Category Archives: Preparedness

Fighting an Invisible Enemy

The following post is a guest contribution and highlights a little discussed area of emergency preparedness.

Chemical and Biological Warfare: Fighting an Invisible Enemy

The news story first popped up a few days ago: a mysterious, deadly illness that doctors haven’t been able to diagnose. All of the sudden, it’s everywhere, and the mortality rate is scary. Grocery stores are empty. Families lock themselves in their homes. Schools are shuttered. Once doctors and law enforcement officers get sick, society starts crumbling. Only one thing could make the scenario more frightening: that somebody did it intentionally.

There’s something about biological warfare – and its cousin, chemical warfare – that resonates with our most primitive fears about the enemy we don’t see coming. Everyday objects and even the very air we breathe suddenly seem dangerous. Even worse, once the genie is out of the bottle, there’s no putting it back in. It’s uncontrollable and, in the case of biological warfare, often self-perpetuating.

World governing bodies like the United Nations and NATO have condemned the use of such weapons, but that doesn’t mean rogue nations and terrorists won’t use them anyway. That’s why it’s so important for both governments and individuals to know how to be prepared and what to do.

Detection and Response

The World Health Organization (WHO) formed an early warning system dedicated to monitoring and reacting to suspicious outbreaks. The Global Outbreak Alert and Response network links more than 70 worldwide sources of information on rising health issues. Trained teams are ready to deploy within 24 hours. They’re tasked with identifying the chemical or biological agent and forming an appropriate response.

The U.S. military has developed a number of detection systems, from miniature labs that travel around on Humvees to multi-sensor arrays monitored from ships. And they’re constantly working to improve their methods of containment, decontamination, and treatment. In addition, since some chemical and biological weapons can be delivered with bombs or missiles, explosive detectors play a big role in the monitoring process.

In the event of an attack, doctors, nurses, and other first responders would be instrumental in sounding the alarm. All states have a list of “immediately reportable” diseases that have to be reported to the local health department. That means that even one case of a disease like smallpox is enough to mobilize a response. And, since some engineered weapons may not be easily diagnosable, doctors are also trained to report unusual clusters of illness. If an ER is suddenly flooded with people sick with an illness doctors can’t diagnose, they would immediately get the health department involved. They’d also be responsible for isolation and containment, including requiring all medical personnel to wear protective equipment.

What You Can Do

  1. The first line of defense is preparation. You should already have an emergency kit in case of an earthquake or other natural disaster. Make sure that kit also has gloves, plenty of soap, bleach, duct tape, and surgical masks.
  2. Have enough food and water to last for several days. In case of a biological attack with a contagious agent, isolation is key. You don’t want to have to go out in public to buy supplies.
  3. Identify a safe room in your home. It should be an interior room with few windows and, if possible, located on an upper floor. (Most biological and chemical agents are heavy enough to sink to the ground, so being higher may offer some protection.)  

Here are some tips on what to do if an attack actually happens:

  • Monitor the news for official information and instructions. Computers and smart devices are great, but in a worst-case scenario, they could lose power before the crisis is over. Make sure your emergency kit contains a battery-operated radio.
  • If you’re out in public, cover your nose and mouth with a shirt or scarf. Leave the area if you can, heading upwind.
  • If you’re home, grab your emergency kit and head for your safe room. Turn off all ventilation (heating, AC, etc.) systems and close the windows. Then use duct tape to seal the windows and doors as best as you can.

You’ll probably never have to use this information. But once you need it, it’s too late to go looking for it. Educate yourself on chemical and biological warfare so that if the worst occurs, you’ll be able to react right away.

About The Author

Jeremy S. is a self-confessed tech geek of several years. An avid blogger, you can read his informative articles on technology and various other blog sites.

Bombing Anniversary Serves As Reminder

Today marks the first anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. I think that it is important to remember the victims of this tragic and cowardly attack, but I feel that it should also serve as a reminder of the importance to be prepared. There are several of the victims that were wounded when the bombs went off that had their lives saved as a result of the quick thinking of the bystanders and first responders, accompanied by the ability of the same to improvise and apply effective tourniquets made of clothing and belts.

This is not an isolated incident either. The high profile shooting spree by Jared Loughner that resulted in Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords being shot in the head is another case where tourniquets and hemostatic agents, that were in the Law Enforcement medical kits carried by officers, are credited with saving the lives of the injured.

These kits are modeled off of TCCC or TC3 (Tactical Combat Casualty Care) which is based off of combat experiences and the most likely threats to the injured. One of the single greatest lessons learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is the safe use of tourniquets and the effectiveness of pressure bandages and hemostatic agents in stopping bleeding. This has led to law enforcement agencies and emergency medical responders being issued these same tools to use in their daily duties. The tourniquet was previously considered a last resort is now recognized as the primary tool to stop arterial bleeding on an extremity. John Cohen, senior counterterrorism official at the Department of Homeland Security stated in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing last year that, “As we began to take a hard look at how to respond to these types of incidents, what became clear was that the sooner you can stop victims from bleeding, the higher likelihood you will have for reducing fatalities, and the things that make the biggest difference in stopping bleeding are tourniquets and other bandages.” Findings like this have led to other initiatives across the United States that would make tourniquets and other lifesaving equipment available in public places like shopping malls and schools, where they could be employed by trained personnel or even the public if the need were to arise.

For preparedness minded individuals, this begs the question of, shouldn’t we do the same thing? The answer is an emphatic, yes! When making medical preparations, it is important to prepare first for the most likely scenario that will occur. For most of us, the primary threat to our health is some sort of accident. Because of this probability, a medical kit with a high quality tourniquet, pressure dressings, and hemostatic agent is an absolute must.

As a prepper, not only should medical kits be present in the home, but in the car, boat, RV, ATV, and range bag to name a few potential placements. This is because no one knows exactly when things could go wrong. It could be a mass shooting, there could be an accident at the gun range, or even an accident with a chainsaw while trying to fell a tree. These are all likely incidents that could require these particular medical supplies for proper treatment of the injuries.

My recommendation for a tourniquet would be the SOF Tourniquet accompanied by the Israeli Bandage or ETD (Emergency Trauma Dressing) for a pressure dressing and QuikClot Advanced Clotting Sponge hemostatic agent for an easy to use addition to your basic medical kit.

Regardless of the chosen supplies, what counts the most is having your medical kit put together and ready to use at a moments notice.

To see just how common incidents are where tourniquets and hemostatic agents are employed, look at this list of Law Enforcement Officer of Tactical EMS/Tactical Combat Casualty Care practices in action.

The Ultimate Survival Gun!

There is an never-ending debate in the preparedness world about whether or not the ultimate survival gun exists and what it may be. Of the many theories, there seems to be a bit of a lean towards the 12 Gauge Shotgun or .22 Caliber Rifle but I think I found the ultimate survival gun!

The X-Caliber by Chiappa Firearms is a two barrel, double trigger rifle in an over/under configuration which is chambered as a smooth bore 12 Gauge shotgun on top and a rifled .22 Long Rifle on bottom. The true “magic” (if you will) comes from the set of included adapters that make it the most flexible firearm available for almost any survival scenario. The 8 adapters included allow .380, 9 mm, .357 Mag/.38 Special, .40 S&W, .44 Mag, .45 ACP, .410 Gauge/.45 Colt and 20 Gauge to be fired out of the X-Caliber in addition to the primary offering of 12 Gauge and .22 Long Rifle. With a total availability of 12 different calibers, it very well could handle just about anything.

Not only is the X-Caliber capable of firing a myriad of cartridges, it is designed to be used as a survival rifle by integrating the ability to fold down to only 18.5 inches and the weight has been reduced by replacing the normal stock material with  polypropylene foam. This makes it capable of easily being transported in a backpack as part of a Bug Out Bag, Get Home Bag or other survival kit.

In addition to these features, the X-Caliber includes:

  • A space to hold 12 Gauge, .22 LR shells and cleaning kit inside of the stock.
  • Fixed optical fiber front sight and a rear sight that is adjustable for both windage and elevation to compensate for the caliber being used.
  • Three integrated picatinny rails to facilitate the mounting of optics, lights, etc.

What if you already have a 12 Gauge shotgun? No problem! The X-Caliber adapter set is available for purchase separately for use with a smooth bore 12 Gauge shotgun. I do feel that the use of these adapters will likely impact accuracy, especially at farther distances. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the X-Caliber rifle with complete insert set is $750 while the X-Caliber insert set alone is $450. There are cheaper firearms out there but not another one that I know of that can shoot such a variety of calibers.

What would your ultimate survival gun be?

The End of the World: The Sequel

The following post is a guest submission from JR about his personal experiences living with economic difficulties in Canada similar to those that we are experiencing here in the United States. Not only is it encouraging to know that this too shall pass, it provides me motivation to continue to prioritize decisions and make preparations for any unexpected times ahead.

The End of the World: The Sequel

Almost 48 million souls are on food stamps today in Obama’s America, with around 100 million adults not working. The real unemployment rate, the U6, is around 12.6% (hello, Jimmy Carter years!) while true unemployment, as reported by Shadowstats, recently showed a real unemployment rate of 23.2% – very close to the Great Depression rates. Meanwhile, the young – many of who voted for Obama – are now saddled with $1 trillion in student debt, that they cannot get rid of, short of renouncing their citizenship and moving to Mongolia. The Obama administration has arguably done more to destroy the financial well-being (which results in destroyed careers, damaged relationships, un-started marriages, and a hundred other social ills) of this country than any other political movement, war or disaster this nation has seen or experienced throughout its almost 250 year history.

You are 25 years old. Or perhaps 35. You have no career (or real career) to speak of. You have little to no money, and an equal or perhaps lesser amount of hope for the future. You have damaged relationships because of this and marriage, a home, a fulfilling career and children are only a dream.

What Do You Do?

There is, of course, no easy answer. However, similar to Fernando Aguirre, the author of the blog Surviving Argentina, whose website details his living through the even more profound Argentinian socialist financial meltdown of 2001 – I, too, went through a similar experience in another area of the world, British Columbia of the first half of the 1980s. No, it was not Argentina of 20 years later; on the other hand, how does an official unemployment rate peaking at 17.9% (Vancouver) and 24% (Nanaimo) – both of where I lived – strike you? I can tell you it struck me – and profoundly. Perhaps you may benefit from what I experienced, and what I did to get through that time. I hope that is the case. Just as with you, I, too, went through an “end of the world as we know it” scenario, economically speaking. It took many years to emerge from it, but I did. And this was without inheritances, money being given by sympathetic relatives, some profound stroke of good luck, or the like. I was totally and utterly on my own, as many of you are. Like me, you can make it, too – but it will take courage, creativity, elbow grease, and a good dollop of humility. So… let’s get started. I will recount my own story, with the hope that you can extrapolate from what I went through, and hopefully find a way to apply it to your own current situation.

In Feb. 1981, I finished my second graduate degree at University of British Columbia. Both my degrees were in a humanities area, and I found out very quickly that neither of them would provide a salary that would much surpass that of a bus driver. In fact, quite literally, bus drivers made more than more than a few of the jobs I was looking at – and there was competition for them. What is now lost in the mists of time, but critically important for you, the reader, to know, is that during this era, interest rates pushed upwards to 20%. Housing construction collapsed, and British Columbia, which saw 50% of its provincial revenue derived from lumber, imploded financially. Unemployment skyrocketed. One year I submitted between two or three thousand resumes to jobs, using a manual typewriter. The prognosis was that western Canada would be in the financial doldrums for many, many years, and perhaps decades.

In short, if you have gotten this far, I was in the same shoes you most likely are now – with the added misfortune of a former wife who had an affair, then I nursed through a benign brain tumor, and who finally divorced me, resulting in a serious clinical depression, as well as a significant flying phobia, further curtailing my work opportunities. There’s more – much more – you get the drift, which is why you are reading this. Your details vary, of course, but no doubt are similar in many respects.

The question was, what to do? Here are some suggestions from someone who has been there:

1. Paul Tournier, a Swiss psychologist who was an adult during the Great Depression and World War II (another era that was not brimming with hope!) has a wonderful, decades old book, called The Adventure of Living (available for free here from Google Books), that might be a good place to start. Part of the book is addressed to women, many of whom wanted nothing more than a good marriage and family. Of course, after World War II, many of the men were dead. While Switzerland was unscathed, the rest of Europe, which he was writing to, was very “scathed.” These people had come through fifteen years of financial depression and the unspeakable horrors of total war. And now, for many of them, their fondest, highest dreams were gone, most likely never to be fulfilled.

Tournier’s book is a short read, but to summarize this for you, his advice was to look for the adventure God calls one to. It may well not have been what you wanted or planned. As a matter of fact, it very likely is not. But Tournier’s call was for his readers to take the unique challenges that present themselves, and take that as an opportunity – and as an adventure. To bring this to the modern day where you live now, do you have the opportunity to teach English in China? Perhaps take what you have trained for – which is unemployable here – and utilize that skill in Lithuania or Liberia. The goal is to get moving. Doors will open up much more readily if you start by putting one foot in front of the other, following what light – however little that may seem – you have. Think of driving: it is difficult to steer a car that is not moving; it is much easier to steer a car that is in motion. Of course the hardest thing is to initiate that motion – a body at rest tends to remain at rest. So engage friends or family as you strategize; make specific plans, and hold to them. In my case, I ended up in northern Canada, living in temperatures Americans, and even 90% of Canadians, have never even imagined. And you know what? I had the time of my life. I learned, I made some money, I got experience, and set the stage for the next step in my life. Yes, I was afraid – very afraid – to make the move. In fact, I was more afraid of making that move than anything else in life, except for one, single thing – and that was never having had the courage to have taken a reasonable risk. (I mean by this that you should not do stupid things; but a risk that is weighed out, and not going to result in putting life or limb in jeopardy, should be considered, in conjunction with counsel from friends, family, and both reflection and – if you are of the type – prayer).

2. Retrain. Many people are intellectually lazy, which is often in part built around physical laziness. It was the famed Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi who once said “fatigue makes coward of us all.” Get in shape, and stay there. You needn’t become a triathlete, but you must keep in physical shape and maintain your physical edge. And you must retrain. After leaving British Columbia, I also left the field I trained in. In the mid-1980s, I had never turned a computer on in my life – nor am I naturally gifted at computers. Nevertheless, within four years, I had become a network engineer and proficient enough to make a good living in the computer world. Was it easy? Absolutely not. Was it my ideal job? No. But it was acceptable enough, and it allowed me to buy a home, slowly move out of the clinical depression I was in, and I made reasonable money. Quite a move forward from just a few years earlier. And once the ball was rolling, it continued forward. But none of this would have happened if I had not weighed my options, and taken reasonable risks.

In 1986, I had made a major move across the continent to a city where I knew not a single soul, but where there was a better economy – Ottawa, Ontario. I am not an eastern boy, nor do I like the east. I either lived right on the border of, or in, Quebec – a stretch, given that I knew not a word of French at the time. Yet, I was able to progress my new career in technology further, and eventually met and married my lovely wife, with whom I have now been happily married 25 years. None of this was easy, and I was not – and still am not – a natural born technical person. Rather, I had to put in what seemed to be double or triple the work of those around me, just to keep pace. But the alternative was a slow emotional, financial and spiritual death if I had remained in place. As I often reminded myself, “the only way out was through!”

Speaking of being rooted in place, and not amenable to change and growth, I am reminded of one of the worst ferry disasters in recent history, the MS Estonia that sank in the Baltic in 1994, killing 852 passengers. One of the few survivors recounts running by one passenger, immobile on deck, cigarette between his lips, as he dashed to safety, encouraging him to move. The other person clearly did not – and his immobility killed him. Your immobility may not kill you physically, but it well might kill a career or other opportunities.

No one is saying you should take foolhardy risks. In fact, doing this is the precise equal and opposite error of staying in place and dying a slow death of attrition. Rather, there is a third way, between the twin horns of stupid gambling and craven timidity. It is your job to thread that needle between the two. While it isn’t easy, it is your only chance. The good thing, though, is that this is like baseball – you don’t have to hit one thousand. A swing and a miss is not catastrophic usually – so remind yourself that all you can do is the best you can do, and then if you have left everything on the field, then you have done what you could.

Fast forward to 1994. I am either living in Quebec, near Quebec in Ottawa, or working there. The province is an eyelash from separating from English Canada, which would lead to a financial disaster. My French is still not winning any awards, so we decided to take another calculated risk: move to the US. Another adventure, another major change. More retraining and into yet another field. And despite many similarities between the Canada and the US, they are not the same. (Just imagine moving from Selma, Alabama to NYC – then multiply that by ten). I moved into hospital automation, yet another new field I had never worked in before,  and finally end up leaving the technical world and moving into project management – which was finally utilizing some of the skills I did my graduate work in. And I am finally being paid well.

But none of this would have happened if I had not taken the risk to make the moves noted above.  But, you say you don’t have the courage? Remember: Courage is what you show when you precisely don’t feel like it. There is an old story from WWI of a new recruit to the front trenches. Just before they went over the top to charge the German lines, the recruit, full of bravado, saw his sergeant shaking. “Sergeant, I believe you are afraid,” he remonstrated him. “Yes… and if you knew half of what I know, you’d be shaking, too!” was his reply. If you don’t have the courage to take big steps, then take the largest steps you can, no matter how small. But get moving. 

Upon moving to the US (the Chicago area), I was offered a job which entailed driving to Gary, Indiana every day for two years. At that time, Gary had been voted the most dangerous city in the US nine of the previous ten years. Worse, it was 175 miles round trip per day. No one in my company wanted to take it, of course. However, I checked out the city, and the one safe area of the city was where the hospital was – there was really no danger to my safety that there wouldn’t be anywhere else in a big city, as long as I stayed within the bounds where it was safe. Even better, I made $1,000/month for mileage back and forth to the customer site. I went out and bought a very used Hyundai Excel – no power brakes, windows, nothing – for $3,000 – and the rest of the money went on my mortgage. Over two years, this amounted to $20,000 tax free dollars. All money that everyone else shunned by not looking into opportunity, but rather dismissed out of hand. Even better, the people at the hospital were some of the most pleasant people I have ever worked with, and it was a pleasure to go to work every day. Does “the adventure of living” start to become reified to you now?

3. Finally, shun debt. The problem with “eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” is that you don’t die. Rather, you wake up with a headache, a soiled carpet from retching all night that you now have to clean, and the bill for the party. A couple examples for you: By our mid-50s, my wife and I had, between the two of us, since we got our driving licenses, spent a grand total of perhaps $55,000 dollars totalbetween the two of us, over 40 driving years. An automobile is the biggest drain on money you will have in this life. Be creative and keep costs down with what you drive. And for you guys, who want that “hot” car to get the girls, let me ask you this: Exactly what kind of long term relationship are you going to have with a woman who goes out with you for the kind of vehicle you drive?  In contrast, I knew my wife loved me, because she put up with the 15 year old car I drove at the time. I had a good girlfriend and a crummy car. Much better than a crummy girlfriend and a good car.

I am not advocating being a miser. If there are things you really and truly enjoy, do so. But don’t buy into the materialism trap. Many of those in trouble buy things they don’t need, to impress people they either don’t know, or like, and with money they don’t have. Why?  As with the old drug commercial, “Just say no.” Brown bag your lunch. Car pool or take the train. Find creative ways to vacation, such as house swapping. Be creative in saving money, particularly in areas where you don’t really have a strong predilection towards something.

To bring this to a close, the above provides you three golden threads (read George McDonald’s 1872 fairy tale, the Princess and the Goblin, if you want to learn more about golden threads) to at least start you on the path.

I, too, have been in a similar situation. Your mileage will vary, but as Canadian singer Bruce Cockburn once sang, you have to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight. I titled this article “The End of the World: The Sequel” because there are others who have gone through similar, exceedingly difficult things, as you are now. You are not alone in this experience.  But you can find that adventure that is yours. Just keep knocking and keep seeking, and the door will indeed be opened for you.

Bandages, BOB’s & Bullets

Today I had the opportunity to spend some time with Dale and his wife Lisa over at the Survivalist Prepper Podcast about some of the basics of preparedness. I had a great time visiting with them and enjoyed the opportunity to discuss my military experience, first aid, bug out bags, and some self defense options.

There are a couple of things that you should check out over at the Survivalist Prepper:

  1. I guess it might be obvious but, the interview I just did.
  2. For about another week, Dale is running a giveaway for a Bug Out Bag loaded with some great gear. Make sure to get entered to win.
  3. Finally, on the 9th of May I will be joining Dale, along with Todd from PrepperWebsite, JD from Conflicted (The Game), and Vincent from Disaster Survival Magazine for a webinar on preparedness basics. It should be a great time! You can register for the webinar using the form at the top of the Survivalist Prepper homepage.

I have to make a personal confession in the fact that Dale’s podcast has probably become my favorite survival and preparedness related podcast. I have listened to almost every episode, even the one I am featured in (just to make sure I didn’t say anything too embarrassing)! With that being said, I don’t think you will be disappointed if you take the time to listen to what Dale has to say.

The Perfect Basic Survival Kit?

My friends (and Prepared Ninja supporter) at Black River Outpost just let me know about a great new kit that they have put together as a minimal survival kit. This is a great start for the newbie, person looking for a bare bones kit, supplemental kit, or as a kit to put in a vehicle or desk drawer.

Here is what is in the Black River ESP (Essential Survival Pack):

  • Condor EMT Pouch (Black or Tan)
  • Aquamira Frontier Water Filter
  • Coghlan’s Magnesium Fire Starter
  • Adventure Medical First Aid Kit .5
  • Datrex 4 oz. Emergency Water Pouch (2)
  • Mayday 400 Calorie Emergency Food Bar
  • Swiss Army Style Knife
  • Emergency Blanket
  • 25 ft . Atwood 550 Paracord – Black

Total Weight = 1 lb. 15 oz. (Less than two pounds for all the essentials!)

This kit is currently on sale for only $34.95, over $22 off of normal retail!

Whether you are looking for a stand alone survival kit or an addition to an existing kit, the ESP has all of the necessities covered. Make sure to check out the ESP and other great survival and preparedness products at Black River Outpost.

5 Tools Every BOB Should Have

When it comes to survival kits, there are a number of items that could be put into a bug out bag but special consideration should be given to what is needed, practical, and capable of being comfortably carried. (As a side note – I should clarify that I use the term BOB or bug out bag, I use it universally and applies to a kit designed to get out of a situation whether it is leaving home, getting home, or even staying home.) If you find yourself running out the door and have only the items that are packed in your kit to survive with, make sure you have the right tools for the job.

Gerber Apocalypse Kit

These are the five tools that should be included in every well rounded Bug Out Bag or survival kit that is designed to foster survival in a variety of environments:

1. Fixed Blade Knife – A good fixed blade knife is essential to keep in a bug out bag. It is a tool as well as a weapon if needed. Not only can this be used as a knife, it can be:

  • Fastened to a stick to be used as a spear to hunt fish and/or animals.
  • Used to start a fire.
  • Used to build a shelter.
  • Used to split firewood.
  • And just about anything else you can think of…

2. Multi-Tool – A logical choice to include is the multi-tool. It is like having half the contents of your tool box in your pocket without nearly the weight. When looking for a multi-tool, consider what you plan or anticipate having to use it for and then look for those features in a multi-tool. I am not much of a brand snob but when it comes to multi-tools, I prefer Leatherman.

3. Folding Knife – When it comes to survival, there is a saying that goes, “two is one, and one is none.” When it comes to having a backup and backups to your backups, knives are a good place to start. Having a secondary knife that is a folder is convenient because it is easy to stick in a pocket and ensure that you always have it with you. When selecting a folding knife, look for one that features a locking mechanism to ensure that it doesn’t fold up on your hand when you are working with it.

4. Survival Chain Saw – I am not a fan of the typical “survival” saw that you tend to see. The ones that are basically a wire with some sand glued onto it. At least is seems that way. These wire saws seem to break easily and a broken saw is worse than no saw in my opinion. At least if you don’t have a saw, then you don’t have the expectation to be able to cut something where if you have a saw and it breaks, you just end up aggravated and not able to cut anything. I prefer the chainsaw style of blade that is found on other models of pocket survival saws.

5. Hand Shovel – While a hand shovel may seem like an odd choice of tool to include in a BOB, there are a number of practical applications that one can be used for. Building shelter, digging out a place to go to the bathroom, extinguishing a fire, and harvesting wild edible plants are all things that can be done with a hand shovel. In addition to the fact that a hand shovel is small, there are now high strength plastic models that are lightweight and compact.

The ability to maintain these tools is almost as important as having the tools in the first place. This is especially vital if the time comes where bugging out becomes a necessity and you might be betting your life on the ability to use these tools. Some of the items to consider including in your kit to help maintain your tools include:

1. Cleaner Lubricant Protectant (aka CLP) – CLP is an item that is commonly thought of as something that is used to clean and maintain firearms but that is not the only use for CLP. Any metal tool can be subject to getting dirty, rusting, or just plain worn out when it is used and exposed to the elements. Even when being stored, it is important to protect them. CLP is available in small quantities (perfect for keeping in your kit), it is light weight, and it is inexpensive. Find it in the firearm maintenance section of your local sporting goods store. Don’t forget to keep it in a sealable bag so that it does not leak all over your gear!

2. Knife Sharpener – Plain and simple, it is pointless to have a knife if you don’t have the means to maintain a good working edge. There are a number of ways to sharpen a knife, find the one that works best for you and pack the appropriate equipment.

3. Small File – Tools like hatchets and saws do not require a razor sharp edge. This makes a small file a great tool to maintain them. A file is also a great means to help remove nicks and gouges from metal tools.

There are a number of tools that could be included in your survival kit and each person’s kit should be a reflection of them and their needs. With that being said, the five tools mentioned above are all tools that can be used for multiple uses, in multiple scenarios and come about as close to being universally useful as food and water. The next time you inventory your survival kit or when you go to put one together, think about what tools you may need and then ensure that you have them before you find yourself needing them.

Spring Preparedness at Black River Outpost

In an effort to help preppers be better prepared for Spring, Black River Outpost is currently running their Spring sale on many preparedness items. This is a great chance to stock up on common items or even to use that tax refund to get a few bigger (aka costlier) items at a reduced price! Some of these items are over 50% of the suggested retail prices and include:

  • Ammunition
  • Radios
  • Bags & Packs
  • Knives & Blades
  • Cookware
  • Survival Foods
  • Lights
  • Paracord
  • AND More!

To see all of the items that are on sale, click on the image below. Don’t wait though, the sale won’t last forever and I am sure the best items will run out of stock fast!

Is A Collapse Imminent?

Just to be clear, I am not a fan of fear mongers and those who prey on the insecurities of others. When I saw this chart last night though it made me wonder if some of those who preach about an imminent collapse may have something behind their claims. The chart outlines a scary parallel between the current state of the Dow Jones Industrial Average as it currently sits in comparison to the time leading up to the stock market collapse in 1929 that triggered what we know as the Great Depression.

This chart came from an article that originally appeared on OffTheGridNews.com and offers some interesting insight into the economic situation that our country is currently in. It is worth the time to read.

As a reminder, there is a great opportunity to get amazing firearms training without even having to leave home.

There is also still time to get in on the group purchase of a high quality medical kit!

.22LR: Truth & Myth

.22LR: Truth & Myth

It’s easy for the prepper survivalist to get lost in the endless confusion, attempting to discern between wants and needs. Is it a small knife or big blade? Do you carry a handgun or a rifle? However, it is even more important to determine the difference between what is a trend…and what will actually work in the field. In most cases, the right answer is: it depends on the situation.

The .22 Long Rifle rim-fire cartridge has had an excellent run, and built a legendary reputation, since its inception in 1887. The cartridge itself has been enveloped in tales of unfathomable deeds in the backwoods, taking everything from grizzlies (usually shot in the eye) and field mice (usually shot from the hip). Though, these are stories often repeated by old frontiersmen and armchair online forum dwellers alike. Anecdotal ‘evidence’ might suggest that the .22LR is the ‘do-all’ round, but is this actually true? Is it the perfect survivalist cartridge, providing enough kill power on small game while limiting damage to the meat, yet delivering just enough punishment in a ‘tactical situation’?

It is important to explore what the round can do, and more importantly, what it cannot do. All too often, we envision our own survival situations, handling our trusty Ruger 10/22, dispatching small game by the bundles and carrying home a sack of deceased critters as the sun begins to set, right on time for dinner. We even imagine ourselves bagging a whitetail, because we got a ‘lucky shot between the eyes’. If this is truth, then the .22LR should be the only rifle for the survivalist, but my gut tells me, this is probably not a reasonable expectation of the old cartridge – and you might want to pack other ways of procuring meat sources.

The Two-Fold Achilles Heel of the .22 Long Rifle

I’ve often heard it said, “If you poke enough holes in something, it’ll go down.” Usually, this is said by avid .22LR advocates, defending their ancient heritage or new purchase. While this statement does carry some obvious truth, many experienced outdoorsmen, and especially those who study ballistics might disagree on grounds of practicality.

One of the most crucial aspects of a round’s utility has to do with the hydrostatic shock factor.  ‘Hydrostatic shock’ is defined as…

The observation that a penetrating projectile can produce remote wounding and incapacitating effects in living targets, in addition to local effects in tissue caused by direct impact, through a hydraulic effect in liquid-filled tissues.

Referencing an article written by Dave Henderson, it takes a velocity of at least 2,000fps in order to deliver the death-dealing power necessary for an incapacitating strike on the shooter’s target. Essentially, you want the round to hit the target (four-legged critter or two-legged crazy) and make them cease whatever activity they were previously doing, whether grazing, climbing, or pointing a weapon in your direction.

The hottest of hunting .22LR loads are cruising along at 1,280fps at the muzzle. If the shooter wants to reach out to 100 yards, that velocity drops to 1,015fps, about half of what’s needed to achieve the same hydrostatic shock factor that most center-fire hunting rounds can deliver. Simply put, there’s just not enough ‘punch’ to bag that whitetail with a .22LR, likely causing either an agonizing drawn out death by hours of bleeding, or months of injury and subsequent starvation to the noble beast (hence, the legality issue in almost every state).

Also, a slower round is going to have accuracy issues. Of course, we’ve heard of Bob Munden-types lobbing a .22LR, 400 yards into a bowling pin – but let’s face it, 99% of us aren’t that good from a bench, much less in the field. Even with those 1,280fps zingers, you’ve still got a drop of 3.5” at 100 yards, and that’s without having to compensate for wind. With only 37 grains, moving at that velocity, a slight breeze would ruin the shot.

Either way, the survivalist does not harvest the deer, coyote, or raccoon, wastes a round, and in certain scenarios, risked identifying his or her position from the report of the shot.

Also, one more fatal flaw commonly associated with the .22LR has to do with it’s questionable reliability. Indeed, no backwoodsman would ever consider a Savage bolt-action or a Ruger 10/22 as an unreliable rifle. These rifles have offered astounding performance for decades; however, reliability is also heavily dependent on the quality of the rounds being fed. Unfortunately, rim-fire cartridges are disproportionately handicapped in this respect, compared to their center-fire counterparts. Primers, insufficient pressure, and quality control are usually the culprits.

If you’re shooting a rim-fire cartridge and the bad guy in your sights is shooting a center-fire cartridge, pray you didn’t get a rough batch from the factory.

Why You Still Need a .22LR

Nevertheless, while the .22LR might have its drawbacks, it’s important for us to remind ourselves that we are mistaken if we attempt to identify a ‘do-all’ round. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, especially in terms of firearms. All cartridges have their strengths and weaknesses, and the .22LR is no exception.

And, the .22LR does have strengths…lots and lots of strengths.

Talk to any .22LR owner and they will laugh at you after telling them how much you spent on ammunition for your centerfire. This is perhaps one of the most obvious strengths of the old cartridge. Being able to spend less than $20 on a 500-round ‘brick’ of ammo is what has .22LR lovers shooting, while everyone else on the firing line has shot their budget and gone home.

Of course, from the survivalist’s perspective, being able to carry 1,000 rounds of any kind of ammo is a lovely proposition. A fifth of that in .308 is still tediously heavy but in .22LR, carrying that amount of ammunition is a breeze. The .22LR is a tiny round without much brass, lead, or powder.

Do you remember how I said that the .22LR is inferior to most hunting cartridges because of it’s low velocity? The interesting part is the fact that the .22LR is superior to other hunting cartridges…because of its low velocity. Without the presence of hydrostatic shock, meat does not get obliterated upon penetration. Thus, you can take rabbit all day long, preserving the meet with a .22LR, whereas a .223 would leave nothing but a mangled attempt at acquiring a meal.

Simply put, the .22LR is the best selling ammunition on the globe for good reason. Brad Zozak, from TruthAboutGuns, calls the Ruger 10/22, “the single most popular firearm of all time.” In a SHTF scenario, you might not be able to replace the stock on your Springfield M1A – but check any abandoned farmhouse, and you’ll most likely find replacement parts for your 10/22 (and probably .22LR rounds to go with it).

The Purpose of the .22LR

Overall, the .22LR should not be expected to perform the functions of other, better-suited rifles. At the same time, one should also not expect a .30-06 to effectively take and preserve the meat off small game – arguably the type of game you’d want to harvest in the first place.

However, the survivalist that hopes to sling a Ruger 10/22, trek through the woods, and be sustained on that alone is unfortunately mistaken. It takes the ability to hunt big game to survive (both for the nutritional value and also for the other resources that can be procured from the beast), meaning that a centerfire-hunting rifle is absolutely crucial over the long haul.

If the survivalist hopes to remain true to the craft (and not kick the bucket in the backwoods), it takes more than just the possession of a .22LR rifle. It takes the ability to trap and forage for wild edibles in order to live in somewhat of a comfortable state of self-reliance. One needs to intelligently pack for survival scenarios. From carrying knives to packing a fire starter, everything needs to be picked thoughtfully. The legendary frontiersmen of the 19th and 20th centuries relied more on their survival kits than they did on their rifles, and for good reason.

The .22LR is a fantastic survival cartridge, but it shouldn’t be your only option for filling your game bag and your gut. Stay safe, keep your guns ready, knives sharp, and never forget to memorize the basics of preparedness.

About the Author – Usman is a writer, outdoor enthusiast, technology lover, and knife collector.

Camo Nets At Ready Made Resources

Prepared Ninja supporter Ready Made Resources has a rare opportunity for those who might be looking to add a difficult to locate military specification, radar scattering camouflage net system to their inventory of preps. There have been 9 new sets of camo nets that have been added to the inventory at Ready Made Resources that are available for purchase. These are priced very fairly at $349 and include free shipping. I have not seen this same quality and condition of camo netting at such a great price, with free shipping to top it off.

Here is what you get for your money:

  • 30′ by 30′ Octagonal Piece
  • 15′ by 15′ Square Piece
  • Repair Kit
  • User Manual
  • Carry Bag
  • These nets can be spray painted to vary the color pattern.

If you are interested in checking out these camouflage nets, follow this link to Ready Made Resources online store.

Win An Echo-Sigma Get Home Bag!

There is a great opportunity to win a Get Home Bag from Echo-Sigma and the American Prepper’s Network (APN), but there are just over 24 hours to get in on this opportunity! In addition to the opportunity to win the Get Home Bag, every person that enters will receive a free copy of the mini ebook, ‘It’s a disaster and what are you gonna do about it?’ at the conclusion of the giveaway. Click on the picture below to be taken to the contest or follow this link to the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Going Home by A. American – Book Review

Books written about disasters and surviving the chaos that ensues are a tough genre to write and if not written well, can be even harder to read. Going Home by A. American is not a book that I had to struggle through. I loved it! I will admit that it was a bit slow in the beginning but once I got through the first chapter, I could not set the book down! I have not had to endure a major disaster that altered my life completely, but I found myself constantly thinking that the trials and experiences that Morgan Carter endures in Going Home are about as accurate as possible for a fictional work. Each wrinkle and tribulation that is woven into the storyline caused me to put myself in the same position, wondering what it would be like and questioning myself about whether or not I would do the same thing.
If you have ever wondered how society as a whole, and people as individuals, would react to a lawless environment or a situation where the infrastructure collapsed, Going Home will provide you great insight into this aspect of human behavior. This novel includes, what I believe are, some honest reactions to situations that have and will occur again in societies across the globe and expose the realities of disaster situations and emphasize the need to be prepared. During a disaster, chaos will ensue and those who were once friends and neighbors will turn on one another to ensure their family and their own needs for survival are met. This is a point that is driven home as Morgan Carter treks over 250 miles through unkown situations in an effort to get home to his family after he experiences what seems to be an EMP. The story further builds as it becomes evident that the cause of the disaster may be the American government itself.
If I were forced to criticize one thing about this book it would be the fact that, like many prepper/post-apocolyptic themed novels, Going Home includes what most readers would view as overkill when it comes to the details of some of the supplies in Morgan’s get home bag as well as how he completes some of the tasks that he performs. This is a two-edged sword in the fact that there is an educational aspect to this book and leaving the detail out would somewhat defeat this purpose while including the finite information can be a bit tedious to the reader at times. I personally have encountered this before in similar novels like Patriots by James Wesley, Rawles and have been able to deal with it without any permanent damage being caused to me or those around me.
It is very exciting that my adventure does not have to end with Going Home, as it was only the first installment of what is at least a three part series(I am not sure if there are more part(s) in the works). I cannot wait to read the second installment, Surviving Home, and then see what happens in the third part of the series, Escaping Home. If you are interested in reading about Morgan Carter’s adventures for yourself I have great news! First of all, the entire three book series can be purchased from Amazon and can be located by clicking on the following links:
Going HomeIf society collapsed, could you survive?When Morgan Carter’s car breaks down 250 miles from his home, he figures his weekend plans are ruined. But things are about to get much, much worse: the country’s power grid has collapsed. There is no electricity, no running water, no Internet, and no way to know when normalcy will be restored—if it ever will be. An avid survivalist, Morgan takes to the road with his prepper pack on his back.During the grueling trek from Tallahassee to his home in Lake County, chaos threatens his every step but Morgan is hell-bent on getting home to his wife and daughters—and he’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.

Surviving-Home-199x300

Surviving HomeNo electricity. No running water. No food. No end in sight. If life as you knew it changed in an instant, would you be prepared?In A. American’s first novel, Going Home, readers were introduced to Morgan Carter, the resourceful, tough-as-nails survivalist who embarks on a treacherous 250-mile journey across Florida following the collapse of the nation’s power grid. Now reunited with his loving wife and daughters in this follow-up to Going Home, Morgan knows that their happiness is fleeting, as the worst is yet to come. Though for years Morgan has been diligently preparing for emergency situations, many of his neighbors are completely unready for life in this strange new world—and they’re starting to get restless.With the help of his closest companions, Morgan fights to keeps his home secure—only to discover shocking information about the state of the nation in the process.
Escaping HomeWhen society ceases to exist, who can you trust?After the collapse of the nation’s power grid, America is under martial law—and safety is an illusion. As violence erupts around him, Morgan Carter faces one of his most difficult decisions yet: whether to stay and defend his home, or move to a more isolated area, away from the prying eyes of the government. He and his family are hesitant to leave their beloved Lake County, but with increasingly suspicious activities happening in a nearby refugee camp, all signs point towards defecting. Morgan and his friends aren’t going to leave without a fight, though—and they’ll do anything to protect their freedoms.From the author of the hit survivalist novels Going Home and Surviving Home, Escaping Home describes the struggle to live in a world with no rules, and how, sometimes, the strength of family is the only thing that can pull you through.

Lastly, A. American as part of his TLC Book Tours stop here at The Prepared Ninja has agreed to give away a complete set of all three books to a lucky reader! To enter all you have to do is leave a comment in the comments section below and one lucky winner will be chosen on December 29, 2013 using a random number generator. Make sure that you do not leave an anonymous comment, as there will be no email address visible to me to contact you at! Good luck!

About The Author

A. American has been involved in prepping and survival communities since the early 1990’s. An avid outdoorsman, he has a spent considerable time learning edible and medicinal plants and their uses as well as primitive survival skills. He currently resides in North Carolina on the edge of the Pisgah National Forest with his wife of more than twenty years and his three daughters.

Guest Post: Ninja-Like Home Security

Ninjas Can’t be Seen: Nor Can a Well Placed Home Security System

Home security often brings to mind a little sign in the front yard that says, “This Home is Protected by…” while stickers in the front windows offer the same warning. However, many of these homes have no security in place whatsoever. These homeowners think a mere sign will offer necessary deterrent for would-be burglars and home invaders. If I know many of these signs are bluffs, then you can guarantee that criminals know it too.

Good security for your home is composed of tangible elements, intangible elements, and the implementation of both. Often the best home security measures are ones that are only known by the homeowner. So lose the signs and use these ninja-like maneuvers to protect your most important investments: your home and your family.

The Tangibles

This division of home security should be easy to discern. It is the physical manifestation of steps taken to make your home impenetrable involving materials used and the placement of them. Here are some tips to get the ball rolling.

Home Security System- The technology is so good and prices so low that it’s hard to find reason not to invest in a wireless home security system. You can stream your cameras straight to mobile devices wherever you have service, get updates anytime doors are locked or unlocked and receive alerts of fire or gas leaks. These alarm systems will automatically contact authorities when the home is breached and even allow the user to control lights and the thermostat remotely.

Implementation- Position cameras where they aren’t visible to intruders until they’re already in frame. Place the main hub in a place not visible through any windows. A great place for this would be inside a coat closet. Window alarms should also blend into the design of the home. Stealth is crucial to good home security because it doesn’t tip off the criminals they’ve been made or allow them to circumvent security measures.

Deadbolts and Door Codes- Door codes and deadbolts make it even harder for burglars to enter homes or buildings. Criminals are looking for the easy score. Make it more trouble than they’re willing to deal with.

Implementation- All exterior doors should be dead bolted. With a little time and research this can be a great DIY project. Don’t buy a cheap deadbolt and don’t forget to make your exterior windows impenetrable too. They are often the most vulnerable points of entry. Window break alarms are a good supplement to your security system.

Flood Lights- Motion activated flood lights are great for alerting you if any action is going on. No burglar likes to be lit up in the middle of a break in. These are inexpensive investments that provide a great deterrent.

Implementation- Try to cover as many points of entry as possible. Focus especially on exterior doors and limit shrubbery near your house so they have no room to hide.

The Intangibles

The intangibles of a well secured home are not always as apparent. They are steps you can take in addition to the physical security system that you have set up protecting your home. Some of the additional steps that you can take to make your house less attractive than others for an attempted break in include:

  • Get a dog- A dog that barks isn’t always a bad thing. Train him to bark at the right things.
  • Think like a burglar- Once you get into the mindset of someone who might violate your home, you can protect it better.
  • Keep a well-manicured lawn- Exterior upkeep and pride show a burglar that you probably take steps to keep your home safe as well.
  • Every house has its thorns- If you do like the look of shrubs next to your house then make sure the bushes by your windows are full of sharp thorns. Enough said.
  • Don’t show off- Keep your expensive car in the garage and don’t gold plate your driveway. Basically don’t give criminals motivation to crawl through that rose bush to get to your window.
  • Neighbors as home security- Sometimes your best resource is still your neighbors. Help each other out and look out for one another’s home.
  • Inform your family- You can install the best security system and still have it fail if you and your family members aren’t on the same page. Have home safety be an ongoing conversation.
  • Think of your unique situation- Every home is different. Use these tips as a starting point and don’t be afraid to improvise. You know what is best for your home so do whatever is necessary to protect your home as a ninja would: without looking like you’re trying.

The Only Medical Bag You Will Ever Have To Buy

One of the major components of being a prepper is having a plan in place in the event someone needs medical treatment. All the planning in the world is no good without a kit, and the world’s best kit is useless without a bag to get it around in. I am fortunate in that I have had extensive military experience as an Army combat medic, so I have been able to use and abuse many medical kits and bags. This is especially true during the time I spent in combat. There is one bag though, that saw me through all of my combat deployments.

Photo Credit: London Bridge Trading Company

I had the same London Bridge Trading (LBT) Training Coverage Medical Bag for all three of the combat tours that I did in Iraq. As a medic this was an irreplaceable asset to me and led to dozens of lives being saved. No matter where we went or what we did, I had my aid bag with me, ready to go to work. This combat proven bag is structured to be most effective when needed in times of life or death. The two main compartments are clearly organized and allow quick access to all your medical supplies. 

The second to none LBT bag is well designed and put together with unmatched craftsmanship. Not only is the design flexible enough to work with a variety of clothing and uniforms, it will also fit comfortably with body armor and without. The craftsmanship features padded shoulder straps, double stitching and bar-tacked seams, nylon bonded thread, and grommet reinforced drain holes in every pocket. When comparing these design features to similar bags, it will quickly become clear that the LBT products are echelons above the other products in the marketplace. Other features of the London Bridge Trading Company Training Coverage Medical Bag include:

  • Overall Dimensions: 21L x 14.5W x 5.2H
  • Main Compartment Measures 14L x 8W x 20H
  • Main Compartment Pocket For Removable Padded Drug Bag (12L x 3.5W x 7H)
  • Main Compartment Pocket For Removable Airway Kit Bag (12L x 4.5W x 7H)
  • Interior Mesh Pocket With Draw Closure (For 3000cc Injectables) Within Main Compartment
  • Main Compartment Has Zippered Mesh Pockets (12L x 6H) and 3 Cinch Straps For Bulky Items
  • Splint Pocket and Pocket For Hydration Bladder Inside Main Compartment
  • 2 Sliders On All Zippered Compartments
  • Heavy-Duty Carry Handle
  • Side Pockets For EMT Shears & Mini-Mag Light
  • Weight: 7.1 Lbs 

Photo Credit: London Bridge Trading Company

I would say that there are a few disadvantages of this particular pack. The single greatest downside to the training coverage medical pack is the price. At a retail price of $569.59, it is very expensive! It is also limited in the colors that it is available in. The stock colors are all tactical in design making it difficult to use in a covert manner, AKA the “grey man” approach to survival.

So why is this the only medical bag you will ever have to buy? I believe that it is so well-built that you won’t ever have to replace it. And if my opinion isn’t good enough, even if you do manage to beat it up, London Bridge Trading stands behind their products with a lifetime warranty. They will repair or replace their products for issues that are a result of manufacturing or materials defects.

Because what we pay for, is typically what we get, I would advocate for one quality product that will last a lifetime instead of spending more in the end to buy an inferior product and replace it five times. How will you meet the medical needs of you and yours if things go bad?

Are You Geared 2 Survive?

Marc Lacrimosa from Gear2SurviveShop.com runs a great online survival and preparedness store as well as hosting a radio show, Gear2Survive, on the USA Emergency Broadcasting Network. Marc also has a store location in Winder, Georgia for those that might want to check it out! In addition to dedicating so much of his time to survival, he is a knife guru! It is well worth the time to check out his radio program to learn about the gear required to survive a myriad of situations.

The man behind Gear2Survive was willing to share a little survival insight and here is what he had to say:

  • If I were limited to only one firearm for survival, I would own an AK 47 7.62 X 39 CAL.
  • The single most overlooked prep is water and fire preparedness.
  • The first thing to disappear following a disaster will be electricity and water.
  • If I could have a retreat anywhere in the world, it would it be in the Northeast Georgia mountains near North Carolina with 10-20 acres and water.
  • In my opinion, the best commercially produced survival food on the market today is Wise Foods.
  • The items that I have on me at all times include: A Chris Reeves Project II Knife, Glock 23 .40 cal., and a small evasion style bug out bag, loaded.
  • The last book that I read was Home Defense Prepping.
  • One thing that I would miss the most if an EMP shifted my lifestyle back to the 1800’s would be electricity.
  • Stuck on an island and forced to choose one person to survive with, I would pick my wife as my survival partner.
  • The vehicle I drive is a 2005 Dodge 1500 Quad Cab.

I would like to thank Marc for sharing a little bit about what his thoughts are on survival. Make sure to swing by his site and check out all the great survival and preparedness items. You can also catch Marc on Facebook, YouTube, and his blog.

5 Signs You Might Be A Prepper

It is a pretty common stereotype to picture preppers as 50-year-old men hiding out in bunkers with a bunch of guns and ammo. Shows on tv that focus on these types of extremists as well as news reports about people labeled as preppers who have committed crimes haven’t helped to negate this stereotype either. The truth of the matter is, however, that you don’t have to be preparing for doomsday or the destruction of mankind to be a prepper. In fact, if any of these traits sound like you, you may be a prepper too.

1. You Invest in Food Storage

While most of us don’t have five or ten year’s worth of food tucked away, due to national disasters, such as hurricane Sandy, the value of having more than a day’s worth of food on hand has become more prominent. In fact, FEMA, the federal disaster recovery agency, encourages everyone to have food storage since the agency can’t help everyone immediately after a disaster occurs. Do you consciously maintain two weeks worth of your regular food items on hand “just in case?” Do you have a closet full of non perishables for those times you can’t get food from the store? If this is the case, you are probably a prepper.

2. You Participate in Self-Sustaining Practices

When your electric heater went out that one winter, did you decide to invest in an alternate heat source or generator in case it ever happened again? Do you make sure to have savings and cash on hand in case you needed to get out of the state quickly? Do you garden? Probably most of us can answer, “yes,” to one of these practices because we don’t want to get stuck in a difficult situation without being able to help ourselves. After all, you probably also carry extra water when you drive across the desert, or make sure you have a coat when driving in freezing temperatures.

3. Emergency Preparedness

Preppers are big on emergency preparedness, whether it’s taking a CPR class, learning first aid or having a plan for when an emergency occurs. These people may have an emergency kit with all of the essentials that they can quickly grab and go. They also invest in equipment, such as water pumps, radios or solar ovens. Many preppers also have additional skills due to their background in mechanics, scouting, fire fighting or the military.

4. You Volunteer

Do neighbors turn to you when a tree falls down in their yard, or are you the first to show up to help clean a neighborhood town? Do you like to share your knowledge or resources with those in need? Have you ever volunteered as a firefighter or nurse? Then you just might be a prepper. Due to their extra preparedness, preppers are often the best equipped to help out when a disaster strikes, since everyone else will be scraping to survive and waiting for help at that point.

5. You Value Self Reliance

Cooking from scratch, grinding your own wheat, learning how to make soap or knowing how to sew may seem like hobbies, but they are also a form of self reliance. Almost everyone who has gone camping has also learned some form of self reliance: building a fire, staying warm without a heater, cooking without a microwave. Other common practices, such as living within your means, eliminating debt and gardening are all forms of self reliance that leave you better prepared for when disaster strikes.

While there are many stigmas and negative impressions that surround the label of being a prepper, it is by no means a negative thing. You are only as crazy as you make yourself and if being prepared to survive things that are inevitable makes me crazy, then lock me up in a padded room. Who will be the crazy ones when something happens and they don’t know how they will survive?

Press Release: Ready To Go Survival Announces New Addition

Prepared Ninja supporter Ready to Go Survival has officially released the latest product in their growing line of survival gear.

Ready To Go Survival Announces New Addition to Growing Product Line

NEW YORK, NY: August 12th, 2013Ready to Go Survival, a NYC based e-commerce start-up specializing in disaster preparedness, today announced a new addition to their product line, the Ready to Go Survival Hygiene Kit. The Hygiene Kit represent another critical addition to the already popular Survival Kits, which boast clever names such as the Tactical Traveler and Advanced Operative.

“When the average American thinks of what they’ll need in a survival situation, hygiene tends to be last on many people’s priority list, but this oversight could be deadly, ” said co-founder Fabian Illanes. “In a real survival situation, most likely you will not have the things most of us take for granted everyday; toothpaste, deodorant, even toilets themselves may not be available. You may not think this is a big deal for a day or two, but imagine weeks of not having a toilet or shower? A lack of proper hygiene could turn into real medical problems and in a survival situation you may not have the medicine or resources to be able to treat once a problem happens. The only way to prevent those problems is to take hygiene seriously, which is why we created the Hygiene Kit, a small pouch of everyday hygiene items that could actually end up saving your life.”

According to the United Nations Development Programme, the water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.

“In a world where millions die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes, it is crucial that we take hygiene seriously when it comes to prepping for disaster situations,” added co-founder Roman Zrazhevskiy. “While America may not suffer from the same sanitation and hygiene issues that some less developed countries suffer from on a daily basis, in a disaster situation you have to be prepared for anything. If it’s a proven fact that a lack of proper hygiene can lead to diseases and death, why wouldn’t you prepare just like you would for anything else that can lead to death? And at the very least, having a proper hygiene kit during a survival situation can improve morale and comfort, and a positive morale has many benefits during a survival situation.”

The Hygiene Kit that Ready to Go Survival offers includes common household hygiene items such as toilet paper, bug spray, soap, toothpaste, disposable razors and even a nail clipper all conveniently packed into a 5.11 6×6 pouch.

Giveaway! SafeGuard Stealth Body Armor

SafeGuard Body armor is giving away another set of their Stealth™ Body Armor to their Facebook fans. The giveaway starts today and runs through the 14th of August. The Stealth™ armor features:

  • 100% DuPont™ Kevlar® Armor Panels
  • CoolMAX® Outer Vest Carrier
  • NIJ Level II Ballistic Protection
  • KR1 Stab & Spike Protection
  • Overall Weight = ~2.5 kg (Depending On Size)

This is a great opportunity to add to your preps! For an inside look at the SafeGuard Stealth™, check out the review I did.

To enter the contest:

  1. Go to SafeGuard Armor’s Facebook Page.
  2. Share the Stealth™ Giveaway post.
  3. Like their page.

The winner will be selected at random.

Closing Date: August 14, 2013 Good Luck!

Stealth Body Armor

Surviving With Survivor Jane

There is a plethora of intelligent and helpful people in the survival and preparedness community and today I have the pleasure of featuring one of the best, Survivor Jane, in a short interview where she shares some of her insight into preparedness.

Make sure to check out Jane on Facebook, Twitter, and don’t miss the wealth of knowledge that can be gleaned from her website.

Q: If I were limited to only one firearm for survival, I would own a…

A: Actually, although I do recommend that a person have the three (3) essential firearms in their home for protection and security; a handgun, shotgun and rifle, I always stress that we need to think outside of the box for self-defense and not rely solely on firearms.  For some having a firearm could be more detrimental than helpful in a tense situation.  But, to answer your question in a generalized way, if I were put in a position of only having access to one firearm, my hope would be that it was a shotgun.

Q: The single most overlooked prep item is…

A: A poncho. It is one of the most versatile items you could have in your survival preps. It can keep you dry and warm, it can be used to create shelter, you can use it for water collection and, if need be could hold enough air to keep you afloat in water – just to name a few uses.

Q: The first thing to disappear following a disaster will be…

A: Well this really depends.  What I mean by this is … during Hurricane Katrina I saw a lady on TV wading in chest deep water holding a Dyson vacuum cleaner over her head.  A person’s priorities can get displaced before and after a disaster. I remember going into a store to buy some hurricane lantern oil before Hurricane Andrew and people were panic buying.  Some of the things they were getting made no sense.  It was as if they knew they needed to buy but just didn’t know what to get.  I always suggest to people that they need to think ‘basic needs’ to help then decide what they need to buy. Water, food, shelter, warmth, protection and, first-aid.  But if I had to say one thing … okay two things, I’d say plywood and generators.

Q: If I could have a retreat anywhere in the world, it would be…

A: Lucky me, I actually moved to my retreat in Western North Carolina from Florida (which to me is a death trap should a major catastrophe happen – with only one way out.)  I now live in a passive solar home on a defensible piece of property, with a large garden and small farm animals.  To me the size of the property is not as critical as water.  If you don’t have access to a stream, pond or river then a good rain water collection system is a must.  This is huge!  No water – no life.

Q: In my opinion, the best commercially produced survival food on the market today is…

A: Hmmm. Okay that’s a hard one. I am all about redundancy and that goes for food as well.  But, I don’t think people should just rely on commercial “survival food” alone.   I think we all need to have the basics like flour, sugar, rice, salt, spices and cornmeal, etc. (all stored in appropriate air tight containers or packaging.)  Then have canned goods, dehydrated foods and preserved foods.  And lastly, commercial survival foods.   So many people get caught up in the consumer part of survival by try to buy everything without giving thought to what happens if these items are destroyed, go bad or any number of other factors that could come into play.  Don’t be like the one person that I spoke with who purchased tons (a lot) of #10 cans of mac/cheese for their kids because that is what they were used to eating at home.  Then during Super Storm Sandy they made some of the canned mac/cheese for the kids and they hated it.  Now they are stuck with all those cans.  I would suggest trying several of the commercial survival foods brands – there are definitely differences in taste and texture. Remember these survival food cans may be all you have to eat so you want to like them. Also, don’t just store your food.  Use it and rotate it.  First in – First out. This goes for the commercial cans too.

Q: The items that I have on me at all times include…

A: My go-bag is with me at all times.  But I always have paracord in the form of a bracelet, and in my EDC bag I carry a folding knife, a multi-tool, a poncho, small first-aid kit, water purification tablets, iodine tables, a face mask, gloves, small manicure set, goggles, a solar blanket, a small flashlight, a whistle and a self-defense pen.

Q: The last book that I read was…

A: I am currently reading a great book for review titled: ‘Jingling Our Change’ by Kelli Otting and, without creating a spoiler alert – I’ll suffice it to say it’s not too far from where this Country may be heading.

Q: One thing that I would miss the most if an EMP shifted my lifestyle back to the 1800’s would be…

A: Hmmm, again.  I am really working hard towards an off-grid existence but I’m not quite there yet.  I guess I’d say one thing that comes to mind is ice to keep things frozen until I can preserve them.  When it rains it pours at harvest time and sometimes all I can do is freeze something until I can dehydrate or preserve it.

Q: Stuck on an island and forced to choose one person to survive with, I would pick…

A: Wow.  Good question.  I’d have to say I’m pretty happy with my prepper-mate – so I’d pick him – forced or not. Trust is very important when forming survival alliances. Just because someone has skills and knowledge does not mean they will have ‘your’ best interests when the poo-hits-the-fan.

Q: The vehicle I drive is…

A: I don’t really like to get into too personal of information and this question kinda boarders on that.    Now if you would like to know what vehicle I’d like to have… it would be one of those awesome all-terrain armored vehicles with the machine-gun mounted on the top. Just sayin’.

Don’t miss out! Tomorrow, August 1st, 2013, Survivor Jane will be live Tweeting from the Press Event & Premier (On Location) of National Geographic’s new series, Doomsday Castle.

Vertical Gardening For Survival

Did you know that you can grow pretty much any amount of fresh produce that you could possibly want regardless of the amount of space that you have available?  

The simple answer is to look up! Traditional gardening dictates that a garden must be grown on large expanses of flat land, however this is simply not the case, there is infinitely more space when you literally turn that notion on its head. 

Vertical gardening is the only logical step in this ever-expanding urban environment that we live in. While our forefathers and mothers were able to purchase houses and live off the land, this unfortunately does not hold true today. Even if you don’t live in an urban area, you may simply live in a place where the soil and weather simply do not allow for a traditional garden, or you may not have the time it takes to get your existing soil to become a suitable habitat for your plants. 

As our croplands shrink more and more, vertical gardening may well become the only choice for someone who wishes to flex their green thumb. Simply speaking, vertical gardening is making the most of your usable gardening space by utilizing climbing plants and vegetables, or by training non-climbing varieties to grow in small pockets of soil that are lifted away from the ground. This type of gardening has many advantages over traditional gardening, and once you discover how easy it is to move away from a traditional horizontally planted garden to a vertical one, you’ll be rewarded with a cornucopia of benefits. 

Your new vertical garden involves less work and places less strain on your mind as well as your back. Even avid gardeners with plenty of space for a traditional garden are slowly moving towards vertical gardening. 

A traditional garden can lead to tragically disappointing results, as the more growing space you have, the more likely you are to get discouraged by near constant weeding, pest infestations and diseases, not to mention that many find watering such a large area is a never-ending obligation. All of these combined create a daunting task for even the most expert gardener. With vertical gardening, you can GROW UP regardless of how much land you have to work with.

But the supermarket is just around the corner…right?

So why on earth would you want to go to the trouble of planting your own garden? Ask yourself: Why would you walk to the supermarket and pay for a bruised and chemical covered tomato, when you could simply pluck a ripe, delicious one from a vine directly outside your window? 

Most grocery stores pride themselves on having “only the freshest ingredients,” and while this is all fine and dandy in times of abundance, grocery stores only keep about two to three days’ worth of items on their shelves. 

During an emergency, when everyone is clamoring for the same items at the same time, there is a good chance that you won’t get what you need. 

The items that will sell out first are the ones that people know will help them get through a time of crisis. It is during these times when learning to grow your own produce can be a major boom in your survival and overall well-being. You will have enough fresh produce to sustain yourself and, if all goes well, enough to barter for other items or creature comforts (think toiletries, medical supplies, entertainment items, etc.)

Gardening your own fresh and self-sustainable produce should never be out of anyone’s reach… Make sure that it isn’t out of yours. 

Recommended Today!

Vertical Gardening- Feed a Family of 4 in Just 4 Feet of Space!

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10 Survival Lessons Learned In Combat

There is a new article I authored titled, 10 Survival Lessons Learned In Combat that is available to read on PersonalLiberty.com. I took the time to share a few points that can increase your chances of survival during difficult times based on my experiences in combat. It has received positive feedback and should be worth your time to check out.

Survival Insight With Survival Sherpa

This week I have the pleasure of sharing some perspective on survival from Todd at Survival Sherpa. Thank you to Todd for sharing his views on preparedness and some of the challenges that would face us in the event of a disaster.
1. If I were limited to only one firearm for survival, I would own a: Depends on the survival scenario. In wilderness survival, I’d have to choose my Ruger 10/22 with my homemade paracord sling. Paracord is the duct tape of wilderness survival and has many handy uses. Plus, .22 ammo is cheap, compact, and doesn’t make a big boom. With proper aim and shot placement, I’ve heard of many big game kills with this humble little gun. That’s the rumor.
In an urban/suburban SHTF event, I’d upgrade to an AR platform in 5.56 or 7.62 or both.
2. The single most overlooked prep item is: Whole civilizations were built around containers. I’m a container hoarder – to Dirt Road Girl’s chagrin. Coffee cans, altoid tins, washtubs, glass jars, mason jars (with lids, of course), barrels, and different sized buckets.
3. The first thing to disappear following a disaster will be: Food and water on Wally World’s shelves. The unprepared panic like a hungry swarm of locust. It happens down south where we live with a light dusting of snow.
4. If I could have a retreat anywhere in the world, it would be: My parents place where I grew up – minus the gnats. There’s plenty of natural resources, water, animals (domesticated and wild), woodlots, farm land, family, and neighbors with the same self-sufficient mindset. Now if I could magically move all that to a sparsely populated state/area, I’d do so in a minute. It’s a bit too close to large population centers for my liking.
In the mean time, I keep doing the stuff here. Bloom where we’re planted. Unless I hear from God to uproot and leave family, I’m staying put.
5. In my opinion, the best commercially produced survival food on the market today is: The advice of our prepper world is to store what you eat and eat what you store. Hum, since I don’t eat wheat based products or processed foods, I don’t have a “best” commercially produced survival food to recommend. After converting to a Primal/Paleo style of eating over three years ago, I don’t purchase conventional survival foods. We aim for a 6 month to one year supply of nutrient dense whole foods. I wrote about my Primal Pantry if anyone is interested. We do have a few freeze dried camping meals in our go bags in case of an emergency. As a Primal Prepper, I’m always on the look out for new, creative ways to store what we eat – a caveman’s diet of sorts.
6. The items that I have on me at all times include: A flashlight (Streamlight ProTac 2L), phone, reading glasses, Alice that goes boom boom, swiss army folding knife, wallet, duct tape wrapped in around an old card in my wallet, chap stick, small Bic lighter, and toothpicks (I’ve been addicted to chewing them since I was kid). On exercise outings in the woods or around town I carry my Camel-bak pack with all these goodies – plus water. I never use ear buds to listen to music or podcasts when I’m running or exercising in public. When running barefoot, I’m able to sneak up on people when they aren’t distracted by music. With ear buds blaring, I could roll up behind them on a Harley unnoticed.
7. The last book that I read wasAntifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the bestselling author of The Black Swan. It’s not light reading, but very applicable to prepping and life in general. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it.
8. One thing that I would miss the most if an EMP shifted my lifestyle back to the 1800’s would be: Technology/communicaitons. I’m writing this now on modern technology. You’re reading it through the same medium. Even though I adhere as much as possible to the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Sherpa Simple) method of living, I would miss the access to technology and being able to communicate electronically… for a time.
9. Stuck on an island and forced to choose one person to survive with, I would pick: Chuck Norris. Seriously, Dirt Road Girl, my beautiful wife and partner. We’re doing the stuff, together. She’s proven her survival skills many times. The latest was beating stage 4 cancer.
10. If I could own any vehicle, it would be: Now I drive a Toyota Forerunner and my neighbor’s truck. I sold my truck to help with cancer bills. DRG drives a Nissan Xterra. I’d love to own a 1969 Ford Branco one day. Something I can work on without computers. For two wheels I’d go with a Kawasaki KLR650 dual sport since I sold my Harley.
Thanks again to Todd. Make sure to check out Survival Sherpa online, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Win SafeGuard StealthPRO Body Armor

SafeGuard Body armor is giving away a set of their new StealthPRO™ Body Armor in celebration of the release of this new product. The StealthPRO™ armor features SAPI Pockets inside (Front and Back) for Hard Armor Plate Inserts! So You Get All The Benefits of The Breathable and Comfortable Stealth­™ Vest With Extra Level 4 Rifle Protection.

As SafeGuard states, “Basically We Have Created the Ultimate Covert Bullet Proof Vest!”

The winner of this contest will win a StealthPRO with Level 3a Vest With Additional Stab, Spike Level 2 Protection AND Two Level 3 Polyethylene Plates!

Available in Black or White.

To enter the contest:

  1. Go to SafeGuard Armor’s Facebook Page.
  2. Share the StealthPRO™ Giveaway post.
  3. Like their page.

The winner will be selected at random.

Closing Date: 28th June 2013 Good Luck!

10 ?’s with Damian Brindle of reThinkSurvival

This is the first of what I hope to be a series of several “prepperviews” (interviews with preparedness professionals).

Damian Brindle from reThinkSurvival was kind enough to give us some insight into his views on preparedness and survival. I found his answers both informative and entertaining. For those that are not familiar with his site, make sure to check it out at reThinkSurvival.com. It is loaded with great information, YouTube videos that are posted daily, and the Pathway 2 Preparedness course.

rethinksurvival

Here is what Damian had to say…

Please don’t consider me a professional. I’m just another American trying to better prepare his family for whatever might come our way… nothing more, nothing less.

1. If I were limited to only one firearm for survival, I would own a: Ruger 10/22 (or something similar) for a variety of basic survival reasons, including cost of ammo, ease of use, versatility around a homestead, etc.

2. The single most overlooked prep item are: buckets—and plenty of them—in all sizes. They have so many uses, from hauling water to storing food, caching supplies, as a makeshift toilet, wash station, and plenty more uses. Be sure to include the lids too!

3. The first thing to disappear following a disaster will be: whatever it is you failed to stock up on yesterday. :) But, if I had to be pinned down then I would say gasoline because nobody knows how to do anything if they can’t use their cars.

4. If I could have a retreat anywhere in the world, it would be: wherever nobody else has thought of and, sadly, I’m pretty sure there are no more hiding places on Earth. That said, it would probably still be here in America, specifically the northwest. I would need a plentiful water resource and a lot of trees to harvest. Beyond that, I could make do fairly well with whatever I’m presented with.

5. In my opinion, the best commercially produced survival food on the market today is: anything made by Mountain House. I know there are plenty of freeze-dried food choices but I tend to like their products, particularly the spaghetti and lasagna meals.

6. The items that I have on me at all times include: my keys, cell phone, a USB drive with pertinent info (encrypted, of course), a photon keychain light, CRKT folding knife, kubotan, wallet with assorted supplies (e.g., credit card Fresnel lens, bandages, some OTC meds, duct tape, etc), and occasionally a Leatherman Wave with a firesteel and another mini light.

7. The last book that I read was: a review of Fight, Flight, or Hide. The Guide to a Mass Shooting. One of these days I’ll get to reading classic novels instead of survival and preparedness info… one day.

8. One thing that I would miss the most if an EMP shifted my lifestyle back to the 1800’s would be: music. But, if we’re relatively prepared then we should be able to play a few favorite tunes every now and then without much trouble.

9. Stuck on an island and forced to choose one person to survive with, I would pick: my wonderful wife as my survival partner. Gee, how could I not… she might read this?

10. The vehicle I drive is: a lowly Saturn Sedan. Some day it will be a tank, I swear it. ;)

Thank you to Damian for sharing with us. Keep an eye out for future prepperviews with professionals from the survival and preparedness niche.