Category Archives: Prep Library

Warning! For Freedom Lovers Only…

The Ashbrook Center of Ashland University has recently published a collection of historical American documents that is titled, 50 Core American Documents: Required Reading for Students, Teachers, and Citizens. Some may ask, what does this have to do with prepping? Having this knowledge and understanding of our freedoms and how they were gained is the most important factor in making sure that we are prepared to take on those who wish to take these freedoms from us. You know, the people who believe that because one person gets hurt with an object, that no one should be able to own that object or anything that resembles it. Yeah…those people. These documents are available to view individually on the Ashbrook website, the print version can be purchased from Amazon, or it is available to download for free from iTunes. The list of included documents is as follows:

50 Core American Documents

  1. Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776)
  2. Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments (James Madison – June 20, 1785)
  3. Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (Thomas Jefferson – January 16, 1786)
  4. Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 (James Madison – 1787)
  5. Constitution of the United States (September 17, 1787)
  6. Brutus I (October 18, 1787)
  7. The Federalist No. 1 (Publius – October 27, 1787)
  8. Brutus II (October 27, 1787)
  9. The Federalist No. 10 (Publius – October 27, 1787)
  10. The Federalist No. 51 (Publius – February 6, 1788)
  11. Speech on Amendments to the Constitution (James Madison – June 8, 1789)
  12. Letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport (George Washington – August 18, 1790)
  13. Bill of Rights (December 15, 1791)
  14. “Property” (James Madison – March 29, 1792)
  15. Farewell Address (George Washington – September 19, 1796)
  16. First Inaugural Address (Thomas Jefferson – March 4, 1801)
  17. Marbury v. Madison (February 24, 1803)
  18. Letter to John Holmes (Thomas Jefferson – April 22, 1820)
  19. Monroe Doctrine (James Monroe – December 2, 1823)
  20. Letter to Henry Lee (Thomas Jefferson – May 8, 1825)
  21. Letter to Roger C. Weightman (Thomas Jefferson – June 24, 1826)
  22. Webster-Hayne Debates (Daniel Webster and Robert Y. Hayne – January 1830)
  23. Fort Hill Address (John C. Calhoun – July 26, 1831)
  24. Veto Message of the Bill of the Bank of the United States (Andrew Jackson – July 10, 1832)
  25. Proclamation Regarding Nullification (Andrew Jackson – December 10, 1832)
  26. Speech on the Oregon Bill (John C. Calhoun – June 27, 1848)
  27. “What to the Slave in the Fourth of July?” (Frederick Douglass – July 5, 1852)
  28. Speech on the Repeal of the Missouri Compromise (Abraham Lincoln – October 16, 1854)
  29. Dred Scott v. Sandford (March 6, 1857)
  30. Fragment on the Constitution and Union (Abraham Lincoln – January 1861)
  31. “Corner Stone” Speech (Alexander H. Stephens – March 21, 1861)
  32. Final Emancipation Proclamation (Abraham Lincoln – January 1, 1863)
  33. Gettysburg Address (Abraham Lincoln – November 19, 1863)
  34. Resolution Submitting the Thirteenth Amendment to the States (Abraham Lincoln – February 1, 1865)
  35. Second Inaugural Address (Abraham Lincoln – March 4, 1865)
  36. Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln (Frederick Douglass – April 14, 1876)
  37. Plessy v. Ferguson (May 18, 1896)
  38. Roosevelt Corollary to Monroe Doctrine (Theodore Roosevelt – December 6, 1904)
  39. New Nationalism Speech (Theodore Roosevelt – August 31, 1910)
  40. Progressive Party Platform of 1912 (August 7, 1912)
  41. “Fourteen Points” Message (Woodrow Wilson – January 8, 1918)
  42. Speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence (Calvin Coolidge – July 5, 1926)
  43. Commonwealth Club Address (Franklin D. Roosevelt – September 23, 1932)
  44. Speech on the Consequences of the Proposed New Deal (Herbert Hoover – October 31, 1932)
  45. 1944 State of the Union Address (Franklin D. Roosevelt – January 11, 1944)
  46. The Long Telegram (George Kennan – February 22, 1946)
  47. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka I and II (1954 and 1955)
  48. “I Have a Dream” Speech (Martin Luther King – August 28, 1963)
  49. “Great Society” Speech (Lyndon B. Johnson – May 22, 1964
  50. “A Time for Choosing” (Ronald Reagan – October 27, 1964)

 About 50 Core American Documents

The Ashbrook Center’s 50 Core American Documents is meant to introduce readers to America’s story as it has unfolded from the American Founding into the Twentieth Century. Many of the documents emphasize America’s uniqueness and contributions to the world, but they also present different views on some of the major issues and disputes in American history and government, especially on the meaning of liberty, the injustice of slavery, and the demands of progress. Taken as such, the documents reveal a kind of political dialogue to readers, an ongoing and profoundly consequential conversation about how Americans have agreed and often disagreed on the meaning of freedom and self-government. 50 Core American Documents invites teachers and citizens alike to join in this American political dialogue.

SURVIVALKEY Product Review

Not often is there a one stop shop for survival and preparedness information that not only has all of the necessary information, but makes it easily accessible as well. Enter….a recent newcomer to the survival and preparedness arena by the name of The SURVIVALKEY, a revolutionary new searchable database that is LOADED with videos, plans, checklists, and articles that contain the knowledge vital to being properly prepared. Whether your concern is a natural disaster, societal collapse, or economic troubles, there is a plethora of information that is included with the SURVIVALKEY that can ensure you have the tools to survive any situation. From clean water to food storage and urban survival to bugging out, The SURVIVALKEY has got you covered. As an added bonus, this is a dowloadable resource that will be available with or without an internet connection.

One of the differentiating factors that makes this database stand out from similar products is the wide variety of subject matter that is covered. The SURVIVALKEY includes the following categories:

  • Disaster Planning
  • Water
  • Food Prep & Storage
  • Shelter & Evacuation
  • Medical & First Aid
  • Sanitation & Hygiene
  • Wilderness Survival
  • Farming & Gardening
  • Hunting & Fishing
  • Survival Weapons
  • Security & Protection
  • Data Security & Storage
  • Communications
  • Transportation
  • Frugal Living
  • Sustainable Living & Homesteading
  • Disaster Fitness & Wellness
  • Alternative Energy
  • Community Preparedness
  • Spiritual & Mental Health
  • Books, Manuals & Other

If that is not enough, the resources that are included can be added to a favorites folder for easy access later and most of the content can be downloaded for inclusion with a survival reference book, thumb drive, etc. One of the other things that I really like about this software is the inclusion of an ‘absolute essentials’ folder in each section that covers the bare minimum areas that should be addressed for each area of preparedness.

The SURVIVALKEY is not something that is just thrown together. The content is developed by industry professionals and people who are passionate about survival and what they do. There is over five years of research and development that went into putting this together. Not only is The SURVIVALKEY developed and maintained by professionals, it is endorsed by professionals. Lieutenant General William G. “Jerry” Boykin (Retired), former commander of elite U.S. Army unit SFOD-D (Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta), commonly known as Delta Force, not only endorses SURVIVALKEY but he uses it himself. Here is what LTG Boykin has to say about it:

I started looking for ways to better understand what I would be up against and to know how to deal with it. The thing that I found that impressed me most, and that my family and I are using to prepare ourselves, is called SURVIVALKEY. It tells you everything you need to know about how to assess your current state of readiness and to prepare your family. It tells you what to get. It tells you how to train your family. It tells you a lot of things that are going to be critical to us in the coming days. Don’t wait, get SURVIVALKEY today.

If I haven’t listed enough reasons to check out The SURVIVALKEY yet, consider the fact that a good book on a single subject like bug out bags or urban survival can cost upwards of $20. The information that is contained in this product is worth hundreds of dollars at a minimum! The one time cost for The SURVIVALKEY is a huge savings over trying to piece the same information together from individual sources, not only in money but time as well.

Make sure to check out SURVIVALKEY. This is the LAST survival guide you will ever have to buy!

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!

Travel Safety Checklist

Safety is a constant concern for almost everyone, especially with the current state of the world. There are places though where most people feel more comfortable. Being at home or at a loved ones house for example. It seems safe to say that a good percentage of people feel most vulnerable while they are traveling or in a foreign environment (which usually goes hand in hand with traveling). I am no different myself and have as a result of this insecurity, developed some practices that have served me well to ensure my safety as I travel. These practices have come from instinct, experience, my military training, and others from personal research that I have conducted. They have been compiled neatly into a checklist so that hopefully they can be of help to you all as well.

 Prior To Traveling:

  • Clean out your wallet. Remove any items not needed for travel and those that could be used for identity fraud.
  • Ensure that you have the correct directions and check local road conditions if driving.
  • Double check reservation information if flying, going by train, or other travel means.
  • Check the weather at all locations where you will be traveling for the duration of your travel to ensure that you have all of the appropriate clothing that you will need.
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary at home. Include your travel arrangements and hotels where you will be staying.
  • Check your person and carry-on bag for anything that might be construed as a weapon. For an updated list of prohibited items see
  • Have a current emergency contact form left with your supervisor if the travel is work related.
  • Arrange to make regularly scheduled check-in calls at home and at work as appropriate.
  • Make sure your passport is current and not too close to the expiration date.
  • If you are going overseas: Photocopy the contents of your wallet, passport and visa. Include passport-sized photos of yourself in case you need to have it replaced. Make a list of the overseas contact numbers for your credit card company. Make a list of all embassies. Keep copies in your carry-on bag and in your checked luggage.
  • Make sure your medical coverage is effective in all areas that you will travel to including overseas. Bring all prescription medication in original containers. Bring copies of any prescriptions you need, this includes glasses or contacts.
General Recommendations:
  • Keep a low profile. Dress and behave conservatively.
  • Do not wear clothing with American logos.
  •  Keep $30-50 and one credit card in your wallet or purse when traveling. Store the balance of your credit cards, traveler checks, and cash in a money belt or similar item worn under your clothes.
  • Clothing that exhibits expensive labels or brand markings has the potential to make you the target of an assault or robbery.
  • If you have military or distinctive identification that could make you a target do not carry it in your wallet.
  • Lock all luggage. Do not place anything on your luggage identifying your nationality.
  • Vary regular travel routes by changing travel times or using different roads.
  • Avoid areas where you are likely to be victimized. These include crowded mass transit stations, tourist attractions, market places, festivals and marginal areas of cities or towns.
  • Don’t use short cuts, narrow alleys or poorly lit streets. Try not to travel alone at night.
  • Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances.
  • Do not discuss travel plans or other personal matters with strangers. If it can be avoided, don’t discuss such matters in public either.
  • Beware of strangers who approach you, offering bargains or to be your guide.
  • Move with purposeful strides. If you are lost, act as if you know where you are going. When possible, ask directions only from individuals in authority. Generally, families or women with children are the safest persons to ask for directions.
  • Know how to use local pay telephones and have change to do so. Consider cell phone service that works in the country you are traveling in. Obtain local /international calling cards.
  • Learn enough of the local language so you can communicate your need for help, the police, or a doctor. Carry a list of emergency telephone numbers you may need: police, fire, your hotel, and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • If you are confronted, don’t fight back. Give up your valuables. Fight only as a last resort.
  • In nightclubs and restaurants locate the functional emergency exits before any emergency.

Airline Travel Safety:

  • Select an airline with a good safety record. Your travel agent will have this information.
  • Try to schedule direct flights.
  • Wide-bodied aircraft typically are the preferred airframe to travel on.
  • Arrive at the airport early enough to clear security, at least 3 hours prior to flight time for international flights and 2 hours prior to departure for domestic flights.
  • Verify that ticket or gate agents have taken the correct coupons of any paper tickets and returned all coupons that you will need for later flights.
  • Verify you have received a baggage tag for each piece of checked luggage and that the tag matches your destination.
  • Keep your passport and any paper airline ticket in a zippered pouch of your carry on bag. Always return them to the same place.
  • Clear the check-in area as quickly as possible and move into the secure part of the terminal.
  • Report any suspicious activity to airport security or flight attendants immediately.
  • Watch your belongings as they go through the X-ray screening machine. Make sure you watch the bags as they enter the machine and then pass through the metal detector in time to pick up your bag as it clears the machine. If the person in front of you stops or fails the screening test, do not allow your belongings to go through until the path to retrieve them on the other side is clear. Most laptops and purses are stolen at security by teams of thieves.
  • Place carry-on bags in overhead storage across the aisle from your seat so you can see if anyone is trying to open them during the flight.
  • To speed response time in the event of emergency and to avoid the possibility of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) use of sleep aids and alcohol should be avoided.
  • Traveling in natural fiber clothing is more comfortable for some and tends to be more fire resistant.
  • Upon arrival use hotel provided transportation where possible. If you take a cab, select your own taxicabs at random. Don’t take a vehicle that is not clearly identified as a taxi. Compare the face of the driver with the one posted on his or her license. Once seated in the cab insure doors are locked, position yourself so you can see the drivers eyes in the rearview mirror should they fall asleep while driving.
  • If you are being met at an airport make sure the placard used displays a number of your selection and not your name. When asked, the person holding the number sign must be able to tell you your name. Kidnappers copy names on signs and stand closer to the entrance than legitimate drivers.
Hotel Safety:
  • Stay at reputable hotels and motels. The large, western Hotel chains usually have adequate security. Select a hotel that allows you to take different routes to your destination if possible.
  • Ask for a second story room at a motel. Ground floor rooms are more susceptible to break in. Staying on the second floor also makes it easier to escape if there is a fire. Try to avoid staying above the third floor in any country without a modern and well-equipped fire department. Never stay above the seventh floor.
  • Check the windows and doors to make sure they are secure including the lock on the door of an adjoining room.
  • Read the fire safety instructions in your hotel room. Know how to report a fire. Be sure you know where the nearest fire exits and alternate exits are located. Count the doors between your room and the nearest exit. Do the same for an alternate exit. This will allow you to reach the exit if the corridor is dark or filled with smoke. Consider traveling with an emergency escape hood.
  • Don’t open the door to anybody unless you are familiar with him or her. Talk through the door without opening it. Hotel door chains are practically useless.
  • Keep your hotel door locked at all times. Meet visitors in the lobby.
  • Do not leave money and other valuables in your hotel room while you are out. Use the hotel safe. Do not leave business documents, especially proprietary material, in the room unsecured.
  • Let someone know when you expect to return if you are out late at night.
  • If you are alone, do not get on an elevator if there is a suspicious-looking person inside.

Traveling At Your Destination:

-By Car:

  • When renting a car, choose a type commonly available locally. Choose a model with a good safety rating. If possible, ask that markings that identify it as a rental car be removed.
  • Get the latest model available, make certain it is in good repair and that it has emergency roadside equipment. Always wear seatbelts.
  • Pick a car with power locks and windows.
  • Select a car with an air conditioner. This will allow you to drive with windows closed. This prevents items from being snatched from inside your car.
  • Check the car every time that you do not have direct eye contact with the car.
  • Try not to park your car on the street overnight. If the hotel or municipality does not have a parking garage or other secure area, select a well-lit area.
  • Keep all doors locked while driving.
  • Don’t leave valuables on your seats while driving or when you park.
  • Travel using different roads.
-Choosing The Best Road:
  • Drive on a main road.
  • Travel roads with more than one lane.
  • Prefer roads that are close to a police station.
  • When driving use the rearview mirror to detect any cars that may be following you.
  • Be aware of the location of safe-havens such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals.
  • Pay attention to any unusual objects on the road (road blocks, cars stopped on side roads).
  • As much as possible, avoid driving at night.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • Don’t exit your car if there are suspicious looking individuals in the area.
-Public Transportation:
  • Check the Consular Information Sheets to find out if a country has a pattern of tourists being targeted by criminals on public transportation.
  • Only take taxis clearly identified with official markings. Beware of unmarked cabs. Chose them yourself and at random.
  • Avoid mass transportation at night. Spend the extra money and take a taxi.
  • Robbery of passengers on trains along popular tourists routes is a serious problem. It is more common on overnight trains.
  • Do not accept food or drink from strangers. It may be drugged.
  • On overnight trains, lock the sleeping compartment.
  • Do not be afraid to inform the conductor or other official if you feel threatened. Police are frequently assigned to ride trains that have been targeted before.
  • The same type of criminal activity found on trains can be found on public buses used by tourists.
How to Handle Money Safely:
  • Separate your cash into two portions. Keep some of the money in your wallet and the rest in a belt or separate place on your person. If you have a purse carry it in front of you, over your shoulder across your chest, hold on to it with your hands and walk with the bag away from the curb to avoid drive-by purse-snatchers.
  • Beware of pickpockets. Anyone can be a pickpocket. Generally, a pickpocket will use an accomplice to distract you while your pocket is being picked. A common ploy is to have an accomplice bump into you but anything that will distract you will also be effective.
  • To avoid carrying large amounts of cash, change your travelers’ checks or withdraw money from  an ATM, as you need currency.
  • Do not flash large amounts of money when paying a bill. Make sure your credit card is returned to you after each transaction. Check periodically for unauthorized charges.
  • Deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money. Do not change money on the black market.
  • If your possessions are lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to the local police. Keep a copy of the police report for insurance claims. After reporting missing items to the police, report the loss or theft of credit cards, traveler’s checks, airline tickets and your passport. This will be much easier to accomplish if you have remembered to photocopy the contents of your wallet and if you have written down the overseas contact numbers of your credit card companies. Contact the local embassy or consulate to replace your passport.
Travel to High-Risk Areas: 
If you must travel in an area where there has been a history of terrorist attacks or kidnapping or that is the subject of a State Department traveler alert, be sure you:
  1. Register with the U.S. embassy or consulate upon arrival.
  2. Do not discuss personal matters and your itinerary with casual acquaintances or strangers.
  3. Leave no personal or business papers in your hotel room.
  4. Watch for people or vehicles following you.
  5. Remember the golden rule of counter-surveillance; if you see the same person or vehicle two times, separated by time and distance, you are probably being followed. If it happens three times, you are being followed. Contact the local police and the nearest embassy or consulate for guidance.
  6. Refuse unexpected packages.
  7. Check for loose wires, packages or other suspicious objects around your car.
  8. Check under the car when you park. Note the presence of any object under your car when you return.
  9. Be sure your vehicle is mechanically sound in case you need to resort to high-speed or evasive driving.
  10. Drive with car windows closed in crowded streets. Bombs can be thrown through open windows and it is easier for an assailant to enter your car if the window is open.
  11. If you are ever in a situation where somebody starts shooting, drop to the floor or get down as low as possible. Do the same if you are in a building and you hear an explosion outside. Often, people will rush to windows after a blast in order to see what happened and are killed as the pressure wave, moving slower than the speed of sound, blows out the windows. Don’t move until you are sure the danger has passed. Take cover behind or under a solid object. If you must move stay as low as possible.
Hijacking/Hostage Situations:
Generally speaking, the most dangerous parts of a hijacking or hostage situation are the beginning and, if there is a rescue attempt, the end. Terrorists are typically are most volatile during the initial moments of a hijacking. Make every attempt to remain calm and alert. The following recommendations are from the US Department of State. These recommendations are under review in light of the events of 9/11. For the most part it is recommended that these guidelines be adhered to unless and until it becomes apparent that the hijackers intend to use the aircraft as a weapon. In that event, it is necessary to resist at all costs. I would also add that if the hijackers are only using boxcutters and are outnumbered 40 to 1 by the passengers, that overpowering the hijackers by force is likely to be in order but must be decided by the hostages that are in the situation themselves.
  • Do not resist. Follow their demands and make no sudden or threatening movements. Do not fight or try to escape unless you are certain of being successful.
  • Force yourself to remain calm and prepare yourself mentally, physically and emotionally for the possibility of a long ordeal.
  • Do nothing to bring attention upon yourself. Avoid direct eye contact with the hijackers and do not obviously observe their actions.
  • Initially, do not attempt to use a cell phone to call for help. Later, a cell phone may prove invaluable.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages. Consume little food and drink.
  • Cooperate with the hijackers. Do not complain or be confrontational.
  • Expect to be interrogated. Answer questions directly but don’t volunteer information or make unnecessary overtures.
  • As the situation becomes less volatile, you can make reasonable requests for personal comforts such as going to the bathroom or getting something to drink.
  • If you are taken hostage for a longer period of time, try to establish a rapport with your captors, avoiding confrontational subjects such as politics in favor of universally understood topics like family.
  • Try to keep your mind active and try to exercise regularly if possible.
  • Eat what they give you, whenever it is given. You have no way of knowing if your food or water will be withheld later on.
  • If you are a religious person, pray earnestly and often. Don’t become despondent. People are looking for you and are trying to get you safely returned.
Remember the key point is to make a potential aggressor’s job more difficult. A serious criminal or terrorist will watch his or her target before attempting his crime / terrorist act. If they see that you are not an easy target, they will most likely move on to someone who is.

While I was putting this post together I recalled a piece from earlier this year that Bryan Black and the gang over at ITS Tactical put together about luggage security that definitely applies here and would be worth your time to check out.

Sources: Global Security Group, Rotary International, ITS Tactical

Cache Me If You Can!

A popular tactic for storing survival and preparedness items is to bury them in a cache. The term cache (which is pronounced ‘cash’ by the way) comes from the French term cacher which literally means to conceal or to hide. Contrary to the popular opinion, a cache does not have to be buried in the ground. There is plenty of history behind the cache but typically it was explorers, fur trappers, and mountain men who would use caches to preposition supplies or stash their furs for periods of time. From the survival perspective, a cache can be used to position supplies at a retreat, along a bug-out route, or even to keep supplies on your property without them being easily found or accessed. Often times, a survival cache will be placed covertly in an area like a National Park or some sort of public land.


There are a number of theories on what the best technique for caching items is but I thought the best source of information would be those with some experience. I know a specific group of men who are spectacular at places caches, the United States Army Special Forces, commonly known as the Green Berets. The Army Special Forces even have specific guidelines spelled out in the US Army Special Forces Caching Techniques training circular.

The Special Forces training circular covers all aspects of caching and considerations that go into it over the course of 25 pages. The three sections that are covered include:

Caching Considerations

-Planning     -Concealment     -Site Selection     -Soil Types


-Determination Factors for Packaging     -Steps in Packaging     -Wrapping Materials     -Containers

Methods of Emplacement

-Burial     -Equipment     -Emplacement Site Considerations     -Submersion

-Special Considerations For Specific Types of Equipment

The single greatest thing about this training circular is the fact that the entire range of caching possibilities is covered. Once you read this information you will have the tools that are needed to cache items underground, in the water, and covers all the angles involved in caching. There is even a 12-Point Cache Report.

Don’t forget to print off a copy for your survival library. Leave a comment if you have something you would like to contribute and feel inclined to do so!