Category Archives: Survival Equipment

Kelly Kettle – September Giveaway #3

I am excited today to introduce the 3rd giveaway for National Preparedness Month! This week’s group giveaway is for not one, but TWO Ketlly Kettles!

kelly-kettle-group-giveaway
Who would love to win a Kelly Kettle in our group giveaway? A large group of my blogging colleagues and I are trying to show the world what is available to use in an unforeseen disaster or emergency. We are so thankful to Glen at KellyKettleUSA for sponsoring our giveaway today! If you are interested in seeing a post on how one of these Kelly Kettle kits work, we have you covered: KellyKettlePost. There is also a YouTube on the Kelly Kettle website that will show you the different sizes they have available. These rock because you do not have to store fuel. You can use dry leaves, twigs or pinecones. Basically you put a small piece of newspaper or scraps of tinder in the bottom and you light it with just a match or flint. You can add more pinecones, twigs and other natural fuel as needed to keep the fire going. Water boils in minutes. Gotta love it! In this Kelly Kettle giveaway we will have two winners. One will win the stove kit on the left, the second winner will win the stove kit on the right in the graphic shown above. Good luck everyone!

This weeks giveaway is brought to you by the great group of bloggers below. Please make sure to stop by their sites and check out the astronomical amount of knowledge that is available to you about survival and self-reliant living.

Group Involved In This Giveaway:

1. Food Storage Moms
2. Frugality Gal
3. Survival At Home
4. Home Ready Home
5. Fabulous Farm Girl
6. Ever Growing Farm
7. Sharing Lifes Abundance
8. Food Storage and Survival
9. I Get Ready
10. Timber Creek Farm
11. Kneaded Creations
12. Blue Yonder Urban Farms
13. Simply Living Simply
14. Your Own Home Store
15. Prepared-Housewives
16. PreparednessMama
17. Survival For Blondes
18. Common Sense Homesteading
19. Trayer Wilderness
20. Melissa K. Norris
21. Memories By The Mile
22. The Busy B Homemaker
23. The Backyard Pioneer
24. Whole New Mom
25. Imperfectly Happy
26. Lil’ Suburban Homestead

Here is some additional information from the NOAA about National Emergency Preparedness Month

The fine print: This Kelly Kettle Giveaway is open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States. This giveaway starts on Monday, Sept. 15th at 5:00 am (MDT) and ends on Saturday, Sept. 20th at 5:00 pm (MDT). The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent. Please check your SPAM email folders. Good luck to everyone! Let’s be prepared for the unexpected!

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Fresh Water Giveaway!!!

I’ve teamed up with a group of preparedness and self-sufficiency bloggers to bring you all a chance at another great survival item. This week we have another HUGE giveaway for National Emergency Preparedness Month!

GIVEAWAY #2

National Emergency Preparedness Month
Most of you that read my blog are probably familiar with the fact that the month of September is National Emergency Preparedness Month. This is a great time to focus on what you have done, and what you still need to, to be ready for a disaster if one were to occur. It was really concerning to me when I read that the city of Toledo, Ohio was not able to use their water supply for quite some time. They could not even boil it to make it safe because of the toxic nature of the water. There was nothing that anyone could do except wait for clean water to be brought in! This is one more reason we need to tell the world about National Emergency Preparedness Month. Wow, this makes me wish every family in the world could have some type of system to purify their water. Today, you have a chance to win the security of clean water.

This is a sponsored giveaway by CampingSurvival.com and you really need to check out this website. You will be glad you did! We are extremely grateful that Tom at Camping Survival believes in the Big Berkey Water Purifier system as much as we do! Thanks again Tom for showing the world what is needed to purify our water everyday, or in an unforeseen disaster. We thank him for helping the world celebrate National Emergency Preparedness Month. Please enter this giveaway and you will have a chance to win one of these Big Berkey Water Purifiers! Good luck to everyone, and please visit the other bloggers listed below.

Here are my blogging colleagues involved in this giveaway:

1. Food Storage Moms
2. Imperfectly Happy
3. Frugality Gal
4. Survival For Blondes
5. Fabulous Farm Girl
6. Home Ready Home
7. Prepared-Housewives
8. I Get Ready
9. Kneaded Creations
10. Timber Creek Farm
11. Ever Growing Farm
12. Sharing Lifes Abundance
13. Your Own Home Store
14. Blue Yonder Urban Farms
15. Survival at Home
16. The Backyard Pioneer
17. Food Storage and Survival
18. The Busy B Homemaker
19. Simply Living Simply
20. Memories By The Mile
21. Common Sense Homesteading
22. Trayer Wilderness
23. Whole New Mom

The Fine Print:

This Big Berkey Water Purifier Giveaway is open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States. This giveaway starts on Monday, Sept. 8th at 5:00 am (MDT) and ends on Saturday, Sept. 13th at 5:00 pm (MDT). The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent. Please check your SPAM email folders. Good luck to everyone! Let’s be prepared for the unexpected!

Let your frineds and family know about this great opportunity! Or don’t, if you want to increase your odds of winning! (Just Kidding)
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Navigational Methods In An Emergency

Using Technology and Old School Navigational Methods in an Emergency

Finding our way from point A to B is something we now mostly take for granted. Navigational skills and technology can come in handy whether it’s using a satellite navigation system or using the night sky to find your way home.

In-car navigational tools

Satellite navigation systems- or sat nav- have been used by the public since 1983 although GPS was first used by the military during the 1960s. Our sat nav systems today use around 30 satellites to provide world-wide GPS ensuring that we should never become lost again. Many vehicles come with this little mapping system but the devices themselves are relatively inexpensive to buy. Maps of countries around the world can be downloaded via computer and these are essential if you’re looking to get somewhere, whether during an emergency or not.


photo credit: tj.blackwell via photopin cc

Navigational systems without the internet

The question of what would happen to our vehicle sat nav systems if the internet went down is one that many people consider. Many of our satellite navigational systems such as those in our vehicles would still run the maps if they are already downloaded. There are specific sat nav applications that can run maps without the use of data traffic, whereas assisted GPS such as those used on an iPad to triangulate position will need a Wi-Fi signal. However, car batteries do run down and if the electric grid was to go down it may be a case of returning to tried and tested navigational methods.

Old school navigational skills

Most of us over a certain age are familiar with the compass pointing north and a paper map technique. If these tools aren’t to handy then it could be a case of using the North Star to navigate and keep on course. First you would need to identify the ‘Plough’, which is a group of easily identifiable seven stars. From there you would identify the two ‘pointer stars’ – the North Star will be five times the same distance from the pointer star. It will take only a short amount of practice to identify the Plough and it’s relation to the North Star but once you recognise this you should be able to always find your True North.

Hopefully you will never have to rely on old school navigational methods but these are excellent skills to learn. Try some star-gazing and work out exactly where the North Star is; it’s an easy to learn skill that could indeed prove very useful.

.22LR: Truth & Myth

.22LR: Truth & Myth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why You Still Need a .22LR

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Purpose of the .22LR

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

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

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

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

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

Win An Echo-Sigma Get Home Bag!

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

The Only Medical Bag You Will Ever Have To Buy

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

Photo Credit: London Bridge Trading Company

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

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

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

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

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

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

Safeguard Armor GHOST Giveaway!

Safeguard Armor has launched a new giveaway on their Facebook page. This month in celebration of the launch of their new GHOST™ Bullet, Knife Edge and Spike Proof Vest…..they have decided to give a set away!
Safeguard GHOST
The GHOST™ Covert Vest is extremely lightweight and boasts one of smallest carrier designs in the world. It offers up to level IIIa ballistic protection and can be upgraded with edged blade and spike protection.
All Safeguard protective panels are made from 100% Kevlar!To be entered all you have to do is:
1. Go to the Safeguard Armor Facebook page.2. Share the giveaway post.3. Like their page.That is it! The winner will be selected at random. The giveaway closes on the 30th of September 2013. Good Luck!

 

11 Uses For A Survival Bracelet – Guest Post

We all have items that we won’t leave behind no matter where we go; cell phones, a watch, glasses, or even a piece of jewelry. If there is something that you are going to always have, it might as well be something that could be useful. Survival bracelets are amazing tools that will come in handy during life or death situations. The paracord strands that compose the bracelet can range from about eight to twenty feet long when unwound. This extremely long length lends itself to a wide variety of functions that could easily save a life.

Photo Credit: Flickr.com

Some of the functions  of a survival bracelet include:

1. Put Up A Shelter

One of the simplest ways of utilizing a survival bracelet is as rope for a shelter. When surviving in the wild, shelter from nature is a mandatory resource. The paracord can be unwound and used to tie together tree branches for a lean-to. Throw grass or a tarp over the structure for protection against rain. The strands can also be used to tie up a tarp for cover or even string up a hammock.

2. Catch Fish

Finding food is essential to survival in the wild. Unweave a strand of paracord and tie it to a hook in order to create a line to fish with. A bracelet could even be fashioned into a small net that can be used to trap fish.

3. Trap Dinner

While it may seem easier to catch fish in a net, the paracord may also be used as string for a snare trap. Snare traps act as a noose that can tie down small animals. Just like the fishing idea, a net can be created to trap small animals as well.

4. Start A Fire

Starting a fire with a survival bracelet requires patience. However, fire is an essential resource for cooking food, staying warm, creating a signal, and first aid. The internal strings of paracord make sufficient bowstrings for creating the friction needed to start a fire.

5. First Aid

A means of first aid is crucial to staying alive for everyone. Cuts or serious injuries can occur at any time. While nothing can replace a good first aid kit, having the survival bracelet handy can help stop bleeding as a last resort when used as a tourniquet. In an extreme set of circumstances, an inner strand from the cord of the survival bracelet could be used to suture a wound shut.

6. Leave Breadcrumbs On The Trail

Getting lost in the woods is the downfall of many hikers. Nothing would be worse than walking around days at a time, coming back to the same spot, and not knowing you have already been there. A strand of the cord can be tied around a tree trunk in order to leave a marked trail.

7. Gear Repair

The thin strings also work as sewing strings. When in the wild, sharp objects tend to penetrate the fabric material of items such as backpacks or tent covers. Unwind one of the thinnest strings and fix a rip. This same repair can be applied to clothing.

8. Pack A Knife

The bracelet does not always have to be used for the string. In some cases, the bracelet can be used to store items. Certain bracelets actually keep small knives woven into them. A small knife is a massive advantage in the wild.

9. Teeth Hygiene

The survival bracelet can also be used for dental hygiene. The smallest strings are about the same size as dental floss. Proper hygiene should not be ignored just because you are in the wilderness.

10. Shoe Repair

If walking around for weeks in the forest, you may need an extra shoelace. Furthermore, if a shoe sole begins to fall off, the bracelet cord can be used as tie to hold the entire thing together.

11. Home Security

Sometimes protecting your home is necessary. In the event of a break-in, the string could be used to tie a door shut in order to slow entry. However, you may wish to invest in a home security system that will scare away intruders. Finding a system is easy at a place such as Select Home Security.

These are some of the many uses of a survival bracelet. Like anything that is part of emergency or disaster preparedness, a survival bracelet is not a solution for many things alone but it can be a great stop gap and is an integral part of an overall plan.

Giveaway! SafeGuard Stealth Body Armor

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

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

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

To enter the contest:

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

The winner will be selected at random.

Closing Date: August 14, 2013 Good Luck!

Stealth Body Armor

EDC Fire Starting Options

Fire is one of the basic needs for survival. Whether used to stay warm, cook food, provide a light source, or ward off pests, fire can be the difference between life and death. Because fire can be started with a variety of small and lightweight elements, a fire starting method should be included as part of your every day carry (EDC) items and a minimum of two fire starting methods should be included in survival kits, get home bags, bug out bags, etc. The ideal fire starter for every day carry should be small, light weight, and sturdy enough to withstand extended periods of time in a pocket or bag. My top selections for EDC fire starting options are as follows in order from least preferred to most preferred:

4. Magnifying Glass – A magnifying glass can be a good option for starting a fire and there are a few different options when it comes to magnifying glasses; there is the traditional round and thick shape but a better option for every day carry is going to be the flat credit card style of magnifying glass. Starting a fire with a magnifying glass relies on using the magnification to focus a bright light into a fine point that produces fire through heat. Because of this, the single greatest disadvantage to choosing a magnifying glass is the need for sun light. With sun light not always being available in all areas, it comes in at number four on the list.

3. Matches – When it comes to matches, strike anywhere is the way to go. Unfortunately, the availability of strike anywhere matches has significantly decreased in the United States. If obtaining strike anywhere matches is a challenge, try to make your own. It is also beneficial to carry waterproof matches if that is your choice. A sturdy container will protect matches from damage and environmental threats such as moisture. There a purpose-built containers for matches but repurposing a prescription pill bottle or even a clean spice container can be just as suitable. Because of the bulk and each match being typically limited to starting one fire, it comes in at number three on my list.

2. Fire Steel – A fire steel is an awesome choice for a fire starter because it is durable, lightweight, and functions in all types of weather. It is a less reliable option overall because of the fact that it can provide a spark but needs to be paired with a fuel source to start a fire. The fire steel finds itself at number two on the list as a result of the effort needed to produce a fire and the fact that a fuel source is required as well.

1. Lighter – A good old-fashioned Bic style of lighter is often the weapon of choice for starting a fire. With the exception of interference from wind, a lighter will usually successfully produce a flame in most conditions. The placement of a lighter as the first choice in EDC fire starting is based on the fact that it is lightweight, durable, versatile, affordable, and packages a spark and fuel source together.

When deciding what goes into your pockets, purses, and preparedness kits…fire will always have a place. What will you carry?

Surviving The Ultimate Doomsday War

In the cataclysmic events of the end of the world, even the average civilian would want to keep him or herself thoroughly protected from the intense danger. It’s not just about arming yourself with a weapon, but it’s also important to have efficient body armor for defense. There are plenty of things to consider when trying to find the appropriate body armor for you.

The Highest Level of Protection

Being that there are different classes of bullet proof vests, and the lower classes of vests don’t protect against the stronger threats that could be out there, it’s important to get the highest class that’s available to you. Not all bullet proof vest manufacturers will indicate what class their vests are, so it’s important to make sure that it is clearly indicated before you purchase.

In a doomsday war, there is definitely going to be extreme threats that are all around. It’s paramount to keep the head protected in these conditions. A ballistic helmet would be most suitable for this. These helmets are capable of repelling some powerful gunfire, and they come in several different sizes and styles to fit the taste of any wearer.

In the U.S., the best body armor complies with the standards of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). If it does not, then it’s not a good choice to purchase.

Armor for Civilians

Unless you are someone with special connections of some sort, you won’t be able to get the same body armor that law enforcement and military personnel have. The armor that a regular person can buy is limited, but there is still a nice selection to choose from. My friends at SafeGuard Clothing offer a range of civilian body armors online so don’t panic, we can protect ourselves as well. It’s illegal to have some types of body armor in some jurisdictions, but it wouldn’t matter much with the end of the world approaching. If you are concerned with compliance of the law, check with your local jurisdictions.

Protection for the Kids and Pets

It doesn’t have to stop with the protection of the adults in the apocalypse, there is also body armor available for the beloved kids and pets as well. This armor is made of the same material and is just as capable as the armor that’s made for adults.

For the kids, body armor can come in an assortment of styles and sizes. There are even stylish backpacks for kids that are bullet resistant. As for the pets, body armor is designed for the larger breeds of dog. Law enforcement canines are commonly outfitted with bullet resistant armor, and the same is available for your pets.

The Safest Precautions

To survive the Ultimate Doomsday War, the best thing to do would be to find sufficient shelter. It’s important to know that body armor does not make someone invincible, although it does provide solid protection for the wearer. The best thing to do would be to stay sheltered and avoid the outside danger.

Gear Review: SafeGuard Body Armor

I had the opportunity of recently receiving SafeGuard Body Armor’s Stealth Vest for review. Based on the fact that the vest I would be reviewing was both ballistic and edged blade protection, I expected something that was a little on the bulky side. This was not the case. My initial impression of the Stealth Body Armor could be summarized as,

An awesome piece of equipment that combines the technologies of ballistic armor with stab protection into one lightweight and comfortable to wear set of body armor.

My experience with body armor is extensive and I have had the opportunity to wear several different models from multiple manufacturers. The Stealth armor exceeded my expectations in every aspect. Some of the notable features of SafeGuard’s Stealth body armor include:

  • 100% DuPont Kevlar armor panels.
  • CoolMAX outer vest carrier.
  • Light weight, just over 5 lbs. (depending on size).
  • All SafeGuard Armor comes with a 5 year warranty.

The vest I was sent offers NIJ ballistic level II and HOSDB edged blade protection level 1 with a retail price of $476. So what kind of protection do you get for your money?

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) defines level II protection as:

Type II (9 mm; .357 Magnum)
Type II armor that is new and unworn shall be tested with 9 mm FMJ RN bullets with a specified mass of 8.0 g (124 gr) and a velocity of 398 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1305 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .357 Magnum Jacketed Soft Point (JSP) bullets with a specified mass of 10.2 g (158 gr) and a velocity of 436 m/s ± 9.1 m/ s (1430 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).
Type II armor that has been conditioned shall be tested with 9 mm FMJ RN bullets with a
specified mass of 8.0 g (124 gr) and a velocity of 379 m/s ±9.1 m/s (1245 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .357 Magnum JSP bullets with a specified mass of 10.2 g (158 gr) and a velocity of 408 m/s ±9.1 m/s (1340 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).

The edged blade protection standard used by SafeGuard is the Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) of the United Kingdom also known as the Center for Applied Science and Technology (CAST). They are considered the leading global authority on testing methods of stab and spike protection for body armor.

Level 1 edged blade protection is defined as:

An E1 Strike Energy of 24 Joules +/- 0.50 or 17.7 FT/LBF +/- 0.36 and an E2 Strike Energy of 36 Joules +/- 0.60 or 26.6 FT/LBF +/- 0.44

So what does this mean?

There are two required levels of testing for stab protection. The first level (E1) is equal to a maximum allowable edged blade penetration of 7mm or 0.28 inches. The E1 level is limited to 7mm or 0.28 inches as a result of research that indicates penetration to the body by edged blades at this depth is unlikely to result in internal injuries to the body’s organs. The second level (E2) is equal to a 50% increase over the energy exerted for the first level. The E2 level is limited to a maximum allowable edged blade penetration of 20mm or 0.79 inches.

SafeGuard Stealth concealable body armor is incredibly comfortable. I followed the easy to use sizing guidelines outlined on SafeGuard’s website and the result was a great fitting vest with little fuss. Following the sizing guide also resulted in a vest that fit well while sitting, standing, driving, and did not interfere with carrying a pistol both concealed and while being openly carried. A major benefit that the SafeGuard armor offers over many other designs is the one piece, t-shirt style collar versus the typical velcro attachment shoulder pieces that tend to either fold up on themselves, dig into the shoulders, or sometimes both.

A note on concealable body armor…it is only as concealable as the accompanying articles of clothing allow it to be. The wearer might need a larger size shirt or overgarment in order to maintain the concealability of body armor. This helps maintain the single greatest advantage of having concealable armor, no one knows you are wearing it!

I will say that the Stealth armor is very effective in terms of protection and comfort regarding concealable armor. However, I was disappointed to see that the Stealth does not have the option of inserting a trauma plate. If this set of armor were to be used for undercover work or the user was in a position where they would be relying on the Stealth to protect them against multiple rounds or maybe rifle rounds, you could end up on the short end of the stick. That point aside, if I were looking for a set of concealable body armor, the Stealth by SafeGuard Armor would be on the top of my list.

*Ensure that you take all local, state, and federal laws into account if you are considering the purchase of body armor for personal or professional use.

**For more information about NIJ ballistic protection standards see the Ballistic Resistance of Body Armor (NIJ Standard-0101.06)

The Ultimate Survival Vehicle

Have you ever wanted to ford a river in your RV? Or perhaps something less exciting like driving up the side of a snow-covered mountain? It is possible and it also could be features of the ultimate survival vehicle…

Enter the EarthRoamer! Half luxury camper and half ultimate, go anywhere and do anything off-road vehicle.

So what makes the EarthRoamer the ultimate survival vehicle?

  • The EarthRoamer runs on a diesel engine platform that not only results in the fuel being more stable but there is the option of running a 20% Biodiesel and 80% Standard Diesel Fuel mix without any modification to the vehicle.
  • Solar capability allows the user to power devices from the vehicle no matter where you find yourself. The standard solar capacity of this vehicle is 660 watts with up to 1.1 kiloWatts being available on some models.
  • The one piece composite body is built to last and will mitigate the chances of environmental intrusions into the camper.
  • There are no special licensing requirements to operate an EarthRoamer Expedition Vehicle. Anyone that is capable of driving a full size pick-up can drive an EarthRoamer.
  • Features on the EarthRoamer models include some military grade components that add to the durability and reliability of the vehicle.
  • There are almost limitless options in the size and capacity of these vehicles. The EarthRoamer XV-HD is available in 24 different lengths providing an option that will work for anyone.
  • Built in HVAC systems provides heat and air conditioning off the built-in solar and diesel systems for extended periods of time.
  • This is the coolest and most comfortable monster truck ever!

Obviously this is not an all-inclusive list and some users may find value in features that others do not appreciate. When it comes to bugging out or surviving in a vehicle, there is not a better choice.

This is an excerpt from the EarthRoamer website that makes a couple of good points:

Owners of EarthRoamer Xpedition Vehicles have the freedom to travel, camp and explore on their terms. Gone is the expense and hassle of airline travel and onerous TSA policies. Gone are the hassles of preplanning where you will stay each night and making expensive hotel reservations. Do you want to bring your pets with you, eat the foods that you like and sleep in your own comfortable bed each night? – no problem when you travel in an EarthRoamer.

I especially like the idea of not dealing with the TSA!

Check out video of the EarthRoamer models in action:

*Please not that the Jeep model of EarthRoamer is not in production. It was a concept that was slated for production but was cancelled because of the Wrangler platform not being available with a diesel engine.

The capabilities of the EarthRoamer models are almost endless…as long as your budget can accommodate the cost, which starts at about $260,000 and can reach $500,000. That is a pretty penny! Actually more like 50,000,000 pennies but who is counting? The good news is that for those that can tolerate the idea of a pre-owned EarthRoamer, one can be found on consignment that has been gone through by the factory starting at the low price of $139,000.

easy_to_drive_1-594x395

The EarthRoamer models boast some impressive capabilities…

XV-HD

XV-LT

Overall Vehicle Dimensions

Width

8.5 feet

8.0 feet

Height

12.6 feet

11.0 feet

Length

19.7 – 38.8 feet

22.6 – 27.5 feet

Load Capacity

GVWR

26,000 pounds

19,500 pounds

Camper Interior Dimensions

Bunk Area Interior Height

3.0 feet

2.8 feet

Camper Stand-up Height

7.0 feet

6.3 feet

Camper  Length

15.3 – 32.5 feet

15.3 – 19.3 feet

Seating

Cab Seating

2-6 adults

2-6 adults

Camper Seating

4-10 adults

4-6 adults

Sleeping

4-6 adults

2-4 adults

Tires

Diameter

46 inches

41 inches

Width

17.6 inches

12.4 inches

Tire Load Rating

12,300 pounds

6,779 pounds

Base Truck

F-650

F-550

Engine

Cummins

Ford Power Stroke

Displacement

6.7 turbo

6.7 turbo

Configuration

Inline 6

V8

HP

360 hp

300 hp

Torque

800 foot pounds

660 foot pounds

Transmission

Allison 2500

Ford Torque Shift

Capacities

Fuel

100-145 gallons

40-90 gallons

Solar

1.1-2.2 kilowatts

.66 -1.1 kilowatts

Battery

12.6-25.3 kilowatt hours

6.3-12.6 kilowatt hours

Water

100-250 gallons

85-135 gallons

Hot Water

20 gallons

6 gallons

Fridge

6.0-11.0 cubic feet

6 cubic feet

Freezer

2.1-5.3 cubic feet

2.1 cubic feet

Air Conditioner

30,000 Btu

12,000 Btu

Heater

27,300 Btu

13,650 Btu

Additional Features

Clothes Washer & Dryer

Yes

No

Central Vacuum

Yes

No

 

I can promise you one thing. I cannot afford one of these vehicles, but if anyone wants to give me one I will take it. The worst case scenario would be that you find yourself owning an EarthRoamer and nothing bad ever happens. In that case you end up with a sweet ride to travel with! Sounds like a win-win to me.

How will you get out of Dodge if the going gets rough?

Safeguard Body Armor Giveaway

Have you ever considered adding body armor to your preps? Would you be interested in winning free body armor? Safeguard Armor is currently running a giveaway for a free set of their body armor. The giveaway is running through their Facebook page and will end on March 31st, 2013.

Click the picture below to be taken to the entry page for the contest.

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Why you need body armor:

  • In the event of societal collapse, no measure of protection will be too much. It is likely that acts of violence will be commonplace and body armor could save your life.
  • Working in an occupation that increases the level of risk that you are exposed to. Such professionals could include: First Responders (Police, Fire, EMS), Security Professionals, Medical Professionals, Corrections Officers, Public Officials, Late Shift Workers, Those who make house visits to unfamilar areas (Social Workers, Probation/Parole Officers), individuals who work with disgruntled customers, and professions that involve significant stressors that could cause a co-worker to act out with violence.
  • During a riot, the chance of being exposed to violence that could cause life-threatening injury significantly increases.

*Check all applicable laws to ensure that possession of body armor is legal where you live or plan on possessing body armor.

Direct contest link: http://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=350495301729515&set=a.225803364198710.43005.150902671688780&type=1&relevant_count=1

Revolutionary Security Innovation

Have you ever wondered how you might be able to extend the capabilities of your security system? Or if there was a good solution for safeguarding a piece of equipment without incurring obscene costs? The solution is here and it costs less than 30 bucks!

.22 Caliber Mini-Sentry Trip Wire Alarm

Effective 24/7 Security for Preppers and Survivalists

The Mini-Sentry trip wire alarm can be used to protect large areas or individual items. It can be used on pastures, fences, roads, gates, vehicles, equipment, tools, supplies and more.  A distinct advantage to a trip wire alarm with the loud crack of a gun shot is the trespasser or thief knows that you are aware of their presence and location, and that you are serious about security.

The Mini-Sentry is tiny, easily concealed, uses a loud, readily available, inexpensive .22 caliber blank, is constructed of machined brass, galvanized and stainless steel and is coated in a flat black finish.

The Mini Sentry can be installed temporarily with a zip tie, string, tape or wire, and more permanently with screws For additional information on protecting your loved ones and property, go to: http://minisentryalarm.wordpress.com

Check out a YouTube video demonstration of the Mini-Sentry:

NOTE: The author in no way was/is being compensated for this article. I just believe this is an awesome and highly effective piece of equipment!

Win A FREE Royal Berkey – 4 Hours Remain!

Check out this great contest from Jeff “The Berkey Guy”. It is open for a few more hours. Sorry for the short notice!

Royal Berkey Water Purification System

Here’s your chance to win a ROYAL BERKEY® Water Purification System!

We’ll (LPC Survival) be giving away that system to (1) Lucky Fan…will that be YOU?

Retail Value of Royal Berkey® Water Purification System: $283.00

Give-Away is only open to Residents in all 50 USA
(Items will only ship to addresses within 50 USA)

Click this link to enter the contest and obtain the details.

Direct link to the giveaway is: http://www.directive21.com/royal-berkey-give-away/?utm_source=February+Newsletter&utm_campaign=February+NL+2013&utm_medium=email

Prepared Ninja Medical Gear Giveaway

The Prepared Ninja is going to try again to give away a Special Operations Forces Tactical Tourniquet (SOFT-T)!!! Every reader is eligible to be entered. Here are the two requirements to be entered for your chance to win:

1. Go to The Prepared Ninja Homepage and subscribe to The Prepared Ninja via email (located at the top of the column on the right hand side).

2. Leave a comment on this post below that lists the item that you lack the most in your medical preps. If you completely lack any medical preps at all, than say so! This SOFT-Tourniquet could be the start you need to put together an awesome medical kit.

(If you are an existing subscriber, you have already been entered automatically for this opportunity!)

******IF THIS GOES WELL, THE PRIZE POT MAY GET SWEETENED!!!******

The Fine Print – In order for this giveaway to happen, The Prepared Ninja must reach 100 email subscribers no later than October 17, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST. That is 30 full days from now. On October 18, 2012, a random number generator will be utilized to determine which of our readers is the lucky winner! *Unfortunately, due to a limited amount of resources, the SOFT-T can only be shipped to a mailing address in the 50 United States, District of Columbia, and Military APO addresses.

DISCLAIMER: The winner of this giveaway is completely and solely responsible for ensuring they are properly trained to use and legally able to possess this piece of medical equipment. The Prepared Ninja and its affiliates are not responsible for illegal possession or misuse of the Special Operations Forces Tactical Tourniquet.

About the SOFT-T from Tactical Medical Solutions:

“The SOF® Tactical Tourniquet is one of the top performing tourniquets currently available. It is the tourniquet of choice for many of the world’s most elite and experienced warriors who have selected it for its outstanding ability to control severe bleeding, high level of reliability and ease of application. While some military units have replaced their issue tourniquets with the SOF®TT, others military units have implemented SOP’s stating that the SOF® Tactical Tourniquet is to be used on all lower extremity bleeds. That means the SOF®TT is the tourniquet that trusted to control the most severe extremity hemorrhage on the battlefield.

The key to successful implementation of a device to be used in a high stress environment is training and ease of use. For law enforcement officers, application of the tourniquet is similar to the use of a hobble. This existing level of familiarity reduces training time and aids in the effectiveness of the device.”

Advantages of the SOF® Tactical Tourniquet
  • 100% Effective. Proven to be 100% effective during US Army Institute of Surgical Research testing.
  • Simple application. The SOF®TT is applied the same to an arm or leg. Unlike other tourniquets that require you to learn two methods of application and implement the proper method when under stress, the SOF®TT is applied the same way to an arm or leg. By accounting for the factors of human performance in combat we have minimized the risk of failure. Applying a tourniquet should not be a multiple choice exam, it should be simple and straight forward. The SOF®TT provides the necessary effectiveness with an unmatched level of simplicity to increase the overall effectiveness of the device.
  • Durability. The SOF®TT is constructed of quality, high strength materials. The tourniquet handle is machined from a solid piece of aircraft aluminum and maintains its strength in extreme temperatures. The tri-rings are molded Acetyl, a high impact plastic that will also maintain its strength in extreme operating conditions.
  • Reliable. The SOF® Tactical Tourniquet is designed to reduce the chance of accidental release or mechanical failure. Unlike other materials including Velcro®, the fastening system will perform when soiled, muddy, frozen, or wet.
  • Safety set screw prevents accidental release of pressure during tactical patient movement. The screw is not required to gain hemorrhage control, but it is recommended if the patient will be moved in a tactical environment.
  • Dual locking rings offer a back up locking system.

Made in the USA.

1st Ever Prepared Ninja Giveaway!!!

The Prepared Ninja is giving away a Special Operations Forces Tactical Tourniquet (SOFT-T)! Every reader is eligible to be entered. Here are the two requirements to be entered for your chance to win:

1. Go to The Prepared Ninja Homepage and subscribe to The Prepared Ninja via email (located at the top of the column on the right hand side).

2. Leave a comment on this post below that lists the item that you lack the most in your medical preps. If you completely lack any medical preps at all, then say so! This SOFT-Tourniquet could be the start you need to put together an awesome medical kit.

(If you are an existing subscriber, you have already been entered automatically for this opportunity!)

The Fine Print – In order for this giveaway to happen, The Prepared Ninja must reach 100 email subscribers no later than August 5, 2012. On August 6, 2012, a random number generator will be utilized to determine which of our readers is the lucky winner! *Unfortunately, due to a limited amount of resources, the SOFT-T can only be shipped to a mailing address in the 50 United State, District of Columbia, and Military APO addresses.

DISCLAIMER: The winner of this giveaway is completely and solely responsible for ensuring they are properly trained to use and legally able to possess this piece of medical equipment. The Prepared Ninja and its affiliates are not responsible for illegal possession or misuse of the Special Operations Forces Tactical Tourniquet.

About the SOFT-T from Tactical Medical Solutions:

“The SOF® Tactical Tourniquet is one of the top performing tourniquets currently available. It is the tourniquet of choice for many of the world’s most elite and experienced warriors who have selected it for its outstanding ability to control severe bleeding, high level of reliability and ease of application. While some military units have replaced their issue tourniquets with the SOF®TT, others military units have implemented SOP’s stating that the SOF® Tactical Tourniquet is to be used on all lower extremity bleeds. That means the SOF®TT is the tourniquet that trusted to control the most severe extremity hemorrhage on the battlefield.

The key to successful implementation of a device to be used in a high stress environment is training and ease of use. For law enforcement officers, application of the tourniquet is similar to the use of a hobble. This existing level of familiarity reduces training time and aids in the effectiveness of the device.”

Advantages of the SOF® Tactical Tourniquet
  • 100% Effective. Proven to be 100% effective during US Army Institute of Surgical Research testing.
  • Simple application. The SOF®TT is applied the same to an arm or leg. Unlike other tourniquets that require you to learn two methods of application and implement the proper method when under stress, the SOF®TT is applied the same way to an arm or leg. By accounting for the factors of human performance in combat we have minimized the risk of failure. Applying a tourniquet should not be a multiple choice exam, it should be simple and straight forward. The SOF®TT provides the necessary effectiveness with an unmatched level of simplicity to increase the overall effectiveness of the device.
  • Durability. The SOF®TT is constructed of quality, high strength materials. The tourniquet handle is machined from a solid piece of aircraft aluminum and maintains its strength in extreme temperatures. The tri-rings are molded Acetyl, a high impact plastic that will also maintain its strength in extreme operating conditions.
  • Reliable. The SOF® Tactical Tourniquet is designed to reduce the chance of accidental release or mechanical failure. Unlike other materials including Velcro®, the fastening system will perform when soiled, muddy, frozen, or wet.
  • Safety set screw prevents accidental release of pressure during tactical patient movement. The screw is not required to gain hemorrhage control, but it is recommended if the patient will be moved in a tactical environment.
  • Dual locking rings offer a back up locking system.

Made in the USA.

Survival Stoves That Are Practically Free

survival stoves
Photo Credit: BackpackingChef.com

I am always looking for the next great idea. A new way to accomplish a task in a shorter amount of time or at a lower cost than before. My continuous search for ideas recently led me to the BackpackingChef which has proven to be a wealth of knowledge. While survival stoves are the subject of today’s post, the Backpacking Chef also has a plethora of information about dehydrating food, menu planning, cookware, food packing, food storage, and tons of recipes all designed for backpacking…which also makes them perfect for emergency preparedness! It is an incredible resource.

There are many aspects to preparedness but food is one of the most important and basic necessities, whether it be during a survival situation or just another day on the block. This makes having a way to cook or warm food fairly important…unless you like eating cold mystery meat and lima beans. Not me! This is where the backpacking stove (which I have dubbed the practically free survival stove) from the Backpacking Chef comes into play. If you have one of these survival stoves, you will not have to be concerned with eating nasty, cold food.

The beauty of the design behind these survival stoves is that with a little effort, most of the materials required to construct these particular stoves could be salvaged. I have acquired all of these materials or equal substitutes without any cost to myself other than the time required to collect them by visiting homes in my neighborhood that are being either built or remodeled. If the option of obtaining materials from a local dumpster or construction job site is not available to you these materials are still very affordable at the local hardware store.

There is also some flexibility with the types of fuel that can be used with the stoves. Suitable fuels could include candles, chafing fuel (Sterno), alcohol, and even cooking oil. Most of these options would be considered by most to be safer than other stove fuels like propane or white gas. The Backpacking Chef also provides some great information about the fuels that can be used with the stove and the efficiency of those particular fuels as well as how to cook dehydrated meals with the backpacking stove.

The instructions for completing the backpacking stove can be viewed on the BackpackingChef.com where a complete list of materials and required tools can also be viewed.

Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments area and let us all know about your good or bad experiences with survival stoves and emergency cooking.

A Blackout Kit For The Common Man

Photo Credit: Popular Mechanics

Yesterday’s post was about a recent power outage that my family and I went through. Part of what got us through our lack of electricity was our blackout kit. A blackout kit defined is simply the basic supplies that an individual or group of people need to get through a period of blackout (failure of the electrical power supply). Sounds simple, right? That’s because it is! There are no parabolic quadratic equations that are mandated here. Because your blackout kit is yours, you can put whatever you think you need in it. So without further ado, I will outline the most comprehensive list of items for a blackout kit that my mind is capable of compiling.

Light

Flashlights w/ Batteries (Include Extras)

Chemical-Illuminescent Lightsticks (Glowsticks)

Candles w/ Matches

Oil Lantern w/ Oil & Matches

Communications

Whistles

Battery Operated AM/FM/Weather Radio w/ Batteries (Include Extras)

Battery Operated Shortwave Radio Receiver W/ Batteries (Include Extras)

Battery Operated CB Radio w/ Batteries (Include Extras)

Old Style Telephone That Draws Power From Phone Line (Found @ Second-Hand/Thrift Stores)

Back-Up Cell Phone (TracFone) – Ideally A Carrier Different Than Your Usual Cell Carrier (Include Car Charger)

Food

Canned Goods

Granola/Energy-Type Bars

Beef Jerky

Hard Candy

Dried Fruits & Nuts

Peanut Butter

Foods That Only Require The Addition of Hot Water

Metal Cup For Heating Water

Manual Can Opener

First Aid

First Aid Kit

First Aid Manual

Emergency Medications

Extra Prescription Glasses

Water

Bottled Water

Water Containers

Water Purification Tablets

Water Purification Device

Drink Mixes

Heat

Indoor Safe Propane Heater w/ Propane

Sterno Fuel w/ Matches

Hand Warmers

Foot Warmers

Tools

Gas Wrench

Wrench For Water Main

Basic Mechanic’s Tool Kit

Multi-tool

Work Gloves

Assorted Fasteners (Nails, Screws, Nuts, Bolts, Hose Clamps, Zip Ties, Etc.)

Security

Firearm w/ Ammunition

Taser

Baseball Bat

Golf Club

Expandable Baton

Knife

Shelter

Mylar Survival Blankets

Sleeping Bags

Blankets

Rain Gear/Emergency Ponchos

Plastic Sheeting w/ Duct Tape

Tarps w/ Twine or Cord

Entertainment

Deck of Cards

Board Games

Battery Operated Hand-Held Games w/ Batteries

Books

Battery Operated MP3 Player w/ Batteries

Documentation

List of Emergency Contacts

Family Contact Roster

Evacuation Plan (Minimum of Two Routed In Each Direction If Possible)

Cash (To Conduct Transactions During Blackout Period)

A blackout kit should remain fairly small and basic if possible. My goal is to make my blackout kit into a plastic tote container or a 5 gallon bucket. This makes the kit easy to store around the house but also easy to load into the car in the event that it needs to be taken with you in a bug out situation.

As always, please make this list the best that it can be by making a comment and pointing out additional items that I may have not thought of or unintentionally omitted from the list.

8 Lessons Learned From A Recent Disaster

It is easy to think about disasters and have things like wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, riots and financial collapse come to mind. I will readily admit that events such as those are what come to my own mind when I think about disasters. This last week though my family had the opportunity to experience a different type of disaster. One that was far less malignant.

It was about 3:30 in the morning the other day and I noticed that the wind outside had picked up a little bit and there was a hint of lightning but no thunder. No big deal, we had been having some fairly hot weather and when it cools down at night it is common for the weather to act up a bit. All of the sudden the power cut out. It was not the usual flicker on and off a couple of times and then it goes out. The power popped off like someone had turned off the breaker to the entire subdivision. No big deal, go back to sleep and figure it out in the morning.

To make a long story short, the power was out for just over 36 hours and only because a property owner failed to take care of a dead tree that a gust of wind blew over straight onto a power line.

1 Gust of Wind + 1 Dead Tree = Power Outage for 8,000 Local Residents

Life is good though because we have a gas-powered generator, right? I only wish. My failure to make sure that my generator was properly maintained resulted in an inoperable generator when I needed it the most. This was a fairly big issue at this point because we were experiencing the same triple digit temperatures that many places in the country were. Heat wave! Luckily I was able to troubleshoot the generator engine problems to a certain degree and my neighbor came over and helped me through the rest of the troubleshooting process. In a more widespread state of emergency where the store was not open to allow me to buy the parts I needed or if my relationship with my neighbor were not established, the outcome could have been very different. This led me to look at the events that happened and what parts of the events I did right as well as what I did poorly or looking back at my military training, this is what we would call an After Action Review (AAR).

The following are the lessons that I learned from our recent power outage:

Check Your Gear, Check Your Gear, & Check Your Gear – Some of this part went fairly well because we do maintain a fairly comprehensive blackout kit (see tomorrow’s post for in-depth info on blackout kits) in our master bedroom and each of our kid’s have their own flashlights in case of an emergency. (Sometimes those are used to play with though and are not always in their appropriate locations!) So this was good, but the fact that our generator was not running was bad. Had periodic checks been established and utilized, such as running the generator every 3-4 weeks as the manufacturer recommends, then this could likely have been avoided. The takeaway point from all of this is to know what you need to have on hand to deal with any disaster that you may face and make sure that periodic checks and maintenance are performed on all pieces of equipment.

Community Is Not Important, It Is Vital – The only reason that my family was able to have power through our recent outage was because of a neighbor who I had established a good relationship with and who was willing to help. Sure, I could have taken it to a small engine repair shop to get it running but it likely would not have been fixed when I needed it and even if I was able to work something out it surely would have cost me a pretty penny. The bottom line is that through establishing relationships in my neighborhood and community building, I was able to use one of these relationships to get fast and free help to get my generator running. I have helped this particular neighbor before and he has helped me. The lone wolf survival scenario I don’t believe will ever really pan out. Those who will likely survive the longest will have a tight-knit community who rely on each other and capitalize on everyone’s strengths.

Maintain Fuel Stores – A proper running piece of equipment doesn’t do any good without fuel for it to run. Once my generator was back in good running order I put the fuel that I had on hand into the tank but it was not nearly enough. I was lucky enough that it kept the generator going long enough for me to get to the gas station and back but I don’t think that it would have lasted five minutes longer. This was shortsighted on my behalf. I had been using my fuel stores for yard equipment which resulted in the fuel shortage. The right answer would be to calculate my fuel needs for a predetermined period of time (likely a seven to ten-day period) and keep that on hand, stabilized with fuel stabilizer.

Redundant Supplies Are Necessary – Spark Plugs, Oil, Fuel Filters, Fuel Lines, Carb Cleaner, and Fuel Stabilizer are examples of items that should be kept on hand in excess quantities to ensure proper and continuous operation of back up life support systems like a generator in an emergency or disaster. If our 36 hour power outage had lasted longer, it may have been necessary to conduct additional maintenance on the generator. These additional parts would be useful in doing my part in the community if one of my neighbors was one having a difficult time with their generator instead of me.

Prioritize Items to Power & Know Your Limits – The key items that we needed electricity for during the outage included our refrigerator, chest freezer, a couple of fans, and my work computer as needed. With a continuous capacity on our generator of 4500 watts and a surge capacity of 5500 watts, we were well within our limits. The items that we powered required a maximum draw of less than 2000 watts at all times which kept us under 50% of capacity. This equated to fuel consumption of about 1/2 gallon an hour. With a 6 1/2 gallon tank, the generator will run on one tank for a twelve-hour period with a little left for fluctuation. This means that for a 10 day fuel supply that I should have 65 gallons of fuel on hand for 12 hours a day of generator operation or 130 gallons of fuel on hand if I want to have the option to run 24 hours a day for the 10 day period.

See, Do, & Teach – One of the things that we always practiced in the Army was the philosophy of see one, do  one, and teach one. The idea is to learn something, practice it, and then teach it to others. Now that our generator is running well and I saw what my neighbor did to help me fix it, I will practice good maintenance, and it is my responsibility to teach those capable in my home, how to maintain and properly run our family’s generator.

Some Things Are Preventable – Had our generator been properly maintained in the first place, it is likely that the difficulties my family experienced from the delay in power while the generator was repaired could have been avoided. Also, proper levels of fuel storage could have been maintained which would have resulted in not have to make a midnight express run to the gas station. This also would have protected my family in the event of a broader impact by the power outage where the local gas stations were without power as well and therefore not open.

Don’t Forget What You Learn – This is fairly self-explanatory. By remembering these things that I learned from this most recent disaster that my family experienced, I can make sure that we do not have the same problems again.

The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” – Tom Bodett

Please don’t hesitate to chime in and add any lessons that you may have learned from a disaster that you or your loved ones have experienced in the comments below.

TOMORROW’S BLOG POST: Blackout Kits