Cast Iron Cooking: One Of The Best Investments A Prepper Can Make

Cast Iron Cooking: One Of The Best Investments A Prepper Can Make | cast-iron-skillet | PreparednessSurvival

Years ago, I made an investment into cast iron skillets to use in an off-grid environment. We frequently went camping and I needed to find cookware that could be used indoors, as well as outdoors. Additionally, I had just started reading about all of the health risks related to non-stick cookware and the perfluorocarbons (PFCs), a chemical linked to liver damage, cancer, developmental problems. PFCs are released from nonstick pans in the form of fumes when pans are heated on high heat. They can be inhaled and even ingested when the surface of the pan gets scratched. After reading about this, I made the decision not to gamble with my family’s health. I was introduced to the Lodge brand cast iron ware and have never looked back.

At first, I started out with the very basic 3-quart combo cooker. It comes with a Dutch oven with a handle and a skillet that can be used as a lid. I have made everything from my famous (well, my family thinks it is) cornbread, to braising tough pieces of meat, to baking cakes – it really is that versatile. As my fellow cast iron cookers will probably understand, I fell in love with this type of cookware and quickly added onto to my meager collection and purchased a 5-piece set.

There are two types of cast iron cookware sets – the enamel coated and the traditional cast iron cookware. This article is based on cooking with the traditional set. There is nothing wrong with the enamel coated sets, but I have only used the traditional.

So, Why Are Cast Iron Pots So Great?

Cast iron pots are built to last! They are made from pouring molten iron into molds.

“The molten cast iron is poured down between two sand molds to create each piece of cast iron, then the formed cookware is shaken and tumbled to remove molding sand. The cookware is shot blasted with a fine steel shot to remove any residual molding sand, then it’s ground, polished, rinsed, and hung to dry with a steam dryer.”  Source

Once the pots are formed, the iron pot will have tiny pores that absorb flavors and grease, which, over time create that natural, non-stick “seasoned” surface we all love.

A quick note about Dutch ovens

Did you know that a Dutch oven was among the gear Lewis and Clark carried when they explored the great American Northwest in 1804–1806?  Perhaps they brought it because you can cook or bake virtually anything in them. As well, Dutch ovens are called ovens because they utilize convection heat transfer like an actual oven does. Dutch ovens are built with heavy walls and lids so the heat is trapped inside creating a circulating convection wave that evenly cooks the food.

Many suggest not to fill your Dutch oven over two-thirds full in order to create proper convection throughout the food. Over the years we’ve modified old family favorites for use in a Dutch oven as well as finding new ones.  Here are a few recipes that we have come to love, especially when cooked in our Dutch oven.

Cast Iron Cookware is Highly Recommended in the Prepper/Survival Community

Those preparing for long-term emergencies where power could be disrupted for days, weeks or longer should consider investing in cast iron pots. The reason being is this type of cookware was made to last! As well, they are a suitable alternative cooking source to use in preparing food in an off-grid environment. Because they can take a beating and be used with large amounts of heat, they can be used over hot coals, on a grill or oven an open flame. As well, they are easy to prepare food in. Many underestimate how stressful an off-grid emergency is and you will want convenient cooking methods at your disposal.

Read about the 10 Rules For Your Emergency Food Pantry

You will literally want a way that you can quickly add foods and not worry about them burning. The main drawback to cast iron is the sheer weight of this type of cookware. Therefore, I suggest you have them already at your bug out location or, if you decide to bug in, have them on hand.

Here are some other great reasons why cast iron would be a great investment for preppers.

10 Reasons Why Cast Iron Cookware Is So Awesome!

  1. Can last a lifetime. The folks over at Lodge Cast Iron Manufacturing boast that “Because you create, maintain, and even repair the “seasoning”, your cookware can last 100 years or more. Chemical non-stick coating cannot be repaired, limiting lifespan.”
  2. Off Grid capable
  3. Retains heat and evenly distributes it more efficiently
  4. Perfect texture in foods. crispy/moist
  5. Best bang for your buck! While nonstick skillets have to be replaced over time, cast iron products gets better over time.
  6. If seasoned properly, cast iron has a natural nonstick coating and will not need as much oil as other pots would need to cook food on.
  7. Efficient for all types of cooking. One aspect that I love about cast iron is I can start a meal on the stove and finish it in the oven. That means less dishes to clean.
  8. It’s chemical-free! So you do not have to worry about chemicals leaching into your food.
  9. Easy to clean
  10. It can double as a deadly weapon. Have you ever known anyone to get up after being hit with a cast iron skillet? I didn’t think so.

As well, there are health benefits attributed to using cast iron cooking sets. While cast iron do not leach chemicals, it can transfer some iron into your food. Since iron deficiency is fairly common worldwide, (especially among women), this is not a bad thing. In fact, 10% of American women are iron-deficient. Cooking food, especially something acidic like tomato sauce in a cast-iron skillet can increase iron content, by as much as 20 times. If you suffer from too much iron in your body system, consult a physician about whether or not to use cast iron cookware.

Caring for Cast Iron

To soap, or not to soap. There is some controversy in applying water and soap to cast iron. Some feel that soap will break up the tiny oil molecules that are embedded on the pan and make it not-so-nonstick and ruin all of your seasoning efforts. It’s also possible that the next thing you cook will have a slightly soapy taste to it! According to Lodge Cast Iron Manufacturing, these are the proper steps to take when cleaning and seasoning your cast iron cookware:

For Minimal Cleaning:

  1. Hand wash. Dry immediately—even before first use.
  2. Rub with a light coat of vegetable oil after every wash.
  3. How much oil? Enough to restore the sheen, without being “sticky”.
  4. Why? To keep the iron “seasoned” and protected from moisture.

 

Tips of Cleaning:

As well, avoid using abrasive cleaners, steel wool and putting your cast iron cookware in the dishwasher as this can strip the sacred seasoning off. These are cast iron cooking no-no’s. If there is bits of food stuck to the pan, use coarse salt and gently scrub until the food comes off. As well, many recommend that you clean the skillet immediately after use, while it is still hot or warm. This isn’t the type of cookware that you can fill with soapy water and set it on the counter overnight. Doing so could cause the cast iron to rust.

Tips For Seasoning:

That lovely sheen on cast-iron cookware is the sign of a well-seasoned pan, which renders it virtually nonstick.

To season your cast-iron skillet: 

  1. Rub it with a relatively thin coat of neutral cooking oil, such as vegetable oil.
  2. Place the lightly-oiled cast iron pan, upside down, in the oven, with a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom to catch any drips. Heat the pan for 30 minutes in a 450 to 500 degree F. oven. Once done, turn off the oven, and let the pan cool to room temperature in the oven. Repeating this process several times is recommended as it will help create a stronger “seasoning” bond. I usually do this process 3 to 4 times. NOTE: Seasoning cast iron pans does generate smoke similar to cooking in a dirty oven.
    Note: The oil fills the cavities and becomes entrenched in them, as well as rounding off the peaks. By seasoning a new pan, the cooking surface develops a nonstick quality because the formerly jagged and pitted surface becomes smooth. Also, because the pores are permeated with oil, water cannot seep in and create rust that would give food an off-flavor. Your ironware will be slightly discolored at this stage, but a couple of frying jobs will help complete the cure, and turn the iron into the rich, black color that is the sign of a well-seasoned, well-used skillet or pot.
  3. Never put cold liquids into a very hot cast iron pan or oven. They will crack on the spot!
  4. Be careful when cooking with your cast iron pans on an electric range, because the burners create hot spots that can warp cast iron or even cause it to crack. Be sure to preheat the iron very slowly when using an electric range and keep the settings to medium or even medium-low.

Source

Also,  if the pan does get rusty or lose its seasoning at any point, you can always re-season it and get a fresh start. Learn how to refurbish and re-season rusty cast iron.

To conclude, cast iron pots and Dutch ovens may seem old-fashioned to some, but for those who are looking at making long-term living investments for sustainable living, this is the cookware of your dreams. They are dependable and are cooking work horses suitable for indoor cooking or in off-grid environments and are easy to care for.

The post Cast Iron Cooking: One Of The Best Investments A Prepper Can Make appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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The Prepper’s Guide to Making Homemade Baby Food (without a Blender or Food Processor)

The Prepper’s Guide to Making Homemade Baby Food (without a Blender or Food Processor) | baby-food | Off-Grid & Independent Living PreparednessSurvival

Making your own baby food is easy if you have a blender or food processor, but what if the power is out?

When my daughter recently had complications from oral surgery, letting her feast on nothing but ice cream for 10 days seemed pretty counter-productive to healing. While making her very soft diet for 10 days, the thought crossed my mind that post-collapse, people with dental issues and babies will still need to eat long after the jars of Gerber are gone. (And really, a lot of that jarred food is pricey and isn’t made from the best quality products, which means that making your own is a thrifty and healthful idea regardless of the circumstances.)

But, without our normal kitchen gadgets like stick blenders, food processors, and blenders, what’s the best method to make purees?

Here are the tools you need for homemade, off-grid baby food.

Making a puree without kitchen gadgets is only slightly more time-consuming. The only kitchen implements you need are probably things you already have on hand.

  • A potato masher (for longevity, go with a sturdy metal one instead of a cheapo plastic one)
  • A metal strainer (you want the criss-cross mesh and not the kind with perforated circles for best results.) You can get this kind with feet or this kind with a handle. Note how the one with the handle has the little hooks on the opposite side – this will make your life much easier.
  • A large metal spoon

Like I said, you probably have all of these things – the links are for informational purposes so you can envision exactly what I’m talking about. Unless, of course, you have no spoons, strainers, and mashers. Then, by all means, pick them up.

Here’s how to prepare baby food without a food processor or blender.

I used this technique with grains (like pasta, oats, and rice), fruits, and vegetables with great success. You can add broth for a little bit of protein, or, instructions for preparing meat are below.

  1. Cook your ingredients until they are soft. You won’t be able to get the right texture with lightly steamed veggies. Generally, boiling will be the best way to cook the food.
  2. Use your mesh strainer to drain the cooked food, reserving the cooking liquid to add back in for the right consistency.
  3. Depending on the sturdiness of the food, you may need to use your potato masher to prepare the food for straining. Starchier foods like potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes, for example, will require mashing first. Once the food has been mashed, return it to the strainer.
  4. Place your strainer over another pot or a large bowl. Using your large metal cooking spoon, press the food through the mesh strainer. The pieces left in the strainer can be used for the adults by adding them to a soup or casserole.
  5. If the puree needs thinning, add some of the cooking liquid back in a tiny bit at a time, stirring constantly to achieve your desired consistency. For a very young infant, you’ll require a much thinner puree. As the child gets older and more able to chew, it can be a bit thicker.

For older babies who are able to eat a wider variety of foods, the family’s dinner can often be processed this way so that they can enjoy the same meal.

How to prepare meat for baby food.

Meat is more difficult to prepare without a food processor but can be done for older babies. If your child is just starting out with solids and you are unable to puree it in a food processor, you may need to delay introducing it for a little while and just add bone broth to their vegetable purees.

  1. A slow-cooked, tender meat will yield the best results.
  2. Once the meat is very tender, cut it into tiny pieces – and by tiny, I mean about the size of a grain of rice.
  3. Place it back into the pot and use your potato masher to tenderize it even more.
  4. Stir in some broth or add a vegetable/grain puree.
  5. Press this through a colander with bigger holes. Strain thoroughly to ensure the pieces are small enough that your baby won’t choke.

There’s also the option of this baby food-making gadget.

The methods above all use simple, easily accessible products that most people already have in their kitchens.

However, if you like gadgets and your kitchen is not overflowing with them, this potato ricer would easily strain the daylights out of some baby food, performing all of the tasks that your three kitchen tools above will.

Preserving baby food by canning

If you want to preserve some food during harvest time for baby to eat later, remember this one important thing:

You should NOT puree food before canning.

Whenever you puree a low acid food and can it, you run the risk of not reaching the appropriate internal temperature throughout the puree to keep the food safe from botulism. Botulism can be deadly for a healthy adult – it would be difficult for an infant to survive a bout of the disease.

If you are putting food back for baby, can the item as is normally directed. For example, potatoes or squash should be diced, green beans should be cut into jar sized pieces – you get the idea. Then, at serving time, use the steps above to process the jarred food for baby. You won’t need to boil it any further to reach the appropriate consistency – just start right in with the straining and the smashing.

To learn how to safely home can fruits, vegetables, and more, check out my book, The Prepper’s Canning Guide.

The post The Prepper’s Guide to Making Homemade Baby Food (without a Blender or Food Processor) appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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Traumatic Brain Injuries in Survival Settings

Traumatic Brain Injuries in Survival Settings | traumatic-brain-injury | Medical & Health PreparednessSurvival

Injuries are part and parcel of a long-term survival scenario. Many realize that good boots, gloves, and even protective eyewear will prevent many of these injuries, but few will take action to protect against head injuries.

Most head injuries cause superficial damage and are not life-threatening. Indeed, most amount to only a laceration of the scalp, a black eye, or a painful bump. These wounds, however, can hide damage inside the cranium, the part of the skull that contains the brain.

Injuries that affect the brain are called traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). It’s important for the medic to recognize when trauma to the skull has caused damage that is more than superficial.

Concussions – The Most Common TBI

Concussions are the most common type of TBI. A concussion is associated with a variety of symptoms that are often immediately apparent. The presentation of a concussion will vary from one individual to the next.

Although you might expect a loss of consciousness, the victim often remains completely alert. As you might imagine, pain at the site of injury or headache is the most commonly seen symptom.

Others include:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Loss of motor coordination
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Ringing in the ear (also called “tinnitus”)
  • Difficulty concentrating

A person with trauma to the head may be knocked unconsciousness for a period of time. In most cases, they will “wake up” in less than 2 minutes, but you can notice them to be “foggy” and behave inappropriately (put me in, coach!). They may not remember the events that led to the injury. This patient will merit close observation for the next 48 hours.

Examine the victim for evidence of superficial injuries and determine that they has normal motor function. This includes making sure they can move all their extremities with full range and strength. Even so, rest is prescribed for the remainder of the day. When your patient goes to bed, it will be appropriate to awaken them every two or three hours to make sure that they are easily aroused. In most cases, a concussion causes no permanent damage unless there are multiple episodes of head trauma over time, as in the case of, say, boxers.

It should be noted that a physical strike to the head is not necessary to suffer a concussion. A particularly jarring football tackle or the violent shaking of an infant can cause a concussion or worse traumatic brain injury. This is because the brain “bounces” against the walls of the cranium. When injury occurs at the site of a blow to the head, it’s called a “coup” injury. Just as often, it can occur on the opposite site of the head, known as a “contrecoup” injury.

In many cases, evidence of direct trauma to the skull is visible. An “open” head injury means that the skull has been penetrated with possible exposure of the brain tissue. If the skull is not fractured, it is referred to as a “closed” injury. An indentation of the skull is clear evidence of a fracture and the outlook may be grim, due to the likelihood of bleeding or swelling in the brain. A closed injury may still become life-threatening for the same reasons.

The brain requires blood and oxygen to function normally. An injury which causes bleeding or swelling inside the skull will increase the intracranial pressure. This causes the heart to work harder to get blood and oxygen into the brain. Blood accumulation (known as a hematoma”) could occur within the brain tissue itself, or between the layers of tissue covering the brain.

Without adequate circulation, brain function ceases. Pressure that is high enough could actually cause a portion of the brain to push downward through the base of the skull. This is known as a “brain herniation” and, without modern medical care, will almost invariably lead to death

Signs and Symptoms of Serious TBI

There are a number of signs and symptoms which might identify those patients that have a serious TBI. Besides an obvious indentation in the skull, they include:

  • Prolonged loss of consciousness
  • Convulsions (Seizures)
  • Worsening headache over time
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bruising (around eyes and ears)
  • Bleeding from ears and nose
  • Worsening confusion/apathy/drowsiness
  • One pupil more dilated than the other

If the period of unconsciousness is over 10 minutes in length, you must suspect the possibility of significant injury. Vital signs such as pulse, respiration rate, and blood pressure should be monitored closely. The patient’s head should be immobilized, and attention should be given to the neck and spine, in case they are also damaged. Verify that the airway is clear and breathing is regular. In a collapse, this person is in a life-threatening situation that will have few curative options if consciousness is not regained.

Other signs of a traumatic brain injury are the appearance of bruising behind the ears (Battle’s sign) or around the eyes (raccoon sign). These signs may occur despite the point of impact being elsewhere. Presence of Raccoon or Battle sign suggests a fracture with internal bleeding. Bleeding from the ear itself or nose without direct trauma to those areas is another indication. The fluid that drains out may be clear, usually representing leakage of spinal fluid.

In addition, intracranial bleeding may cause pressure that compresses nerves that lead to the pupils. In this case, you will notice that your unconscious patient has one pupil more dilated than the other.

The Final Word

Luckily, most head injuries will be minor and the effects temporary. Major traumatic brain injuries will be difficult for the survival medic to effectively treat, just one of the hard realities that face the caregiver in long-term survival.


 Joe and Amy Alton are the authors of the 3 category #1 Amazon Bestseller “The Survival Medicine Handbook“.  See their articles in Backwoods Home, Survival Quarterly, and other great magazines as well as their website at www.doomandbloom.net. The opinions voiced by Joe Alton, MD, and Amy Alton, ARNP. are their own and are not meant to take the place of seeking medical help from a qualified healthcare provider.


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It’s Back: How to Prep for Ebola 2.0

It’s Back: How to Prep for Ebola 2.0 | ebola | General Health PreparednessSurvival Special Interests US News World News

On May 12th, the World Health Organization declared an Ebola epidemic in the Congo. (source) It looks like it could be time to prep for Ebola 2.0.

The WHO had already warned a new outbreak could happen at any time because the virus lurks in the eyes, central nervous system, and bodily fluids of survivors.

Dr. Peter Salama, the executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, told the press to “never, ever underestimate Ebola” and to “make sure we have a no-regrets approach to this outbreak.” (source)

Where it’s happening

The fact that this epidemic is currently in a remote part of the North East Congo should set your mind at ease, although not so much that you don’t keep on eye on the situation. With the availability of rapid air travel and unchecked immigration into Europe, these types of things can spread incredibly quickly.

This map from the CDC shows the area in which the current outbreak is centered. It’s the large red splotch in the Northern part of the Congo.

It’s Back: How to Prep for Ebola 2.0 | ebola-map-768x594 | General Health PreparednessSurvival Special Interests US News World News It is both good and bad news that the area is extremely remote. It’s good because it lessens the possibility for exposure to other areas. Not many people travel in and out of Likati because there are no paved roads. But this also causes concern because it makes it far more difficult to monitor the area, and it’s spreading fast.

The risk from the outbreak is “high at the national level,” the WHO said, because the disease was so severe and was spreading in a remote area in north-eastern Congo with “suboptimal surveillance” and limited access to health care.

“Risk at the regional level is moderate due to the proximity of international borders and the recent influx of refugees from Central African Republic,” the organisation said, but it nonetheless described the global risk as low because the area is so remote.

About a week ago, in addition to the nine suspected cases, 125 patients who had come into close contact with the disease were being monitored. Now about 400 patients are being followed, even as nine new cases were reported on Thursday, according to the WHO. (source)

It’s spreading rapidly throughout the region, up 800% over the last week. (source)

Why Ebola is so worrisome

Part of the reason Ebola seems particularly terrifying is the graphic presentation, which is the stuff of horror movies. It is a hemorrhagic disease, which means that it can cause bleeding from the mouth, eyes, nose, and rectum. Here’s how it progresses:

The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms is 2 to 21 days. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms. First symptoms are the sudden onset of fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding (e.g. oozing from the gums, blood in the stools). Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes. (source)

But it isn’t just the gruesome visuals. The risk of death from Ebola can be anywhere between 50-90%, depending on the strain. This outbreak is the Zaire strain of Ebola, which is the same one that made it to America back in 2014.

The 2014 outbreak that could have spread through America

If you recall, the fact that it didn’t become widespread in the US during the 2014 scare was NOT because it was handled properly.  source, and It was sheer luck.

When American Patient Zero, Thomas Duncan, first showed up in a Texas emergency room, he wasn’t tested, despite the fact that he told them he was from Ebola-stricken Liberia.  Proper practices were not followed, and one of the nurses who cared for him became the second victim. All sorts of near misses occurred, like the fact that the plane that carried an Ebola patient made FIVE trips before it was sanitized.

The news came out this morning that the second American nurse diagnosed with Ebola flew on a plane with 132 other passengers from Cleveland, Ohio to Dallas, Texas.  Amber Vinson had a low-grade fever when she boarded the plane, and was admitted to Texas Presbyterian Hospital just hours after disembarking.

The latest horror?

Not only were 132 people who flew with Vinson exposed to Ebola.

In the time it took the CDC to notify Frontier Airlines of the issue, 5 more flights were made. (source)

That sounds like the plot of a cringe-y movie, where you watch the sneeze spray of an infected person in slow motion landing on everyone nearby. But that wasn’t the only mind-boggling thing that happened.

But that wasn’t the only mind-boggling thing that happened. We brought some exposed people back to the US and put them in hotels.

A couple of days ago an American healthcare worker who had been definitively diagnosed with Ebola was brought back to the US for treatment at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.  Eleven more patients have been isolated and are on their way to the United States as well, after having had  “potential exposure” to the disease.

Now, about those people who were “potentially exposed”?

They aren’t being hospitalized. Oh no.  They are being brought back to stay at hotels “near” three different hospitals in different regions of the country. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. (source)

So, I think we can all agree, looking to the National Institute of Health, the CDC, and the WHO to keep us “safe” is not the best fall-back plan. We have to be prepared to take action ourselves should this outbreak turn into a pandemic.

Don’t panic. Just Pay Attention.

There is usually a little bit of warning before an outbreak becomes severe enough to warrant the title “pandemic.” It isn’t like The Walking Dead, where suddenly 80% of the population is affected overnight. With a pandemic, you hear a little hum about it before it gets bad. The World Health Organization makes some flyers, reports are given, and there is a mention on the evening news. But, generally speaking, officials are stingy with information because they don’t want to “start a panic.” This means that the judicious prepper needs to pay close attention when new viruses begin to be mentioned.

Now, just because a virus is mentioned, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to become a pandemic, of course. However, it can be an early warning sign that you need to get your ducks in a row.

Think of it like a tropical storm.  You hear about it gathering steam out over the ocean well before it ever makes landfall. Just because there is a storm somewhere in the Atlantic, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to hit, but it means that the wise person begins to pay closer attention to the weather reports, makes certain that the basics are stockpiled, and puts together a plan just in case the time to board up the windows arrives.

How to Prep for Ebola: Worst Case Scenario

Avoiding contact with people who have the illness is the only way to prevent getting it. Should an outbreak occur, isolating yourselves is the best way to stay safe and healthy.

This is the tricky part: How do you know that the time has come to get the family inside and lock the doors behind you? Lizzie Bennett, a retired medical professional, wrote an incredibly helpful article over on her website Underground Medic during the initial outbreak. Bennett recommends social distancing as the only effective way to protect yourself and your family from an outbreak of disease.

How long you should remain isolated depends primarily on where you live. For those in towns and cities it will be for much longer than those living in rural retreats where human contact is minimal. Though those fortunate enough to live in such surroundings should remember that if the situation is dire enough, people will leave the cities looking for safety in less populated areas. In large centres of population there will be more people moving around, legally or otherwise, each of these individuals represents a possible uptick in the disease rates, allowing the spread to continue longer than it would have they stayed indoors and/or out of circulation. Even when the initial phase is on the wane, or has passed through an area, people travelling into that area can bring it back with them triggering a second wave of disease as people are now emerging from their isolation…

One hundred miles is my buffer zone for disease, of course it could already be in my city, but practicalities dictate that I will not stay away from people because hundreds in Europe are dropping like flies. Maps of disease spread look like a locust swarm moving across the country and this allows disease spread to be tracked on an hour by hour basis. One of the few instances where mainstream media will be useful. (source)

Once you’ve gone into lockdown, how long you must stay there is dependent on the spread of the illness. Times will vary.  Bennett suggests these guidelines:

Once the doors were locked we would stay there for at least two weeks after the last case within 100 miles is reported. A government all clear would be weighed against how long it had been since the last case was reported in the area I have designated as my buffer zone. There is of course still the chance that someone from outside the area will bring the disease in with them causing a second wave of illness. You cannot seal off cities to prevent this. Going out after self-imposed isolation should be kept to a minimum for as long as possible, and if you don’t have to, then don’t do it. Far better to let those that are comfortable being out and about get on with it and see if any new cases emerge before exposing yourself and your family to that possibility. (source)

What does it mean to go into lockdown?

This Ebola thing could go bad in a hurry. And by bad I mean that the last time around, it killed well over half of the people who contracted it in West Africa.

If the situation hits close enough to home that you decide to go it’s time to isolate yourselves, the rules to this are intractable.

No one goes out. No one comes in.

I know this sounds harsh, but there are to be no exceptions. If you make exceptions, you might as well go wrestle with runny-nosed strangers at the local Wal-Mart and then come home and hug your children, because it’s the same thing.

Once you have gone into lockdown mode, that means that the supplies you have on hand are the supplies you have to see you through.  You can’t run out to the store and get something you’ve forgotten.

That means if a family member shows up, they have to go into quarantine for at least 4 weeks, during which time they are not allowed access to the home or family, nor are they allowed to go out in public.  Set up an area on your property that is far from your home for them to hang out for their month of quarantine. If at the end of the month they are presenting no symptoms, then they can come in.

It sadly means that you may be forced to turn someone away if they are ill, because to help them means to risk your family.

Now is the time to plan with your preparedness group how you intend to handle the situation. Will you shelter together, in the same location, and reserve a secondary location to retreat to if the situation worsens further or if someone becomes ill? Will you shelter separately because of the nature of the emergency?  Decide together on what event and proximity will trigger you to go into lockdown mode. Make your plan and stick to it, regardless of pressure from those who think you are over-reacting, the schools that your children have stopped attending, and any other external influences. If you’ve decided that there is a great enough risk that you need to go into lockdown, you must adhere to your plan.

Prepare an isolation area.

In the event that a member of your group becomes ill, they need to immediately be quarantined from the rest of the group. By the time they’re showing symptoms, it could be too late to prevent the spread of illness but effort should still be taken to isolate them.

Here are some tips on isolating a patient.

  • The sick room should be sealed off from the rest of the house.  Use a heavy tarp over the doorway to the room on the inside and the outside. This will make a small breezeway for the caretaker to go in and out.
  • The caretaker should cover up with disposable clothing, gloves, shoe covers, and hair covers.
  • The caretaker should wear an N95 mask.
  • The sick person should use disposable dishes and cutlery.  All garbage from the sick room should be placed in a heavy garbage bag and burned outdoors immediately.
  • The sick person should not leave the room.  If there is not a bedroom with a connected bathroom, a bathroom setup should be created within the room.  Great care must be taken with the disposal of this waste.

You can learn more about preparing a sick room HERE.

Do you have the supplies you need to weather a pandemic?

It’s time to do a last minute check of your preps because by the time a general quarantine is announced in your area or you hear the mainstream suggesting that people should stay home, it will be too late to get the rest of your supplies. As well, at that point, the path of the pandemic will have progressed so much it will be unsafe to do so.

You need to be prepared to go into family lockdown mode for a minimum of 6 weeks should things get bad in your area, and preferably longer than that in the event that this takes a long time to contain.  It’s most likely that services such as public water and electricity will remain intact, but you should prepare as though they won’t be, just in case.

Here’s a quick checklist along with some links to resources.  Base amounts on the number of family members you’ll be sheltering.

Note – we do not commonly use anti-bacterial products but in a situation like this, it’s important to have this type of thing on hand in the event that there are issues with sanitation.

Books and Reference Materials:


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The post It’s Back: How to Prep for Ebola 2.0 appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


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How to Survive World War 3: Prepping for a US Mainland Conflict

How to Survive World War 3: Prepping for a US Mainland Conflict | world-war-31 | PreparednessSurvival Special Interests US News

Aside from everyone nuking each other into mutually assured obsolescence, the World War 3 worst-case scenario for Americans would be if the conflict reached the American mainland. An invasion. A massive assault.

The ideas seem unlikely, considering that the last time there was a  full-on war on the American mainland was during the American Civil War. Previous to that, there were some foreign invasions but our land has been protected from battles against other countries almost two centuries.

But is it really so far fetched?

There is a great deal of debate about whether it could happen. I can’t predict the future, but I can analyze the possible threats and make suggestions for preparing for such an event.

In parts 1 and 2 of this series, I wrote about surviving if war erupted on distant shores. Part 3 was some predictions about how it could go down.

In all of this uncertainty, one thing remains sure: it would be an entirely different ballgame if the battle came to us.

Why have we been safe in previous World Wars?

There are many theories about why the United States has been safe during previous conflicts. Here are a few reasons that foreign armies haven’t invaded.

  • The Second Amendment: Americans are armed to the teeth. Most other countries on the planet do not have an armed citizenry. The fact that almost half of the country is armed and that there are more than 357 million civilian firearms (and that is just the number of guns that are registered – unregistered estimates boost the number as high as 600 million) means that a foreign army on the ground would face major resistance. However, in certain anti-gun strongholds like Chicago, New York City, and Southern California, the risk of resistance would decrease accordingly. As well, an unfortunate downturn in gun ownership also weakens us.
  • Trained and organized forces: We already have an organized military, from our armed forces to the National Guard. Add to this our police forces, sheriff’s departments, and our veterans, and there are many trained people on our soil at all times. Many states have citizen militias that train regularly as well.
  • Geographic isolation: A stealthy invasion would be very difficult due to our isolation. A land invasion would have to come through Canada or Mexico. Canada would most definitely resist, although Mexico could be a wild card, especially with our strained relations. And crossing the Pacific or Atlantic with enough soldiers for a physical invasion of a country with millions of people wouldn’t exactly be a subtle process either. Our advanced warning systems would detect breaches in airspace or waters of any force large enough to do this. Add to this the fact that our Navy is almost triple the size of the next biggest naval force on the planet. (China)

This doesn’t mean a mainland conflict is impossible, though.

While this appears to be the least likely scenario, it doesn’t make it impossible.

During a chat with a military friend, he said that if he were going to invade the mainland, he’d collapse the economy first. As preppers, we all know that an economic collapse would lead to internal strife. Our on-the-ground military and police forces would be busy trying to maintain some type of order. Martial law would probably be declared.

Then, incoming forces would be able to sway the minds of many people with the idea of freedom from this martial law. Think about how easily many people in the younger generation have been co-opted by idealized notions of communism or socialism, and you’ll realize this isn’t such a far-out concept.

An invasion like this would be a psychological operation (psy-op) more than a typical battle.

And, as much as we’d like to believe it is, our airspace and waters are not 100% impenetrable. There have been near-intrusions into both in recent months. Back in February, a Russian spy ship was reported only 30 miles off the coast of Connecticut. In early April, increased Naval aircraft patrols sparked concerns that a Russian or North Korean submarine might be lurking off the coast of California. Later in April, Russian military planes were flying uncomfortably close to US airspace near Alaska for 4 days in a row. Those types of intrusions indicate the possibility of attack rather than invasion. If we were crippled by a massive attack, the invasion part would probably follow closely behind.

What are the most likely scenarios?

These things nearly always start out with a shocking event that no one saw coming. Think back in history to the bombing of Pearl Harbor or the German invasion of Poland in the wee hours of the morning. No one went to be the night before expecting all hell to break loose the next day, with enemy soldiers overhead or encroaching.

Nuclear Attack

Border and coastal areas would be most vulnerable to initial attacks by air or sea. Nuclear weapons are likely to be used in such attacks. Those living close enough to potential targets need to get their nuclear preparedness plan in order, just in case.

Kim Jong Un can’t shut up about his plans to nuke America and Russia recently backed out of a disarmament agreement, failing to dispose of enough weapons-grade plutonium to make 17,000 nuclear warheads. The North Korean leader keeps doing unauthorized missile tests to prove his nuclear potential. In fact, yesterday, one of his missiles landed a mere 60 miles off the coast of Russia.

Cyber Attack

A cyber attack could take many directions, but the most likely would be crippling the internet and/or the financial sector. It’s possible that US Defense computers could also be affected. Any of these would cause chaos in the day-to-day affairs of many people. Last week’s Ransomware attack would only be a drop in the bucket compared to the havoc that could be wrought.

  • You might not be able to use bank or credit cards, causing business transactions to grind to a halt.
  • You might not be able to complete your work (most places rely on the internet for at least part of their business activities.)
  • The market would potentially crash or shut down, causing billions to be lost in a day.
  • If defense technology was hacked, we might not be able to see or prevent a physical attack.

Grid Attack

Something that would definitely cause our country to grind to a halt would be an attack on the grid. Whether through an EMP or a cyber attack, anything that shut down our ability to use electrical power would be crippling.

Senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, predicted that a full 90% of Americans would die. R. James Woolsley, chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, testified to the committee of the potential ramifications:

“It’s briefly dealt with in the commission report of [2008]. There are essentially two estimates on how many people would die from hunger, from starvation, from lack of water, and from social disruption. One estimate is that within a year or so, two-thirds of the United States population would die. The other estimate is that within a year or so, 90% of the U.S. population would die. We’re talking about total devastation. We’re not talking about just a regular catastrophe.” (source)

It would be an easy thing for nearly any invading force to come in after something like that.

Biological Attacks

A biological attack could take many forms. It could be the release of a virus, but this would be risky for the enemy country as well, as these things are difficult to contain. It could be something released into water supplies in large metropolitan areas.

The Department of Homeland Security provides this description:

A biological attack is the intentional release of a pathogen (disease causing agent) or biotoxin (poisonous substance produced by a living organism) against humans, plants, or animals. An attack against people could be used to cause illness, death, fear, societal disruption, and economic damage. An attack on agricultural plants and animals would primarily cause economic damage, loss of confidence in the food supply, and possible loss of life. It is useful to distinguish between two kinds of biological agents:

  • Transmissible agents that spread from person to person (e.g., smallpox, Ebola) or animal to animal (e.g., foot and mouth disease).
  • Agents that may cause adverse effects in exposed individuals but that do not make those individuals contagious to others (e.g., anthrax, botulinum toxin). (source)

Attacks from Within

In what just might be the most chilling prospect of all, an attack from within our own borders could be devastating. This is a scenario that seems more likely in a place like Germany, where unchecked immigration of young men of fighting age leads to the potential of a fighting force of millions already in place.

However, look at our own civil unrest since the election of President Trump. Have you ever seen the country so divided? As Americans fight with each other, would it be so difficult to imagine the different “sides” aligning with other powers? Regardless of whether you think the pro-Trump people are the worst or the AntiFa people are, this divisiveness and hatred weakens us as a country and opens the door to foreign interference.

When you add to this the suspicions that some of this division is suspected to have been funded by professional sh*t disturber George Soros, you need not look very far back in history to see that Soros has a record of promoting unrest and destabilization for financial gain. And when you consider our own media has aligned itself against the President, an attack from within isn’t a huge stretch of the imagination.

Take that scenario a bit further and consider the proxy war being fought in Syria right now between the US and Russia. Should all hell break loose within America, even if other countries aren’t directly involved in starting it, you can rest assured that they’ll be choosing sides and fanning the flames of conflict. And then, someone will be there to sweep up the pieces and “help” us.

How on earth do you prep for something like this?

Prepping for the unprecedented is purely theoretical, but nearly every disaster has some potential occurrences that we can base our plans upon.

Disruption of transportation: Regardless of how the event goes down, it’s likely that transportation would grind to a halt. This means that stores wouldn’t be restocked and the “just-in-time” system would ensure shortages within the first 48 hours. You wouldn’t be able to order stuff online, because that wouldn’t be able to get through, either.

In a case like this, what you have on hand is all you have. You need to be prepped for a long time between grocery store trips with shelf stable supplies. The fastest way to build a supply is by purchasing buckets of food, but it isn’t the most economical way. This book outlines how to build a supply of whole, healthy food on a tight budget.

Keep in mind that it isn’t just food you’d run out of. Here is a list of 50 non-food stockpile essentials and here is an article about what they ran out of first during the collapse of Venezuela.

Widespread civil unrest: We’ve already seen unrest in small areas scattered across the country, and it got ugly fast. This trend could become much more widespread, with looting, vandalism, and sheer chaos. Here’s a checklist to help you get prepared for this potential. In such a situation, you must also be prepared to defend your family. I strongly recommend that you get armed for such a potential scenario. Of course, it’s not enough to just be armed. You’ll want to also be trained. Shooting is a perishable skill and you must practice diligently. Your life could depend on it.

Another aspect of civil unrest would be hungry people beating down your door because they know you have food. It is of the utmost importance that you practice good OpSec for such a scenario. If others know that you have supplies, they will expect you to share. If you refuse, things will get ugly. There is a fine line between working together and giving away all your supplies to those who did not prepare.

Martial law: In an all-hell-breaking-loose situation, martial law is almost a given if the government is still operational. There can be just as much risk from your own government as from foreign powers.

In a highly charged situation like this, police and military are trained to use the most efficient methods to speedily shut down a conflict. These methods can include tear gas, sound cannons, and outright physical assaults on citizens. It’s important to note that fear can be a powerful motivator when deciding how much force is appropriate when addressing a threat. Cops are just as subject to fear as the rest of us. 20 cops with shields and batons would be quite reasonable to fear an angry mob of hundreds of shouting people.

Your safety when interacting with officials during a martial law situation does not rely on the intentions of police officers and military. It really doesn’t matter if they are trying to crush your rights under a jack-booted heel, or whether they are trying to benevolently keep people safe and re-establish peace and harmony.

Here are some suggestions to help keep you safe when dealing with cops and soldiers.

  • Avoid crowds. If you are in the midst of a crowd, you’ll be considered part of the crowd and treated exactly like everyone else in that group. If they get tear-gassed, so will you. It’s guilt by association. If the crowd is violent, and you are part of the crowd, you will also be considered violent, and you’ll be dealt with accordingly. Legally, you are actually guilty if you are part of a group that is violent. GO HOME.
  • Be polite. If you have to interact with officers, be courteous. You won’t restore the Constitution by arguing with them or threatening them. It’s fine to assert your rights – you don’t have to allow them to search your house without cause, for example, but do so civilly. Belligerence will get you nothing but a beat-down.
  • You don’t get to explain. In a highly charged situation, the cops probably aren’t going to listen to you when you try to explain that you’re just taking that baseball bat in your hand over to your nephew’s house so he can hit some balls in the backyard. No matter how innocent your intentions are, if you’re walking like a duck, you’re going to be treated like a duck. Training will kick in, and perceived threats will be immediately neutralized by whatever means the cops find necessary.
  • Stay home. It really isn’t worth risking your physical safety to go see what’s going on.

Underneath the uniform, cops are human.  This isn’t me justifying the brutality or the methods, but an attempt to shed light on their motivations. Cops are just as likely to be swept up in a herd mentality as thugs are during a high-stress situation. By understanding this, you can be better prepared.

Nuclear preparedness: Most people picture a nuclear attack as something that results in a nuclear winter akin to that grim, awful movie, The Road. While that isn’t impossible, it’s more likely that the attack would be a smaller one on a designated area. If you are outside the immediate blast zone, the event is completely survivable if you are ready for the possibility.

Here’s an overview of what to do in the event of a nuclear strike.  (Also, we’re currently interviewing experts at Preppers University for a full-length class on the topic. Sign up here so you don’t miss the notification.)

Some things to keep on hand in the event of a nuclear attack are

Biological preparedness: General pandemic preparedness will help you to be ready for the potential of a biological attack. Whether the instigation of a pandemic is deliberate or not, the safety measures will be the same. This article gives you an overview on pandemic preparedness and this book provides thorough detail of what you should do in the event of a pandemic, including vital information on different types of pandemics.

As well, download and print out this fact sheet about different biological threats and proper responses to them.

Make a gray man plan: In nearly any situation, your ability to avoid notice will keep you safer. As mentioned above, you don’t want all of your neighbors to know that you are stocked up and armed to the teeth. If you’re in public, you don’t want anything about yourself to stand out and be memorable. Here’s a great article by a former surveillance operative to help you blend in.

Band together: If you have like-minded neighbors – even if they aren’t preppers – there is safety in numbers. Get to know the people who live nearby and think about who you could trust in a difficult scenario.

This doesn’t mean that you need to tell them what kind of supplies you have. It just means that by building relationships now, these could be the people who have your back when crazy things go down. If your neighbors aren’t a good gamble, consider an exit strategy for getting to your extended family. Selco of SHTFschool, when talking about the occupation of Bosnia, says that people survived by living together in one household. Consider it now – who could you depend on if your town turned into the Wild West? What skills do you personally bring to the table?

Have a long-term survival plan that is already in effect: If you are already accustomed to being self-reliant and living frugally, it will mentally be far easier to transition yourself to wartime survival. Trying to learn to do all of these things when you don’t have any back-up from the store is a risky situation. I wrote about some of my own farming failures in this article. This is why you have to live the life now.

  • How will you collect and purify water?
  • How will you grow food?
  • Do you have the supplies and gear to grow that food?
  • How will you raise livestock?
  • Do you know how to preserve what you grow?
  • How will you protect your little farm from 2-legged and 4-legged critters who want to eat it?
  • How will you heat your home in the winter?

Remember, once things go down, you won’t be able to purchase the supplies to make your rain barrels and outdoor cooking pits. Do these things now.

Consider an evacuation plan: If it came right down to it, is your location survivable during a year-long (or longer) siege? Large cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles would not only be targets for foreign occupation, they’d pose great survivability issues if they were blockaded or if the grid went down. Smaller towns and cities could be better bets, or rural areas with neighbors that aren’t too far away. (After listening to the advice of some people who have lived through dire situations like this one, I completely changed my own long-term survival plan.) Above all, you need to have your team, as I mentioned above.

If you live in a place that would not be survivable, it doesn’t mean you have to pick up and move right away. It means that you do, however, need to have a plan that doesn’t make you a refugee. Know where you’ll go, how to get there, and ensure that you are expected and welcome.

Are you prepared for World War 3?

If you knew that World War 3 was going to start tomorrow, what would you do today to ensure you are prepared?  The global tension doesn’t seem to be easing. An attack on the mainland is not impossible.

Maybe it’s time to make stop putting off those things you know you need to do.

Check out the rest of the World War 3 Series.

Part 1: Is World War 3 Coming? 18 Preppers Discuss Effects, Shortages, and How to Get Ready

Part 2: How to Survive World War 3: Prepping for an Off-Shore Conflict

Part 3: How World War 3 Will Happen: “The citizen will be the last to know.”

Part 4: How to Survive World War 3: Prepping for a US Mainland Conflict


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20 Hurricane Survival Tips From Real-Life Scenarios

20 Hurricane Survival Tips From Real-Life Scenarios | storm | PreparednessSurvival

Imagine this scenario: It’s the year 2005 and you are living in the heart of New Orleans. A hurricane is threatening to hit and even though the city sits 8 feet below sea level, you choose not to evacuate or even prepare because you’ve seen many hurricanes threaten to hit the city and it never makes landfall, so why prepare for this one? Days later, your great city is almost completely flooded from Hurricane Katrina and over 1,800 lives were claimed including some of your neighbors because, like you, they decided not to leave the city. Now you are left without electricity, water, and dwindling supplies. To make matters worse, supply trucks are cut off, the police and emergency services can’t meet the needs of the people and there are looters breaking into homes for supplies. 

Yes, the above scenario is a worst-case scenario, but aspects of this are very common following hurricanes. These tropical storms are extreme and have the capacity to cripple our entire way of life. They are erratic in nature in terms of where they land, the types of damages sustained, and if there will be disasters in the aftermath, such as water-borne diseases, bug infestations, etc. Because of the unpredictability of these disasters, some choose to be complacent and wait to get preparations in order until the storm is imminent and hours away. While some take this disaster seriously and are meticulous in making preparations each year in case this natural disaster hits. So, which group do you choose to be in?

I’ve been very honest about my ordeals in living through a hurricane and I learned from my mistakes. Long story short, after I went through Hurricane Ike and felt helpless and under prepared, I made it my mission to help others get their homes ready for living in off-grid disasters. We all have a life lesson to share, and I am not alone in trying to get the word out on preparing for these storms. I asked some fellow preppers in the community what advice they would offer on how to better prepare for hurricanes, and the community overwhelmingly stepped up to help their fellow-man. When you read this list, pay attention to recurring advice – prepare ahead of time. This is the key to having all of your preparations in order.

20 Hurricane Survival Tips From Real-Life Scenarios

These are their words and, in my humble opinion, this is some very solid advice to follow.

  1. Put all of your important documents on a flash drive and put it in your bug out bag. If the time comes and you need to evacuate, you have everything all prepped and ready to go! – Tess Pennington
  2. My mom had supplies stored in new plastic trash bins. If they needed to bug out, easy to grab and put in the back of the car. Also, the bins would be useful. They also keep thing dry. – Judy Keller
  3. Keep enough cash in your BOB (bug out bag) for at least 1-2 nights in a moderately priced hotel and a few meals. A credit card with a zero or small balance would be beneficial as well. If you forget or lose your wallet, you want a backup method for paying expenses until you can return home. – Jim Cobb
  4. Well before the back to back hurricanes of 2004 in South Florida, I bought 28 gallons of water. I am glad I did because we had enough water for the police directing traffic. There was a lot we did. Whatever you think is best for your family and communities do it. Friends, coworkers so many lost their homes, businesses and more, so the things I regret not stocking up on are items such as diapers, toothpaste, etc. Essentials for all life is key. – Joanne DeHerrera
  5. They evacuated us several times after [Hurricane] Charley for Ivan, and people got stuck on the freeway, people died and animals etc. Ivan hit exactly where they said to evacuate too. We had 6 animals at that time. If I needed to squish them all in the car we would have but there was no gas, so glad there wasn’t. Our circumstances dictate how to respond, however, our gut instinct is always best. -Joanne DeHerrera
  6. We keep about 30 liters of water on hand at all times. I just save empty 2-liter bottles (the plastic is stable for room temp storage unlike plastic milk jugs) and treat the water using the 2:1 ratio with bleach. 2 drops to 1 liter of water. – Abigail Nicholson
  7. If you do not have a generator, get one! Have at least enough power to run the washing machine and microwave. A few solar cells to restore cell phone power, charge batteries for radios and flashlights is a must. Don’t forget the toilet paper and enough clean water for everyone in your family for cooking and drinking. You can use pool or rainwater for other purposes. Often overlooked in the city is a chainsaw with fuel mix, bar oil, extra chains. The bulk of damage outside the home is fallen trees. I was blocked in on my cul-de-sac for over a week by fallen oak trees from my neighbor’s yards. – Jim Alkek
  8. Those little solar lights that go in a garden or along your driveway come in handy to give you some light without candles or lanterns…I charge them up during the day and stick in a flower pot half filled with rocks…it’s not a lot of light but enough that you can see basically what you are doing.  – Sue Heath Reynolds
  9. Using my daughter’s experience from SC, the last time. In her area, her biggest problem was a lack of utilities because of downed trees and flooding. She had food, but no way to cook it. She has 3 daughters and had no way to bathe them. No light and so on…..it was the simple everyday things that made it hard. – Gary Rosenlieb 
  10. Hurricane veteran here. Each storm is unique but the main thing is to pay attention BEFORE everyone else does…that means at least 5 days in advance having everything in place so that all you have to concentrate on is securing your home. Also, knowing in advance if you will stay or go and LEAVING BEFORE they tell you to. Don’t forget oil (chainsaw/generator), a new chain for chain saw (all of which you should have anyways but most don’t replace); and well just making sure you have 2-3 weeks of supplies in place for being on your own. After several east coast hurricanes, it took WEEKS for stores to be back up and running, even 100 miles outside of the strike zone. Oh, TARPS and bug spray. I am not a bug out person, can’t really because of animal obligations (15 dogs, chickens, etc) so I have plenty of crates/kennels and such for them to come in (oh yeah baby, ugh, done it before). – Laura Bradley
  11. Also, a butane burner is great, like a demo chef at a restuarant…they can be used indoors, not expensive and easy to load…at SAMs and many places $22 and a case of fuel (like hairspray cans $12) – Sue Health Reynolds
  12. Around here, we don’t have to worry about water surging in from the coast, but winds can be an issue. When a hurricane comes, we usually tape the windows in an X or * shape. People closer to the water board up their windows, maybe sandbag around their house. All other preps are the same. Be ready to leave in advance of the storm if it looks like it’s going to make landfall close to home. – Cat Ellis
  13. Make sure you know all of the available evacuation routes in your area. The main roads and highways will be delayed due to from the heavy traffic flow, so you will want to plan multiple alternative routes in order to ensure that you are not trapped in a flood while attempting to flee the storm. – John Haskell
  14. Everyone should have these in their EDC/BOB! In a Zip Lock Freezer bag or waterproof sleeve keep a FAMILY picture, copies of your and your children’s birth certificates…parents/grandparents/guardians/siblings should have a clear picture of children they may have to “claim” because you were not together when a problem occurs. Hopefully, this wouldn’t be necessary for an evacuation type scenario but you just never know. No telling who would be in charge when you arrive to pick up kids…it could be teachers, leaders that don’t know you personally or outsiders from DHS/Law Enforcement/TSA…Heaven forbid…there are no guarantees with anything anymore! I’m sure you can add to the list copies of your vehicle title, home title…things that are irreplaceable! You don’t want to get to bogged down but it it’s ultimately important to you…you may someday need proof that it is YOURS!! A flash drive is a great idea but in an extended power outage (EMP/ SHTF) you wouldn’t be able to show someone “the kid is mine”! – Sue Health Reynolds
  15. Not sure if this was mentioned already but have at least one or two pics of you and your pets together. This will go a long way toward proving ownership should you and your fur babies get separated. – Jim Cobb
  16. After making it through Hurricane Matthew, flooding, a week without electricity, and 2 weeks without water, I revised my preps slightly and have 3 major priorities here; a lot more water (needed to drink, cook, wash, and flush) extra fuel for cooking (and multiple cooking types we have a propane grill and a fire pit but after a flooding everything too wet) and non-kerosene lamps (after 2 nights cooped up, and unable to ventilate the fumes get to you). – Deborah Middleton
  17. Put as much as you can in plastic tubs. Especially shoes. Came back after Rita and had a tree through my house. Went right through my closet. No shoes, actually very little of anything. SO PUT AS MUCH IN PLASTIC TUBS AS YOU CAN. Forget the furniture, appliances they can be replaced. – Sue Tidwell
  18. In case it helps everyone is welcome to download the Hurricane and Evacuation topics (and some others) in PDF from our preparedness book. – Janet Liebsch
  19. It’s very wise to unpack your BOB every three months or so, minimum once or twice a year. It helps to be sure what is in there…items you decide you don’t really need and more importantly…items you may not have and really should have. WEIGHT…it’s also important to put those suckers on and see if you can actually carry it 🙂 better yet we need to be walking with them ON 🙁 physical fitness should be one of our number one preparedness priorities…as I point a finger at MYSELF 🙂 – Sue Heath Reynolds
  20. Prepare to defend your home at all costs. You don’t know how long the grid will be down and there will be looters. – Mac Slavo

These pieces of advice are all from those who have lived through this ordeal. They shared their stories because they want to help others prepare and get ready – listen to them. If you need a guide to help you in your preparations, consider The Prepper’s Blueprint to get you disaster ready – step-by-step. Do not wait until the last-minute to prepare or the items you need to live through this ordeal will be limited.

If you live in a highly populated area, understand that resources will diminish quickly, so preparing beforehand can circumvent this. You can always start out with these basic preparedness items to get through a disaster:

  1. Food and alternative ways to cook food
  2. Water – 1 gallon per person/per day for consuming only. Plan more for sanitary needs.
  3. Fuel for generators. Also, consider charcoal for outdoor grills
  4. Batteries and battery charger
  5. Flashlights and lanterns
  6. Generator
  7. Emergency lighting
  8. Ice
  9. Medical supply
  10. Items for baby needs
  11. Sanitation supplies

Ultimately, you are the only one who can best care for your family. Having a stash of your family’s favorite canned or dry goods, a supply of water and a simple medical kit can maintain your basic needs for a short-lived disaster. This simple preparedness supply could set you apart from the unprepared. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, now is the time to prepare. Listen to the advice of your fellow man.

Additional Reading:

Preparation

Supplies

Medical Needs

Communication

Sanitation

Evacuation


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Why I Completely Changed My Family’s Long-Term Survival Plan

Why I Completely Changed My Family’s Long-Term Survival Plan | long-term-survival-plan | Off-Grid & Independent Living PreparednessSurvival US News

For the past five years, I’ve lived the prepper’s dream. I’ve lived on secluded acreage out in the boondocks, with a gate at the driveway to deter those who just wander past. I moved from the Canadian boondocks to the American boondocks (in foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California) and lived the life that all the prepping books recommend.

I grew food, raised livestock, and had hardly any neighbors, and definitely none close enough to be up in my business. I learned more about self-reliance during those years than I ever realized I didn’t know.

I scrimped and saved to be able to move ever-further out into the woods. I loved finally being able to have a small farm. But, then, I came face to face with two people who had lived through the kind of epic, long term SHTF event that we all prepare for and they both told me, based on their personal experiences, I was doing it all wrong.

Here’s the reason I changed my long-term survival plan.

When  I first began working with Lisa Bedford, the Survival Mom, on our live webinar classroom Preppers University, my job was to teach people the things that I had spent years learning. But I never expected our guest instructors to have such a profound impact on my own long-term survival plan.

The first seed of doubt was planted by FerFAL (Fernando Aguirre), the author of The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse, who taught a class sharing his experiences during the collapse of Argentina. He commented that the people who lived more remotely were nearly always victims of horrific crimes. Their little homestead nirvanas were pillaged by criminals. The women were raped. The men were slaughtered. As ideal as their situations sounded, by nature of their very solitude, made them the perfect target for those without morals.

According to Fernando’s experience, unless you have a small army with you, round the clock sentries, and unlimited ammo, living in the country might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

As a single mom with a teenage daughter, that gave me pause. I knew that we didn’t have the firepower or the tactical skills to fight off hordes intent on pillaging our farm. And I also knew that we were so isolated that no one would be around to help if we needed it.

I began thinking about all of the fictional apocalyptic stories. People quickly formed communities because there is safety in numbers. Think about the prison and Alexandria in The Walking Dead. Think about the town of Jericho. Think about the novels of A. American or the books Alas, Babylon and One Second After. In a truly dire scenario, I’m talking about grid-down, all-out collapse, your community becomes the people who live within walking distance of you. And if no one lives within walking distance, well, then, you are truly on your own.

But the final decision was made when I got a chance to talk to Selco.

Like I said, I began to doubt the wisdom of my plan after Fernando’s class, but then came Selco’s class. Selco runs SHTFSchool, where he teaches about his survival experiences living in occupied Bosnia. He survived several years living the life that we all plan for but none of us are truly ready for.

He talked about the crime, the desperation, and the outright brutality.

He talked about how families and groups of friends lived together in one home for safety. It was the only way to survive.

During the Q&A session, I told him about our own situation. That I was a single mom with a teenaged daughter. That we lived 40 minutes from the nearest town with any place with a Wal-Mart or bigger grocery stores and that our nearest neighbors were half a mile away. That we raised out own food, had off-grid water, and a big gate.

And Selco told me, respectfully, that we would not survive in a situation that was like his.

He reiterated that extended families and groups of friends had to band together for survival. He explained how small communities arose inside the walls of their city and how neighbors had each other’s backs.

This was real life, not just some imagined scenario in which we all feel invincible. Here’s a link to one of our webinars with Selco so you can hear for yourself what it was like.

And maybe my plan wasn’t so great after all.

When my daughter graduated early from high school and our former state threw up a bunch of roadblocks when she wanted to go to vocational school, we decided to expand our search. Then, she got accepted into a prestigious private vocational school in a smaller urban area across the country, and I knew the time had come to head back to neighborhood living.

There is nothing more enlightening than talking to people who have been there, done that.

NOTHING.

No amount of theory that I could write could ever compare with the real-life experiences of these two men. And being able to ask them these questions was absolutely invaluable.

I didn’t start running these classes expecting to be the student, but it turns out, I was. I learned something that could save the life of my child and myself. I learned that I was making us both horribly vulnerable should the situation in our country go horribly wrong.

While living in town has its own set of variables and concerns, creating a community in your own neighborhood can be a much more realistic way to survive.

Shameless plug.

To me, the best part of the Prepping Intensives is the fact that you can ask questions like the one I asked Selco and Fernando. This class completely changed my own preparedness plan, and I wasn’t even supposed to be a student. It showed me the flaws in my logic. It gave me an opportunity to reroute our preparedness path.

Even if you feel like your preparedness plan is completely nailed down, you may be missing something essential, like I was. There is nothing like a live conversation to put things in perspective for you, and students get a Q&A session with every single speaker.

This time around, here is just a part of our line-up:

  • Brandon Smith talks about barter economy
  • Tim Young talks about moving to the country to become more self-reliant
  • Tammy Trayer talks about off-grid living
  • Merriweather talks about foraging 
  • Dr. Arthur T. Bradley talks about EMP survival
  • Selco talks about survival in war-torn Bosnia
  • FerFal (Fernando Aguirre) talks about surviving the collapse of Argentina
  • Toby Cowern, an Arctic survival expert, talks about surviving with nothing more than the clothes on your back
  • Cherie Norton, an NRA instructor, talks about situational awareness and personal safety
  • Jim Cobb talks about hardening the security of your home
  • A. American talks about surviving long-term scenarios
  • Cat Ellis talks about herbalism and medical preparedness
  • Lisa Egan, a personal trainer, talks about the importance of fitness as a prep
  • Patrice Lewis talks about rural life

And that’s just a sample of our speakers and topics.

Maybe you’ll discover that your plan has some holes in it, too. Better to find out now than when it’s too late to do anything about it.

Go here to learn about the Prepping Intensive and the Advanced Prepping Intensive.


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Is Your Prepper’s Nightstand Equipped for Survival?

Is Your Prepper’s Nightstand Equipped for Survival? | prepper-nightstand | PreparednessSurvival

Some folks keep their nightstand minimalist, with just a lamp and a clock. Others clutter it with pretty decorative items, sentimental pictures, and the latest book they’re reading.

Then there’s the prepper’s nightstand, which is equipped for a wide variety of middle-of-the-night emergencies.

Imagine this:

You awaken in the middle of the night and something just isn’t right. Maybe you hear someone fumbling at your front door. Maybe the dog is barking his normally lazy head off at the back of the house and you know something is awry. Maybe you awaken to the sound of the smoke alarms and the smell of smoke.

What do you do?

That all depends on what you keep on your nightstand.

I asked the community on Facebook and students in our Prepping Intensive course what they kept on their nightstands and they had some creative additions I hadn’t even considered.

Keep these items on your prepper’s nightstand to be ready to survive anything that goes bump in the night.

Here are a few items that are by-the-bed essentials. Some of them could save your life in the event of a midnight emergency. There are many varieties on the same theme, so below, you’ll find a list of suggestions for each type of prep. I keep my kit tucked into a drawer, aside from my flashlight and firearm, which rest right on top during the night.

A home defense item

Depending on your personal philosophy and the area in which you live, a home defense item within easy reach is an important thing to keep handy. In some countries, you aren’t allowed to have personal defense items, so consider things that could have other uses:

  • A gun and extra ammo: I have older kids, so a loaded firearm is always at my side at night without it needing to be locked away. Please, if you’re going to do this, you must know what you’re doing. Consider taking some shoot/don’t-shoot classes to help you improve your judgment. If you aren’t adept and well-practiced with firearms, you may want to go with a non-lethal option.
  • Pepper spray: Self-defense sprays are not legal everywhere, so you might want to check your local rules and regulations. Some popular and reliable brands are Mace and Sabre. (Don’t go cheap on this purchase.) I like this pepper gel instead of spray because it clings to your assailant without getting in the air like an aerosol spray. People with asthma should never use pepper spray, as just a tiny bit of it inhaled could cause a life-threatening reaction.
  • Alternative sprays: In places where the sprays above are not legal, you might want to watch out for pesky bears (with this bear spray that has a whopping 30 food range) and wasps – don’t you hate when a wasp gets in your house at night? You’ll want to be prepared with this spray.
  • Stun gun: You have to be careful with things that require direct contact. If you aren’t strong, it is not only possible but likely, that it will be taken away and used on you. This being said, many people rely on stun guns like this one. I own one of these tactical stun flashlights which have the added bonus of an electrified end to deter anyone who tries to grab it and take it away.
  • Tasers: These are not legal everywhere, but most work by shooting an electrode at your attacker. If you miss, however, you won’t get a chance to reload. Here is a link to the only one I could find on Amazon.
  • Baton or bat: Some people are fans of striking objects. You can use a tactical baton (found at gun stores) or a good old-fashioned baseball bat for this. Amazon sells a mini-bat for this purpose. Keep in mind that this could go the way of the stun gun and be taken away from you if you don’t know what you’re doing.

A Cutting Implement

I don’t recommend using a knife for self-defense unless you’ve been trained to do so, but there are many reasons that a cutting implement should be in your bedside drawer. For example, in the event of a fire, you can quickly cut the screen of your window to make your exit.

You can go with:

  • Camping knife
  • Exacto
  • Car tool seatbelt cutter (I think this is ideal because it is also designed to help you break glass if you’re trapped in a car – could come in handy if your window happens to be jammed.)

On the same note, if you sleep on the second floor, an escape ladder is essential.

Medications

For those who suffer a life-threatening illness, medication should be kept close at hand. Some examples of necessary medications would be:

  • Heart pills
  • Chewable aspirin
  • Epi-pen

Cell Phone

Many folks keep their cell phones charging on their nightstands for emergency phone calls or flashlights.

Alarms

Intruders dislike noise. They don’t want all the neighbors to know that something is going on. Therefore keeping something close at hand that is loud enough to alert the world to your plight is a great idea.

  • Rape whistle
  • Personal alarm (This one makes a noise with the same decibel level as an ambulance or fire truck)
  • Car keys if you have an alarm on your vehicle
  • Panic button if you have a monitored alarm company

Lighting

You should always have some kind of emergency lighting on your nightstand in case you have to check things out in the middle of the night. This is of particular importance if you have a firearm, You need to know what you are shooting at to prevent a terrible accident.

  • Gun-mounted light: For this reason, a light that attaches to your gun is a great idea. I have this one for my Glock. I’m saving up for this one which has 800 lumens of blinding brightness and a strobe to disorient a prowler.
  • Flashlight
  • A flashlight app on your phone
  • This is the flashlight on my nightstand. It is a tactical flashlight bright enough to blind someone with 1000 lumens. It also has a disrupter strobe and SOS function.

Clothes and Shoes

You should have clothes and shoes close at hand. I keep some hard-soled, slip on shoes by the bed and a hoodie hangs on the back of my bedroom door. Depending what you sleep in and the climate, you might need some sweatpants and a coat nearby as well.

Documents/Physical copies

Lots of people keep physical documents in their nightstands. Some of the suggestions were:

  • Grab and go binder with copies of everything
  • ID
  • Address books
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Written health information, including a list of medications you take, pre-existing conditions, doctor’s contact information, and allergies.
  • Wallet (which will have cash and ID)

Pet Supplies

If you have furry friends, you may want to have things close at hand for them in the event of a fire.

  • Cat carrier
  • Leashes

On this note, I strongly recommend the stickers you can get to put on your doors that let responders know there are pets inside, as well as the kind and the number. (We have these on all our entrances.)

Special Items

There are other things that may be unique to your situation, but absolutely necessary in the event of an emergency. Think about anything you would be hard-pressed to function without for 24 hours.

  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing aids
  • Dentures
  • Religious books

What do you keep on your prepper’s nightstand?

What do you keep nearby at night just in case of an emergency? Share it in the comments section below.


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What Is Your Worst Prepper Nightmare?

What Is Your Worst Prepper Nightmare? | prepper | PreparednessSurvival

What is your biggest fear?

For people in the preparedness realm, we look at the fears of other people and instead of trying to ignore those fears, we look them dead in the eye. We figure out who we’re going to keep those fears from becoming a reality.

That means that our fears are very different.

For most of us, our biggest fear is the failure to be prepared.

A failure to be prepared means that our families are suffering – suffering from something we could have prevented, but didn’t.

Of course, we can’t prevent every bad thing in the world from happening, but here are 5 prepper nightmares from which we can protect our families.

If you want to learn exactly how to keep your worst nightmares from coming true, GO HERE and enroll in the next session of the Prepping Intensive, an 8-week course full of live webinars with experts like Selco, Jim Cobb, Ferfal, and Cat Ellis.

Hunger

Can you think of anything worse than your children saying, “I’m hungry” and having nothing whatsoever to give them?

This happens more often than you might think. In our just-in-time society, there are many people who don’t have enough supplies on hand to last even a few days. Flash back to Superstorm Sandy. While many residents were able to take the disaster in stride, others were begging for help and lining up for government-issued food and water on the second day after the storm shut down highly populated areas like New York City.

Another example that comes to mind were people in lockdown in Boston during the manhunt for the Marathon Bombers. Police officers were delivering food and milk to people’s doorsteps after less than a day of lockdown.

But what happens if there are no first responders? What if the disaster is so bad that there is no government assistance?

If you have no food put back that you can prepare with limited resources, then you and your family will be hungry. You’ll be going without because you didn’t make the simplest preparation of all: emergency food.

This doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can have a supply that will last a week or two for less than $50.

Thirst

The biggest cause of death post-disaster is a waterborne illness.

If your area is hit with a massive earthquake, a devastating storm, a chemical spill, or the target of a terror attack, it’s entirely possible the water that flows from out taps will be unsafe, unavailable, or even deadly. It’s possible the water will stop flowing completely.

And what will you do then?

If all you have is a case or two of individual bottles, that’s not going to last long. You need solutions. You need a water stockpile. You need a secondary source and a way to purify it.

Waterborne illness can kill and it strikes the most vulnerable the hardest. That means your young children, your elderly parents, your spouse who suffers from an autoimmune disorder are the most likely to die from something that you could prevent.

Illness/Injury

Usually, when someone is sick or injured, we take that person to the doctor or the hospital. But what if they become ill or hurt during an emergency? What if there are no first responders? What if medical assistance is not available?

Would you know what to do?

There are some illnesses and injuries that are beyond help without a hospital and a surgeon, but there are many things that you can treat at home during an extreme situation.

The question is, do you have what it takes to save the life of someone you love? Do you have the supplies? The knowledge? The reference materials to find the knowledge?

Or will you hold their hand and watch them die because you never got the books, took the classes, or put back the supplies that could have saved them?

Poverty

In our current economy, a change in financial circumstances could happen to just about anyone. What if it happened to you? Would you be able to provide stability for your family? If you’re like most Americans, you are only one missed paycheck away from financial disaster.

  • If the money stopped coming in, how long could you survive with what you have right now?
  • How long could you feed the family?
  • How long could you keep the electricity and gas on?
  • How long could you keep your car on the road?
  • How long could you keep a roof over your heads?

What if a major, unexpected expense came up? These happen all the time in the form of costly illnesses, a vehicular breakdown, or a catastrophic home repair.

What if things went bad in an even bigger way, like a stock market crash, an economic collapse, or a war?

If you have an emergency fund and some supplies put back, you can weather a financial storm far more easily than those who fill their kitchens paycheck to paycheck.

Violence

Back in 1987, a study performed by the Department of Justice predicted that a whopping 83% of Americans were likely to be the victims of a violent crime in their lifetimes.

And things certainly haven’t gotten better.

But there are preparations that you can make which will reduce your risk of being a victim. There are things you can do to make your home look less inviting to criminals. There are things you can learn (and in return, teach your kids) that will help you prevent becoming a target.

The question is, will you do these things before it’s too late? What could be worse than looking back and knowing you had the knowledge to have protected your family? To know that you could have prevented a terrible thing like a rape or an assault had you only taken the steps to do so?

While sometimes terrible things can happen regardless of your efforts to prevent them, like all of the nightmares above, many crimes are avoidable.

How to keep your nightmares from becoming a reality

There are all sorts of ways to get prepared. You can learn from multiple sources, read books, wade through forums, or just figure stuff out by trial and error. That’s how I got started and it has worked for lots of people.

But is there really time for that so late in the game?

If you are feeling a sense of dread and urgency, given our current geopolitical tensions, our precarious economy, and the civil unrest that is becoming more widespread all the time, we can help you speed the process along.

Think about all of the scenarios above. What if you had someone to walk you through them all in a quick, budget-friendly, and organized manner?  What if you could get prepared in only 8 weeks?

Lisa Bedford (the Survival Mom) and I started Preppers University last year for this very reason. People wanted solutions. They wanted to be able to ask questions in a live environment. They wanted to learn and they wanted to do it fast.

Our program doesn’t tell you exactly what to do because no two situations are the same. What we do is teach you to thrive in your current environment with your current challenges in mind. It isn’t practical for everyone to move out to 800 acres in the boondocks but it is practical for everyone to be as prepared as possible, no matter where they live.

Next month our new session begins. And this is the last time it will be available for only $139. After this, our costs will be going up for hosting, managing the student center, and for technical support. The price next time around will be significantly higher.

Go here to learn more about the Prepping Intensive, including a sneak peak at some of the folks on our guest speaker line-up. If you’re more advanced, we have a course for you too, regarding what to do once all your preps are gone  – check it out here.


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Rules And Dangers When Organizing Security And Survival Groups

Rules And Dangers When Organizing Security And Survival Groups | night-op | PreparednessSurvival Special Interests US News

For many years I have argued that the single most important preparation any person can make if they are concerned about future social or economic instability is the preparation of community building. It is the one thing that everyone needs for survival, and unfortunately, it is the one thing even many preparedness “experts” ignore.

When I talk about “community,” I am talking about groups in many forms. Sometimes a community is merely a small collection of families or neighbors; sometimes it is an entire town or county. Sometimes it is built around a local church, sometimes it is rooted in an already functioning political activism meet-up. Regardless of the size of your community, the people who are organized within a group for mutual aid, defense and trade are light years ahead of everyone else when it comes to survival. In fact, if a national crisis scenario escalates to the point of the disappearance of the rule of law, I would say that those without community will scramble to find one or probably die.

That said, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about organizing. There are also guidelines and hard rules to follow if you want your community to be an advantage rather than an obstacle. I have had the opportunity over the years to see many preparedness groups and organizations in action. I have gleaned knowledge from their successes, and also their numerous failures. I have also had the privilege of coordinating a preparedness group in my local area which has been active for the past three and a half years. So, I am speaking from personal experience when it comes to this process.

Here is what I have learned so far…

The Levels Of Organization

There are different levels of organization, low to high, weak to strong. The biggest factor in determining whether or not your group is strong is usually time.

Many people out there do not want to hear about “time.” Why? Because it is one of the few factors that can’t be replicated. You can’t cut corners when it comes to time. What I mean is, any group of people, no matter how close originally, is going to have trouble operating together as a team unless they have had time to train together. They have to get used to each other’s personalities, and quirks. They have to grow accustomed to each others annoying habits; and maybe even grow fond of them. Without plenty of time working together on various projects and training, no group will be able to function as a unit when a real threat arises.

From my observations, it takes at least six months for any group of people to become psychologically acclimated to one another. Until this happens, their performance will be lackluster.

I have run into far too many preppers that plan (if they even have a plan) to organize AFTER a crisis event has already taken shape. These people have been watching too much television. Again, it takes at least six months for a new group to even learn to trust one another. Post crisis, the problem will be doubly difficult.

The liberty movement is a bit obsessed with the concept of organizing on the fly — throwing together slapdash groups of people who have little or no training with each other for security at events like Bundy Ranch or Berkeley. But this is the weakest form of organization. And, in a survival scenario, such organization is likely to fail miserably.

Groups Need Structure

Liberty minded people tend to be very individualistic and also tend to avoid structure like the plague. Organizing them is often like herding cats — debate prone cats skilled at coming up with rationalizations for why the lack of structure in an endeavor is actually an “advantage.”

Sorry, but groups do not last very long without a skeleton to hang onto, and someone has to provide that skeleton. Maybe it’s a “leader,” a coordinator, a “coach,” whatever; the point is, someone has to make a schedule and get people to stick to it. Someone has to plan projects and someone has to find the right people to head up those projects. Someone has to take the responsibility to ensure that the group stays together and productive. Otherwise, what’s the purpose of it?

In my experience the best structure for a preparedness group is to meet once a week on the same day for no more that a few hours maximum unless there is a very specific and important reason. Do not try to make people sit around for six to eight hours while the more “extroverted” members of the group blather all day. Many of them have lives outside of the survival world and will not come back for another meeting.

As a coordinator, you need to plan out projects and training ideas. What has your group accomplished in the past six months? If your honest answer is “nothing much except a lot of talk,” then this is a problem. People get bored. They want to see results. They want to be a part of those results. Endless political discussions and marches in Ranger File through the woods are not going to keep people interested. You will lose your group eventually, and with good reason.

Vetting Group Members

You will hear the term “OPSEC” thrown around haphazardly in preparedness circles as if it is some kind of catch-all answer as to why organizing is impossible or “just plain stupid.” Well, since we’ve already established that having no organization during a social breakdown is true stupidity ending in probable death, I think we need to take a closer look at the notion of OPSEC.

Firstly, Operational Security does not mean hiding in a survival bunker alone or with your immediate family while the world falls apart outside. Let’s be clear; you are not going to climb out of the ashes fresh as a daisy to rebuild civilization after all the looters have killed each other off. You are not going to fend off even a meager gang of thieves with just your Remington 870 and a Bowie knife. You are not going to be able to keep your family safe and fed, period.

Security requires eyes and trigger fingers, many of them, 24 hours a day seven days a week. We all have to sleep.

So, OPSEC to the degree that you have no community around you is unacceptable in survival terms. Therefore, you have to apply OPSEC more intelligently. This means vetting the people you work with and train with. Do they have an ugly criminal record? Are they former or current drug addicts (“addict” might be subject to interpretation — a guy smoking a joint now and then is probably not an issue but a guy popping Oxycontin on a regular basis should not be trusted)? Do they have a violent personality? Are they prone to overemotional reactions?

Vetting is also not necessarily limited to potential criminality. Is a person incredibly lazy? Do they always have an excuse as to why they can’t help with something? Do they have a tendency to try to take credit for other people’s work? Are they abrasive and difficult to get along with in numerous ways? Are they narcissistic? Are they always attempting to hijack discussions or the group itself and make it all about them? Do they lie about their training level and background?

All of these traits and more could be grounds to remove these folks from a group in the early stages of organizing. This is the real world of OPSEC — going through the difficult process of finding trustworthy people before a crisis ever happens.

Leadership: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Leadership happens, it’s just the way it is. No matter how individualistic a group is, when the world starts to go schizophrenic, everyone starts looking for the men with the plan.

In the best case scenario, this has been done far in advance. The experts in your community have been found over months or years of training and successful projects. These experts also work closely with each other and are open to ideas without being indecisive. They function seamlessly with the rest of the group and the group trusts them because they have earned that trust through leadership by example. They have no interest in self aggrandizement or “glory.” They have no interest in being in charge for the sake of being in charge. In fact, the best leaders are often people that begrudgingly accept leadership, and only because they happen to be the best qualified.

Beware of group members that seem to want leadership a little too much. Watch out for hotheads and fakes that talk up their skills but are always giving orders rather than participating or helping. Beware of guys who love to “plan.” So-called idea men that always have a new scheme to discuss but never follow a single plan through to completion. But most of all, beware of the narcissists; these people will not only not do much to help you, but they will sabotage any and every project you do have in the works in order to co-opt everyone’s attention and energy. If you STILL manage to get some work done, you’ll find them trying to take credit. It is truly an amazing thing to behold a narcissist in action.

Know People’s Limitations

This is pretty straightforward.  I have seen training groups in which old men with hip replacements were asked to march through the woods and hills alongside young men actually fit for field work.  Now, this is perhaps a noble thing, but not practical.  It holds back the people who are capable, and puts undo stress on the people who are not.  Every person in a group should know how to defend themselves TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY.  It is important to make that distinction.  When coordinating a group, it is your job to have the insight to know what each person’s limitations are.

Otherwise, training turns into a circus, and nothing is ever accomplished.  It is a sure sign that the leadership either does not have a clue, or, they don’t have a clue and they are deliberately creating a circus so that no one notices their incompetence.

All Is Revealed Through Training And Work

So, how do you go about not only keeping a group together, but also shield that group from the blunderings of poor candidates for members and leadership? Simple: Training and work.

The group I work with has found that regular training in numerous areas of defense and preparedness makes it very easy to pick out fakes, hotheads and general laziness. Every time we’ve had a guy come through claiming to be retired Navy Seal/ Green Beret/ Special Ops ninja war veteran, all we had to do was ask him to gear up and join us for some simple team movement, or breaking contact, or we just asked him to put some rounds in the X at a reasonable range, perhaps while on the shot clock. And almost every time, the braggers fail miserably. Some of them buy some gear and don’t even know how to put it on before they arrive to train. If you find yourself cringing the whole time a self proclaimed expert is training with you, then something is wrong.

Hard work is also a great vetting tool. On the days where you have to practice digging a position, who is suddenly too busy? Maybe your medical team is running a class that requires some study the night before; the next day who has practiced and who hasn’t? Who wants to help with projects and who slinks off with other matters to attend to? We are all prone to lazy behavior at times, but you should be looking for people who suffer from this problem in a chronic way and make a clean break with them long before a crisis event unfolds.

Organization Is Absolutely Necessary To Survival

There is no way around it — through modern history the people who are most organized during a disaster are the most likely to live. The people who are not organized have to rely on luck. I don’t believe in luck.

Community is a source of defense, a source of skill sets, a source of production, a source of trade and a source of psychological comfort. One person or one small family will never be able to replicate all the skills and resources needed to endure in a widespread crisis. It’s not just about numbers, it’s also about cooperation. A man alone might be invisible for a time, but the second he is accidentally found he is done for. His preparations are then subject to the whims of the group that finds him. He might also find himself sick, or physically injured, and then what? Who watches over this secret squirrel and his bounty of preps? No one.

I have been asked many times in the past what the most important preparedness item is? What one thing would I recommend over all else? My answer is always “community.” It is the most vital prep, and it is the most neglected.


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The post Rules And Dangers When Organizing Security And Survival Groups appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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