Alex Smith has a new book out titled, Staying Home: Protecting Your Home After Disaster Strikes. I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Staying Home to read and I immediately knew it was a great companion guide to his previous release, Getting Home: Making It Back [...]
Alex Smith has a new book out titled, Staying Home: Protecting Your Home After Disaster Strikes. I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Staying Home to read and I immediately knew it was a great companion guide to his previous release, Getting Home: Making It Back To Your Family After Disaster Strikes.
It is important to note that this book is written with the novice to moderate skill leveled prepper in mind. If your interpretation of your survival skills is the equivalent of a hybrid Jason Bourne, Chuck Norris, Jack Bauer, and Rambo…this book may not be for you. However, I feel confident that almost anyone could benefit from reading Staying Home.
There are some key points to be considered when making the decision to “bug in” during a disaster and Alex does a great job of covering these points. Staying Home reviews:
- Selecting A Location – General Considerations
- Selecting A Location – Property Characteristics
- Hardening A Property
- Hardening A Home
- Home Preparations
- Skills For Hard Times
- Surviving A Disaster
It is not just these key points that create value for the reader of Staying Home. Some important reminders that Alex includes; the fact that making your home a “hard” target will make it less likely to be bothered with in comparison to “softer” targets as well as the fact that the tools are not enough, you must be trained to properly use them, add even more value to this great read.
There is entirely too much information that is included in the book to outline here but it is abundantly clear to me that Alex Smith has hit another home run. Staying Home has something for everyone and at the Kindle price of $3.99 and print price of $12.99 it is worth every penny.
Buy it here before it is too late to benefit from the information!
If 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:
- Every-Day Carry (EDC) – The items on you…all day, every day.
- the Purse/Man-Purse/Daypack (DP) – The next step after your EDC items.
- In Your Office – Items to keep on hand in the workplace.
- In Your Vehicle – Gear to keep in the car to assist in getting home.
- the Get Home Bag (GHB) – A bag full of goodies to help you stay alive when it all goes south!
- Caches – Extend your capabilities by stashing additional supplies along your route.
- Getting Home – Tips 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!
I have been familiar with one of the war hero’s of our nation, Colonel Jeff Cooper for a number of years now. He is renowned in the firearms community for establishing the Gunsite Training Institute where he provided training on rifle and shotgun as well as pistol training in Cooper’s
I have been familiar with one of the war hero’s of our nation, Colonel Jeff Cooper for a number of years now. He is renowned in the firearms community for establishing the Gunsite Training Institute where he provided training on rifle and shotgun as well as pistol training in Cooper’s modern technique which is identified in part by the use of two hands to shoot accompanied by the use of the weaver stance. In addition to a proud military history and phenomenal training academy, Jeff Cooper had a writing career that extended across seven decades of his life. While he wrote for several magazines and newsletters throughout his life, Cooper also wrote many books, one of which is titled, Principles of Personal Defense which serves as an awesome primer on situational awareness and dealing with the reality of having to defend oneself in the face of attack.
What I find particularly great about Principles of Personal Defense is that it is written from the perspective that attackers should not be allowed to dictate the circumstances in which we live. Colonel Cooper mentions in his introduction that only a small percentage of people are sociopaths that will commit crimes and go on to mention that,
Violent crime is feasible only if its victims are cowards. A victim who fights back makes the whole business impractical. It is true that a victim who fights back may suffer for it, but one who does not almost certainly will suffer for it. And, suffer or not, the one who fights back retains his dignity and his self-respect. Any study of the atrocity list of recent years-Starkweather, Speck,Manson, Richard Hickok and Cary Smith, et al-shows immediately that the victims, by their appalling ineptitude and timidity, virtually assisted in their own murders. (“Don’t make them mad, Martha, so they won’t hurt us.”)
Obviously the list of criminals from “recent years” is not so recent as this quote is taken from the first edition written in 1989 but the principle is a sound one. The idea of personal defense in this booklet is not limited to one particular setting but encompasses crimes at home and on the street which provokes additional thought as well. Cooper goes on to outline the seven principles of personal defense which are:
- Alertness – Know what is going on around you. This is covered with two basic rules. The first is know what is behind you and the second is pay particular attention to anything out of place.
- Decisiveness – When faced with a life threatening situation you must make the appropriate decision on how to react immediately.
- Aggressiveness - ”The best personal defense is an explosive counterattack.” Being on the defense doesn’t allow one to be on the offense but a violent defense can completely stop an offensive attack.
- Speed – “The perfect defense is a counterattack that succeeds before the assailant discovers that he has bitten off more than he can chew.” Speed is key to surviving an attack by an assailant.
- Coolness – Keep your cool. Failure to keep it together can result in an inability to mount an effective defense.
- Ruthlessness – “Anyone who willfully and maliciously attacks another without sufficient cause deserves no consideration.” Operate within the confines of the law but offer no relief to the enemy. Given a chance to remove the threat, do so.
- Surprise – Do what your attacker does not expect you to do. By catching the attacker off guard, you can gain the advantage.
In addition to the previously mentioned works, COL Cooper is deeply engrained in many other principles of firearms training which include the four rules of firearm safety and firearm carry conditions. If you have ever heard of the scout rifle concept before then you have heard of another one of the works that COL Cooper is well-known for refining.
What do you think is the most important principle of personal defense? Leave your remarks in the comments section.
Do you have a personal defense story that you would be willing to share? If so, please fill out the contact form on The Prepared Ninja homepage and let us know about it.
Disclaimer – Consult all local laws and regulations regarding use of force and personal defense. The author of this blog post is not an attorney or not otherwise qualified to offer legal advise or counsel on any subject. The information provided here is strictly for the purpose of provoking thought on the subject matter.