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The Dangers of Symbolic Events or Holidays in the United States

holidays-in-us

Any gathering of people can be a potential target for someone or some group. This is nothing new however. Attacks at gatherings have happened for centuries, and they will continue to happen.

Mass casualties are the intention, so when people are grouped together it takes less effort and little training to inflict injury and to cause fatalities. Shooting into a crowd of people requires no training to kill a number of people in the crowd. It only requires the mindset needed to pull the trigger.

The definition of terrorism is to use violence and threats to intimidate or to coerce others, particularly for political purposes.

Staying home huddled in fear is not an option. If you are forced to change, because of a threat or a perceived threat then you have been coerced, and you now have lost a certain amount of freedom, but then again survival is the objective.

The so-called lone wolf attack is the hardest one to guard against, because a person can have intentions that are not disclosed or obvious to anyone, and if they are, it is usually to sympathizers that only encourage the behavior and not deter it. In some cases, there is no trail to pick up, so to speak. This person can show up at any event with a firearm concealed on their person and open fire. They can use a vehicle as a weapon or use explosives.

Situational Awareness

You have all heard the term, but how many of you practice it. Early humans literally had to guard against predators lurking at the entrances of their shelters. A foraging expedition or a trip to the river for water was fraught with dangers from other humans and four legged predators. Humans for centuries were conditioned to scan the trees, the darkened woods and to check the shadows for danger. A weapon was always at hand, and no one became so engrossed in his or her tasks that they did not look up continually to check their surroundings. They knew which way to bolt if the chance presented itself and if not they stood and met the threat head on. They had a plan.

If you hear gunshots do you run toward them or away from them? If you do not have a weapon and are not trained to counter an attack then you run from the sound of gunfire, otherwise you may lose your life. You literally herd your friends and family away from the sounds. You need to know where the exits are, what objects can offer cover (protection from rounds), and you need to know what can conceal you from an attackers’ view. Cover and conceal. You need to always look for avenues of escape no matter where you are.

Do you know what a gunshot sounds like, or will you confuse it with fireworks, it would be easy to pass off explosions and loud bangs as fireworks. Stay out of the middle of the crowd and if you hear what may be gunshots look for people running, and if the crowd begins to move or panic then you have to move quickly, more quickly than the crowd.

You should never let yourself get caught in the middle of any crowd. Once an attack starts those around you will panic and impeded your movements, and in some cases, if you fall you could be trampled to death. People trapped in a burning building will pile up at blocked exits and can suffocate or trample people around them. Crowds are dangerous for this very reason. They impeded your escape and they can kill you.

Alcohol makes you an easy target and when celebrating in public when there is a large gathering you need your wits for any number of reasons. Becoming drunk in public makes you a target for literally anyone, because you may think you can deter someone but you cannot.

Soft targets are typically those not guarded well or at all, and so they make easy targets. Attackers do not want to be fired upon. They do not want anything to slow or to stop their carnage, so they will choose targets that they suspect or know will not be guarded well, such as malls, outdoor markets, parades, parties, and any gathering in a public place.

If you have to leave in a hurry do you know which way to go and if the first avenue is blocked do you have an alternative route mapped in your head. This is the world we all live in today, and we all have to pay attention to what is happening in our immediate area, and around the world so we can do threat assessments.

Enjoy life, enjoy celebrations, but always have an eye to the trees, to the shadows and always have an escape route mapped out in your head. Consider the “what ifs” at all times.

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What to Tell Cashiers When They Ask You About Your Preps

cashier

OK, so you’re a little annoyed whenever you buy new preps because some cashiers have clever remarks as to the quantity of food you’re getting and… you find yourself in need of some clever answers.

Not to worry, I’ve got plenty of comebacks for you and I’m sure you’ll love them. Of course, which ones you use depends on what you’re buying and what they are asking so you don’t want to fixate on one or two that you like best. You should know all of them and, even better, you should come up with your own clever lines to say to them,

Before we begin, just remember cashiers are people like you and me and they’re just making small talk, nothing more. So don’t act or be paranoid, you’ve got other people interested in your preps besides them.

#1. Don’t say anything.

Or you can just say “yeah” and leave it at that. if you’re not gonna say anything, they might think you’re prepping but who cares? At least it won’t bother you that much because you ended everything before it began.

#2. “I’m going camping…”

…with my whole family. Which you probably should, anyway. No one can deny that a lot of the stuff you’d buy for stockpiling purposes would be useful when camping. It’s a good excuse and most people will buy it.

#3. “I have a big family event coming up.”

That could mean up to 20 or even 30 people! Of course, this won’t work if you’re getting canned food, MREs or freeze dried. It does work when you’re stocking up on beans, rice, water, pasta, salmon, cooking oil, spices, baking soda, vinegar, tea and coffee.

#4. “I’m prepping for Doomsday.” (sarcastically)

You want to say it sarcastically because then you’re sure they won’t believe you. On the other hand, if you truly don’t care of what others say and think, you probably don’t need to read this article at all.

Of course, you don’t NEED to say this word by word. It doesn’t matter how you phrase it as long as you come across congruent.

#5. Just say “Yes” or “No”

When you give one word answers, the other person just… gives up.

#6. Say something funny.

So they might think you’re a little crazy but at least they won’t know what you’re up to. You can have any number of sarcastic comebacks such as:

  • “I’m aiming for high blood pressure.”
  • “I’m going back to the dating game and I plan to have a lot of dinner dates right at home.”
  • “Just getting ready to watch the Superbowl.”
  • “I’ll be placed under house arrest starting midnight for the next month or so.”
  • “I’m doing food experiments at home.”
  • “I’m giving all of this away to food banks.”
  • “Yeah, this is for my pet rhino.”
  • “This is exactly the reason they say you should never shop when you’re hungry.”
  • “I’m really hungry tonight.”

Just be careful with these. Don’t use the ones that are too cocky unless the cashier is open and friendly, otherwise they’ll end up remembering you, the thing you were trying to avoid all along!

The whole idea about buying preps is to become gray and one of the ways you do that is by not standing out too much (or at all). And humor is a good way to do that, by the way.

#7. “I hate shopping and don’t do it very often.”

Well, it is believable, I guess. Cashiers aren’t supposed to be smart-asses so they’re not gonna say anything back. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with shopping every 3-4 weeks. You don’t have to say you hate it, you can just say it salves time.

#8. “I’m just building up a pantry.”

You can go on and say that it’s always smart to have a well-stocked pantry since food prices are rising and packages are getting smaller. Plus, you can let them know that these foods have a very high shelf life, just to subtly assure them everything’s normal.

#9. “I’m stockpiling for my hunting/fishing cabin.”

Another good comeback which works better when you’re not lying. If you really do have a hunting or a fishing cabin, you should definitely use this comeback. And you should lodge it stocked up, too, you might end up bugging out there.

#10. “I’m just helping out my church.”

Who can argue with that?

#11. “I have a large family.”

Are they gonna come home with you to find out? Nope.

#12. Turn the tables on them

A fantastic way to avoid answering too many questions is to start asking questions yourself. This way, the cashier will end up talk more than you and forget all about how much you’re buying.

What you need is a good hook but it can’t be something unrelated to their comment. For example, if they’re asking why you’re buying so much rice, you can change the subject but you can use “rice” as a hook:

Yeah, I’m not sure which one is better, though, white or brown? White is tastier and has longer shelf life but brown is healthier.

And you take it from there.

#13. “I’m shopping for the restaurant where I work.”

Well, it can happen that a restaurant runs out of food and needs a few quick supplies, right? Another way of looking at it is that SHTF in that restaurant but you probably don’t want to mention this to the cashier.

#14. Flirt

It just works, particularly if the cashier is cute. And if she’s not, she probably doesn’t get a lot of attention…

Do You Really Need to Do This?

Not really but I found that the less arguments, the more peaceful I feel. Even when you don’t want to admit it, other people’s words, can get to you so the less you hear the better.

Last but not least, don’t forget that a cashier’s job is also to be friendly and make small talk. In the vast majority of cases, they won’t even remember what you told them after two minutes. They make small talk just to be polite and someone buying too much of one thing is always a good excuse.

How can you completely avoid these remarks?

If you’re not comfortable having to explain complete strangers why you’re buying so much of one thing, you can just avoid everything by:

  • buying less stuff more frequently;
  • noticing when there are different cashiers so they don’t remember you;
  • buying in different places;
  • sending your wife or kids for you;
  • buying online;
  • buying directly from farmers.
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Bug Out Bag Gear Must-Haves: Microfiber Towel

Bug Out Bag Gear Must-Haves: Microfiber Towel

Packing a bug out bag is tough, as if you plan to travel long distances, you’ll want to keep your bag as light as possible (consider adding pannier  to your bike for additional food and water storage).

But what is one must-have that has several uses, and even provides a little bit of creature comfort?

The Microfiber Towel.

I use a microfiber towel when camping or backpacking abroad, and it’s been a life-saver. Packing a towel sounds cumbersome, but hear me out — these towels are a fraction of the weight of your standard bath towels, and they have several uses in a survival scenario.

Reasons to Add a Microfiber Towel to Your Bug Out Bag

  • Drying off after bathing
  • Serve as an extra blanket on cold nights
  • Head covering in direct sunlight / cold compress if soaked in cold water
  • Wrap around clothes for a makeshift pillow
  • Sun covering if have to build a makeshift shelter
  • Could serve as an absorbent rainwater catch in drastic scenarios (ring it out afterwards and purify the water)
  • Packs down 5x smaller than a regular towel
  • Air dries SUPER quickly (can even air dry by draping over your backpack while hiding)
  • Fraction of the weight of a regular bath towel
  • It’s a little piece of comfort of home life before SHTF, which may help your morale.

There are several different options for microfiber towels available at various camping stores, but as always, Amazon seems to come out on top with the best pricing — a quality microfiber towel on Amazon costs around $20-$30.

How many microfiber towels do you need? These are questions you’ll best know the answer to: How many people are in your family? Will you be bugging out in a warm climate? You may be able to get away with 2-3. If you’ll be bugging out anywhere that experiences cold weather and freeze warnings, one towel per person can help as an additional light layer.

Is a microfiber towel on your bug out bag packing list?

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How To Get Your Spouse On Board with Prepping.

Getting your spouse onboard with prepping can be a huge challenge for the best of us.  I know that when I first told my wife that we needed to start prepping, she looked at me like she thought I had been in the sun too long.  It was more of a look of pity than anything and I kept expecting her to say “Bless your heart!” (That is southern for you poor fool!).  I knew right then that I had my work cut out for me.

I started off by asking a series of questions like when was the last time she watched the world news and did she know what Agenda 21 was?  She admitted that she doesn’t like to watch the new because it is to depressing (I knew that but just wanted her to admit it).  She said that Agenda 21 is a conspiracy theory I think.  At his point, I told her if she could prove that it was, then I would drop the subject and not bother her with it again.  I then suggested that she might want to start with the UN website. (That was just too easy!)

A couple of days later she informed me that it was a real Agenda and that she would look further into other things that I talk about.  All I needed to do was peak her curiosity a little to get her started looking.  She still wasn’t ready to give in just yet however.  Over the next couple of months I brought several other items to her attention that she at first thought was just the ramblings of a mad Prepper.  In each case I had her research them (She is good at that!) and lo and behold, they were real.  She had a hard time believing that our Government would stand by and let things like that happen. Let alone condone it.  By this time, she was off and running, I had created a Monster!   She was reading everything she could get her hands on ….when she wasn’t playing games on the computer that is.

I guess that the reason that I am telling you this is so you can see that most people who don’t believe in prepping are not stupid, they just haven’t opened their eyes to the truth.  It is just easier for people to believe that everything is well and right in the world than to face the truth and know that dark and scary world that we live in.  It’s like looking at the Sun, it hurts!  Sometimes it may take several fact check items to get them to open their eyes.  You just have to be willing to be patient and let them convince their own selves that what you are saying is true.  Whatever you do, never say I told you so!  IF you do then you will probably lose them and they will not admit you are right no matter what you say.  No one likes to be proven wrong, so use that to get them to start looking into things that they normally wouldn’t look into.

You may want to point to the first Amendment and how Washington is creating “Areas” of free speech and how they are now also creating areas where it is not allowed.  Then point to the second Amendment and how they are working to make laws to take away our right to keep and bear arms, even though that right is guaranteed to us by the Bill of Rights.  Then start asking why she thinks they are working so hard to take them away from us?  If she says that guns kill people, then show her the facts and that they are actually one of the least deadly weapons used to commit murders.  Get the facts and show them to her or him whichever the case may be.

This may work for you and then again it may not.  It all depends on how much they are determined to keep their eyes closed.  I know that it has worked for me and many others that have faced the same challenges.  If you can ever get them to open their eyes and see what is actually out there then you have a chance.  Facing a horrible truth is a scary thing and you must be patient when dealing with them.   Do it gently and slowly and soon you will be prepping together.  Good luck and remember that prepping is not a destination but  a journey and one that should be shared with your spouse.

A word of WARNING:  Pick the subject that you want them to look into carefully and be sure that they are true before you have them follow-up on them.

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Building Your Energy Stockpile: Make The Sun Work For You

sun

Solar chargers collect and store the sun’s energy so it can be used later on to charge small electronics that are often tremendously useful aids to survival.

As we have already demonstrated, you can recharge many small devices using solar energy for as little as $30. Unfortunately, the smaller models also have significant limitations that preppers need to be aware of.

For example, most chargers use small solar panel(s) that cannot fully charge the unit’s battery in a single day of sunshine. This makes them fine for topping of the charger’s battery or using them to recharge your phone while you are away from AC power for the day, but a poor choice for constant use such as charging multiple pieces of equipment simultaneously in an emergency.

Second, most small solar chargers do not have variable power output. There are a few models that do, but they are considerably more expensive. Maximum output varies by model and is pretty low. So while they may be able to charge a headlamp or a cell phone, they cannot charge large banks of small batteries or larger electronics such as most notebook computers and radio gear.

Portable Solar Solution

A good portable solar setup can do things that a pocket-sized device cannot, such as charging a car battery, running powerful portable ham radio equipment, drive fans, drive pumps, power electric hand warmers, charge banks of small batteries or charge several smaller devices all at once.

It can be a single “black box” that has the necessary components integrated into one product or you can buy the individual components separately. They are most often something in between, so you can mix and match solar arrays and batteries according to your needs and maintain a degree of modularity to prolong the life of the equipment in light of the fact that technology will change.

Whichever you choose, a portable power solution provides an enormous amount of flexibility over smaller integrated USB solar devices.

Whether manufactured or built from components, most are modular in design so you can use larger or smaller solar panels or batteries in order to meet your needs.

Portable solar systems have the same principal components:

  • Battery (Stores electricity)
  • Power Output (USB Port, Auto Cigarette Lighter Receptacle, PowerPole Connector)
  • Charge Controller (Interrupts flow of power from the solar panel to the battery when full or too hot to avoid damaging the battery)
  • Solar Panel (Turns solar energy into electricity)

By choosing larger and smaller components, we can generate more power or store more power. The battery or battery bank stores the energy generated by the solar panels or array of them. The solar charge controller ensures that we do not damage the battery as the solar panels charge it.

Buy or Build?

If you prefer to purchase a solution there are many to choose from. You can buy a production model or even have a small business build to meet your needs. Buying is more convenient, but also usually costs more. It is OK to be a driver and not a mechanic, but most self-reliant people like to be able to maintain and repair critical equipment.

Greater than cost savings, for many, is the fact that doing often teaches us things that we cannot learn in any other way. Survival reigns supreme amongst DIY pursuits, and the process of building is educational.

Even if you value convenience over thrift, you should still understand your alternative energy system well enough to maintain it. You will not likely be able to send equipment back to the factory for repair if the grid goes down. If your concern is convenience, building your own alternative energy solution does not actually involve building anything. In many cases, all you need to do is read a little and plug in a few wires.

Whether you buy or build, you will still need to evaluate features. So I will go over the most critical points for each component. I will address solar charge controller and power outputs under battery as they are sometimes integrated.

sun1

Key Components

1. Battery

The battery capacity must exceed the draw your equipment demands from it. Select a battery with at least 50-100% greater capacity than you think you will need. You solar power generator will not be 100% efficient and the sun will not always cooperate with you. So keep in mind these about the battery:

  • Battery technology & portability: For this application, you will want a Li-ion battery. They are lighter, smaller, and typically last more charge cycles when deeply discharged. If weight does not matter, you can use larger, heavier, less expensive battery technologies.
    If you discharge a typical li-ion smartphone battery completely (100%) each time before you charge it, after doing this about 250 times, the battery will last about 75% as long as it did when it was brand new. Manufacturers very conservatively consider this the end of the battery’s useful life. It will still work, but it will not last as long. How do you make it last longer? Don’t discharge it completely or buy much larger battery bank than you will need so you do not have to discharge it deeply.
    If you only discharge a Li-ion battery to 50% of capacity instead of 100% (complete discharge), it will last 1200-1500 charge cycles. Discharge it only 25% and it will last 2000-2500 cycles. Recharge it after 10% and it will last 3750-4700 and you could use it every day for 10-12 years and it will last 75% as long as when brand new. Heat also shortens battery life so keep batteries cool and trickle charge them as opposed to rapid charging them.
  • Battery size: Calculate how much current your equipment will draw. This is not difficult and much has already been written on the subject, so I will not repeat it here.
  • Solar charge controller: This is needed to protect the battery against overcharging. Some batteries have one built in and some do not. Either is fine, but you need to be aware of whether or not the battery has one built in since you do not want more than one. If a charge controller is not integrated into the battery you buy, you will need to get one that matches the output of your solar panel since they come in different sizes. They are installed between the solar panel’s output and the battery’s input. If the adapters do not match, you can crimp on adapters that do.

sun2

  • Charge state indicator: This is essentially a “fuel gauge” for the battery. It can be an LCD, series of LEDs, single LED or gauge that tells how capacity is remaining in the battery.
  • Variable power inputs: As supplied by the factory, many battery packs can be charged from a wall outlet, cigarette adapter or USB port in addition to a solar panel. These are power inputs. Consider how you plan to charge and maintain the battery before an emergency. It is convenient to be able to charge the battery from your home and vehicle without having to use the solar panel when you maintain it in between usage. Even if multiple inputs are not built in, you can still use a converter or adapter, but they add a little bulk.
  • Power outputs: This refers to the type of plug and how much current your devices will need and is typically expressed in voltage milliamp hours. They are often built into batteries along with a charge controller. Consider how power is input to the devices you use. Then consider other capabilities you might need in an extended emergency. If all your gear has 5v USB inputs, it’s best to get a battery with 5v outputs. Otherwise you will have carry an adapter to make the output usable for each device and it will decrease efficiency.

Some Li-Ion battery packs come with variable output which enables you to vary the output voltage and amperage. This is a great feature because it eliminates having to carry a different power adapter for every piece of equipment. You may still need adapters.

I swap my 12v DC equipment over to the same type of genderless connector called the Anderson PowerPole connector. This simple modification is performed by stripping and crimping power cables. If you can do that, you can drastically reduce the number of cables and connectors needed to run your gear off the same type of connectors.

  • Consumer Ratings: Even if you buy locally, it is still worth the trouble to checkout product ratings online before you buy. 

2. Solar Array

Years and years ago, (well over a decade) I shelled out around $375 for a Brunton Solaris 26 portable solar array that I still use today.

Unfortunately, inflation has practically kept pace the price drop in flexible (thin film) solar arrays so they aren’t a whole lot cheaper now than they were a decade ago and you can probably find the exact same product still available for sale for about $300. They are very durable and don’t have moving parts so they are pretty rugged.

The Solaris 26 folds up to the about the size of a notebook computer and unfolds to about 2 feet x 4 feet and has grommets in the corners to hang it from a pack, tree, tent or vehicle. I chose this model because it outputs 26 watts at 12v DC and I wanted it to be able to charge car batteries, gel cells or the considerable more expensive, larger and heavier Li-Ion battery packs of the day in order to run amateur radio equipment, small electronics, cell phones and notebook computers at that time.

sun3

Today, lighter Li-Ion battery packs with variable output are available. This is a boon to anyone planning to pack in this type of gear on foot, bicycle pack animals or using carts or other small transport.

What to look for in a solar array:

  • Technology and Portability, 1st Gen vs 2nd Gen: What are your size and weight constraints? If it needs to fit in a pack, you will probably want Gen 2 Solar panels. If it will be mounted to a vehicle, Gen 1 would be better. Gen 1 panels are the heavier glass ones, Gen II are the light, flexible thin-film ones. Gen 1 is a little more efficient in bright sun at lower latitudes and with optimal orientation, especially on a mount that tracks the sun, and are cheaper, and they are heavy. Gen II is more efficient in Northern latitudes, on cloudy days, with imperfect orientation and are more portable.
  • Output Current: For solar panels, this is normally expressed in voltage and wattage. To determine how much output you need you need for a particular application, you will need to calculate your electrical load and how long you will run it, but in practical terms, for a portable solution, you may have to start with what you are willing to tote around and work back to how much you can use your gear from there because how often you use your equipment is negotiable, how much weight you can carry before you start making soft compromises is less so.
    A 100W, 19v array is the largest you would want to pack, 50 watts or 25 watts at 12v still gives you plenty of power for what most people would normally carry in a pack. If you just bring a cell phone and maybe a headlamp, you can get by with an integrated device that produces a few watts and can fit in your pocket like the ones discussed in Part 1 of this series.

How do you determine the wattage and voltage your panel should be rated for? You need to be able to charge the battery. So for voltage, if you determined a 5v pack is best because your devices are USB, 5v will be most efficient. If you chose 12v or 13.8v for radio equipment or 19v for a notebook computer, the same thing goes. It is most efficient and less confusing at this stage to choose a panel with output that matches the voltage of the battery.

In determining the wattage, you will need to be able to bring the battery back up to full charge with the usable sun you have per day which averages about 6-7 hours on a sunny day, typically from 9:30am to 3:30 pm, but this differs somewhat by latitude and generation of solar panel.

  • Ruggedness and water resistance: What environment will you be using it in? Best case, equatorial desert and you shelter in when it rains, which is infrequently. Worst case? Torrential rains, high latitudes, 100% humidity, perpetual cloud cover, on a small boat constantly exposed to salt air. You also need to consider if you will constantly moving and how much of that movement will be in a straight line. Best case is you can use it in a secure camp where no one will try to steal it.
  • Consumer Ratings: Don’t forget to see how products performed for others before you buy.

 

 

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How to Prepare for a Cyber Attack

cyber

There is a lot of debate on whether Wednesday’s computer issues that shut down the New York Stock Exchange, the Wall Street Journal, and United Airlines were just a very strange coincidence (very strange) or a deliberate cyber attack.

This isn’t the first possible cyber attack on the United States this year. Heck, it’s not even the first one this summer. On June 5, Reuters reported a breach occurred that compromised the personal information of millions of federal employees, both current and former. This breach was traced back to a “foreign entity or government.”

Regardless of the origin of the so-called computer “glitches” that shut down Wall Street and a major airline, the events of Wednesday gave us just a tiny glimpse at how serious a cyber attack could be.

What exactly is a cyber attack?

A cyber attack is more than just shutting down the computer systems of a specified entity. It is defined as “deliberate exploitation of computer systems, technology-dependent enterprises and networks. Cyberattacks use malicious code to alter computer code, logic or data, resulting in disruptive consequences that can compromise data and lead to cybercrimes, such as information and identity theft.”

Technopedia lists the following consequences of a cyber attack:

  • Identity theft, fraud, extortion
  • Malware, pharming, phishing, spamming, spoofing, spyware, Trojans and viruses
  • Stolen hardware, such as laptops or mobile devices
  • Denial-of-service and distributed denial-of-service attacks
  • Breach of access
  • Password sniffing
  • System infiltration
  • Website defacement
  • Private and public Web browser exploits
  • Instant messaging abuse
  • Intellectual property (IP) theft or unauthorized access

Cyber attacks happen far more frequently than you might think.

How does a cyber attack affect you?

You may think that if you don’t spend your day working online, that an attack on our computer infrastructure isn’t that big of a deal. You may feel like it wouldn’t affect you at all.

Unfortunately, there are very few people in the country that would remain completely unaffected in the event of a major cyber attack. Our economy, our utility grids, and our transportation systems are all heavily reliant upon computers. This makes us very vulnerable to such an attack.

And by vulnerable, I mean that if it was done on a big enough scale, it could essentially paralyze the entire country.

Here are some of the systems that are reliant on computers.

In the event of a widespread cyber attack, the following could be either completely inoperable or breached. Keep in mind that a domino effect could occur that effects systems beyond the original target.

  • Gas stations (most of the pumps are now digital and connect right to your bank)
  • Banks (all of the records are online) would not be able to process electronic transactions. ATM machines would not function to allow customers access to cash.
  • Utility systems (most power stations are run by computers)
  • Water treatment facilities (these are automated too)
  • Protection of personal information, including data about your finances, medical records, physical location, and academic records – everything a person would need to steal your identity
  • Government operations, including dangerous identifying information about federal employees or members of the military
  • Transportation systems (trains, subways, and planes are heavily reliant upon computers)
  • Traffic management systems like stoplights, crosswalks, etc.
  • Air traffic control
  • Everyday trade – most business have a computerized cash register that communicates directly with banks. Many business are also reliant on scanning bar codes for inventory control and pricing. Point-of-sale systems would be down and people would not be able to pay using credit or debit cards.
  • Telecommunications systems can be affected if cell towers are disabled or if the landline system were directly attacked. As more people rely on VOIP, taking down internet service would serve a dual purpose.
  • SMART systems could be shut down or manipulated. All of those gadgets that automate climate control, use of utilities, or appliances through SMART technology are vulnerable.

Here’s a video from NATO that explains a little bit more about the dangers of cyber attacks.

Prepping to survive a cyber attack

Prepping for a cyber attack is not that different from prepping for other types of disasters that affect the grid. You want to be able to operate independently of  public utilities, stores, or public transportation.

Click each item to learn more details.

  1. Have a supply of water stored in case municipal supplies are tainted or shut down.
  2. Be prepared for an extended power outage.
  3.  Have a food supply on hand, as well as a way to prepare your food without the grid.
  4.  Keep cash in small denominations on hand in the event that credit cars, debit cards, and ATMs are inoperable.
  5. Keep vehicles above half way full of fuel, and store extra gasoline.
  6. Be prepared for off-grid sanitation needs.
  7. Invest in some communications devices like ham radio or other options available.
  8. Be ready to hunker down at home to avoid the chaos that could come in the aftermath of a massive cyber attack. Always be prepared to defend your home if necessary.
  9. Remember that your prepper supplies and skills will see you through this disaster.
    just like any other.
  10. Protect your identity with a service like LifeLock (which will alert you to suspicious activity once things return to normal). Use some of these tips to keep your information locked down.

What do you think?

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DIY Everyday Carry Sharpie Tactical Marker

sharpie

Maybe you don’t want to or can’t carry a firearm. Maybe you work in an office high rise where weapons are forbidden, That doesn’t mean that you should be without means to defend yourself. Sometimes you have to be creative to exercise your right to self-defense. For just a few dollars, you can put together a concealable self-defense tool that you can carry practically anywhere for last ditch emergency use. As always, make sure to check your state and local laws to see if they’ve stripped you of the right to defend yourself in this manner. Please be aware that I am not responsible for any bodily harm or injury that may befall you or others with this tool, this is to be made and used at your own discretion.

What You Will Need:

Piece of Rubber or Jar Gripper ( I used a piece of bicycle inner tube)

Hot Glue Gun or Epoxy (if you want it a lot stronger, will take longer for epoxy to set)

File or Bench Grinder

Hack Saw

Small Screw Driver (like for eyeglasses)

1 Sharpie Fine Point Marker

1 11/64 Drill bit (preferably a longer sized drill bit)

Step 1.

To disassemble the Sharpie with out marking it up take your piece of rubber to grip the cap securing the ink. You’re going to want to pull straight out instead of twisting because the cap has fine splines in it. It does take some strength.

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Step 2.

Next remove the ink cartridge and set aside, you’ll need it later. Then take a pair of pliers and pull the felt tip from the marker.

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Step 3.

The 11/64 drill bit is slightly bigger than the felt tip was so by hand drill the cap by twisting it so the drill bit will slide through.

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Step 4.

Next sharpen the drill bit on the smooth side into a point using a file or a bench grinder. If you use a bench grinder do it in little increments so you won’t heat up the metal too much. Once sharpened to satisfaction slide the drill bit into the marker tip cap. Try and set it so it’s the same height as the felt tip was so it looks original as possible.

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Step 5.

Once you have the proper height take your hot glue gun and glue the drill bit into the cap. Try and stuff as much glue or epoxy in as possible. I used a small screw driver to pack the hot glue down as much as possible, then let glue set.

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Step 6.

This next step I don’t have a picture for because I had to do it quick. Depending on the length of the drill bit you used, you might have have to cut some off. You want the drill bit to go down into the handle as much as possible. Once you have the bit cut, fill the handle of the pen about 3/4 the way full with hot glue or epoxy then stuff the cap back on. Let glue set up.

 

Step 7.

Now take the ink cartridge you set aside and color the sharpened tip to make it look like the stock tip. As you can see from the video below it works quit well and the glue and drill bit add a bit of weight to it. Enjoy your new Self-Defense Sharpie.

 

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Get Survival Fit

get-survival

In a recent article I brought up the importance of preparing your mind  for the effects of living in a survival situation. I addressed that issue first because the mind controls all else that our body does.  There are many things that my body would like to do but I find that as I get older, some tasks become harder.  When working as a wilderness guide  in the “high country”, I saw many hunters get altitude sickness and not be able to keep up with the rigors of hunting.  To help to combat this problem, we gave our clients instruction on how to prepare themselves physically for the challenge.

Get To Know Your Body

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Living and working at altitude can be challenging at times but is also very beneficial to your body physically.  Many professional runners train at altitude to increase their stamina, lung capacity and heart function.  For example, your oxygen saturation is depleted by 15% at 7500 feet.  At sea level however, your saturation is closer to 100%.  It is very easy to put off or wait until the last minute to deal with the things that are important.  I suggested that when getting ready for these excursions to the mountains you should begin well in advance, a year ahead if possible.  Proper conditioning doesn’t happen overnight.  We need to make it a lifestyle.

As I thought about the advice I was giving to these clients to prepare for their trips, it dawned on me that I would not have to givethis advice if these folks made it a lifestyle.  Well that is easier said than done.  After moving to the South from Colorado, I found that my exercise and eating habits had changed drastically.  It seemed like everywhere you went to eat, the menus were full of fried foods and delicious side dishes.  Fried pickles, fried chicken, fried fish, fried ice cream, fried Twinkies and donuts, you name it, there was always a temptation.  A strange thing about the South is that everything seems to slow down here also. The heat and humidity slows you down.  You slow down because you don’t feel like exercising as much but the wonderful foods help you pass the lazy days as you wash it down with a big glass of sweet tea.  Even your metabolism slows down.  We talk slower and maybe even write slower.

Well, I got caught in that trap.  I continued working at putting together all of the things needed to survive emergencies  and make sure I was prepared for most problems but forgot my physical state.  I kept telling myself that I would work on that some other time. I put it off until a routine trip to my doctor uncovered that I had to address my physical well being. For me, it was the wakeup call I needed.  To make a long story shorter, I cut back on most of my carbohydrates and started walking morning and evenings. It wasn’t easy and still isn’t because I am still faced with all of the southern goodies.  I have to date, lost thirty pounds and my energy level is incredible.  I have also added some crunches and strength training to my routine.

Your Body – The Ultimate Survival Tool

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I realized that we can buy the latest and greatest survival tools and supplies but they are no good if we don’t have the mental and physical strength to use them.  So what I have found that works for me is to cut back on the amount of food I consume and watch how many carbohydrates I take in a day.  I drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day and take fiber and vitamin supplements.  This is good training for a survival situation because our foods would be more limited and may even need to be rationed.  During survival, we would become more of the hunter/gatherers that our ancestors were.

Weight loss, for those that could stand to shed a few pounds, will become a pleasant outcome.  For those who are fast metabolizers, the challenge will be to be able to keep weight on.  You need to be aware of this and keep an eye out for the dietary needs of your family and possibly your friends.  Regardless of your condition, we all will come closer to surviving under harsh conditions by being in better health and good physical shape.

Meats, nuts, roots and natural greens will sustain you as they did everyone who has been here before us.  The new Paleo diet is somewhat like the native peoples diet that served them well.  I’m not going to suggest a certain diet because everybody is different in their needs.  I will suggest that we all need regular exercise and training.  Aerobic training three to four times a week should be routine.  Resistance and strength training at least twice a week is a good place to start.  You will be carrying heavy loads and gear during a survival situation.  You might want to take a backpack with you occasionally on walks with what you would normally carry in a Bug Out Bag.  Flexibility is very important to prevent injuries so don’t neglect these types of exercises.  Endurance is a key factor so make sure that you push through the urge to blow it off.

One of the key components of a survival strategy is security.  Being able to protect yourself and your family and property isphysically demanding.  We can’t all look or be an Arnold Schwarzenegger but we need to be the best we can be.  Your physical conditioning can affect how well you can shoot and perform other security related tasks under stress. I saw this often while guiding for elk in the Rockies. It is hard to make a clean shot on an elk with your heart rate elevated and out of breath. Under these conditions, most of your motor skills will suffer.  Your physical condition can also have an effect on your mental state. The better shape you are in, the better you feel, the better you perform and the more peace of mind you will have.  All of this to say, don’t put off working on your physical well being.

Consult your doctor, watch what you eat, how much you eat and start exercising and training. You will feel much better that you did.  My motivation is that my wife, daughter, son in law and our grand kids well being may depend on my mental and physical conditioning.  That’s enough to keep me on track and make me work harder.

For all you techies out there, “There’s an App for that.”  There are many Apps that will help you in tracking your exercises, vital statistics, foods to eat and weight loss or gains.  Don’t forget to use this technology while we can.  The body responds much better to the stress of life and survival challenges when in good condition so let’s get physical!  Get up, get out of that chair and walk some laps, get moving. Here’s for the best for you and yours!

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WOMEN’S SELF DEFENSE ARSENAL 101: CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS

self-defense

Many times a girl finds herself exposed. Many times a girl finds herself vulnerable. And if you like your independence (like me), you don’t like the idea of being unprepared when walking down a dark alley late at night or when you simply must stop a jerk from being a jerk! According to statistics women are twice more likely to be attacked then men. Keep calm, evaluate the situation and be prepared! If things spiral out of control, take action! All women should be able to counter aggression in order to defend themselves. I always am. How about you? Let’s have a look at some items that are easily fitted in a purse and can be more then effective in case your safety is on the line. This is what makes attackers live a living hell:

PEPPER SPRAY is probably the most common item in a girl’s arsenal. It’s what I always carry around. I got to use it once too. I can assure you: it works! It’s very effective from a distance, it can be used to subdue an attacker before he or she even get the chance to step into your personal space. Once you render your attacker unable to see, you can take your chance to flee from the confrontation or apply direct blows. Many come in small tubes, having a key chain to which you can attach your keys. Others come in larger tubes. The braver girls out there should know that large cans of bear mace are available for purchase. Some are even disguised as common lipsticks, to make it easier to reach for without attracting too much attention.

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THE HONEYCOMB HAIRBRUSH made by Cold Steele is a very innocent looking blade disguised as a fully functional hairbrush. The brush head pulls off, revealing a pointy blade attached to the handle. It’s very durable and strong, as it’s made from Zytel (a stiff nylon fiberglass composite). The blade has no cutting edges. It’s meant for stabbing, not slashing. So keep in mind some arm strength is required to thrust this into flesh! An alternative to the honeycomb hairbrush is the COMB KNIFE. Its blade is similar to that of the brush, serving the same purpose.

Honeycomb Brush Honeycomb Brush Comb Knife Comb Knife

THE BRASS KNUCKLES is yet another easy to reach for item which can inflict pain upon everyone who tries to mess with you. It’s used for close combat. Slip your fingers in the holes and if your arm is strong enough you can easily knock out your attackers. As an alternative, the KUBOTAN (aka. NINJA SPIKE) can be used in a similar way. The difference is that its spikes can pierce through skin, leaving open wounds. It can also do irrecoverable damage to the eyes, so use with care and only if you must! Both of the items also come as key chains.

 

Brass Knuckles self-defense6 Kubotan

THE OPEN ASSIST KNIFE is a small switchblade-like weapon which can easily open with thumb. It’s not a regular switchblade, as these are illegal in most states. This tiny knife comes in many shapes and sizes. Some have regular strait blades, while others have curved blades, acting as a meat hook. Most states allow the carry of a blade no longer than 3’’. It can be used for slashing and stabbing alike and it can easily pierce through regular clothing. Best brands out there are Spyderco and Emerson.

self-defense8 Open Assist Knives

THE TASER or STUN GUN is one of the most popular choices in self defense gear. It’s small, easy to use and it renders everything with a nervous system useless in seconds. It fires an electroshock at the target via 2 electrodes of 50K V instant and 1.2K V sustained. Earlier models were only suitable for close quarter encounters, but newer models (available to police and military forces only) are capable to shoot the electrodes up to a distance of 30 feet. For those of you who value the element of surprise know that you have stun guns available, cleverly disguised as ordinary mobile phones.

self-defense9 Stun Gun self-defense-10 Stun Gun Phone

THE RUGER LIGHTWEIGHT COMPACT PISTOL (LCP) is the perfect choice for the most action loving girls out there. Is one of the smallest calibers available (.380 ammo), but it’s more then enough to even be fatal. It was released in 2008 as a back-up weapon for police forces and as a self-defense weapon for civilians. It’s small and light, weighing only 9.4 ounces. It comes with a leather holster, but it can easily be stored in a regular pocket. It’s a firearm which can be fatal if used irresponsibly, so be cautious!

self-defense-11 The LCP

You might be tempted to think that these gadgets is what give you the upper hand in a direct confrontation, but you’d be wrong. KEEPING CALM, is what will always save your skin, even if you’re unarmed. If you find yourself being the target of an aggression and you’re unarmed, remember there are many things you can use for self defense. Your skull could be the first line of defense, as in most cases women are approached from behind. You can hit his nose with the back of your had or even with the forehead, if he stands in front of you.

One of the advantages of being a woman is that most times you carry a purse around. Grab the first thing from your bag that you can turn into a weapon: a pen /pencil can be used for stabbing, keys for scratching and wounding and deodorant spray for attacking the eyes. High heels and stilettos can be used as a very efficient self defense weapon if you can manage to take your shoes of sand slip your hand inside of them. This way you can protect yourself from blade attacks and even attack yourself.

Remember: just because you’re a woman, doesn’t mean you’re easy prey. Fight back with everything you have!

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Is your vehicle ready for a disaster?

prepare

According to the US Dept. of Transportation, there were over 253,000 cars registered in the US in 2012. Chances are, you probably own at least one of those vehicles. And if you are like many Americans, you probably commute to and from work, use your vehicle to run errands, and take road trips and vacations with it. This means you spend a lot of time in your car.

But what happens if disaster strikes when you are in your vehicle? What if you need your vehicle to get home DURING a disaster, or OUT of a disaster area? Is it prepared and able to help you? If you aren’t sure, then read on to learn how you can prepare your vehicle for a crisis situation!

Start with a Plan

If you have been following this blog, you know that I advocate beginning anything with a plan. All the gear in the world won’t be of much value without a plan or the knowledge of how it works and in what situations to use it.I would first sit down and determine not the worst case scenario, but the most likely scenarios. The chances of you having a flat tire or being caught in a massive traffic jam are MUCH more probable than an EMP attack.

My friend Graywolf wrote a great article on the dangers of prepping for only worst case scenarios. If you have not read it, I would encourage you to do so.

Once you have your bases covered on the most likely events, then start looking at worse case possibilities.

Do you live in an area that experiences hurricanes? Tornado’s? Is there a chance that you might need to “bug out” to get out of harm’s way? If so, you need to have an evacuation route (and at least one backup route) planned. I’d also have some possible contingency plans in place as well for unforeseen events.

To help you draw up some evacuation plans, I thought I’d give you some pointers and things to consider when drawing up your plans:

  • Have a final destination already planned out. Simply bugging out into the unknown should be the LAST thing you want to do
  • If you have multiple members of your group/family, the chances of you all being together at the time disaster strikes is slim and none. Make sure everyone in your group knows the plans and the final location.
  • I would have pre-determined rally point along the way to meet at if your final location is a long way off. You might also devise a means of communicating with them should the rally point become unsafe
  • Know the routes AND the area in general ahead of time. Where are the gas stations? Is there a grocery store nearby? A hospital? What other points of interest are along your intended route?
  • How many different ways do you have of getting to your destination? Your primary route may suddenly no longer be accessible.
  • Have contingency plans in place for different routes to take or even different means of getting to your final location
  • Do you have not only the gear you need, but a way of safely and securely transporting it?
  • Identify areas that you could potentially cache supplies. Are there friendly areas (a friend’s house for example) that you could make a pit stop if needed?
  • Identify areas that could potentially be choke points or trouble spots, and ways to avoid them

The better you know your routes and surrounding area, the easier it will be to plan for the unexpected. It will also prevent you from becoming lost or disoriented. Landmarks can be a wonderful thing. But what happens if you are bugging out at night? Or if the landmarks are suddenly gone? That old blue water tower where you turn right has been there for decades, but now it has vanished!

I would make a dry run several times in different conditions. Do it noon, then again later during rush hour traffic. Try again later on at night, and in conditions such as rain. Make your run via your backup area as well.

I would also make the run from time to time to see if things have changed. It would really suck to have a gas station or bridge you had counted on in your plans to be closed down when it really counted.

For extended routes, I would certainly document your route. This will help you to develop your bug out plans.

Bug Out Vehicles

“Bug Out Vehicles” (BOV) are a popular topic and great to have in a pinch. To be honest, I personally don’t really have a big need for one based upon my situation. The vehicles I do have should be suitable for most emergencies, although I have contingency plans in place if I have to go via other means.

But if you have the need and/or the means to acquire a BOV, there are a few things I would look for in a Bug out vehicle:

  • 4 wheel drive or all wheel drive. (I would avoid rear wheel drive as those vehicles do not do well off road)
  • A good set of all terrain tires
  • A good size gas tank or the fuel range to get you to your destination
  • I would probably look at an SUV over a truck if you can. SUVs typically have more passenger room, and internally stored gear is not as susceptible to the elements/theft like it would be in the bed of a truck
  • Ability to add a safari style cargo rack to the roof
  • A vehicle that blends in. No reason to draw unnecessary attention to yourself. See below

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VS

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If you are trying to maintain OPSEC and simply slip out of a SHTF area unnoticed, which one of these vehicles is likely to not draw a second glance? Which one screams “I’m a Prepper and most likely have a crap ton of stuff you DON’T have but now want really badly?” I’m here to tell you from personal experience, OPSEC can save you A LOT of time and heartache!

Yep….a solar storm will NOT take out your vehicles. And as for a nuclear E1 pulse, we do not have enough data to know one way or the other what the effect on vehicles would be. This includes older vehicles! So in reality, it seems somewhat silly to me to spend a huge amount of money on a vehicle for only one specific event that may or may not even adversely affect the vehicle!! But hey, it’s your money. If it gives you peace of mind, more power to you.

What happens if you don’t have vast sums of money to allocate to a vehicle whose sole purpose is a BOV? Sure, a 4 wheel, all-terrain, “tacticool” SUV or truck with oversized tires, a lift kit, and EMP proof wiring might be nice. But for many people, it isn’t realistic or affordable. This means that whatever you currently drive will have to your means of getting you and your family out of harm’s way.

That does NOT have to be a set back. If you plan ahead, and prep your vehicle correctly, you will find that you can most likely not only survive, but THRIVE with what you have. And really, isn’t that the whole point of this?

Have the right gear

I have a Get Home Bag (GHB) that I keep in my vehicle at all times. I also have an EDC/work (Every Day Carry) bag I usually carry. The EDC bag contains a lot of work related equipment. So I don’t always carry that when I am off duty. Between the two bags, I have a majority of what I need for a disaster if I am in my vehicle.

If you are brand new to prepping, or have not really put any sort of bag together, here are just some items I would consider keeping on you/in your vehicle and could come in handy in a disaster:

  • Small durable knife or other cutting tool
  •  Small Flashlight
  • Extra clothing to help protect from the elements, i.e. a hat, gloves, and comfortable walking shoes. Click the link to read my article on clothing preparedness
  • Extra food/water
  • Means of communication and a way to keep it powered
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Fire source – a butane lighter or matches
  • Map of the area
  • First Aid Kit
  • Extra cash
  • Warm blanket or sleeping bag

At one time or another, I have used most of the above items in various emergency situations. But this list is by no means complete. You should feel free to change-up and add items you feel are necessary depending upon your circumstances.

To give you some ideas on creating your own bag, here is an article I wrote on making a “Go Bag” for a non-prepper. I explain in detail the items I added, and the reasoning behind them. (The bag has already been used in an emergency situation.)

Vehicle Equipment

Now I am not a huge fan of having multiple “emergency” bags. I fully believe in redundancy, but there is no need to go overboard. If you prep correctly, one or two overall bags should usually be more than adequate to see you through an emergency. My GHB serves that purpose.

But I realized there were some items that I would need specifically for my vehicles and only need for the vehicles. There would be no reason to carry them around if I wasn’t in my vehicle. So I decided to make an emergency VEHICLE bag that I could keep in the vehicle. If the situation dictated, I could simply leave the bag with the vehicle should I have to abandon my vehicle for any reason.

I used an old duffel bag that was just sitting in my closet. (You could use a vehicle storage bag. They are less than $20.) I decided that would be my “Vehicle kit” bag. In it, I placed the following items:

  • Jumper cables
  • Reflective cones
  • Extra quart of oil – (find out which type of oil your car or truck needs)
  • Some antifreeze/engine coolant
  • Tow chain or Rope
  • Small bag of kitty litter in the winter time (tire traction if I get stuck)
  • Small tool kit to include screw drivers and socket set and/or wrenches
  • Small box of various fuses
  • Small towel
  • Ice scraper in winter

Feel free to add/delete items to this list. For example, you might also want to include extra belts and hoses, or maybe even an extra air filter or two. Or, if you live in a place like south Texas or Arizona, you might not need a ice scraper. Let your location and your situation help determine what you need.

By keeping these items all in a bag, I can easily move the items between my different personal vehicles and my work vehicles. And all of these items would be handy regardless of what vehicle I am in.

Most of the items should be self-explanatory. But there might be a few items you are wondering if you really need. For example, if you are driving a small or compact car and think to yourself, “I don’t need a tow rope. My car is too small to tow anything” I would urge you to consider what would happen if YOUR car was the one needing to be pulled out or towed? “Good Samaritans” are much more likely to help you if you already have the needed equipment and gear to use.

Handy to have in an emergency at night!

The reflective cones come in handy if you are stranded at night and your car has absolutely no power. Your hazard lights may not always work. And even if they do, the more early warning other drivers have about your vehicle being stranded, the less likely they are to not see your vehicle and hit it! They also make good signaling devices if you become stranded and need to be rescued.

And if you have ever been stuck in the ice and snow, you will understand the value of a bag of kitty litter!

The beauty of these items are that none are terribly expensive, all of them could help me in a vehicle emergency, and yet all could simply be left behind in a true SHTF disaster if I were forced abandon my vehicle.

I guess you could take your vehicle kit with you if you had to leave your vehicle. But if you want to carry a 5 lb. bag of kitty litter and a quart of oil with you while escaping the Zombie Apocalypse, well then…more power to you!

What about the car itself

Vehicle preparedness should start with the vehicle itself! It won’t do you much good to have your vehicle stocked with gear and then the car/truck not run. So simple vehicle maintenance is an absolute must!

But what about your other fluids?

I check my oil every month. (Do you know how to check your oil?) I usually check it at the first gas fill up of the month. And at 5000 miles, I change the oil.

Typically I pay to have it done because of time constraints. But doing it yourself is not a bad idea. Here is a video showing you how it is done if you do not know.

And I also check the other fluids regularly. Brake fluid, transmission fluid, fluids in my radiator, etc. Even window wash fluid. All of these help to keep your vehicle running and in good shape.

How often do you check your tire pressure? Keeping your tires inflated at the proper levels ensures better gas mileage and longer tread life for your tires. A flat tire when trying to get home to your family in a disaster is NO BUENOS!

Having a spare tire, jack, etc. would be a huge life saver down the road. But don’t wait until the unfortunate happens to try and figure out where your car jack is and how it works. These are things you should know ahead of time.

I would also learn now how to make simple repairs to your vehicle. In a true SHTF disaster, you might not have AAA to come out and change your tire. Things such as tire changes, replacing spark plugs, etc can be learned. Some of it by simply watching YouTube videos and then trying it yourself. The more you learn now, the less headache you will have later on.

Your vehicle in a SHTF disaster

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If things go REALLY bad, there may be a time that you have to use your vehicle as a means to survive. You might have to strip some car parts to use in an extreme survival situation. And while you might not like the idea of tearing your car apart to help you live, just remember that your car is replaceable. You are NOT!

For example, your rearview mirror is most likely held to your windshield with an epoxy glue or screw, and will come off when you apply some force to it. This makes a great signal mirror, and can be used to start a fire. If you break the mirror (or the side mirrors) you now have a cutting edge.

Don’t forget about your head lights and tail lights. The covers can be used as a cutting edge as well. Or remove them whole if you can to use as a container for food, water, etc. I’d try to keep all the windows intact if possible, as the car itself can act as a barrier to the outside elements.

Does your car battery still work? Using wires attached to the positive and negative posts and then touching them together can create a spark. A spark can start a fire. And a fire that is burning a car tire creates smoke that can be seen for miles!

A word of caution….I would NOT try to use gas from the tank to help with a fire. Puncturing the gas tank could also cause a spark, possibly causing the tank to explode. That too can be seen for miles, but you won’t be around to be rescued!

Fan belts, wiring, and/or seat belts make a decent substitute for rope in a pinch.

Many car seats have foam upholstery in them, which you could use to help insulate your clothing in the cold. Maybe use the floor mats as well.

If you find yourself having to use your car parts to survive, you should smack yourself in the head for not following this advice and having a Go bag!

Stay safe out there!

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How to Survive on a Raft in the Ocean

raft

To Survive on a Raft in the Ocean, you need to be prepared for some unexpected circumstances

Many people take to the water for a host of different reasons. Boating is a favorite activity for many, whether it’s for leisure purpose or for commercial fishing. Many of the big fishing boats are equipped with rescue craft of which they are regarded as virtually unsinkable. Many people set out in fine weather on a leisure cruise, and witness how the seas become choppy, the wind strengthens, and their boats overturn. Freak waves knock people off the decks of their schooners.

Never Underestimate the Elements

The news is full of tragic accidents at sea due to carelessness, inexperience or underestimating the elements. So many people take trips on pleasure cruise boats to sail safe waters, without realizing the treacherous coastal waters claim many lives each year. Boating has become increasingly popular because it enables people to escape from a world of problems and restrictions. Like any other sport, it does have it rules, if it is to be enjoyed in safety, and these must be observed with care and foresight by everyone afloat.

With the massive interest in boating all around the world, accidents are likely to increase. Sea Rescue Institutes exist around the world, and with their coast guard watch efforts, they keep a sharp lookout for boats in trouble and they take calls from people in distress at sea.

There are many experience sailors who reject the idea of safety laws because they believe that blanket regulations will keep people away from boating. Boating experts believe that the way to cut boating accidents is for newcomers to join established clubs. Anyone can join these clubs, even those people with tiny rowing dinghies.

  • Before you set out on any boating trip, learn the rules of the sea. Study local hazards and tides and pay heed to weather reports, as conditions in coastal water can be extremely changeable. Leave word where you are going and when you are likely to return.
  • Never take chances and never overload your boat.
  • Check your safety gear and distress flares before leaving
  • Make sure that everybody on board is equipped with approved life-jackets which should be worn by everyone even in calm conditions when you are out boating in a small boat.
  • If you are setting out in a small motor-boat, remember that two engines provide greater safety than one – if you only have one – rather stay close to the shore to other boats.
  • Take drinking water with you as thirst can be very distressing and even dangerous after a few hours adrift.
  • If your boat fills with water and capsizes, stay with it. Don’t try to swim to shore even if it looks temptingly close. Nine out of 10 people get lost trying to swim ashore and could have been saved if they had stayed with their boat.
  • If your boat does sink, and it has a raft, you can consider yourself truly fortunate. If your boat sinks and you don’t have a raft, look for something that can help to keep you afloat. Air trapped in wet clothing will provide extra buoyancy if you have no life jacket.

What starts out as a dream getaway – an adventure to an island paradise in the south Pacific – can turn into a nightmare when massive grey clouds roll up and winds and waves batter your boat from every side. Not for one minute tell yourself that modern boats of today can’t flip and always be ‘slightly fearful’ of the ocean’s power.

Whether you are stranded in a raft on the ocean because of a plane crash or a sinking boat, by following some useful survival tips, you know the strategies that can keep you alive for a while longer until help arrives.

  • The body can’t survive for longer than 4 days without water, so your first priority will be to find a source of water to stay hydrated. It might well rain and it is important to find different kinds of materials in the raft as well as floating on the water to make some of a container to catch fresh rain water. Refrain from drinking sea water for as long as you possibly can. If there is some form of an emergency kit in the raft you can try to make some kind of a fishing rod to attract fish as these will be a source of food and liquid for you. You may be fortunate to have managed to salvage desalination kits – use them only for immediate water needs.
  • Plankton and seaweed is nutritious and can often be found on the surface, and this can be something for you to feed on while you wait for rescuers to come.
  • Try to salvage all useful floating equipment and secure them to the safety lines which are both inside and outside your raft. Just make double sure that none of the items have sharp points that can puncture your raft.
  • Sanitation is critical for your survival – urine and excrement mustn’t be allowed to pollute the raft. It is best to urinate and defecate by sitting/hanging over the sides of the raft. With a weakened immune system, you can’t afford to slacken in your efforts to keep the raft free from urine and feces.
  • Make sure to use every available signaling devices you can find to signal and make contact with rescuers. If you suspect you can see a ship on the horizon or a small plane flying over, wave some fabric, even if it’s some of your clothing. If you managed to salvage some tin or glass items, use these reflecting materials to attract attention. Some modern rafts come equipped with signaling devices such as flares and these should only be used if you are certain a ship or plane will see you.
  • ● Panic can make you want to drift anywhere, but the truth is the closer you stay to your ‘disaster’ area, the better, as this is where your first rescue attempts will be directed. It is better to throw out the anchor to create some drag and this will help you stay close to your site, making it easier for searchers to find you. Without an anchor it is unbelievable but true, that you can drift about 150 kilometers in just one day, making your raft more difficult to find.
  • If you aren’t alone and there are several of you on the raft, you will be glad to huddle together at night to absorb warmth from each other. You will also need to take turns on keeping watch for any passing ships or planes. In the group each one should be assigned a task which rotates to relieve boredom – water collector, fishing, lookout, signaler and also water bailers. The water bailer should simultaneously be checking for leaks and to take appropriate action in your circumstances and with the provisions you have to stop leaks.
  • If you are in a hot climate, you should try to make provision to keep out of the direct sun as much as possible, as bad sunburn, blisters and red, aching skin can be debilitating and even cause sun stroke.

Be a Survivor

By following these tips, you may be wet, cold, dehydrated, sick, exhausted and close to death, but by keeping your head and following these tips and advice, you may well be carried off your raft alive where you’ll be treated in hospital and discharged, ready to take on your next adventure.

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Natural Tick Repellent Recipes & Tick Bite Prevention Tips

ticks Tick before eating and after eating.

Before we discuss natural tick repellent recipes and tick bite prevention, let’s take a moment to learn a little more about ticks and their dangers.

Ticks. They’re rightly considered to be one of the most unpleasant pests of the insect world. However for those who love nature, or those who are even outside for any longer than a little while, the likelihood of getting a tick bite can be pretty high.  Also, whilst the internet is full of blogs, guides and articles, it seems that many seem to conflict with one another as to how to avoid tick bites.

So let’s take a look everything you need to know about ticks, from the symptoms of a tick bite, right through to the natural tick repellents that actually work, and along the way, we’ll try to debunk the most common tick myths and misunderstandings.

Ticks – A little about our not-so-friendly critters

As far as insects go, it’s safe to say that ticks are very unpleasant. They’re ugly, difficult to spot, painful and their feeding habits are pretty disgusting.

What’s more, as they latch on and don’t let go until they’re filled with blood, you can be stuck with a tick for anything from a matter of days through to a number of weeks. And once full, they can reach the size of a marble, turning a green blue colour, before falling off.

Oh, and did we mention that when they fall off after they’ve been a right pain, they quite simply roll over and die. Pretty pointless, right?

 And what happens if you do pull them off?

Well, without wanting to put anyone off their dinner, if you pull off a tick that is in full latch mode, you’ll likely end up with just the body, with the head remaining firmly underneath your skin. This can then lead to both a painful and potentially dangerous abscess that has the potential to turn skeptic.

The serious side of tick bites

Whilst we can laugh at the irony of the fate of the tick after they’ve had their meal from us, the serious side to tick bites is not quite as funny. Particularly as these little fellas can be responsible for spreading:

  • Lyme disease
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Anaplasmosi
  • Tularemia
  • Babesiosis

Symptoms of a tick bite

 Not sure whether you’ve been bitten by a tick? Well the following symptoms can all appear within a matter of the minutes after the bite.

  • A red, inflamed sport or a circular rash around the bite, that’s also know as the ‘halo’
  • Stiff neck and shoulders
  • Headaches, nausea or a ‘foggy’ head
  • Sudden weakness
  • Aching muscles, joint pain and overall wellness
  • Fever, a fluctuating temperature or chills
  • Swollen, painful lymph nodes

The truth behind the blood type myth

There’s been many a myth circulated in the past concerning whether ticks are attracted, or repelled, by certain blood types. But we can clear this up once and for all by assuring you that it is absolute nonsense. Ticks are creatures of opportunity and, if they see a nice bit of flesh that’s within reaching distance, they’ll latch on. It’s as simple as that.

So what about the unlucky ones who seem to get bitten ALL of the time?

Well it would seem that this is simply down to bad luck (as well as perhaps a poor choice of clothing and repellent). However, with all of the helpful tips and tricks that are stored within this blog article for you, your luck, when it comes to ticks, is about to get whole lot better.

Homemade Natural Tick Repellent Recipes

ticks1 Neem leaves have great natural tick repellent properties

Recipe One: Natural Tick Repellent For your clothes

Ingredients that you’ll need

  • 5 Cloves of Garlic (around one bulb)
  • 2 Tablespoons of crushed Neem Leaves
  • 1 and half Lemons (skin and all)
  • 2 Cups of Water

Equipment that you’ll need

  • Stove
  • Sauce Pan
  • Strainer
  • Funnel
  • Spray Bottle
  • Measuring Cup
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board

Natural tick repellent, a case note: The garlic ingredient in this recipe is an important element to add and has notably been found to reduce the chances of being bitten by a tick by as much as 21%. This may go some way to explaining why some of us are luckier than others, as for those with a high garlic content diet, the residual garlic within our sweat may serve as a natural repellent.

Natural tick repellent for your clothes: Step by Step

Step One – Heat up your water.

Step Two – Whilst the water is heating up dice up your lemon and garlic.

You needn’t be too careful with getting your chopping precise, or too finely cut, just cut them roughly.

Step Three – Measure out two tablespoons of dried neem leaves.

Step Four – Once your water is boiling you can add in your ingredients.

Step Five – Cover you sauce pan over and leave it to simmer on a low heat for between fifteen to twenty minutes.

Step Six – Remove the mixture and set aside, leaving it to cool down.

Step Seven – Place your funnel into the spray bottle that you have a carefully positioned over the top. You should then take care to slowly pour through your mixture through the strainer. The strainer will then catch all of the solids, with the liquid filling up the spray bottle below.

Step Eight – Screw the spray bottle top back on and that’s it… you’re all done and ready to go.

Step Nine – If you do end up with any leftover repellent then it can be stored; to keep it at its most effective however, you’ll need to get it refrigerated.

Tips for applying the natural tick repellent

Perhaps the most efficient way to use any repellent is to apply it to your skin, however given the garlic ingredient within this recipe it may be wise to avoid this if you don’t want to repel humans as well as ticks!  Beyond misting your skin directly you can also use this mist to apply to clothes (just do so at a reasonable distance); it’s also suitable for pets too.

Recipe Two: Natural Tick Repellent For Your skin

ticks2 ACV has natural tick repellent properties

If you want to go all out and mix up some natural tick repellent for your skin as well as your clothes then the following recipe is perfect.

Ingredients that you’ll need

  • 2 oz of apple cider vinegar, witch hazel or vodka (each is relatively as effective as the next, so feel free to choose freely between these)
  • 2 oz Water
  • 20-40 Drops of geranium bourbon oil

One squirt of Castile soap to help distribute the oil better (this works out to be around a quarter of a tea spoon, however this is also an optional ingredient)

Equipment that you’ll need

  • A glass or PET plastic spray bottle
  • A sauce pan

Natural tick repellent for your skin: Step by step

Step One – Add your geranium oil to the apple cider vinegar, witch hazel or vodka.

Step Two – Mix the castile soap into the mixture if you’ve chosen to include castile soap.

Step Three – Wait for the mixture to sit for a few minutes, before you go on to mix further.

Step Four – Add in the water to the mixture

Step Five – Your mixture is now all done, so fill up your spray bottle.

Ideally your spray bottle should be made from either glass or a PET plastic, as oils can otherwise leach the chemicals from certain plastics, which essentially contaminates the repellent.

Tips for applying this tick repellent

This simple recipe is easy to use, and all you need to remember is to shake the mixture well before each use. Simply spray it on exposed skin. This repellent is also suitable for your clothes.

Recipe Three: A Homemade Tick Repellent Lotion For Your Skin

As another form of the recipe above you can choose to make this natural repellent in lotion form. This arguably may be a more effective natural tick repellent as the lotion will be naturally absorbed into the skin.

Ingredients that you’ll need

  • 2 oz of your choice of natural lotion (you can either make your own, or use any shop brought lotion)
  • Between 20 and 40 drops of geranium bourbon essential oil

 Equipment that you’ll need

  • A glass or PET plastic spray bottle
  • A container in which to mix your ingredients

Homemade tick repellent for your skin (lotion): Step by step

Step One – Mix your oil and essentials oils into a container

Step Two – Add the mixture to your spray bottle

Tips for storing your repellent

This lotion based tick repellent should be stored in a cool, dark place. If stored as such this is a repellent that should easily last for between two to three months.

Tick Bite Prevention Tips And Advice

So you are now armed with some natural tick repellent sprays and lotions, let’s natural tick repelling education with a few well-placed tips.

  1. Wear clothes that are light in color

This will give you a much better chance of spotting a tick before it has time to sink its teeth into your skin.

  1. Wear long pants along with protective footwear such as solid sneakers or hiking boots.

You can also increase your protection by tucking your shirt or top into your pants and, in particularly tick abundant areas, by wrapping some duct tape around your ankles and over your socks. This may give you a rather odd style, but it’ll certain ensure that you avoid being bitten!

  1. Remain on well-trodden trails

If possible, you should try to stay on well-trodden tracks where over hanging vegetation and planting is minimized. Overgrown meadows are also to be avoided if at all possible, and what’s more, this tip not only helps you avoid ticks, but additionally allows you to leave a lesser impact upon the outdoor spaces that you love.

  1. Remember to do a daily tick check

This tip is particularly important if you’re staying out for a number of days where the chances of a tick reaching you or your clothing is heighten. You should also get a friend to help you out and check the places where you can’t, such as your back.

  1. Once you’re home remember to check the kids and the pets

Before you set even so much as one foot over your threshold, you should check over your children and pets, and if just two or three make it in you could find yourself with a fresh littler of ticks to contend with!

  1. When coming home after a trip to potentially tick infested zones, you should bathe or shower as soon as is possible

Ideally this should be within two hours, as ticks can tend to hide away from even the most extensive of overall body checks.

  1. Be sure to examine not only each other and your clothes

But also your equipment, including coats, tents and day packs.

  1. Always tumble dry your clothes that has gone on the trip with you.

If ticks have happened to latch on or hide away within these then they will be killed off when the dryer is set to a high heat setting (it’s worth noting that more recent research seems to suggest that even shorter drying times may be effective, particularly when the clothing inside isn’t wet to begin with).

  1. If you choose to use shop brought, chemically based repellents then you should opt for those that continue between 20% and 30% DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluidine), as this is most effective.

Bare in mind however that when choosing such repellents it’s particularly important that you avoid the hands, eyes and mouths (especially when applying to a child’s skin).

  1. Always be prepared for being bitten, including within your packing finely pointed tweezers and bite lotion.
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How to Survive a Mall Shooting, Mall Massacre Terror Attack

mall

Terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS would love to unleash Hell at a U.S. shopping mall.

It’s not a matter of if — it’s a matter of when. Here’s how to survive and escape otherwise certain death at the hands of a terrorist or group of terrorists who are out for blood and chaos and mayhem. That’s the bad news — The good news? Some of you who practice concealed carry might be what stops a terrorist attack shortly after it starts.

Several nations around the world where western tourists frequent have suffered terrorist attacks. In recent weeks an ISIS terrorist in Tunisia calmly walked on to a popular beach carrying a machine gun and murdered 30 tourists.

Growing Threats from Terror Groups

It’s not just terrorists with radical Islamic beliefs that may be a threat. As America continues to decline morally and pass laws and make policies contrary to God, another group of “terrorists” may come forward, and that is the anarchists or others with deep hatred in their hearts and a desire to cause mayhem and even murder as a way to lash out at what they see as capitalism.

The Days of Noah

How can I connect these actions to God? I, like a lot of people, have a Biblical world view and believe that “end of days” events have been taking place at a growing rate in recent years. The Bible warns about a great increase in evil in the end times of the world leading to the judgments of God.

This is said to happen because society at large has chosen to go its own way and turn its back on God. “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the son of man…” said Jesus to his disciples two thousand years ago.

And so it looks like the days leading up to God’s judgments are here at last (want to know more? Read “The End of Days” profiled at the top of this website — there is “good news” though in the days ahead and God has a plan to deliver the faithful; those who refuse to believe and turn to God can expect a lot of disaster, all spelled out in the Bible if you’re brave enough to read it and take it to heart).

Terrorists, Domestic Terrorists, Anarchists

Who am I referring to by the term anarchist? I’m talking about the groups who form to protest at World Trade Organization conferences (a few, not all of course) and even the popular sit-ins around American cities in the last several months (quite a few that came to violence, such as Oakland, CA) are some of the same people I’m referring to now.

Of this group, a small number are capable of severe violence and may have murdered people in the past.

It’s probable that “anarchists” isn’t the best word to describe young Americans (and young adults from the UK) from counter-culture that band together to attack other people. But they’re out there, such as the terrorist attack at Columbine in 1999, where two high school students walked into school and started shooting, or the numerous attacks over the years in different cities by other self-described anarchists.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

You don’t have to be on “red alert”. You don’t have to be paranoid. You just simply have to be aware.

As a writer who publishes on topics of survival, and terrorism, and the current state of world affairs — as well as Bible prophecy — I’d like to advise readers to be on the alert (by simply being aware) not just for Islamic radicals — but young, white Americans (anarchists) from counter culture. If terrorist attacks become more common in America in the months and years ahead, these guys could be responsible for more than one. Some of them could even have former military training themselves. What I’m describing is a scenario where the Waco, Texas David Koresh and Randy Weaver type American radicals decide to take up arms against society, and lash out with crazed, murder driven attacks at places like shopping malls and business districts. (I may have received good information over the months to indicate that this is a possibility. That’s all I’ll say in that regard.)

How Do You Survive an Attack at a Mall?

Odds are you won’t be there. But someone’s going to be there, and it might be someone you know. But just in case you do end up at a mall at the time one or more people have planned a mass shooting or bombing — or combination of both — there are some things you can do to increase your odds of survival.

1) Seriously consider doing your shopping outside the mall. If you truly have to go to the mall, then choose days and times that a terror attack is least likely to occur — such as a Sunday evening at 8pm. I would guess that a terrorist would pick a day and time that the most shoppers are likely to be at the mall. It’s like the suicide bomber in Israel. He or she most likely picks a time when the market or restaurant / night club has the biggest crowds.

2) Scan shoppers and look for people that fit either the description of an Islamic radical (yes, you’ll be “profiling”, though it’s not always effective, some may not look the traditional part of Islamic radical), or fit the description of a young hate-filled American from counter-culture — an “anarchist”. Not sure what they look like? A lot of them are the same protesters that show up in American cities and break windows, destroy cars, assault cops and pedestrians. That’s the crowd I’m referring to. The link at the top of this article is a good reference.

If you see a handful of people in the mall, matching a similar description, they may all be cohorts, even if they’re not in close proximity to each other. If a planned attack is going to come together, they may enter the mall from different doors, and plan to converge on centers of activity in the mall.

Flash Mob of Terror

You notice a number of young men (who look like they could be on their way to a protest of corporate America) are walking through the mall. Relax — this doesn’t mean a terror attack is about to be unleashed. What’s important is that you’ve noticed them. It’s just a red flag at this point. You scan the mall for the nearest exits, and notice that by one of the exits there are two guys that look like part of the same group hanging out by the door (what stands out to you are the black and gray clothes, the tattoos and piercings, and even their general demeanor), and then you look down the mall and notice yet another two guys standing outside the entrance to one of the major clothing stores.

Better safe than sorry. You immediately start walking to the nearest exit, where two of the men are, and just casually walk past them to the outside. As soon as you’re out the door you get on your cell phone and call mall security, and report that a number of suspicious people have entered the mall, and that security may want to be ready just in case there’s about to be a shooting.

Is this a survival tactic?

You bet it is. But it only works in the moment leading up to an attack on a public place. It’s like an off duty (or plain-clothes) Israeli police officer, who noticed the two suicide bombers entering a shopping district or nightclub. He’s trained to recognize that they don’t fit in. He also knows that they’re an ever present threat — even if months go by without an attack. He only has moments to casually get up from his seat and walk outside and get on the phone. In his situation he simply can’t pull his gun (this is a suicide bomber, remember) or yell “run, suicide bombers” to the crowd — though if yelled early enough, it might save a few lives as it could trigger the suicide bombers to panic and detonate themselves prior to the time of maximum impact they were counting on.

What about our mall attackers? If you’re certain that there’s going to be an attack, you could consider pressing a mall fire alarm and then walking toward the nearest exit. This might trigger an attack to occur a few moments or even just a couple minutes before “maximum impact”, and it may save a few lives.

Caught in a store

This is one of the worse case scenarios. Shooting has erupted within the mall, and bullets (machine gun bullets) and shot guns are ringing out. Screams of terror as people are shot. Your heart is jumping in your chest, adrenaline pumping, fear and panic seizing you. You want to run, but that means running out of the store and into the mall. At this point, the safest bet may be to run for the back room, but first ask (shout) to one of the employees if there’s a “back door”. Many / most small stores have back doors to either a hallway (for janitors, product storage, etc) or even to the outside (depending on what kind of mall you’re in) though these may lock on both the inside and the outside, and require a key to exit.

Consider Following a Fleeing Employee

An employee, especially a store manager, may be well aware of emergency evacuation procedures. He may know of emergency exits that you don’t know about. If he runs for the back room or side-door, follow him! Ask him if he knows how to get out; hopefully, his store has a plan for evacuating shoppers.

Don’t Be Crushed in a Stampede

So you or someone else has triggered a fire alarm, either before or as shots are ringing out in the mall. You might avoid being shot by making your way to the nearest exit, but that doesn’t mean you won’t avoid being run down by a mob of panicked shoppers who are running for the exits. Many people have been seriously injured and lives lost over the years in mob events. The way to avoid being crushed by a mob is to get out of their way and take shelter behind the nearest fixed object. Don’t just hide behind any object — a fleeing crowd can move heavy objects and that can still pose a danger. A fixed object is something that is not going to move. Even if you have to wait an extra minute, just maybe the biggest part of the crowd will get by and you can now make your own exit.

Avoiding a Gunman

Stay low, and look around — do you see a gunman? No, ok, well consider making a run for it now. Even if there is a gunman, if he’s far enough away, there’s a great chance he can’t shoot a moving target. Run in a direction that is at an angle to his location, rather than simply running straight away from him. That gives him an easier shot. Running away at an angle means he has to shoot a moving target, which is difficult even for trained shooters sometimes. Run diagonal to the shooter, even zig-zag, which is to cut back and forth. Remember to keep your head low, becoming a smaller target.

Ladies, think twice before putting on heels or flip flops for your next trip to a mall or beach or market place. In this day and age, a good pair of running shoes or cross trainers is a better idea. One day you might have to make a run for it and being able to run may be what saves your life that day.

Are you further along in your years and not able to move so fast nowadays? Consider (prayerfully, as with anything else in life) carrying a handgun for self defense.

Concealed Carry

Having a license to carry a firearm and then getting the proper training so that you know how to use it during a time of high stress could be the tool that takes down a mall shooter and ends a terrorist attack shortly after it starts or before more people are killed.

Considering the growing probability of terrorist attacks on shopping malls and other public places (including beaches and movie theaters), more people should strongly consider carrying a handgun for self defense and receiving adequate professional training.

Create a Diversion

Start a Fire – This is a tactic to consider using moments or minutes after a mall terrorist attack has taken place.

First, duck into a store and start throwing everything that will burn (clothing, magazines, paper from checkstands, boxes, etc) and piling it up near the front of the store, between you and any possible approaching threats.

Once you’re sure no panicked shoppers are heading your direction in the next few seconds to escape inside the store, where you are, set the burn pile on fire. You’ll have to be carrying a lighter of course.

Light the burn pile at several ends so that it creates a roaring fire in a shorter period of time.

Cross your fingers and hope that an overhead sprinkler system doesn’t kick on and put out your fire. (Hint: The bigger you make that fire, the harder it will be for any sprinklers to put it out.)

There’s no guarantee this will stop a shooter from entering the store, but a blazing fire can create a wall of flames, a lot of smoke, and possibly confuse and deter a shooter(s) long enough for you and other shoppers who have fled inside a store, from the mall, time to make an exit out of the back of the store to a hallway or outside to a parking lot or back alley.

Pepper Spray – Don’t take aim at an approaching gunman with a canister of pepper spray. His bullets will win that fight every time. Instead, carry pepper spray as a way to create a diversion and deter any gunmen from coming after your path of travel.

As you’re escaping out of the back door of a store with other fleeing shoppers (and it looks or sounds like a gunman may be following in your direction in the next few moments), take out your can of pepper spray and empty it into the air back into the store you are fleeing from.

Any gunman (not wearing a chemical mask, and most aren’t likely to — unless they’re prepared for a police response with tear gas) will run face-first into a room full of the remnants of pepper spray hanging in the air.

Particles of pepper spray will immediately sting his throat and possibly cause a coughing fit that will slow him down momentarily and may even scare him off in the other direction.

It won’t have the full effect of a direct encounter with pepper spray — but it may have enough effect to create a diversion long enough for you and others to make your escape.

Baby oil – Baby oil is the perfect weapon for a high school prankster because used in a generous amount it can cause a person to slip and fall and have a lot of trouble getting back up. With this in mind, women can carry a bottle of baby oil in their purse and if making an escape down a tiled hallway, pour it on the floor behind them, including at the top of a stair well, and it’s just one more diversion that can slow a pursuing threat down long enough to help a person make an escape and possibly even send a gunman tumbling down a stair well or escalator.

Like the fire and the pepper spray diversion, as much as possible in that moment be certain that no other shoppers will be fleeing in the same direction. Wave a number of people by and then proceed to creating diversions if you believe you have enough time and are fast enough to get somewhere to safety once a diversion(s) has been set.

Keep a Level Head

Easier said than done of course. But do everything you can to keep a level head and stay calm as any event unfolds — even something as terrible as a terrorist attack.

You should consider rehearsing this scenario mentally – especially if you frequently shop at a mall or you yourself work at a shopping mall.

Tens of thousands of people are employed at shopping malls. Tens of thousands of people should have plans for evacuation and or self defense in the event of a terrorist attack or other emergency.

Mall Plans for a Terrorist Attack or Civil Emergency

Do you know anyone who works at a shopping mall? Ask them what kind of plans they have for a terrorist attack or mall shooter or other civil emergencies.

Most malls probably do not have any plans for the worst emergencies, other than a handful of under-equipped and under-trained mall security guards.

In a way many shopping malls have their heads in the sand and don’t recognize the dangerous times that we are living in today.

The general public, store personnel and security personnel that staff these malls are all in danger.

As more terrorists enter this country and as more citizens (Arabs and non-Arabs both) are radicalized through the internet, these dangers only grow each year.

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Building A Blackout Kit

blackout

So you’ve got your bug out bag or BOB, you’ve squared away your EDC or Every Day Carry and you’ve packed your INCH bag (I’m Not Coming Home). Did you know there is another pack that is just as, if not MORE important? One that you absolutely must have in your home that I bet many of you don’t have?

It’s called a Blackout Kit or BOK for short and it is a vital prep you should undertake.

What is it?

First up a blackout kit is going to be cheaper to build than your bug out bag, it will contain only a few items and it will be small enough to take up little space and it won’t get in the way.

So what’s all the fuss about?

Well, imagine having all those preps, food, water, sanitary items and weapons. Now imagine the power going out across town and it’s dark.

I don’t just mean the ‘turn the lights off’ kind of dark, I mean really dark. The kind of dark you only get when you go hiking in the wilderness.

Absolutely zero light pollution, the power is out right across town as far as you can see from your bedroom window.

You will obviously have a list of priorities, if you have children, that may entail making them feel safe. Making sure pets are tucked out of the way so they don’t get under your feet. Grabbing the backup gas or solar generator to get the refrigerator and freezer going again.

This is all good stuff. However there is one vital step required before any of this.

You need to see where you are going. In pitch darkness that will be difficult. This is where ourblackout kit comes into play.

How Does It Work?

It is meant as a first action device. Something that can help you get to your preps, make safety checks and then go about your business.

Think about it, what good is having a generator in the garage if you can’t find your way to the damn thing in the first place without tripping over the garden hose and smashing your knees on the concrete?

So we need a way to bring calm back to the situation and other family members. This is what the blackout kit does.

It is a way for you to get from being plunged into darkness, to a relaxed and stress-free state in as little time as possible.

What it isn’t

It isn’t something that will cover every eventuality. It is designed for one thing only and that is a power outage.

It won’t contain emergency food or weapons or even clothing.

It isn’t designed to last for days on end or allow you to live off the land.

What items to include?

This is an example list of what items I have in my blackout kit. The total cost for a kit like this using items from Amazon can be as little as $30-$40 – a small price to pay for such an important and overlooked prep.

  • Chem-Light/Glow Sticks – A great source of light, especially when working or just to provide some light to a room and preserve batteries.
  • Torch – Most obvious items and is a must to get to the circuit breaker and the rest of your prep items.
  • Batteries – AA and AAA for the torch and headlamp!
  • Head Lamp – When working you may need both hands
  • 9hr Candles – These will burn much longer than those small tea light candles and they provide good light
  • Matches – To light the candle, start the wood burning stove or light your alcohol stove
  • Lighter – As above
  • Emergency Contact Numbers (Laminated) – Water, power and gas companies, friends, family and neighbors
  • Hand Warmers – If in winter, working with cold hands is tough
  • Pocket Screwdriver Set – To replace a circuit breaker or switch
  • Pliers – As above
  • Leather Work Gloves – Helps against cold and sharp metal objects
  • Resqme Escape Tool – To break a window if you need to escape
  • Small Knife – Always handy to have and many uses
  • Multitool – As above

Of course there are more items that you could add and it may vary from season to season. If you are in the depths of winter, where the possibility of a power outage is increased, you can add items that your may need.

All of the items in the list above are designed to be both small and light weight. Your blackout kit should weight no more than 2-3 lbs and be easily carried.

Packs

For those of you who love your gear, the pack you choose to store your gear is important. We all have put favorite brands and features and what works well for one may not for the next person.

Here are a selection of packs well designed for this kind of application.

  • Snugpak ResponsePak($26.95) – one of the most popular packs for a blackout kit and EDC. Lots of compartments, small but with enough space for a large Maglite and has a long carry strap for across the body/fanny pack carrying.
  • EDC Outdoor Organizer ($20.99) – a small back measuring 25 x 20 x 7cm with lots of pockets and straps for attaching items.
  • Maxpedition Gear Beefy ($26.04) – well know brand and used heavily in the prepper and survival community. The ‘Beefy’ measures 6.25-Inch (L) x 8.75-Inch (H) x 2.5-Inch (W) and has a front mesh pocket and velcro pouch for easy identification.
  • Maxpedition FR-1 Pouch ($36.65) – a little bigger than the beefy, this pouch can pack a lot of gear and is perfect for some of the more bulky items listed above.

Things To Make Your Blackout Kit Even Better

These are some nice to have additions to make your situation that much easier.

  1. Glow In The Dark Tape – Use on the outside of the pack and the torch handle
  2. Paracord Carry Strap– Easy to sling over your shoulder as you move in the darkness
  3. Spare Circuit Breakers – A quick fix is something blows
  4. Mobile Phone – Great to call the repair company etc
  5. UCO Lantern – Use in conjunction with the 9hr candles for a great source of lasting light
  6. Emergency Radio – For updates on the situation should it be a widespread power outage

Where To Store Your Blackout Kit?

The most logical place to keep your BOK is within reaching distance of your bed. If it’s daylight and you have a power cut, it’s easy to find your way to the circuit breaker and your preps. In the middle of the night however, it gets tricky, so under the bed, in the nightstand or a drawer is perfect.

Even the bottom of the closet, where many people choose to store their BOB is an ideal choice.

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3 Forgotten Survival Essentials — Straight From The History Books

forgotten

There was once a time in American history when the term “survival” was synonymous with terms like “daily life” and “making a living.”

Especially when we’re talking about ye olde trappers, fur traders, hunters and explorers of the 18th and 19th centuries, these folks knew the subtle nuances of survival. For instance, trappers would often vanish into the Appalachian wilderness for weeks and months at a time, only occasionally returning to their primary base camp or outpost to resupply. Then, it was back to the trail.

They wouldn’t usually make their way into town unless they needed to trade goods (or perhaps if they needed to send a telegram, I suppose). And this is one reason why I personally tend to take a historical perspective when it comes to expanding my knowledge of survival skill, bushcraft, and figuring out my own wilderness gear needs.

Hey, it’s one thing to learn this stuff from a survival dude on TV, but if we could hear from a guy like Davy Crockett these days, I’m sure he’d have a survival tip or two that might save us all a great deal of troubles, whilst afield.

Here, then, are three often overlooked survival essentials, using history as a guide:

1. Proper footwear

Especially before footwear became a mass manufactured item, this was one piece of gear that tended to cause problems for wilderness ramblers in the olden days.

In fact, most of these folks were stuck wearing moccasins, especially since the boots of the period had a smooth, treadless sole — and that gets rather dangerous when attempting to traverse slippery surfaces such as wet rocks or mud. So, moccasins offered the needed traction in order to get from camp to the river and back (without breaking a leg in the process).

Moccasins, on the other hand, might have been great for traction, but HORRIBLE for support. So this would often become the cause of very sore feet  and what we might call arthritis.

This is why obtaining proper footwear is so important, especially because the ability to traverse distances in the wilderness is absolutely critical — even for daily life. In fact, if your shoes were lost, broken or simply worn to bits during a bugout or survival scenario, then you could end up getting yourself quite stuck, and also in a potentially dangerous scenario to your health.

All it takes is one wrong step, and not only does your mobility go right out the window, but infection and tetanus could become a very real issue in the process.

2. Navigational equipment

It’s one thing to be stuck in a patch of woods that you’ve known your entire life, or at least, visited enough times in the past to know where you’re going.

However, survival situations (and even bugout scenarios for that matter) tend to lead us straight into the absolute middle of nowhere. In fact, I’m sure we’ve all heard similar stories, in which a lost person was found by SAR teams, shivering, dehydrated, and alone — and only a few hundred yards from a nearby road.

That’s why navigational equipment is an absolutely crucial part of any 72-hour kit or a full-blown bugout loadout. Not only do you need the means to travel, but you need to know where you’re going. Otherwise, traveling only becomes a waste of time and precious energy. If anything, the fact that Lewis and Clark lost all of their “scientific” gear, except for their compass, should tell us something, according to an article from Crazy Crow:

Of all the scientific equipment bought in Philadelphia for the journey west,” says [National Museum of American History] curator Harry Rubenstein, “the Clark compass may be the only surviving object.

You can tell what’s an important piece of gear, not always by what an explorer packs before the journey, but by the gear that makes it home. Of course, the most obvious gear that makes the top of the initial packing list is also highly worthy of note as well.

3. Sturdy cookware

While the packing manifest for the Lewis and Clark expedition first went over scientific/mathematical gear (a big reason for the expedition in the first place), and then listed muskets, rounds, gunpowder and other assorted weaponry (which also makes a great deal of sense), then clothing (that should be obvious as well), the first items mentioned on their “Camp Equipage” section of the list was kettles — six giant copper kettles, to be exact.

If you think about it, there were quite a few mouths to feed, and weaving a path through the unforgiving and uncharted wilderness makes for hungry work.

However, all too often, we tend to spend far too much time on trying to figure out how we’re going to find and take a meal. Yet, on my own personal experimental wilderness outings, I’ve discovered that I’ve often spent far too little time thinking of how I was going to prepare it.

Having proper cookware will not only make for easier cooking, but it facilitates our ability to expand our food options, and we reap far more benefits (nutrition and taste) from the food that we were able to procure.

So it seems that soldiers aren’t the only ones marching on their stomachs, because apparently, explorers and the rest of us do as well.

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THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF MOTHER NATURE (I): HOW TO TELL APART POISONOUS AND VENOMOUS ANIMALS

poisonous

Nature is continuously evolving. Everything around you / me / us is evolving as well. In order to adapt themselves to the environment as good as possible, living things succumbed to the natural order of things. Most organisms today are far from what their ancestors used to be thousands, even millions of years ago. The morphological and structural changes in a living cell happen, when in order to survive, it needs to change itself, to adapt, and (on a larger scale) to ensure the survival of the species. Some even develop the ability to hurt, kill or repulse dangerous factors or potential pray by means of poison or venom (mostly neurotoxins).

I’m sure that most of you, like me, have heard many-a-time while growing up (but not only): DON’T TOUCH THAT! DON’T EAT IT! KEEP AWAY FROM THIS OR THAT! IT WILL: BITE / STING / SCRATCH / POISON / YOU! Many of you (again, like a younger, more naive me) were at some point or another about to commit an act out of ignorance that could have had dire consequences. When outdoors, it’s most important to know what you’re dealing with and what’s about to deal with you. Because sometimes your existence may depend on it.

First thing’s first: what’s POISONOUS and what’s VENOMOUS? That which injects venom in its prey or aggressor through special mechanisms (fangs, stingers etc.) is VENOMOUS. What is going to poison you if you eat it (the blow-fish, the golden poison frog etc.) is POISONOUS.

Most dangerous plants and animals show signs that “they’re packing heat”. In nature, strong bright colors mean KEEP AWAY. The brighter the color, the bigger the danger. Although, in some cases, harmless beings will mimic the patterns or colors as a defense mechanism, without having the ability to secrete deadly substances. The hornet moth (Sesia apiformis) mimics the appearance of hornets, making them look menacing despite the fact that their lack of venomous glands or stingers makes them completely harmless.

Hornet moth (Sesia apiformis) Hornet moth (Sesia apiformis)

Let’s have a look at various representatives of the Animalia regnum and, by comparison, determine what’s to be feared and what’s not.

SPIDERS

Spiders have gained the reputation of being biters, and with good reason. For humans, the venom effect from most species can be painful, can cause infection-related complications, and in other cases can be lethal. They inject the poison via fangs called chelicerae that are connected to venomous glands located in the mandible.

The European garden spider (Araneus diadematus) is one of the most common spiders in Europe and North America. He is potentially dangerous for human beings, but never lethal under normal conditions. He’s easily identifiable by a pattern resembling a large cross on his back (abdomen). They’re specialized in spinning orb-webs (circular web patterns).

The European garden spider (Araneus diadematus) The European garden spider (Araneus diadematus)

The jumping spider of North America (Phidippus audax) is a non-venomous spider. Despite having strong, brightly-colored chelicerae, they do not possess venomous sacks. They are easily recognizable by their bright colored pattern of spots and stripes on the abdomen, contrasting with the overall color, black. They can jump over 50 times their own body length. But don’t worry, the best they can do is scare you out of their territory.

The jumping spider of North America (Phidippus audax) The jumping spider of North America (Phidippus audax)

Recently determined in 2010 as the world’s most venomous spider, the Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria nigriventer) is the most dangerous representative of the Araneae order. It can grow to have a leg spam of maximum 15 cm and body length of 48 mm. Be on the lookout for this cream-colored spider, with several rows of black or red dots on the underside of the abdomen, contrasting mid segments and lighter joints. His defensive posture consists in raising his frontal legs in the air. Do not approach this spider in any way; his bite is 100% lethal!

The Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria nigriventer) The Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria nigriventer)

SNAKES

Snakes are reptilians (order Reptilia, suborder Ophidia) that have lost their limbs throughout the evolutionary course. They have adapted to crawling on the surface thanks to special muscles found on their ventral side, protected by scaly plaques. They are easily identified thanks to their scaly bodies, hissing sounds, and limbless bodies. They too have the reputation of being nasty biters. The snakes with long fangs have the ability to fold them back in their mouth, thanks to hinge-like structures. This prevents the fangs of getting in the way of feeding or crawling. The venom is released from venom sacks that are located in the head, behind the eyes. While most snakes are potentially deadly to humans , some are not.

The rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus) is a small, harmless snake, that doesn’t poses venom glands. Despite his bright greenish color, it has no real biochemical weapon in his arsenal, their diet consisting mostly in small prey (invertebrates and insects). It can grow to up to 1.7m. It’s easily distinguishable because of the bright green scales and bright yellow sideline, running all the way from the sides of his head to his tail.

Rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus) Rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus)

The Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepydotus) is the most venomous snake known to man (so far). A single spray can release 110mg of venom. The neurotoxin complex found in this quantity is sufficient to kill 100 people. Its usual length is 1.8 meters, and the color pattern varies from dark brown (on his head) to a litter brown, towards the tail. These snakes are not aggressive, with 0 human casualties on record so far. However, all form of contact with these snakes is strongly unadvised.

poisonous7 Inland Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepydotus)

Just because a snake isn’t venomous, doesn’t mean he’s not dangerous. The members of thePythonidae family lack venomous glands, but are still predators. They have adapted to the predatory life by overcompensating and developing stronger than average muscles. They are big snakes, able to ingurgitate voluminous animals. They kill by constriction, wrapping themselves around the pray and strangulating it. The python (Python molurus molurus) is the most representative species, easily recognizable by his size (3 – 4m on average). He is fully covered in a mosaic-like pattern.

poisonous8 The python (Python molurus molurus)

FROGS

To some it may come as a surprise to find frogs amongst some of the deadliest creatures known to men. I can assure you, they’re place in the spot-light is well deserved. While most of these tiny amphibians pose little to no threat to human kind, some of them are more than enough to kill a human ten times over.

Many rumors and myths have circled throughout history around frogs like the Yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata), whose scaly and rough skin have classified it in popular culture as an ill omen and bringer of skin afflictions (warts etc.). Despite his monstrous appearance, this creature poses 0 threats to humans. Feel free to kiss away as many toads as you like. You’ll get no prince charming, true. But neither will you get incurable skin diseases!

poisonous9 Yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata)

Kissing a golden poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis) however, may result in grave consequences. This tiny member of the Anura order is highly toxic even to the slightest touch. His bright yellow (even green or orange, according to specie) outer coating is a pertinent signal for what’s underneath his epidermis: thousands of glands that secrete (as a defense mechanism) one of the most potent natural toxins ever discovered (LD50). 1mg is more than enough to easily kill 20 – 25 humans. The Embera tribe (Colombia) captured and restrain these frogs in order to deep their hunting arrows in their skin, making them more efficient. The poison can maintain its deadly effect for up to 2.5 years on the arrow’s tip.

poisonous10 The golden poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis)

FISH

The first thing to come to mind related to underwater predators is most likely sharp teeth and strong jaws able to tare ones limbs apart. But there are plenty of fish in the sea. And with numbers, comes diversity.

If you happen to stumble across a Red scorpionfish (Scorpaena scrofa) and you get stung by one of its dorsal spines, it could very well be the last thing you’ll ever do. They pack a strong poison capable of rapidly afflicting vital organs. It can result in swelling, fever, vomiting, delirium, fainting and cardiac or respiratory collapse.

poisonous11 Red scorpionfish (Scorpaena scrofa)

The Australian bull ray (Mylliobatis australis) is the stingray responsible for one the most covered deaths in modern culture, as in early September 2006 was claiming the life of nature-nut and animal enthusiast, Steve Irwin. Its tail packs a needle capable of injecting a potent toxin that can result in immediate paralysis and death due to heart failure. The patterns on its dorsal side may vary from grey to light beige (with or without patterns), while is ventral side is almost always white.

poisonous12 The Australian bull ray (Mylliobatis australis)

Although most jellyfish are nothing more than gentle roamers of the seas, not to be feared in way, encountering the wrong type and not being able to recognize it may prove fatal. Some jellyfish feed with the help of tentacles cover in thousands of micro-stingers, paralyzing and killing most of the living organism that happen to pass through their deadly wail. The Box jellyfish a.k.a. the Sea Wasp (Carukia Barnesi) has more than enough potency in its sting to put down even the strongest people.

poisonous13 The Box jellyfish a.k.a. the Sea Wasp (Carukia Barnesi)

When it comes to nature’s children, some will hurt, some will not. Some will scare, some will kill. Know the difference! It’s the only thing standing between you and natural selection.

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Why Wearing a Paracord Bracelet Is a Good Idea…

bracelets

I’m sure you’ve seen these things around…you know…those bracelets made from paracord…

These days, you can find them (or the materials to make them) just about everywhere.

But besides being an outdoor fashion statement, are they really good for anything?

Well…yes…yes they are. Here is why:

  • The number one reason why a paracord bracelet is worth having is that you would always have about ten feet (or more) of strong cordage with you. Having more cordage than that would be preferred, but let’s face it…most people are not going to have a bundle of cordage in their EDC plan. So for everyday carry, wearing one of these bracelets would make sense. Other ways to incorporate paracord into an EDC, (such as a belt, watch band, or key chain,) would also be a good plan.
  • The second reason why wearing a paracord bracelet is a good idea is that, not only will you have cordage, you will have string. In fact, 10 feet of typical 500 paracord (7 strand) will have about 70 feet of string. The string could prove really useful in a variety of situations where paracord would be too thick for the job.

As for the number of ways for which paracord could be used?

Well…I could list many for you, but in reality, it is impossible to list them all. I could easily list 100 uses right here…and it would still not be enough to cover it. The fact is, cordage and string have just so many basic uses for emergency preparedness and survival. Here are some random examples in various categories of preparedness:

Water:

  • Paracord could be used to create a catch system in which to collect water from a dripping source.
  • It could be used to hold canteens or other water containers.
  • The cordage could also be used to help construct solar stills.

bracelet1

Food:

  • Paracord (and the strands inside) could be used to create traps and snares to catch game.
  • The inner strands could be used as fishing line.
  • Netting could be created from paracord.
  • One could use the cordage to hang game for storage, for processing, or for cooking.
  • String could also be used to hang herbs for drying, or to hang curds for cheese-making.

Shelter:

  • One could use paracord to construct a basic lean-to or other simple shelter.
  • Paracord could also be employed as lashing for wooden constructs.
  • Cordage, of course, could be used to tie things together.
  • It could also be used to weave a hammock for sleeping off of the ground.

Clothing:  

  • Paracord (and the inner strands) could be used for clothing repair.
  • It could also be used as shoelaces.
  • Paracord can also be woven into belts, watch bands, and, of course, bracelets.

Security:

  • Paracord could be used to help create trip perimeters.
  • It could be woven into gun slings.
  • The cordage could also be used to make a bow.

Fire and Heat:

  • Paracord could be used to make a bow-drill.
  • Certain types of paracord include a jute strand which could be used as tinder.
  • Again, paracord could always be used to tie things together…such as bundles of kindling.

First-aid:

  • Paracord could be used to create a sling, or be used to immobilize a limb in a split.
  • It could be used as a tourniquet.
  • As a final example, it could also be used to help fasten bandages in place.

These are just a few of the many uses for paracord. Honestly, because there are so many scenarios when cordage or string could be employed, that I could not possibly attempt to list them all. When it comes down to it, there really isn’t a reason why you should not have any paracord on hand. This is especially true when you could wear something as simple, light, and small as a paracord bracelet.

And that’s precisely why wearing a paracord bracelet is a good idea.

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A Prepper’s IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) Loadout

ifak

An IFAK or Individual First Aid Kit is a typically a military term of a kit to aid in the traumatic injury of a warfighter. I see many Prepper’s or Survival minded people carrying military style IFAKs in their BOBs or survival gear. While this is good; I believe more items will be needed to cover more situations that may arise.

In a disaster situation I look at it from a standpoint of needing a kit that combines both military IFAK gear as well as wilderness expedition style kits (similar to expedition guides or wilderness first aid guys). This is my reasoning for my kit.When chaos occurs-gun fights happen and those wounds need to be treated. People in my  group may also be using tools that they are unfamiliar with and could cause injury (axes, knives, etc…). I’ve tried to focus my kit around these circumstances. I will go over my load-out below.

ifak2 Notice the Trauma Section is easily identified by the red pull tab. This allows for quick identification when seconds count.

After opening my kit you will notice its a clam shell design that has two separate sections. In the center there are scissors that are easily accessed and allows me to get to a wound quickly.

The two separate sections are divided into two groups:

  • Trauma treatment (GSW or gunshot wounds/severe lacerations)
  • Expedition Medical (standard injuries and medicine)

TRAUMA SIDE

ifak3

The trauma side contains the following components:

  • Quick Clot Combat Guaze Z-folded (coagulant)
  • Sterile Scaplel
  • Duct Tape
  • Standard Rolled Gauze
  • Military Cravat (a.k.a. triangle bandage)
  • Israeli Bandage (field dressing)
  • H & H Tourniquet
  • Sharpie with Medical tape wrapped (good for writing tourniquet times on victim)
  • Nitrile Gloves (barrier)

WILDERNESS MEDICINE SIDE

We will now outline the wilderness or standard medicine side. These components remedy common ailments that may be encountered in the field.

ifak4

A few different types of band-aids are included. This will keep minor wounds protected to facilitate with the healing process and to fight getting the wounds dirty and infected. Minors can become majors without proper care. Moleskin is included for blisters. This is bound to happen to tender footed individuals when humping heavy rucks over unforgiving terrain. 

ifak5

I find it important to include items that can disinfect or cleanse minor wounds. Triple Antibiotic ointments will promote healing and keep you from getting a gnarly infection. I’ve included BZK Antiseptic wipes because they help with the application of Steri-Strips (a wound closure tape). The Alcohol Prep pads are more for cleansing instruments than wounds. Iodine can be used as an antiseptic and also to purify water if nothing else is available. 

ifak6

For wound closure I’ve included a Steri-Strip packet. This is the least invasive method of wound closure and it’s always recommended to go that route first. In my kit I also include a suture set. Understand that you must have the knowledge and skill set to do this or you may be doing more harm than good. 

ifak7

Med’s and Ointments:

  • Blistex (aside from lip treatment it can also be used to start fires)
  • Sunscreen wipes
  • Oral ointment (toothaches)
  • Sting Relief wipes
  • Burn Free Gel (starting fires in the wilderness can lead to the potential to get burned)
  • Hydro-cortisone cream
  • Ammonia Inhalants (smelling salts)
  • Aspirin, Non-Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Antihistamine, Antacids, Pepto, Anti-diarrheal, and Electrolyte Replacement.

ifak8

Tools:

  • Hemostats
  • Bandage Scissors (I prefer them over EMT shears and they are smaller)
  • Irrigation Syringe (cleaning wounds)
  • Tweezers w/ Magnifying lens
  • Streamlight Pen Light

ifak9

Sterile Gauze:

  • Surgical Pads
  • Sterile Eye Pad
  • Sterile 4×4’s and 2×2’s
  • Non-Stick Pads (good for not reopening wounds by removing the scab when dressings are changed)

ifak10

Miscellaneous:

  • Disposable thermometers
  • Laerdal CPR Barrier
  • Kerlix wrap
  • Elastic bandage
  • Insect Repellent (not shown)

As you can see this kit contains a plethora of equipment to handle a variety of situations. These are the items I feel comfortable with and will aid me in a disaster situation when there is no further medical help available (by all means if further medical care is available-seek it out). Build a kit that reflects your skill level. Remember that knowledge is key and it outweighs and gear that you may have. If you have the time I suggest getting whatever level of medical training offered in your area. At the very least look to the American Red Cross for CPR and First Aid training. If someone in your group has a higher level of medical training (i.e. Nurse/Nurse Practitioner/M.D./Surgeon); they should focus their efforts on developing a medical kit for your group.

DISCLAIMER:

The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only.

You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

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Tips for Hot Weather Fishing Success

 

The fishing can be as hot as the weather if you know what to do and where to fish.

Hot Night Fishing:

Night fishing is a traditional summer activity for thousands of anglers in many regions of the country. But often the most important part to good night success is selecting the right lake or river for your fishing.

Frequently, clear, deep lakes that have a lot of daytime use are prime night waters. Such lakes have water-skiers, sailboaters, speed boats, jet skis, and swimmers during the day. But at night, the bulk of human traffic goes home, and sportfish go on the prowl.

Look for bass, stripers, walleyes, crappies, bluegills, catfish and other species in typically good “feeding” areas you’d expect to locate them during a “hot bite” in the day. Points, islands, riprap, dam areas, weed lines, docks and pilings all can offer excellent night fishing. Some of the best and easiest to fish night spots are where there are large lights that shine down into the water–like around docks, piers, marinas and some lake dams.

 

Lights attract insects, which draw minnows, and that pulls in feeding game fish. Sometimes bass, crappies, catfish, and others can be caught right in the bright parts of lights shining down into the water. But often the biggest, oldest, and most shy sportfish hold in the dark, just outside a light beam hitting the water’s surface.

Fish slow and methodical at night. Fish at night can have a difficult time homing-in and hitting a lure, so make it easy for them. Slow-swimming minnow-like lures, chugger plugs, buzz-baits, and big spinner-baits with large Colorado blades are good because they make a lot of commotion and put out a lot of fish-attracting vibrations.

Rapids Hold Hot Fish:

During the hottest, brightest parts of summer, many fish (and plenty of surprisingly big ones) can be found holding in riffled stream or river water. This even occurs on some waters where there are deep holes and under-cut banks offering fish plenty of shade.

There are several reasons fish “hold” in riffles. One, such water is highly oxygenated, and since low-oxygen levels stress fish in some rivers, they naturally gravitate to riffled water. Further, in riffles and rapids minnows, crayfish and stream nymphs are tumbled around in the water column and disoriented, which makes such places excellent feeding sites. Riffles also often “funnel” river water through narrows, which makes them natural places for game fish to ambush prey.

 

Any mid-stream current break in a riffle could be a key holding spot for fish to ambush prey. Casts should be made above, to the side, and below such stream breaks, which can include boulders, log jams, and bridge pilings.

Fish commonly found in summer riffles include most trout, smallmouth bass, some sunfish, and in deeper, slower riffles catfish and largemouth bass are available.

Many live baits score well in riffles, but artificials do, too. Soft plastic jerk baits, spinners, spoons, small crankbaits, and streamer flies and nymphs can be counted on to catch most riffled-water species.

High-Speed Lure Retrieves:

While there are no “absolutes” in fishing, during summer when the water is warm and cold-blooded fish are more active, high-speed lures often catch fish that ignore lures that inch along bottom.

This is just the opposite of what many anglers believe. The old wives tale about the “dog days of summer” still persists in many fishing regions. Such anglers believe that a slowly worked plastic worm, jig, or spoon is the only way to catch “lethargic” summer fish.

While slow lure speeds may at times work in summer, faster lure speeds more frequently are the norm.

 

Naturally, faster cranking techniques with plugs, spoons, spinners, and plastic worms likely will produce more summer fish. But more subtle ways of increasing lure speed can be accomplished and may tempt more fish into striking. For example, use a heavy spinner-bait with a smaller willow leaf blade that spins fast as the lure “drops” more quickly than a light spinner-bait with large Colorado blades. Such a lure has a lot of flash and sparkle due to its fast-spinning blades, and that draws active, summer fish.

Often a crank bait with a tighter, “shorter” wobble will catch more fish in summer than a similar lure with a slower, wider arch in its wobbling action. A curly-tail worm looks like it’s moving faster than one with a normal or straight tail. Curly-tail worms added to spoons and spinner-baits can make them appear as though they’re moving much faster than they really are.

“Bump” for Bass and Others:

For some reason, a lure that “bumps” or slams into an object or the lake or river bottom during a retrieve often is struck by fish that ignore the same lure that doesn’t “bump” cover. This is especially so in summer, when bass, pike, trout, walleyes, muskies, and other fish are particularly active.

“Bumping” is easy to do and doesn’t take much altering of lures or retrieving techniques. Just make sure that when you’re casting a spinner-bait to a lily pad or bulrush clump, you pull the lure right into the cover, allowing it to “bump” and carom off. Be sure crank baits are brought in so they bounce off a bridge abutment or dig and hop along bottom, a rock retaining wall, standing timber, brush, or rip rap bank.

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Making Fire With a Bow Drill

Imagine you’re hiking with some friends on a day hike on a trail you’ve never been on.  The trail is well marked in places, not so much in others.  At one point you stop to make a quick bathroom break and tell the others to keep going, you’ll catch up in a little while.  After you’re done you amble up the trail happy to have a few minutes alone.  Suddenly you realize you haven’t seen any trail markers recently and you realize you’ve wandered off the trail.  You don’t panic, but you hurry ahead to where you think the trail must be.  Without realizing it you’ve walked further from the trail and out of hearing range from your friends.

bow

You’re Lost

You’re lost in the wilderness and sundown is an hour away.  Next you realize that all you are carrying with you is a plastic water bottle half full, a small bag of GORP, and a light windbreaker jacket.   It’s supposed to get down into the 40′s during the night and you’re gonna freeze your ass off.  What do you do now?  Most people would suffer through the night and probably be ok in the morning after freezing all night.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get a fire going and sleep next to it all night?  Luckily, you read this post and remember how to build a bow drill and even practiced with it.  Right?  So let’s build a bow drill set and start a fire.

bow2 Spindle, bow, and bearing block.

Materials:

First, you can build a set without a knife and paracord, but it’s much easier if you have them.  Even a small pocket knife would be invaluable for this task.

There are several pieces that make up the bow drill:  the bow, bearing block, fire board, and spindle.

– Spindle:  The spindle is the part that drills into the wood.  The spindle and fire board should be made from the same material.  Softwood like cedar or fir is best for this as it’s easier to get a good coal.

– Fire Board:  This is the part that lays on the ground and receives the spindle.

– Bow:  The bow can be made of just about anything as long as it has a slight curve to it.  The cordage should be fairly rugged, but can be made from natural cordage if you don’t have anything available.

Getting some smoke.

bow3 Getting some smoke.

– Bearing Block:  This is a piece of wood, or a rock, or a knife that can hold the top part of the spindle.

– Cordage:  As mentioned earlier a good piece of paracord will make this a lot easier, but it is possible to do this with natural cordage, although you’ll need to angle the bow so the cordage doesn’t rub against itself and break.

Getting Everything Right

Once you have all the steps down it’s actually fairly easy to get the coal needed to light your tinder.  But everything as to work in harmony or you just won’t get the coal.  The spindle has to be cut properly, the fireboard needs to be burned in and the notch has to be right.  The bearing block needs to be lubricated and your bow must grip the spindle properly – not too loose and not too tight.

Also Read: Primitive Skills School

Once all these pieces come together you’ll need to use proper form in order to get the coal.  Check out the video for more information on a bow drill and to see whether or not I can actually start a fire this way.