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Hand to Hand Combat Survival Guide

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In this survival guide we will go over some hand to hand combat techniques that will not only help you to defend yourself, but to kill your attacker with your bare hands.  Sound harsh?  Too bad, we live in the real world where murderous intent is requisite for any post-apocalyptic situation.

Here’s the scenario…

It’s 2020, last night’s firefight left you without ammunition, and your knife is a couple miles away buried in one of the attackers’ skull.  Shit happens.  Now you’re traveling through the mean streets of Apocalypse L.A. with no means of defending yourself, other than your bare hands.  Unfortunately, someone ten times more desperate than you has spotted you.  He’s hungry, and you look like filet mignon to him.  You only have one option, defend yourself and kill him.

Hand to Hand Combat Stance

Facing the attacker, have  your feet at shoulders length apart, with your arms forward, parallel to one another, and bent at the elbows.  Your knees should be slightly bent, with your weight on the balls of your feet.  Always maintain this stance when not striking.

Always keep your balance, this day and age with the latest MMA craze people are more than willing to knock you off your feet, and if they get your back…you’re fucked.  I’m not going to pretend to ‘teach’ you jiu-jitsu, having you read articles and look at a bunch of pictures, but it wouldn’t be that bad of an idea to take some classes seeing how it’s the #1 martial art in America.

Aggressiveness through TEMPO

A common thread in with many of our articles relevant to combat is aggressiveness and tempo.  Simply defending yourself will never win any fight.  Once, the first moves been made your aggressiveness and tempo needs to outweigh your attackers.  If you’re aggressiveness doesn’t outweigh your attacker’s, you’ll be his dinner in a couple hours.

Your Body’s Natural Weapons

Natural weapons are parts of your body that can be used to attack someone such as; the heel of your hands, the knife of your edge hand, fingers folded at the second knuckle, elbow, knees, fists, your feet (boots), and teeth. Ladies be advised fingernails don’t count because this is life and death, and scratching doesn’t really do anything…

No Fair Fights in The Wasteland

The days of two men honorably dueling are long gone, especially when the shit hits the fan.  When you’re fighting for your life you use every advantage available to you.  Nothing is off limits, and whatever you have to do to win this fight, do it..

Strike points that can cause death…

Temple – There is a large artery located at the temple, if struck with enough pressure can cause death, and will undoubtedly incapacitate your attacker.  You can use the knife edge of your hand, your boot, or anything that can deliver enough blunt pressure to inflict damage.

Eyes – The eyes are great strike points! You can blind the enemy, temporarily or permanently. Not only can you punch the attacker with a close first but you can fight dirty and gouge their eyes with your thumbs.  Surprisingly, it really doesn’t take much to get to the ocular cavity.

Nose – By hitting the bridge with your first, or the knife edge of your hand will cause severe pain, breakage, temporary blindness, and possible death.  Hitting the base of the nose where the nostrils are with the palm of your hand in an upward motion can launch the nose bone  right into the brain.

Upper Lip – It contains a lot of nerves at the surface, and if its hit hard enough the attacker will be rendered unconscious.

Chin – If you got a wicked right hook, hopefully the attacker has a glass jaw more fragile than Chuck Liddell’s, and you’ll be able to knock out the attacker.  Otherwise use the palm of your hand to keep from breaking your fingers on his chin.

Adam’s Apple – This is one of the most defended areas because people tend to keep their arms up to block any attacks but if you can find an opening, go for it, it’ll throw your attacker off his game, providing an opportunity to inflict more damage in other critical areas.  If you’re lucky enough to land a strong strike you could even crush his windpipe and game over.

Esophagus – Located right below the Adam’s Apple. If you can be in a position to push your thumbs into this spot will block oxygen flow to his lungs and death will be eminent.

Neck – Giving a strong blow to the base of the neck can break it. I wouldn’t waste time trying to be Jonny Kung Fu trying to break a man’s neck with a single blow. Instead later we’ll discuss strangles and holds.

Non-lethal, but very painful strike points…

Refer to the image for the location of these strike points. A couple of these points people will say ‘if struck hard enough’ can cause death, but I’m not talking to a hardened warrior, this guide is for beginners, because hardened warriors know all this and more.  Very painful strike points include; collar bone, shoulders, arm pit, rib cage, solar plexus, spine, kidneys, groin, tailbone, elbows, fingers, knees, and ankles.  Long story short, there’s plenty of places to strike but the ones listed above are the best and most effective.

Chokes and Strangleholds

As I was saying before, people will try to take you to the ground, and the #1 rule is don’t let them take your back. Chokes and strangleholds are an effective way to control or kill your attacker. Choking implies cutting off the air supply, strangling cuts off the blood supply. Strangling is the more affective and painless way to eliminating an enemy, but we’ll go over both. Note, this is sourced from True Death.

Handclasp

  1. Place the left palm facing upward on the enemy’s left shoulder.
  2. Take the right arm across and in front of the neck with the right hand on the left. Ensure that the inside cutting edge of the wrist is towards the throat.
  3. Claps the hands together.
  4. Pull the cutting edge of the right wrist into the throat in an inwards and upwards manner, using the body as a block.
  5. With the legs wrapped around the enemy’s body, work the right arm in front of the throat clasping the left hand. Pull the wrist tightly into the throat controlling the body with the legs. If he pulls his chin in, draw the head back with the left hand , grabbing the arm – drive the right arm into the throat, then quickly clasp the hands again.

Special Points: Essential to pull the enemy into the body for maximum effect, using the cutting edge of the wrist.

Sliding Scarf

  1. Place the right hand round and in front of the enemy’s throat.
  2. Continue the movement round to the back of the neck, placing the thumb inside the clothing.
  3. Take a firm hold of the clothing with the right hand, with the fingers outside and to the rear.
  4. Bring the left arm round in front and underneath the right arm.
  5. Grab the clothing with the thumb inside and fingers out.
  6. Keeping the enemy’s body pulled tightly back into your own pull across and to the right with the right arm and down and across to the left with the left arm.
  7. With the legs wrapped around the enemy’s body work both arms around the front of the neck.
  8. Manipulate the right hand round the back of the neck grabbing the collar with the thumb inside, fingers out, simultaneously grabbing the cloth under the right arm with the left hand.
  9. Apply pressure by pulling the right arm across and back to the right with the left arm pulling across and down to left. Keep the head well in.

Special Points: Essential that the right hand be placed as far round the neck as possible in order to attain the maximum leverage.

Cross Scissors

  1. Place the right hand inside the opponents clothing to the rear and right side of his neck, with the fingers inside and thumb out.
  2. Take the left hand across and over the right and attack it in a similar manner on the left side.
  3. Squeeze the neck tightly by pulling the hands back across in scissors action driving the elbows out to the side.
  4. With the enemy facing – cross the hands and work to the sides and back of the neck grabbing the clothing, fingers inside and thumb out.
  5. Apply pressure by pulling the elbows out to side. This attack is good when the enemy is laying on their back.

Special Points: Essential that the hands are placed well to the rear of the neck for maximum leverage. Can also be accomplished with palms facing down or alternate one up, one down depending on circumstances.

Forearm Choke

  1. Place the right hand thumb inside, fingers out, on the enemy’s clothing to the right side of his neck.
  2. Grab the front of the clothing with the left hand, fingers inside, thumb out. 3. Drive the outside cutting edge of the right arm into the side of the neck grabbing the clothing, thumb inside, fingers out.
  3. Grab the clothing at the front with the left hand and apply pressure by driving the outside cutting edge of the right arm into the throat.
  4. Effective against the floor or a wall where the opponent cannot learn back away from the direction of the force.

Special Points: Essential to keep the right elbow high and use the cutting edge of the wrist.

Wind Pipe Choke

  1. Holding the opponent with the left hand make a vice with the right hand.
  2. Grab the windpipe, fingers on the right side, thumb on the left.
  3. Squeeze the wind pipe tightly trying to make a fist with the right hand.
  4. Grab the enemy around the neck with the right arm spreading the legs wide to ensure a firm base.
  5. Grab the windpipe with the left hand squeezing the fingers and thumb together to make a fist.
  6. In addition to the windpipe choke – adopting the same position – the thumb of the left hand can be driven into the eye applying pressure inside and out.

Special Points: Essential that the windpipe only is grabbed and not too much of the neck. Fingers should be together for maximum effect on the squeeze.

Nutcracker

  1. Place the hands with the fingers pointing to the sides of the enemy’s neck.
  2. Grab the clothing at the sides of the neck with the fingers inside, thumbs out, and make a tight fist with each hand.
  3. Drive the knuckles of each fist into the sides of the neck.
  4. With the legs wrapped around the enemy’s body grab the clothing at the side of the neck with the fingers inside, thumbs out.
  5. Making a tight fist, drive the knuckles into the sides of the neck.

Special points: Essential that knuckles are strongly pressed into the veins and arteries of the neck for maximum effect. For maximum pressure ensure the cutting edge of the knuckles is pressed into the neck.

Arm And Wrist Locks

The are many arm and wrist locks which can be highly effective in controlling an enemy during a situation. However, most locks are enhanced by first shocking the enemy with another technique, such as a punch or kick.

Hair & Hammer Lock

  1. Grab the enemy’s right wrist from the rear with the right hand.
  2. Move forward gripping the right elbow with the left hand.
  3. Bend the arm behind the back hooking the lower arm in your left.
  4. Grip the hair with the right hand
  5. pull the haed hard to the rear.

Special Points: Essential to move forward when hooking enemy’s arm in your left – this will help to bend the arm. Lift the enemy upwards to keep him off balance. This lock can also be used as defense by catching a straight hand strike on the outside of the wrist with the rear hand applying the lock. this method could be followed up with a Japanese strangle hold (see sentry removal)

Chicken Wing Lock

  1. Take hold of the enemy’s right wrist with the right hand.
  2. Slip the left thumb interlock with enemy.
  3. Rotate the back of the left hand around the back of the enemy’s hand.
  4. Retaining the thumb hold, pull the wrist towards the body.
  5. Pull the wrist towards the body with the right hand and slip the left palm under the back of his hand.
  6. Take the enemy’s elbow under the arm and apply upwards pressure.

Wrist Lock And Throw

  1. Grab the enemy’s right arm with both thumbs to the back of the hand, fingers around the base of the palm applying wrist lock.
  2. Twist the hand over to left to begin a large circular movement.
  3. Continue to apply pressure to the wrist by moving the body round to the left, force the enemy to the ground with the wrist lock.

Special Points: After the throw, a follow up technique such as a hand strike could be applied.

Body Throws And Sweeps

Body throws are very effective during close quarter combat when an enemy presents themselves open to the type of technique. Leg sweeps, on the other hand, can be effective from a longer range and are especially useful when moving in on the enemy.

Hip Throw Against Punch

  1. Enemy attacks with a left punch to the body. Move forward to block the punch with a right downward block.
  2. Block the punch as the right leg steps forward and through.
  3. Take the right hand round the back of the enemy smothering and grabbing his right arm with your left.
  4. Bring the left leg into the right and pull with the left hand getting the hip into and under the enemy’s body.
  5. Drive upwards with the legs and hip pulling the enemy over with both arms.
  6. Drop the enemy down in front and raise the right arm to prepare for a counter.
  7. Counter with a downward punch to the face.

Special Points: Ensure that the hip moves well through and into the opponents body with both legs underneath for maximum upward drive. It is essential in throws of this type to pull the enemy hard into the body to assist leverage. The enemy should also be driven strongly into the ground.

Front Body Drop Against Punch

  1. Enemy attacks with a right punch to the head. Block the punch with a left head block.
  2. As you block, grip the clothing pulling the arm down and move forward taking the right hand to the left collar.
  3. Grab the clothing behind the neck with the right hand asthe right leg moves forward.
  4. Continue the movement of the right leg forward and through puliling the enemy hard into the side and twist hard round to the left.
  5. Continue turning to the left pulling with both arms until the enemy falls over the right leg. As enemy drops over the leg release the grip with the right hand so as not to fall to the ground.
  6. Raise the right hand and prepare for a counter.
  7. Counter with a right downward punch to the kidneys.

Special Points: Essential to drive into the enemy pulling back as soon as possible to stop him bending forward out of the throw.

Outside Sweep

  1. Enemy attacks with a left front kick.
  2. Move to the right, blocking the kick with a left low block.
  3. Move forward grabbing the enemy by the arm and shoulder.
  4. Sweep the leg pulling the enemy to the rear with both arms.
  5. Control the enemy on the ground.
  6. Press down onto the side with the left nee and raise the right arm to counter.
  7. Drive the right fist into the face.

Special Points: Essential that the sweeping leg is brought quickly back to regain balance and assist with backward momentum.

Inside Sweep

  1. Enemy attacks with a left punch to the head.
  2. Grab the punching arm with the right hand grabbing the clothing on the shoulder with the left.
  3. Drive the left foot to the inside of the enemy’s left leg.
  4. Sweep the leg pulling forward with the left hand.
  5. Continue to pull taking the enemy over and to the ground. Assist the turn by lifting up and over with the right hand.
  6. Keeping a firm hold with the right hand raise the left arm to counter.
  7. strike down to the face with a left fist.

Special Points: Essential to co-ordinate the pull and the sweep for maximum effect.

Outside Hook

  1. Enemy attacks with a right punch to the head. Evade the punch with a double arm block to the outside of the punch.
  2. Grab the punching arm with both hands hooking the right foot behind the front ankle.
  3. Lift the foot forwards and up pulling to the rear with both hands. As with the ‘outside sweep’ pull the hooking leg quickly back to the rear to regain balance.
  4. Drop onto body with the right knee lifting the right arm to counter.
  5. Drive the right fist down into the groin.

Special Points: Essen tail to hook leg forward and up to break the balance.

Inside Hook

  1. Enemy attacks by grabbing the upper body and attempting a knee strike. Lower the body smothering the attack taking the left arm down under the attacking leg.
  2. Grab the leg with the left arm taking the right arm around the back.
  3. Step forward and through with the right leg hooking around the enemy’s supporting leg.
  4. Hook the leg and drive the enemy to the ground. Pull back before landing to maintain initiative and balance.
  5. Control the head by forcing the right hand into the face.
  6. Stand, lifting the leg, exposing the groin and raise right arm to counter.
  7. Drive the right fist down into the groin.
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Prepper’s Clothing: Clothes & Shoes To Wear And Carry!

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Preppers usually put a lot of thought into what they will eat, what tools they will need, weapons (to get or not to get), and of course medicines and first aid… And if you’ve also done and decided that sort of thing – then you are indeed on the path to being well prepared for most disasters. However, prepper’s clothing is the other very important thing that you need to give a thought to now – and start preparing!

To that end, we have for you here some information that may be of help. We’ve compiled a list of must-haves – as well as a list of factors to keep in mind when selecting individual items of clothing. So – to start…

Clothing essentials for every prepper

To begin with, these are the clothes that you should be dressed in when you first take your stuff and step out of the house to go off grid. These are the clothes that will allow you to cope and give you a tactical advantage over those dressed in their regular clothes:

  • Tactical pants – the keyword in all these cases is ‘tactical’ – your clothes need to be a lot more functional, because that is what gives you the advantage. Look for something that has a lot of pockets, won’t shrink, fade or wrinkle easily, and will also resist water and stains to a certain extent. Another thing you could look out for is double reinforced knees as these places are bound to face a lot more wear and tear.
  • Tactical shirt – short, needs to be comfortable – because they will determine how you feel. Look for shirts that have ‘pit zips’ which allow you to cool off if needed by undoing a few zips. Another great feature that you should look for is fire retardant material, something that will resist melting and becoming a hazard if in contact with fire.
  • Tactical jacket – jackets are primarily for protection – and this one should be able to provide that. This should also have pit zips and should be a size and shape that is conducive to layering – you never know how cold it can become.
  • Bug out socks – your feet will be bearing much of the brunt, you being on the move. And that means that your feet need to be kept safe and comfortable. Choose socks that are comfortable and aid in long hikes. One that wicks away moisture and keeps your feet fresh and dry is also going to be something you’ll appreciate in the long run.
  • Work gloves, preferably heavy duty – gloves, in any everyday situation, are built for insulation. And when bugging out, you’ll also need to keep your hands warm. But – merely keeping warm won’t suffice here… You’ll also need to keep doing the necessary chores to stay alive – like gathering fire wood, setting up a place to stay, etc. Therefore, choose work gloves over mere warm gloves – they insulate and also do not affect your ability to use your hands.
  • Sturdy shoes – as mentioned already, your feet need to be cared for. Therefore, to deal with all the hiking and off roading, you need to have sturdy shoes – ones that will support your feet and protect them. But remember to break your shoes in before placing them with your prepper’s supplies. New shoes will come with blisters and that is something you would want to avoid at all costs when off grid.
  • A hat – keeping your head protected is imperative. If you need warmth, then go for woolens. But if it’s just to protect against sunlight and rain, a plain baseball cap also work. Avoid bright colors or slogans though.
  • Last minute bug out essentials belt – this is another thing you should seriously consider. These are ideally narrow and comfortable belts with quite a few pockets sewn into them. They can be used to store absolute bug out essentials, stuff like water filtration tablets, flint, first aid basics, small knife, etc.  These are ideally worn right against your skin, under your clothes.

Since these are the absolute essentials, it is usually advisable that you keep a set of these (in your size, of course) next to your bug out bag. That goes out for each individual member in your family. When the disaster strikes, just as you stop to pick up your bug out bag, you should also slip into the clothes and then step out of your home. 

And now for a few words on…

What to look for in bug out clothes

As you can tell – the one set of essentials is good enough for you to make it out. But you will need more clothes. And these you could pack into separate bags, or keep in your bug out bag. Remember however, that unless you are bugging out close to your homestead, you should think realistically and only carry 2-3 sets, maximum. Therefore laundry is essential and you need to think realistically about that as well. And when choosing your clothes, keep these factors in mind:

  1. Choose clothing in camouflage colors and light shades. There are two reasons for this. First, if you are living in the middle of woods, the camouflage helps you to stay hidden. Secondly, bright colors always attract the eye sight. And after a disaster, people are desperate and panic and tempers are run high and the last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself.
  2. Waterproofing is another thing that will help you. You will be exposed to the elements, and that means that there will be rain and morning dew. But clothes that are borderline waterproof, without sacrificing breathability, will allow you to at least get yourself to shelter before you get drenched completely. They also dry sooner.
  3. Warm inner clothes are another good idea. You may know just how cold the nights can become, but with the heating in your house, chances are you’ve never had to experience it. As a result, make sure you have warm pieces on hand so you can layer up as the sun goes down.
  4. Choose clothes with pockets. When you are bugging out, being able to carry little essentials with you is a great help. This could include a scarp, extra gloves, extra socks, also small weapons, fire lighting equipment, flashlights, antiseptic ointment, a compass, etc.
  5. Choose clothes that are breathable and will wick away sweat quickly. You will get sweaty, very fast and very often. And if allowed to soak your clothes, the sweat will make you cold and lead to hypothermia in colder climes. What you need are clothes that will let the sweat evaporate naturally and repel it. This way you will be protected. Mind you – 100% cottons are actually a bad choice for these situations.
  6. Also pick clothes that are suited to the place you will be in. For heavily mosquito or insect infested areas, you will need clothes that will protect you against the bugs. You can also consider mosquito and bug head net caps. In case of areas with snow, you need to again have particular clothing.
  7. One thing that we mentioned with the tactical shirt earlier – flame resistance. This is another good feature to consider. At home you probably use an induction stove or a hot plate – so you stay far enough from open flames. But when bugging out, you’ll be working pretty closely with open flames, for food as well as for heat and protection. So – take the best precaution you can by wearing clothes that do not put you at risk.
  8. A final consideration is bulletproof clothing. While this may not be an essential, it will depend on each person’s individual situation. If you think you are in an area where firearms will be fairly common, then do use some bulletproof protection. But always give it a good thought before you decide on it. Bulletproof clothes tend to be quite heavy, and that’s a lot of weight to carry around just on a hunch.

Besides these factors, there is always the thing about not being too flashy, provocative or attractive! Ladies (and even men), this is the one situation where looking good and attractive can actually land you in mortal trouble. Dress down instead, and go for regular clothes – clothes that allow you to blend in instead of stand out. The best way out for women is to dress like ‘soccer moms’ and for men to dress like regular workers. As for the children, keep them in nondescript clothes in subdued colors. 

No – prepping for a SHTF situation isn’t an easy or a quick process. It takes some time and a lot of consideration. And today the focus is on prepper’s clothing – why to take and what to take. Once you have understood the why of it – picking the right clothes and accessories will come naturally to you.

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How Not to Die: 20 Survival Tips You Must Know

Some accidental deaths are unavoidable—wrong place, wrong time. But most aren’t. Staying alive requires recognizing danger, feeling fear, and reacting. Here’s what you need to know to survive bear attacks, chainsaw accidents, and even vengeful vending machines.

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Accidents are the leading cause of death among U.S. men 18 to 50 years old, accounting for 37,000 of the roughly 148,000 annual fatalities. Some instances of unintentional death, to use the official term, are unavoidable—wrong place, wrong time—but most aren’t. Staying alive requires recognizing danger, feeling fear, and reacting. “We interpret external cues through our subconscious fear centers very quickly,” says Harvard University’s David Ropeik, author of How Risky Is It, Really? Trouble is, even smart, sober, experienced men can fail to register signals of an imminent threat. Here we present 20 easy-to-miss risks, and how to avoid or survive them.1.Outsmart Wildlife.

If you come face-to-face with a wild animal, the natural response is to bolt, but that can trigger the animal’s predatory instinct. On July 6, 2011, Brian Matayoshi, 57, and his wife, Marylyn, 58, were hiking in Yellowstone National Park when they came upon a grizzly bear and fled, screaming. Brian was bitten and clawed to death; Marylyn, who had stopped and crouched behind a tree, was approached by the bear but left unharmed.

STAT: Each year three to five people are killed in North America in wild animal attacks, primarily by sharks and bears.

DO: Avoid shark-infested waters, unless you are Andy Casagrande. As for bears, always carry repellent pepper spray when hiking; it can stop a charging bear from as much as 30 feet away. To reduce the risk of an attack, give bears a chance to get out of your way. “Try to stay in the open,” says Larry Aumiller, manager of Alaska’s McNeil River State Game Sanctuary. “If you have to move through thick brush, make noise by clapping and shouting.”

2. Don’t Mess with Vending Machines.

You skipped lunch. You need a snack. You insert money into a vending machine, press the buttons, and nothing comes out. You get mad.

STAT: Vending machines caused 37 deaths between 1978 and 1995, crushing customers who rocked and toppled the dispensers. No recent stats exist, but the machines are still a danger.

DON’T: Skip lunch.

3. Stay on the Dock.

On May 20, 2013, Kyle McGonigle was on a dock on Kentucky’s Rough River Lake. A dog swimming nearby yelped, and McGonigle, 36, saw that it was struggling to stay above water. He dove in to save the dog, but both he and the animal drowned, victims of electric-shock drowning (ESD). Cords plugged into an outlet on the dock had slipped into the water and electrified it.

STAT: The number of annual deaths from ESD in the U.S. are unknown, since they are counted among all drownings. But anecdotal evidence shows that ESD is widespread. ESD prevention groups have successfully urged some states to enact safety standards, including the installation of ground-fault circuit interrupters and a central shutoff for a dock’s electrical system.

DON’T: Swim within 100 yards of any wired dock. But do check whether docks follow safety standards.

4. Keep It on the Dirt.

On the morning of July 14, 2013, Taylor Fails, 20, turned left in his 2004 Yamaha Rhino ATV at a paved intersection near his Las Vegas–area home. The high-traction tire treads gripped the road and the vehicle flipped, ejecting Fails and a 22-year-old passenger. Fails died at the scene; the passenger sustained minor injuries.

STAT: One-third of fatal ATV accidents take place on paved roads; more than 300 people died in on-road ATV wrecks in 2011.

DO: Ride only off-road. Paul Vitrano, executive vice president of the ATV Safety Institute, says, “Soft, knobby tires are designed for traction on uneven ground and will behave unpredictably on pavement.” In some cases, tires will grip enough to cause an ATV to flip, as in the recent Nevada incident. “If you must cross a paved road to continue on an approved trail, go straight across in first gear.”

5. Mow on the Level.

Whirring blades are the obvious hazard. But most lawnmower-related deaths result from riding mowers flipping over on a slope and crushing the drivers.

STAT: About 95 Americans are killed by riding mowers each year.

DO: Mow up and down a slope, not sideways along it. How steep is too steep? “If you can’t back up a slope, do not mow on it,” Carl Purvis of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advises.

6. Beware Low-Head Dams.

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Found on small or moderate-size streams and rivers, low-head dams are used to regulate water flow or prevent invasive species from swimming upstream. But watch out. “They’re called drowning machines because they could not be designed better to drown people,” says Kevin Colburn of American Whitewater, a nonprofit whitewater preservation group. To a boater heading downstream, the dams look like a single line of flat reflective water. But water rushing over the dam creates a spinning cylinder of water that can trap a capsized boater.

STAT: Eight to 12 people a year die in low-head and other dam-related whitewater accidents.

DO: Curl up, drop to the bottom, and move downstream if caught in a hydraulic. “It’s a counterintuitive thing to do, but the only outflow is at the bottom,” Colburn says. Surface only after you’ve cleared the vortex near the dam.

7. Don’t Hold your Breath.

If you want to take a long swim underwater, the trick is to breathe in and out a few times and take a big gulp of air before you submerge. Right? Dead wrong. Hyperventilating not only doesn’t increase the oxygen in your blood, it also decreases the amount of CO2, the compound that informs the brain of the need to breathe. Without that natural signal, you may hold your breath until you pass out and drown. This is known as shallow-water blackout.

STAT: Drowning is the fifth largest cause of accidental death in the U.S., claiming about 10 lives a day. No one knows how many of these are due to shallow-water blackout, but its prevalence has led to the formation of advocacy groups, such as Shallow Water Blackout Prevention.

DON’T: Hyperventilate before swimming underwater, and don’t push yourself to stay submerged as long as possible.

8. Keep your Footing.

One mistake is responsible for about half of all ladder accidents: carrying something while climbing.

STAT: More than 700 people die annually in falls from ladders and scaffolding.

DO: Keep three points of contact while climbing; use work-belt hooks, a rope and pulley, or other means to get items aloft.

9. Ford Carefully.

A shallow stream can pack a surprising amount of force, making fording extremely dangerous. Once you’ve been knocked off your feet, you can get dragged down by the weight of your gear, strike rocks in the water, or succumb to hypothermia.

STAT: Water-related deaths outnumber all other fatalities in U.S. national parks; no specific statistics are available for accidents while fording streams.

DO: Cross at a straight, wide section of water. Toss a stick into the current; if it moves faster than a walking pace, don’t cross. Unhitch waist and sternum fasteners before crossing; a wet pack can pull you under.

10.Land Straight.

You have successfully negotiated free fall, deployed your canopy, and are about to touch down. Safe? Nope. Inexperienced solo jumpers trying to avoid an obstacle at the last minute, or experienced skydivers looking for a thrill, might sometimes pull a toggle and enter a low-hook turn. “If you make that turn too low, your parachute doesn’t have time to level out,” says Nancy Koreen of the United States Parachute Association. Instead, with your weight far out from the canopy, you’ll swing down like a wrecking ball.

STAT: Last year in the U.S., low-hook turns caused five of the 19 skydiving fatalities.

DO: Scope out your landing spot well in advance (from 100 to 1000 feet up, depending on your skill) so you have room to land without needing to swerve.

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11. Stay Warm and Dry.

Cold is a deceptive menace—most fatal hypothermia cases occur when it isn’t excessively cold, from 30 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Wet clothes compound the effect of the temperature.

STAT: Hypothermia kills almost 1000 people a year in the U.S.

DO: Wear synthetic or wool clothing, not moisture-trapping cotton. If stranded, conserve heat by stuffing your clothes or shelter with dry leaves.

12. Let Leaning Trees Stand.

The motorized blade isn’t always the most dangerous thing about using a chain saw. Trees contain enormous amounts of energy that can release in ways both surprising and lethal. If a tree stands at an angle, it becomes top-heavy and transfers energy lower in the trunk. When sawed, it can shatter midcut and create a so-called barber chair. The fibers split vertically, and the rearward half pivots backward. “It’s very violent and it’s very quick,” says Mark Chisholm, chief executive of New Jersey Arborists.

STAT: In 2012, 32 people died felling trees.

DON’T: Saw into any tree or limb that’s under tension.

13. Dodge Line Drives.

America’s national pastime may seem a gentle pursuit, but it is not without its fatal hazards. The 2008 book Death at the Ballpark: A Comprehensive Study of Game-Related Fatalities, 1862–2007 catalogs deaths that have occurred while people were playing, watching, or officiating at baseball games. Among the causes is commotio cordis, a concussion of the heart that leads to ventrical fibrillation when the chest is struck during a critical 10- to 30-millisecond moment between heartbeats. About 50 percent of all victims are athletes (and the vast majority of these are male) engaging in sports that also include ice hockey and lacrosse, the U.S. National Commotio Cordis Registry reports.

STAT: The registry recorded 224 fatal cases from 1996 to 2010. Commotio cordis is the No. 1 killer in U.S. youth baseball, causing two to three deaths a year.

DON’T: Take a shot to the chest. Even evasive action and protective gear are not significant deterrents. Of note: Survival rates rose to 35 percent between 2000 and 2010, up from 15 percent in the previous decade, due mainly to the increased presence of defibrillators at sporting events.

14. Climb with Care.

Accidental shootings are an obvious hazard of hunting, but guess what’s just as bad: trees. “A tree stand hung 20 feet in the air should be treated like a loaded gun, because it is every bit as dangerous,” says Marilyn Bentz, executive director of the National Bow hunter Educational Foundation. Most tree-stand accidents occur while a hunter is climbing, she says.

STAT: About 100 hunters a year die falling from trees in the U.S. and Canada, a number “equal to or exceeding firearm- related hunting deaths,” Bentz says.

DO: Use a safety harness tethered to the tree when climbing, instead of relying on wooden boards nailed to the tree, which can give way suddenly.

15. Avoid Cliffing Out.

Hikers out for a scramble may end up on an uncomfortably steep patch and, finding it easier to climb up than down, keep ascending until they “cliff out,” unable to go either forward or back. Spending a night freezing on a rock face waiting to be rescued is no fun, but the alternative is worse.

STAT: Falls are one of the top three causes of death in the wilderness, along with cardiac arrest and drowning. Cliffed-out hikers account for 11 percent of all search-and-rescue calls in Yosemite National Park.

DON’T: Take a shortcut you can’t see the length of. If you realize you’ve lost your way, either backtrack or call for help. Gadgets such as DeLorme’s inReach SE provide satellite communication to send a distress call from anywhere on the planet.

16. Don’t Drink Too Much.

We all know that dehydration can be dangerous, leading to dizziness, seizures, and death, but drinking too much water can be just as bad. In 2002, 28-year-old runner Cynthia Lucero collapsed midway through the Boston Marathon. Rushed to a hospital, she fell into a coma and died. In the aftermath it emerged that she had drunk large amounts along the run. The excess liquid in her system induced a syndrome called exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH), in which an imbalance in the body’s sodium levels creates a dangerous swelling of the brain.

STAT: Up to one-third of endurance athletes who collapse during events suffer from EAH. Between 1989 and 1996, when the U.S. Army mandated heavy fluid intake during exercise in high heat, EAH caused at least six deaths.

DON’T: Drink more than 1.5 quarts per hour during sustained, intense exercise. But do consume plenty of salt along with your fluids.

17. Use Generators Safely.

After Hurricane Sandy, many homeowners used portable generators to replace lost power, leaving the machines running overnight and allowing odorless carbon monoxide to waft inside. The gas induces dizziness, headaches, and nausea in people who are awake, but “when people go to sleep with a generator running, there’s no chance for them to realize that something’s wrong,” says Brett Brenner, president of the Electrical Safety Foundation International.

STAT: Carbon monoxide from consumer products, including portable generators, kills nearly 200 a year. Of the Sandy-related deaths, 12 were due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

DO: Keep generators more than 20 feet from a house.

18. Don’t Slip–Slide Away.

Hikers on a glacier or in areas where patches of snow remain above the tree line may be tempted to speed downhill by sliding, or glissading. Bad idea: A gentle glide can easily lead to an unstoppable plummet. In 2005 climber Patrick Wang, 27, died on California’s Mount Whitney while glissading off the summit; he slid 300 feet before falling off a 1000-foot cliff.

STAT: One or two people die each year while glissading.

DON’T: Glissade, period. But if you ever do it, you should be an expert mountaineer with well-practiced self-arrest techniques. Glissaders should always remove their crampons and know their line of descent.

19. Go with the Flow.

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The tourist season got off to a grisly start this year in Gulf Shores, Ala. During a two-day period in early June, four men drowned after being caught in rip currents. The unusually strong currents were invisible, not even roiling the surface. Rip currents occur when water rushing back from the shoreline is channeled through a narrow gap between two sand bars, accelerating the outward flow.

STAT: More than 100 Americans drown in rip currents each year.

DO: Allow the current to carry you out beyond the riptide’s flow, then swim laterally until you reach a position where you can turn and stroke safely to shore.

20. Beat the Heat.

A rock formation in Utah called The Wave is remote and beautiful, but also arid and sweltering. This past July a couple hiking the area were found dead after the afternoon heat overwhelmed them. Scarcely three weeks later, a 27-year-old woman collapsed while hiking The Wave with her husband and died before he could get help.

STAT: An average of 675 people die each year in the U.S. from heat-related complications.

DO: Carry lots of fluids, hike in the morning, and let people know where you’re going when trekking in the desert.

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How To Make A $10 Indestructible, Pocket-Sized Survival Fishing Kit

When it comes to acquiring food in a survival scenario, I’d definitely pick fishing as one of my absolute favorites. And I say this for a few very good reasons, because quite frankly, I’d rather do less work, consume fewer calories, and spend less time in acquiring what I need in order to keep my core temperature at a happy, healthy 98.6 degrees.

So, how can fishing accommodate such criteria?  Well, I’m happy to divulge.

First, as opposed to hunting, trapping and foraging, fishing is easy and requires comparatively little know-how. I’ve seen 5-year-olds beat 45-year-olds in how many fish they’d caught for the day, which is not exactly something that could happen with really any other form of food procurement.

Second, you don’t need a gun, trap or guide book. In fact, you don’t even need to pack in a fishing pole, because nature has provided plenty of them (and they’re most likely scattered in and around your camp).

Third, you won’t be burning through tons of energy. Sure, you might have to wander along the shoreline for a bit before picking a spot that works, but once you’ve found a promising fishing hole, then all you’ve got to do is pop a squat, drop the line and watch the bobber. Hey, if I could reel in a groundhog with a hook and a worm, then I’d be doing that all day instead.

Since that just isn’t going to happen, I’ll just stick with dropping my line in the lake. And here’s a $10 DIY fishing kit that you can use, which won’t even take up space in your pack, since you can stash it in your cargo pants pocket.

1. Creating the Container

The first step is to purchase (or find) a section of 1.5 inch schedule-40 PVC pipe. Once acquired, then you’ll want to chop it down to about 4-6 inches in length, depending on the size of your particular pocket, of course. Next, you’ll want to grab the following 1.5 inch fittings that correspond with your schedule-40 PVC pipe…

  • Male threaded coupler
  • Female threaded cap
  • Socket cap
  • Waterproof PVC glue

After that, then you simply need to get the unit (mostly) assembled. Just follow these steps…

  1. Glue male threaded coupler to top.
  2. Glue socket cap to bottom.
  3. Add threaded female cap to top.

If you’re not all that thrilled about the PVC pipe-white with the gibberish along the side that’s reminiscent of a construction site, then simply purchase a can or two of camo or blaze orange spray paint. Then, apply desired paint job, and now we’re ready to move forward to step two.

2. Attach a ‘Reel’ Cleat

One of THE MOST annoying issues that I’ve had with these types of fishing kits is that they taught me the true reason why they invented fishing reels in the first place: keeping all that monofilament untangled and squared away, while storing it in an easy position to unwind, is a very, very “reel” pain.

So, I’ve found that using a boating cleat tends to work wonders, because it not only gives you a place to keep the fishing line in an accessible spot on the unit, but it also does an OK job at preventing bird nests. Simply select one that’s small enough to fit on the side of your container, while also big enough to support your desired yardage of monofilament. Now, here’s how we attach our cleat to the PVC fishing kit container…

  1. Pre-drill small diameter pilot holes into PVC pipe.
  2. Apply pipe dope or Teflon tape to the properly sized screws (or the ones that came with your cleat. Just make sure that they’re not too long). This retains the unit’s waterproofing.
  3. Fasten the cleat to your fishing kit by threading the screws into the pre-drilled holes.

Once that’s done, all that’s left to do is for us to get our fishing kit stocked with the essentials.

3. Stock It With Yer Fishin’ Stuff

This is one part of our DIY kit that I would have to say, there really isn’t a “right” or “wrong” list of items or quantities to put inside it. However, this list might be able to start you off with an idea on what you’ll need …

  • At least 100 yards of monofilament
  • Assorted hooks
  • Assorted weights
  • Small bobbers
  • Small “scissor-style” tweezers
  • Jigs
  • Freshwater lures
  • Safety pins

Yes, I said “safety pins,” and there’s a reason for this.  It’s because we want to make this kit “makeshift fishing pole” compatible.

4. Attach Rod. Get Fishing.

Granted, this system will NOT work nearly as well as your rod-n’-reel from Cabela’s; however, it will still work better than most other improvised, lightweight systems that I’ve tried. All you need to do is to wind your monofilament around your boating cleat, and make sure that it’s tied down and not able to suddenly unwind in your pocket. Now, here’s how we get your kit ready to fish…

  • First, you’ll want to take your 550 paracord  (or even duct tape), and lash it to a 4-5 foot long stick that you’re sure will be strong enough to support the weight of the largest fish that could possibly be swimming by your selected fishing spot.
  • Second, drive the sharp points of two safety pins into the stick, at halfway, and on the very end. Make sure that they’re sticking out on the same side of the pole as where your reel is fixed. Where the safety pin’s wire forms a circle, is where you thread your monofilament.
  • Third, attach your tackle (hook, jig, bobber, weights, lures, etc.) to the end of the line, and you’re ready to go.

Casting…

For when you want to cast, what I’d do is pinch the line at the point where you’ve got about a foot from your bobber to the end of the pole.

The tricky part (and where you gain a sudden appreciation for manufactured fishing reels) is that you’ll need to unwind the fishing line from your cleat, a bit like you would do for fly fishing.  You’ll need to be super careful in these moments, because this is going to be a very high-chance moment of getting your line into a knotted bird’s nest.  But once you have enough line, dangling below your reel, then give a cast and release the line from your pinch.

In order to reel it in, simply wind the fishing line around your cleat and repeat until you’ve hooked a beauty … say, a catfish, large mouth bass, or something small that could be bait for your traps or trot line setup.

Not bad, for something under $10 that fits in a pocket.

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Off Grid Cooking 6 Ways to Cook Without a Stove

Most of us use electricity to prepare our food these days. Think about it, our stoves, coffee makers, electric frying pans, crock pots, waffle makers and more all require electricity.
In an emergency situation even the gas could stop flowing so a gas stove would only be useful if it uses propane. And then only until the propane runs out.

But when the power goes out we’ll still need to cook our food. Not just for the sake of taste but to kill any bacteria that could make us sick. Especially when it comes to poultry and meat.

6 Off Grid Cooking Methods

BBQ Grill. Most of us enjoy cooking outside when the weather is nice so odds are you have a charcoal BBQ or gas grill, or both! Charcoal and gas grills are are excellent ways to cook without a stove. Some gas grills even have a burner so you can cook with a pot. But if yours doesn’t you can still put a pot on the grill but it most likely will be damaged at least to some degree.

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Most gas grills run on propane tanks but if you’re out of gas you can use them with charcoal or even wood, although this could cause some damage to the grill.

Fire Pit. If you have a fire pit in your yard or on your patio you can use it to cook more than just marshmallow. If you don’t already have a grill to go over it you can buy one, or improvise one as an alternative cooking method.

Cooking over a fire pit is pretty much like cooking over any other wood fire. Just let the wood burn down until it’s charcoal, before you place your food on the grill and then add more wood or charcoal as needed.

You can use a dutch oven in your fire pit or fireplace for baking. You place what you want to bake (bread, cake, pie) inside the cast iron dutch oven, place it on the coals, and pile more coals on top. This is also a great way to cook one pot meals like casseroles!

Fireplace. If you have a fireplace in your home you can use it not only to heat your house, but to cook your food. When America was first settled, using a fireplace to cook was the most common way to prepare food. The temperature of pots could be controlled by either placing them directly on the coals or by suspending them over the fire. Meats can be cooked on a spit, rotisserie style.

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Wood Burning Stove. Like fireplaces, some people have wood burning stoves to help heat their homes. And, like fireplaces, they can be used for preparing food (and boiling water). The flat top makes them perfect for cooking food in pots.

Camp Stove. Obviously camp stoves are intended to be used when camping where there is no electricity. There are several types to choose from that use different types of fuel:

  • Wood burning – These are basically just portable boxes that use wood as fuel and have a spot for a pot on the top.
  • Propane Powered – Odds are that you’ll eventually run out of propane. But this type of stove can also be used with wood as fuel.
  • Dual Fuel – This type of old school camp stove can use both a special kind of fuel or gasoline. And while gasoline may be hard to come by in an emergency situation it will probably be easier to get than a small propane tank.

Solar CookersCooking with solar energy is great and works especially well in the Summer when cooking with a fire in the house might be too hot. Solar ovens do cook slowly, kind of like crock pots, but once you get the hang of it they are a great way to cook without a stove

There are 3 different kinds:

  • Reflective Box. These are the most common. You can buy one but you can even make your own. They’re basically just a box with flaps. The inside surfaces are covered with something that’s highly reflective, like foil, to reflect the sunlight onto the food. You can place the food in an oven bag or cover the opening with plastic wrap to keep the heat in.
  • Parabolic Reflectors. These are usually made out of a large old satellite antenna but they can be made out of plywood and other materials too. The larger they are the more powerful they are. Again, the inside surface is covered with something reflective and then the pot is suspended in the center.
  • Fresnel Lens. They are the most powerful type of solar cookers. These solar concentrate are really magnifying glasses made out of flat plastic panels, or mirrors,  that focus the power of the sun onto a spot. They are powerful enough to scorch even metal and concrete. You can make your own out of an old TV screen set in a frame.

In an emergency situation you’ll want to have more than one way to cook without a stove. Practice with some of these methods before hand, if you don’t already, so you’ll be able to easily prepare food when the power goes out.

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Our Own Private Apocalypse

A lot of people who know me or know of me probably think of me as some rich, off-grid farmer, writing full-time and coasting on the glory of a few successful bestselling books. Well… the people who really know me know that this isn’t true but, then again, very few people really know me. The people who think I’m rich would be surprised to learn that for most of the last seventeen years, my family has lived significantly below the poverty line. That’s right, most of the people reading this wouldn’t be likely to survive for a single year on my average yearly income over those seventeen years.

This is where the terms “rich” and “poor” need to be defined.

 

We have never had much money, so if “rich” is defined as “having a lot of money” then I am the opposite of that. If being “rich” means having all the latest gadgets, money in the bank, toys, and nice vacations, then sorry… I’m not even close to rich. And what does “poor” mean? Long, long ago the word “poor” meant that you didn’t have or have access to the bare minimums necessary for survival and that you relied on others, on charity, or on artificial life-support systems in order to survive. A beggar was poor, a farmer was not. During the Industrial Revolution, the term “poor” was redefined to include anyone who either couldn’t or wouldn’t enter the debt-based consumer consumption system. Later, “poor” was redefined again to include anyone without running water and grid electricity. Self-sufficient and successful farming families were categorized as “poor” by the government based on two things they really didn’t require… income and grid based utilities. By modern standards and according to the modern definition, my family is poor. We laugh when we think about that.

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Elevator Action: How to Escape Being Trapped in an Elevator

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How many of you remember the old Nintendo game Elevator Action? In the game you play a spy, bounding to and from elevators to reach the bottom floor of a building. As you descend, you’re dodging bullets and taking out bad guys along the way to your escape in a super fast 8-bit sports car. That’s how your normal workday commute goes anyway, right?

While you might not be dodging bullets, I’m sure you’ve always wondered about what you’d do if you found yourself in a stuck elevator. Would you reenact Die Hard and climb out the top hatch and scale the cables? Probably not, considering those emergency hatches are typically locked from the outside.

I’ll get into the details of what you should do if you find yourself trapped in an elevator, but this article might also serve as a reminder to always take the stairs. Not just for the reason that electronics will inevitably fail at the least convenient times, but also due to the implication that you’re predictable in an elevator.

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As my friend Uri from the Red Teams Blog says, “never take the elevator.” Uri’s not a particularly paranoid person, but he always has a way of looking at things from a situational awareness aspect and is an advocate of never putting yourself in a position that can be compromised. He mentions that you can easily be tracked in an elevator, as you’re basically trapped in a box that always drops you onto a semi-fixed location that’s easy to monitor and observe. Worse, a trap can easily be set on any of the stops an elevator makes. Taking the stairs can help you familiarize yourself with exits and work on your escape plan. You do always have an escape plan, right?

Let’s get back to what to do in an emergency if you should ever find yourself trapped in an elevator, because you’re bound to ride another one, even after reading this article.

Get Control

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Continue Reading

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The Necessary 72 Hour Kit

by Jeff

I have been into emergency preparedness for more than 14 years.  It all started when a family member asked if we wanted her friend’s #10 cans of wheat.  It wasn’t just a few cans either.  We accepted and have since added to it again and again.

As part of our preparedness plan, we have a well stocked 72 hour kit.  This kit is not a “go bag”.  Don’t get me wrong I like go bags.  I have one at work, ready to go!  This is more than a get there from here kit.

Regardless of the disaster or calamity, we plan on sheltering in place.  This may also be the plans of most of you as well.  We can’t all afford a “doomsday bunker”.  For us, our food, supplies, animals, and garden are all at our home.  I know that in any event, we can survive there.

What happens if you have to leave?  Are you prepared to walk away from your home?  There are some incidents where we may not be able to stay and “ride out the storm.”  I think about hurricane Katrina, or the tornado that hit Joplin, Mo.  If my home is at risk of being destroyed, we’ll have to leave and leave in a hurry.  You need supplies to go, you need a 72 hour kit.

Many of us might be able to survive with the likes of Bear Grylls, but I have no plans on skinning a snake in order to urinate in it, so that I can hydrate later.   Sorry not going to happen!

The first kits that we made were not much more than your typical “go bags”.  A few MRE’s, water, first aid kit, etc.  As we have spent time working on our preparedness plan, and our supplies, we’ve added a lot more.

For most of us, during an emergency, or in survival mode, relying on the government for help really isn’t in our plans.  That’s why we became self sufficient in the first place.   If you plan on using their help, I understand. Whether you think it’s right or wrong, it’s not for anyone else to decide.  You have to decide what’s best for you and your family.  Whatever you decide, during any disaster you have to expect that the government will get involved to some degree or another, if you need their help they will arrive.  With that though, you can’t expect them to show up right away.  You have to assume that it will take a few days for any help to arrive.  This is the purpose of a good 72 hour kit.

Here is what my family has determined to be important to include in our kit:

Food – we decided to use MRE’s to accomplish this.  They have a good shelf life and are compact enough to fit into backpacks.  Some other options are canned goods, dehydrated or freeze dried food.  We also added energy/ granola bars and extra MRE sides for snacks.  Water bottles are also included; we keep these next to our kit, but leave it out so that we can rotate it.

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Seasonal Clothing – In order to make our kit low maintenance, we added winter clothing and extra shoes, in addition to or summer clothes in the kit.  That way we don’t have to scramble to gather those items in a hurry.  They can be bulky, so we used “space bags” to vacuum out the air and compress them to fit.  As a reminder, if you have kids, you will need to periodically upsize the clothing in the kit.

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Tents – depending on the situation, we may or may not have a place to stay, if we can get to a friend or relative’s home, great.  If not, we added several small, inexpensive tents, enough to fit everyone.  Depending on the size of your family or size of the tent, several may be needed.

Survival items – Some of these items go without saying, but a good first aid kit is a must.  Also fire starters, maps and compass, signal mirror, and whistle.  We included several flashlights into our kit, but a few of them are the windup flashlights, that don’t require batteries.  They also have the ability to generate power to charge a cell phone.  If you do have battery powered flashlights, extra batteries are extremely important.    An ax/hatchet and hand and feet warmers were also included to ours.  We also added chem. lights.  If by chance we are walking away from our home, and doing it at night, I have a bunch of chem. lights that I can hook to each of our kids backpacks, so that we can easily identify them in the dark.

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Personal Hygiene Items – toilet paper, toothbrushes/paste, feminine hygiene items, deodorant.

Money – we don’t know what is going to happen, or if the emergency we are in will be the end of civilization, or the collapse of our financial system.  What you have to assume is that your credit/debit card may not work.  Having cash stored in your kit, just might become one of the smartest decisions you make in your 72 hour kit preparations.

Some other items to consider adding – tools, copies of your birth certificates/ social security cards, Fishing/hunting supplies.

Because of the size of our family, our 72 hour kit is quite large.  We have opted to distribute the kit into small backpacks for each of the kids to carry, and a couple of duffle bags.  The duffle bags do have wheels, in case we have to walk away from our home.

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Whether you are a “master prepper”, or just getting started, a 72 hour kit for you and your family is a necessity.

In closing, let me just say this, I hope and pray that all my preparedness efforts are done in vain.  I hope to never have to use any of these resources that I have stockpiled.  I hope that none of us has to.  We prepare for the day we hope never comes.  I believe that one day that day will come, I pray that it doesn’t.

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NSA can resume bulk collection of Americans’ phone records, says court

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has ruled the NSA can resume the bulk collection of phone records on millions of Americans.

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The court, which oversees the government’s surveillance requests, ruled late Monday that the program was legally sound in the wake of the passing of the Freedom Act, ratified a day after key provisions in the Patriot Act expired on June 1.

The news was first reported by The New York Times on Tuesday.

In the 26-page filing, the court summed up simply: “The short answer is yes,” to the question whether or not the new law would allow the program to continue.

The new bill, however, limits any collection to six months. Lawmakers set in stone the time limit with the intention of giving the NSA grace time to move to a new system where it would request the records from the phone companies.

News of the massive bulk collection of phone records broke two years ago as the debut leak in the long line of news stories dedicated to US government surveillance, based on documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Verizon was named as one of the companies forced to hand over its entire customer base of phone records on a rolling daily basis.

Other companies were not named, but it is widely believed that other phone companies, including AT&T, are under similar orders to serve over its customers data.

Since then, a number of civil cases have been brought to court to challenge the program.

Almost two years following the first leak, an appeals court in May ruled the bulk records collection program was illegal, serving a blow to the program’s legitimacy.

However, the presiding judge Michael Mosmon said in the Monday filing that the lower court’s ruling was “not binding” and “respectfully disagrees” with the court’s findings.

That, however, was disputed by ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer, who in an emailed statement condemned the move.

“Neither the statute nor the Constitution permits the government to subject millions of innocent people to this kind of intrusive surveillance,” he said. “We intend to ask the Second Circuit to prohibit the surveillance and to order the NSA to purge the records it’s already collected.”

It’s not, however, clear if or when the NSA will begin collecting data again. However, the Obama administration applied within hours of the Freedom Act’s passing to resume the program.

We reached out to the NSA for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

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10 Remedies for Itchy Mosquito Bites

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As I have shared previously, our area has been having a lot of rain these past two months. While I am grateful for an end to the drought, the enormous amounts of rain has resulted in flooding, and one other unwelcome effect: an explosion in the mosquito population.

Everywhere I look there are puddles and other forms of standing water: breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Just taking a half hour walk in the morning, I ended up with multiple mosquito bites on my arms.  Now I apply natural repellant before I walk out the door.

If you’ve ever had a mosquito bite, you know how itchy they can get. Scratching provides momentary relief, but spread the itch even more.

Here are 10 easy remedies for itchy mosquito bites:

  1. Miracle Salve  I have found that the Miracle Healing Salve, (originally found on Backdoor Survival), works to relieve mosquito bite itching, among many other uses.  I have made several batches of this salve.
  2. Deodorant  My son’s science teacher swears by deodorant to relieve itching. I’ve tried both scented and unscented, they seem to work equally well for a short time.
  3. Adhesive bandage Mr. Apartment Prepper just places a band-aid over the bite. It prevents further irritation from brushing up against surfaces and you eventually forget that it’s there.
  4. Alcohol   Place a dab of rubbing alcohol directly on the bite – it does help.
  5. Baking soda and water   Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply directly on the itch.
  6. Ammonia and water  Mix equal parts of plain ammonia and water and apply on the itchy area with a cotton ball.
  7. Vick’s Vapor Rub  My grandmother swore by this remedy.  When we were kids, she would dab a small amount of Vick’s Vapor Rub on the itchy bite.
  8. Tea tree oil   Mix five to six drops of tea tree oil with one tablespoon of olive oil. Apply with a cotton ball directly on the bite.
  9. Apple cider vinegar   I already use apple cider vinegar to ward off colds; it works to relieve itch as well. Place apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball and rub directly on the bite.   The smell goes away after a few minutes.
  10. X marks the spot   If you find yourself without any of these home remedies, use a clean fingernail and make an “X” right on the bite. This seems to relieve the itch for a short time.

These are just some of the remedies that I have tried myself. For more ideas, check out these articles from our friends over at Prepared Bloggers:

Home Remedies for Bug Bites and Stings from Commonsense Home

How to Make Lucky Sherpa Plaintain Salve from The Survival Sherpa

Mosquitos are not only annoying, they also cause a number of diseases such as Chikungunya.  Get to the bottom of the problem:  Mom with a Prep shows how to Combat Mosquitos Naturally

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How to Fillet a Fish: An Illustrated Guide

Reblogged:  http://www.artofmanliness.com/

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Few summer pastimes are as satisfying as fishing — it’s a great activity to do with your kids, makes for an excellent microadventure, and harkens to our manly imperative to be providers. What makes it even more satisfying is being able to fillet and cook your catch for a real water-to-table experience.

This illustrated guide is a useful starting point that will be accurate for most fish; some varieties have unique methods, but in those instances you’ll likely have someone with more expertise with you. Get out there and bring some dinner home!New

Hat tip to AoM food guy Matt Moore for consulting on this piece.

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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Huge solar storm hits Earth: power grid and GPS could be disrupted

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The Earth is being battered by a huge solar storm, which could disrupt the power grid and GPS as well as letting people see beautiful auroras.

A potent blast of magnetic plasma shot out of the sun on Sunday, travelling faster than usual, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It brought with it the biggest solar storm at least since March, and perhaps since September 2005.

The solar weather brought with it aurora — spectacular lights that could be seen over the US overnight. Their effects were spotted and shared by Scott Kelly, an American astronaut who is currently on the International Space Station.

Aurora are caused by the way that the storm interacts with the top levels of our atmosphere. The red colour tends to come only during the most intense solar activity, and happens at the highest part of the atmosphere.

Solar storms can disrupt communications, navigations systems, the power grid and other systems that rely on radio communications, but there were no reports of damage, according to NOAA space weather physicist Doug Biesecker. It was likely that important systems like the electrical grid saw current fluctuations, but they have been built to be able to handle such disruption.

The storm arrived on Monday afternoon and could last up to a day or even longer.

Solar storms and wind are caused when the sun shoots out a big burst of gas and magnetic fields, which then travel through the solar system and hit Earth. They can cause huge disruption when they hit the Earth, but their force and effects vary.

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Swedish Log ‘Stovetop’

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The Swedish Log StoveTop is one of the most simple devices you can find to make an evening of cooking in the great outdoors.  You can easily use the StoveTop for camping, surviving, or just for fun.

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DESCRIPTION

MITI is a simple and tough tool for cooking outdoor, made in Stainless 304L 1/8 thick, lazer cut and bent.
It includes 4 anchorage steel rods to stabilize the lug.

MITI + 4 rods = 1.130 Kg ( 2.5 Lb)

Need to be manipulated with precaution when using, wear cooking gloves and use tools for fire.** (Please follow the instruction notice inside the packaging)

The “Swedish log” technique has it’s roots in Europe, but now a Canadian Company has taken the cooking technique to a sophisticated level for the enthusiast. Basically all you need is a log split into four parts and then burned from the bottom creating a fire from within the log and directs the heat upward to your cooking area. Airflow in and around the log equals a strong burn.

This product is called the MITI-011 and made by SPORTES Inc., a small Quebec company. The cooking platform is built out of laser-cut stainless steel.

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Included are four large steel rods that insert into holes and provide vertical structure for a burning log.

To use it, split a log into four pieces (max 14 inches tall), insert the tabbed/bent pieces into the chops, and let the flat cooking surface rest on the log top.

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The rods go into brackets at four corners. The whole setup comes in a pouch for transport, and it weighs about 2.5 pounds.

SPORTES Inc. describes itself as a “design laboratory of tools and reliable low-tech outdoor accessories.” This product looks to fit that mold of simple, useful products that can enhance your camping experience.

The unit is available now for $65 (CAN). See more at SportesOutdoorTools.

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6 Summer Preps Anyone Can Do

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Yes, I not only prep for economic hardship and disasters but I also prep (get ready) for other things too, like SUMMER!  Prepping for the summer helps me save money, accomplish preparedness goals, and schedule things to look forward too.  Summer can be the best season to develop self reliant skills for a couple of reasons:  first there are more free class available to the public during the summer and second the warm weather draws many of us towards outdoor activities like camping or gardening.  Below is a list of my summer preps that hopefully will give you some ideas so you can prep for a your perfect summer.

1. Beat the Heat with Meal Planning

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It gets ridiculously hot in my home over the course of the summer due to big windows and no air conditioning.  Cooking is the worst because it heats-up the house even more.  Last year was much more bearable with some meal planning.  We eat out far less by meal planning which saves us money!  Before the weather gets to warm I come up with a summer meal plan.  I started by making a list of cold dinner options:

Chicken Wraps

Guacamole Salad

Summer Rolls

Chicken Grape Salad

Cobb Salad

Summer Rolls – Photo taken by Zoe Shuttleworth

Next I make a list of freezer meals, set a side a day for cooking, and fill-up my freezer while the weather is still nice.  Because these meals are full cooked they just need to be warmed up in the microwave or toaster oven.  The toaster oven does not warm up the house like an oven does, plus, I can also move it outside to warm-up the freezer meals on my back patio.  As you can see in the picture below some of my freezer meals are in square baking tins (warm-up in oven) and other freezer meals are in single serving Glad Freezerware containers (warm-up in microwave).  This is for convenience, the larger option is if we have unexpected company and need to feed 4 to 6 people.  The smaller options feeds 1 person which works great for my husband’s work lunches or dinnertime.  Below are some of my favorite freezer meal recipes:

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Baking Tin (make a double batch, one for dinner and one for the freezer.  Should be defrosted for best results.)

Tater Tot Casserole

Lasagna

Enchiladas

Glad Freezerware (make a double batch then place the left-overs into containers.)

Slow Cooker Pepper Steak

Beef Stroganoff

Indian Chicken with Rice

Chicken Marsala with Rice

Onion Pasta

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2. Foodscaping

Foodscaping is adding plants that grow food to your existing landscape.  Foodscaping is a gaining popularity for people that don’t have a garden space.  Many homes across American come with flower beds on automatic sprinklers in the front yard and a fully sodded backyard with not much room for an edible garden.  If you want to try your hand at gardening before you rip out your perfectly sodded backyard add strawberries, herbs, potatoes, belle peppers, cabbage, and/or kale to your existing flower beds to begin developing your green thumb.  I tried this last year with one strawberry plant and it worked out so much better than my other gardening attempts that I am excited to try other plants this year.  This is a great month to start planting if you haven’t started already.

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To learn more about foodscaping check-out Rosalind Creasy book Edible Landscaping.

3. Develop a Self Reliant Skill

Another way I prep for the summer is by checking out free or cheap community classes.  In my local area nurseries, heath food stores, the preparedness store, sporting goods stores, the library, churches, adult school, museums, and fairs have cheap or even free classes.  Community classes are a great way to learn about and develop self reliant skills.  It’s also a great way to get to know your community a little better.  I will be looking forward to classes called Totally Tomatoes, When the Lights Go Out, Growing and Cooking with Herbs, and more.

4. Complete a Prepper Project

My mantra this year seems to be “one step at a time” or “one project at a time”.  I have a list of prepper projects I would like to do someday.  One item on that list is a prepper’s cache.  A Prepper’s Cache are survival supplies that are placed in a air tight container and buried in preparation of hard times.  The summer seems like a perfect time to gather items, dig a hole, and create a map.  I love the idea of buried treasure and time capsules so I’ll try to incorporate these themes into the cache as well.  I’ll gather prepper stuff, monetary treasures, and some items with sentimental value.  This is a great project to do with kids or a great date night activity.  My goal deadline will be August for my birthday which will give me time to come up with a list, find the right container, and gather items.

5. Make Progress on Your Preppers Supplies Checklist

Summer is the best time to make some progress checking off items on your Preppers Supplies Checklist.  My favorite places to hunt for deals are at moving sales and estate sales because of the quality of items that can be found.  When people have garage sales they are usually purging themselves of unwanted items. I have found that moving or estate sales often offer valuable stuff that the owners just can’t take with them.  Moving sales happen most often in warm weather months which is why I added it to my list of summertime activities.  This year I am working on obtaining items on my Kitchen Supplies Checklist and Tools Checklist.  The picture below is some of the great deals I got on some prepper items.  I was also able to find a BBQ grill for 60% less than if I were to buy it brand new.  Not only is it an off-grid cooking method I get to check off my list but it’s also another method to help keep the heat out of my kitchen this summer.

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6.  Develop A Survival Mindset

The books I enjoy reading are usually themed around survival.  I believe surviving is a mindset so I’m intrigued by those that survive hardship or tragedy.  I do not know what the future holds so knowing what preps I need is a guessing game, however, one prep that will be vital in any situation is developing a survival mindset.  I am a huge  fan because it allows me to listen to a book while I exercise, drive, or work on my to-do list.  The best part is that the audible books can be played on most digital devices (like my smart phone) for $14.99 or less a book.  The two books I have purchased to read this summer are Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer and Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard.

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STATE RAINWATER | GRAYWATER HARVESTING LAWS AND LEGISLATION

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Record droughts and water-supply worries have served as catalysts for state legislatures to consider legislation legalizing the catchment and use of rainwater for use in households and for lawns.

There has been increased interest over the past five years in legislation allowing, defining, and clarifying when rainwater harvesting can occur. Rainwater harvesting is the act of utilizing a collection system to use rainwater for outdoor uses, plumbing, and, in some cases, consumption. States have also passed legislation encouraging the use of Graywater. Graywater refers to the reuse of water drained from baths, showers, washing machines, and sinks (household wastewater excluding toilet wastes) for irrigation and other water conservation applications.

States must ensure water-quality standards and public health concerns are met. In some states, such as Colorado, previous water law stated that all precipitation belonged to existing water-rights owners, and that rain needed to flow to join its rightful water drainage. However, a 2007 study conducted by the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Douglas County determined that only 3 percent of rain actually reached a stream or the ground. Colorado followed-up by enacting two pieces of legislation, one allowing certain types of well owners to use rainwater and one authorizing pilot development projects.

Texas and Ohio are among states that have devoted a considerable amount of attention to this issue, and have numerous enacted laws regulating the practice of rainwater harvesting. Texas offers a sales tax exemption on the purchase of rainwater harvesting equipment. Both Texas and Ohio allow the practice even for potable purposes. Oklahoma passed the Water for 2060 Act in 2012, to promote pilot projects for rainwater and graywater use among other water saving techniques.

Map of Rainwater Harvesting Laws

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State Rainwater Harvesting and Graywater Laws and Programs

Arizona | Colorado | Illinois | North Carolina | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Rhode Island | Texas | Utah | Virginia |Washington | U.S. Virgin Islands

Arizona

Arizona had a tax credit for water conservation systems that included collection of rainwater; however, the credit expired on Jan. 1, 2012. The credit is equal to 25 percent of the cost of the system. The maximum credit in a taxable year could not exceed $1,000. From 2007 to 2010, over $360,000 was credited to homeowners that purchased a water conservation system.  Arizona Revised Statutes §43-1090.01

AZ H 2363 (2012) – Established a joint legislative study committee on macro-harvested water. The committee shall study, analyze and evaluate issues arising from the collection and recovery of macro-harvested water, including reviewing scientific data on surface water, rainwater harvesting, methodology costs and benefits, potential impacts on water rights, downstream users, and potential aquifer management issues and groundwater management issues.
AZ H 2830 – This bill allows the governing body of a city or town to establish an energy and water savings account that consists of a designated pool of capital investment monies to fund energy or water savings projects in public facilities, including rainwater harvesting systems. (Arizona Revised Statutes §9-499.16)

Colorado

NEW CO HB 1044 empowers any local city, county, or city and county to pass a resolution that will allow the use of graywater for beneficial uses. Permitted sources of graywater include: bathroom and laundry sinks, dishwashers, bathtubs, showers and laundry machines. Graywater may not be collected from: toilets, urinals, kitchen sinks, dishwashers, or non-laundry utility sinks.

Prior to adopting a resolution allowing graywater, the county or municipal governing body is encouraged to consult with the local board of health, local health agencies, and wastewater service providers concerning the use of graywater and proper installation and operation of graywater works. Further, graywater must be used in accordance with all contracts, decrees, and well permits that govern the use of groundwater, and the Colorado Ground Water Commission may promulgate standards and requirements to encourage the use of graywater and protect public health and water quality. Under the bill, any water user that is supplied by a municipal or industrial water provider, or any person withdrawing water from a small capacity well may use graywater and install a graywater treatment work. Additionally, the use of graywater is limited to the “confines of the operation that generates the graywater.”

Colorado had some of the nation’s strictest rainwater harvest laws, essentially prohibiting the practice. In 2009, two laws were passed that loosened restrictions.
CO SB 80 allowed residential property owners who rely on certain types of wells to collect and use rainwater.Colorado Revised Statutes §37-90-105
CO HB 1129 authorized 10 pilot projects where captured precipitation was used in new real estate developments for non-potable uses. Colorado Revised Statutes §37-60-115
Resources:

  • Colorado Division of Water Resources outlined information on SB 80
  • Colorado Legislative Council Issue Brief on SB 80 and HB 1129 and Rainwater Harvesting in Colorado
  • Criteria and guidelines for pilot projects

Illinois
In 2009, Illinois created the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act which relates to water conservation, efficiency, infrastructure and management while promoting rainwater harvesting. Illinois Revised Statutes Chapter 415 §56

IL H 991 of 2011 amended the Homeowners’ Solar Rights Act. It requires  that within 120 days after a homeowners’ association, common interest community association, or condominium unit owners’ association receives a request for a policy statement or an application from an association member, the association shall adopt an energy policy statement regarding: (i) the location, design, and architectural requirements of solar energy systems; and (ii) whether a wind energy collection, rain water collection, or composting system is allowed, and, if so, the location, design, and architectural requirements of those systems. Illinois Revised Statutes Chapter 765 § 165/20

North Carolina
NC H 609 of 2011 directed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to provide statewide outreach and technical assistance regarding water efficiency, which shall include the development of best management practices for community water efficiency and conservation. This shall include employing water reuse practices that include harvesting rainwater and using grey water. North Carolina General Statutes § Session Law 143-355

Ohio
Ohio allows rainwater harvesting, even for potable purposes. Private water systems that provide drinking water to fewer than 25 people are regulated by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). Ohio also has a Private Water Systems Advisory Council within the ODH. The nine member council is appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. Ohio Revised Code §3701.344 and Ohio Revised Code §3701.346

Oklahoma
OK HB 3055 of 2012 created the “Water for 2060 Act.” The bill initiates grants for pilot programs. The pilot projects shall be innovative programs that will serve as models for other communities in the state. Pilot projects may include, but are not limited to, community conservation demonstration projects, water use accounting programs, retrofit projects, school education projects, Xeriscape demonstration gardens, projects which promote efficiency, recycling and reuse of water, and information campaigns on capturing and using harvested rainwater and gray water.

Oregon
Since Oregon allows for alternate methods of construction of rainwater harvesting systems, the Oregon Building Codes Division (BCD) created methods for both potable and non-potable systems. Oregon Revised Statute §455.060

Senate Bill 79, passed in 2009, directs the BCD to increase energy efficiency, by including rainwater harvesting, in new and repaired buildings.

Resources:

  • Potable Alternate Method
  • Non-Potable Alternate Method
  • Oregon Smart Guide – Rainwater Harvesting

Rhode Island
RI HB 7070 of 2012 created a tax credit for the installation of cisterns to collect rainwater. Any individual or business that installs a cistern on their property to collect rainwater for use in their home or business shall be entitled to a state income tax credit of ten percent (10%) of the cost of installing the cistern not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000). Each entity shall be allowed only one tax credit over the life of the cistern unless they are replacing an existing cistern with a larger cistern and have not received the maximum tax credit of one thousand dollars ($1,000). A cistern is defined as a container holding fifty (50) or more gallons of diverted rainwater or snow melt, either above or below ground.

Texas
Texas HB 3391 of 2011 is one of the most far-reaching and comprehensive pieces of legislation regarding rainwater harvesting in recent years. Among its provisions:

  • Allows financial institutions to consider making loans for developments that will use harvested rainwater as the sole source of water supply.
  • Requires rainwater harvesting system technology for potable and nonpotable indoor use and landscape watering be incorporated into the design and construction of each new state building with a roof measuring at least 50,000 square feet that is located in an area of the state in which the average annual rainfall is at least 20 inches.
  • Requires the development of rules regarding the installation and maintenance of rainwater harvesting systems that are used for indoor potable purposes and connected to a public water supply system, prior to this bill it could only be used for nonpotable purposes. The rules must include criteria to ensure that safe drinking water standards are met and the water does not come in contact with the public water supply at a location off of the property.
  • Requires a person who intends to connect a rainwater harvesting system to a public water supply system for potable purposes to give written notice to the municipality or the owner or operator of the public water supply system. A municipality or public water supply system may not be held liable for any adverse health effects allegedly caused by the consumption of water collected by a rainwater harvesting system that is connected to a public water supply system and is used for potable purposes if the municipality or the public water supply system is in compliance with the sanitary standards for drinking water.
  • Encourages each municipality and county to promote rainwater harvesting at residential, commercial, and industrial facilities through incentives such as the provision at a discount of rain barrels or rebates for water storage facilities.  Requires the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to ensure that training on rainwater harvesting is available for the members of the permitting staffs of municipalities and counties at least quarterly. School districts are strongly encouraged to implement rainwater harvesting systems.
  • Prohibits a municipality or county from denying a building permit solely because the facility will implement rainwater harvesting.

Other Texas Statutes
Texas Health and Safety Code §341.042 outlines standards for harvested rainwater. Includes health and safety standards for treatment and collection methods for harvested rainwater intended for drinking, cooking, or bathing.

Texas Property Code §202.007 prevents homeowners associations from banning outdoor water-conserving measures, including rainwater harvesting installations. The legislation allows homeowners associations to require screening or shielding to obscure view of the tanks.

Texas Tax Code §151.355 allows for a state sales tax exemption on the purchase of rainwater harvesting equipment.

Resources:
The Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting provides information on the practice and outlines sales tax exemptions at the state and local level (pg. 53).
In 2005, the legislature ordered the creation of a Texas Rainwater Harvesting Evaluation Committee; see here for its2006 Report to Texas Legislature with Recommendations.
The Texas Water Development Board sponsors the Texas Rain Catcher Award to advance the technology, educate the public, and to recognize excellence in the application of rainwater harvesting systems in the state.

Utah
Utah allows for the direct capture and storage of rainwater on land owned or leased by the person responsible for the collection. If a person collects or stores precipitation in an underground storage container, only one container with a maximum capacity of no more than 2,500 gallons may be used. For a covered storage container, no more than two containers may be used, and the maximum storage capacity of any one container shall not be greater than 100 gallons. Utah Code Annotated §73-3-1.5

Virginia
In 2001, Virginia passed Senate Bill 1416, which gave income tax credit to individuals and corporations that installed rainwater harvesting systems. “There is hereby established the Alternative Water Supply Assistance Fund to be administered by the Department to provide grants to localities to be used for entering into agreements with businesses and individuals to harvest and collect rainwater for such uses as determined necessary by the locality, including, but not limited to, irrigation and conservation.” However money has not been allocated for these purposes.

Va. Code Ann. § 32.1-248.2 – Requires the development of rainwater harvesting and graywater guidelines to ease demands on public treatment works and water supply systems and promote conservation.
Resources:
Virginia Rainwater Harvesting and Use Guidelines

Washington
In Washington, state law allows counties to reduce rates for storm water control facilities that utilize rainwater harvesting. Rates may be reduced by a minimum of ten percent for any new or remodeled commercial building. However, the rate can be reduced more than ten percent, depending on the county. Kitsap County’s Ordinancereduces surface and stormwater fees by 50 percent.  Washington Revised Code §36.89.080

Uses for harvested rainwater may include water closets, urinals, hose bibbs, industrial applications, and for irrigation purposes. Other uses may be allowed when first approved by the authority having jurisdiction. Washington Revised Code §51-56-1623

Resources:
In 2009, the Washington Department of Ecology issued an Interpretive Policy Statement clarifying that a water right is not required for rooftop rainwater harvesting.
Washington Department of Ecology Rainwater Collection website

U.S. Virgin Islands
Since 1964, the U.S. Virgin Islands has required most buildings to be constructed with a self-sustaining potable water system, such as a well or rainwater collection system.
U.S. Virgin Island Code Title 29 §308

2012 Notable Rainwater Harvesting Legislation

State

Bill

Summary

California

CA AB 1750 (Pending: To Senate Committees on Natural Resources and Water and Rules.)

Would enact the Rainwater Capture Act of 2012. Would authorize residential, commercial and governmental landowners to install, maintain, and operate rain barrel systems and rainwater capture systems for specified purposes, provided that the systems comply with specified requirements. Would authorize a landscape contractor working within the classification of his or her license to enter into a prime contract for the construction of a rainwater capture system if the system is used exclusively for landscape irrigation.

CA AB 2398 (Pending: In Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water: Held in committee.)

Would enact the Water Recycling Act of 2012. Would establish a statewide goal to recycle specified amounts of water by specified calendar years. Would require the adoption of a drinking water criteria for groundwater recharge project utilizing recycled water and the development and adoption of drinking water criteria for advanced treated purified water for raw water augmentation projects. Establish a related research fund. Relates to permits and permit fees for raw water augmentation projects. Relates to inspections.

Illinois

IL HB 1585 (Pending: Referred to House Committee on Rules.)

Would provide that “plumbing” includes rainwater harvesting distribution systems, but does not include any rainwater harvesting distribution system or rainwater harvesting collection system unless otherwise required by the Illinois Plumbing Code.

Massachusetts

NJ AB 2890 (Pending: To Assembly Committee on Environment and Solid Waste.)

Water Conserving Plants Purchase Tax Deduction – Would provide for a personal income tax deduction for the purchase of certain water conserving plants and items: WaterWise plants and landscaping items intended to reduce water usage, including, but not limited to: drought resistant plants that last for more than one year; kits or devices specifically designed for generating compost; grey-water recovery systems where the effluent is used for watering plants; rainwater recovery and storage devices where they are used for watering plants; rain sensors for irrigation systems; and, underground drip irrigation systems.

New Jersey

NJ AB 2890 (Pending: To Assembly Committee on Environment and Solid Waste.)

Rainwater Capture and Water Conservation – This bill would establish several incentives for installation and operation of a rainwater capture system and prohibiting any fees or taxation related to the purchase, installation and use of these systems.

New York

NY AB 6490 (Pending: Amended in Assembly Committee on Real Property Taxation.)

Would create a tax exemption program for commercial and residential real property owners who purchase or install systems for rainwater harvesting, which a municipality within Westchester or Putnam county could adopt by resolution.

North CarolinaNC HB 282 (Failed: Adjourned.)

Would provide that homeowners associations may not prohibit the installation of certain water and energy efficiency improvements by homeowners. Water efficiency improvement. – Rain gardens, cisterns, rain barrels, and other devices or landscaping installations intended to capture, collect, or store rainwater or to reduce the need for irrigation.

NC SB 427/ NC HB 787 (Failed: Adjourned.)

Would improve the security of North Carolina’s water resources. Employing water reuse practices that include harvesting rainwater and using grey water.

Washington

c WA HB 1025 (Failed: Adjourned.)

The rate a county may charge a school district under this section for storm water control facilities would be reduced by a minimum of ten percent for any new or remodeled commercial building that utilizes a permissive rainwater harvesting system. Rainwater harvesting systems would be properly sized to utilize the available roof surface of the building. The jurisdiction would consider rate reductions in excess of ten percent dependent upon the amount of rainwater harvested.

WA SB 5447/ WA HB 1746 (Failed: Adjourned.)

Related to utility rates and charges for unoccupied mobile home lots in manufactured housing communities: The rate a city or town may charge under this section for storm or surface water sewer systems or the portion of the rate allocable to the storm or surface water sewer system of combined sanitary sewage and storm or surface water sewer systems shall be reduced by a minimum of ten percent for any new or remodeled commercial building that utilizes a permissive rainwater harvesting system. Rainwater harvesting systems would be properly sized to utilize the available roof surface of the building. The jurisdiction would consider rate reductions in excess of ten percent dependent upon the amount of rainwater harvested.

Wisconsin

WI AB 737 (Failed to Pass.)

This bill would require DSPS to promulgate rules that establish standards for the installation of graywater and rainwater systems and that authorize the use of graywater and rainwater within the building, or on the property surrounding the building, from which the graywater was generated or the rainwater was collected.

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Defeating Drones: How To Build A Thermal Evasion Suit

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Asymmetric tactics rely on the idea of fighting smarter, rather than fighting directly, against a larger or more technologically advanced aggressor. It means turning your opponent’s strengths into weaknesses.

For instance, if your opponent relies on the superiority of his tanks and armor, make him fight in the mountains where his armor is useless. If he relies on air superiority, make him sift through a thick canopy where his eye in the sky sees nothing, or make it dangerous for him to land and refuel such vehicles at all. If he relies on body armor for safety, make him fight uphill so that the extra weight wears him down. If his surveillance and security techniques are a little too sensitive and effective, create constant false positives, until he can no longer trust his own alert systems. And, if most of his weaponry and soldiers are heavily reliant on a particular piece of technology, make that technology useless in the field. Force your opponent to fight on fairer ground, where the man with the most skill and intelligence prevails rather than the man with the most million dollar toys.

There is no such thing as fool proof combat technology. There is a way to trick or defeat or survive ANY weapon and any enemy. Period.

Drones and thermal vision have been held up to the common citizenry for years as the end-all-be-all of combat and surveillance technology. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the claim that no one can hide from thermal imaging and that predator drones herald the end of free resistance to tyranny. I find this assertion to be rather absurd, considering militaries across the globe have already developed their own thermal evasion suits (which means it IS possible to hide from thermal vision) and drones seem to kill more innocent bystanders than actual enemy combatants. I will admit that thermal vision use is skyrocketing amongst military and police across the board, and this is because it is indeed effective to a point.

Thermal imaging and drones in the hands of a corrupt establishment make a couple of things very difficult for any resistance – First, you might be able to hide, but you won’t be able to move freely without risk, especially in groups. Second, you might be able to act defensively, but never offensively. Advancing on an objective protected by thermal surveillance would be extremely difficult. Constantly being on the defensive takes the initiative away from those who want to fight back against tyranny. Without the ability to go on the offensive, you will inevitably lose. Hiding in a hole in the mountains for the rest of your life is not an option if you want your children and their children to experience liberty.

Today’s combat reality is that of the digitized battlefield. All modern military units now rely on full spectrum surveillance, computer models, and real time data. Thermal vision is a cornerstone of this model because it is currently the best way to identify potential threats before they can act, rather than after they act. Unfortunately, there is no doubt this kind of surveillance power will be misused, and the spread of drones for domestic applications proves that the establishment’s intention is to utilize thermal against the population, rather than in defense of the population. Therefore, thermal vision must be negated if people are to remain free. We might not be able to fight against misused drones directly, but we can make their primary advantage useless. Here is how it is possible to remove thermal vision as a threat, and thus nullify the primary strength of the drones (and other weapons) in our skies:

Thermal Vision And Drone Misconceptions

Now that you know it is more than possible for civilians to obtain thermal evasion, lets go over some of the most common misconceptions about thermal imaging and drone technology.

Building a suit that hides a person from thermal imaging is impossible?

Clearly, this is false, as we have shown in the video above. Add to this the fact that military units field their own thermal evasion suits (multi-spectral camouflage) for special purposes, and I think we’ve permanently buried the ludicrous assumption that a thermal evasion suit is a fruitless endeavor. Most existing suits, including those used by governments, boast a thermal reduction rating of 60% to 80%. It is important to recognize that there is currently no organization or company offering thermal evasion suits for widespread use by civilians. We have given the public free access to information on building their own suits if they wish, and we are offering professionally made suits for sale with a thermal reduction rating of 90% or more at Snakebite Tactical.

We made no attempt to hide “heat spots” within the tests in the above video. We want to make it clear that this is a 90% effective suit, which is more than enough for almost any application. Achieving 100% reduction at distances of 10 ft to 10 yards in a wearable suit is very difficult, and a person would still need to practice proper field craft in order to remain unseen. However, we believe our suit design more than meets the standards of currently issued military grade suits; suits which are not available to the public anyway.

Thermal imaging sees through walls?

This is movie-land nonsense. A thermal imager can see the heat you emit through a very thin wall if you are leaning against it, but remove your body from contact with the surface and the heat signature will disappear. Thermal imagers have a difficult time identifying stationary people through leaves and the branches of trees, let alone walls. As long as you are not in contact with the item, your heat will not be seen through the item.

Thermal vision sees through forests?

No. Not a chance. In fact, if your only goal is to hide, then a thick forest is the absolute best place to be if thermal surveillance is in use, even without a suit. If your plan is to advance on an objective, then the situation changes, but if you are a lone individual that just doesn’t want to be found, staying in the woods and dense terrain away from people who might rat you out is your best bet. Apply a thermal suit to the scenario and now your are fully mobile without fear of detection.

You will never see a drone coming, so having a suit is meaningless anyway?

Gotta love this kind of fuzzy logic. The claim apparently assumes that drones simply fly miles above the Earth silently raining hellfire missiles down on random heat signatures on the ground without identification. This is not how drones operate.

Drones are mainly used as OVERWATCH for teams of men already on the ground. A drone might see your signature when you are not wearing a suit, but a drone pilot will not waste ordinance on you until you are identified as a viable target. Most of the successful strikes you see in the news and on YouTube are targets that were already lazed by a team on the ground (this is something the DoD rarely mentions, because they want to retain the mystic surrounding drones). The drone is then sent in to attack the target that the team identified. When a military unit comes into contact with an enemy, a drone may be sent in to observe and identify targets. This is a situation where thermal evasion is essential. If those targets throw on thermal evasion gear, the drone becomes a useless platform. If you are under threat by drones and ground opponents, you can leave the area at will without being traced, or you can advance and attack your aggressor without being betrayed by your own heat signature. Your suit does not need to be worn at all times in order to be useful.

I don’t need a thermal evasion suit, I can just buy a thermal blanket or tarp at a fraction of the cost?

The first and most obvious advantage to a thermal evasion suit is that it CAN BE WORN. There is no existing tarp or thermal blanket system that can be worn against the human body and still hide that body from thermal imaging. All of these items conduct heat which can be seen almost as soon as you touch them. If a heat reflecting tarp was a practical working solution to thermal imaging, then you would see hundreds if not thousands of videos on the web proving their effectiveness and governments would not be keeping their own suits such a secret. The reality is, these items are only useful if you plan to stretch them out above you without physical contact, and stay in one place without moving. They are highly defensive in nature and severely limited in their application.

We have developed the very first thermal evasion system available to the public that can be worn for long periods of time and that also provides effective visual camouflage. Our suit works as a ghillie as well as a thermal evasion tool, meaning, it works in thermal, and in visible light. A thermal cloak offers near total 360 degree coverage against thermal imaging devices in the air and on the ground while the person is also mobile. Meaning, instead of constantly hiding from the enemy and being on the defensive (a losing strategy), you can advance on the enemy if you wish without detection. There is no comparison whatsoever in the level of application between a thermal blanket and a thermal suit.

This does not mean a suit solves all your problems. If you walk through an open field and start break-dancing, someone will see you. A thermal suit does not necessarily hide blatant movement by the wearer. You still need to follow proper field craft methods including the use of cover and concealment. Add to this the thermal reduction properties of the suit, and you are much less likely to be detected, even under heightened scrutiny.

I don’t need a thermal suit, I can just hide in the city amongst the crowds and blend in?

I’m sure there are situations when operating in a city might be called for, but frankly, the idea is extraordinarily ill conceived when one considers the surveillance grids being put in place in most major metropolitan areas. Thermal is not your worst enemy in the city. Try CCTV networks with facial and biometric recognition. Try numerous possible collaborators and quislings in a city environment (known for more passive and subservient populations permanently attached to the establishment umbilical cord) who might point the finger at you. The city is a BAD place to be under almost any circumstance that results in crisis and lost liberty, and probably the worst place to be if you are trying to avoid observation and surveillance.

That said, watch almost any police chopper thermal footage in a city and tell me the person being chased was better off without a thermal suit. Imagine you are being chased for simply being a proponent of liberty. Imagine that one day you wake up in the middle of your home city a designated criminal. Would you rather have a thermal evasion suit, or, do you plan to outrun the chopper?

Mud will hide your heat signature?

No, it will not. At least not for more than a minute, and it better be some thick friggin’ mud. Despite what Arnold Schwarzenegger may have taught you, heat transfers through mud just as it does through most other materials.

Drones will find you with LIDAR if they can’t see you with thermal vision?

LIDAR is a form of laser based radar which is bounced off surfaces to create a 3D map of a large area. I’m not sure exactly where the idea came from that drones use LIDAR for personnel detection, but this is simply not so, at least not currently. LIDAR is being tested by the DoD and private contractors for personnel detection using GROUND based 360 degree units, and the effective range of these experimental units is rather limited. Aerial LIDAR is used for mapping of terrain. The complexity of ground based objects (think in terms of millions of objects in any given field of view) makes personnel tracking from the air all but impossible. Ground based LIDAR also requires a recognizable human shape at close range in order to “alert” on an intruder, which means the ThermTac suit (which removes normal human shape) would only HELP in preventing detection. From my research as of 2015, LIDAR for surveillance often suffers from numerous false positives, which means it is a very weak system for tracking personnel. Thermal vision is a far greater threat than LIDAR.

Even if you have a suit that blocks your body heat, you can still be tracked by your footprints?

Under perfect conditions and the use of a sensitive thermal imager on the ground, your footprints MIGHT be visible using a ground based unit right after you imprint them, but it is still unlikely you will be found. Quick thermal imprints (caused by footsteps) disappear within seconds, and are difficult if not impossible to pick out from any distance beyond a few yards. Rubber and plastic soled shoes do not in most cases transfer very much heat into the ground, and the theory that crushed grass releases more heat in thermal imaging is utter nonsense. Too many ideas about thermal imaging are drawn from television and movies, which greatly embellish the capabilities of such devices. If footprints were an effective way to track people using thermal, then Search and Rescue units (many have access to excellent thermal devices) would have numerous examples of this along with numerous success stories (these examples do not exist).

One legitimate danger involving footprints occurs when a very large number of people (small groups are not an issue) travel together in single file. This constant imprinting on the same path by multiple footfalls can indeed leave a residual trail that can be found several minutes later, enough time to be tracked by a thermal imager.

Thermal evasion suits will help terrorists?

As stated in the video, the world’s worst terrorist groups are often trained by our own governments and covert intelligence agencies. If covert agencies have access to thermal evasion techniques, then it only follows that so do the people they train. I have no doubt that we will be accused of aiding terrorists by releasing this information, because that is really the only recourse the establishment has to try to stop the use and spread of thermal cloaks (or they will claim that the suit is a scam and doesn’t actually work. Of course, people will be able to test this for themselves). They will have to try to shame people into refusing to adopt thermal evasion as a means of defense. Trust me, I’ve seen this kind of propaganda used against people merely for talking about methods that MIGHT work. Read any military forum where someone discusses thermal evasion, and invariably a dozen henpecking statists will ask them if they are “with ISIS or Al-Qaeda” to shut them up.

Self-defense is an inborn right, not a privilege granted by arbitrary authority. You do not need permission to obtain means of defense against a threat, even if that threat has thermal imaging at his disposal and a license from the state to kill you. Our thermal suit design is a culmination of three years of tireless effort.  We believe the information belongs in the hands of the citizenry, not only in the hands of governments and those they train. The greater threat to the common good is a lack of knowledge that makes free people weak and vulnerable. The goal of this project is to remove a clear weakness in the American people. If you are not informed, and not prepared, then you will never be secure. Some people would have you believe that thermal imaging and drones are for your safety. We say YOU are the only person that can be trusted to provide for your own safety. If anything, thermal eyes and lurking drones present a more intense danger to you and your freedom than any terrorists they are supposedly intended to fight against.

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Home Invasion 101

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Home invasions are an increasingly dangerous crime, nowadays. If you compare home invasions to a plain burglary they are two completely different crimes, however both have a violent perpetrators involved. So the question is do you have a safe room in case one of these two crimes happen to involve you and your family? Having a safe room could be one of the many rooms you decide to put and design for your new home.

Protecting Your Home

 There are many things you can do to reduce the likelihood of your house or apartment being broken into or invaded, however protecting your home can only go so far. There are certain things that can protect you from the common criminal, but in long term SHTF situations, you and your family have to decide whether to bug in or bug out. So with that being said, your home needs an Extreme Home Makeover.

 Let’s start with lighting.

 If you plan to build your own house or already have a house these are things that you should make sure to add to your new or existing home. Yes, some of these are common sense things but not everyone remembers things like you. So for starters make sure all your entryways have lighting by using either timers or motion sensors. These are low cost purchases to your new home and easy to install. The exterior lighting you install should be able to be seen about 100 feet. Just do not leave them on all the time or your electric bill is going to get pretty high.

 Now every new home or existing home needs that green stuff called shrubs or bushes to add some spice to the new house!

 When planting these beautiful shrubs, bushes, and plants of any kind that are about 4 feet of a sidewalk and about 2 feet from driveway or door trim. Make sure to keep up on trimming these so that the branches are 6 feet above ground and limbs cannot be used to gain access to upper windows. A planting tip: Plant thorny bushes or flowers along fences and under windows to deject burglars from approaching through them.

 Every house needs a garage to store that expense Tesla in and another garage or two to store that ATV or Jet Ski as well.

 Garages are the prime entry way for perpetrators. The garage is where the goodies are at and many fail to secure the door to the house. If you happen to have an overhead rolling door, drill a hole in the runner and padlock it with a high quality padlock. The connecting door to the house should be solid wood or metal with a deadbolt. Make sure you remove your keys from vehicles overnight. Also remove your garage door opener from your vehicle and change the factory setting. If you have a newer opener they have “rolling” codes. Also do not, I repeat do not store your keys in the garage. Another tip is to not store ladders, pry bars, or other tools in garage or outdoor shed that would enable a perpetrator to aid them into your house.

 Every home needs those picture perfect windows to allow that beautiful sunlight to flow in.

 When building a home keep in mind when you add basement windows make sure to either have bars or grills covering them. You may also want to consider bars or grills on other ground floor windows. Windows should be locked and shouldn’t be open more than 6 inches even when someone is home. Windows should have secondary locks, and easily removable from inside in the event of fire.

Doors are the biggest entry to any home, garage, or shed. So having secure doors are the number one priority.

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 All doors on the exterior of house should be solid wood or metal. You should also install wide angle viewers on the exterior entrance doors about 160 degrees. Make sure you use deadbolts with at least 1 inch throw and consider installing an intercom on the front door for precaution. You should also install a latch chain. If you have a pet of any kind do not install a pet door.

 Additional Considerations

  •  Insure all external power and utility boxes locked.
  • All property fences should have locked gates.
  • Insure all skylights locked in place and reinforced with plastic glazing.
  • Do NOT hide spare key outside under the door mat, etc.
  • If you are a new occupant, re-key the property.
  • If you lose your keys, re-key the property.

The best way to secure your home is to make sure the doors, windows, locks, and other exterior home care is up to date.

However, if your outer defenses are broken, having a safe room to retreat to could be a life saver.

A safe room is a room in a house or other building that is invulnerable to attack or intrusion, and from which security operations can be directed. There are various types of safe room designs. If your pocket can spare the funds, you can have a safe room built that will protect you in the event of a tornado or other natural disaster.  According to FEMA, they have a number of documents on that topic. However, most of us don’t have the extra cash lying around to construct such a room. In this article we are strictly talking about home invasions.

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When creating a safe room you will have to figure out where and how big you want it. So you will need to make a plan and then build. You will then need to prepare you and your family for what to do and when to use the safe room. Lastly, you will have the protection to you and your family for creating the safe room if ever there was a need for it.

Many of you may have questions about safe rooms so I will cover a few of those.

Who needs a safe room if I have a gun?

 Okay, Chuck Norris, how about we think this through before we start firing away! I personally think that most people know how to use them. I personally go to the gun range with my family a couple months in the year to practice. I own a gun as well. Yes, guns do make you feel safe but just think if you had your loot of weapons along with a safe room, you would be more than Chuck Norris ready.

Why do I need a safe room?

Well, honestly you don’t need one, but I bet half of the people who build a home consider it but can’t afford it. This is why you have to consider other options other than a larger home such as apartments or flats. You could have a spare room as a safe room if you include the right things in it.

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Selecting and Constructing Your Safe Room

 Every family and housing situation is different, but the idea is to select a room that you can get all members of the household to as quickly as possible. (Remember your family safety plan). It might be the basement, or bedroom or even a large bathroom. Try to select a room with no windows or skylight. Most indoor doors are hollow wood. You need to replace the door with a solid type, wood or steel. Hang it so it opens outwardly. Use deadbolts with at least a 1 inch throw, and consider using two of them. Strike plates should be 4 screw designs with screws at least three inches long. If hinges on exterior, flange, weld, or pin the hinge pins to prevent removal and ensure they have 3 inch screws on the hinge plates. A door is really only as solid at the frame it is attached to. Try to reinforce the wooden frame with angle iron, or replace it with a steel frame. The whole idea is to ensure the door remains intact after repeated hits by a 180lb. man. If you must use a room with a window, shatterproof glass would be essential as well as an iron grate over it. Insure your safe room has an electrical outlet to charge your cell phone if necessary.

 Safe Room Supplies

You safe room is going to need certain supplies. Many people keep these items in the safe room pre stocked and some use a sort of mini-bug out bag to grab and go to the safe room. Personally, I recommend stocking the safe room ahead of time. It would be too easy to forget to grab the bag under stress or you might be in an area of the house that you couldn’t get to it in time. You need to be able to survive, communicate, and if necessary defend yourself. Here is a small recommended list that you can add to depending on your situation:

1.      A firearm for defense. If you can, try to dedicate at least one firearm that will be stored in the safe room. Insure you have the training to properly and legally defend yourself if necessary.

2.      A cell phone. This is essential. The idea is to stay safe long enough to call 911 for help and to remain safe until the police arrive. Make sure you have a charger with it. Dead battery can equal dead you. Test your cell phone from the safe room to insure you have coverage from it! If you have to call 911, stay on the line! This will be critical for communication when the police arrive.

3.      A good first aid kit. Don’t forget any medication you might need.

4.     Water and munchies. If you are using a bathroom the water problem is solved.

5.      A good flash light or security light.

6.      A small HAM radio if the cell phone fails

7.      Sanitation concerns. If you are not using the bathroom, you need a way to relieve yourself if you have a long wait.

 Deciding on how to set up a safe room takes a lot of serious thought. This is just an overview to get you started.

 

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The Safe Search Engine: They Don’t Track You

DuckDuckGo.com on CNBC: We’ve grown 600% since NSA surveillance news broke

The privacy-minded search engine is now doing three billion searches a year.

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DuckDuckGo has exploded in popularity since the federal government’s surveillance program came to light two years ago. Remember the privacy-minded search engine’s best week ever?

The service has grown 600 percent since then, DuckDuckGo CEO Gabe Weinberg said on CNBC.

“We’re doing about three billion searches a year,” Weinberg said, “so we’re already pretty mainstream.” (Tell ’em, Gabe.)

Browsers Firefox and Safari also made DuckDuckGo available last year.

Watch the CNBC clip below. The news anchor just can’t resist a little jab about DuckDuckGo’s location choice.

By Juliana Reyes