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Why You Need To Garden Now

why-you-need-your-garden-now

It’s easy to find excuses not to garden: I’m too busy, I don’t want to ruin the lawn, I don’t have enough space, I’ll start when I move to the country. There might even be a few who bought a container of heirloom seeds, tossed it into the freezer and checked gardening off their to-do list.

The main fallacy in all these excuses is that you need all the experience you can get in growing your own food now, before your life depends on it. Of course, there are also many benefits to gardening: saving money as food costs continue to increase, learning to preserve your harvests, learning to cook fresh produce in appetizing ways, eating healthier foods, adjusting you (and your family) to a different diet before you have no choice.

Time: everyone is busy. We also make time for what is important to us. Starting a new garden is labor intensive; if your schedule includes exercise then gardening can replace it at this stage.

Lawn care: gardens don’t have to be an enormous rectangle in the center of the yard. A large border garden along the fence can be very productive and attractive. Raised beds can be built with stone or pavers. If you absolutely can not dig up any of your lawn because of a militant HOA or an impending sale, container gardening is the answer.

Space: be inventive. Look into community gardens, allotment space, friends or acquaintances with room to plant. Elderly neighbors who might not be up to the physical exertion of maintaining a large garden could be willing to share their space for a portion of the produce. They will often be an excellent source of information regarding gardening for your climate and soil.

What if you don’t want to invest the time and energy into a garden where you live now when you will be moving to the country or a bug-out place? The answer is: you had better be putting in the work somewhere! If you own land but can’t live on it now, make time to get out there and begin the process. A long weekend, or even better, a week vacation spent camping on your land can see a lot of clearing work done. If nothing else, a spade, bag of compost, stack of cardboard for mulching and seed potatoes will be the starter garden that sets you up for future efforts.

Soil quality has to be your number one concern. Many suburbs and housing divisions are begun by grading the land flat and seeding grass onto what is left. When the grass is dug up what the home owner isn’t going to find is topsoil. The first step is going to be amending the growing medium; a.k.a. making really good dirt for healthy plants. There are choices available for this step. If money isn’t an issue landscape companies will truck in topsoil for you or you can make your own with compost.

Be aware of your gardens needs when placing it. Alan Titchmarsh, prominent British gardening expert, recommends spending a day in a lawn chair observing the space. Watch where the sun hits, what is shaded by trees or fences and where the wind blows unchecked. Know the needs of your chosen crops: is there full sun for corn? Is a place sheltered from the midday and afternoon sun best for the lettuce?

Did you observe any pests? Rabbits can be a serious problem in town where many won’t kill them because they are considered ‘cute’. Do you have family pets which will dig or trample your tender seedlings? Even a knee-high fence made of chicken wire may be enough to keep these out while still allowing you easy access. Another option is to use a greenhouse, polytunnel or coldframe to both keep pests out and extend your growing season by protecting from frost and wind.

Remember that other plants can interact with your garden. My yard is filled with black walnut trees which produce a chemical to retard the growth of other plants. I can’t even use the leaves for compost. Two years ago I opened up a second garden area and I’m still struggling to get decent crops to grow there. These also allow for earlier planting by providing protection from frosts. Eventually, it will be as rich and productive as my first garden. The time and work is an investment that will be rewarded.

Whatever method you choose, start now. This may literally save your life someday.

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10 Tips for Preppers to Prepare for SHTF Situations

Being prepared really isn’t that complicated, it just takes a willingness to do something about your situation. If you haven’t started prepping, it’s time to start taking the decisive actions you need to take to keep yourself and your family safe.

Here are 10 ideas that can help get you started:

1. Threat Assessment

Part of truly being prepared for anything, means knowing exactly what threats you’re going to face and then analyzing how those threats will affect you in the future. By performing a realistic threat assessment, you can get a better idea of what threats you’re facing, and learn how to prepare for those threats in the future.

2. Planning for the most likely SHTF Scenarios.

When you’re just getting started in the world of prepping, preparing for an EMP or an asteroid hitting the earth is probably not the best course of action. While both of those scenarios are scary, the probability of them happening is actually pretty low. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t prep for these things, I’m just suggesting that you prep for the most likely dangers first.

3. SWOT Analysis

Performing a SWOT Analysis is a great way to determine how prepared you really are. A SWOT Analysis is a simple, but useful method of pinpointing your Strengths and Weaknesses. Performing one will also help you identify Opportunities that you can exploit, and Threats that you might face in a SHTF situation.

4. Living Debt Free… Is it part of your survival plan?

It’s great to be prepared for an end of days scenario, but what happens when you’re faced with a foreclosure or the possibility of living on the streets? Is that not a survival situation?  To be truly prepared for the worst, we must also think of our financial security. That means paying off debt, living within your means, and starting an emergency fund.

5. Get in Shape NOW

No matter what survival situation you may ultimately find yourself in, there’s one thing that you’ll likely find; survival is going to be hell on your body. One of the best things you can do to ensure your survival, in just about any situation, is to make sure your body and your mind are trained and prepared to survive. That means motivating yourself to get off your butt and get in shape.

6. Train with Repetition

To really be able to rely on your knowledge when things go bad, you need to run through your survival techniques in a number of real-world scenarios and environments. The more you train in real world situations, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to perform these skills in a high stress survival situation.

7. Train Your Mind

Survival isn’t glamorous, and it’s nothing like what’s depicted on T.V. Survival shows. It is downright brutal, and will beat the hell out of you not only physically, but emotionally as well. Don’t overlook the importance of cultivating a mindset that will allow you to face life’s greatest challenges.

8. Survival Intelligence – Power of Information

In a survival situation, knowledge is going to be a critical factor in determining the outcome of your situation. The ability to be able to predict what will happen during an emergency is an important part of being prepared. Start gathering a list of trusted resources and information sources that can help you prepare for whatever the future has in store.

9. Be Prepared to Bug Out

Many preppers talk about the prospects of bugging out; but how many of them have the skills, or the strength to actually do it? It’s one thing to talk about bugging out; it’s another thing to carry your gear 10-15 miles a day in dangerous and unforgiving conditions.

10. Bugging out with Kids

During a SHTF situation, maintaining a sense of normalcy is going to be a very important concern when dealing with children. With children, comfort items can go a long way in helping them feel as safe and secure as possible. Don’t overlook how important it will become to give them a sense of comfort and control during a stressful SHTF situation.

 

Threat Assessment – What are the most likely threats that you will face?

Part of truly being prepared for anything, means knowing exactly what threats you’re facing, and then analyzing how those threats will affect you in the future. By performing a realistic threat assessment, you can get a better idea of what threats are out there, and then learn how to prepare for those threats in the future.

Performing a threat assessment will help you improve your ability to handle threats, manage threatening situations, and protect the people you love from harm.

There are three primary objectives when performing a threat assessment – Identify, Assess, and Manage.

IDENTIFY The Threats

The first step in analyzing your overall preparedness level is to identify the most likely threats that you will face.

What are the most likely threats that you will face? Who/What are the threats, and what are your vulnerabilities?

  • Natural disasters: What are the most likely disasters you will face based on your geographical location? (Hurricanes, Floods, Earthquakes, etc…)
  • SHTF scenarios: What do you believe are the greatest threats to you livelihood? (Economic collapse; political instability; chemical, biological, radio logical, and nuclear threats; riots; wars; etc…)
  • Personal Threats – Economic Problems, Job Loss, Home Invasions, Debt, etc..
  • Security: What are the largest security risks that you face in your area? (Gangs, Criminal Activity,issues effecting urban areas, etc…)
  • What are the immediate dangers in your location? Is there anything that stands out about your neighborhood? Are there obstacles or dangers that are specific to your geographical location that could leave you vulnerable? (terrorist threats, chemical and/or biological threats, threats to critical infrastructure, criminal activity, inadequate access to supply routes or escape routes during a disaster, etc…)

ASSESS The Threats

The next step is to assess how these dangers will affect you, and then figure out what needs to be protected?

  • How will each of the above listed threats affect you, your family, your property, and your survival plans?
  • How will each situation affect your overall preparedness efforts?
  • Are there any areas in your plans, security, or overall preparedness efforts that need to be addressed?
  • What steps do you need to take to protect yourself, your family and your property?

MANAGE The Threats

The final step is to take immediate protective actions that will help prevent, or minimize your exposure to these potential threats.

  • What can be done to minimize your risk?
  • Develop appropriate emergency response plans, and threat reduction strategies for each situation.
  • Are you prepared to Bug Out if the situation calls for that action?
  • Intelligence – Those that are truly prepared will seek information from multiple sources. Make sure you have a good way to gather information before and after a disaster hits. (BEFORE: Survival Websites, Books, Radio etc… AFTER: Personal Networks, Ham & Shortwave Radio, etc…)

 

What are the most likely threats that you should be prepared for?

Deciding what types of disasters to prepare for will mean something different to everyone. From you location, to your health and financial situation, there are a number of factors that can play into what you should focus on first. While we can’t tell you individually what to prepare for, there are a number of things that you might want to consider.

Preparing for a Job Loss

Remember prepping isn’t just about preparing for cataclysmic events; it’s about being prepared for whatever dangers or pitfalls are around the corner. While the loss of a job may not be as sensational as asteroids, EMP’s, or a zombie apocalypse, it is the one thing that almost everyone reading this will face at some point in their life.

Preparing yourself and your family to survive and thrive during a time of unemployment is something that everyone should be prepared for. Ask yourself the following questions….

  • If you lost your job today, how long could you go without a paycheck?
  • How much food do you have on hand, and how long will it last?
  • What steps do you need to take to ensure your families survival?

Preparing for Floods & Fires

When we start prepping, it’s easy to get caught up in a worst case scenario mentality. While preparing for the worst is a good thing, it can sometimes cause you to overlook the smaller disasters that can be equally as devastating.

One of the most common disasters that most Americans will face in their lifetime is the threat from Fires and Floods. Again, it might not be the most exciting topic in the world, but preparing yourself and your home for this danger is one of the first things you should learn how to do.

Preparing for Natural Disasters

Hurricanes, Earthquakes, and Tornadoes are all disasters that often strike without warning. But they are also easily predictable.

While you can never predict exactly when they’ll happen, you can find out if you live in an area that’s prone to one of these natural occurrences. Unfortunately, as we often see every hurricane season, most people fail to prepare for these types of events. If you live in an area that’s prone to natural disasters, you need to start prepping to survive those situations.

Preparing for an Economic Collapse

As far fetched as this may sound to some, it really shouldn’t be that shocking. All you have to do is look back at 2008 to see how close this country came to a complete financial meltdown. Although the idiots in the media claim the economy is recovering, just remember, they’re the same idiots that didn’t see 2008 coming.

If the economy crashed tomorrow what would you do? Are you ready for this type of scenario?

Preparing for The Dangers in your Neighborhood

It’s often the dangers in your own community that pose the biggest threat to your health and safety, are you prepared for them? Do you even know what they are?

  • Is there something in your community that could make your town a potential terrorist target?
  • Are there chemical or power plants in your area that could pose a danger if an accident happened?
  • Are there areas of your town that pose a danger because of crime, gangs, or other criminal activity? If a disaster hit, would these people pose a threat to your home?

Bad things can happen quickly and often without warning.  Knowing what types of events are most likely to occur in your community can help you plan for those disasters. If you start with the mindset of being prepared for these common problems, you will then have a good foundation to build upon that can help you survive pretty much any crisis, disaster or SHTF situation.

 

A SWOT Analysis is a simple, but useful method of really understanding your Strengths and Weaknesses. It will also help you identify Opportunities that you can exploit, and Threats that you might need to avoid during a survival situation.

Performing a SWOT Analysis on yourself and your capabilities is a great way to determine how prepared you really are.

SWOT: STRENGTHS

A good place to start is to take an inventory of what you currently have. This can be everything from stockpiles of food and ammo, to stockpiles of knowledge.

Analyzing your strengths will give you a good idea of what you’re capable of doing. It’s also a good way of discovering things that you may have never considered to be strengths, but could be extremely beneficial in a survival scenario.

  • What survival gear, equipment, and tools do you currently own?
  • What other items do you have in your home that might be useful during a crisis situation? (Blankets, food, tools, etc….)
  • What skills do you have that can be used in a survival situation?
  • What resources do you have in your area that can be used during a survival situation?
  • Make a list of what you feel are your general everyday strengths, and then determine if these strengths would be useful during a crisis or disaster.

SWOT: WEAKNESSES

This is where you really have to be honest with yourself; but it’s also where you’ll get the most benefit out of this exercise. By honestly detailing your weaknesses, you can then better prepare to survive a crisis situation. Once you know what your weaknesses are, you can tweak your training to deal with them.

  • What skills do you need to improve on?
  • Are there certain survival skills that you have never actually practiced?
  • Is there anything about your location that could be considered a weakness? (Lack of natural resources, hard to defend, etc…)
  • Do you have any medical problems or disabilities?
  • What other things do you lack that may become a problem during a Crisis Scenario?

SWOT: OPPORTUNITIES

When listing your opportunities, try to imagine what resources and opportunities are currently available to you, and what will be available when a disaster strikes. List the opportunities that you can take advantage of now, as well as those that will be important during a survival situation.

  • What resources and opportunities can you exploit in your area when things go bad?
  • Are there opportunities that you can take advantage of that will help strengthen some of your weaknesses? (Local classes, survival schools, library, websites or other learning resources)
  • Do you have a network of people who can help?

SWOT: THREATS

To truly be prepared, you need to have a realistic idea of what threats are out there and how likely it is that each threat could happen. By going through this exercise, you can better prepare yourself to face each one of these scenarios.  You will know exactly what skills you need to work on, what plans you need to put in place, and what equipment you will most likely need.

  • What are the most likely threats that you will face? (natural disasters, economic threats, SHTF scenarios)
  • What obstacles will you face?
  • What are the immediate dangers in your location?
  • Who is the biggest threat in your neighborhood? (gangs, criminals, etc…)
  • Take another look at your weaknesses? Can any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your survival?

THE NEXT STEP…

The most important part of performing a SWOT Analysis is what you do with your findings. There is no point in performing one, unless you plan on taking action. Now that you have a good idea of your overall level of preparedness, you need to act on your findings and create a strategic plan of action.

 

Did you know that the average American family has over $15,000 of credit card debt, and a staggering total debt of over $75,000.? And if that’s not scary enough, when you factor in the $130,000 that every American tax payer would have to shell out just to pay off the national debt, our situation starts to look pretty bleak.

So what does living debt free have to do with survival anyways?

Well in my opinion, living debt free is an extremely important part of your overall survival plan. Living debt free is about your long-term survival. It’s about thriving, living a comfortable existence, and having peace of mind while everyone else is living in chaos.

But what if the economy collapses?  How will living debt free help you survive?

As the country falls deeper into economic turmoil, living a debt free lifestyle can help shield you from some of the initial pain. As things start to get worse, creditors are going to step up their collection efforts and really start to come after debtors with a vengeance. The last thing you need prior to an economic collapse is a sheriff knocking at the door because you couldn’t pay your bills.

Remember, debtor prisons were once a real thing here in America and if things get bad enough they could make a comeback.

5 Ideas for Living Debt Free:

Establish a Budget

It’s really amazing how much money Americans waste. Establishing a written budget will help make sure that every dollar you make works for you and not against you. At the end of every month, you should have a written plan for every dollar that you will bring next month.

Establishing a budget can help you to realize how much money you spend on things that really aren’t necessities.

Use the Envelope Budgeting System:

If a written budget seems a little tough, you may want to consider the good old envelope system. Basically you put your monthly budget into various envelopes; food, gas, utilities, rent or mortgage, entertainment, preps, etc….

This can help you make sure you’re not spending more than you should be on a certain category (like entertainment).

The Debt Snowball:

Paying of debt can sometimes seem overwhelming which is why Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step #2, The Debt Snowball, is a great way to get started. For those of you who are not familiar with Dave Ramsey, he is basically one of the top debt free living advocates in the country. In his book, The Total Money Makeover, he outlines 7 baby steps to living a debt free life.

Baby step #2, the Debt Snowball, suggests that you list your debts from smallest to largest and then start with the small debts first. The rational is actually pretty simple; the motivation that you obtain from paying of these small easy debts will create a snowball effect that will help you stay motivated when the going gets tough.

As Ramsey points out in the book, Personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior. When it comes down to it, we all know what we should be doing; most people choose not to do it.

Stop going in debt by maintaining a high credit score.

One of the biggest scams that the financial institutions have managed to pull on Americans is the myth that your credit score somehow equals your financial security. Nothing could be farther from the truth; in fact, keeping a high credit score only ensures one thing. It guarantees that you will constantly be in debt!

The only way to maintain that high credit score is to continually borrow money, pay that money off, and pretty much live in debt for the rest of your life. The only thing that having a high credit score means is that you are good at borrowing money, not good at making it!

Make More Money

This one is a no brainier; the only real way to combat the increasing cost of living is to start making more money.

In the long run, one of the best ways to increase your cash flow is to go into business for yourself. Whether you’re a mechanic, a car salesman, or even a factory worker you have talents that can be taken outside of the workplace. Figure out what your good at, and find a way to make money off of it.

Let’s take the mechanic example. Instead of making your boss rich, why not buy some old clunkers, fix them up, and then sell them?  Even if you do one every couple of months, imagine what you could do with that extra income.

 

No matter what survival situation you may ultimately find yourself in, there is one thing that you’ll likely find, it’s going to be hell on your body. From dealing with a lack of sleep and inadequate hydration, to coping with hunger pains and other stress-or, survival can take a huge toll on your body.

You must be prepared to face a number of physical and mental challenges.

One of the best things you can do to ensure your survival, in just about any situation, is to make sure your body and your mind are trained to survive. This means motivating yourself to get off your butt and get in shape.

Being in shape is going to be hugely important to your survival in any situation.

 

In the beginning, it really doesn’t matter what exercise program you choose, the main thing you need to do is pick something and stick to it. Consistency and follow through is really the most important thing when starting any fitness routine.

Now I know a number of so-called experts are probably screaming at the screen saying “What do you mean it doesn’t matter what program I choose?”  Well stick with me here.

If you’re a fitness guru and all you do is work out then this article isn’t meant for you. What I’m talking about here is those who know they’re out of shape, but have never really done much about it.

I have a few friends who work in the fitness industry. In fact, a few of them work at some very big name companies. When I talk to them about their customers, across the board a couple of things are always the same.

Inconstancy, laziness and a lack of motivation.

While these three things are horrible for your body, they’re actually great for most of these companies. In fact, many of them count on your lack of motivation to drive their profits.

They make their money off the people who sign up for a program, attend a couple of times, and then never show up again. Once the new year comes around the cycle starts all over. Most people sign up again, either hoping they’ll do better this time or because they feel a sense of shame for not sticking to the program.

Think about it, we all know we need to exercise and eat well, but how many people make it a habit to do so? Once you’re comfortable in your routine and have made a habit of working out you can then start to tweak your overall plan.

The biggest hurdle in the beginning is staying motivated. Studies show that if you can stick with something for at least 30 days it usually becomes a habit that will stay with you for life. So why not challenge yourself and commit to starting even a basic exercise plan?

For 30 days commit to a 30 minute time frame that is dedicated to getting in shape. Even if it’s just taking a 30 minute walk in the morning, schedule a time and stick to it. At the end of those 30 days I’ll bet you look forward to that time and it will likely become part of your daily schedule.

If you really want to challenge yourself after the 30 days or you need a little bit of structure, I suggest checking out the P90X: 90-Day Extreme Home Fitness Workout Program. Like I said before, the program you choose is not important, but I have personally gone through this system and have seen some amazing results in others. I have since taken some of the routines and have incorporated them into my normal workout schedule.

Good luck and let us know how it goes…. Remember your survival depends on it!

 

Want To Ensure Your Survival in Any Situation? Repetition is the Answer!

Having a basic understanding of survival and knowing the techniques is not enough. While knowledge is a key aspect of survival, repetition is the underlying piece of the puzzle that ultimately makes the difference between success and failure.

Last week we posted an article on studying the basics of survival. In that article, I mentioned how important training in those basic skills was to your survival. While knowing those basic skills is extremely important, I probably should have placed more of an emphasis on repetitive training in those skills.

If you’ve ever trained with the Marines, you’ve probably noticed how differently they train. In my opinion, there is one thing separates their training style from most other types of tactical/survival training, and that is repetition. They spend countless number of hours training on specific skills that others might only spend a couple of hours on. Through fatigue, injury, and pain they run through their techniques over and over until they can’t fail.

They are masters at what they learn, because they run through these skills again and again in a number of different scenarios and environments. They become masters because of repetition.

Want to ensure your survival?

To really be able to count on your knowledge when the SHTF, you need to run through your techniques in a number of scenarios and environments. Just like the Marines, you need to use repetition in your training until your skills become second nature.  The more you train in real world situations, the more likely you are to be able to perform these skills when it really matters.

Being able to start a fire in your back yard when it’s sunny, and you’re well feed is one thing. Being able to start a fire when it’s raining, cold, windy, and you’re about to fall over from a lack sleep is entirely different. The best thing you can do, is to use these skills as often as possible.

Oftentimes people come on here complaining that they just don’t have the time to train. But in reality, even the busiest people can still find a way to fit training into their routine, it just takes a little bit of imagination.

Take the fire starting example that I talked about above. Maybe you don’t have the time to go off into the wilderness; but if you barbecue on the weekends, why not use that as a time to hone up on your skills? Instead of using a lighter to start your grill, why not take a couple of minutes and start the fire with one of your fire making techniques?

If you want to be a master in the art of survival, training with repetition is essential to ensuring your survival.

Do you let what you can’t do dictate what you can do?

Doesn’t it seem like life is always ready to throw you a curve ball? Well, the key to life and survival is being able to tweak the bat at the last minute, and hit that ball out of the park. Unfortunately, far too many people let their hardships rule their life.

We all have challenges and weaknesses, but to survive everything that life can throw at you, you need to cultivate a mindset that doesn’t allow your weaknesses to dictate what you can or can’t do.

People who have overcome challenges, and kicked their lives into overdrive

Ludwig Van Beethoven: Deaf, but one of the greatest composers ever!

Ludwig Van Beethoven had horrible hearing throughout his life, and actually became completely deaf. Despite a handicap that would make most people give up, Beethoven continued to compose, conduct, and perform music and is known as one of the greatest composers of all time.

Bruce Lee: Broke His Back, Bad Eye Sight, and one leg that was Shorter than the other.

Bruce Lee overcame an amazing amount of odds; he had bad eyesight, one leg that was shorter than the other, and a severe back injury that doctors said would keep him from ever kicking again. The injury caused him pain throughout his life, but he never let the injury or his other limitations keep him from his dreams.

If you’ve seen his movies, you also know that he didn’t let it affect his martial arts. He became the world’s most famous martial artist, and his blazing fast speed is a testament to overcoming any handicap.

Michael Jordan: Told that he wasn’t good enough to play.

Michael Jordan was kicked off his high school basketball team, and told that he wasn’t good enough to play. At this point most people would have completely given up, but not Michael; he continued to work on his weaknesses until he became one of the best players off all time.

I shared these examples with you in hopes that one day when the going gets tough, you will remember to dig down deep, and give life a swift kick in the ass. Don’t ever let your weaknesses dictate what you can or can’t do.

Survival Intelligence – Gathering Intel During a Disaster

The ability to be able to predict what will happen in a survival situation is an important part of being prepared. While that may sound like some mystical mumbo jumbo, it’s really not as hokey as it might sound. This ability to predict what will happen is not some supernatural physic power, but instead lies in your ability to gather and interpret information.

In the military world it’s referred to as Intelligence and it has played a critical role in every major combat operation in America since before the Revolutionary War. Without this critical information our military would be operating blind, which would mean more lives, battles, and even wars lost.

While most people in America rely on the evening news as their main source of information, this strategy hardly prepares you to survive a disaster, let alone a SHTF situation. Intelligence is only good if you receive the information in a timely manner.  Often times what’s reported on the evening news is anything but real-time information. The longer it takes to receive your intelligence, the less likely it becomes that you’ll be able to use it to react to the given situation.

Preparedness Intel: Survival Information Resources

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Information: Having multiple sources of information is critical to your preparedness efforts.  Those that are truly prepared will seek information from multiple sources.

Social Networks – Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are excellent sources for gathering real-time information on just about any topic. When a major disaster, event, or SHTF situation occurs, these social networks can be a great way to secure localized real-time information on what’s really happening.

Social News Aggressors & Social Monitors. There are a number of really good social monitoring tools out there that can greatly increase the effectiveness of how these social networks work. One free tool that you might want to check out is called TweetDeck. This program allows you to customize what you’re monitoring, and even allows you to break it down by keyword based on the event.

RSS Readers – RSS readers like FeedDemon allow you to subscribe to different websites, blogs and news websites. You can then gather that information in one easy to use interface.

Survival Websites – Don’t forget to check out our big list of survival websites. These sites can all be a great resource for learning how to survive in a variety of situations.

Survival Books – If the SHTF and the grid goes down, you want to have a basic library of survival information at your disposal. I strongly suggest investing in a couple of Good Survival Books that fit your specific situation.

An even better idea would be to invest in a E-Reader or Tablet like the Kindle Fire, which can hold a complete library of over 6,000 survival books and manuals. And to make sure you can still access your information when the SHTF, I suggest looking at a compact solar charger like the Solio Bolt Solar Charger. This will allow you to charge your small electronic devices even if the grid goes down. Once you have one of these devices, check out our list of Survival ebooks and PDF downloads.

Ham Radio – When the power lines go down, radio stations stop transmitting, and the internet stops working there is one line of communication that will still be alive and well: Ham Radio!  Having a good Multiband Ham Radio will allow you to send and receive critical emergency information during a disaster. It’s also a great way to find alternative news sources from around the world — the kind of news that isn’t filtered.

In a survival situation, knowledge is going to be a critical factor in determining the outcome of your situation. Don’t underestimate the power of staying informed.

 

Are you actually prepared to Bug Out?

A great way to prepare for this situation is to start backpacking.

While you can never simulate an actual bug out situation, backpacking helps you prepare in a number of different ways.

  • It prepares your body for the rigorous conditions that you are bound to face.
  • Backpacking can help you figure out exactly how your body will respond to carrying gear across different terrains.
  • It helps you get a good idea of how much ground you can realistically cover during a Bug Out Scenario.

Having an evacuation plan is great… But have you ever actually used it?

By backpacking the routes that you plan to take in a Bug Out situation, you greatly increase your chances of surviving a real life disaster.

Hit the trails, study the surroundings, and take plenty of notes.

  • Figure out how far you can comfortably hike every day.
  • Take note of what natural resources lie along your route.
  • Be on the lookout for any possible dangers, and figure out how you can avoid them.
  • Take your maps and mark the location of every watering hole or possible emergency shelters that are near your route.

Test your gear now when your life’s not on the line.

The last thing you need in your bug out bag is a bunch of crappy gear that doesn’t hold up out the trail. Now is the time to start testing that gear.

When you’re out on the trail ask yourself these important gear questions:

  • How easy is it to use?
  • How many times did you actually use that piece of gear and was it really a necessity?
  • Was there a piece of gear that you wish you would’ve had?

 

Do you have a Separate Bug Out Bag for your kids?

During a crisis or disaster situation, one of your most important jobs will be to help your child feel as safe and secure as possible. Something that I’m a big proponent of, and something that I think helps give children a sense of security, is involving them in your preparedness planning as much as possible. One great way to make them feel like they have a voice, and a sense of power, is to give them their own dedicated bug out bag.

Having their own child-sized Bug Out Bag, filled with familiar items and comfort foods, can be a real life saver during an emergency. With children, comfort items often become a top priority; having a bag filled with comforting and familiar items can help ensure their overall mental health during a crisis or disaster.

What Items should go into a kids bug out bag:

What goes into the bag really depends on your child’s age, and their maturity. While the needs of each child are going to be different, there are some things you should consider when building an emergency bag for your child.

Basic Survival Items: These should be lightweight, age-appropriate items. Heavier items and gear should always be in the adult’s bags.

  • Flashlight
  • Emergency whistle (clipped to the outside of pack so they can easily find  it if they become separated from you)
  • Laminated emergency contact list with name, home address, and telephone numbers.
  • Pre-paid cell phone
  • Poncho
  • Extra socks, pair of gloves and knit hat or bandanna (depending on your climate)
  • Dust mask
  • Goggles
  • Small pocket knife for the older kids
  • Band aids & wipes
  • Small bottle of hand sanitizer

Comfort Items: When building a bag for a kid, comfort and mental stability is really the main purpose of the bag. Don’t overlook the importance of entertainment and comfort; during a disaster, the last thing you need is a kid who is overly stressed out and anxious.

  • Stuffed animals
  • A couple small light-weight toys
  • Pack of playing cards, or travel size games
  • Baseball or small Nerf football
  • Harmonica
  • An IPad, tablet, or small device to play games on
  • Hard candy
  • Bubble gum
  • Sugar packets
  • Trail mix
  • Drink mix packets

Remember, a kid’s bug out bag is not meant to be an adult BOB. Its main purpose is to provide comfort during a stressful situation, and give your child a sense of control. With younger children, comfort items are a top priority, and will help ensure their overall mental health.

Make sure you customize the bag for your child’s age, personality, and overall fitness level.

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Making Your Bug Out Vehicle Bug Out Worthy

In this article we’re going to be covering what it’ll take to make your bug out vehicle bug out worthy. If you’re looking for what makes the best bug out vehicle check out our article for that. Being preppers we’re always looking for ways of upgrading what we have so that they can serve us better during a bug out scenario. So we are going to go more in depth on the types of upgrades you can add to your bug out vehicle. Making the best bug out vehicle can be one of the most important investments you make as a prepper so lets get to it.

Best Bug Out Vehicle Lighting Upgrades

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Lighting is a great way to make your bug out vehicle stand out (literaly) having lots of lights can attract a lot of attention if you need it and if you don’t you can always shut them off. There are loads of lights to use on your bug out vehicle. I’m going to start off by saying that you should go with LED’s if you’re going to be adding an upgrade you might as well make it last. LED’s are great they consume less power and often have a higher output of light that your regular halogen lights. Another thing I like about them is that if you crack a lens and water gets in you’re not going to immediately pop the bulb. Spot lights are a great for putting on your bug out vehicle you can put them almost anywhere you want. If you have a grill guard you can mount them directly to that or on the top your bug out vehicle mounted to a luggage rack. This gives you the capability of essentially making your bug out vehicle have 360 degrees of lighting. Amazon sells both a spot light and a combo pack with a spot and flood light they are reasonably priced too. The spot light goes for $20 and the combo pack sells for $40 be sure to pick up the wiring harness as well. These would make your bug out vehicle light the way very well.

Make Your Bug Out Vehicle Tough

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If you’re going to spend the money to get a bug out vehicle you’re going to want some way of protecting it. Think of it as a kind of insurance for your rig. Make your bug out vehicle tough by adding different types of guards. There are loads of different types of guards you can get one of the most important ones I think is some type of grille guard. This upgrade is going to make a bug out vehicle more resilient to damage in the front which is where a lot of important components are. In addition to grille guards there are bumper guards and tail light guards, these can also be great additions to your bug out vehicle and further increase the protection of your bug out vehicle. There are a few different styles and choosing which one is best for you can be a little bit tricky check out Auto Anything to learn how to find a guard that works for you. Winches are another accessory that will come in hand during a bug out scenario. These can be easily installed directly to your grille guard and are a great option if you have some extra money to put towards one.

Making Your Bug Out Vehicle Do The Work

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When you’re in a bug out scenario you generally want to carry as much gear as you can. Having a cargo rack allows your bug out vehicle to carry the gear for you. There are lots of different options out there I recommend going with a roof our hitch mounted cargo rack. With the addition of these you’re able to carry all the necessary gear you need to set up shop at your bug out location. The hitch mounted type cargo racks are great for loading up additional fuel and water. While the roof mounted racks can be used more for bug out bags, sleeping bags, food, etc. This will also free up more room inside the vehicle for either more gear or additional passengers. Curt makes some great roof mounted cargo racks that have good reviews on Amazon and Highland makes affordable hitch mounted racks that will stand up to any bug out scenario.

There are loads of options available on the market out there to make your bug out vehicle but out worthy. These are just some of the options that I would recommend you look into getting from the research and experience I’ve had. I hope this helps you in building the best bug out vehicle to get you out of any bug out scenario you might find yourself in. Thanks for reading and check back in for even more posts. If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

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What is a Comprehensive Wilderness Survival Kit and Why Should You Have One?

We all carry survival kits whether we realize it or not. The contents of a man’s pockets or those of a woman’s purse are nothing more than survival kits for a populated technological society. You have all the things you’ll likely need to fill your needs throughout your day. Keys, cash, identification, credit cards, membership cards and other items all serve to fill your needs as they arise. Luckily for us, most of our human needs are filled by technology and the remainder can be filled as you go with cash or credit.

So how does a ‘wilderness survival kit’ differ from the items we carry every day? In a wilderness setting, we don’t have quick access to emergency medical care. We don’t have a roof over our head or a climate controlled environment. We don’t have sinks and water fountains bubbling with potable water or edible food everywhere we look. Therefore, we’ll need to carry most or all of these things with us. The ‘best’ wilderness survival kit is probably a backpack full of quality camping gear. However, most of us aren’t willing to carry that load when day hiking, mountain biking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, riding ATV’s, hunting, horseback riding or any of the myriad other activities that carry us away from civilization.

The goal of a practical wilderness survival kit is therefore to address as many of our needs as possible and to do it in a format that we don’t mind carrying on our person while conducting outdoor activities. For some, this might be a small tin carried in a pocket, but these micro-kits don’t really address a lot of the most critical needs. For me, a belt pouch based kit is unobtrusive enough that I’m likely to carry it during outdoor activities. It is also big enough to really address human needs in the wild. I have several types of kits that I carry. Some are rudimentary, while some are very comprehensive. It really depends on where I’m headed. All of them are simple belt pouch based kits.

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At this point, let’s define what your critical needs really are and why. The easiest way to do this (and to prioritize the order in which you should address them) is by using a simple maxim known as the “rule of threes”.

The rule of threes says:

  •    It takes as little as 3 minutes to die of severe injury.
  •    It takes as little as 3 hours to die of exposure.
  •    It takes as little as 3 days to die of thirst.
  •    It takes at least 3 weeks to die of hunger.

Your very first priority in a survival situation is to address immediate first aid needs. If you or a companion cannot breathe, or are bleeding profusely, death can come in as little as three minutes. You aren’t likely to carry a comprehensive medical kit everywhere you go, but a wilderness survival kit should have at least the basics of first aid such as bandages and the ability to make a tourniquet. If you travel far and wide on a regular basis, it’s a very good idea to learn the basics of first aid (establishing an airway, dealing with profuse bleeding, CPR, etc).

Next, we have to deal with the number one killer in wilderness survival situations: exposure. When people become lost, stuck or injured in wilderness settings, they might have been well dressed for a leisurely day in the woods, but when night falls or unexpected weather blows in, they find themselves in a very dangerous situation.

Television shows about survival like to show people building rudimentary brush shelters and other forms of shelter using materials at hand. However, building a weatherproof shelter from scratch is incredibly time consuming. It takes 18-24 inches of brush overhead to effectively shed rain. This means it might take many hours (and a lot of energy) to build a decent shelter. If you’re lost, night is fast approaching and a freezing rain starts to fall, you don’t have that many hours!

This is why my survival kits include a tarp made of very thin plastic. This can be draped over a line strung between trees to form a small tent or simply draped over a bush in a pinch. That means that you can erect a waterproof, windproof shelter in minutes, not hours!  As mentioned, it’s incredibly thin plastic, so I can fold a 9′ by 6′ tarp into a packet about half the size of a deck of cards.

Beyond simple shelter, you’ll likely need a fire. Those same survival shows often portray various methods of primitive fire starting (bow drills, hand drills, ploughs, etc). However, if the weather has come in hard and things are becoming ‘wet ‘n’ wild’, you’re NOT going to get a fire going using primitive methods. These may be fun skills to practice as an educational exercise in your back yard, but relying on these methods to make fire in an actual emergency is stupid and it’s a great way to wind up dead.

A good survival kit should have multiple means to quickly build a fire. There should be a lighter, not matches. There should be easily-lit tinder that burns for a long time. In essence, if you can’t use a kit’s fire starting materials when it’s cold, wet and windy, it’s a useless kit!

Once you’re settled into a shelter and have a sustainable fire going, you’re going to eventually need water. In a desert environment, death from dehydration can come in a few days. In most environments, it takes nearly a week. Again, you don’t want to rely on a single source or method here. A good kit should have multiple means of gathering water, and multiple means of purifying it for drinking. My kits are packed in metal cook pots which can be used for boiling water. They also contain a water purification kit that can treat many gallons of water even if you can’t boil it. Finally, they have re-sealable water bags to transport water should you need to bring it with you.

We will come to food procurement, but there’s something else that falls outside the rule of threes. It’s not really a survival ‘need’, and doesn’t fit neatly into the rule, but it is at least as important. This is signaling. If you’ve been a responsible adult when it comes to your outdoor activities, you’ve informed responsible people of exactly where you were headed, and exactly when you should return. This means there will be people looking for you!

Signaling means making your profile in the woods into something bigger, louder, brighter, and the more obnoxious the better! A good survival kit contains whistles, flashlights, strobe markers, bright and/or reflective items, mirrors, etc. If you were smart and told people where you were going, your survival situation will likely last a matter of hours, or maybe an uncomfortable overnight stay before you are found.

Forget about the survival shows on television where they portray wilderness survival as some kind of bug-eating contest. As I’ve pointed out, food is really your last priority. You’d have had to really screw up to be in any real danger of starvation. For most of us, skipping a few meals might not be a bad thing when all is said and done! I make this the last priority when constructing a wilderness kit. I have some fish hooks and line, some snare wire and some slingshot bands that can be used to quickly construct a variety of small game hunting tools (you can make a slingshot, a propelled fishing spear, or use as the ‘spring’ for a trap/snare). Some kits even contain a spearhead that can be quickly and securely mounted on a shaft and used for fishing and/or small to mid sized game.

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In conclusion, I hope I’ve imparted some common sense into this subject. That means informing folks of your intentions. It means having at least a basic fundamental understanding of wilderness survival and how to prioritize and fulfill your needs should you find yourself in trouble. Finally, it means maintaining at least a basic level of preparedness when heading into untamed regions. When buying or building your own kit, make sure it fills your needs and that it’s something you’ll actually carry. As with other essential day to day ‘carry’ items… it’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!

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DIY Survival: Different Uses for Duct Tape

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It’s common to hear someone joke about how useful duct tape is. In fact, it’s so common that there was even a DIY comedy TV show about its many (interesting) uses called The Red Green Show. All joking aside, however, it turns out that duct tape is actually quite a useful tool to have around if you don’t have anything else readily available. We’re going to tackle just a few of its uses here today:

Patches for Holes and Insulation

Whether you’re patching an Emergency Blanket or even a tent, you can utilize duct tape in small patching jobs. It can also be used as a sealant for holes in walls or as insulation in desperate times, particularly in the winter or spring. Tape over a small hole in your wall or even wrap duct tape around your shoes to form a barrier from water and provide extra insulation. For buckets, plates, bowls, or cups, you can use duct tape to patch any cracks or holes. Finally, if you use a flotation device or a boat, you can use it to patch holes and make it water tight.

Ropes or Chords

Let’s face it, sometimes Murphy’s Law happens, and when it does, you could be stuck without a rope for your tent or with a broken net. Not to worry, as you can use twisted duct tape to form a rope or a cord in desperate times. You won’t be able to use it for any major jobs like pulling a truck (not that we’ve tried), but you’ll be able to use it for small to medium-sized jobs when a rope or a cord is needed but not available.

Makeshift Belt or a Strap

We’ve all been there: a belt or strap breaks without warning, and in times of disaster, it may not be as simple as running down to the hardware or clothing store for a replacement. Duct tape can be utilized in lieu of a belt or strap in times of need.

Weapons and Tools

Anyone who’s ever done some yard work knows that handles — like those found on shovels — aren’t always skin-friendly when working for long periods. You can use duct tape to patch a pair of gloves, or even wrap it around a shovel handle to decrease the chance that you’ll get blisters or other scratches or cuts. Which brings us to medical uses…

Medical Uses

Yes, duct tape can be used for medical reasons, too. In addition to making makeshift bandages that will pull hairs but will also stop bleeding, you can also use it for padding or as a splint or cast (or part of one) in a situation when you sprain or break a bone. If there are branches or sticks available, you can also wrap the duct tape around these and make yourself a walking stick to assist you with movement. There are a variety of other uses for medical reasons, but these are just a few to start.

Makeshift Shelter

There’s nothing worse than being caught in the rain, but if you have enough duct tape with you, you’re covered (literally). Using some sticks or twigs as a kind of frame and the duct tape to hold it all together and as insulation, you can build yourself a small makeshift shelter that’s just big enough for you to sleep in until the bad weather passes. Hopefully you’ll never be that far away from your tent or other shelter, but if there is such a time, you’ll be able to survive it.

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For the Kids: Teaching Our Kids about EDC (Everday Carry)

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Everyday Carry (EDC) items aren’t just for gun totin’ survivalists in hunting vests or massive utility belts (though I’m sure my kids would LOVE to wear a massive utility belt!); they are also for Moms and children. It’s also not what we carry in our purses, bags or backpacks, but those things that are actually on our bodies at all times once we leave the house. Yes, I do carry an everyday bag now that contains more items, but this is a focus on those important things that should always be on us.

We’ve all heard the stories about little boys packing as much stuff as they can into their pockets, and then never emptying them out before those pants go into the wash. Frogs, crayons, hot wheels, rocks, slingshots, used airsoft BBs, etc. are common things that I found in my boys’ pockets. But what about those really important things that should be in their pockets all the time – as soon as they leave the house for anything more than checking the mailbox for mail.

While it’s a little harder for girls since they don’t always have pockets, you can train them about carrying a bag (though it’s not as effective as a habit as bags tend to be left often).

We started training our children, early on, that carrying specific emergency things and everyday items was extremely important. Here are a list of the things by age level. We stand at the door as we are getting ready to leave and load from our basket at the front entrance before we step a foot out the door.

Pre-K

  1. Wallet (always has $1 in it) + 2 quarters
  2. Comb
  3. Flashlight – both of our boys loved having flashlights as little guys, so we always let them tuck a tiny one in their pocket, both for play and for use.

Elementary

  1. Wallet (always has at least $5 in emergency cash tucked away, plus whatever amount we think they can safely carry from their stash) + 4 quarters
  2. Comb
  3. Flashlight – we always provided a tiny flashlight on a keychain
  4. Key – assuming that you give your child a house key
  5. Multi-tool – this is something specific to our family, but our older children carry a small multi-tool with them.
  6. Walkie-talkie – for neighborhood play, one of the children carries a walkie-talkie so that the group can get in contact with home. If they are going in different directions with plans, on carries a family cellphone.
  7. Compass – Not only is this education, it’s great fun for my youngest who loves finding the way to everywhere.
  8. Bandana

Middle School & High School

  1. Wallet (always has $20 emergency cash tucked away) plus their own money + change
  2. Comb
  3. Keys – (as they are older, the keychains have other little additions as the children prefer – small clippers, pry bars, etc.)
  4. Compass – this is attached to a jacket or backpack or keychain
  5. Flashlight – the children tend to carry a larger flashlight as they get older, but still compact,
  6. Pocket Knife – please be aware that carrying a pocket knife on most school campuses will result in immediate suspension or explusion. We homeschool, so it isn’t a factor for us.
  7. Multi-tool – if your multi-tool has a blade, you can forgo the knife. Ours carry both as their multi tool does not have a reliable blade. The oldest carries a larger knife than the younger does.
  8. Lighter or other fire starting implement
  9. Cell Phone – If they are going out without us, they get a cell phone to keep with them for emergencies (walkie talkies are kept for just neighborhood wanderings)
  10. Bandana

NOTES FOR GIRLS: We all know fashion can butt heads with preparedness, but consider not purchasing pants for girls that don’t have pockets (in the elementary+ years), adding a side pocket through a side seam to fuller skirts/dresses. At this point, a bag/purse/backpack bag is probably going to be necessary, as well, but know that those items can easily be lost if a bag is left behind or stolen.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY NOTE: in all of our wallets is a print out that gives important contact information in case someone is lost, injured or in need of assistance. It contains basic phone number information & medically necessary information (blood type & allergies). We are also implementing an I.C.E. system on all of our cellphones with this same information.

TRAINING TIP: Early on we taught our children about the importance of carrying their wallets at all times – and focused right on their bottom line. If we went to the toy store, but they did not have their wallets, they were not able to buy a toy. We did not allow them to ‘borrow’ money from us to pay us back when they got home (unless the object was more than what we typically have them carry on a day to day basis, in which we do make arrangements for borrowing). This helped them remember to always grab that wallet when we’re going out – they never knew when they might need it!

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Glow Stick Perimeter Alarm

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Every Ranger needs to know how to defend his territory and keep the camp safe.  To protect the perimeter one can go with the traditional cans on a trip wire but what if you don’t want to make a whole lot of noise and you are keeping guard for the night?  What if you want to get a look at an animal approaching or you are in the middle of an intense game of nighttime capture the flag, paintball or ghost in the grave yard?

Here is the perfect solution:

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Paint your mouse trap a dark color to keep concealed. Drill six holes as shown above.

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Use twine to secure to a tree as well as hold a standard sized glow stick in place

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Set trap with a trip wire attached to the end of release lever.  When intruder walks past your perimeter it will release the trap and impact the glow stick causing it to illuminate within seconds.  Remember to set up your traps so they are always in your line of vision from your defensive position.

Here is a video showing how it works:

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Saving Pets During Disasters

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Keeping your beloved pets safe is a real duty because they are members of your family. Your pets provide comfort and companionship and they shouldn’t be left behind when disaster strikes. Saving pets during disasters is not easy and you should be prepared for the worst.

Many of us have one or two pets that we love and cherish as if they are members of our families with equal rights. They provide unconditional love and we should protect and threat them with respect. A pet is not just a joy of the moment, is a companion you get for life.

Regardless of what disaster may strike the area I live in, I can’t think of living my dog behind and I can honestly say, I will do everything in my powers to keep it safe. A pet is an important emotional support (especially if you have kids) and it can make your life easier when things go south. Learning about how to save your pet during a disaster will provide some peace of mind and it will make sure your family is complete and ready to face whatever the future may bring.

Saving pets during disasters – Rules to follow

Planning your evacuation

Every emergency evacuation needs a plan and every plan needs to include all your family members. Your pets should be taken into account when making your evacuation plan. You should plan the routes and the time when you will evacuate. You should have a bug out location and you should make sure it can accommodate your pets. If you plan to use shelters for humans, you must know that not all shelters will allow pets and honestly, if you go to such shelters, you are already doing something wrong. If you don’t have a bug out location of your own, it’s better to go to friends or relatives that live outside the evacuation area. These are safer possibilities and they will not say no when it comes to your pets.

Know the favorite locations of your pets

During a disaster, most pets will run and hide in their favorite “safe heaven”. Every pet has a favorite hiding place and you should know about it. If disaster strikes your area, you will know where to look for them and you will not lose precious time. Saving pets during disasters will become almost impossible if you don’t keep your pets inside and if you’re not aware where they might hide.

Bug out bag or gear to go

Most preppers owning a dog are preparing a bug out bag for their trusty companions as well. You have to make sure that you have adequate pet gear for all your pets. Proper gear that can be carried without struggling and without slowing you down. Just a few suggestions: A collar and a leash, a portable kennel, bowls and toys, first aid and waste cleaning supplies. The list may go on and it all depends on the type of pets you have. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, your pet should have everything it needs for the road and all the supplies should be marked with your pet’s identification.

Food for the pets

Emergency preparedness requires for you to pack food and water for your family. Since your pets are also members of your family, you shouldn’t forget about them. You should pack a three-day to three-week supply of food and water for your pet and you should learn about their habits and behavioral issues. Writing down a brief explanation of your pet’s routine will help everyone, especially if your pet may receive care from someone who isn’t familiar with their behavior.

Pets healthcare

Every pet you own should have the vaccinations and veterinary records current, especially the most recent proof of rabies vaccinations. If your pet requires medications, you should keep a few days’ worth of in your bug out bag. Making sure your pet has a good health is vital during a disaster. The last thing you need is to deal with an ill pet when your family is going through some hard times and when morale is low.

Rescue teams

A disaster might strike when you’re far away from home and chances are you might not reach your home soon. Placing a pet rescue decal on your front door or window is indicated in this case and it will give your pets a chance for survival. Such decal will alert first responders to the possible presence of a pet in your house. Information about your pet’s behavior, medical needs and veterinarian’s contact information should be left as well for the rescue teams. You should also carry a picture of your pet in case you become separated for them in an emergency. It will help first responders recognize your pet and provide info about it.

ID tags are a must

Your pets should always wear the correct and most up-to-date identification. It can be a microchip or a collar identification tag. Anything that makes the connection between you and your pet will help reunite them with your family. Identification is important when saving pets during disasters.

Saving pets during disasters might seem useless for some and there are those who say it’s not worth it. However, if you’ve ever had a pet, you will agree that pets are just like family members and they worth all the trouble. Pets provide you with unconditional love, they protect you, they make you feel better when things are rough and they shouldn’t be left behind.

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3 Survival Hacks for All Your Christmas Trash

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Since one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, what kind of treasures can we make from the massive stream of holiday trash that our households produce each season? Here’s how you can make a wax and cardboard “stove” in a can, wrapping paper fire starters, and ribbon trail markers to take on your next outdoor adventure.

1. Build a Wax and Cardboard Stove
This simple gizmo is made from any cast-off flat can (like a tuna can or a round Altoids tin). You’ll also need some thin strips of cardboard cut as wide as the can is tall (any length will work). And finally, you’ll require some candle wax, new or old. This wax component is a great way to use up candle drippings or old holiday candle nubs.

To make the stove, coil up your cardboard strips inside the can until it’s full of cardboard. Melt your wax over a medium heat, preferably in a disposable container like another tin can. Pour the melted wax into the cardboard stove until the cardboard is almost covered. Now let the cardboard stove cool until the wax is hardened (unless you need it right away). Your cardboard stove will need a steady open flame to light, and it will take about one minute to get part of the can lit. However, once it’s finally lit, the can produces a lot of heat and is hard to put out.

2. Make Wrapping Paper Fire Starters
Paper products and wax can again come to our aid, this time as a fire starter rather than a fire source. Select your least slick wrapping paper for this project. The more absorptive the paper, the better it will work. Cut it into strips and roll the paper into small tight rolls. Tie the rolls shut with bits of cotton string or twine. Then soak the rolls in melted wax for a few minutes. Remove the rolls from the wax and allow them to harden. Once solid, these little rolls can be lit with an open flame and used as a bad weather fire starter. Just prepare your kindling and tinder as a cone with the fire starter at the base, and light when ready.

3. Create Ribbon Trail Markers
If you have colorful ribbon strips destined for the garbage can, roll it up and tuck it into your survival kit instead. These ribbons can be a cut into sections for trail blazes or signal flags in the wilderness. Add a small permanent marker to this “signaling kit” and you can even leave notes or write messages on the ribbon.

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Could Leaving The U.S Be The Ultimate Prep — And Do You Have What It Takes?

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I have to admit, this is a difficult topic to bring up because, to many people, it veers way too close to betraying the country of our birth. However, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. If I truly believe that utter chaos is coming to America in the form of an economic collapse, EMP, or some other horrific event, then why stay here? Why not find a small, obscure country and hole up for a while, thus protecting my family and myself?

I began researching this subject a few years ago when a reader contacted me and told me about her move to Chile. She and her husband had decided to make the move after much research. They were loving the clean air, pure food, friendly people, and a change in their lifestyle.

I was intrigued. Hmmm…could leaving the U.S. entirely trump food storage, a bug out location, and all the other traditional preps? I began to research residency requirements of various countries.

My first discovery was a shocker. Very few countries want me! They don’t want me, my husband, my family, my parents. Rules for residency can be quite strict, sometimes even requiring the deposit of a large sum of money into one of the nation’s banks. Some countries are quite frank about preventing people like me from coming into their country. To do so, I need to provide:

  1. Proof of health insurance
  2. Proof of regular income
  3. Background check
  4. Health report from a doctor for each family member
  5. Financial information
  6. Birth and marriage certificates
  7. Possibly proof you can speak the language of this country

Additionally, there are strict rules regarding time in country and visa requirements.

This is a stark and startling contrast to the mass human migration we’ve seen in the past couple of years. If citizens of Central America, Mexico, and nearly every other country can walk past our southern border without any of the above, including personal identification, then why do other countries make it so difficult, and, more importantly, where can a law-abiding, hard working American citizen go when they decide to relocate?

(To be fair, the U.S. does have a lengthy process for legal immigration, and it’s quite a difficult path, thus the popularity of illegal immigration.)

Plenty of questions, no easy answers

At one time I thought my family could just pick a country and move there. The entire world was our oyster! Where should we go? Australia? New Zealand? England? Somewhere in Europe? Obviously, we would want to go where English was spoken and where we could quickly blend in.

Well, it didn’t take long to find out that if I’m over 35, Australia doesn’t want me. Other countries may let us visit for a time, but do not allow long-term or permanent residency. The countries that are left are an odd mix:

  1. Chile
  2. Panama
  3. Costa Rica
  4. Hungary
  5. Ireland (ancestry)
  6. Israel (If you’re Jewish or have Jewish heritage.)
  7. Belgium

There are a few more, but the pickin’s are slim when it comes to finding a country that has less restrictive residency requirements.

It boils down to having money, ancestry, time, and/or flexibility. $100,000 will buy a passport and citizenship in Dominica. Ancestors from Hungary, going back 4 generations, can smooth the way for residency in Hungary and Hungarian citizenship. Convert to Judaism and you may become an Israeli citizen, complete with mandatory military service.

If you’re about to have a baby, or are planning one, Brazil is one of only a handful of countries that provides citizenship to every baby born within its borders. Permanent residency can be obtained in Chile, after living there continuously for five years.

As you can see, there is no simple path to residency or, if you choose, citizenship. And then there’s the nightmare of dealing with bureaucrats, long distance phone calls, websites and applications in a foreign language, and, in many cases, visits to a consulate or embassy that could be hundreds of miles away.

Gaining residency in another country is possible. Just not as easy as one would think.

More complications and considerations

If you are able to find a country that will allow temporary residence, and possible permanent residency, then there are tax considerations. The United States is one of only two countries that taxes its citizens no matter where they live and regardless of how long the have been out of the country. I’ve read horror stories of people whose families left the United States when they were very young children, grew up elsewhere, and the were taxed by the U.S. on the income they had earned in that country. Yep, the U.S. and Eritrea share this same tax policy. The only 2 countries in the world.

Something to consider, when researching an expat destination and residency, is what the taxation policy is of your country of choice. Some countries, such as Hungary, has a double taxation policy, which allows them to collect taxes from non-resident citizens — but then there are loopholes and exceptions!

The U.S. is dead serious about collecting taxes from expats. Not sure if it’s out of greed, entertainment for the I.R.S., or stems from a desire to punish anyone leaving the country, but stories like this one are far more common than you might think:

I just found out that despite my income earned and taxed abroad being a) below the foreign income exclusion limit, and b) covered by a bilateral tax treaty between the country where I have lived for the past 49 years, the IRS wants to tax it fully, leaving me with an effective tax rate of 61% from now on.

One of the reasons is that many of the required subforms, e.g. W-2, do not exist in this country (Finland). I sent them my Finnish tax decision along with a translation. They accepted the amount of my earnings, but gave me no credit for the local national tax paid. They have given me three weeks to refile, but the information that they want, such as Social Security and Obamacare payments, doesn’t exist here or is irrelevant to my situation. I am a pensioner whose sole source of income is a Finnish state pension, and I am fully covered by the Finnish health care system. Having worked only in Finland, I never paid into and am ineligible for Social Security and cannot, of course, sign up for Obamacare. They are threatening with draconian fines and seizure of assets so as to leave me destitute for the rest of my life.

So, you may find the ideal country that welcomes you with open arms. You can learn the language and start a new life, but no matter how far you go, the I.R.S. will track you down and demand their pound of flesh.

Oh, and there’s a sweet little federal law, FATCA (Federal Account Tax Compliance Act) that requires foreign banks to reveal the identity of Americans with accounts over $50,000. They have to hand over names, addresses, account balance, account numbers and Social Security or other U.S. identification numbers. Banks who do not comply are punished, by the United States, with a withholding tax of 30% on payments from U.S. banks. Naturally, this has caused many foreign banks to refuse Americans wishing to open accounts, and who can blame them?

The Treasury Department has been unable to cite any constitutional, statutory, or regulatory authority which allows it to compel foreign institutions to collect and share the financial information of U.S. citizens.

Americans living abroad must file an annual report, the FBAR (Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report), by June 30, of each year, if they have a foreign account holding more than $10,000. Failure to file that report, and ignorance of the law is no excuse, can result in fines up to $500,000 and up to 10 years in prison!! Spreading that money between multiple banks may help you disguise the sum total for a while, but not forever. And, $10,000 is a pathetically small amount of money, considering the fact that the I.R.S. collected over $1 trillion in the most recent fiscal quarter — October, 2014 through January, 2015.

It looks like FATCA, FBAR, and these draconian policies are here to stay, forever, so it’s just one more consideration if you’re planning on leaving the U.S.

By the way, a little civics lesson here. FATCA was included in a quietly passed jobs bill. If a Senator or Representative would have voted against this bill, they would have been excoriated by the opposing party for voting against a “jobs bill”. The next time a politician you favor is accused for voting against a bill that seems altruistic, dig a little deeper to find out what else, exactly, was in that bill.

Loopholes & confusion

Countries that have lenient ancestry requirements still don’t make it easy for applicants. Take Ireland, for example. You may be granted permanent residency and citizenship:

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A couple of years ago I was on New Zealand’s website, looking for information about residency and came away with a massive headache. A few forms on the Switzerland website were in German only.

To complicate matters (is that even possible?), these laws can change quickly and without notice. A country friendly to American expats could become hostile with just the election of a new president.

Lessons learned?

  1. Research, research, research!
  2. Simplify your lifestyle now and prepare to live on less money and with fewer belongings.
  3. Have your vital documents at the ready.
  4. Read the fine print.
  5. Take your time.
  6. Be patient.

Oh, be wary of professional expat advisers. I’ve come across a few that paint an alluring picture of the country and people but after more research, I discovered they were more interested in selling their services than in providing accurate info.

Why leave?

I answer that question and provide several historical examples of relocating — in fact, it’s highly likely your own ancestors relocated and that’s how you ended up an American citizen!

Are you ready to relocate?

After researching, studying, praying, and discussing a relocation, you’ve decided to take the plunge. But! Have you considered whether or not you are a good candidate for this major step?

One of the most critical factors in transitioning to a new location, whether foreign or domestic, is your ability to adapt to new situations. Is your basic temperament and personality one that is flexible? Do you enjoy new experiences and meeting  new people? When faced with an abrupt change in your life, do you adapt easily or do you resist the change? I know one woman who, after several years following a divorce, insists that she’s still married in spite of the fact that her husband is remarried to someone else!

A move to another country is going to plunge you and your family into a world in which most everything is different and new:

  • Language
  • Customs
  • Food
  • Holidays
  • Housing
  • Attitudes
  • Entertainment
  • Technology accessibility
  • Laws
  • Climate

Some personality types adjust to these changes more easily. Others will require more time.

Along with adaptability are expectations. How realistic are your expectations for this move? Are you expecting a smooth and seamless transition? Thorough research, talking with other expats, and then actually visiting and spending time in the country or area of your choice will help keep your expectations well grounded.

Then there are the practical issues of age, health, time, and money. There’s no perfect age for moving out of the country. Younger people are likely in better health but with fewer career skills and less saved money. Young couples have each other to depend on but having younger children will make this quite difficult.

Imagine, or remember, taking all the kids to Target or the grocery store. That’s no easy task! Now, imagine taking them to a foreign country where English isn’t spoken and trying to find a place to live, decipher even the most basic written information, stand in line in various bureaucratic offices to get one license or document or another, and adapt to a completely different lifestyle. No matter how young and fit you are, this just might push you over the edge into insanity!

The process will be easier if your kids are older but then, at the high school age, they often don’t want to leave their friends, sports, and other activities. How easy will it be for them to develop new friendships in this new location and how will they go to college, in particular, if they aren’t fluent in the language?

Growing up in this new country, the kids will probably meet their future spouse, who may very well be a local. Now, with grandkids in a country that is not the U.S., will you ever want to leave them? Those with grown kids and grandkids now, face the challenge of moving away and, possibly, never again being a part of their lives. As we age, health issues ultimately become a fact of life.

The health of each family member may impact whether or not a country allows residency. For example, Australia has been known to prevent families with autistic kids from coming into their country, even when the parents have viable, well-paying jobs waiting for them. And, if there are health issues of any kind, will you be able to find the doctors and care necessary in this new location and how will you pay for those services? Some countries, upon granting residency, require a fee for their national health insurance. Fair enough.

Now, the issue of money. Bottom line: the more you have, the easier it will be to find a country willing to grant residency quickly and the easier it will be to settle into a comfortable lifestyle. No surprises there.

But expenses add up even for the non-millionaires among us. It’s highly recommended that you visit the country, or area of the U.S., first before taking the plunge. That’s going to require travel expenses and time off from work. One family I know had their hearts settled on Belize. They did the research, had contacts in the country, visited once, and on the second visit, realized the country was not for them at all, but by then, they had sunk a few thousand dollars into the venture.

The moving process can be quite expensive. What do you take with you? If it’s just the clothes on your back and whatever a suitcase or two can hold, that’s no problem. Most of us, though, will want to take other possessions. Yes, you can sell it all, but how expensive will it be to replace those items once you relocate and will the quality be what you want? A shipping container costs money and may take several weeks to arrive at the dock of your new country. In the meantime, you may have to live in a hotel or a furnished apartment.

In addition to the expenses of checking out different locations and the moving process is the financial requirements of just about every country I know of. Examples:

  • Costa Rica requires a deposit of $60,000 in a Costa Rican bank for those in the “rentista” category. You are paid $2500 per month out of that balance for 24 months and this becomes your monthly income, at least in part.
  • Antigua has an “economic citizenship” program that requires a government donation of $250,000, plus another $50,000 per family member.
  • Belgium requires that you have a salary of at least € 50,000 per year.
  • Hungary has a residency bond program. Deposit a little over $300,000 in one of their banks and you’ll have to pay another $60,000 as a processing and administration fee.

All countries will have fees for visas and whatever other bureaucratic fees they choose to apply. If the paperwork is not in English, that’s a hurdle to overcome and many countries require a face-to-face interview. In their language.

So what if you have little to no money? Is becoming an ex-pat out of the question? Not at all. In fact, if you’re adventurous, you may even prefer the much simpler lifestyle it brings. Rather than being barricaded in a luxurious neighborhood behind guarded gates, you can live among the locals, shop where they shop, hang out where they hang out, and learn the language and customs very quickly. This is pretty much how I lived when I traveled for months at a time and ended up living in both Germany and Israel.

In this video, I explain a few more considerations before you jump into the decision to leave the U.S.

Emotional ties

I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up the issue of deep, emotional ties to your home country and the loved ones you’ll leave behind. It’s interesting to see who can do this easily, without looking back, and who can’t. It’s not a matter of being callous and without emotional attachments, as these people wholeheartedly love the family members they leave behind. In some cases, they plan to help move them to their new location as soon as possible.

Deeply felt ties to America aren’t quite as easily cut as many think. “America” isn’t just a land mass but a way of thinking and how you view the rest of the world. And, it works the other way, too. Locals in other countries will have a different worldview and cultural norms. One article asks, ” Does everyone in Chile lie?” You’ll miss living in a country where everyone pretty much has the same social norms.

You’re going to miss favorite foods and restaurants and ease of living. You’ll miss your favorite brands of clothing, your church, holidays spent with friends and family, and Amazon Prime! Depending on where you move, you will probably have to leave pets behind.

On their own, these may not seem like much, but together, combined with the foreign-ness of a different country may make assimilation far more difficult than you’d ever imagined, which circles back to my original question: How adaptable are you?

Is it even worth the bother?

Based on the huge number of hurdles and hassles, is it even worth considering leaving the U.S.? Well, that depends on your reasons for leaving. One family who chose to relocate to Chile did so because they believe a nuclear war is coming, it will mostly affect the northern hemisphere and they don’t care to suffer the long-term consequences. (Both have backgrounds as scientists in the nuclear energy field.) Based on their last email, they are still very happy with their choice.

If you’re convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that war is coming to the U.S., or an EMP, then why would you stay here and subject your family to the aftermath? Some believe that God’s judgment is coming on America — why not escape that, if possible?

My point is that the hassles and hard work of leaving will be worth the effort, or not, depending on your motivation. Once you make the move, remember that it’s not necessarily forever — if that thought helps get you through the rough patches.

A reader on Facebook wrote, “We tried it out in Panama for 2 years. I did not like it at all. I wanted to kiss the ground when we arrived back in the US a year ago. We made a ton of expat friends (and some local friends). But it wasn’t for me. You have to adjust to a very different way of life. I was unable to adjust. For those who are interested in learning more about Panama, there is a group, ExPats in Panama, that my friend admins. There are tons of people who’d love to talk to you about it.

We saved a ton of money by living there. We work remotely for a company (get a paycheck, even though the company was our own company), and so we were able to claim the foreign earned income tax credit for 2 years. It is fairly easy to become a resident of Panama, but I don’t know why you’d want to become a citizen.  If you lived like the locals live, you could easily live on $1,000/mo. If you want to live the same lifestyle in the US, then it would be more toward $3,000/mo as reasonable.”

Could you ever leave the U.S. for good? What is your motivation to leave, or stay?

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Why WWIII Is On The Horizon: “The Prospect Of Armegeddon Will Continue To Rise”

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 gave birth to a dangerous American ideology called neoconservativism. The Soviet Union had served as a constraint on US unilateral action. With the removal of this constraint on Washington, neoconservatives declared their agenda of US world hegemony. America was now the “sole superpower,” the “unipower,” that could act without restraint anywhere in the world.

The Washington Post neoconservative journalist Charles Krauthammer summed up the “new reality” as follows:

“We have overwheming global power. We are history’s designated custodians of the international system. When the Soviet Union fell, something new was born, something utterly new–a unipolar world dominated by a single superpower unchecked by any rival and with decisive reach in every corner of the globe. This is a staggering new development in history, not seen since the fall of Rome. Even Rome was no model for what America is today.”

The staggering unipolar power that history has given to Washington has to be protected at all costs. In 1992 top Pentagon official Undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz penned the Wolfowitz Doctrine, which became the basis for Washington’s foreign policy.

The Wolfowitz Doctrine states that the “first objective” of American foreign and military policy is “to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat [to US unilateral action] on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.” (A “hostile power” is a country sufficiently strong to have a foreign policy independent from Washington’s.)

The unilateral assertion of American power begin in ernest during the Clinton regime with the interventions in Yugoslavia, Serbia, Kosovo, and the no-fly zone imposed on Iraq. In 1997 the neoconservatives penned their “Project for a New American Century.” In 1998, three years prior to 9/11, the neoconservatives sent a letter to President Clinton calling for regime change in Iraq and “the removal of Saddam Hussein from power.” Neoconservatives set out their program for removing seven governments in five years.

The events of September 11, 2001, are regarded by informed people as “the new Pearl harbor” that the neoconservatives said was necessary in order to begin their wars of conquest in the Middle East. Paul O’Neil, President George W. Bush’s first Treasury Secretary, has stated pubicly that the agenda of President Bush’s first meeting with his cabinet was the invasion of Iraq. This invasion was planned prior to 9/11. Since 9/11 Washington has destroyed in whole or part eight countries and now confronts Russia both in Syria and Ukraine.

Russia cannot allow a jihadist Caliphate to be established in an area comprising Syria/Iraq, because it would be a base for exporting destabilization into Muslim parts of the Russian Federation. Henry Kissinger himself has stated this fact, and it is clear enough to any person with a brain. However, the power-crazed fanatical neoconservatives, who have controlled the Clinton, Bush, and Obama regimes, are so absorbed in their own hubris and arrogance that they are prepared to push Russia to the point of having their Turkish puppet shoot down a Russian airplane and to overthrow the democratically-elected government in Ukraine that was on good terms with Russia, substituting in its place an American puppet government.

With this background, we can understand that the dangerous situation facing the world is the product of the neoconservative’s arrogant policy of US world hegemony. The failures of judgment and the dangers in the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts are themselves the consequences of the neoconservative ideology.

To perpetuate American hegemony, the neoconservatives threw away the guarantees that Washington gave Gorbachev that NATO would not move one inch to the East. The neoconservatives pulled the US out of the ABM Treaty, which specified that neither the US nor Russia would develop and deploy anti-ballistic missiles. The neoconservatives re-wrote US war doctrine and elevated nuclear weapons from their role as a retaliatory force to a pre-emptive first strike force. The neoconservatives began putting ABM bases on Russia’s borders, claiming that the bases were for the purpose of protecting Europe from non-existent Iranian nuclear ICBMs.

Russia and Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, have been demonized by neoconservatives and their puppets in the US government and media. For example, Hillary Clinton, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, declared Putin to be “the new Hitler.” A former CIA official called for Putin’s assassination. Presidential candidates in both parties are competing in terms of who can be the most aggressive toward Russia and the most insulting toward Russia’s president.

The effect has been to destroy the trust between nuclear powers. The Russian government has learned that Washington does not respect Washington’s own laws, much less international law, and that Washington cannot be trusted to keep any agreement. This lack of trust, together with the aggression toward Russia spewing from Washington and the presstitute media and echoing in the idiotic European capitals, has established the ground for nuclear war. As NATO (essentially the US) has no prospect of defeating Russia in conventional war, much less defeating an alliance of Russia and China, war will be nuclear.

To avoid war, Putin is non-provocative and low-key in his responses to Western provocations. Putin’s responsible behavior, however, is misinterpreted by neoconervatives as a sign of weakness and fear. The neoconservatives tell President Obama to keep the pressure on Russia, and Russia will give in. However, Putin has made it clear that Russia will not give in. Putin has sent this message on many occasions. For example, on September 28, 2015, at the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, Putin said that Russia can no longer tolerate the state of affairs in the world. Two days later Putin took command of the war against ISIS in Syria.

The European governments, especially Germany and the UK, are complicit in the move toward nuclear war. These two American vassal states enable Washington’s reckless aggression toward Russia by repeating Washington’s propaganda and supporting Washington’s sanctions and interventions against other countries. As long as Europe remains nothing but an extension of Washington, the prospect of Armegeddon will continue to rise.

At this point in time, nuclear war can only be avoided in two ways. One way is for Russia and China to surrender and accept Washington’s hegemony. The other way is for an independent leader in Germany, the UK, or France to rise to office and withdraw from NATO. That would begin a stampede to leave NATO, which is Washington’s prime tool for causing conflict with Russia and, thereby, is the most dangerous force on earth to every European country and to the entire world. If NATO continues to exist, NATO together with the neoconservative ideology of American hegemony will make nuclear war inevitable.

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How To Navigate In The Wilderness

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Whether you’re on a casual hiking trip or suddenly stranded in the middle of woods far away from civilization, you need to know where you’re going or risk losing valuable time, effort and supplies going around in circles. Dense woodland, lush vegetation, fast moving streams and wet ground can present challenges that could prove fatal for the unprepared and you will have to move in and out of them quickly.

You might also need to avoid trails that are too risky and dangerous as you circumvent them by going around easier terrain as it takes more time, yet you also need navigation tools to determine how long a stream runs or how far a hill can slope downward or upward.

The most simple and powerful tool for navigation in the wilderness is the compass. As these are relatively small and inexpensive, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have one in your gear. Remember that the red part of the needle always faces north and if you want to travel in a different direction, simply rotate it into your path.

While you may or may not have a map, you can take a guess at where your desired destination is: south, west or east and follow it rather than if you were moving about with no sense of where you could be headed. Do not put the compass close to metallic and magnetic objects as these may disorient it and align its pointer in the wrong way, effectively compromising your ability to accurately direct your path.

If you have no compass, or if you left it behind during an emergency situation, you will have to make do with the materials at hand. Remember the old saying that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and look towards it at sunrise and sunset to reassess your travel path. In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is due south when it is at its highest point in the sky.

If it casts no shadows on objects below, it is at its highest point. To ascertain your position in sunlight, you can use the shadow tip method. Find a straight stick or branch at least 3 feet long. Set it standing on the ground and clear any growth to get a better reading and mark the tip of its shadow with a stone or twig. This mark always represents west anywhere in the world.

Wait about 15 minutes for the shadow to move, and mark its tip as well. Draw a line between the two points, and you have the east-west line. Stand with the first mark on your left and the east mark on your right, then you will be certain that you are facing north. While this method is not 100% accurate, you can use it at any point in the world. You can also use the moon if you need to figure out where you are as if it rises before the sun has completely set, the illuminated side will be the west.

If the night sky is bright and illuminated with stars, a little textbook knowledge will help you move around at night. It is simply a matter of locating Polaris, also called the North Star. Be sure you have seen pictures of the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia as these constellations never set and can be seen easily in a clear night. These two constellations are located opposite each other and rotate counterclockwise around the North Star.

Look for the two stars forming the outer lip of the Big Dipper and imagine an imaginary line between them. Extend the distance by 5 times its length and it will determine the position of the North Star. Cassiopeia’s 5 stars form a “w” shape in which the center star is pointed by the middle, which is also the North Star. Uses these two constellations together to reduce the margin for error and determine true north.

Staying lost will inevitably deplete your resources and expose you to dangerous situations like predator attacks and fickle weather patterns. Without any idea of where true north is, you would never find your way out. If you know how to look to the sky for guidance, you can truly see hope in the stars.

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TEOTWAWKI Survival: You’re Guide to Making It through Dangerous Survival Situations

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TEOTWAWKI: it’s an acronym for “The End of the World as We Know It,” and it is a phrase most commonly used in survivalist circles. TEOTWAWKI survival means two things: preparing for bad situations so you are in a better position when something terrible occurs, and knowing what to do when a survival situation arises in order to increase the likelihood of survival.

There are many ways the end of the world as we know it can occur, whether it is nuclear war, electromagnetic pulse (EMP), weather disasters, natural disasters, financial collapse, a downed electrical grid, or even a pandemic of some kind. In such events, you’ll need to be ready to act accordingly to ensure your survival. Part of being prepared is being able to answer some very simple, direct questions: What will you need? Where will you stay or go? Who will be with you? How will you travel?

Plan A for TEOTWAWKI survival

You will want to establish two solid plans of action if you want to survive TEOTWAWKI. Consider the different situations that can occur and make a clear plan of action to increase the chances of your survival. You need to begin to think about what you are going to do in a given situation and the steps you will take in order to implement plan A.

Some of the basic preparatory steps you take will, of course, be the same in any situation. For example, you’ll want to stock up on food, water, and other supplies. Nevertheless, you make have to take different survival steps if there is a pandemic verses if a nuclear war.

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You want to have a plan where you have somewhere to go, and all of your family members need to be on the plan. You’ll want to establish a location that is outside of the city area as it can prove dangerous where the population is the highest. Consider the fact that in a situation that aligns with TEOTWAWKI, chances are the thin veneer that law and civilized behavior that keeps a civilization intact will be wiped away.

What will be left in its wake are frightened, unprepared people by the thousands. There’s liable to be fighting, crimes, looting, and an increase in violent situations. Thus, finding a place that is away from the city area can improve the likelihood of your safety as well as the safety of your family members.

Choosing a safe location

The city is definitely out when you are devising plan A and choosing a safe place to take your family. Cities will be areas where the resources will be limited, including power, water, and food, and therefore it will be impossible to sustain everyone. The place you choose to bring your family should be remote, perhaps even hidden from the main roads, and not easy to find. Once you choose a location, you’ll have to plot out how you will get your family there quickly and without being detected.

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You may want to establish a survival team for when things go badly. The team can include your family and close friends. Each person in the team can have a role to play, not only in preparation, but also in implementing the steps necessary to get everyone to safety when the time calls for it. If you choose people to be on your survival team, you should have regular meetings to discuss the following:

  • Where everyone will stay
  • Food stock pile
  • Medicines
  • Weaponry and weapon usage
  • Training in survival skills
  • Strategies for survival

For more information on choosing a safe place for you and your family, view the following video here:

It will teach you about the safe routes to take, the places you will need to avoid, and why such places should be avoided if and when TEOTWAWKI survival situation occurs.

Stockpiling your needs

There are several things should stockpile when you are preparing for TEOTWAWKI survival. The first thing you’ll probably think of is food products. There are many food products you can stock up on and store for years. You can put them in storage in your safe place. You’ll also want to have some food stored in a bug out bag that you can take with you as your travel to your safe place. Here is a list of some of the foods you will want to keep in storage.

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Beans
    nuts
  • Bouillon
  • Canned foods
  • Canned meats
  • Cereals
  • Cheeses covered in wax
  • Chocolate
  • Condiments
  • Dehydrated foods like eggs, whey, and milk.
  • Dehydrated meats
  • Flour
  • Grains
  • Herbs
  • Honey
  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Liquid stored in cans
  • Oils
  • Pasta
  • Peanut butter
  • Protein bars
  • Protein drinks
  • Rice
  • Salt
  • Spices
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Water

Additional foods you may want to consider adding to your TEOTWAWKI survival stockpile include things that have a long shelf life. You can get dehydrated meals and foods from specialty retailers. You can also add sunflower seeds, other seeds, figs, dates, and a variety of natural foods to your stockpile.

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For a really good idea about some of the foods that are most ideal for survival situations, check out the inventory that specialty shops have available. You can get freeze-dried meats, veggies, fruits, and eggs, and you can buy them in bulk in airtight packaging. Make use of a food storage calculator online to determine your food storage needs.

Stocking up on medical supplies

Just as food supplies will be important, TEOWAWKI survival will call for a stockpiling of medical supplies. Remember, the hospitals will be located in cities and they are liable to be overloaded with people seeking medical attention during an emergency situation. Having the basic medical necessities stored in a safe place will ensure the greater likelihood of one being able to deal with simple medical situations. It can also end up saving a life. Here is a list of some of the most common things people stockpile for TEOTWAWKI survival situations.

  • Antibacterial soap
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Bandages
  • Band-Aids
  • Blankets
  • Cold medicine
  • Cold packs
  • Gauze
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Herbal remedies like eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, thyme oil, cayenne, honey, garlic oil for their natural antiviral, antibacterial properties.
  • Hot packs
  • Lighter (for needle sterilization)
  • Magnifying glass
  • Medical tape
  • Medications
  • N-95 masks
  • Needle holder
  • Needles
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Oral Airway (OPAS)
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Pain relief
  • Peroxide
  • Q-Tips/Cotton Balls
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Safety pins
  • Scalpels
  • Scissors
  • Sheets
  • Spider wire for emergency stitches
  • Splints
  • Super glue for the treatment of superficial wounds
  • Surgical masks
  • Sutures
  • Tongue depressor (Popsicle sticks)
  • Tweezers
  • Wound dressing

Additional items to store

In a survival situation, the best thing you can have stocked up and ready for use is water. The more water the better. Remember, you’ll need water for drinking, washing, and cooking. In fact, water should be your foremost concern as you can die without access to some drinkable water. To that end, consider having some water purification tablets and filters on hand so you can filter out impurities in the water sources you do find.

You may want to stash a few things a way to serve as entertainment, especially if you are in a situation that will last several weeks or more. Books, magazines, games, and other things to entertain you will help pass the time as you wait for negative conditions to settle down. You might also want to bring a radio and some electronics that you can power with chargers and order batteries.

Bear in mind that when a TEOTWAWKI situation arises, cash will be rendered useless. In order to survive, you’ll want a few extra things on hand that you can barter with if necessary. Consider what is most important during a survival situation and that is what you will have to barter with that is the most valuable, including food, water, and weaponry. In regard to weapons, you’ll need to decide what you want to have on hand. If you have a gun or rifle, you’ll need to stock up on ammunition. You’ll want at least a few knives as well.

Plan B and TEOWAWKI

If you are going to survive TEOTWAWKI, you’ll need to have a plan B. Survival, to a great degree, is based on one’s willingness and ability to adapt to abrupt and uncertain change. To that end, you’ll want to have a bug out bag at the ready that you can grab and run with. You can use the bag to sustain you until you get to your safe place.

At minimum, if you never make it to your safe place, you’ll at least have some food, water, and materials to sustain you. Either you can create your own bug out bag or you can buy one ready-made with many of the supplies you’ll need already in the bag you buy.

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Of course, no plan is going to work if you don’t give it a trial run. It’s imperative that you and your family/friends rehearse what it is you will do when an emergency situation arises. There are several ways you can put your readiness skills to the test.

First, give your family about 15 minutes to pack up everything they will need in a survival situation and stage a mock evacuation where you have to get your family away from the location. After you get to where you planned to go, assess how well everyone did, what may or may not have been forgotten, and make a list of the things you’ll have to change. Attempt to incorporate such changes when you make your next survival plan rehearsal.

Additional preparatory measures

In addition to acting out an evacuation, you can also take a weekend to see how you can handle what it would be like to be in a TEOTWAWKI survival situation. For example, try eating nothing but the survival food you have for the weekend. Alternatively, have the family spend an entire weekend without the electricity to use. You’ll be better prepared for the moment when TEOTWAWKI survival techniques become necessary. You may also gain a greater appreciation for the privileges you presently do have.

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Survival is also about education and training. You’ll want to read everything you can about survival, hunting, wilderness survival, survival medicine, and on subjects that teach you innovative, conservative means of living. Meanwhile, you’ll want to assess your physical fitness and train yourself to be as fit as possible.

Learn how to grow your own food and can it. It will also help you greatly in survival situations if you know how to preserve foods. If you don’t know how to hunt, it may be time you learn. Being able to hunt will give you a chance to hunt for additional all natural food sources. Hunting is just another survival skill.

If you don’t know how to hunt and you don’t want to learn, at minimum, you should learn how to fire a firearm for your own protection. Remember, civilization will not be what it used to be and you will be responsible for your own safety and the safety of those you love.

Affording all your preparations

It may seem as if getting ready for TEOTWAWKI is an expensive endeavor, and indeed it can be. However, there are ways you can save money as you prepare for a survival situation. Here are a few things you can do to save a few dollars now while you are preparing for a survival issue in the future:

Start now – start early: If you start stockpiling just a few things a week and you start right now, you’d be amazed at how quickly you can accumulate everything you need to remain comfortable in a survival situation.

Shop sales: Look for food sales and make sure you keep an eye on your food stock. You will have to regularly rotate your inventory. Eat up foods that are nearing the expiration date and replace them with new inventory.

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Grow goods and can them:  Initially, there is a small investment in growing your own food and canning goods, but you’ll find the expense is reasonable when compared to how much food product you can stockpile. You can grow a garden and can goods like cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, and other vegetables for long-term storage. If you grow fruits or you have some nearby berry bushes, for a few dollars, you can make your own homemade jams and jellies.

Coupons & other savings methods: Become an extreme couponer, and if you don’t know how, then learn. You can save a lot of money on your stockpile by using coupons.

More methods for saving money

As you prep for a survival situation, you make want to consider becoming the member of a warehouse club. Doing so will allow you to buy foods and water products in bulk while saving a considerable amount of money. You can shop at places like Costco or Sam’s Club and fine a variety of items, and not just food related either.

If you shop at discount grocery stores, you can get canned vegetables and foods for cheap too. You can buy veggies by the case and stock up the food pile quickly. Discount grocers sometimes also sell other things you’ll need to store including hand soaps, shampoo, conditioner, toilet paper, cleaners, and personal hygiene items.

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Online sales: Shopping online for the items you need for a survival situation lets you find items and compare prices with greater ease. Shop with websites that offer reduced shipping and/or free shipping solutions.

Go organic: While organic foods are a bit more costly, in the long run you are contributing to your overall health, which is important in any survival situation. Shop at food markets where you can buy fresh foods to can that are free of GMOs, dyes, gluten, herbicides, pesticides, additives or preservatives.

Just a few dollars a week:  Using just a bit of money each week can afford you the things you’ll need for TEOTWAWKI survival. Return bottles or save pocket change and use the funds to get the items you need for the moment that emergency situation does arise.

In conclusion

TEOTWAWKI survival will take some considerable planning on your part. Nevertheless, getting ready for an event where the entire world as we know it will be forever changed will ensure your safety and the safety of those you love. With a few strategic measures and a bit of planning and forethought, you can remain as comfortable as possible in an emergency situation.

You and your family will have a safe place already established with everything you need to survive at the ready. With your day-to-day and medical needs meet, you can ensure the long-term survival of yourself and those you love.

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Five energy surprises for 2016: The possible and the improbable

Many energy analysts like to make predictions at the end of the year for the coming year. Instead, I’ll point to five possible surprises in energy–surprises because few people expect them to happen. I am not predicting that any of the following will happen, only that there is an outside chance that one or more will occur. Naturally, these surprises would move markets and policy debates in unexpected directions.

1. Crude oil ends 2016 below $30 per barrel. With oil hovering in the mid-$30 range it doesn’t seem implausible that at some point in the not-to-distant future, crude oil will dip below $30 per barrel, if only briefly. What would surprise most people is if the crude oil price finished next year below $30 per barrel. The conventional wisdom is that cheap oil is giving a boost to the economy that will lift worldwide economic growth and thus demand for oil. There is also a belief that high-cost producers will simply have to stop drilling new money-losing wells after more than a year of financial Armageddon in the oil markets. This will bring down supply just as economic growth is rising, sending prices much higher as the year progresses.

The alternate view is that oil in the mid-$30 range is a reflection of an economy that has been weakening since the middle of 2014 and foreshadows a worldwide recession which should hit in full force by the end of 2016. In addition, with Iran almost certain to add to the current oversupply as sanctions are lifted and with the continued determination of OPEC to destroy the viability of tight oil deposits in the United States, the oil price could surprise on the downside, even testing $20 per barrel.

2. U.S. natural gas production declines. Despite persistent low U.S. natural gas prices, U.S. production has continued to grow. Most of the growth has been coming from two places: the Marcellus Shale where ample deposits continued to be economical in the range of $3 to $4 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) and Texas where furious fracking for oil locked in deep shale deposits also produced associated natural gas without concern for the price of that gas.

With oil drilling across the United States in precipitous decline because of low oil prices, we won’t see nearly as much new natural gas associated with oil drilling as we saw in 2014 and 2015. With natural gas now hovering around $2, even the very sweetest of the sweet spots in the Marcellus are unlikely to be profitable to exploit.

Having said all this, U.S. natural gas production growth has continually defied predictions that it would dip in the face of low prices. Part of this had to do with desperate drillers carrying heavy debt loads who had to produce gas at any price in order to pay interest on that debt.

3. Several approved U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects are postponed or abandoned. One of the memes of the so-called shale gas revolution was that the United States would produce far more natural gas than it consumes and that that would open the way for liquefied natural gas exports to other energy-hungry countries. Two things went wrong. First, U.S. production, while growing, has not exceeded U.S. consumption. Despite the highest natural gas production in history, the United States had net imports of natural gas of about 3 percent of its consumption so far this year.

Second, with the price of landed LNG around the world between $6 and $7, LNG exports from the United States are currently noncompetitive. Even with U.S. natural gas at $2, when the cost of liquefying and transporting gas–about $6 per mcf–is added to the American price, landed LNG prices would have to rise to about $8 just for American suppliers to break even. And, of course, just breaking even is not a proposition investors are very much interested in.

Now, some of the export projects have already undoubtedly received commitments from buyers to take U.S. LNG under long-term contracts, usually priced at Henry Hub plus a certain amount for liquefying and transporting the gas (plus something to reward investors, of course). If those contracts are in place, then the builders of the LNG export projects don’t care what U.S. prices are. They make money no matter what. And, it doesn’t matter whether they export so much LNG that the United States is forced to IMPORT more from Canada via pipelines or possibly in the form on LNG itself.

Whether buyers make out under such an arrangement will all depend on how world spot LNG prices unfold over the next couple of decades. Undoubtedly, many of those with long-term contracts today would be better off buying in the spot market. But, of course, when prices are high, they have no protection.

What we’ll find out this year is which projects have contracts from buyers and which do not. The ones that do not yet have such contracts will almost certainly be postponed or abandoned. For those that proceed, investors who are not careful to understand how much of the capacity of the project has been taken up by long-term contracts and how much will be sold on the spot market may be in for rude surprises if they are too exposed to the spot market and that market remains soft.

4. Bipartisan support for climate change measures emerges in the U.S. Congress. You will certainly think I’m reaching here, and it would be a surprise if this does happen. But expectations for the recent climate conference in Paris were extremely low. And yet, world leaders hammered out an agreement that committed the parties to emissions limits with regular reviews. True, there is no enforcement mechanism. But even so, this result was better than most anticipated.

The same could go for a U.S. Congress stalemated on the climate issue. Even though the Republican majority has taken the view that regardless of the science, Republicans are better off opposing any measure to address climate change, not all Republicans have taken this extreme position. If enough of them peel off and join Democrats on even a small measure, it will mark progress–though it will certainly be a surprise coming in an election year.

5. World oil production declines. In the past world oil production has declined only during recessions or once in the early 1980s following a long period of rising prices and the most severe recession since World War II (that is, until 2008). We’ve had a long period of price rises from 2000 onward, followed by a severe recession. But production continues to eke out some growth.

According to figures from the U.S Energy Information Administration, worldwide production of crude oil including lease condensate (which is the definition of oil) grew by 15.7 percent in the nine-year period leading up to 2005. In the nine-year period from 2005 to 2014, production grew only 5.3 percent despite record prices and investment.

If worldwide production declines, it will almost surely be because drillers simply lay down even more rigs and companies delay development of tar sands mining projects in Canada to wait for higher prices. This restraint would have to counterbalance additions to world production expected from Iran which will have sanctions lifted in 2016 allowing it to increase its oil production and exports substantially. If peace breaks out in Libya, then the rise in Libyan oil production will probably prevent an overall decline in world production.

Recap of 2015’s list of possible surprises

1. U.S. crude oil and natural gas production decline for the first time since 2008 and 2005, respectively. While U.S. crude oil production in 2015 looks like it will exceed total production in 2014, production began to slide in June this year and continues downward. So, there was a surprise for those who thought the so-called shale revolution could go on without high prices. Natural gas production continued to rise so there was no surprise there.

2. World crude oil closes below $30 per barrel. This hasn’t happened yet and probably won’t with only a few days left in 2015. But a price in the mid-$30 range has certainly surprised a lot of people, especially those who were touting the midyear recovery of prices to around $60 as the beginning a new oil bull market. So, this did come as a surprise, but not quite (yet) the $30-per-barrel variety.

3. Developments in solar thermal energy show that it can solve the storage problem for electricity from renewable energy. Perhaps the biggest obstacle to broader use of electricity generated by renewable energy is the high cost of storing that energy for use when people need it. A Maryland inventor is still trying to put together funding for a prototype of a possibly revolutionary solar thermal capture device that he claims has 90 percent efficiency. There’s no prototype yet. Perhaps in the coming year we’ll find out whether the claim can be confirmed. So, no surprise here yet.

4. A climate agreement in Paris calls for binding greenhouse gas emissions limits. Okay, the greenhouse gas limits weren’t binding. And, of course, that’s not a surprise. What surprised me is how unanimous the world’s leaders were about the problem of climate change and how specific they were about limits in the agreement.

5. Oil prices reach $100 per barrel before December 31, 2015. This possible surprise was premised on a robust world economy and an OPEC relenting on its war on frackers in America and tar sands in Canada. The OPEC war continues, and the world economy seems weaker at year-end than when it began.

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Backpacking 101

Backpacking 101

backpacking-101

Spending a few days out in the wilderness trekking from place to place is lots of fun but it isn’t as easy as it sounds, here’s why…

#1: You have to carry everything you need on your back;  this is a strenuous task no matter how light weight your gear maybe.  Even with a 2lb sleeping bag and minimal amounts of water, (not recommended) weight adds up fast.  We’ve found that a bag well packed typically weighs around 30-40 lbs.  Now that may not seem like much but it will after an hour or so of hiking.  So before you go backpacking make sure you can handle the strain.

#2: You have to find sources of water; When backpacking you will need double the amount of water you would need other wise, this would probably be around 170-190 oz of water per day for the average male.  Now are you up to carrying 10-15lbs of water?  Well actually nobody is, that’s why you have to bring a portable water filter, and find your own sources of fresh water.  Creeks are Ideal for this, especially when cold.  So before you go backpacking make sure you have a large water bottle and a water filtration system.  Also be sure to check a map to see where any water sources are along the trail and plan accordingly.

#3: There are no toilets in the woods; This maybe the most miserable part of backpacking, however, it doesn’t have to be.  Say your in the woods and you’ve gotta     go #2 and you’re 3 miles from the nearest bathroom, what then?  Well if you were properly prepared you would have brought a small shovel and some biodegradable toilet paper and then all you would have to do is find a tree to squat up against, dig a hole and do your business.  So before you go backpacking make sure you have a shovel and toilet paper.

#4: Bears, wolves, and raccoons; Depending on where you choose to hike you have to be on the look out for bears and wolves especially in the rockies.  Also, when you have your campsite set up and the critters come out you are in even more danger than you were in broad daylight unless you properly stored your food at least ten feet of the ground and five feet away from trees.  So before you go backpacking make sure you bring rope to suspend food and trash.

OUR RECOMMENDED BACKPACKING LIST

For a 1-3 night backpacking trip

  1. a sturdy backpack, we recommend one with at least a 50 liter capacity
  2. a water filter
  3. a large water bottle
  4. first aid kit
  5. a light weight tent (alps is an excellent brand)
  6. a change of clothes, preferably dry fitting clothes, no cotton
  7. a hiking stick, they make a world of difference
  8. food, make sure its rich in protein
  9. a lightweight stove (we recommend a jet boil)
  10. toilet paper
  11. a small shovel
  12. a poncho
  13. sturdy hiking boots, preferably water proofed ones
  14. bug spray
  15. sunscreen, especially when mountain climbing
  16. bear pepper spray (if hiking in bear country)
  17. at least 25ft of rope, 75ft if mountain climbing
  18. fire starter of some sort
  19. a light weight sleeping pad
  20. a light weight sleeping bag, preferably around 2-3lbs
  21. a bag to store food in trash in during the night
  22. a pocket knife
  23. a carabiner or two
  24. hand soap and personal hygiene products

Do you have anything to add? Comment below and we will see about adding it.

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You Should Be Worrying About This Invisible Natural Disaster

You Should Be Worrying About This Invisible Natural Disaster

invisible-diaster

Solar storm? I can hear your skepticism from here, but these sun burps are no joke. Extreme space weather poses a major threat to modern society. We narrowly dodged a particularly strong solar storm a couple years ago and—had it hit Earth—we would have spent a decade recovering.

Unlike many natural disasters, solar storms are practically invisible. The sun releases a series of solar flares—or magnetized coronal mass ejections—from its surface and hurls them towards Earth. Though invisible, these high-speed gas clouds of charged particles have the power to take out our entire telecommunication grid—power lines, cell phones, radar, and GPS. Take a moment to consider everything else that would be impacted by this: airplane flights would get rerouted, oil drill heads would go haywire, and major energy transformers would be fried. Total chaos would ensue.

Solar storms attack our technological Achilles tendon, and that’s scary. Governments could collapse, economies plunge—we could be sent back into the Dark Ages. Yet, few people consider solar storms when preparing their families for natural disasters.

“It’s like with earthquakes—it is hard to impress upon people the importance of preparing unless you suffer a magnitude 9 earthquake,” Janet Luhmann, of the STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Observatory) team, told Forbes last year. And, though we have been in the sun’s line of fire a few times over the past century, none of the aforementioned events were powerful enough to cause major damage—a 9-hour blackout in eastern Canada, a short-circuited radio, and some GPS disruptions.

If we were to get hit with flares like the 1859 Carrington Event—the biggest solar superstorm on record—it would be lights out. Literally. A recent study predicted that such an event would cost the world $2.6 trillion to recover from, which is 20 times more than the costs of Hurricane Katrina.

We might have an estimated dollar value for the damages, but it’s difficult to say how a solar superstorm would impact the day-to-day life of western civilization. Like a bad snow day, workplaces, schools, and services would cease to operate, but we can’t predict for how long and to what degree. You can be sure that there will be a bunker-down period—are you ready to hole up in your house for a week?

To avoid lengthy food lineups and crowded, cash-only grocery stores, you should have one week’s worth of food and water for your entire family.

MREs (or Meals, Ready to Eat) are the perfect emergency food because they store easily and have a five-year shelf life. Even though MREs are pre-cooked, each meal contains a flameless ration heater that activates with 30mL of any type of water. You can have a hot meal any time, any where, without using up valuable resources like fuel to boil water.

We recommend the consumption of two MREs per adult per day, or roughly 2,400 calories. A family of four would have more than enough food for a week with five cases of three-course MREs and 30 gallons of water.

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An Evac Plan For Your Dog

I have two dogs that are just as much a part of the family as my wife and kid are. They sleep in bed

with us and lay on the couch. In return they protect the house while we’re away and alert us when they hear  something go bump in the night. I don’t think you should have a dog if you lack that mindset. A dog will do anything for you and lives to make you happy so please remember to include them in the family evac plan.
The pros to having a dog in a crisis far outweigh the cons. Your dog will guard the family with its life and they’ll hear stuff long before you do so they are an excellent early warning system. Size doesn’t matter, even the smallest dogs will still alert you and try to protect you. My ma has a little Pomeranian that’s gotta be getting close to ten years old now and she still runs the pack which includes a pitbull, a lab, and a hound.
Dogs can be trained to help with hunting and tracking as well.
You wake up one night to your dog barking its head off. What’s going on? A fire, a tornado, an earthquake? Regardless of the reason the first thing to remember is DON’T PANIC. Dogs pick up on body language and are very receptive to their owner’s emotions. Now that the disaster is under way you need to keep your dog calm, quiet, and under control. If you have worked with your dog this should be easy. If you haven’t your dog may bolt. A dog has built in survival instincts and will normally seek shelter close to home until the commotion calms down. If your dog didn’t bolt and you have them under control where are you planning on going? Do you know where the pet friendly hotels are? Most shelters won’t take pets and red cross shelters do not accept them at all. Do you have an evac plan? If you don’t its okay this guide should help you figure out a very detailed plan for your pooch.
*** Please, never, ever, leave your dog during an evacuation. The emergency officials may tell you it will only be for a few hours but there is no way to know for sure. Police can prevent you from returning to your home for weeks. Don’t leave your dog behind he/she wouldn’t leave you.

Preventative measures
There are a few simple things that should be done as soon as possible.

  • The first and most important thing is to establish a plan and practice it.
  • Get your dog up to date on all their shots
  • Consider getting your dog micro chipped
  • Make sure their ID tag is current and that it has your phone number on it
  • Discuss a plan with a trusted friend or family member that can check on your dogs if you can’t make it home do to a car accident or injury. Give this person a key and instructions for your dog.
  • Make copies of all of your dogs paperwork. Put one set in your pack and one set in the dogs pack. I have a list below of all the info you need

Training tips
Training should be fun for you and your dog. Practice for a few minutes a day instead of once in a  while and remember to be patient with your dog. Your dog lives to make you happy so disaster training will be a good way to bond with him.
Knowing your dog wants nothing more than to please you, remember that positive reinforcement and treats yields better results than being overly forceful. While you are training keep your dog on the left side of you not in front or behind. Remember to use a low firm tone and give lots of praise for a job well done. It is a good idea to increase stress in the house before running bug out drills with your dog. The final thing to remember is to use your dog’s name before every command such as “Titan, Speak.”

Training exercises

A dog is going to learn a lot of commands when prepping for a bug out. This is just a few good training exercises and you may want to add or remove some.

  • Leash train your dog. Nobody likes walking a dog that pulls.
  • Teach your dogs “Speak” and “Quiet” these are two of the most important commands during a survival situation. The commands go together like peanut butter and jelly. Here’s a very helpful how to
  • Basic obedience training
  • Get your dog used to wearing their pack or vest. Start off by putting it on empty and givethem a treat every time they wear it. Once Fido is used to the empty pack start adding gear to it gradually so he can get used to the weight.
  • After the pack is second nature to your dog teach him that when the pack is on he is to sit by the door and wait for instruction. The instruction words should be easy terms like car, safe room, crate.
  • Train your dog to return when called

Choosing a pack 
Not being used as a go bag but come on its cool

 Do some searching on amazon and find a nice go bag for your dog. He can carry most of the supplies he’ll need, so that’s one less thing on your own back. Remember to keep it light and simple. Consider the size of the dog when buying and planning their go bag. You don’t want to strap 20 pounds of gear to a 15 pound dog. More weight means slower travel, more food, more water, and risking injuries to your dog. When funds allow I want to get my dogs black, tactical, molle capable go bags. Gotta wait a little while on that though. Now onto the gear list. All of these items are handy and can be used for humans or dogs but again consider the size of your dog. My pitbull or lab won’t have a problem carrying their own gear but a pug or Chihuahua won’t be able to carry all that much. So as I said consider the size of your dog as well as the types of disasters and terrain you might face.

Gear list

  • All  paperwork and photos you need in a waterproof bag. I’ll cover paperwork next.
  • Three day supply of food in zip lock baggies.
  • Three day supply of water. The bottles can be hung from your dogs go bag.
  • Water and food bowls
  • A pair of women’s panty hose or stockings. These can be used as an emergency muzzle, a bandage, an ace bandage, water filtration, and numerous other things.
  • Sandwich bags instead of poop bags. You can use them for poop and other stuff that way.
  • A muzzle. I hate muzzles but unfortunately anytime I go to the vet my dog needs one. He doesn’t like the vet and this is the easiest way to be sure no one gets bitten.
  • Treats
  • A favorite toy
  • A small blanket or towel
  • ID tags for your dog’s collar, crate, and go bag
  • Allergy meds and any other daily meds with instructions
  • Glow lite sticks to help you and your dog be more visible at night
  • Flea and tick control
  • Nail clippers
  • A brush or comb if your dog has long fur
  • One of your unwashed t shirts in a ziplock baggy. You can put the t shirt on the dog’s bed to help calm them.
  • several tubes of Nutrical concentrated dog food. This is a highly concentrated dog food that is fed to animals who cant eat. It provides enough nutrition to keep them alive. 1tsp per 10lbs of body weight.

Here’s some extra stuff that can be added if it won’t weigh down your dog too much

  • Compass and map
  • A small flashlight with extra batteries
  • Water purification tablets
  • Hand warmers
  • Mylar emergency blanket
  • A reflective dog vest
  • Bic lighter
  • Extra collar and leash
  • Tie out leash or chain.
  • Rain coat and boots for the dog. Sounds dumb but this can provide some protection from nuclear fallout. The boots can also help if your dog hurts their foot.
  • Crate or kennel

Replace food, water, and meds every 6 months. If you use a crate or kennel know where it is at all times. Write your contact info in permanent marker and duck tape a photo of your pet to the carrier.
Pet first aid kit

  • Small scissors
  • Gauze pads and cotton squares
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Insand cold packs. As an alternative you can put cold mud in a sandwich bag.
  • Medical tape
  • Tweezers
  • 1 small bar of soap
  • 1 small tube of antiseptic
  • 1 small bottle of eye drops
  • 10-20 cotton balls
  • large tea bags. These help stop bleeding
  • Vet wrap. Like an ace bandage but self adhesive.
  • Tampons. Work well for deep punctures or bullet holes
  • Peroxide. Clean wounds and induce vomiting if your dog eats something he shouldn’t
  • Benadryl 1mg per pound for bug bites and bee stings
  • Aspirin good for dogs but it’ll kill a cat
  • ***NEVER GIVE A DOG IBUPROFEN***

Paperwork and phone numbers

  • Dog ID
  • Health records
  • Multiple pictures of your dog and family members together
  • Vaccination records
  • Contact info for yourself and a few friends and family members
  • Ownership papers
  • A list and photo of each pet including breed, sex, age, color, markings
  • City license
  • Pet insurance policy
  • Vet contact info
  • A list of pet friendly hotels and boarding kennels in your area
  • Phone numbers should include veterinarian, emergency vet, animal poison control center, pet friendly hotels, area animal shelters, etc.
  • An unfilled drug prescription for your pets meds or a 2 week supply.

Food and water
You will want a three day supply of food in your dog’s go bag but if it runs out there are alternatives. 
Pretty much whatever you eat your dog can too. There are exceptions like no onions, garlic, chocolate, gum, grapes, and a few others do some research before you give your dog something. A good way to find out alternative food sources before a disaster is to add a food item to your dogs food for 2 weeks. If there is no upset stomach or allergies you have found a new food the dog can safely eat. A dog needs two sources of nutrition, a protein and a carbohydrate. The protein part is meat, eggs, poultry, or fish. The carbohydrate part is the filler such as oatmeal, rice, macaroni, and bread.  The only other thing is water. Dogs will drink from puddles, nasty muck water, streams, they don’t seem to care but use caution. Even though a dog has a faster digestive tract than a human they can still get diarreah from contaminated water. The better option is to have water bottles just for them. The minimum amount of water for a dog is 8 oz of water for every 5 pounds of body weight. 

As long as you have a plan in place you can keep the whole family safe including the hairier members. Your dog will do anything to make you happy so don’t leave him behind to starve and die. If you are considering adopting a dog only do so if you plan to treat them as a person and include them in any bug out plan. 

Reblogged from http://livetoseetomorrow.blogspot.com/

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When Shit Hits the Fan literally, Will you be prepared and ready to Go?

What to do to plan, prepare, and protect during an Extreme and Mild Survival Scenario!

When you’re hiking while on a camping trip and happen to get turned around in the woods or waking up to the aftermath of a terrible storm that hit, you’ll be dealing with the lack of resources in those specific scenarios. As a result, you will need to remain calm and be smart about what your surroundings are and think what could be of use to you? In order to have these survival smarts, you need to take sometime to plan, prepare, and then protect if needed.

The first step is going to be the planning part and learning what you need to have in order for this step to work. Next, you will need to prepare for it if something disastrous such as a terrible outbreak which causes humans to turn to zombies or something as simple as a tornado stripping your town to nothing. The last step is having the equipment to protect yourself, which can be something as simple as a kitchen knife or you could have the mother load of weaponry that’s secretly kept in your basement that even your best friends don’t know about.

The gear, supplies, tools, weapons, food, water, and even the physical energy should be conserved.

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Let’s take this to the top of  the scale of survival situations, of 1 being mild and 10 being extreme. As they always say go big or go home, we are going to go big! So, with 10 being the highest on the scale we are going to say that a Zombie Apocalypse just broke out and your neighbors are turning as we speak. You still have time to react but not much because they are starting to break the glass of your windows to your house. You and your family immediately run down to your basement where you can regroup and make a plan. You then grab everything you can think of that’s in your SHTFandGo pack! Your dad yells at your brother to go grab the sleeping bags upstairs which are in the front closet but you stop him and say “Here, take this.” Your brother looks down and sees the Zombie Apocalypse Machete 101. Now while he does that, you’re running around with your mom and sister shoving bags full of supplies, tools, weapons, and anything that can fit. You don’t need to make too much food in the rucksacks, as they are already prepared in the Food Storage containers containing black beans, rice, noodles, and all other vacuum sealed food items. As for the water you just need to remember to grab the H2O 2.0 or H2O 3.0, depending on how much water you want to have on hand. We also stocked up on the H2O 1.0 just in case we get separated from one another at times we have a way to consume water. Your brother gets back and has the sleeping bags and rest of the gear your dad asked him to get and seems to have survived the neighbors! Our family also stocked up on some gasoline for the vehicles and we separate into vehicles and head out of town to someplace south. Just remember to not get bit!

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I know that was a very extreme scenario but you never know when Shit will hit the Fan!

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A little less milder one would be if a disastrous storm such as a tornado or hurricane wiped out your town. Here you would do the same, plan how you are going to prepare for a disastrous storm, prepare for it, and if you need to protect yourself for whatever reason you will be able to do so. First you’re going to have a plan once you hear the sirens going off, which means to head down to your basement with your family. There you can discuss what will happen if there is damage beyond repair. Then you will gather the things you need to prepare yourself, for instance you will get your rucksacks and fill them with anything and everything such as supplies, tools, weapons (if you feel like you need them), and whatever you think you will need. The food storage should already be prepared as you would have  Food Storage buckets full of black beans, rice, and noodles which are already vacuum sealed and ready to go. Of course you can have any other food stored in those buckets as well. You then will grab the H2O 2.0 or H2O 3.0 water storage depending on how much water you will want once you find a source of water. You will also have each rucksack packed with a couple H2O 1.0 just in case you and your family some how get separated during the chaos. If for whatever reason you need to have weapons on you during this kind of disaster just be careful.

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Just remember to always plan, prepare, and protect.

 

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What did you do to prep this week?

May 30, 2015 By M.D. Creekmore

Before we get started with this weeks post, I would like to give a shout-out and to thank Gordon G, Willard N, Kelli M, Chantal L, Cheryl D, and Angela M for their contributions this week. Thank you – it’s folks like you who keep this site running and free for everyone else.

Recently, I’ve noticed some confusion related to the MD in my name, with several people recently referring to me as Doctor Creekmore, to be clear I’m not a medical doctor, the MD is at the front of my name and not at the end.

Also to clear up more confusion that I’ve noticed recently, I did not write and I’m not the vendor of the Survival MD product. I wrote a review of the product (a good product BTW) and published it it here but that is my only relation to the product is the review.

Okay, now let get to it – what did I do to prep this week…

plants

Finished my strawberry tower…. Looks good doesn’t it…

bag

New Glock magazine and pistol case…

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Cut back weeds and underbrush…

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Cleared off an area for my new building that should be done in a couple of weeks.

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Extra Krav Maga in no time DVDs.

garden

Watched the garden grow…

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And the chickens too…

I also renewed my NRA membership…

Well that’s it for me this week folks – what about you… what did you do to prep this week?

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Nepal’s emergency preparedness saved lives in earthquake aftermath – UN health agency

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Patients at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal, are taken outside following the second earthquake on 12 May 2015. Photo: WHO/A. Khan

13 May 2015 – The emergency preparedness efforts implemented by the Government of Nepal over the past 15 years have ensured that key elements of the health sector remained ready and able to function during the recent earthquake that devastated large swathes of the mountainous country, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said today.

According to WHO, the practice of hospital retrofitting – a process which involves everything from repairing cracks in walls to installing seismic belts and roof bracing – has been a core part of Nepal’s preparedness plans and helped keep the largest hospitals in the capital city of Kathmandu working throughout the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck on 25 April and the 7.3 earthquake which rattled the country on just yesterday.

“Retrofitting meant that when the earthquakes struck, hospitals did not collapse,” Dr. Roderico Ofrin, WHO’s Health Response Leader, confirmed in a press release, adding that it was “clear that the investment in time and resources paid off.”

“These hospitals that are standing and were retrofitted went through a process of prioritization,” Dr. Ofrin continued. “Emergency rooms, maternity wards, and operating theatres were some of the first areas where retrofitting was applied.”

WHO has also been critical in assisting Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population during their implementation of emergency preparedness efforts. In 2009, for instance, it focused global attention on the need for safe facilities in emergencies through its World Health Day campaign which underscored the need for building strong health systems able to provide medical care in times of disaster and emergency. The UN agency has continued to promote this aim with direct technical and material support.

However, retrofitting alone is not sufficient for an adequate healthcare response in times of disaster, the WHO has warned. Capacity building and staff training is equally important.

Dr. Pradeep Vaidya, coordinator for the WHO-supported Hospital Preparedness for Emergency Programme, has noted that the response to the earthquake by Nepal’s health care providers was resilient because of pre-planning and training initiatives.

“The most helpful part during the earthquake response was the hospital emergency preparedness plan,” Dr. Vaidya explained. “People knew what to do, where to meet and how things will flow when the earthquake happened. The roster management system worked well.”

In Nepal, the WHO has been placing particular attention on training in triage management, putting into practice its guidelines and strategies in mass casualty systems. Due to the training, the agency said, emergency responders could quickly prioritize the injuries and save lives when large numbers of patients began to arrive in the hospitals following the recent earthquakes.