Category Archives: Beginner Prepping

Preparing For Hurricane Season

Whether we like it or not, hurricane season is upon us and there are several predictions that the 2013 season will be worse than average. When I think about it, it does not matter whether tropical storms actually convert into hurricanes or not, the potential for adverse effects is great. Even a tropical storm has the capability of causing significant property damage, flooding, loss of power and utilitities, and delays to everyday activities. So what does this mean for preparedness?

Photo Credit: Ready.gov

1. Have A Plan

Fortunately, technology has evolved to allow early warning of storm systems and their potential to cause catastrophic damage. Such technology has minimized the loss of life that occurs as a result of storms. This is only beneficial though when residents and those in the effected area heed the warnings they are given and evacuate before a storm hits. If an evacuation order is given, the prudent thing to do is leave the area but not without having a plan first! A plan should include:

  • The location where you will go if you must evacuate (hotel, friend or relatives house, shelter, etc.). Ideally, you should have a primary and secondary location. Wherever it is that you decide to go, it should be outside of the area of the evacuation order (I hope that part is kind of obvious).
  • Determine the route of travel. It is possible that a route could be congested or unusable as a result of the need to evacuate or storm system. Consider a route that is on major interstates/highways and one that is on lesser used roads. Another contingency could include having a route in each direction from the area that you will evacuate. Many hurricane prone communities will have designated evacuation routes that are typically the best option.
  • If you have pets, have a plan for them as well. Shelters will normally not allow the presence of pets except if necessary for a service capacity. It is also possible that the hotel you end up at does not allow pets and a friend or relative could have an allergy. Clear up any questions about these possibilities before it is too late.
  • Make a load out plan. The time that you have to evacuate could be extremely limited and as a result of this possibility you should make a plan that includes the items that you will take with you and how it will all be loaded into the vehicle(s) that you will take with you.

2. Keep Supplies On Hand

If the decision is made to evacuate, ensure that your property(home, business, etc.) is properly secured. Often times this involves boarding up doors and windows and sandbagging perimeters.

In the event that an evacuation order is given there will undoubtedly be a rush to purchase the necessary items to complete these tasks. The best way to put yourself in a position where you do not end up short of the necessary supplies to secure your property is to complete an accurate estimate of the materials needed, purchase them, and have the materials staged prior to actually needing them. Covering doors and windows is best completed through the use of purpose built storm shutters but the next best option is use of 1/2″ to 5/8″ marine-grade plywood, cut to fit the door or window, and secured using screws.

Some may say that spending time and money to gather materials is a waste. This is a determination that each individual must make. It seems reasonable to me that if you live in the Gulf Coast Region and Eastern Seaboard of the United States that having necessary materials on hand is just being prepared for the inevitable. In other regions it may not be as likely that a large storm will hit your area and such materials are not necessary. What I can tell you though is that the same materials that are used to secure a property for a tropical storm or hurricane can also be used to secure a property from a number of other situations up to, and including, the rising of the dead*.

If the decision is made to stay in place during a hurricane or tropical storm it is imperative to have the additional items necessary to sustain life in addition to those needed to save lives and safeguard property. Some of these items include:

  • Generator w/ Supply of Fuel
  • Food
  • Clean Water for Drinking and Hygiene
  • Weather Radio
  • Emergency Light Source
  • First Aid Kit
  • Whistle For Signaling
  • Sanitation and Hygiene Supplies

Other precautions that can be made to prevent or minimize damage include trimming back shrubs and bushes, removing dead trees, cleaning out gutters and downspouts, and clearing exterior areas of items that could become projectiles in high winds.

3. Other Considerations

Evacuating from an area or deciding to shelter in place can be made even more complicated when there are children, pets, or those with medical concerns involved. Keep in mind that children as well as pets may be made more comfortable in strange environments when they have a few of their favorite items to remind them of home. Make sure that these items get taken with you if at all possible. Children may also need to have additional changes of clothes as compared to older family members. When medical concerns are present, ensure that additional necessary items are taken with you to include medications, medical equipment, and important paperwork.

K-Light Lantern for All Seasons

*Please forgive me. I could not help myself and included the possibility of a zombie apocalypse.

75 Reasons To Prepare

There are many reasons to make the effort to be prepared. The driving force behind many preppers is the hope that if something happens, they and their family/close friends will be better off than if they were not to make such efforts. With that being said, what event(s) should you focus on being prepared to survive? Below are 75 reasons that should be considered when you decide what your greatest risks are and what you should tailor your preparedness efforts towards. While this may not be every reason to prepare, it should at a minimum provide a good foundation to get started with. Note: They are numbered as a means of keeping track of the different reasons and not because they are in any order of significance or preference.

75 Reasons To Prepare

  1. Earthquake
  2. Flood
  3. Wildfire
  4. Power Outage
  5. Structure Fire
  6. Financial Collapse
  7. Societal Collapse
  8. Riots
  9. Tsunami
  10. Nuclear Reactor Meltdown
  11. EMP
  12. Acts Of Terror
  13. Acts Of War
  14. Flu Pandemic
  15. Plague
  16. Food Shortage
  17. Disruptions In Supply Chains
  18. Government Imposed Rationing
  19. Civil Unrest
  20. Coronal Mass Ejections/Solar Flares
  21. Government Imposed Furloughs
  22. Martial Law
  23. Tornado
  24. Hurricane
  25. Unemployment
  26. Permanent Disability
  27. Temporary Disability
  28. E. Coli
  29. Contaminated Water Sources
  30. Oil Spill
  31. Disease Outbreak
  32. Contaminated Medication Supplies
  33. Government Shut Downs
  34. Financial Depression
  35. Drought
  36. Heat Wave
  37. Currency Inflation/Devaluation
  38. Internet Crash/Outage
  39. Bank Run
  40. Taxation
  41. Blizzard/Snow Storm
  42. Population Spikes
  43. Medication Resistant Infection
  44. Modified Strains of Disease/Illness
  45. Industrial Accident
  46. Military Coup
  47. Sudden Changes In World Leaders
  48. Skyrocketing Commodity Prices
  49. Cyber Terrorism
  50. Terminal Illness
  51. Government Regulation
  52. Ammunition Shortages
  53. Pollution
  54. Loss Of A Loved One
  55. Elections
  56. Gas Leak
  57. Unavailability Of Emergency Services
  58. Meteor
  59. Lawsuit
  60. Genetically Modified Foods
  61. Volcano
  62. Avalanche
  63. Hail Storm
  64. Animal Disease Outbreak
  65. Crop Decimation
  66. Hazardous Material Incident
  67. Infrastructure Failure
  68. Labor Strikes/Disputes
  69. Lightning Storms
  70. Landslide
  71. Transportation Disaster
  72. Famine
  73. Ice Storm
  74. Save Money(Buy In Bulk/Buy Now=Savings on the future cost of goods.)
  75. Avoid being in a position of regret later, “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” ~Anonymous

What are you prepared to survive?

Please leave a comment if you have any others reasons that you prepare…

Book Review – Getting Home by Alex Smith

Getting HomeIf disaster strikes, will you be home? Will you be at work, school, or at the store? Is it possible that you or someone you care for will face the daunting task of trying to get home during the most perilous times possible? How would you get home and what would you take with you?

The new book Getting Home by Alex Smith is a great guide for the person seeking to learn more about traveling after a disaster/during times of chaos or someone trying to refresh their knowledge. It is not marketed as a guide for the experienced prepper, but I would go so far as saying that there might be some longtime prepper’s that have a solid grasp in many areas but could benefit from this book. While Getting Home is not only straightforward and easy to read, it is 136 pages of preparedness knowledge about:

  1. Every-Day Carry (EDC)The items on you…all day, every day.
  2. the Purse/Man-Purse/Daypack (DP)The next step after your EDC items.
  3. In Your OfficeItems to keep on hand in the workplace.
  4. In Your VehicleGear to keep in the car to assist in getting home.
  5. the Get Home Bag (GHB)A bag full of goodies to help you stay alive when it all goes south!
  6. CachesExtend your capabilities by stashing additional supplies along your route.
  7. Getting HomeTips and tricks for different environments and situations.

This collection of preparedness knowledge cannot possibly be summarized into the seven categories above though. There are numerous pieces of information spread throughout the pages of Coming Home that not only demonstrate the knowledge and equipment necessary to get home alive and safe, but also will assist the reader in achieving peak performance for survival. A sample of Alex’s writing in Coming Home is below:

The following excerpt is from Getting Home by Alex Smith,

Chapter 6:  the Get Home Bag (GHB)

* Selecting a GHB *

Much like your DP, your GHB should stand out as little as possible, but let’s face it – you are going to stand out with a ruck on your back.  However, try to minimize your visibility as much as possible by:

  • Avoid tactical bags (MOLLE, military surplus, etc.).
  • Avoid camouflage patterns.
  • No military/survival/firearms patches on your GHB.

Instead, opt for a pack that a hiker might wear.  Select from quality, brand-name bags with earth tones.  Remember it must be relatively comfortable when loaded, and you must be capable of carrying the load.

Before you choose your GHB, consider the following:

  • How long will it take you to get home?  How many miles are you from home?  How many miles can you hike (because you will basically be hiking with a pack) in a day?  Remember, walking is not hiking; hiking (walking with a loaded pack) works different muscles and will exhaust you much quicker.  Your physical condition will dictate how far you can hike; some may be able to only hike 5 miles, while others might be able to hike 30.  Terrain will affect your progress as well.  Divide your miles/day into the total distance from home and you will know approximately how long it may take you to get home.  The following is a very rough guideline with regards to pack capacity (Note – CI = Cubic Inches / L = Liters):
    • Trip Length = < 2 Days:  Pack Capacity = < 3,000 CI (50 L)
    • Trip Length = 3 Days:  Pack Capacity = < 3,600 CI (60 L)
    • Trip Length = 4 – 5 Days:  Pack Capacity = < 4,900 CI (80 L)
    • Trip Length = > 5 Days:  Pack Capacity = > 4,900 CI (80 L)
  • Will you pack light or pack heavy?  Does your physical condition and preferred level of preparedness require you carry a lot or very little?  What use is a large pack if you are unable to carry more than what a small pack can carry?  Opt for the smaller pack and save several pounds in pack weight.
  • What is your body type?  By body type, we mean torso height, since that is what the GHB will interface with.  Measure your torso and determine what pack size will be most comfortable for you (requires help):
    • Locate your C7 vertebra (the bony protrusion at the top of your back when you lean your head forward).
    • Locate your iliac crest (the pelvic “shelf”):  Have your friend run their hands down your side until they feel your hip bone.
    •  Have them place their hands on top of the hip bone with thumbs pointing inward.
    • Measure from C7 to the point that your friend’s thumbs “point” to.

Now that you know your torso length, the following are some guidelines for your body type:

  • Torso Length < 15.5”:  Extra Small Pack
  • Torso Length 16” – 17.5”:  Small Pack
  • Torso Length 18” – 19.5”:  Medium Pack
  • Torso Length > 19.5”:  Large Pack
  • Gender?  Take a long look in the mirror and determine what gender you are.  Many brands offer packs that are designed specifically to fit the contours of the female body.
  • Climate:  The colder your climate, the larger the pack you will need.  Cold weather sleeping gear and clothing take up much more space.

Now that you have an idea of what to look for in pack size, let’s examine several options you have to improve fit and make the pack more comfortable:

  • Load-lifter Straps:  Found at the top of the shoulder straps, load-lifter straps prevent the pack from pulling away from your body, disrupting your balance.  When pulled snug, they should form a 45 degree angle with your shoulder straps and the pack itself.  The heavier your load, the more important load-lifter straps are.
  • Sternum Straps:  The strap across your chest.  Improves stability and balance.
  • Hip Belt:  The strap across your hips.  Improves stability and balance.
  • Pack Frames:  Internal (usually lacks ventilation), External (often heavier) and Perimeter (a hybrid that strives to combine the benefits of internal and external) Frames are all designed to direct pack weight towards your hips – one of the body’s largest bone structures supported by some of the body’s largest muscle groups (the upper legs).  Hikers and adventurers have debated which frame system is superior, but there is no clear winner.  Choose based on what “feels” better to you.  The heavier your pack, the more important it is to have a frame.
  • Pockets/Panels/Compartments/Attachment Points:  To easily access your gear, you will need a pack with a variety of storage compartments and attachment options.  Imagine choosing an old military-style duffel bag as your GHB and needing a pair of socks located in the bottom.  You will have to remove everything from your GHB to get those socks.
  • Ventilation:  Very important in hot humid climates, especially if an internal-frame pack is chosen.  In such a scenario, your GHB needs a ventilation system to prevent your back from getting drenched in sweat.
  • Hydration:  Most packs allow you the option of inserting a reservoir (such as a Camelbak).  Water is very heavy, but if you live in an arid climate with little access to surface water, you may be forced to carry much of the water you will need for your trip.
  • Padding:  Padding is important, especially if your pack is heavy.  Ensure the padding on your hip belt and lumbar pad is sufficient for your needs.
  • Durability:  Your pack could be the most important component of your GHB; buy a quality pack from a respected brand.  Be careful if you decide to purchase an ultralight pack.  Ultralight packs utilize lighter materials that are often not as durable.  Some brands to consider include:  Osprey, the North Face, Black Diamond, Kelty and Gregory.

Now that you have an idea of what to look for in a pack, let’s transform that pack into a GHB.

Armed with this introduction, would you consider the basic knowledge to get back home safely after a disaster worth $1.00? I would! Alex let me know that the current price of $0.99 will be good for the rest of the week and then next week the price will likely go up to $5! If e-readers or technology are not your preferred reading method, Alex also let me know that a paperback should be released within a few days. I would emphatically recommend this book to anyone that believes that it is possible that there will be any natural or other disasters in the future of the world.

Don’t let a dollar stand between you and the safety you will find at home…get your copy of Getting Home (making it back to your family after disaster strikes) now!

He Who Hesitates Is Lost…

I hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas! Now that the holiday is over, the stores are filled
with all of the trinkets that did not sell as Christmas presents. With everything marked down anywhere from 50 to 90 percent off of retail, now is the perfect time to get that new wallet, flashlight or pair of Angry Birds boxer shorts that you have had your eye on. At least for those who act while there is still time! From a prepping perspective, there are many great items that can be added to your preps at minimal cost. If you head out to the store keep your eye out for great deals on:

  • Flashlights
  • LED Lanterns
  • Multi-Tools
  • Knives
  • Mechanics Tools
  • Bread Mixes
  • Seasonal Clothing Items
  • Winter Scented Soaps
  • Seasonal Ziploc Bags

This is also a great time to look for great deals on seasonal items like fishing, camping, and hunting gear.

What kind of prepping items have you seen being cleared out of your local stores lately?

Friday! Friday! Friday!

It’s Friday again and that means a few highlights for the prepper from the preppers around the web. This weeks highlights cover low-cost preps, every day carry, and a warning from a federal officer.

18- Low-Cost Ways to Start Prepping from PreppingToSurvive

New to prepping? Not sure where to start? Intimidated by the perceived cost? Prepping To Survive covers eighteen ways to start prepping for disaster in this piece that include things like doing research, budgeting, learning to tie basic knots, exercise, or learn to make repairs around your home. This article provides a great way to get started in emergency preparedness that involves more time than money which is great for the beginner.

Everyday Carry by Rick Keyes on the Official Blog of Knesek Guns, Inc.

What are some of the items that experts recommend that prepared citizens carry on their persons every day? Find out in this article from the folks over at Knesek Guns. This blog post covers the essential Every Day Carry (EDC) for the armed citizen and the unarmed citizen alike. The author even gives specific examples of the items that he carries every day by type and brand.

Warning From a Federal Officer by Silent Prepper on PrepperCentral

This is an interesting piece from an employee at a law enforcement supplier that recently received an unofficial “travel advisory” from a federal law enforcement officer when he was in the shop the other day. You can interpret it for yourselves. I found it interesting myself.

If you found a prepping gem on the web this week, chime in and help out your fellow prepper by posting a link in the comments section!