello.  It is .  I am stranded by the roadside.  My location is xxxx.   Help is on the way .   I’m okay .   I’ll call you again as the situation changes.  I need to save my phone battery.  Good bye.”
  • As a back up, there is a CB radio in the trunk of my vehicle.  Every year, it gets tested.  Keep a lingo card taped to the CB radio box.   Reference: CB Radio Slang and Trucker Slang and How to Talk on a CB Radio and CB Radio Codes
  • Also in the trunk of my vehicle, carry a portable crank AM/FM radio with Weather Band and World Bands.  With a crank radio, you may create your own power source and not rely on disposable batteries.  Even if I can not communicate, at least I can receive news and weather alerts via the radio.  This radio gets tested every year to ensure it is working.  Any crank radio has a rechargeable battery within.  And with time, all rechargeable batteries go bad.  Thus is must be tested every year.
  • Have a red triangle or red bandana to attach to your vehicle as notification that you have an emergency event.
  • A set of walkie-talkie’s in case you need to walk away from your vehicle and a family members is planning to remain with the vehicle (more often than not, my wife and I take the walkie-talkies into amusement parks or festivals for when we are separated)
  • Several Flashlights of various sized for signaling.  You can’t beat the new LED flashlights, which draw less power and last much longer than traditional light bulb flashlights.
  • Spare batteries for all flashlights and radios (replace the batteries every year)
  • I don’t have a handheld ham radio or marine radio, but I’m on the lookout for an inexpensive used portable ham radio (if you live near the coast, I do recommend keeping a VHF Marine handheld radio in your vehicle).
  • Keep paper roadmaps in the vehicle.  A detailed map for my local county.  And state maps for the entire region.  If power goes out, GPS is down, batteries are dead — always have a paper backup.
  • Each of our vehicle has a build in GPS system, which is invaluable with lost or took a wrong turn.
  • In my vehicle, I have a portable GPS device.  If I need to rent al car after flying, I’ll take this portable GPS rather than renting a device.  If I need to walk away from the vehicle, the portable GPS can provide me with directions.
  • For last-ditch location finding, have a small compass stored in the kits.

Food and Water

Always have food and water with your vehicle.  You never know when you’ll be delayed from a meal.  My children seem to be hungry whenever they are 5 minutes into any vehicle trip. Something about being in a vehicle that triggers munchies in my children.  For me, it is movies that gives me munching.

  • My family has a sizable snack pack in the form of a large zip lock bag in each vehicle.  It holds crackers, nuts, chips, fruit bars, cereal bars, hard candies, pretzels, and other munchies.  We can make two whole meals for each family member just from the snack bag.
  • In both vehicles, several MRE’s are stored in the survival kit.  These are last resort foods, if stranded.  These are trashed and replaced at the end of each Summer, as the Summer heat kills the shelf life of MREs.
  • Two gallons of water are stored in the trunk.  This water is primarily to fill a radiator or windshield washer fluids.  But it is also available for drinking, if stranded.
  • Have a portable water filter.  My portable water filter is the Berkey Sports Bottles.  This portable water filter will create 50 gallons of drinkable water from open water sources.
  • In the passenger area of both vehicles, there are two quart-sized water bottles for each family member – 8 bottles total.  If drank during a trip, these are replaced immediately upon returning home.  During the height of summer, often we’ll take an additional cooler with juice or cold water.
  • My every-day-carry kit (a sizable fanny pack), there are some additional hard candies and cracker packages.  This kit goes everywhere I go, including family drives.
  • There are camping forks, spoons, and knives for each family member in the kit.
  • There are garbage bags in the kit to collect garbage and protect items from moisture.
  • Essentially, there is enough food in the car for 3 or 4 full days.
  • In each vehicle, there is a small portable fishing kit.
  • If the trips is expected to go three hours or longer, such as a day trip of hiking or to an amusement park, then we’ll also pack a cooler with sandwiches, fruit, cheeses, chips, juice, and more.   Any day trip should be accompanied by a cooler of food.

Tools

Every vehicle should have a tool kit.   The tool kit is not just to help me, if stranded.  But more often, I’m helping other stranded people.

  • Tire changing iron
  • Tire jack
  • Various screw drivers
  • Several hand wrenches
  • Battery jumper cables
  • 50 feet of nylon rope
  • Superglue
  • Duct tape for fast, temporary hose repairs
  • Fix-a-flat cans for fast, temporary tire repairs
  • Tire pressure measuring device
  • A manual tire pump to inflate a low tire
  • Regular hammer and rubber mallet (rubber mallet is to pound out dent that my press against a tire after an accident)
  • Crowbar – I carry a crowbar in my vehicle to pry open jammed doors or trunks after an accident.
  • Tape measure – countless reasons to measure something while traveling.  Usually my wife wants to measure furniture dimensions.
  • Spare fuses – for quick replacements
  • Metal wire – used to temporarily tie up loose parts, such as a dropped exhaust system or damage muffler
  • Quart of oil – whatever specific grade is relevant to the vehicle, in case of an oil leak
  • Gallon of premixed radiator fluid – in case the radiator over heats.
  • An empty 1 gallon fuel can.  This can be walked to a gas station.  NEVER carry a filled fuel can.  In the event of a car accident, the fuel can is likely to rupture and cause a horrific fire.
  • More stuff which escapes me a the moment

Self-defense and safety

Always have a means to defend yourself from attackers or robbers.

  • Keep a can of bear pepper spray on the little shelf on the driver’s door.  This large can of pepper spray can chase away several attackers.  And is useful for wild animals or stray feral dogs.
  • A small container of pepper spray (1/4 ounce) on each key chain.
  • Concealed carry pistol – depending on my situation, I’m always carrying either a .380 ACP pocket gun or a 9mm carry pistol.  And always have two spare magazines with me.  For long trips, I’ll take a complete pistol kit, which contains cleaning tools and fluids, extra magazines, and several hundred rounds of spare ammo.  The kit is locked with a pad lock to prevent children, hotel maids, and bad people for quick access.
  • For extended trips, I’ll also carry a shotgun in the trunk.  I have a 20 gauge Mossberg shotgun as a trunk gun.  The smaller 20 gauge is manageable by my petite wife.  A 12 gauge is too much gun for my wife.  With my shotgun, also carry several boxes of shotgun ammo, including slugs, bird shot, and buckshot.  Usually two boxes of each.  The shotgun itself is carried loaded the first shell of birdshot, and then 4 shells of buckshot.  The first round of birdshot is primarily to chasing away wild animals.  There are coyotes and rapid foxes running around my area.   Birdshot is a good warning to bad people and causes a bad day at short-range.  The buckshot is for those unable to heed the warning.
  • If I was travel after a SHTF, WROL or TEOTWAWKI event, I’d also be carrying a full carbine kit – either an AK-47 or AR-15 with as many spare magazines that I had at hand.  Plus, I’d be traveling with vest carrier and plates.  I pray to god that this is never needed.  But I’m ready to defend my family in this ultimate extreme situation.
  • My wife’s SHTF weapon is a Hi Point carbine in 9mm.   It is an easy to shoot, low recoil pistol cartridge rifle.  My petite wife cannot handle an AR-15.   The Hi-Point is very effect, very accurate out to 75 years.  I’m able to produce 2 inch groups at 50 years.     The 9mm round out of the Hi Point rifle gains 100 FPS and is very capable for self-defense at short-range.   The added benefit is sharing ammunition between my primary carry pistol and with this Hi Point Rifle.  This rifle also doubles for hunting small game, as some might use a .22 LR rifle.  In a WROL situation, this rifle will be used to take down squirrels, ducks, and other small game.
  • On my person while driving, have a sizable pocket knife.  The blade is 4 inches long and kept very sharp.  This blade also serves as a rescue knife, if I need to cut myself or someone else out of a vehicle safety belt.  And serves for close range self-defense.
  • On our vehicle key chains, there are a small 1/2 ounce vial of pepper spray.
  • In my vehicle’s trunk, there is an 18 inch machete.  This is used primarily for survival purposes, in case I need to set up a camp site.  It also doubles as a defense weapon in a worst case scenario.
  • Have a fire extinguisher rated at B/C for fuel and electrical files.  Often I come upon vehicle fires, so my fire extinguishers is more likely to be used to help rescue others.
  • The crowbar and tire irons may double as defensive weapons.
  • Have a very robust first aid kit for each vehicle, including blood stopper bandages, Israeli bandages, and just about every type of over the counter medicine.

Shelter and Comfort

Be always ready to set up a temporary shelter.   And always be ready to shelter within the vehicle, in case you are ever stranded.   The follow are several items that are carried in either mine or my wife’s vehicle.

  • A wool blanket for each family member – Provides ground cover and bedding in the summer.  Provides heat retention in the winter.   The wool blankets are stored in very large zip lock bag to protect against dirty and moisture.   The blankets are washed twice of year, when not being used.  If used on a trip, they are washed on a weekly basis.
  • Two large tarps.  Have two 12 foot by 12 foot thick plastic tarps.  With these tarps, can improvise a rain shelter with ground cover.  Often the tarps come out during picnics or sporting events to provide ground cover.  Have 50 feet of paracord and 50 feet of nylon rope to hang up the tarp.   And have cheap tent stakes to affix the tarp to the ground.  My children’s soccer team can be found sitting on one of the tarps during Saturday games.
  • If we are taking a long journey, often we take a sleeping bag for every family member.  We have sleeping bags rated to 20 degrees for all family members.  These are outdoor quality, not the kiddy sleepover bags that are cheaply sold for children play dates.
  • In my vehicle, carry a small (2 person) four season tent.  And have a sleeping bag rated to 10 degrees.  This is to be used if stranding during a long business trip.
  • Have a box of portable disposable hand warmers.  These packets, once opened and exposed to the air, provide about 5 to 8 hours of warm.  Tuck one or two of these in your sleeping bag, and you will sleep nice and toasty warm, even outside in freeze temperatures (provided you have a well rated outdoor quality sleeping bags).
  • A small portable toddler toilet with various bags that attach underneath. Provides for a more comfortable was to go to the bathroom.
  • Have 4 packs of toddler wipes for cleaning after bathroom event.  And 4 packs of baby wipes for cleaning other body parts.   As my children are making messes in their travels and activities, the baby wipes are keeping us all clean.   I’m a messy eater, so I’m using the baby wipes as well.
  • Have several ways to build a fire.  Have matches and lighters of various sorts. Have a magnesium wand for creating sparks.  Have a can of sterno in each vehicle for starting fires and cooking.  Have several candles.  Lots of miscellaneous paper in the vehicle for starting fires.
  • Two folding camp chairs in shoulder carry bags.  These camp chairs are commonly used at sporting and other outdoors events.
  • If we are stranded, we would be able to set up a camp sit, pitch a tent, start a fire, and live in relative comfort for several days.

For all those folks that were stranded and had to walk away from their vehicles during the recent snow storms, they would have had a more comfortable and less stressful situation, had they a vehicle survival kit.  My kit is just an example.   You would do well to customize your vehicle kit to your local conditions.   Welcome your comments and suggestions.

May all your travels be fun and safe.

Posted in General, Safety (Medical, Sanitation, Security, Weapons), Shelter (Home, Heating, Cooling), Skills (Mental, Physical, Spiritual), Stuff (Gear and Tools), Sustenance (Food and Water) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Levels of OpSec (Operational Security) Redundancy

With your continuing and evolving goals of becoming self-reliant and building resiliency in your own life, you need to protect the skills, supplies, and capabilities that you have gained.   Operational Security, or commonly abbreviated as “OpSec”, is an essential capability to protect your family.

 

Five Levels of OpSec Redundancy

Level 1 – Be Law Abiding

The first aspect of OpSec is simply to be a good, law-abiding citizen.  Obvious?  Not to some survival preppers.   Whatever your political, cultural, or religious views, there is always some reason to be angry or concern about government.   As the current state of the governments in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom, you can be a law-abiding citizen and yet prepare for disasters, emergencies, and political upheavals.   Although there have been recent loses of freedom in these countries, there is no justifiable cause at this point to rise up against the government.  The democratic processes still work in these countries, not well, but work.  The bigger political problems in these countries are people are voting themselves money in the form of government benefits provided from borrowed money.  Shamefully these countries are borrowing from their yet unborn grandchildren to pay current benefits.   As a result, I believe that a Great Depression is coming in the next 5 to 10 years as all the bills come due for the vast borrowed money.   This is a major reason that I’m a survival prepper — getting ready for a potential economic collapse.  While I’m very displeased about the progressive/liberal/socialist take over of the government, I am still able to prepare my family for hard economic times ahead.   If and when our government evolves to tyranny, then I’ll consider more drastic course of action.  But tyranny is not the current state.  And I pray every day for freedom and a strong economy.

The key message with this level of redundancy is — don’t poke the beast.  Don’t wake up the beast.  Stay away from the beast.  The beast being the strong-arm of law enforcement.  Ranting and raving that an armed insurrection is needed is just plain stupid, even if it were necessary in some unfortunate future.  Or advocating that you don’t follow any laws is just poking at the beast.   I am a strong advocate of the rule of law and community policing.  Community policing is what puts the civil into civilization.   Supporting your local police should always be a community priority.  In saying that, no one should tolerate the few police who abuse their positions.    The best way to lose OpSec, lose freedom, and lose all your survival goals is to break the law.  If you are ever arrested, you lose all of your OpSec.   Even if you are found not guilty, you have brought a level of scrutiny and loss of privacy to you and your family that is never regained.

The 2nd Amendment debate continues to rage in the United States.   There are some locations of the United States where the 2nd Amendment is not respected and not defended by politicians.   Yet, you can still have defensive firearms.    So stay within your local laws.  Even though several of your Bill of Right protections ARE being violated by local, state, or federal governments, stay within the law.   Know what firearms are permissible in your location.  You may not be able to own an AK-47 or AR-15, but likely you are permitted to own a pump shotgun.   Or a bolt action hunting rifle.   If laws constrain your right to own a firearm in your location, have a friend or family member in a neighboring state hold ownership, in their name, of firearms you might need to access in the future.

Whenever you see your rights are being constrained by governments, most often there are legal workaround’s.   If my take you 9 months to obtain a Concealed Carry License.  So start the process now.

With all of your personal and business activities, live an upright and honest life.  Short cuts and cheating may produce short-term gains.  But in the long run, cheating and law breaking break on of the survival preppers main rules of preserving your freedom.   A prepper is willing to work hard and longer to build honest relationships.   Please refer to my past article:  The Survival Prepper Ten Commandments

Level 2 – Keep Your Mouth Shut

The most basic aspect of OpSec is not talking.   Since only 1% or 2% of people are preppers, the greatest risk you have is non-preppers.   A true survival prepper will not steal or commit violence.   So with all of your prepping activities, keep your mouth shut.  Don’t discuss your survival prepping activities and supplies with friends, family, and neighbors.  Don’t talk about it.  The only folks that should know about your prepper activities is your spouse or life partner.   And your dedicated survival group is obviously aware of your capabilities.   If you form or join a dedicated survival prepper group, you need to do so cautiously and carefully over time.  Only time and action can validate the character and honest of friends and survival group members.

Why not discuss with anyone?  In the event of an emergency or disaster, do you want your entire neighborhood knocking on your door?   Your first duty is to your own family, just as everyone should first take care of their own family.   Only after you know that your family is well provided, now and well into the future, only then can you provide charity to others.   If you provide charity, do so anonymously.   If it is well-known in the community that you have stored food, water, guns, ammo, gold coins, or silver coins, you will be a magnet for bad people.   Many known preppers have had their homes burglarized.   After a disaster, a mob can approach your home demanding food, water, whatever.  If you ever find yourself confronting a mob, likely you lose.  Thus, don’t give your neighborhood reason to be demanding of scare resources from your family after a disaster.

My neighbors, friends, and family have no knowledge that I’m a survival prepper.  I like it like that.  That puts me in control of my own situation.   I can help other people, if and only if my family is safe, sound, and well feed.

One aspect that you may be surprised about is even my children are unaware of my being a survival prepper.   I have young children.  Children do not have the discretion to know when and when not to talk about specific subjects.   While my children know that I’m armed with firearms, that is because I teach them to identify and stay away from firearms.   I keep my firearms in only two places.  First, is on my very body in a concealed format.  Second, all my other firearms are locked under key to prevent access.   About two years ago, OpSec was broken when my daughter told one of her friends that “daddy stores rice under my bed.”   I just any available space to store survival supplies.  Under my daughter’s bed were #5 sized cans of long-term storable white rice.   White rice can be stored for 1o years (or more) in cool, dry, well-sealed conditions.   Under a bed is ideal for storing food, garden seeds, and medicines.  I had to teach my children to not talk about their daddy’s guns or prepper supplies.   Loose lips sink ships.  Loose lips causes preppers to lose their guns, food, and other goods.

Guns are tools.  All tools can be dangerous.   If used correctly and under the right rules, guns are not risky.   To all that say that you are more at risk by owning a firearm, or say you are more likely to be harmed by your own firearms, perhaps statistically that is correct.  But since I am trained, careful, and follow safe firearms rules, I feel very comfortable and feel safer having firearms than not.   Please refer to the following information about safe handling of firearms.

When you own firearms, you don’t want people to know about it.   I highly recommend that law-abiding citizens gain their concealed carry permit, where allowable.   I want potential criminals to be surprised that I am legally carrying a firearm.   I am a strong advocate of women getting firearms training and having a legal carry firearm.   Firearms are the great equalizer.  The average man can easily out power the average woman.  A woman with a gun can prevent rape, robbery, and violence.  And unarmed woman rarely can defend herself from an aggressive man.  A meth addict or mentally ill person may not be distracted by a full blast of pepper spray.   A 120 pound woman with martial art skills may not be able to defend herself from a 200 pound man.   But if a criminal knows you are carrying a gun, they will approach you with more sudden violence and not have an opportunity to defend yourself.   And how do most criminals obtain firearms?  The answer is stealing or purchasing from another criminal.

I am a strong advocate of teaching your children about the risks of the world.  Firearms, alcohol, drugs, sex and other risky endeavors can either be taught at home or learned on the street.   Learning on the street does not instill the values you hold.   You cannot hide the reality of the world from your children.  You cannot gun-proof your home, but you can gun-proof your children by teaching them to identify and run away from guns.  You never know when your child might find guns, drugs, or porno in their travels or visits to friends homes.   I like to have a glass of wine with my dinner.  And I teach my children through responsible behaviors and through teaching how to responsibly drink alcohol.  I tell my children that I will teach them how to drink alcohol when the right time comes.   And I teach my children to identify guns and bullets.   And I teach my children to not talk about home security and their daddy’s supplies.   Equally, get your spouse, life partner, or roommates on board with not discussing your capabilities and supplies.  This is hard for women, I know.  I need to continually remind my wife to not discuss my capabilities and supplies with her girlfriends.   A casual comment can be passed along until it reaches a bad person’s ears.

In this day and age were social progressives, liberals, and socialist are pushing a No Gun agenda, if your neighbors know that you own and carry firearms, they are more likely to call the cops or otherwise inform on you.  Or they may cut your out of the neighborhood social circles.  Or not let your children have play dates.   As a responsible, law-abiding gun owner, no one needs to know your capabilities.

Level 3 – Minimize Social Media

A quick and easy way to lose your operational security is to have a highly visible presence in social media.   If you are posting and discussing your prepper activities on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and other alternative media forums, you surrender a level of privacy.   This blog is anonymous for a good reason.  The reason is protecting my family.   I don’t want people find our where I live.   Now could the NSA uncover my identity?  Absolutely yes, within 5 minutes.  And I’m okay with that.   I’m law-abiding.  I love my country.   I love my family and care for my neighbors.  I am boring, ordinary, and unpretentious.  Thus I am a risk to no one, except to criminals that might do my family harm.   But for the average person, you have no way of knowing my name, where I live, and causing harm to my family.   My blog is a forum to share and education others.  And while blogging, I don’t want to open my family to security risks.   As well, you should protect your family.

Social media has other risks as well.  If you post on Facebook that you are taking a vacation, you open your home to potential burglaries.  If your children’s names can be obtained from some social media site, perhaps a predator can call to your children in some public space.   Identify thieves can derive a lot of information from your social media postings.     I have a Facebook account, but it exists to hide in plain sight.  I don’t use Facebook to manage my friendships and relationships.   My friendships and relationships are maintained through voice and presence.   No true relationship can exist solely within social media.

Level 4 – Hide in Plain Sight

Hiding in plain sight is the concept of blending into the crowd.   You look ordinary and nondescript.  You don’t stand out.  You don’t look exceptional.  There is no reason to give you a second look.   Why is this important?   Maintaining OpSec is about maintain your privacy and security.  If you stand out in any way, look exceptional, appear special, then various bad people will look at your more closely.

The first element of hiding in plain sight is your home.  You don’t want your home to stand out and gather interest of bad people.  This is established by your home looking average to your neighborhood.   If you home looks either poorer or richer than the rest of the neighborhood, then bad people will look at your home as a target.   A poor home appears weak and indefensible.  A rich looking home (richer than your neighbors) looks like a good target for thieves, kidnappers, and other bad people.   Equally, if your home appears as a defensive castle, that gathers interest as well.   By having your home appear ordinary and average, that gives you the element of surprise to bad people.

That said, you should take action to make your home more defensible.  Sliding glass doors are horribly indefensible.  Your doors should be solid, not hollow.  And well anchored into the frame.   Metal doors are preferable.  Dead bolt locks and door stopper locks help secure the doors.   Windows should always be locked.  Even when you are home, doors should be locked.  Have an alarm system and having it turned on, even when at home.   Have thorny bushes underneath windows.   Having safe room for your family to retreat, in the event of a home invasion, is a good capability.   And have your firearms ready to respond to a threat.   If you live in a crime ridden neighborhood, don’t suffer that — MOVE!   Live among only nice people who well care for their homes and their neighborhood.  Take part in a community watch program.  And support your local police by reporting crime and being a witness to crimes.   Bad people rise up, when good people cower.

Another aspect of hiding in plain sight is how your dress.  Don’t wear a lot of fancy jewelry or expensive watches.   Wearing a $10,000 Rolex watch is a homing beacon to bad people.  You want to dress in clothing that understates your wealth.   Dress as a rich person attracts attention.  Also, neutral colors in your clothing helps your blend into the crowd.

In your survival prepper acquisition of supplies, USE CASH.   Your activities are easily tracked by use of credit cards, gift cards, and debit cards.  When buying firearms, ammunition, long-term storable food, use cash.  Your life history is open for detection in the future from all your past credit card, debit card purchases.   eBay and PayPal also expose your purchases to some future rogue entity.   If new laws are suddenly enacted the prohibit formerly legal purchases, you have no way to maintaining your secrecy.  If a new gun law was suddenly passed and thus outlawing a legally purchases firearm, I would move those firearms to another state or ask a distant friend or family member to store the firearm.   But if the government is aware your firearm purchases, new laws can put your into a difficult situation.  Don’t think this can happen?  Well it does.  People in New York City are being demanded to surrender their firearms in January 2014.   NYC alarms with notice: ‘Immediately surrender your rifle’  It has already occurred in Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia.  And it can happen in other places.   While I preach being a law-abiding citizen, I’d like the option to meet the requirements of new laws on my terms.  You cannot expect advanced notice of law changes in the future.

Level 5 – Have Contingency Plans

To maintain OpSec and overall personal security, it is wise to have several contingency plans.

I’ll suggest that you form certain code words with your family to establish a means to identify risks.   For example, your spouse can have the code phrase, “All is well here.”  But the only time your spouse would ever use such a phrase would be to identify that an intruder is in the home.   You can develop a set of coded phrases that lets your family know how to communicate or react to an emergency.   Of your various survival retreats or rallying locations, you can have a code phrase for each.   “I’ll see you at the Chinese restaurant” could mean “go to your mom’s house immediately and stay there until contacted.”   A number of code words can help your children communicate that they feel threatened.    The phrase, “I tired today” could mean, “I’m scared, come get me now.”

A primary contingency plan is having several bug out locations.  You should have a rallying location very close to your home and in your neighborhood.  The rallying places are a location where your family should meet, if some emergency befell your home.   I recommend that every family have 3 predestined bug-out retreat locations.   The bug-out locations can be a vacation home, mountain cabin, hunting lodge, a well-known camp ground, family member’s home, friends home, or a distant hotel.   Have paper maps to all three bug out locations with several alternative travel routes to all 3 locations.   Even of the rally point and bug-out locations should have a code word.  A code word for each location can be communicate via phone, text message, email, walkie-talkie, etc.

Contingency plans also come in the form of insurance.  I always advocate that you obtain whatever insurance pertains to your risks.   Have children under the age of 18, carry debts, or don’t have enough retirement assets for your spouse, then you should have life insurance.   Live near the beach or flood plain, then you should have special flood insurance.  Have replacement options for homeowners or renters insurance.  Have your vehicle

A contingency plan should be made with regard to your computer passwords and credit history.  Recommend periodically checking your credit history to monitor for identity theft.   And educate your family about composing of passwords which are difficult to crack.   Don’t use personal information to compose a password.   Use numbers and symbols to create computer passwords when ever possible.  Don’t use your kids names or pet names to create passwords.  No birthdate, addresses, social security numbers, and phone numbers in passwords.  A password should never be composed of personal identifying information.   And change your password every 3 month, if not more frequent.

  • A good password: Fox5566#Trot7788#
  • A weak password: Joe01011970 where is the person’s name with their birthdate.

Here are some links to how to establish strong passwords:

An important plan for information security and OpSec, never mix business and personal in your communications.  Keep your business activities in business accounts.  All personal activity in personal accounts.   Your employer has the right to see all activity in business accounts, business emails, and business provided communication devices.   If your company provides you with a mobile phone, also maintain a personally owned mobile phone.

Recognize that all your internet accounts can be accessed by government or legal entities.  The current situation with the NSA is they are legally permitted (for now) to collect third-party records.   Your phone calls, text message, internet purchases, credit card purchases, banking activity, and emails can all be captured by the NSA.   If you ever are involved in a legal situation, criminal or civil, all these same data sources can be subpoenaed and exposed to courts and lawyers.   So don’t use any of these forms to conduct activities that you want to keep private.

In Closing

If you cannot defend it, do you really own it?   An important concept in survival prepping is defending your family, your home, and your hard-earned personal materials.   OpSec is a concept useful to protecting and defending your family and your stuff.   Redundancy is about having layers of defenses.  If one layer fails, other layers can catch the risk item.

Disclaimer

This article is targeted towards law-abiding people.  It is presented for entertainment and educational discussion purposes only.   With regard to legal, criminal, financial, or medical topics, always consulting a licensed professional.  Do not take this article or any other information on my blog as recommendations to take any actions.  Gather all your own information from multiple sources.  Education yourself.  And make decisions that best fit your own personal needs.

Posted in General, Safety (Medical, Sanitation, Security, Weapons) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Levels of Communication Redundancy

Next in my series of five levels of redundancy is communication and the information that can be gained from communication.  In order to avoid disasters or brace for impact of an anticipated disaster, you need to be aware of oncoming events.   After a disaster has occurred, then getting information about the extent and magnitude of the disaster will guide your decisions.   Communication is an area you can on improvise.  Often you can improvise survival necessities of shelter, heat, food and water, if you have sufficient skills.   But communication cannot be improvised.  Either you are ready or not.

 

Five Levels of Communication Redundancy

Level 1 – Primary Media

Your first source of communication and information is primary media.  This includes newspapers, television, and radio.  This also includes the National Emergency Alert system in the United States, which utilizes this media sources to broadcast news and alerts about pending and actual emergencies.

One thing I recommended if you live in an area prone to weather emergencies, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, is a Digital Weather Radio.  Weather radios will set off a loud alarm when a weather warning is declared.   This will give you peace of mind to sleep in comfort, when the prospect of bad weather is on the horizon.  An example is: Midland Consumer Radio WR-120B NOAA Weather Alert All Hazard Public Alert Certified Radio with SAME, Trilingual Display and Alarm Clock

Level 2 – Telephones

Nearly everyone has a mobile phone, as well you should.  I recommend that you always carry a spare battery for your mobile phone, if the phone permits battery replacement.  If your mobile phone does not permit battery replacement, then carry around a portable battery recharger.  One of the reasons I dislike Apple products is their closed-product, proprietary nature.  Apple has great products, just don’t like the company.  It is a personal choice.  If you love your Apple, that’s great.   I recently upgraded my Droid phone.  I was pissed off to find it does allow battery changes.  So I purchased a portable battery recharger, the Motorola Portable Emergency Power Pack.   This power pack will recharge my phone 1.5 times.  Thus it fulfills my requirement for spare phone batteries.   Whatever phone you have, carry either spare batteries or a portable recharger.

In the event of an emergency mobile phone networks become flooded.  I was working in New York City when an earthquake struck Virginia.  The high-rise office building shook twice with two dramatic jolts.  People from across New York City flooded out of their office buildings and everyone was on their cell phones making calls to loved ones.   But no one was making a phone connection, due to the mobile networks being overwhelmed.   This was to be expected.  It so happened that day my phone nearly out of charge and I had forgotten my spare batteries.  Thus I was unable to contact my wife for 4 hours.  I vowed never again.     If you are unable to connect to a mobile network, shutoff your phone for a while.   When a mobile phone is unable to connect to a network, it makes increasing use of the battery trying to connect to more distant mobile phone towers.  You’ll find during a real emergency, your phone battery drains more quick.  During an emergency, you need to nurse your battery usage.  Make quick calls to get a status update and relay your plans of action.   Then turn off the phone for a while.  Schedule a checkpoint with your family at a specific time, rather than leave your phone on continually.

Many phone services have the ability to provide emergency alerts.  Sign up.  Here is some additional information about emergency alerts sent to phones:

It is a trend to discontinue landline phones.  I believe this to be a mistake.  Landline phones are among the most resilient communication methods.  When power is out, often landlines will continue working.   I’d recommend that you keep your landline at home.  Many county and state emergency services will now send robo-calls to home lines to notify of weather emergencies, local disasters, and Amber alerts.

Level 3 – Internet

The Internet is a powerful communication capability.  Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Text Messages (SMS) and Email, these are common communication methods for people of all ages.  The vulnerability is the Internet is depended upon grid power.  In an emergency or disaster situations, you can expect grid power to be interrupted and Internet providers will not be active.  Using the Internet through your mobile phone has the same vulnerabilities.

Personally, I’m not a fan of Facebook.  I have a Facebook account merely to “hide in plain sight.”   But I rarely use it for communication.   I am very displeased that Facebook, Google, and other major Internet services SELLs your personal information.   While I’m a law-abiding person in every way, I still don’t want my personal information to be known to some future rogue government (god forbid that ever occurs in the United States).

In an emergency or disaster event, I’m a big fan of Text Messages.  Text Messages route through the phone network, rather that Email which routes route the Internet.   Test Messages provide a quick way to exchanges news, status, and plans with loved ones.

Newer phones allow for GPS tracking of your children.  I like this feature.  My children are too young to have cell phones.  I’ll probably give them mobile phones when the arrive at 11 years old.  I’m unsure about this.  I have a couple more years to make up my mind.

Level 4 – Point-to-Point Electronic Communications

This category pertains to various communication methods that enable point-to-point voice and data traffic between two parties.   This includes:

    • Walkie talkies - Very effective for short-range communication.
    • CB Radio - Been used by truck drivers since the 1970′s.  And still effective today for local communication.
    • Marine VHF radio - Intended for over-water communication, but can be effective for relatively secure local communication
    • HAM radio - excellent for global communication, requires licensing
    • MURS radio - Very good for short-range communication and local security monitoring of a homestead

Every bug out kit should have walkie talkies.   I recommend standardizing your family and survival group on the same type of walkie-talkie.  I have a strong preference for walkie talkies that utilize common AA or AAA batteries.   Include in your bug out kit the means to recharge batteries, including a hand crank recharger and a solar recharger.   Always go for walkie talkies that have longer distances.  The 2 mile walkie talkies are nearly worthless.  Expect the walkie talkies to have 1/2 or 1/3 of the useful distance as stated on the packaging.

Each of my vehicles has a CB radio.  This is a back up to our mobile phones.  I prefer the battery-powered CB radios, in case I need to leave my vehicle.    A base station CB radio is an effective means to communicate locally in an emergency situation.

If you live near the water, a VHF Marine radio is a valuable communication device.   Although you should not utilize a Marine radio for land communications, it can be a useful device in an emergency situation.

The ultimate point to point communication is a HAM amateur radio.  HAM radio requires a license.  If the proper gear, you can communicate around the world with a HAM radio.

Level 5 – Face Time

You just can beat face to face communication with people.  The art of body language is being lost.  The most secure type of communication is simply talking.   Before an emergency or disaster occurs, put done all the electronics and go make friends with your neighbors.  Your neighbors can be your first like of defense in many situations.

Building relationships is an important part of survival prepping.  The first and most important relationship is with your spouse or life partner.   The fastest path towards poverty and loneliness is divorce.  So invest the time and attention to make your marriage work.  But at the same time, tolerate no abuse.  If your partner is abusive, then move on with life without doubt or delay.  Either people are good or bad.  Abusers are often sorry, but rarely stop.   Life is too short to tolerate abuse for any reason.  Also, addictions and cheating should be given one forgiveness.  Two strikes, you are out — that’s my rule.  An addict will drag the whole world down with them into destruction.  An addict will spend every last penny, and then steal some more.  Demand that the addicts in your life go on recover, or kick them to the curb before they destroy your life as well.    There are too many good people in the world to have to suffer with bad people, even if you have a history with them.

Don’t neglect your friendships.  As men get older, they have a tendency to neglect their man friendships.  This is a mistake.   New and old friendships are cultivated continually.

The richness of life is predominately about the quality of your relationships.  For life happiness and survival prepping, no one can go it alone.

Survival is about team work.   Have a dedicated survival group is an effective means towards   A survival group can only be created and trust built with face time — working together, training together, living together, fighting occasionally and loving each other the majority of the time.   A survival group is really just an extended family.   So you need to trust your survival group just has you trust your family.

In Closing

Communication is a topic area of survival prepping where you should learn before you spend.   Take the time to learn about the equipment, protocols, licensing requirements, and the best devices.   A key aspect of survival and prepping is knowing what bad things are coming your way.  And after a disaster, you need to know how to react and when to bug out.

May all your communication be pleasant and friendly.

Posted in General, Skills (Mental, Physical, Spiritual), Stuff (Gear and Tools) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Levels of Food Redundancy

This continues my series on five levels of redundancy.   The basis of survival are food and water, shelter, safety (self-defense), medical, and communication.  Water and shelter are the top priorities.   Thereafter is food.   We are blessed in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain with abundant and inexpensive food sources.  We spent less of a percent of income on food compared to the rest of the world.   US and Canadian farmers are the most productive, most technology savvy, and best equipped in the world.

There several risks related to food.   The most immediate risk is the long supply chain.  Food is produced on an industry scale with large corporate farms, middleman processors, distribution warehouses, and then the grocery store.  In days past, grocery stores kept extra goods in the back of the store.  These days, grocery stores only have a breakdown area in the back to unpack the food arriving on trucks.  Most volumes of food is stored far back in the supply chain.    When there is a disruption in the supply chain, grocery stores are empty within hours.  In emergency, if you go to the grocery store late, then you go hungry.

There are several long-term risks related to food production.   Long-term risks include:

  • The decreasing amount of farm land due to residential encroachment.
  • Soils are being depleted of nutrients from the repeated use of artificial fertilizers and lack of multi-year crop rotation.
  • Soils are also being depleted of nutrients due to erosion.
  • The average age of farmers is over 50 years old, and there are not enough younger farmers filling the people pipeline.
  • Mono-crop production and GMO seeds are limiting the diversity of available foods.  A single farmer typically only produces only one or two types of crops, which require further processing.  Thus a farmer is just as dependent upon a grocery store as you are.
  • Fresh water resources around the world are lessening, which I believe will be the cause of the greatest disasters in the next 50 years.   Many regions of the world depend on water run off from snow-capped mountains and glaciers, which are in rapid retreat.   There are serious droughts in Eastern Europe, Midwest USA, and China.
  • The population of the world continues to grow unabated, which will eventually put stress on the world’s ability to feed itself.  Canada and USA will never go hungry, due to vast farmland resources.  But a growing world population will result in food becoming more expensive in Canada and USA, since food importers will be willing to spend more money on food.

All these risks are increasing, accumulating and already presenting themselves.  The Arab Spring uprising in 2012 originated as riots due to increase food costs.   Food inflation in the USA is underreported.   Every week in groceries stores, you can find the cost of food increasing or the packaging shrinking with the same price.  By 2050, your children and grandchildren will be living in an age of expensive or absence food supplies.  The day and age to prepare is here and now.

Five Levels of Food Redundancy

Level 1 – Short-term Food Pantry

I divide up my home’s food pantry into two parts.  A short-term and long-term food pantry.  My wife managed the short-term pantry.  I managed the long-term food pantry.  the short-term food pantry is compose of my wife’s week-by-week supplies of food for regular meal creation.   The size of this short-term food pantry is about 3 or 4 months of food.   It consists of frozen food, refrigerated food, canned food, and boxed/dry food.  We emphasize canned food in the short-term pantry, since it does not require electricity for preservation.   Our kitchen pantry is essentially an in-home grocery store, and looks like an aisle in a grocery store.   The store term pantry contains foods which generally have a shelf life of about 2 years.  But some canned foods such as canned tuna, canned salmon, and canned beans have a shelf life of 5 years.   My favorite is the DAK canned hams.  I call these man popsicle or meat popsicle.  I’ll open a DAK canned ham just to create a nice big sandwich.  Also in the short-term pantry is dried pasta, canned vegetables, canned fruit, jellies, jams, baking supplies, breakfast cereal, oatmeal, and many more.  Also the results of my home canning are stored here.   This past October, I canned 20 quart jars of canned apples, which I canned from the applies our family handpicked in the area mountains.   The short-term pantry must be rotated on a monthly basis.  Any food nearing expiration becomes the meal of the week.   I have a rule in my house, eat what is put in front of you.   There is no spoiling our children with easy to make, fun food.   Even if my wife serves beets, which I don’t like, I’ll eat them to preserve this family rule.   Eat what’s on your plate, or go hungry.  No dessert unless you clear your plate.  No exceptions, even for the adults.  Wasting food is wasting money.  This rule is essential to enable rotation of stored food.

Level 2 – Long-term Food Storage

I managed the long-term food pantry.  It consists of food which can store for 10+ years.   In the long-term food pantry are mega-pails and #10 cans of rice, wheat, beans, TVP soy, potato flakes, dehydrated and freeze-dried vegetables, dehydrated and freeze-dried fruits, and more.   Also have some meat in the long-term pantry in the form of Spam, DAK canned hams, and Yoder’s canned meats, which store almost indefinitely in cold dry storage.   The long-term food pantry is rotated every 6 months.

When food comes close to expiration in the long-term pantry, I’ll either move it to the short-term food pantry or donated it to a charity for a tax write off.   I’ll add to the long-term food pantry whenever I see sales.   I include MRE’s in the long-term pantry, although MRE’s have an expiration of 5 years or less.  I keep several cases of MRE’s for just bug-out situations, and not for a primary home food.  MRE’s are bulky and expensive.  Super-pails and #10 cans are much more cost-effective for long-term food storage.

Some of my favorite long-term food vendors are: Augason Farms, Honeyville Grains, and MRE Depot.  These three vendors have excellent quality at reasonable prices.  (I receive no advertising from any vendor.  This is a personal use endorsement.) But there are many other high quality providers of long-term stored foods.  My goal is to have between 1 and 2 years of food stored in the long-term pantry.  This is a hard goal to reach, no doubt.  But since the food stores for 10+ years, adding a little bit more every year soon adds up.  Currently have 1.5 years of food in my long-term pantry.   Why have so much food?  For several reasons, including:

    • A hedge against food inflation
    • A deep reserve against a long-term disaster
    • A buffer from a job loss or long-term illness
    • Feed my friends and family after a major disaster
    • Preparation for an anticipated economic collapse or next great depression
    • Makes me feel content that I have provided for my family

Level 3 – Your Own Food Production

There is not better source of quality food than your own garden.   Gardening is an art and science.  It takes years to get it right in your location.  Expect to fail miserably in the first couple of years starting a garden.  It takes time to enrich your soils, find the right crops that best fit your growing season and soil, and learning the skills needed.  Every different food has its own growing requirements.   Thus the sooner you start, the sooner you start to enjoy the fruits of your own labors.  During the Great Depression of the 1930′s nearly everyone had a garden, if had even the smallest plot of land.   Doing home canning is an essential skill, if you own a garden.  In order to make your garden food last throughout the winter, you’ll need to preserve and store it.  There are many ways to preserve your food, including dehydration, freezing, home canning, and pickling.

Even if you don’t have a plot of land, consider having window boxes or deck planters to raise tomatoes, herbs, small peppers,

Having fruit producing vines, bushes, and trees is a huge blessing.  I grew up with a cherry tree in the backyard.  It was stripped bare by myself and my brothers before my mother could harvest.   It takes many years for fruit trees and vines to mature.  Starting now is like an investment in your future food.

Another means of producing your own food, which every family can do, is seed sprouting.  Please see my past article:  Seed Sprouting As a Primary Survival Food

Another means of providing your own food is to raise small animals.  On a small plot of land, you can raise chickens or rabbits.   Chickens have the benefits of also producing eggs.  Rabbits also produce pelts.   Both chickens and rabbits provide fertilizer for the garden.   If you have a larger space of land, then consider raising turkeys, geese, miniature pigs, or miniature goats.  With even a bigger space of land, consider raising milk cows, cattle for beef, hogs, and sheep.   During the Great Depression of the 1930′s, a family that had a milk cow rarely went hungry.  You cover the milk into butter or cheese.   Milk, butter, and cheese can be bartered for other foods.

A very important part of survival prepper is having garden seeds.  Even if you don’t have a plot of land to run a garden, I recommend every family have a store of garden seeds.   I must have over 100,000 seeds in my personal seed bank.   In my seed back is a variety of seeds for grains, vegetables and fruits.  In the event of a full on economic collapse or great depression, a reserve of garden seeds has many potentials, including:

    • Barter and trade
    • Helping our neighbors become food independence in a long-term food emergency situation
    • Guerrilla gardening (creating little hidden garden plots in many out of sight locations within walking distance of your home)
    • Turning over the front lawn into a garden, once our HOA relieves every one of the local gardening rules during a long-term food crisis
    • Travels with us during a bug-out situation, where we would need to set up a distant homestead

Level 4 – Build Your Own Local Food Supply Chain

Actively visit your local farmers markets. Get to know the local farmers and form a relationship with them.   Attempt to connect with local farms to make direct farm purchases of food.   I am fortunate in my area that there is a robust farmers market and many farmers and ranches surrounding my town.   Many of the farmers in my area have direct purchase programs.   Notably, I can order an entire fall hog or a half/quarter side of beef from local ranchers.  An area beekeeper providers our family with the most delicious flower honey you can imagine – yum!    Farmers markets are a great source of food for home canning.   I like to buy green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and fresh flowers at my small town farmers market.

Another aspect of build your own food supply chain is to partner with other growers or producers.  Say you run beehives.  Then you can trade honey with the neighbor who raises chickens for eggs.   Or you trade your home canning skills to help a convert a neighbor’s garden into storable food.   If you raise rabbits, trade the rabbit meat to the hog farmer and trade the pelts to someone who makes hats, gloves, and coats.  You can build your own local community of trading partners.  But important to recognize in all of this, you must be a producer of some valuable goods or services.   If you are a tradespersons, such as a gunsmith, carpenter, or plumber, trade your services to the local growers and ranchers.  It is important that you build this network of trading partners well ahead of a disaster or economic collapse.  After an economic collapse, the initial trading and bartering for food will only be conducted with trusted partners.   If you have no means to produce any type of food, and have no valuable skill service to barter, then it becomes important to build a reserve of gold and silver coins.   A good stash of gold and silver coins can be bartered for local food production.  But again, make your connections now.   A good place to start is by befriending the farmers who come to the local farmers market.   If you live in a town that does not have a farmers market, then that is a good indication you need to move to a better place.

Another component of building your own food supply chain is hunting, trapping, and fishing.   If you are able to hunt, trap and/or fish, you’ll likely need to exchange your recent catch for other types of food.  Not everyone is able to hunt, trap or fish.  These are skills to be gained over years.   In the next great depression, every knucklehead will be stomping through the forest looking for food, and thus chase away a lot of game.  After the knuckleheads realize that their efforts are in vain, then the real hunters and trappers will return.   If you are a skilled hunter or trapper, you’ll need a big reserve of long-term stored food to carry you through the first couple years of TEOTWAWKI.    Hunters, trappers, and fishermen (and ladies no less) should gear up now.  After an economic collapse or long-term disaster, there will be no guns, ammo, traps, and fishing gear to be bought.   So build up your supplies well ahead of time.  If you do intend to hunt, trap, or fish to provide food, you’ll need to be ready to preserve your catch.  Thus it would be wise to have a smoke house or portable smoker.  And have lots and lots of salt to preserve your catch.   You’ll need to be ready to preserve your catch, without the benefits of refrigeration and electricity.  Having the skills to make jerky to preserve meat will be a valuable skill for every hunter.

Level 5 – Food Scavenging

Food scavenging is a last resort effort to gather food.  If you are in this situation, you’ll be desperate and on the verge of being a full on refugee — a sad situation.  Food scavenging is a skill unto itself.  I recommend that you purchase books or cards about how to identify wild foods in your location.   In most rural and suburban neighborhoods, you can find a full meal by just walking 1000 yards in either direction of your home.  Birds, bird eggs, snakes, frogs, and crayfish can make a good meal.  There are likely dozens of edible wild plants around your home.  Only gather mushrooms if your are truly knowledgeable.  Edible and poisonous mushrooms look very similar.

It is good to know alternative places where food might be stored.   In a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI, you might be scavenging in unlikely places.  Some of which include: vending machines, desks of business people, abandoned homes, abandoned restaurants, abandoned schools, abandoned factories, and abandoned stores.

Or you can rely on FEMA for emergency food.  Not a good long-term strategy.   You’ll go hungry, as FEMA does not store enough food to feed everyone.

If you have prepared yourself with levels 1 through 4, hopefully you can avoid level 5.

In Closing

Obtaining food is a skill and an investment of time.  The one thing you can depend upon is yourself, your family, and your close friends.  Thus building the means to produce your own food is life assurance.   In 2050, there will be a new classification of who is wealth or not.  Those that will eat 3 full meals everyday will be considered wealth.  Those eating two meals per day will be middle class.  And the poor will be fortunate to have one full meal per day.   Don’t think it can happen?  Look at the current economic crisis in Argentina, Spain, and Greece, where people struggle everyday just to earn money for food.   If you have employment now, then you will never be sorry for building several levels of food redundancy.   My dream for a legacy to leave my children is a plot of productive farm land in the country, where my children and grandchildren can produce their own food, and never be hungry.

I hope and pray that your family never goes hungry.

Posted in General, Sustenance (Food and Water) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Levels of Water Redundancy

Water, water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.

Water is the most important component of survival, after oxygen.   Tainted water is the major killer after most large-scale disasters.   Lack of clean drinking water is a source of misery and death around the world.   In just 3 days without water, your life is already in jeopardy.  When asked about the first step in becoming a survival prepper, the first task to prepare for a disaster, the first priority in building self-reliance in your life, you need to address how you will obtain, purify, and store fresh water.

To represent the risk related to water, please note the chemical spill in West Virginia.

No one in West Virginia could have anticipated this problem.  And this similar problem could occur with your water source on any day.

A distinct risk that is exposed from the West Virginia water disaster is how vulnerable our water supplies are.   Terrorist can create a lot of damage and panic by poisoning water supplies.  Very little effort can create a huge impact by contaminating our water supplies.

Five Levels of Water Redundancy

Level 1 – Public Water or Home Well

Most modern zoning ordinances require that every home as a piped water source.  The vast majority of the population relies upon a public water utility.  Many rural homes rely on a well.    Public water utilities and home wells are typically reliant upon electricity to run the pumps.  When the electricity is out for an extended time period, the availability of water rapidly decreases.

Level 2 – Rain Water Collection or Cistern

Rain water collection is not commonly done today.  But it is an easiest way to collect water for storage.   Rain water can be piped directly down into a cistern.  Or rain water can be collected into barrels.   Many people who have a sizeable garden can benefit greatly by collecting rain water.   If you live in the US Southwest or desert regions such as Phoenix or Las Vegas, it is imperative that you collect rain water and have a cistern.  It doesn’t rain often in the Southwest US, but when it does, you need to collect every bit of it.   My best friend, the redneck, has a rain water collection into a large cistern built underground.  The toilets from his home have water piped from the cistern.

Level 3 – Water Stored in Bottles

A first line of defense for most families is to have water stored in bottles.   I recommend that every family have one gallon of water stored for each family member for two weeks.   For a family of four, you should have 56 gallons of bottle water (4 people x 1 gallon x 14 days).  If you live in desert regions or Southwest US, I recommend double or tripling the amount of water storage.  If you live in a small home or in an apartment, it is difficult to store this much water.   I suggest that you find any unused storage space in your home to store water.  Some suggestions for places to store water are:

    • On closet floors
    • Under stairways
    • In the basement
    • Under beds
    • Under the kitchen sink
    • In the garage
    • In the attic
    • In a storage area
    • Take a detailed walk around your house to find unused space

Unlike food, you can store water in a hot attics, humid places in the home, nearly anywhere.  So long as water is stored in airtight plastic bottles (with the plastic rated specifically for water), you can store it anywhere.   I keep several gallons of water bottles in the freezers.   If the power goes out, I’ll transfer the frozen water from the freezer to the refrigerator to preserve food longer.

Any time I go to the grocery stores, which is often since my wife does most of the grocery shopping, I’ll buy a gallon or two of bottle water.   I’ll date the purchase with a sharpie pen, and then rotate after a year.   One of the benefits of water from a public utility, it is immediately ready for storage.   As you rotate your water on an annual basis, it can be cheaply done by emptying an existing water bottle, rinse with new clean water, refill, write the refill date on the bottle, and then put back into storage.

Use only bottles that have only stored water before.  I don’t recommend using former milk bottles, soda bottles, or beer bottles.  I stay with only clear plastic bottles intended for use only for water.   We don’t drink soda in my house.  And I recommend not wasting your money on soda.  But if you drink soda, soda bottles are somewhat okay for water storage.  The nice thing about the 2 liter soda bottles is their strength.  NEVER use bottles that previously stored gasoline, detergent, cleaning agents, or any chemicals.

Level 4 – Open Water Sources

Water can be gathered from open water sources, such as lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams.   In many areas, if you dig deep enough, you’ll come in contact with the water table.   Never drink water from open water sources before it is purified.   In my survival prep, I own the Berkey Water filter.   The Berkey is a ceramic, gravity feed device to purify water.   You can put muddy water into a Berkey, and get clear clean drinking water out the other end.  There are several different types of ceramic water filters other than the Berkey.  What I like about the Big Berkey water filter is its ability to remove heavy metals, parasites, bacteria, and viruses.   I also have the Berkey travel sports bottles in my bug out kit, so that I may purify water in a retreat, leaving home situation.    No water filter can remove nasty chemicals from tainted water.   So never use water from an open source, if you think the water might be tainted with chemicals.   Berkey and other good water filters will remove nearly all organic materials.  And Berkey will remove many inorganic materials, but not all.

Level 5 – Water Scavenging

There are several ways to scavenge for water in a dire emergency.   The following are places to salvage water in the most dire emergency, when you cannot find water from any other sources.

    • Water stored within a hot water heater
    • Canned food contain a lot of water
    • Toilet tanks (yuck, but better than no water at all)
    • Vending machines at road stops, gas stations, hotel lobbies, etc.   I don’t give my children soda, but in an emergency, I’d be okay with giving soda from a vending machine to my children.
    • From the FEMA water truck in your neighborhood (if you must rely upon FEMA or some other emergency water truck to obtain water, then likely you did not follow my advice here.   I hate with a passion to wait in line for emergency supplies.)
    • Pools – In ground or above ground pools are a source of emergency drinking water.  I’d only suggest drinking pool water in a dire emergency.  Pool chemicals include antifungal and antibacterial elements, which are not the best things to drink.  But consider that kids will drink a bunch of pool water while swimming without ill effects.
    • Jacuzzi or hot tubs – Same issues as water from pools, but dirtier - yuck!
    • Neighbors – You might have a well, pool, or stored water
    • If you anticipate an emergency in your neighborhood, I’d have no problem with running out quickly to buy bottle water.  But you need to get there fast.   Expect bottle water to be quickly sold out in any emergency situation.  Don’t rely on buying water at the last-minute.  Much better to be prepared ahead of time.

Other Water Storage Suggestions

  • Keep at least two gallons of drinking water in each vehicle.  If you get stranded, you’ll need drinking water.  Also, the stored water can be used to refill a radiator.
  • Also keep several 1 pint or 2 pint water bottles in each vehicle.  In my vehicles, I keep at least 6 two pint water bottles in the vehicle, in addition to the 2 gallons in the trunk.
  • Have water purification tablets in your bug out kit, which you can use to purify water from an open source.
  • Your bug out kit should have one (preferably two) travel versions of water filters. The Katadyn water filters are highly regarded.
  • Pure bleach is a very good tool to purify open water.  And bleach can be used to purify water that had been stored for a long time.   Please refer to a past article: Bleach – A Vital Survival Tool
  • Knowing that a disaster situation is about to occur, one of your first preparation activities should be to fill up water bottles.   Fill up all your bathtubs.   Water from a bathtub is very good to flush a toilet, in a disaster situation.  If a hurricane, brush fire, ice storm, blizzard, or other emergency was about to befall your neighborhood, fill up as many water bottles as possible and fill up your bathtubs.  A good method of storing water in your bath tub in an emergency situation is the Water Bob.

Additional Articles on This Subject

In Closing

For any emergency situation, disaster situation, or survival situation, finding clean drinking water is a top priority.    Including water your disaster preparations will go a long way to surviving in comfort.   In just 2 days after a disaster, if you don’t have clean drinking water, you become a refugee.   So stay in the comfort of your home, planning to obtain, purify, and store drinking water must be a top priority.  The number one, first purchase of any survival prepper should be a water filter, such as the Big Berkey.

Wish the folks in West Virginia good luck and a fast return to having clean drinking water.  It is easy to forget how easy water is obtained in the United States.

Posted in General, Safety (Medical, Sanitation, Security, Weapons), Sustenance (Food and Water) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Levels of Home Heating Redundancy

The cold wave that is gripping the country is a demonstration that survival tactics are applicable to season conditions.   The desperate arctic blast is dangerous and potentially deadly.  Arctic Vortex Causes Dangerous Cold  The polar vortex is the worst in 25 years.

Exposure to the elements, especially the cold, is on of the fundamental 5 killers in a disaster.  Because of the amount of investment and preparation needed, home heating is one of the hardest prep elements for survival preparations.   You can improvise a lot of thing, but home heating is not one.  Either you are ready or not.   Therefore I recommend that you have a full five levels of redundancy for home heating.

The five levels of home heating redundancy

Level 1 -  Primary grid-attached furnace

Most modern furnaces are depending on electrical power.  There rely on grid supply electricity to run the furnace computer, thermostats, and the air push fans.   While you might have a furnace that use natural gas or propane, without electricity, you have no home heat.  Too many people do not realize this vulnerability, until an ice storm drops the electrical lines for a week.    If you have an old fashion steam boiler or coal-fired furnace, consider yourself luck, since you don’t need electricity to heat your home.

Level 2 – Power-generator with a whole house hook up

If and when you lose electricity, the first level of redundancy is to have a power generator with a whole house hook up.  I spent $200 in labor and another $100 in parts to have an electrician set up a whole house hook up.   In the event of a power outage, I’ll wheel my portable (not very portable at 200 lbs, but manageable on the wheel kit) to the electric meter.  At the electrical meter, I’ll have a special heavy-duty 220 volt power cord that connects the portable generator to the house.  As the house master fuse box, I’ll switch of the incoming line from electrical utility.  And then turn on the switch that activates receiving power from the generator.  For safety reasons, you must NEVER have both incoming power switches active at the same time.  Your portable generator could electrocute a lineman if you don’t have the grid power switch off.  When power comes back on and you have both switches on, there is a possibility of damage to your generator or possibly causing a fire.    To run the typical full house, you’ll need at least a 7000 watt generator, and even then, you’ll need to ration the power load draw in the house.   Turn off the TV’s, stereos, and other non-essential power consuming devices.   A generator with more than 7000 watts will allow more devices to be powered, but will also consume more fuel.   The duration limit for the use of a portable generator is typically limited by the amount of fuel you have stored.   If you intend to use a generator to support home heating, I recommend storing a least 2 weeks of fuel for the generator.  Ready the generator’s manual to determine the runtime for a specific amount of fuel.   If your home is heated by electric baseboard type of room heating, then it is imperative to have a sizeable generator.   If the electric power is out for more that 2 weeks, as it was after Hurricane Sandy, expect to run out of fuel.  Or the generator may need to have oil added.  Or the generator will have some type of maintenance issues.   Therefore, I recommend that you have additional levels of redundancies to heat your home.

Level 3 – Fireplace or Wood Stove

I absolutely love the warmth and glow of a blazing fireplace during a cold winters’ night.   The first level of redundancy for many to heat their home is a fireplace.  If you have a traditional chimney vented fireplace, count yourself among the lucky.  If you have a vent less, ornamental fireplace, count yourself among the unlucky.  Ventless fireplaces are nearly worthless — I hate them.   All the burnt flumes from a ventless fireplace come into your home.  You cannot heat your home with a ventless.   Ventless is only for low-level show, and not for heating.   If you have a ventless fireplace, replace with a fireplace insert and have an external vent installed.    The limit to the duration of heating your home with a fireplace or wood stove is simply the amount of firewood you store.   Having 4 cords of wood ready for your fireplace or wood stove is like money in the bank.   Modern wood stoves are very efficient at providing home heat, and recommended additions to any cold region home.

Level 4 – Portable Home Heater

A very good backup to any home heating system is a portable heater.  The traditional kerosene heater has been used for generations to supplement heat during the winter.   I recently purchased a Mr. Buddy portable propane heater.   Propane gives off less fumes versus kerosene.  With kerosene or propane portable heaters, you need to be very careful about carbon monoxide poisoning.  You’ll need to vent exterior air into the room where a portable heater is being used.   And all homes, regardless, should have carbon monoxide detectors in use.    I recommend having a carbon monoxide detector in the room where the portable heater is running, in the kitchen, and in each bedroom.

Level 5 – Expedition Quality Sleeping Bags

In the worst case situation, each family member should have an outdoor quality sleeping bag.   With the record low temperatures hitting the USA this week, this represents way you need sleeping bags that are rated well below the average cold temperatures in your region.   If the average low temperature in your area is 30 degrees F, then have sleeping bags rated to zero degrees.   If your average lows are 15 degrees F, then have a sleeping system rated down to -10 F.   In order to make the maximum use of your sleeping bag year round, recommend that you obtain a sleep system bag.  Sleep systems often come with 3 layers.   The three layers include the sleeping bag, a cold weather insert, and an outer bivy bag.   When the power goes out in the middle of the night, a sleep system will keep you from freezing.   Lacking sleeping bags, lots of wool blankets are a valuable item in any home.

If all fails after 5 layers of redundancy, then you should then be in a bug-out situation.  Or go to mom’s house or a friend’s house.

May all your winter nights be warm and cozy.  Stay warm this week.   Brrrr.   It’s cold here.

Posted in General, Shelter (Home, Heating, Cooling) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Five Major Killers in a Disaster, SHTF, or TEOTWAWKI Event

There are five major categories of what will kill you in a major disaster event.  Or in a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI scenario.

The Five Major Killers in a Disaster

  1. The Initial Impact

    1. Cause – In a hurricane, the storm surge is the major initial killer.  Or Tornado, be struck by debris.  Of all the major types of disasters, often you have very little notice or advanced warning.
    2. Prevention -
      1. First, know what risks are pertinent to your location.  Don’t put yourself in harm’s way.  If a hurricane is coming, bug out early.  If you live in tornado alley, have a concrete safe room or an underground tornado shelter.
      2. Monitor the news frequently.  Sign-up for emergency alerts in your area to your mobile phones.
      3. Have multiple means to get news and information, such as battery and crank powered radios.
      4. Have a bug-out bag ready at all times.  Each family member should have a backpack or a bag of clothing ready for a retreat.
  2. Exposure

    1. Being exposed to the natural elements without proper clothing and shelter are a major killer, especially in the winter.
    2. Prevention
      1. Have a full set of camping gear.  You never know when you might need to make camp in your own backyard, after a disaster event.
      2. Whenever you travel or conduct an outdoors activity, always dress in layers.  Carry outerwear to the worst case situation, and remove layers to the current situation.
      3. If you live in a cold climate, such as Northern USA or Canada, it would be wise to carry an outdoors quality sleeping bag in your vehicle for each family member during the winter.
      4. Carry blankets and chemical hand warmers in your vehicle.
      5. Have multiple ways to start a fire.
      6. Always carry extra water.  In the hot summer sun, heat stroke can kill you just as much as being stranded in a snow storm.  Drinking water and taking out of direct sunlight can prevent heat stroke.
      7. Eating food will bring up your core temperature.  But only eat if you have enough water to help digestion.
      8. Be continually aware of the weather situation.  At the first sign of weather change, retreat.
  3. Sanitation

    1. Cause — In proper sanitation and lack of clean drink water is a major killer after the initial impact of the disaster.  Trash and human wastes are not properly handled.  Domestic animals are killed or set loose.  Flies abound on the debris and death, which spread disease.   Cholera is a major killer in tainted water.
    2. Prevention –
      1. Have stored water.  Have at least one gallon per person per day for at least two weeks.  For a family of 4, the minimum suggested water storage is 56 gallons of clean drinking water.  If you live in a desert area, such as the Southwest of USA, I’d recommend that you have drinking water stored for an entire month, over 100 gallons of stored drinking water.
      2. Have a water filter.   My family as the Big Berkey water filer with black filters.  You can pour mud into the Big Berkey (not recommended, but possible), and get clean drink water out of it.
      3. Have a portable water filter.  I have the Berkey Sports Bottle water filters in my bug out bags
      4. Have water purification tablets.  These are very valuable items in your bug-out bag.
      5. Store bleach.  Bleach is an effective way to purify water of germs and parasites.
      6. Have lots of trash bags on hand.  Use the trash bags to gather debris, trash, and human waste.   Burning trash and human waste is viable, if there is not fire hazard.
      7. Talk and education your neighbors about proper sanitation after a disaster.  Human and animal wastes should be buried at least 4 feet deep and 100 meters away from any open water source.
  4. Violence

    1. Cause — As disaster event brings out the worst elements of society.  The chaos after a disaster is an invitation to looting and rioting from those lacking moral strength or in a desperate situation.
    2. Prevention
      1. Immediately after a disaster situation, start a neighborhood watch.
      2. Partner with your local police to establish an active neighborhood watch program before a disaster.
      3. Be well armed.  Take gun safety classes.  Get your concealed carry permit.  Every adult should own and know how to use a pistol.  Every home should have a shotgun.  Every capable adult should have a defensive rifle.
      4. A guard dog is an expensive way to alert your family to intruders.
      5. Always keep your home locked, doors and windows.  Even when you are home, keep it locked.
      6. Have a security system.
      7. Thorny bushes under your windows is an effective deterrent.
      8. Body armor and night vision are force multipliers.
  5. Hunger

    1. Cause — As a disaster can disrupt the delivery and availability of food, within a week of a disaster, a family can be in a starvation state.
    2. Prevention
      1. Every single person should have 6 months of stored food.
      2. Every family should have at least 1 year of stored food
      3. Keep some stored food at a storage unit within walking distance.
      4. Know what wild foods are located around your location.
      5. Have the means to hunt and fish.
      6. Having a garden and doing home canning is the best way to insure quality food for your family.

And for the disasters that are possible at your location, carry the right amount of insurance.  If you cannot afford insurance, move to a place where you can afford it.  Renters insurance is rather cheap.   Have the full replacement option for homeowners insurance.  Keep receipts for major purchases along with pictures of every room and every closet in a bank safe box.  Keep a copy of all important documents in a bank safe box. You’ll need this to make an insurance claim.

Store some of your emergency supplies in a location away from your home.  Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.  I recommend renting a storage unit within walking distance of your home.  If your home is completely destroyed, then you have a reserve of items to keep you going.   Storing your camping gear, when not being used, in the storage unit is wise.  Also keep some bottled water, long-term stored food, a spare rifle and ammo, and old clothing at your storage unit.

Have an emergency fund is prudent in all facets of life.   A single person should have a cash reserve of 3 months of bills.  A family should have 6 to 12 months of emergency funds for monthly bills.   This is your bridge to a new life, if your home is destroyed.

Ounce of prevention or a pound of misery.   Prepare ahead of a disaster means you are merely inconvenienced, rather than standing in a long line waiting for a handout of the one meal you’ll get that day.  Or having no meal at all in a major, regional disaster like Hurricane Katrina.

There are so many inexpensive ways to prepare for a disaster.  Food is so cheap in the United States.  I find it unbelievable and shocking that people don’t look beyond today.  In your lifetime, you can expect to encounter two major disasters and many more minor disasters.

I pray you don’t but chances are you will face major disasters.  So being prepared is the key to survival and comfort.

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Slingshot As a Survival Tool

Slingshots As a Survival Tool

Slingshots have been around since ancient times.  It has been used for hunting, self-defense, and warfare for thousands of years.  It is simple in concept, but takes lots of practice to master.   And it is an excellent survival tool.   I recent bought two slingshots, pictured below.

Stainless Steel sling shotwrist sling shot

The first one is a stainless steel hunting slingshot.  The second is a wrist mount slingshot.  There are many different versions.  The ancients make a slingshot simply from long cords of leather with a small leather pocket to contain a stone.   Most slingshots these days use an elastic surgical quality latex.  The sling bands are easily, and cheaply replaced.   If you buy a slingshot, also always buy a length of slingshot cord.  With a long cord of the latex sling bands, and cut down to size for replacements on your slingshot.

Along with the slingshots, I also purchased slingshot ammo.  The sizes of slingshot ammo I purchased are below:

  • 1/4 inch steel balls – used mainly for birds
  • 5/16 inch steel balls – a step up in size for squirrels and rabbits
  • 3/8 inch steel balls – for more sizable critters, such as raccoons, possums, and small dogs
  • 1/2 inch steel balls – a credible ammo for large dogs and people

There are many different types and size of slingshot ammo.  A link below provides information on all the different types and sizes.

Some possible uses for a Slingshot

  1. Hunting wild rabbits and squirrels for the dinner table.
  2. Preventing birds from eating the newly sown seeds in your garden.  (Suggest you might pay a neighborhood boy for each bird)
  3. Preventing birds from eating the grass seed you just laid in your lawn.
  4. Knocking a squirrel off the roof of your house, when the squirrel is trying to find a way into your warm attic on a cold winter day. (This is a problem I’m currently dealing with.  I have a passionate dislike of squirrels, who have already caused $1000′s of damage to my house.)
  5. Chasing away that morning dove who keeps waking you up at 6:00 AM every morning.
  6. Give the neighbors dog a good motivation to stop barking all night.
  7. Anti-aircraft defense from the crows and hawks swooping down on your free range chickens and domestic rabbits.
  8. Target practice on the neighbor’s lawn gnomes.  (Only joking.  Be kind to your neighbors.)
  9. Chase dogs out of your yard, who frequent your lawn as a toilet.
  10. Plinking bottles and cans of a fence.
  11. Chasing an alligator off your property (yes this occurs in Florida and Louisiana.)
  12. Obtaining the base ingredient for Peking Duck.
  13. Chase deer out of your corn patch, if outside of hunting season.
  14. Quietly dove hunting.  (Doves are absolutely delicious.  But you need a whole bunch to make a meal.)
  15. Dispatch pigeons off your property. (They are essentially flying rats.)
  16. Dispatch a poisonous snake.
  17. Chase feral hogs off your property.  Nailing a couple of baby feral hogs makes a nice Easter dinner.
  18. A way to keep a 13-year-old country boy from saying “I’m bored”.
  19. A decade after TEOTWAWKI and everyone has spent their gun ammo, slingshots will rule for distance hunting and fighting.

Benefits of a slingshot

  1. Silence – You can hunt without making nearly any noise.  This is helpful in a suburban situation, where even a small BB pistol would cause your liberal, progressives to call the cops in dreaded fear.
  2. Easy to make – Can be made from a V-shaped tree branch and old bicycle tires.
  3. Easy to maintain – Not need to oil, clean, or fine-tune.   Just replace the sling when it breaks or loses elasticity.
  4. Ammo is everywhere – Small rounded rocks will do the trick.  Naturally polished river rocks are idea, due to smoothness.
  5. Will not waste gun ammo – You can spend an entire afternoon plicking at bird or cans, and not waste priceless .22LR ammo.
  6. It is a credible defensive weapon at a distance – If ever you were hit by a 5/16 steel ball from a full pull of a slingshot, you would remember it.   A shot to the head can kill, so be very careful to treat a slingshot with respect.  Don’t aim at a person, unless you truly want to cause great harm in a true defensive situation.  A gun is always preferred as a defensive weapon.  But a slingshot is better than nothing.
  7. Easy to pack in a bug-out bag or survival kit.  Takes very little space.
  8. Will not cause the neighbors to call the police in fear, versus a BB gun.   Since many (if not most) liberal democrats cannot tell the difference between a BB gun and an AK-47, both result in panic calls to police in suburban neighborhoods.

Although the following link provides information about what time of energy is needed for bow hunting to bring down game, it might provide some information about how much energy is needed for slingshot hunting: http://www.eastonarchery.com/store/kinetic_calculator

Additional Information about Slingshots

Slingshot Safety Recommendations

  1. Never point at something you don’t want to hit.
  2. Don’t point at people, unless in a dire and valid self-defense situation.
  3. Wear safety glasses or goggles — a must!
  4. Children should be taught and supervised.
  5. Make sure the slingshot is properly mounted with the elastic band.
  6. Don’t use an elastic band that is worn, cracking, ripped, or otherwise showing any damage.
  7. Replace the elastic band frequently.
  8. Never shoot towards property.  Windows are expensive to replace.  Irate neighbors are hard to calm.
  9. Know what is beyond your target.  If unable to identify what is beyond the target, don’t shoot.  Slingshots have an effective range of 50 yards, sometimes more.
  10. Practice often before actually using for real hunting.
  11. Don’t act like a fool.  Take these thing seriously, as they can harm or kill a person.

This posting is targeted toward law-abiding adults.  This is presented for entertainment purposes only, and should not be taken as a recommendation for any purchases or actions.  Know your local and state laws, before using a slingshot.  You are responsible for your own actions.

Posted in General, Safety (Medical, Sanitation, Security, Weapons), Skills (Mental, Physical, Spiritual), Sustenance (Food and Water) | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Countries Nearing an Economic Collapse in 2014

There are several countries on the edge of an economic collapse.  It will be curious to watch the developments of these countries through 2014.   My worry is for spill over or dominos falling as the result of several countries in or entering a state of economic collapse.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is lead by an idiot dictator, who cares only about power and not about his people.  The dictator has run this once prosperous country into a terrible state.  The currency has completely collapse along with any viable industries.   This country has vast mineral and gem resources, yet is unable to organized around building an export economy.  Corruption and crime are widespread.  This is a bad place to live and work.  Reference: Zimbabwe imports maize to stave off hunger

Venezuela

Venezuela is a country of strange contradictions.  It is rich in oil, but still developing as a country.   The quality of life of Venezuela has been going down in the past 5 years.  The socialist leaders of this country are making one bad decision after another.   It has nearly become a communist country due to federal confiscations of large corporations.  Their efforts to set price controls on household commodity goods and purchase limits to constrain efforts to hoard are just laughable.   Venezuela is a pariah in the global economic scene, thus it has limited ability to borrow money.   During 2014, I am expecting Venezuela to slip further into an economic collapse.   Venezuela is a current case study to understand how an economic collapse impacts individuals and families.   Today, people of Venezuela are living under currency controls, grocery purchase limits, rapid inflation, and loss of purchasing power.   Further information below:

Ukraine

Ukraine has struggled since the breakup of Soviet Russia.   They are physically located in continental Europe, but culturally connected to Ural region and Russia.   Ukraine lacks the natural resource that Russia has, notably natural gas for winter heating.   A high proportion of foreign trade is the purchase of natural gas from Russia.   The switches of government for Ukraine have been traumatic with riots and protests.  2014 will see Ukraine continuing to deal with economic problems, high debt, and continued street protests.

China

The People’s Republic of China has some unusual circumstances in its economy.  The government has in the past propped up failing large companies to avoid bankruptcies and the resulting unemployment that would have occurred.  Bank loans have been discusses has high as 25% in default status.  China is now starting a transition from an export country to also being a consumer country.   New innovations, such as 3-D and 4-D print of manufactured goods (both plastic and metal goods) will be a direct disruption on China’s future manufacturing-based economy.   While the Chinese country will continue to grow, it will grow much slower.  China has several bubble risks in real estate and banks, which if not expertly managed may result in a recession.   I don’t expect China to collapse anytime soon.  The Chinese government has a lot of tools to prevent collapse.  But if the buying economies (North America and Europe) have more severe recessions and thus stop buy goods from China, a cascade could occur.   Also if any military actions take place in the South China seas over disputed territory, then trade embargoes could occur for China.   China should be closely watched in 2014 as their economy and military evolve.

Spain

Spain has been in a terrible recession for the past several years.  It has requested a bailout from the EU, after many years of saying it doesn’t need a bail.  This is another lesson that governments will wait until the last possible moment to signal that economic problems are occurring.   You can not rely upon getting advanced notice from governments.   The people of Spain have struggled to put food on the table.  Unemployment has been very high.   Some my rightly claim that Spain is in the midst of their own great depression, especially if growth is not achieved soon.  (references:

Greece

Greece has been in their own great depression for the past 5 years.  Life expectancy has decreased.   Unemployment over 25%.   Poverty, misery, and hopelessness prevail over much of the country.

Argentina

Argentina entered their great depression in 2001, and struggles to this day to meet their debt obligations.  Average people struggle to just survive.  Crime and corruption are rampant.

France

France again is failing to meet their deficit targets set by the European Union.  France is a founding and leading member of the European Union, and yet continually fails to meet the standards set by the EU.  (reference: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/05/france-deficit-deadline_n_4217565.html)

Cyprus

The banking system in Cyprus collapsed in 2013.  Depositors with more than 100,000 Euros on deposit had money taken from them to bail out the failed banks.  The haircut was done after the banks and the Cyprus government had been assuring everyone that all was well.  This is a lesson for us all.  (references: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n09/james-meek/the-depositor-haircut)

Japan

Japan’s debit is out of control.  I’m surprised that Japan hasn’t yet collapsed into a full economic melt down.   References:

United States of America

National debt has cross $17 trillion and continues to rise.  (reference: http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/)  By end of 2014, likely the debt will be higher that $18 trillion.   Obama has no will, no plan, and has taken no serious action to confront the national debt.   The national debt does not include all future obligations of social security, federal retiree benefits, veteran benefits.   The states of California and Illinois have debt which are unsustainable.  My biggest worry for my children is that they may grow up during a great depression.  Of call the countries listed here, I’d rather be in the United States than any other country.  The United States is very capable of providing its own food.  Has vast resources.  The United States is likely to be the last of any country to enter the next great depression, due to all the tools it has available.  But if and when the United States does enter a great depression, the rest of the world will be drag down.  I pray and hope this never occurs.

How to Prepare for an Economic Collapse

How do you prepare yourself and your family for the prospect of an economic collapse?  Here are some recommendations.

  1. Stay out of debt — Do everything you can now to get out of debt.  If you are carrying debt when entering an economic collapse, you are likely to lose everything – your home, your retirement funds, and a comfortable future.
  2. Build an emergency fund — It is recommended that single people have at least 3 months of cash to pay their bills.  Families should have 6 to 12 months of emergency cash.  Building up a cash reserve allows your family to have a buffer against illness or job lost.  In an economic collapse environment, it is very possible that you will need to move to a different location to take a new job, escape civil disorder, or to live in an area that produces food.  An emergency fund will give you the bridge to a new live.
  3. Save a portion of your investable assets in gold and silver coins.  10% of your investable assets in physical gold and silver is a strong hedge against hyperinflation and economic collapse.
  4. Start a part-time home based business, which can be your fallback job during an economic collapse.  The home-based business should be some type of service that will be valuable even in a bad economy.  Services such as home repairs, gunsmith, plumbing, electrician, HVAC service, auto repairs, medical care, tutoring, accounting, legal advice, and other direct services will be needed even during an economic collapse.  Avoid those services which rely on discretionary income, such as travel agent, tour guide, trade in collectibles or art,
  5. Get rid of your toys — And acquire tangible assets.  What good is a jet ski, boat, beach house, time share, RV, or other expensive toys, if you have insufficient retirement funds or no stored foods.   If you have the opportunity, sell the toys.   Buy guns, ammo, gold, silver, and long-term stored food.
  6. Gear up now – Get all your gear now.  When an economic collapse occurs, the acquiring phase of your life ends.  And the consumption of your stored goods will occur for following 5, 10, or 15 years.   Stock up on camping equipment, guns, ammo, garden tools, garden seeds, home repair tools, sewing machine, home canning supplies, home security devices, supplies for your home business, and what ever you might need to enable a home-based business.
  7. Be able to produce food – Have your own garden, if possible.  If not possible, at least store a variety of garden seeds.  Being able to raise chickens or rabbits for food is a valuable way to provide protein for your family.   Connect with local farmers ahead of time to formulate barter deals.   If you are an accountant, offer to do the taxes for local farmers in return for food.   Or some connected food producers to whatever home-based business you might be able to run.   Understand what wild foods are growing near your home.   Learning to hunt, trap, or fish near your home as a way to feed your family, when without an income.   The benefit that many families had in the 1930′s great depression is people were still connected to the land.  Most families in the 1930′s had a garden and did home canning.  Gardening and home canning require many seasons of practice before it become sustainable.  So start today!
  8. Attend to any outstanding health issues.  If you have any pending surgeries or dental care events, get it done as soon as possible.  If and when an economic collapse occurs, your access to health care can be severely limited.   It is important to have good dental hygiene.  Stop smoking and stop use of any tobacco products.   Address any addictions to illegal drugs, prescription medicines, and alcohol.   Addictions are a path to ruin before or after an economic collapse.   Build up of store of medical supplies, over the counter medications.  Consider learning about natural remedies that you might grow in your garden.
  9. Build relationships now.   Build strong connections to your family, friends, and neighbors.  You will need them during an economic collapses.   A strong network can help you find a job.   Can help you find a missing part for your equipment.  Can help find customers for your home-based business.   Can be your safety net, if all else fails.   Country cousins are especially valuable, since they will likely be able to obtain and grow food, where a city slicker cannot.
  10. Build a food reserve.   Having 6 months or more of stored food will provide a buffer against job loss or illness.   Start with canned foods until you build up a store of 6 months, and then rotate actively.  Then after having 6 months of canned food, then start to acquire long-term store food in the form of dehydrated or freeze-dried food.   Bean, rice, and wheat, if properly stored, can last for 10 or more years.   The biggest 2 worries during an economic collapse are food and shelter.
  11. Payoff a piece of property.   If you are able to pay off the mortgage of your home before an economic collapse, you will be far ahead of everyone else.  During an economic collapse, homes are actively foreclosed, families are turned out to the street, and homelessness rises.  This was demonstrated in the 2008/2009 panic and recession.   In a great depression, unemployment can reach 25% or more.   Especially valuable will be farm land, where you can grow and sell food.

In Closing

Governments will not give you advanced notice of a debt, bank holiday, or other very bad economic news.  Governments will kick the can down the road as far as possible.  Instead of confronting the problems when small and manageable, they will wait and delay until the problem is beyond anyone’s control.   Bank holidays and gold confiscations occurred in the US in the 1930′s.   If another great depression occurs in the US, expect that all measure will be taken to fund the government.  This includes taking your retirement fund, bank account haircuts, and cuts to social security benefits.

Learn from the Japanese economic collapse of the 1990′s.  What Americans Should Understand About Japan’s 1990s Economic Bust

I hope and pray an economic collapse does not come.  It will be a dreadful experience, regardless of how well you are prepared.  Do some web search on what it is like to live in Argentina or Greece today with high unemployment and hopelessness.

Wish you and your family great prosperity for generations.  – suburbanprep

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Gun Confiscation – It’s coming, don’t let the liberals lie to you

The progressive, liberals, socialists, and near-communists of the United States claim outwardly they support the 2nd Amendment.  They don’t.  They say they are not trying to confiscate your guns.  They are.   In their heart of hearts, they don’t want you to have guns.   Take a look at this:

Connecticut gun owners line up to register their guns and ammo

How can it be that Blue states (those dominated by Democratic party government) are striving to limit, ban, and otherwise outlaw guns which are useful for hunting, target practice and self-defense?   And in the Red States (those dominated by the Republican party) gun rights are increasing and improving.

In the heart of hearts, the Democrats believe the only way to prevent mass shooting is to confiscate all semi-automatic guns, pistols and rifles.  When they say they don’t, they are lying.  Yet they don’t attempt to fund our wholly neglected mental health system.  I suspect is cheaper to take guns away from law-abiding citizens, rather than build and staff mental health facilities.

It is the duty of every man to protect his family, not the government.   If and when a criminal attempts to enter my home, that criminal will be denied.   If and when looting or rioting occurs in my neighborhood, I will go out to defend my neighbors.   If and when SHTF, WROL, TEOTWAWKI situation occurs or a communist government attempts to deny my rights, then I must be ready to defend the constitution and my family.   This is the duty of all men.

That being said, I am a law-abiding citizen.

So what can you do to prepare for gun confiscation?  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Stock up — obtain redundant levels of guns, ammo, magazines, gun repair parts, gun cleaning and lubrication fluids.   Expect to give up some of your guns during a confiscation effort.   If the AR-15 is your primary weapons system, have 3 versions of the same gun.
  2. Store your guns in multiple states — Store some of your guns with friend, family, or in storage units in other states.  Make a drive to a nearby state where your 2nd Amendment Rights are not obstructed.  Keep one gun in your primary home, registered of course within terms of local and state laws.  Keep gun another at your bugout location or with a friend in a different state.   Keep another gun cached or in a storage unit in another state.
  3. Cache some of your guns – Tube it, seal it, and bury it.   But remove the firing pins from cached guns to prevent miss use, if found.   Be very careful where you bury your cache.  It should not be on your primary residential property, since you may be charged with a crime if found.   A good cache spot is remote woods or desert in a spot which is on a transit line to your bug-out locations.  Include ammo, silver coins, and magazines in the cache, so that it is a complete system, minus the firing pin.
  4. Buy five round magazines.   While you should obtain and store many full size magazines, also have several 5 round magazines for your guns.   You may be able to retain your guns, if found to only have 5 round magazines.  You need 5 round magazines for hunting, regardless.
  5. Consider transferring ownership of your guns to a trust that is registered in another state.   I’m not a legal expert, and don’t know if this is possible.  Consult your attorney if you are considering this.
  6. Move!  — Move to a freedom loving state that defends and preserves your rights.   Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and California strive to limit and obstruct your 2nd Amendment rights.   And these are high taxes states, and taxes are only going up in these states in the future.  New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Arizona states nearby that are freedom loving.
  7. Don’t neglect to obtain revolvers and bolt-action rifles.  These will be the last to be confiscated.   A Remington 700 in .308 Win caliber or a Mosin Nagant in the hands of a capable shooter is a powerful force on a battlefield.   A 357 revolver can take care of business at short-range.
  8. Join the NRA — This is your lobby to defend your gun rights.
  9. Vote – Vote in elections.  Don’t surrender your vote to let the progressives deny you your freedom.

I have said in many of my blog posting, my wife’s grandfather was a victim of the Nazi Holocaust.   Evil still exists around the world.  Look at the fighting underway today in South Sudan, Libya, Iraq, and Syria.  Could such things occur in the United States?  If we are all disarmed, the answer is yes.  If the day comes where I must choose to die on my feet confronting evil, or begging on my knees for evil to spare me, I’m choosing to stand.

With regard to guns and ammo, I recommend that you always work within the laws.  Be law-abiding.   Get training.   Store guns and ammo away from children and mentally ill persons.   Get your concealed carry permit.   And pray you never need to defend your family with a firearm.  And pray that the United States does not further decay into tyranny.

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