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 www.tsa.dot.gov.
  • 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.

Photo Credit:freedomguide.blogspot.com

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

Packaging

-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!

Do You WD-40?

Image Credit: WD40.com

You learn something new every day and I am far from being the exception. I was astonished to learn today that WD-40  has over 2,000 uses. Of course, my wife knew that already and immediately put my manhood into question. Not much to be done about that though I guess. What I thought was a handy product, I now view as liquid miracle in a can. With so many uses, WD-40 can do just about everything but set a dislocated shoulder!

I also learned that WD stands for water displacement and the 40 in the name made its way there because it was the 40th attempt that finally got the formula right. So after 40 attempts to develop this secret recipe of lubricants, Water Displacement – 40th Formula (WD-40) was created. This multi-purpose lubricant is safe to use on metal, wood, rubber, and plastic and performs the five functions of lubrication, penetrating, protection of surfaces, removal of dirt and grime, and displacement of moisture.

So the variety of WD-40 uses span the following six major categories and include specific uses like:

Home/Garden

- Keeps blades on outdoor power equipment from rusting.

- Cleans and protects garden tools.

- Spray around the bottom of your garbage cans to prevent animals from getting into them.

Car/Truck

- Keeps vehicle battery terminals clean and rust free.

- Keeps winch cables clean and lubricated.

- Unfreezes car doors.

On The Job

- Cleans magazines for magazine-fed firearms.

- Spray on hands before using heavy adhesives to prevent sticking.

- Improves cutting time for drills.

Garage/Workshop

- Protects tools from corrosion.

- Drives out moisture from flashlights.

- Prevents corrosion on pulley systems.

Sports/Recreation

- Lubricates pump-action firearms.

- Keeps fishing reels rust free.

- Cleans knife blades.

Other

- Loosens tight propane tank handles.

- Spray locking rods of portable fire-proof safes to keep them operating properly.

- Keeps missile silo doors swinging freely.

It seems to me that after stumbling upon the list of 2,000+ uses for WD-40 that it might be a great item to have on hand and potentially even stockpile for barter use in the future. In addition to the over 2K uses for WD-40, it literally has an indefinite shelf life which makes it perfect for your survival stockpile. Don’t forget to print off a copy of the over 2,000 uses for WD-40 to keep in your prep library.

If you know of a great WD-40 use or a story about the uses of WD-40 please leave a comment!

Sutures, The Megan Fox Of Medical Skills

The ability to suture or “stitch” a wound is considered by many to be one of the “sexiest” skills in the arena of medicine. Using that thought process, we can say that sutures are to medicine as Megan Fox is to actresses. While the skills associated with being able to close a wound can be extremely helpful, what many people don’t realize is that suturing a wound can be deadly in some circumstances. A wound that is closed and leaves a pocket on the inside can essentially just seal infection in the body and ultimately lead to death if not treated properly and quickly. If learning to suture is on your wish list of survival training to acquire, it is imperative that you also know the proper circumstances to not only suture a wound, but when not to suture a wound, what materials to use, and the appropriate technique to use. Now the million dollar question…how do you get all this high tech knowledge?

I recently found the mother of all suturing resources, the Ethicon Wound Closure Manual. For those that are not familiar with the name Ethicon, they are a division of Johnson & Johnson and just happen to manufacture sutures. In my opinion, (for whatever that is worth) that adds a lot of weight to the content of this manual and makes it a must add to your survival library. The information will clarify the myriad of questions that undoubtedly accompany a subject like sutures and suturing. I know that in my case, I have received several hours of formal training on how to suture, when to suture, and what materials to use and this manual still introduced several new key pieces of knowledge to my survival skill set.

Some of the contents of this manual include:

Wound Healing & Management – The Wound, Classifications of Wounds, and Types of Wound Healing

The Suture – What is a Suture?, Personal Suture Preference, Suture Characteristics, Specific Suturing Materials, Common Suturing Techniques, Knot Tying, Suture Removal, Suture Handling Tips, and Suture Selection Procedure

The Surgical Needle – Elements of Needle Design, Principles of Choosing a Surgical Needle, Anatomy of a Needle, Types of Needles, Needleholders, and Needle Handling Tips

Packaging & Topical Skin Adhesives – Suture Preparation, Suture Handling Technique, and Dermabond Skin Adhesive

Other Surgical Products – Adhesive Tapes, Surgical Staples, Looped Suture, and Suture Retention Devices

I think the Wound Closure Manual is just awesome and not just because it covers the art of suturing but because it goes into the science behind when and why sutures are used, the construction of sutures, and how sutures interact with different types of tissue. It seems reasonable to me that even a healthcare professional has the potential to obtain new knowledge through the use of this manual.

The bottom line – use it if you find it useful, pass it along, and don’t forget to save a copy and print it our for your survival library.

Don’t be hesitant to leave a comment or share a story that you have, good, bad, or otherwise about sutures and the importance of having the ability to suture in the event that things go south.

DISCLAIMER: The reader/end user of this information is completely and solely responsible for ensuring they are properly trained to perform these procedures and are also legally able to do so. The Prepared Ninja and its affiliates are not responsible for illegal/improper performance or misuse of the skills covered and/or implied in this blog post.

Bollocks! I Need Bandages! (And Medical Knowledge)

Medical care can be hard to come by at times when infrastructure is running like a well oiled machine and I can only imagine what access to care may be like in the event of a disaster. The single greatest way to combat a lack of available expertise in the event of a disaster is to expand your knowledge base now, supplemented with adequate supplies. Right! It is just too bad that medical training and supplies are supremely expensive. It is possible though to obtain medical knowledge and medical supplies without any cost to you. Here’s how:

1. Employer Programs – Many employers have a need for employees that have some level of medical training. This could be anywhere from a basic American Red Cross first aid or CPR course all the way up to more advanced skills training like EMT or wilderness medicine courses. Find out if your employer has these types of programs so that you can take advantage of them. If your employer does not offer training opportunities like these, it may be something to bring up as a value to the company in being prepared for an emergency or natural disaster. Of course, when you bring it up, you will want to tell your boss that you are more than willing to volunteer to be the first trainee that the company sends. If you are an employer, consider sending some of your employees to additional training opportunities. It will not only enhance the capabilities of your company but show your employees that you are loyal to them, often resulting in employee loyalty in return.

2. Free Giveaways – We live in the age of online giveaways whether it be a contest put on by a podcast or blog, an essay contest, or a company giving away their products, there are several opportunities that can be taken advantage of for those who are willing to look. 

3. First Aid Supply Companies – If you happen to work at a location that has a first aid kit that is maintained by a first aid supply company, you have the opportunity to get free medical supplies. Like anything in life there are no guarantees but, depending on company policies you may be able to obtain “out of date” or excess medical supplies from the supply company representative. One of the dirty secrets of medical supplies is that they are often good past their expiration date. *I want to be clear that I am not endorsing the use of expired medical supplies. However, if you are able to obtain excess or expired medical supplies, they are always great items to use for medical training. There is always the thought process that something is better than nothing as well if there was a catastrophic medical emergency or a long-term period without access to medical care. 

4. Sales Combined w/ Coupons – There are many coupon websites that will help you match up coupons with the best sales that are going on in stores across the country. One of my favorites is The Krazy Coupon Lady. Armed with this knowledge, you are able to take coupons for first aid items and many times get them for free or dang near it. Some of my scores in the past have included free bandages and individual first aids for less than $0.25.

5. Online Knowledge Sites – There is a wealth of knowledge online for those seeking greater knowledge. Some of the great medical knowledge sites are outlined below:

The following resources are not just available for online expansion of your medical knowledge but are great for adding to your hard copy survival library as well. Enjoy!

Hesperian Health GuidesBooks & Resources

Hesperian offer several downloadable medical and health guides. While I have covered ‘Where There Is No Doctor‘ before, many of what I would consider their premium offerings were highlighted by none other than Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy over at the Doom and Bloom Nation.

Open MichiganUM Medical School

Open source information from the University of Michigan School of Medicine.

Health Sciences OnlineSearch

A comprehensive website that provides searchable health sciences knowledge from over 50,000 learning resources selected from accredited universities, governments, and professional societies.

Mayo ClinicFirst Aid

First aid information to help you during an emergency. Everything from anaphylaxis to toothache.

American Veterinary Medical AssociationFirst Aid Tips For Pet Owners

Pet first aid procedures and medical tips to help you pet at home, on the road, and during a disaster.

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!

Reading, reviewing, memorizing, looking at these resources or staying at a Holiday Inn does not qualify you to be a medical professional. The priority here should be to gain the basic knowledge to make life-saving interventions when absolutely necessary without causing further injury or death to your patient. Also, possession of medical supplies and equipment does not equate to having the proper knowledge to use them or legal right to do so. Please consult your local laws and regulations to ensure that you are in compliance with such laws.

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!

As always, please make sure to pick up the slack and cover anything that I may have missed or add additional comments, questions, or concerns below!

509 Pages of Pure Preparedness (Free!!!)

Well…I am a little wiped out tonight after a long day at work and helping watch the kids all afternoon so today will not be a post that is chock full o’ endless wisdom. With that being said, I did not want to let the day go by without posting anything at all. I was contacted last night by Christopher Parrett, the owner of the website Another Voice Of Warning offering a great free resource for the Prepared Ninja readers. Another Voice Of Warning is hosting the new 2012 15th Anniversary Edition of the LDS Preparedness Manual. This new update almost doubled the size of the LDS manual! This is a great resource for preppers and is available as a free download here. The price is right. The information is great. There is nothing to lose. Go download the Preparedness Manual now!

I would like to thank Mr. Christopher Parrett and Another Voice Of Warning for not only making this great resource available for free to the prepper community but also for going out of his way to let us know about it here at the Prepared Ninja.

Financial Self Defense w/ The Alpha Strategy

I am not big on investing with the current economic situation.  It scares me.  I am afraid that I will save my money and when I need it the most it will not be there for me.  That does not mean that I think it will have all disappeared.  I believe that with inflation and changes in law that by the time I need the money what is left will not be enough to truly amount to anything significant.

I even think the future may bring a different set of classes.  Instead of the upper, middle, and lower classes I think we might be looking at the haves and have-nots.  This is where The Alpha Strategy comes into play.  The Alpha Strategy is a book written by John A. Pugsley in 1980 but should not be written off as non-applicable to today’s situation.  Mr. Pugsley’s work is not only relivant but enlightening and could almost be treated in part as a guide to assist in preparing for an uncertain future.

Pugsley comes from the Austrian economics school of thought which is gaining more and more traction lately across the globe.  If you are interested in learning more about the Austrian school of thought check out the Ludwig von Mises Institute.  While the background on economics and the economy is great, what makes The Alpha Strategy such a great tome for the survivalist/prepper is the valuable approach to accumulating wealth through physical holding of goods and not paper or intangible investments.  The emphasis is placed on holding future consumables because you are protected from inflation, taxes on inflation are avoided, investment risk is avoided, and storing these items is a hedge against a recession or depression.

The Alpha Strategy breaks investments down into four levels.  Level one is investment in production which is essentially education, a second trade, and tools with which to produce.  Level two is to save consumables such as items to maintain your home or shelter, foods, beverages, first aid supplies, hygiene items, cleaning supplies, clothing, etc.  The third level of The Alpha Strategy is to save real money.  This includes manufactured goods for the purpose of resale or barter, raw commodities, and precious metals to name a few.  The fourth and final level is to protect against theft.

This is a great book for the prepper but also for the person that just wishes to better understand how the economy works.  The bonus is that it contains a written plan for how to invest in tangible assets as a means of securing your future.  If you are interested in reading The Alpha Strategy, it can be downloaded from The Bio-Rational Institute.

A Must Have Prepper Resource!

The LDS Preparedness Manual is a valuable resource that offers a great start for those that are unsure of where to start with your preps.  This manual can be downloaded here for free from abysmal.com.  Some of the great information contained in the LDS manual includes a sample 96 Hour Kit, Food Storage Information, Basic Foods List, Emergency Shelter, Defensive Needs, Terrorism, and the impressive list just continues.  This is not something that I would consider as being a resource that is restricted to members of the LDS community but a tool that can be utilized by anyone that is serious about making steps towards preparedness and independant living.  Check it out today and see what a great addition to the prep library it will be!

Prep Library – Where There Is No Doctor

Here is a reccomendation for those who are always looking to add to your survival library.  The book Where There Is No Doctor is a great resource that can be downloaded for free from the Hesperian Foundation here.  It is available in English or Spanish.  This manual contains information on how to diagnose, treat, and prevent common illnesses and injuries in a user friendly and easy to understand format.  It is perfect for those that are looking for a medical reference to use in case there is no access to a health care provider.  I would recommend downloading it and printing out a copy for the bookshelf.