Category Archives: Preparedness

What Convinced Me To Change My Lifestyle Choices For Good

The following is a guest post about one person’s story and what convinced her that prepping was the right choice to make…

When does preparation ever become over-reaction?  In my mind, never.  And my guess is: people who have lost their homes to disasters, lost their loved ones to an epidemic, and lost all they have to tragedies feel the same way. The bottom line is: you have to be prepared to survive.

The “polar vortex” officially became a thing this year as it turned weather conditions upside down. Epidemics and viruses, threats of war, and economic meltdown — these are some of the occurrences no man could stop from happening.  In June 2012, four million people went without electricity when an unexpected summer storm knocked out power across the mid-Atlantic region.  Hardest hit were the Washington suburbs of Northern Virginia and Maryland.  A storm during the summer? Who would have thought?

On that fateful day, I decided to never compromise the safety of my loved ones.  On that day, I decided to be a prepper.  Yes, a prepper — a growing community that gave National Geographic its highest ratings ever.  The majority of people who saw the “Doomsday Preppers” series were not very kind, calling preppers crazy and wild-eyed people waiting for the end of the world as we know it.  But the thing about preppers is they don’t wait, they prepare and not just for the apocalypse (as most assume) but for emergencies and occurrences that most people don’t take seriously.

However, if you were with my family who huddled in the basement as the storm ripped through our neighborhood, tearing our roofs, slamming windows, and blowing down trees, you would probably understand.  More than 20 people died.

Source: Flickr

Photo 1 via Flickr

The next day after the storm, temperatures reached triple digits again. The extreme heat was hurting recovery efforts. Our house was damaged, we had no power, supermarkets and shops were mostly closed, and we ran out of food.  During those weeks, I thought: I will never let this happen to my family ever again.

A Prepper In All Of Us

It dawned on me that I was not alone.  I was not the only one who will do whatever it takes to keep my loved ones safe.  I was not the only one who fights hard to survive.

As many as three million Americans call themselves preppers.  They are regular people who like regular things.  They are professionals, couples, rich and poor, old and young. You could be living next to a prepper and not know it.  They are the new breed of survivalists whose preparedness guide and practices go beyond the norm.

A prepper’s emergency management includes not just a 72-hour survival food kit.  Prepping means sustainability.  Keeping a stockpile of food and artillery, getting survival training, and having an escape plan are among prepper practices that make people cringe and laugh.  But the truth is: there is a prepper in all of us.  Preparing for the future, preparing for simple home emergencies, preparing for hurricanes make everyone preppers.  The difference probably lies not in magnitude but the extent and degree of wanting to survive which transcends beliefs, orientation, and practices.

Being A Prepper

It is not easy to be a prepper.  The “Doomsday” series was more like a weekly invitation to laugh at us, “lunatics”.  Some imagine preppers as armed zealots hunkered down in bunkers.  When visitors drop by my house, I still don’t have the courage to show them my own survival kit.  We call them bug-out bags: our own array of disaster swag.  Members of the New York City Preppers Network proudly exhibited them at a church in Washington Heights last year.  They contain: compasses, hand-cranked radios, solar-powered flashlights, fire starters, road maps and pills.  Some preppers tweaked bug-out gear to suit their needs and interests.

Source: Flickr

Photo 2 via Flickr

Preppers often have their own checklists and preparedness guides. Prepping seems like a tough practice and the common question is: “where do I start?”  If you are the type that will do everything to protect your family, then prepping should not be a difficult task.  Everything will come naturally with training and practice.  There is no single formula for prepping — emergency survival kits must be patterned with what you and your family need and the training required varies with what specifically you are preparing for.

However, for beginners to have an idea of what prepping is all about, the basics are food kits, the art of stockpiling food and preserving it, first aid kits and skills, keeping your place warm or cold, locating sources of water and power, and disaster training.

Preppers And Pop Culture

Preppers are an ever-growing community, thanks to television shows, documentaries, movies, businesses and dedicated websites that make the idea of preparing popular and common.  Taking after the National Geographic’s “Doomsday Preppers,” the Discovery Channel launched its own series called “Doomsday Bunkers” and the TV special “Apocalypse Preppers.”

Movies such as “2012,””Contagion” and “World War Z” show viewers that, while fictional, the world is not safe from disasters and epidemics.  Like these movies, preppers do not intend to cast paranoia among people.  They simply remind that complacency has no place in this world.

There are also hundreds of websites and blogs, personal or official that are dedicated to preppers.  Top websites such as SHTF Plan and Survival Blog get as much as 60,000 visits a day combined.

Whether for long-term or short-term emergencies, people seem to be taking action and industries cashing in on preppers are proof of this — from ordinary household items to bug out gear.  The demand has made prepping a multi-billion industry.

Prepping is often seen as overly-dramatic but to me it is nothing but preparing to survive.  It is survival revolution.  No one deserves to feel the pain of losing someone we love or losing everything we worked so hard for.  Prepping is more than just a phenomenon; it is here to stay because danger does not discriminate — it can happen anytime, it can happen to anyone.  Preppers are regular people who will do everything to keep themselves and their families alive. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

About The Author

Jona Jone has been a mortgage originator in Philadelphia, PA. She is also a Business and Property Specialist. She has been writing articles about real estate investment, business, and sustainability. Know more about her by following her Twitter.

Decreasing Summer Emergencies

Decrease Summer Emergencies By Staying Prepared

There are various types of emergency situations that tend to happen during the warm summer months. Whether it involves heat exhaustion, electricity blackouts, or dehydration, it is important to stay informed on things that you can do to protect yourself, your family and your pets. The summer heat can be dreadful for the elderly, young children, and people with serious health conditions. However, anyone who is exposed to the heat for a long period of time should be concerned about how the summer heat can have a negative effect on their health and everyday life.

Tips for Preventing Summer Emergencies

Summer emergencies can range from irritable to severe, however the good news is that they can be prevented. Here are a few things that we can all do to ensure safety this upcoming summer.

  • Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids even if you are not thirsty. Water is best, but any non-alcoholic beverage can help keep you hydrated on a hot summer day. (Tom adds: Not all non-alcoholic beverages are as helpful in staying hydrated as others. In addition to water; fruit juices, sports drinks, and clear beverages like flavored waters are the best options for maintaining hydration.)
  • Wear light colored, light weight clothing that is loose fitting if you plan on being outside for a long period of time
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  • Stay cool indoors by keeping the thermostat turned down or keeping doors closed if there is only one source of cool air in the home. If fans are used, place them in the windows or doorway to circulate cool air.
  • Always wear plenty of sunscreen when you plan on being exposed to the sun.
  • Exercising outdoors should be limited to the early morning or late evening hours when the temperature is at its lowest
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  • Visit your local county facilities that are air conditioned and open to the public if you need to cool down quickly such as the local library or community center.
  • Conserve energy inside your home so that you can help decrease the possibility of a community-wide blackout which could be dangerous for many people.

The Dangers of Hyperthermia

Hyperthermia is a term that is used to describe a variety of illnesses that occur due to overexposure to heat. The most common types of hyperthermia include heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Seniors and those with serious illnesses are most likely to develop this serious medical condition. Anyone who is showing signs of hyperthermia should seek immediate medical attention. While it is most common in the summer, hyperthermia can occur at any time to anyone. Individuals who take a lot of medication can be at a higher risk as well as young children and the elderly.

Avoid Blackouts by Conserving Energy

Warm temperatures outside mean higher electricity bills for most homeowners. While it is important to stay cool, it is also a good idea to keep an eye on your thermostat and try to keep it at a comfortable and conservative level. With so many people turning on energy-draining air conditioning systems it is highly likely for many communities to experience blackouts due to heat waves. When a blackout occurs, the power can go out and stay out for several hours. It is important to take precautions if you suspect that a blackout may occur such as keeping emergency food and water on hand so that you can stay hydrated. Stock up on food and snacks that do not require heating up and keep plenty of bottled water available.

Summer should be a fun and enjoyable time for all, unfortunately there are many areas where the high temperatures can make this happy time of year, a dreadful one for many people. Be sure to keep a close eye on at-risk individuals in your local community by checking in on elderly neighbors or those who are sick or disabled to see if they need assistance with staying cool. Many charity organizations provide free fans or window air conditioners for seniors or low-income families. By staying hydrated and avoiding long time exposure to the sun, you can help yourself beat the heat and make the summer season more enjoyable.

About The Author

Lee Flynn is a freelance writer and expert in emergency food preparedness and food storage.  

Prepper Checklist Infographic

The information below originally appeared on thesurvivalistblog.net in the post, The Prepper Checklist – Ten Things To Do Now. M.D. Creekmore has now updated that info into an easy to follow infographic and has allowed me to share it with you. It is full of great information and is the perfect tool to share with those that are new to prepping or have been thinking about getting started on an emergency preparedness plan.

In addition to the above info graphic, make sure to check out M.D.’s follow up article, Ten MORE Things To Do Now.

Thank you to M.D. for all the great work he does and for being willing to share what he does with as many people as possible.

What Would You Do?

There is a named storm, Arthur, bearing down on the east coast of the United States and a mandatory evacuation has been ordered for some areas while voluntary evacuations have been ordered for other areas. This is not ideal by any means, especially because it is forecasted to make land fall today which would make it the first hurricane to ever hit the United States on Independence Day. Facing a hurricane, or any disaster, reminds us that things happen around us all the time and it reiterates the necessity to prepare for such events constantly. These threats are real and show up on God’s time, not ours. It is not possible to predict such disasters on any type of long term calendar.

Hurrucane Ike, Picture Origin Unknown
Hurrucane Ike, Picture Origin Unknown

Let me put a twist on the situation…imagine that you are there visiting a resort in North Carolina’s Outer Banks on your summer vacation, right where Arthur is headed. It is not likely that you have brought along much in the way of survival or preparedness kits or items. You might not even have a car! Do you carry the bare minimum essentials to survive if you were caught in this situation? Do you have the knowledge to complete the survival tasks necessary in this situation?

It is a good mental exercise to participate in. What would you do if you found yourself in this situation? It is typically not practical to travel with a dedicated bug out bag which can be cumbersome, not to mention that the type of travel can greatly limit what you can have in your bag. The amount of space needed to carry the bare minimum essentials can easily fit into a small portion of the average suitcase.

There are 10 survival items that I would suggest that you consider carrying with you when you travel include:

  1. First Aid Kit
  2. High Quality Multi-Tool
  3. Flashlight
  4. Chemical Light Stick(s)
  5. Whistle
  6. Emergency Poncho
  7. Paracord (~50 Feet)
  8. Water Bottle (Lexan bottles like Nalgene are durable and can be used to pack other items into.)
  9. Way To Purify Water (Tablets, Straw Filter, Etc.)
  10. Duct Tape (~50 feet wrapped around an old gift card) and Zip Ties
  11. Mylar Survival Blanket
  12. Snack Foods (Jerky, Protein Bars, Nuts, Candy, Etc.)
  13. Lighter
  14. Bandana
  15. Sewing Kit

What would you add to this list?

I would also like to say happy Independence Day! It is my hope that everyone enjoys their day and stays safe while celebrating the freedoms that we enjoy. Don’t forget to keep your thoughts and prayers with those who are dealing with Arthur on the east coast and our military who are serving abroad so that we can have fun at home.

Today is the last day to take advantage of the 4th of July sale over at Black River Outpost. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to save a ton of money on marked down items and FREE shipping on ALL orders!

10 Items to Keep Your Survival Chances in Check

The following is a guest submission on some of the ways to ensure your survival in the wake of an emergency.

10 Items to Keep Your Survival Chances in Check

Zombie apocalypse. Doomsday. End of the world.

These are some of the situations that we just regularly see in movies, TV shows, or in books. We tend to be amazed on how the protagonist manages to survive a certain kind of situation that seems impossible to escape. But have you ever thought of your escape plan if ever these situations happen in your lifetime? More importantly, have you ever thought of the things that you need to have in order to survive?

And if natural disasters and panic have already raged your neighborhood, will you just get the items that you instantly see based on your instincts and or will you easily grab your ever-reliable emergency survival kits and run as fast as you can for your dear life? For me, the latter sounds much better.

Of course, preparing ahead is much, much better compared to rushing things especially during doomsday where the atmosphere is already tense, nerve-wracking and full of fear. A prepper naturally has the foresight and prepares everything as organized and as detailed as possible. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a single item that you need to have for you and your loved ones’ survival.

Here are 10 security items that you need to have to keep your survival chances in check if ever the worse day happens.

1. Water Supply To Quench Your Thirst

This comes first in our list. Without water for 3 to 4 days, you’ll eventually die and that is the ultimate situation that you need to avoid as you fight for survival. You will definitely need to have ‘drinking’ water intact and not just any other type of water unless you want to die of other water-related diseases. Have a big table-top ceramic filter type of water container to store your drinking water.

2. Food Storage To Avoid Starving

This is a no-brainer if you really want to survive doomsday. Come the end of the world, major supermarkets will definitely run out of their food supply because of the panicking people that filled the supermarkets and retail stores. You can choose to store and prepare survival food kits that match your nutritional needs. Don’t forget to address the food allergies of your family for your survival. Make sure that these food kits will last longer, say 6 months. These survival food kits in case of disasters will surely provide you food and energy that you need if ever the food supply totally runs out in your area.

3. A Handgun For Defense

If the situation becomes truly chaotic (think of the possibility if zombies attack you at your own home or if other people desperately try to get your food supply), you will need a handgun for self-defense and for defending your family. For example, if your home alarm system has been destroyed by an earthquake, you need to be aware of burglars and people who will target your house for their own supplies. Learn how to use one and for starters, experts recommend having handgun that you are comfortable shooting in a caliber that is 9mm or larger. Don’t forget to load set-defense ammunition in the handgun, that is what it is made for.

4. A Portable Radio To Be In The Loop

After you have safely evacuated your chaotic neighborhood, you’ll definitely need to be in the loop on the current events in your area and for possible safe places that you can evacuate to. Having a portable radio will allow you to stay informed and this is a great advantage since information is power.

5. First-Aid Kits

Prepping for the worst day also includes preparing for what might happen along the way during your escape. In case of an emergency, make a handy list of your first-aid essentials such as regular medicines, antibiotics, and gauze bandages if you or a family member ever gets wounded while on the run. Check to ensure that you have enough of each item in your first-aid kit.

6. A Handy Map And A Compass

Another no-brainer, these will come in handy should you need to locate the fastest and easiest escape route towards the next safe place. Yes, a lot of people are relying on their GPS or their other gadgets but if battery runs low, then your map will be your golden ticket to survival. Have a good quality road map of your area or secure a topographical map of your hometown and possible retreat areas. Along with a map, a compass will also come into good use if you need to go around the woods for your safety.

7. Flashlights

This will be extremely useful at night and for dark places that you might encounter. Be sure to have extra batteries as well for this item. A handy L.E.D flashlight that produces a strong light is needed for your survival.

8. Lighter And Fire Starters

If ever you need to stay out in the woods for several days, you will need lighters, matches and other fire starters to keep you warm and to possibly cook food as well. This will also be handy should you need to boil dirty water for it to be potable.

9. The Reliable Swiss Army Knife

This item is definitely included in the top security items list. A Swiss Army Knife is incredibly handy and valuable thanks to every function that it can do for your survival. You’ll never know when you’ll need it especially if you’re in an area where certain tools are out of reach.

10. A Hiking Backpack

You might think of the need for a place to put all the necessary items for your survival. Why not go for your hiking backpack as your “bug out” bag? Be sure that it has plenty of space and/or compartments and check to be sure you can carry it with a full load of your essential items. This will contain all of your emergency survival kits so be sure that your backpack is strong and intact.

Having this top 10 security items list will serve as your preparedness guide for terrible events such as doomsday. Properly securing and preparing each item will definitely help you in your survival and you will be assured that you’ve prepared ahead of those terrible times in the future.

About The Author

John Anderson is a writer and an Executive Street Contributor. He runs the blog InfiltrationAlert.com

Book Review: Forsaking Home by A. American

I just finished reading Forsaking Home, the fourth installment of the Survivalist Series by A. American. I really enjoyed the first three books in the series and was excited to see how things would work out for Morgan Carter and the rest of the gang. While I was not disappointed in the least, I was surprised how some of the events played out in Forsaking Home. It was not what I expected, although all of the loose ends from the previous three installments were tied together in this book which was a relief and a disappointment. I am glad to know how everything works out for Morgan and the cast of characters but I am bummed that things may have come to an end. I don’t know that this is the last book in the series or not. Things could be done for Morgan Carter but maybe Mr. American will let us know how the rebuilding of the United States goes eventually.

The first three installments of the Survivalist Series revealed the challenges that Morgan Carter faced after the collapse of the electrical grid across the United States. After a long journey, he finally made it back home to his family and made some great friends, and terrible enemies, along the way. Nothing could have prepared him for everything he has faced but between the relationships forged and the preparations that he did make, he is in much better shape than most. As the days continue on, Morgan, along with his friends and family, is forced to try harder and harder to provide the food, security, and hope that is necessary to continue to thrive. This is all on top of the DHS’ attempts to smother any resistence they get from those who do not want to conform to the government’s new rules of martial law, etc.

Forsaking Home takes us along as Morgan continues to try to keep his family and group alive and together in their newly established oasis by the river while Sarge and his self-titled band of misfits try to pull together an operation that will take down the DHS camp that is holding Jess and her friends captive (in the name of their own good of course). While things continue to be chaotic, there are many who wonder what the future holds and whether or not they will even survive to see. I think that compared to the previous three books there was perhaps a little less excitement overall but the story was still very captivating and I appreciated the realism in the behavior of the characters and the facts contained.

There were some great take away points that I highlighted as I was reading the book that I wanted to remember to share.

Point #1 – People will fight to the death for the food needed to survive (there may not be a greater truth).

Food is freedom. Control the food, control the people. While a lot of people don’t see it that way, if you think about our current situation, it really applies. How many people do you think have gone to the [DHS] camps because they are hungry?

Point #2 – The skills of the generations that came before us are what made their survival possible and their lives better. Knowing these skills could be the key to future survival if the grid did go down.

There’s decades of skills lost that would make our lives easier. The rush to make life easier, more convenient, overshadowed those skills, and we’re paying the price now.

Takeaway # 3 – The idea of preparing for the unknown is not crazy. Obviously the electrical grid has not collapsed but if it ever did (and it’s possible), it will be those who prepared who will survive.

You guys remember that show Doomsday Preppers? I used to watch that and laugh at those people. I thought they were all so crazy. But they were right. Everyone called them crazy, but they’re probably the best off out of any of us.

Among these points and the additional practical skills and knowledge that is shared in the book, one of the other things that I appreciated was the inclusion of a few characters that had used their bikes with trailers to travel and move their belongings after the majority of vehicles became useless. This is something that can be a useful tool for a prepper, not only as an alternate form of transportation but as a means of exercise and maintaining physical fitness for long term survival.

I truly enjoyed all four of the books in this series and can honestly say that I was anxiously awaiting the release of Forsaking Home. A. American continued to do a great job in the latest installment with the characters and the storyline. It is easy to relate to all of the characters and how they feel and function but there were definitely some that I almost feel like I had met before. As an example, Sarge and crew easily remind me of my time in the Army and several of the Soldiers who I worked with, not only in attitude but in the shenanigans department as well. For those who are interested in the Survival/Post-Apocalyptic Fiction genre or have thought about checking it out, the Survivalist Series by A. American would be well worth your time. Just make sure to order all the books at once because you will go through them quickly.

The Survivalist Series can be found through your local book retailer or online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Powell’s Books.

Interested in winning all four books in the Survivalist Series? All you have to do is leave a comment about this review and you will automatically be entered to win. Make sure to leave a good email address (it will only be seen by me) so that I can contact you if you are the winner. The winner will be selected using a random generator on July 15th, 2014.

BBQ’s, Fireworks, & Baseball

I know, what an odd title for an article on a preparedness blog but I promise I will make it relate. (Bonus fact – I love BBQ, fireworks, and baseball.) Most of the country is preparing for the big celebration next week by readying parades, festivals, and all the security measures that go along with them. It is such a weird time in America right now when there has been such a seismic shift in the militarization of the police forces, the way we look at the risk of terrorism, and perhaps even the way we look at each other. I feel like what used to be ok, no longer is and what was once incomprehensible has become quite popular.

I truly believe that we still live in the greatest country in the world. I know that there are many parameters that the government likes to highlight as areas where we are failing; education and healthcare as examples. While this is very true in some regards, we still have more freedom (at least those freedoms that matter in my opinion) than anywhere else you can go in the world. (I don’t believe that freedom has anything to do with the government providing clean needles for drug users as an example.) We can still for the most part, say what we want, own firearms, do what we want, live where we want, and own what kind of car or house we desire. It is apparent that based on recent government activity that some of these liberties may be eroding.

For me, this makes it vital that steps are taken now, while they are still legal and items are still available, to secure my family’s and my future. This means a lot of things. It means getting out of debt, finding a place to call home that I own, storing up food and water, obtaining the tools necessary to survive on my own, and most of all, learning and sharing skills with others to be ready for difficult times. All to the best of my ability.

Now I guess I better bring things back around to my article title. We are officially a week away from the annual celebration of our country’s independence and that can only mean a couple of things: bbq’s, fireworks, baseball, and Black River Outpost’s 4th of July sale. My friends over at Black River Outpost have not only put a bunch of their items on sale but they have also made shipping FREE on all orders from now until Friday, July 4th. This provides a prime opportunity to make a shift towards personal independence in your personal lives at a great savings. I hate to make this post sound like a commercial but I am absolutely concerned about the ways things are going and the opportunity to secure the items we need for survival NOW is the only way to ensure you have them when they are needed. There are a number of items that can help you accomplish your survival goals at Black River Outpost and it would be a shame to miss out on the discounted prices AND free shipping (this can be a huge savings). Check out the Black River Outpost 4th of July sale here.

My New Favorite Flashlight & Other Stuff

In my most recent order from Black River Outpost I ordered a number of items that I needed to help round out my preparedness efforts but I also added a couple of $3 flashlights. It was almost an afterthought because as my wife would tell you, I don’t really NEED any more flashlights. But for $3, I figured what could be the harm? The unique thing about these flashlights are that they do not require batteries. All the energy that is needed for the flashlight to run is created by a hand operated squeeze lever.

Not only are these flashlights awesome, but they are awesome! I was curious to see how long the light would run so right out of the box I decided to turn it on and let it go until it ran out. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. The light ran for over 48 straight hours (I would not recommend this though because it took a lot of squeezing to get it back where it was bright again). It is lightweight (literally only a few ounces) and would be perfect for a survival kit because of this and the fact that no batteries are required. You can get your own from Black River Outpost.

There is also a new supporting partner at The Prepared Ninja. CB Mint has joined up with me to help provide an affordable source for precious metals as part of a long term survival and self-sufficiency strategy. They provide the standard gold, silver, and platinum rounds and bullion that you see from your standard precious metals dealer but they have some unique offerings like Palladium, Rhodium, and Copper. My absolute favorite item they carry are the silver bullets that they have in various calibers (each caliber is a different weight from a 1 ounce .45 ACP to the 100 ounce 30 mm Autocannon round).

I also stumbled upon some more great stuff around the web over the last couple of weeks. Here are a few things that are worth checking out if you have the time:

9 Booby Traps to Rig Your Homestead

Prepping Resources from Dale @ Survivalist Prepper - There are a number of great resources here that were contributed from myself and fellow survival and preparedness bloggers around the net. My contribution was a PDF compilation of the medical kits used by the US Military Special Operations units in the First Aid section.

Preparing Your Neighborhood Against Attack

Book Review: Sanctuary by G. Michael Hopf

Just when you thought Gordon Van Zandt had been through enough, he finds himself buried in a new heap of difficulty. Sanctuary follows G. Michael Hopf’s cast of characters through the next set of challenges they face as they fight hard to right wrongs and come back together in their ultimate destination, the Van Zandt family home in McCall, Idaho. If the first two books in the New World series revealed anything, it was that the post apocalyptic world is not an easy one and nothing is just given, it is earned.

I will tell you that just like The End and The Long Road, I was not disappointed with Sanctuary and found myself carrying it with me everywhere I went until I was done reading it. Not only is the story believable and engaging but Hopf’s character development has me fully engaged and anxious to see what will happen next to Gordon Van Zandt, his wife, daughter and friends, his brother Sebastian, President Conner, Colonel Barone, and Pablo (drug cartel magnate turned new world conqueror).

I definitely don’t want to give away too much so here is the official synopsis from G. Michael Hopf:

The journey down The Long Road proved to be more than they all could have imagined.

The country is now unrecognizable. The major cities are now controlled by gangs. Those lucky enough to have been prepared for such an event find themselves unprepared for guarding against the hordes of the wandering masses of survivors.

With the lack of a consistent and adequate governmental response many are now dying of starvation. What scattered remnants of government that is functional is having a tough time coordinating efforts and are themselves becoming victims of lawlessness and chaos.

Gordon Van Zandt, unable to confront his wife, Samantha following the loss of their son, Hunter, is on a mission to track down and kill the man who killed his son. This will take him places and into situations that he himself could not have predicted.

Samantha, Nelson and their group have reached Idaho but with no equipment to keep the roads open to complete the journey to McCall, they find themselves with no place to go.

Sebastian has safely delivered Annaliese and her family to their family compound in Utah, but his desire to find his brother will put him back on the road again.

Barone, now having fulfilled vengeance against a man he felt had wronged him, must keep his group of Marines together with purpose. His fledgling country is only being held together because of the false promises he keeps making the civilian leadership in Coos Bay. These lies will see the light of day and thrust him into making unconventional alliances.  With, Cruz, as his prisoner he has some leverage but will it be enough to stop President Connor.

President Connor is back in control of the federal government, but he is not the man he was before. Does he have what takes to confront all the threats and heal his wounded nation?

Pablo’s army has landed successfully in Southern California and after establishing a strong foothold he is expanding quickly across the southwest. His populist call to arms is helping recruit many to his ranks. His dreams of empire are unfolding with each day and each mile his army conquers.

The one common thread that they all have deep in their hearts is one of a place to call home, a safe place away from the horrors that have become the norm. They all have different paths and different ideas of what it means, but all are in search of a Sanctuary.

There were so many things about Sanctuary that I enjoyed that I could not possibly list them all, but I will list a few including the fact that once again the story is not predictable, the characters have human attributes, and because I am a veteran I always appreciate the fact that the military related portions of the book are accurate. Additionally, as someone who is concerned with being prepared for difficult times, I truly appreciate the fact that G. Michael Hopf is able to craft some potential survival scenarios into his storyline in a realistic manner.

There are plenty of different fiction survival novels on the market, and I have read plenty of them, but I find that Hopf’s New World series continue to find themselves at the top of my list because the story is so phenomenal. You can learn more about G. Michael Hopf on his website. To get your own copy of any of the books in the series, check with your local book retailer or find them online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Indiebound, iBooks, or Penguin Books.

Interested in winning the three books in the New World series? All you have to do is leave a comment about this review and you will automatically be entered to win. Make sure to leave a good email address (it will only be seen by me) so that I can contact you if you are the winner. The winner will be selected using a random generator on July 15th, 2014.

The Survivor’s Guide To Storing Firearms

THE SURVIVOR’S GUIDE TO STORING FIREARMS

The following post is a guest submission from Aaron. In this article, he discusses some great storage ideas for gun owners and how to properly care for these.

A gun can come in handy when caught in very tough situations. While some would likely promote the idea that guns be totally eradicated in all parts of the globe, this proposition is still only perfect for an ideal world. If everybody was following the written laws and unwritten ideals as was intended by most governments in the first place, then living in peace without the need to carry or keep a gun may be possible. Until the world is a safe haven free from criminals, then it is the right of every sane person to own a gun and protect themselves and their loved ones from the possible dangers of robbery or related incidents, and always being prepared for tougher times. To all gun owners, remember that having a firearm at home also comes with the responsibility to store these safely for the sake of everyone at home. It is understandable that you may want to keep guns in places that are easily accessible when the need arises for you to use them.

Firearm Concealment Ideas

There are a lot of ways by which you can hide your firearms without arousing suspicion from other family members or visitors. Here are some tips that might help you come up with your own idea:

1. The Prized Painting by the Wall

This one is probably one of the most used ideas as shown in many action movie films. You may have seen one too. You also might recall how the bad guy decided to crash into the hero’s home and wanted to make quick money and maybe get lucky and bring home some jewelry too? But alas! The owner of the home heard someone trying to break in and the gun stored behind the paintingwas just what he needed to take a warning shot and scare the goon away.

2. The Librarian’s Stuff

Do you have a bookshelf in your living room, bedroom or home office? Unless your visitors are bookworms and love to read books in somebody else’s home, your books would go untouched and unnoticed by anyone but you. For the old books that you no longer use, you can use the side covers, glue this in a small box and use this as a hidden gun and ammo storage compartment. Keep the box at the upper level of the bookshelf to prevent small kids from reaching it.

 

3. The Household Furniture

If you love working with carpentry and building your own furniture, then you can put your talent to good use and incorporate hidden spaces in these. Get creative. Even solid and bulky parts can be made to look like it is made of pure wood, but what most would not notice is that there may be something hidden behind the façade. The coffee table, the bed post, the arm of the chair, and even the underside of the dining table – all these could be used to store guns.

4. The Not-So-Usual Places

There are many things in your home that usually go unnoticed. The more plain these are, the better the chance that these will never be thought of as something that carries your prized guns. Examples of these are the food containers at the top of the kitchen shelf that you’ve never touched and will never probably be able to use. Other firearm safe storage places could be a hollow trophy or a wall shelf, an old violin case, inside a jacket pocket in your closet, an old boot, behind the window curtains or places that can be seen in plain sight but are not considered a usual place to hide a firearm.

Caring For Guns Prior To Storage

Remember that your guns are made of metal. With constant use and abuse, these could easily succumb to rusting. Instead of your family being protected when you needed it, a rusting gun may fail to work or end up hurting you instead. Prepper gun storage comes with being able to care for guns the right way. Here are some tips to keep your guns always in top condition.

  1. Clean guns from the inside out. Whenever your gun is used, gunpowder residue is released and this could accumulate inside your firearm. With its buildup inside your gun, this can be likened to dirt that seeps at the insides of your shoes. Just as dirt attracts unwanted bacteria and fungus in shoes, gunpowder attracts the formation of rust since this easily absorbs moisture from the air. Take note that there are many small movable parts inside your firearm and these can stick together with the presence of gunpowder.
  1. Grease is not always a good option. Steel metal windows may need constant lubrication for these to open and close easily and to prevent rusting. However, this rule is not always applicable when it comes to firearms. Many products which were specifically designed to prevent rusting in firearms are now available in the market and these only leave a protective film instead of grease.
  1. Keep guns away from moisture. The easiest way to render your gun useless is to keep this in a moist place. While keeping your gun in a movable tile in the bathroom or the kitchen sounds like a great idea, this is not doing any good for your ammo and guns. Keep your guns in a dry place and/or airtight containers.
  1. Periodically perform maintenance. Just because you have cleaned your guns before storing them is not enough reason for you to never clean them again. Even after applying a rust protective agent and keeping firearms in an ideal storage space, you still need to check these from time to time and take them apart for regular cleaning.

Additional Reminders

Take note that guns can be dangerous when used by the wrong people which includes children. For additional safe gun storage tips, keep your guns out of the sight and reach of your children until they come of age and are responsible enough to use one. If you choose to get a gun for the lady of the house to protect herself and the kids, teach her some of these tips too.

About The Author

Aaron Mulligan creates content for Gun Mate, Hunting Magazines as well as being a regular contributor for other hunting websites. His expertise has seen him camp alongside some of the greatest campers, trekkers and adventure seekers in the world – unfortunately he hasn’t cracked the Kokoda Trail. You can grab him on Google+ or via his current Twitter Profile: @Gun_Mate

Is Body Armor Necessary For Civilians?

Most people tend to think of body armor as a necessary item for those who are engaged in offensive operations against an enemy of some variety. It doesn’t matter whether it is the soldier on the frontlines of Afghanistan or the police officer rounding up gang members in Los Angeles, body armor can be a vital, and lifesaving, component of an individual’s daily ensemble. What is regularly passed over is the thought that body armor can be employed by those seeking to use it as a defensive measure. There is a potential place for body armor use as a defensive measure in all of our lives.

When I think of some of the recent events that followed last years Boston Marathon bombing, there were many of the citizens of Boston who were exposed, or came real close to being exposed, to the shooting from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan as they ran from just about every law enforcement agency in the greater Boston area and multiple federal agencies. In addition to the shootings that occurred in various areas of Boston over the course of the manhunt, a very anxious group of law enforcement officers conducted dozens, if not hundreds, of house-to-house searches in the Watertown, MA area as they tried to find those responsible for the carnage at the marathon.

Now think of being one of the Bostonians that, following such a terrible incident, were in fear of their lives as shootings are occurring across the city. All the while, police officers are pulling people out of their homes at gunpoint to conduct searches. It doesn’t matter if it is the fear of being shot by a terrorist, or shot by a police officer with an itchy trigger finger that feels you made a wrong move, in this case, having a set of body armor could greatly reduce the anxiety that was felt by those forced to endure this real-life scenario.

This is but one such possibility in the world today. As a soldier, I wore body armor every single day when I was in a hostile environment. Did I think that I was going to get shot or blown up every single day? The answer is no, but it would have been foolish to not wear such a useful piece of equipment in such an environment. My point is simply that since I had it, I used it and I was glad that I did because it, along with my competent colleagues, and top-notch training, helped ensure that I made it home.

Just for the sake of the argument, let’s say that you have the $400 that would be required to make a one-time purchase of a quality set of body armor and that you elect not to because you would rather use the money to upgrade your TV to that new ultra-high definition flat screen that it now even one eighth of an inch thinner. You wouldn’t ever want to find yourself in the position where you were forced to wonder if the opportunity cost from such a decision was worthwhile or not. Especially when the new TV doesn’t look any different than the last one!

Clearly not everyone needs a set of body armor though. It is a decision that should not be taken lightly and it is also important to consider the fact that your hard earned money should likely be used to secure the preparedness basics first and foremost. But there is certainly a place for body armor as a key component to a personal preparedness plan, especially in the areas of defense and security.

While there are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of body armor companies to choose from, if you do decide that obtaining a set of body armor is crucial for your long-term survival and survival strategy consider going with a reputable manufacturer like Point Blank. Of course there are some stores like Inter-American Security Products (ISP) where you can shop multiple lines of body armor products in one place. Shopping at an online store like ISP not only allows you to see a variety of different sets of body armor but it will let you shop by the coverage level desired and the price point that fits your budget.

To tie back into the earlier example of buying a set of body armor instead of a new TV, not only can $400 buy you a set of body armor, it will buy you a set of custom built concealable body armor. This is hard to beat and will serve you better than any TV ever could in a life or death situation. While it would have once been difficult to foresee a situation where you might find yourself in need of body armor, there seems to be constant reminders in the news where innocent bystanders were involved in a situation that could have had a different outcome if said bystanders were wearing body armor. While it is not a piece of equipment for everyone, it is an integral component of a well-rounded survival strategy.

Prepping Gems From The Web

One of the great things about the internet is that it is always being updated. It is a constant and never ending process. While this is great, it also means that it is impossible to keep up with everything. With that in mind, here are a few items that I found over the last week or so that I though were worth passing on to you. Hopefully, there will be at least one thing of value to you.

Super Easy Survival Bread

This last  week I stumbled across a REALLY simple recipe for a bread that could easily be made in a survival situation or even just a time of personal economic difficulty. There are only four ingredients and an oven is not required. Check out the recipe from BeSurvival.com.

12 Gauge is Enough Gun

In the last release of All Outdoor’s newsletter, they included an article on shotguns and why the 12 gauge caliber of shotgun is the universal do-it-all smoothbore gauge. It is a well versed take on why there should be no substitute for the 12 gauge when it comes to smoothbore firearms. Read the whole article here.

How To Hide Your House From Google Maps

This article originally appeared on Off The Grid News in October of last year and has the step by step instructions on how to block the street view of your house on Google maps. What is significant about this process is that it can also be used to block license plates, cars, or even people if you feel that you would rather not have you or your property on display to the world. Read the article as well as the necessary steps to complete the process here.

Yard Sale Prepping

The Backyard Pioneer shared a piece on prepping and the use of garage or yard sales to obtain items at a fraction of the price for which they could usually be acquired. While it is not a comprehensive list, there are some good pointers and the article highlights a solid strategy for preparing on a budget. Check it out here.

How To Plan A Bug Out Route For Emergency Evacuation

Graywolf Survival has a great article on how to plan a bug out route. Not only does the article cover how to plan a bug out route but also how to assess a route and the follow up steps that should be taken once you have selected your route(s). Plan your bug out route here.

Quick-Start Guide for Preparedness Newbies

If you have not had the chance to review it yet, James Wesley Rawles over at Survival Blog has compiled a wealth of pertinent survival information for the new prepper. While this info is geared toward newbies, it is a valuable reference for any level of survival minded individual. My recommendation would be printing a copy to keep as a guide to prioritize and keep track of your progress. View the guide here.

I hope that you all are having a great weekend. If you have a moment and like the content that I share here on The Prepared Ninja, please consider following the link in the right sidebar and voting for me on the Top Prepper Sites webpage. For those who are fans of social media, you can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Lastly, if you would be interested in supporting the blog with a monetary donation, there is a link to do so through PayPal in the left column. Any assistance is appreciated. Have a great week!

Dream Vehicles For Preppers

With the rise in popularity of the zombie apocalypse culture (thanks in part to the worldwide popularity of shows like The Walking Dead, books like World War Z, and video games like Left 4 Dead, Dead Rising, Day Z and State of Decay), many people wonder what they would do if a cataclysmic disaster struck, and how they would be able to handle themselves. If the worst of the worst DID occur, how would you cope?

Would you stay in your home and defend yourself, or would you grab a vehicle and go on the run, never standing still long enough to become a target? And if the end of the world hits, would you stay in the city or go off-road? Or would you perhaps avoid land altogether and maybe sail away in a boat until the hazards hopefully disappeared? What type of dream vehicle would you want?

As far as land vehicles are concerned, there are many options to choose from, including the Earth Roamer XV-LT, the Conquest Knight XV, the Chevrolet Silverado Black Ops, the Sportsmobile 4WD Vehicle, the Campa EVS and, naturally, the Hyundai Zombie Survival Car that is lovingly featured during recent episodes of The Walking Dead. The main benefit of each of these is that they can house multiple people, which means they are the perfect choice for families who are on the run together. The Earth Roamer XV-LT even features a machine gun turret and solar panels, while the Campa EVS possesses a water purification system!

Photo Courtesy of 1armoredvehicles.com
Photo Courtesy of 1armoredvehicles.com

In these kinds of “What’s the ultimate dream prepper vehicle?” debates, many people think about driving a tank and, although this makes sense from a protection standpoint, a tank’s severe lack of maneuverability, poor gas mileage and general slowness also makes it a target for attack, and you will obviously need to minimize the possibility of all-out enemy assaults. Also, even though the term “dream vehicle” usually means choosing an Aston Martin DB9, Porsche 911 Carrera, Bugatti Veyron or Lamborghini Gallardo, these particular speedster super-cars are too flashy to offer any genuine kind of defense if you were caught unaware.

What kind of vehicle would be suitable if you were alone? Given that you don’t have anyone else to worry about, a motorcycle is a wise choice. The BMW R 1200 GS Adventure has superior fuel-efficiency and can go off-road whenever needed. If money is no object, the Triumph Rocket III Roadster is a top-of-the-line alternative.

Another idea is to opt for a Jeep Wrangler or an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV). Aggressive and hard-wearing 4-wheel drive tires mean that ATVs can traverse almost all obstacles and types of terrain and its matchless off-road capabilities make it a real winner. If the streets were both silent and deserted à la Dawn of the Dead, abandoned SWAT vehicles, RDVs (Rapid Deployment Vehicles) and BATTs (Ballistic Armored Tactical Transports) would also be no-brainer choices. Even the typical bank security vans you see on the streets that are used to transport money would seem an improvement on walking everywhere!

A final consideration is to select your own dream sail boat. Many modern models make use of both wind and solar power to create and store energy but, if something serious happens to your boat and you need to jump overboard, you will be at a high risk of losing your supplies as you swim ashore. Not an ideal situation. Also, one of the biggest disadvantages of using a boat, ATV or motorcycle is the repeated exposure to extreme weather conditions.

In any apocalyptic scenario, you will have to ask yourself how long fuel will last before it runs out. Therefore, with the majority of the vehicles mentioned, a considerable downfall is that you will frequently need to stop for refueling. There are arguments for using a mountain bike since you will not need to continuously refuel, although this is obviously one of the slowest modes of transportation.

The dream vehicle for any doomsday prepper has to fulfill some specific criteria. Not only should it offer high levels of safety and protection from attack, be it from mutated zombies or dangerous animals in the wild, but it also has to be quick enough for you to escape if things get too unpredictable for you and your family to endure. You would also need a vehicle big enough for you to comfortably live together with other people in close proximity, as well as enough storage for food, weapons, and other everyday supplies you need to survive.

The Armored Group, LLC are the number one source for both new and pre-owned armored personal protection vehicles, specializing in armored cars as well as SWAT and tactical trucks, money transport vehicles, and much more. If you would like more information, please visit our website at www.1armoredvehicles.com or call us at (602) 840-2271.

There Shall Be Hurricanes

June 1, 2014 marks the official start of the six month long hurricane season in the United States. While there is hope that this year’s season will be below-average, there are never any guarantees when it comes to acts of God. A prudent person will ensure to have a plan in place to deal with all natural disasters, including hurricanes.

Photo Credit: NationalGeographic.com

The primary precaution that should be taken to be prepared for a possible hurricane is to have a basic survival kit. While preparations could fill an entire room, your kit could be a portable survival kit like the Survivor Pack that at a cost of less than $50 that will fit in a backpack, car trunk, or desk drawer easily. Your kit doesn’t have to be elaborate or big to be effective.

In addition to having a survival kit, make sure to follow through with a plan for evacuating that includes at least two or three different routes and a planned destination. When forced to evacuate, it is beneficial to have a stash of cash to pay for things in the event that the power is out. It also can’t hurt to know the location(s) of planned emergency shelters in the area and along your evacuation route(s) in the event that things don’t go as planned.

My hope is that the 2014 hurricane season will not be bad, but whether things go as planned or not. Who would pass over the opportunity to protect themselves and their loved ones for what would equate to less than a dollar a day?

7 Reasons to Take an Air Rifle for Survival Weapon

This article originally appeared on Survivopedia and is reprinted here on The Prepared Ninja with permission.
Does the air rifle have its place in today’s modern survival weapons cache, or is it of use only to those that want to shoot holes in paper or hit tin cans?
I believe that today’s air rifles do have their place in a modern survival weapons cache. This weapon can be used in small game hunting to hunt doves and other birds, rabbits, squirrel, and other small game animals.
There is also historical evidence that air rifles were used for a number of purposes. For example, the Girandon was used during the Lewis and Clark Expedition around 1780‘s. It held 22 rounds of 40 caliber bullets in a bullet reservoir.
This weapon had to be pumped over 1200 times to supply the air pressure needed to fire all the bullets one at a time. The bullet velocity of this weapon was equal to black powder rifles of this period (450-650fps).
Why Should You Use an Air Gun?
Here are some advantages associated with using an air rifle:
  • Air rifles are very quiet – there are no loud bangs to scare off other game in the area.
  • Easy to shoot – this weapon points nicely, and is not too heavy or large for the beginner or inexperienced shooter.
  • It is an excellent, low cost training rifle with a simple design and cheap pellets.
  • Air rifles come with iron sights and are very accurate. When used with a scope, the shooter gets very tight groups (where multiple pellets hit). When hunting with a scoped air rifle, small game may be taken safely up to 50 yards away.
  • They are legal to own and shoot in most states. Because an air rifle uses only compressed air to fire the pellet (and not powder and a primer) most states do not classify them as firearms.
  • Air rifles make an ideal stash gun. It can be buried in an air and water tight container with a couple of tins of pellets and then easily retrieved at a later time.
  • Ammunition will not go bad. The only ammunition an air rifle needs is a pellet, nothing else. There are no cases, powder, or primers to worry about.

Basic Air Rifle Power Systems and Designs

There are three basic power systems in modern air rifles:
  1. Spring and Piston: When the rifle is cocked a spring is compressed. When the trigger is pulled, the released spring pushes a piston forward that, in turn, compresses a column of air that fires the pellet out of the barrel.
  2. Air Cartridge/Tank: This system uses a pre-filled, high pressure air cartridge or air tanks to push the pellet out of the barrel when fired.
  3. Air Pump: The air pump system allows the shooter to pump up the air reservoir to the desired air pressure. Some rifles need only one pump to fill the reservoir while others may need six or more.

In today’s air rifle marketplace there are many types of rifles:

  • Some just fire BB’s and are considered by some to be nothing more than toys (ex. Daisy Rough Rider with its low velocity and short range).
  • Some air rifles can shoot both BB’s and pellets. The Crossman Air Rifle had a little higher velocity and a little better range with pellets. These rifles are considered by most shooters to be training rifles.
  • Competition rifles are very accurate and can shoot very tight groups at the competition range of 15 yards with “iron” match sights.
  • Hunting rifles such as the Gamo Silent Cat (1250 fps) can be used for small game. Depending on the caliber and the pellet weight the velocity must be at least 650fps to about 1250fps to have enough energy to kill.

Things to Consider When Choosing an Air Rifle

Caliber: There are three basic calibers for air rifles.
  • .177 is a small, light, and very fast with top out velocity of 1250 fps. It is used mainly for target practice, competition shooting, and small game hunting.
  • .20 caliber – This is the medium weight caliber with velocities around 850fps to 1000fps. This is not a very popular caliber in the US and obtaining pellets and other shooting equipment can be difficult.
  • .22 caliber – This is the largest caliber and fires the heaviest pellet for air rifles. The velocities of this rifle range between 650fps to 1250fps. It is usually used for hunting and practice.

Air Source: Even though pre-filled canisters can give you good velocity in the beginning, their power will decrease after just a few shots. In a crisis scenario, you will not be able to refill smaller CO2 canisters, and larger ones will require a compressor and pump.

Unfortunately, springs do not supply the kind of velocity you will get from a canister/ air tank system.
Most people would say that pump systems offer the best choice because you do not need canisters, and yet they still offer good velocity.
Regardless of the air source, test out your rifle at different temperatures so that you understand how rifle cooling and air temperatures affect both pellet velocity and capacity to fire multiple rounds.
Selecting an Air Rifle for Hunting
When selecting an air rifle for this purpose, it is important to think about the kind of game that you will be hunting.
Usually, you can hunt rabbit, squirrel, or birds with a .177 or a 22. If you are going to hunt for larger animals such as raccoons, you will need heavier pellets such as the 22. In order to kill game efficiently, the pellet velocity must not go below 650 fps.
  • Type of air source: Will the rifle use spring piston, compressed air tank, or pump.
  • What type of accessories are needed on the rifle: For precision small game hunting a fixed power scope(4x32mm) would be a good choice.
  • How easy to get ammo: Before the time of a crisis both .177 and .22 caliber ammo will be easy to obtain. A tin of .177 pellets on the average will cost about $8.99 per 250 (all-purpose pellets). A tin of .22 caliber pellets will run about $8.99 per 175 pellets.
  • Price of an air rifle: The average price for a.177 air rifle is about $160.00. The average price for a .22 air rifle is about $200.00.

Most air rifle hunter’s use either .177 or .22 caliber models. You can also get air rifles with combination barrel sets that include .177 and a .22, that screw into a stock mounted barrel holder.

Accuracy in these 2 barrel sets is excellent and the price is low. I would recommend the Beeman Grizyly Dual caliber to fellow preppers priced at about $129.00. It is truly the best of 2 worlds.
Storing Air Rifles for Survival
When a major crisis hits, you will need a very quiet and accurate small game hunting air rifle. It does not take much time or materials to build a stash container for this type of rifle.
All that is required is a piece of PVC piping a couple of inches longer than the rifle and 2 end caps. In this container you can place the air rifle, a couple of tins of pellets, and a cleaning kit to keep your air rifle clean and well lubricated.
Lastly hide the stash tube in one of your hiding places.
Safety Concerns
When shooting an air rifle safety should be always on your mind.
  • Know what is behind your target area.
  • Use pellet traps down range to stop the fired pellets during rifle practice.
  • Wear shooting safety glasses when shooting. If you wear prescription glasses, make sure your shooting glasses cover them.
  • Do not pick up or shoot your air rifle when other people are down range.
  • No horse play on the range during shooting practice.
  • Do not put the wrong size pellet in your air rifle.

When picking out weapons for survival do not forget to choose an air rifle. These inexpensive yet very accurate and low noise weapons are a must. Ammunition is cheap, plentiful and you do not have to be concerned with ammunition break down.

As an added bonus, if you cannot obtain a conventional firearm, at least having an air rifle on hand will be better than nothing.
This article was originally written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia and was reprinted here with permission.

Bunker Blunders: Tips for Strengthening Your Shelter

For the convenience of preppers, companies like Atlas Survival Shelters now sell prebuilt bunkers for those who want the least hassle in building an underground refuge. While the prebuilt options are convenient, the bunkers will likely come with only the bare minimum safety and reinforcement options that a decent SHTF bunker should include. Many preppers place too much emphasis on the aesthetic bells and whistles, then stop preparing once the bunker is underground and stocked; however, preparing a bunker is not complicated as long as you keep in a mind a few rules and continue updating it until the day comes for you to move in.

Do Splurge on Sewage Ideas

You stored hundreds of pound of food, so there will be a lot of human waste produced upon consumption. One of the more common mistakes for rookie bunker builders is assuming outhouse-type facilities for human waste will suffice. But as the months and years go by, this can turn into a potentially dangerous and disgusting issue.

Composting tanks are becoming more common due to their practicality and small amount of space they take up. You can also build a septic system that connects to one that already exists for a state or municipal entity. Incinerator toilets are also becoming a more popular option. These are only practical for those with a lot of expendable fuel and electricity sources. Incinerators are also expensive and only an option for groups of three or four maximum.

Don’t Overspend On Unnecessary Perks

There were several reports in late 2012 that wealthy individuals and families were buying and/or building bunkers in record numbers. Some people are building their dream homes underground with luxury perks in mind. But spending a lot of money doesn’t always mean getting the best overall product.

An underground refuge capable of housing and protecting your family can be had for the cost of a cheap acre or two of land. The rental of heavy equipment, like landscape rakes and trencher attachments, will be the second-largest expense in all bunker plans. The vast majority of money beyond those necessities should be poured into reinforcement of walls and waterproofing.

FEMA recommends two layers of plywood for your walls and one layer of 14-gauge steel for the walls. They must not only be able to protect you from floods and radiation, but also potential attack from above. The depth should be 30 feet minimum for basic protection. But always watch for the latest capabilities by the Pentagon to determine any extra expenditures.

Bunker busting bombs can penetrate deeper than ever and may prompt some new bunker builders to go deeper underground. But don’t spend too much money on trying to defend against the inevitable. There isn’t much you can do if a giant meteorite or government bomb strikes. Focus your expenditures more on the integrity of the walls and waterproofing. These minimal requirements will at least protect you from the most common and preventable threats.

Do Stock Heirloom Seeds

Bunkers are meant to protect during the worst parts of any SHTF scenarios. But at some point you’ll have to emerge and resume life above ground. Heirloom seeds for various crops are essential for anyone planning on surviving a post-apocalyptic situation. The trick is finding seeds that have not been genetically-modified and are thus dependent on corporate herbicides to grow.

Texas Ready and MyHeirloomSeeds.com are two of the better online sources for heirloom seeds specifically cultivated for particular regions of the country.

Don’t Rely Too Much On Canned Goods

Foods stored in cans have advantages: it can last a long time and be eaten right out of the container. The negative about cans is that they are heavy, take up a lot of space, and will require you to expend a lot of energy getting them into your shelter.

Vacuum sealing foods like rice, noodles, and raw beans provides filling, high carbohydrate foods that can be stored for years and take up little space. You can also dry fruits and seal them in plastic bags. The best part about storing your food in vacuum bags is that you’ll never need a secondary device (like a can opener).

Remember your bunker should protect you during the worst of times and prepare you for life after doomsday. Don’t let easily preventable issues interfere with your current and future liberty.

Stuff Worth Sharing

This week I stumbled upon some great information that I felt was worth sharing. Some of it is prepping related while some of it is political in nature. Whether you lean one way or the other in the political arena, it is important to know what is going on in the world.

Food Storage Basics Plus A Super Food Storage Giveaway

Jennifer from Are We Crazy, Or What? has put together a great post on the basics of food storage including the differences of long term and short term storage as well as things to consider when storing food. The full article can be read here.

Anti-Surveillance Mask Can Hide You From Biometric Face Scanners

Mac over at SHTFplan.com posted a story about a new rubber mask that would allow the wearer to hide their true identity from facial recognition software. Check it out here.

No Knock Raid Results in Multiple Cops Shot – One Killed

Freedom Outpost outlines the scary epidemic of no knock raids executed by the increasingly militarized police forces around the country and how it has led to increased fatalities of both law enforcement officers and citizens. Read about it here.

USDA Puts Out a Request for .40 Cal Sub-Machine Guns

For those that haven’t heard yet, the United States Department of Agriculture is the latest federal government organization that is looking to add military grade weapon systems to their inventory of equipment. Their request is not for any run of the mill sub-machine guns either, the solicitation specifically outlines the need for,

Submachine guns, .40 Cal. S&W, ambidextrous safety, semi-automatic or 2 shot burst trigger group, Tritium night sights for front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore grip) and scope (top rear), stock-collapsible or folding, magazine – 30 rd. capacity, sling, light weight, and oversized trigger guard for gloved operation.

Read the full account here.

Finally….

How I’d restore Ronald Reagan’s vision for America

LTC Allen West outlines how he believes that we may be seeing what he calls the first light of the “dawn of a new America.” Personally, I hope he is right. Read his take on things here.

I hope that everyone had a great week but don’t stop preparing for the tough times that may lay ahead.

Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Med Kit

There are a number of different missions that are carried out by the various branches of the federal government and military but one of the common denominators that makes a mission successful is good planning and support. One of the key support personnel for every mission is the medic, or in the case of the United States Coast Guard, the rescue swimmer. The mission of the rescue swimmer is to maintain proper training and conditioning to assist persons in distress in the maritime environment, including search and rescue operations and to provide pre-hospital life support to rescued individuals. The following is a list of the medical equipment that a rescue swimmer uses to help others survive disaster in the water.

Picture Credit: USCG.mil
U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer
Emergency Medical Equipment

The medical bag of choice for the U.S. Coast Guard is the Aeromed EMS Pack by Thomas Transport Packs.

Picture Credit: Thomas Transport Packs

Packed inside of the Aeromed Pack are these items in the mandatory configuration:

COMPARTMENT 1 - Outside:

  • Blood Pressure Cuff
  • Stethoscope
  • Pen Light
  • Latex Gloves
  • Scissors
COMPARTMENT 2 - Outside:
  • SAM Splint
COMPARTMENT 3 - Outside:
  • Airway Kit, Oropharyngeal
  • Airway Kit, Nasalpharyngeal
  • Pocket Mask
COMPARTMENT 4:
  • Ace Wrap

COMPARTMENT 5:

  • Band-Aid, Adhesive
  • Charcoal, Activated
  • Glucose, Oral
  • Syrup of Ipecac
  • Bulb Syringe
  • Cord Clamps
  • Umbilical Tape
COMPARTMENT A Inside:
  • Battle Dressing, Small
  • Battle Dressing, Med.
  • Battle Dressing, Large
COMPARTMENT B Inside:
  • Bandage, Gauze
  • Water Gel, Burn Kit
  • Petroleum Gauze
  • Sponges, Surgical, 4×4
COMPARTMENT C Inside:
  • Cravat, Bandage
COMPARTMENT D Inside:
  • Plastic Bag
  • Adhesive, Tape, 2″
  • Adhesive, Tape, 1
INNER COMPARTMENT
Inside: Collar, Cervical - No-Neck, Small, Medium, Large - 1 of Each
INNER COMPARTMENT E, F, & G:
  • Band-Aid
  • Thermometer 94-108F and/or Electronic Ear Canal Thermometer
  • Ball Point Pen

In addition to the medical bag, the following items make up the remainder of the rescue swimmer emergency medical kit located on board the helicopter:

  • Bag-Valve Mask by Life Support Products
  • Resuscitator, Oxygen by Life Support Products
  • Laerdal Suction Kit V-Vac by Dyna Med Inc.
  • Cylinder, Oxygen “D” Size M-22 by Life Support Products
  • Antishock Trousers
  • Traction Splint
  • Cervical Collars
  • Medevac Board by Lifesaving Systems Corp.
  • Medevac Report Form (CG-5214)
  • Victims/Casualty Hypothermia Bag by Wiggy’s Inc.
  • Automatic External Defibrillator (AED): Heartstream Forerunner Model E01 including Semi-Rigid Carrying Case, DP5 Extra Pads, Data Card (30 Mins. ECG & Event) and BT1 Battery Pack
  • Current EMT Text (Currently used by USCG EMT School)

Reference: Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue Swimmer Manual, COMDTINST M3710.4B, 28 JUL 00

The Best Water Filter Ever?

Prepared Ninja partner Black River Outpost already has a great selection of items for preparedness and survival, but those guys are constantly adding items that are essential to prepping. They now carry the Lifestraw water filter which may be the premier water filter on the market for individual use based on the cost, size, and function.

Not only is this superb water filter now available at Black River Outpost, but fans of The Prepared Ninja are being offered a chance to get 10% off the entire purchase price of your order through the month of May when you include a Lifestraw Water Filter as part of your order! Just use coupon code PREPAREDNINJA (it does not have to be all caps) when you check out. This makes the already great price of $19.95, less than $18 plus the additional savings off of any other items ordered at the same time. If you have been considering the Lifestraw or are in need of a water filter for your home, vehicle, camping, or survival kit, make sure to take advantage of this great opportunity.

With water being one of the most important aspects of survival, make sure to plan accordingly while you still have the chance.

Here are some of the details about the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter:

A Time Magazine “Invention of the Year” winner, LifeStraw® is the most advanced, compact, ultralight personal water filter available. LifeStraw contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It features a high flow rate and weighs only 2oz. LifeStraw is perfect for the ultralight backpacker, traveler, boy scout, hunter, and especially for emergency preparedness. 

LifeStraw filters to 0.2 microns through the use of hollow-fiber membranes, which are small tubes with even smaller pores. These pores allow water to pass, but prevent contaminants larger than 0.2 microns from flowing through.  As you get closer to 264 gallons (1,000 liters), the pores will eventually become clogged with debris and the flow will stop. (This makes it foolproof to use!)
 
LifeStraw® is the water filter chosen by leading NGOs for humanitarian relief worldwide since launch in 2005. LifeStraws have been sent to Africa, Pakistan, Haiti, and South America for disaster aid, and a portion of domestic sales support this donation program. LifeStraw has only been available in North America since 2011, when excess inventory has allowed it.

Vote For The Prepared Ninja!

There are a number of ways that blogs and websites receive recognition for the work that we do. The internet has various rating and ranking systems that are biased and unbiased alike. Search engines assign ratings and then there are the voting sites. In the preparedness and survival niche, there are a number of different sites that rank the various sites and blogs for what we do and the quality of the content that is presented. One of the primary ways that some of these sites are able to rank survival and preparedness blogs is through the votes cast for each individual blog.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While I try not to, I wanted to ask a favor of each and every one of you that enjoys my work here at The Prepared Ninja. If you think that the information on the site is worthwhile of sharing with fellow preppers, please consider voting for The Prepared Ninja at the following locations:

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Click Here To Vote For Me!
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Thank you for your time and considering The Prepared Ninja a survival website that is worthy of your vote!

Caring For Tactical Equipment

The following is a guest submission from the folks at TYR Tactical, a supplier of high quality, lightweight tactical equipment.

Picture Credit: TYR Tactical
Picture Credit: TYR Tactical

How to Take Care of Your Tactical Gear

Getting the most value for your money is more important than ever, and extending the life of your tactical gear is much more important than replacing the gear and buying new stuff all over again. After all, the majority of tactical gear is costly and, as a result, should be cared for as well as possible. But how do you take care of your tactical gear? Do you know how to care for your armor and your boots? Have your knives lost their shininess and become inadvertently dull because you failed to take the time to care for them?

If so, here are a handful of pro-active tips that can assist you in helping to maintain the integrity of your tactical gear.

Body Armor - Ensure that your armor stays clean and dry when not in use, and store it out of direct sunlight. It is highly advisable that you store it lying flat, not bunched up or curled over; therefore, make sure that it is flat if you are storing it in your trunk or on the backseat of your car. Try to keep it separate from other items in your trunk so that nothing slides around or hits it. In addition, try to make sure that nothing is left resting on top of it.

When cleaning your body armor, there are a few key things to take into consideration.

  1. Do not machine wash or use chemical products, such as bleaches or fabric softeners.
  2. Take out the different removable panels from the carrier (special threat plates, trauma inserts and armor panels), and carefully wipe them down with a damp sponge and a combination of mild laundry detergent and tepid water.
  3. Wipe off excess liquid and then also spot-wash the carrier and allow it to air dry on a flat surface before replacing the panels.

Furthermore, do not dry your carrier in a clothes dryer or in direct sunlight, and never leave it immersed in standing water for long periods of time. Always check that each panel is put back with the “strike face” side facing opposite your body.

Boots - When it comes to tactical boot care, getting your boots wet on a consistent basis will probably cause the most damage over time. Therefore, when your boots get wet, it is wise to take out the insoles and let them air dry naturally as soon as possible, preferably somewhere flat. Most washing machines will get banged up inside if you attempt to wash heavy boots so, if you do not have access to an industrial washing machine, it is best to hand wash them yourself.

Remove the shoelaces, wipe away any loose dirt from the sides and soles of each boot with a damp sponge, and then clean the nylon inserts with a small brush. After this is done, smear on some all-purpose leather cleaner bit by bit and wipe using circle strokes. After they are dry, you can buff the leather sections with polish. When the sparkle has returned to your boots, replace the shoelaces and insoles. With care and cleaning, your boots can look as new as the day you first received them!

Knives - In due course, any knife will become dull and blunt, especially when used on a day-to-day basis. Cleaning keeps a knife’s performance at its optimum level. In some situations, a dull blade is actually more dangerous than a sharp one, and rust and corrosion will occur if you fail to spend time carrying out proper maintenance. This means that keeping your knife spotless and well-oiled is the best defense against oxidation. If you need your knife sharpened, a professional staff member at a cutlery store can assist you.

To clean your knife, rinse the blade under the tap, making sure that the water removes any loose dirt or crusty residue. Once clean, dry thoroughly and then apply a small amount of oil to the blade – making sure that it does not come into contact with the handle – before polishing to a meticulous shine using a damp towel. You can use gun oil, machine oil, or 3-in-1 oil for this task.

Whether it’s your knives, your boots or your body armor, you must always set some time aside to care for your tactical equipment, so it can continue to function at the high levels of performance you have come to expect over the years. This will guarantee durability, longevity and, most important of all, dependability.

TYR Tactical specializes in ballistic vests, plate carriers, and military backpacks and bags. Our varied inventory also includes adjustable tactical molle pouches, sniper and reconnaissance harnesses, low visibility products, protective equipment, and much more. If you would like more information, please visit us online at www.tyrtactical.com or call 1-888-602-7667.

Best Ways to Store Food

The following post is a guest submission from Lee about the different containers available to store food in and the pros of cons that accompany each type of container as well as some other storage challenges.

Best Ways to Store Food

Storage of food is essential. Most items people purchase must be stored properly. If they are not, the item may develop rot of some sort, rending it partially or wholly unusable. The best storage systems can prevent this from happening. This is why it is important to think carefully about the kind of storage you want to keep in your home. You should also think about where you intend to store your food containers in order to make sure that your storage area looks clean and tidy. A clean and organized storage area can make it easier to find items and avoid accidents.

Image Courtesy of Naypong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Where to Store Items

One of the most important aspects when considering any type of storage item is the ability to store the items when not in use. Effective storage should be compact. It should have as few parts as possible. Many companies offer storage items that have multiple parts that often interlock. For example, there is a company that offers several boxes in various sizes that can easily be stacked on top one each other. This is very useful because it means that you can stack the items without worrying that they will topple over. You can also store such items in a single place rather than multiple areas of your kitchen.

Materials Used

Another important consideration is the type of material used. Storage for food is available in many types of material including plastic, glass, and heavy duty fabric. Each type of material has certain advantages. For example, plastic is very widely used in many types of storage items. Plastic has many advantages. Plastic containers are easy to clean, come in many different colors, will not break easily and typically will not fade even if stored in direct sunlight. This can be an important factor if your kitchen has many areas with lots of sun.

Glass Storage

Glass is another widely used material for storage. Glass is popular for many reasons. Glass containers can be very attractive and even serve as a type of artwork. Delicate, incised glass bowls may even be used as a focal point in a room, providing a beautiful place for the eye to rest, offering a place to store fresh produce and allowing people to admire a lovely piece of glass art at the same time. Glass, however, can pose a health hazard and may unexpectedly break, especially if you have young children in the home who may play with it.

Metal Storage

Another option is metal storage. Many companies offer metal containers that blend in well with other items in a kitchen including appliances. Metal storage containers can be heavy but also offer an excellent way to keep food away from pests as well as water and intense sunlight. Typically, metal storage containers are durable and will last a long time.

Fabric Storage Bins

Fabric storage bins can be found in many places. Often they come in bright colors and patterns. In many cases, such storage bins are intended for non-food items. However, they can be adapted for food storage by placing a glass or plastic container inside. A fabric storage bin can be an excellent storage solution if you want to add a splash of color and light.

Avoid Moisture

In all cases, care must be made to make sure the storage container being used stays dry. Moisture can easily get inside a storage container. The best way to keep moisture out of a container is to make sure all the sides of the item have no areas where moisture may get inside. Any storage container should also have a very tight lid. The lid should fit well with no gaps in the seal.

When properly used, storage containers can add a nice touch of color to any space. Think carefully about the kind you want. You will have items that will last a long time and keep your food in good condition.

About The Author

Lee Flynn is a freelance writer and expert in emergency food preparedness and food storage.

Consider a Measure of Preparedness…

Those of us who subscribe to the belief in preparedness are often viewed as the “tin foil” hat wearing bunch, who believe in a plethora of conspiracy theories. To this I would point out that there are many conspiracy theories out there and while most will never happen, there are some that feasibly could occur. After all, did anyone ever believe that terrorists would collapse the World Trade Center buildings using hijacked commercial airliners?

Image Courtesy of SOMMAI/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Some of these conspiracy theories include EMP attacks, solar flares, and hacking threats. And if the EMP/solar flare/hacking threats weren’t enough (see this article about the risk of EMP by Dr Peter Vincent Pry, Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, a congressional advisory board), check this out from OffGridNews.com:

In March 2013 in Tennessee, a TVA Watts Bar Nuclear Plant security guard was involved in a 2 a.m. shootout with an armed suspect. The guard was unable to catch the gunman who had somehow gotten inside the nuclear plant.  “TVA spokesperson Jim Hopson said the subject traveled up to the plant on a boat and walked onto the property,” WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee, reported last year. “When the officer questioned the suspect, the individual fired multiple shots at the officer. The officer shot back, and when he called for backup, the suspect sped away on his boat.”   What would have happened if there had been a large crew of bad guys on that boat?

The next month, an attack on a California electric substation…  someone entered the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Metcalf substation in South San Jose, California, around 1 a.m. through manholes. The unidentified intruder or intruders cut a number of fiber optic cables, which knocked out landline service, some local 911 local service and cell phone service in the area. The saboteurs or saboteur then used a high-powered rifle or rifles to fire 100 rounds into the transformers in the facility. This caused cooling oil to leak out of the transformers, which made the devices overheat. Major media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal finally covered the California attack this month. California Congressman Henry Waxman deemed the power station sniper incident an “unprecedented and sophisticated attack on an electric grid substation with military-style weapons.” The entire plant had to be shut down to avert far-reaching power outages – it took two weeks to replace the 17 transformers snipers shot out during the attack.

Given the fact that the power grid is so vulnerable and there are at least a handful of people that are interested in taking it out, it is valuable to consider taking at least the minimum steps to be prepared for a failure or attack against the power grid. Make sure you:

  1. Have a Blackout Kit.
  2. Water is listed as part of the blackout kit but make sure to store at least one gallon of water per person, per day for a week.
  3. In addition to stored water, have a way to purify additional water if the crisis is for an extended period of time.
  4. Food is also listed in the blackout kit list but make sure that there is at least a weeks worth of food for each member of the family. Don’t forget the pets and animals!
  5. Establish meaningful relationships with your neighbors. It is especially important during challenging times to be able to band together and face difficulties together.
  6. Security cannot be overthought, especially when it comes to staying safe during a widespread grid down scenario.

While the answer to everything cannot be compiled in one book, let alone one blog post, these are a few basics that should be addressed. The reality of the situation is that being moderately prepared for a blackout, will also make you moderately prepared for the majority of  short term difficulties you may face.

Are ready if the grid went down?

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.