Category Archives: Survival Skills

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.

Making Ammunition for Emergency Preparedness

Emergency preparedness is on a lot of people’s minds. With the state of the economy, and the days where the news makes it sound like the country is about to explode into civil unrest, it’s really no wonder.

Some people think that it’s all a lot of hoopla, with no real threat behind it, but when you consider that any sort of disruption in any of the big cities (where problems generally occur) would more than likely affect our financial system, our food chain, or our gas and oil supply. Any one of these being stopped or delayed could make life difficult very quickly, so being prepared is important.

When you’re trying to prepare your home and family for whatever comes, there is a lot that you need to consider. Having a backup water supply is one of the most important, followed by making sure you have emergency food on hand that has a long shelf life. But have you considered your ammunition stores? You probably have, but with the ammunition shortages that this country is experiencing right now there is a good chance that you aren’t satisfied with the supply that you currently have.

Picture Credit: weaponsman.com

If you are good at building things, and are willing to learn a new and relatively easy skill, then you can put yourself ahead of the crowd by making your own ammunition. Most people think that making ammunition would be far too expensive or complicated to make it worth it, but this is far from the truth.

While the cost of buying the raw materials for making ammunition has risen a bit due to the economy and the effect of supply and demand, you will still see huge savings over buying ammunition pre-made.

Making ammunition is definitely a skill, and so you need to be prepared for the learning curve that comes with it. You have to learn how to be precise. But that being said, there really aren’t many steps to the process.

First you need the casings – you can buy them new, obviously, but many people also reclaim all the casings they can from their target practice and reuse them. If you wash used casings and ensure they aren’t damaged, there is no reason why you can’t save even more money by repacking them.

After you place a new primer in the cartridge, you put in the right amount of gunpowder, and then the projectile – which is the bullet itself. Obviously the type of ammunition that you are making will have an effect on what materials you need, and how much gunpowder is used, but this is something that you will have to determine once you know what caliber you need.

One nice thing about making your own ammo is that once you have the method down, you can make it faster and faster. In the beginning you may only have a handful to show for an hour’s worth of work, but some people get to the point where they can make up to 300 in an hour. That’s a lot of ammo!

Also, keep in mind that the tools that you need for making your own ammunition are not terribly expensive. A few hundred dollars should set you up with everything you need, plus the raw materials.

If you’re so inclined, you can even make your own bullets, although this is a different skill and requires an entire new set of tools and supplies.

The bottom line is that making your own ammunition is a feasible and cost-effective way to prepare for an emergency. Knowing that you have what you need to protect your home or feed your family is invaluable, and something that cannot be taken away from you, no matter what comes to pass.

About The Author - Lee Flynn is a freelance writer and expert in emergency food preparedness and food storage.

If All Else Fails, A Hillbilly Winch Prevails!

There was recently an episode of the TV show, Hillbilly Blood where the two men, Eugene and Spencer, featured on the show used a tree as a makeshift winch. The basic concept of the tree powered winch is that the weight of a falling tree can create enough energy to move a heavy or stuck item when a cable is attached towards the top of the falling tree and the item to be moved.

There are many potential situations where a makeshift solution can be the only option. If there were ever to be a catastrophic event such as an EMP, if a task needs to be accomplished without making an equipment purchase, or even if you do not have the equipment, the hillbilly tree winch could be your solution! The basic concept of the hillbilly winch can be seen in the illustration below:

Slide1

The video below shows a brief synopsis of Spencer and Eugene actually using the hillbilly winch to recover a Willys Jeep from a deep rut in the ground. Notice the use of cable as the line for the winch and the fact that an old tire is used as a connection buffer between the Jeep’s bumper and the winch line.

If you are interested in learning more about hillbilly know-how, check out Land Of The Sky Wilderness  School (Spencer Bolejack’s Website) or Trapper Jack Survival (Eugene Runkis’ YouTube Channel).

Hillbilly Blood airs every Saturday on Destination America at 10PM EST/9PM CST.

Book Review – Getting Home by Alex Smith

Getting HomeIf disaster strikes, will you be home? Will you be at work, school, or at the store? Is it possible that you or someone you care for will face the daunting task of trying to get home during the most perilous times possible? How would you get home and what would you take with you?

The new book Getting Home by Alex Smith is a great guide for the person seeking to learn more about traveling after a disaster/during times of chaos or someone trying to refresh their knowledge. It is not marketed as a guide for the experienced prepper, but I would go so far as saying that there might be some longtime prepper’s that have a solid grasp in many areas but could benefit from this book. While Getting Home is not only straightforward and easy to read, it is 136 pages of preparedness knowledge about:

  1. Every-Day Carry (EDC)The items on you…all day, every day.
  2. the Purse/Man-Purse/Daypack (DP)The next step after your EDC items.
  3. In Your OfficeItems to keep on hand in the workplace.
  4. In Your VehicleGear to keep in the car to assist in getting home.
  5. the Get Home Bag (GHB)A bag full of goodies to help you stay alive when it all goes south!
  6. CachesExtend your capabilities by stashing additional supplies along your route.
  7. Getting HomeTips and tricks for different environments and situations.

This collection of preparedness knowledge cannot possibly be summarized into the seven categories above though. There are numerous pieces of information spread throughout the pages of Coming Home that not only demonstrate the knowledge and equipment necessary to get home alive and safe, but also will assist the reader in achieving peak performance for survival. A sample of Alex’s writing in Coming Home is below:

The following excerpt is from Getting Home by Alex Smith,

Chapter 6:  the Get Home Bag (GHB)

* Selecting a GHB *

Much like your DP, your GHB should stand out as little as possible, but let’s face it – you are going to stand out with a ruck on your back.  However, try to minimize your visibility as much as possible by:

  • Avoid tactical bags (MOLLE, military surplus, etc.).
  • Avoid camouflage patterns.
  • No military/survival/firearms patches on your GHB.

Instead, opt for a pack that a hiker might wear.  Select from quality, brand-name bags with earth tones.  Remember it must be relatively comfortable when loaded, and you must be capable of carrying the load.

Before you choose your GHB, consider the following:

  • How long will it take you to get home?  How many miles are you from home?  How many miles can you hike (because you will basically be hiking with a pack) in a day?  Remember, walking is not hiking; hiking (walking with a loaded pack) works different muscles and will exhaust you much quicker.  Your physical condition will dictate how far you can hike; some may be able to only hike 5 miles, while others might be able to hike 30.  Terrain will affect your progress as well.  Divide your miles/day into the total distance from home and you will know approximately how long it may take you to get home.  The following is a very rough guideline with regards to pack capacity (Note – CI = Cubic Inches / L = Liters):
    • Trip Length = < 2 Days:  Pack Capacity = < 3,000 CI (50 L)
    • Trip Length = 3 Days:  Pack Capacity = < 3,600 CI (60 L)
    • Trip Length = 4 – 5 Days:  Pack Capacity = < 4,900 CI (80 L)
    • Trip Length = > 5 Days:  Pack Capacity = > 4,900 CI (80 L)
  • Will you pack light or pack heavy?  Does your physical condition and preferred level of preparedness require you carry a lot or very little?  What use is a large pack if you are unable to carry more than what a small pack can carry?  Opt for the smaller pack and save several pounds in pack weight.
  • What is your body type?  By body type, we mean torso height, since that is what the GHB will interface with.  Measure your torso and determine what pack size will be most comfortable for you (requires help):
    • Locate your C7 vertebra (the bony protrusion at the top of your back when you lean your head forward).
    • Locate your iliac crest (the pelvic “shelf”):  Have your friend run their hands down your side until they feel your hip bone.
    •  Have them place their hands on top of the hip bone with thumbs pointing inward.
    • Measure from C7 to the point that your friend’s thumbs “point” to.

Now that you know your torso length, the following are some guidelines for your body type:

  • Torso Length < 15.5”:  Extra Small Pack
  • Torso Length 16” – 17.5”:  Small Pack
  • Torso Length 18” – 19.5”:  Medium Pack
  • Torso Length > 19.5”:  Large Pack
  • Gender?  Take a long look in the mirror and determine what gender you are.  Many brands offer packs that are designed specifically to fit the contours of the female body.
  • Climate:  The colder your climate, the larger the pack you will need.  Cold weather sleeping gear and clothing take up much more space.

Now that you have an idea of what to look for in pack size, let’s examine several options you have to improve fit and make the pack more comfortable:

  • Load-lifter Straps:  Found at the top of the shoulder straps, load-lifter straps prevent the pack from pulling away from your body, disrupting your balance.  When pulled snug, they should form a 45 degree angle with your shoulder straps and the pack itself.  The heavier your load, the more important load-lifter straps are.
  • Sternum Straps:  The strap across your chest.  Improves stability and balance.
  • Hip Belt:  The strap across your hips.  Improves stability and balance.
  • Pack Frames:  Internal (usually lacks ventilation), External (often heavier) and Perimeter (a hybrid that strives to combine the benefits of internal and external) Frames are all designed to direct pack weight towards your hips – one of the body’s largest bone structures supported by some of the body’s largest muscle groups (the upper legs).  Hikers and adventurers have debated which frame system is superior, but there is no clear winner.  Choose based on what “feels” better to you.  The heavier your pack, the more important it is to have a frame.
  • Pockets/Panels/Compartments/Attachment Points:  To easily access your gear, you will need a pack with a variety of storage compartments and attachment options.  Imagine choosing an old military-style duffel bag as your GHB and needing a pair of socks located in the bottom.  You will have to remove everything from your GHB to get those socks.
  • Ventilation:  Very important in hot humid climates, especially if an internal-frame pack is chosen.  In such a scenario, your GHB needs a ventilation system to prevent your back from getting drenched in sweat.
  • Hydration:  Most packs allow you the option of inserting a reservoir (such as a Camelbak).  Water is very heavy, but if you live in an arid climate with little access to surface water, you may be forced to carry much of the water you will need for your trip.
  • Padding:  Padding is important, especially if your pack is heavy.  Ensure the padding on your hip belt and lumbar pad is sufficient for your needs.
  • Durability:  Your pack could be the most important component of your GHB; buy a quality pack from a respected brand.  Be careful if you decide to purchase an ultralight pack.  Ultralight packs utilize lighter materials that are often not as durable.  Some brands to consider include:  Osprey, the North Face, Black Diamond, Kelty and Gregory.

Now that you have an idea of what to look for in a pack, let’s transform that pack into a GHB.

Armed with this introduction, would you consider the basic knowledge to get back home safely after a disaster worth $1.00? I would! Alex let me know that the current price of $0.99 will be good for the rest of the week and then next week the price will likely go up to $5! If e-readers or technology are not your preferred reading method, Alex also let me know that a paperback should be released within a few days. I would emphatically recommend this book to anyone that believes that it is possible that there will be any natural or other disasters in the future of the world.

Don’t let a dollar stand between you and the safety you will find at home…get your copy of Getting Home (making it back to your family after disaster strikes) now!

Get Skilled in 2013!

Well folks! I have decided that the time has come to determine what I am going to do with my life next year. Just to clear the air, I am not changing jobs or moving to another country, becoming a member of a dance company, or even purchasing a new car. I have joined the radical movement at 13Skills. Huh? What is this? Some sort of extremist group?

logo-0Well, I was blown away to see that such a group coming together and YES, the community is extreme. The 13Skills website is home to the 13 in 13 Challenge, a movement created and sponsored by The Survival Podcast which encourages individuals to develop new skills or improve upon existing skills in an effort revive and conserve the abilities of humans everywhere. There is not a limit to what skills can be learned and the number of skills to be worked on can be as few or as plentiful as one is willing to try to conquer. The premise behind the 13 in 13 Challenge though is to focus on thirteen skills in the year 2013.

So what makes 13Skills an extremist group? There are a number of things that I think the average person would find extreme. No one there cares about whether I am male or female. When I set up my user account I did not get asked if I was a Christian or a Muslim or what the color of my skin is. The entire site is designed to not only be family friendly but families are encouraged to improve their skills together. I am confident as you read this that the image coming together in your head is helping you to understand how extreme and outlandish such an idea is. What has the world come to that there is a place where people can be accepted for who they are and encouraged to better themselves, their family and the world around them?

I’ll tell you what this whole mess is about. Point blank, the 13 in 13 Challenge is about the fact that we all have things that we can learn or do better and now is the time to take on this challenge. We have US Olympic team uniforms this year that were made in China for crying out loud! This is the greatest country there ever was and we can keep it that way but it will have to be through intentional effort and 13Skills.com is one of the ways that those efforts will be accomplished.

Hop on over to 13Skills and check out The Prepared Ninja member profile. The thirteen skills that I have selected to either learn or make significant improvements on in the new year include:

1. Building A Solar Oven

2. Business Management

3. Fitness

4. Marksmanship

5. Hunting

6. Writing

7. Beer Making

8. Food Storage

9. Family Fun

10. Curing/Smoking Meats

11. Container/Portable Gardening

12. Geocaching

13. Organizational Skills

Of these skills, the two that will be my primary focus will be fitness and organizational skills. This was a difficult decision for me to make because I feel that all of these skills are areas that I need to work on. The reason that I selected fitness is because I have let myself fall into a much poorer standard of health than I used to maintain. Without my health, all the skills in the world will not mean anything to me or my family. I will not have to recreate the wheel in this case but I will be making a significant effort to remained focused on continued and improved fitness throughout 2013. Organizational skills are important to integrate into my life because while I might not qualify to be on an episode of Hoarders, I can certainly stand to learn a great deal about getting organized. There are many things that I have held onto over the years that I do not need and then for future purchases I can focus on obtaining things that can serve multiple purposes. One example I can think of is instead of buying a guitar tuner that is going to cost money, take up space, and consume batteries, why not download a guitar tuning application on my iPhone that will accomplish the same purpose?

When I stop and think about these goals and what I will have to do to accomplish them, it basically equates to just less than one month to learn or improve on each skill. That is not unreasonable or difficult to accomplish at all, especially with a concentrated effort. Completing the thirteen skill goals that I have set for myself will not only make me a better prepper but will also improve my quality of life, bring my family closer together, and likely equate to a sizable financial savings over the course of my life.

One of the arguments that I have heard people make about setting a goal online is a lack of accountability built-in to the system. This group of individuals typically feel that without someone/something checking up on them to make sure that they are on track and meeting their goals, they will fail. There are a couple of ways that I could think of to make sure that accountability is maintained if you struggle to motivate yourself.

1. Start/Join A Meetup Group – There a thousands of different Meetup groups online that are in just about every community and meet for just about every different thing any person could imagine. Some of these Meetup groups are survival or preparedness focused groups. Joining or starting such a group could facilitate a way to be accountable to one another in learning new skills.

2. Get A Sponsor – No, not a 12 step program type of sponsor but the idea is kind of the same. Find a friend that is interested in the same type of skills that you are and make the commitment to tackle learning these skills together.

3. Add reminders to your online calendar, smart phone, or paper planner. – Set periodic reminders throughout the month or year to help keep you on track in meeting your goals.

4. Take A Class – Go to the local college and take a class to help you learn the skill you desire to master. Most colleges have lifelong learner programs that allow anyone to take individual classes. Besides, it is a lot easier to be accountable to learning your new skill if you are being graded on it!

5. Use The Forum – Since 13Skills is sponsored by The Survival Podcast (TSP), the forum at TSP is being utilized by members of the 13 in 13 Challenge to discuss their goals, progress, and whatever else comes to mind. This resource can not only be used to help stay accountable but also probably get some useful information in learning and perfecting the new skills that people have chosen to pursue in 2013.

The chance to become a member at 13Skills was not just about networking within the prepper community but creating a legacy. Our nation as a whole has slipped in our ability to do things for ourselves. My parents taught me how to do things like fix a sink or sew on a missing button but over the course of the last few generations in America, skills have begun to perish. The chance to learn new skills will allow me to not only pass on the skills I already know to my children but to add to the set of skills that they can pass on to their children.

Prepping During Cold Weather

The winter months can require an adjustment in the way we approach our daily activities. Snow on the ground means the lawn doesn’t need to be mowed, but it also means that it is cold enough outside that the average person does not feel like spending much time outside. Colder temperatures could be an excuse to take time off from prepping all together because you “can’t work in the garden or spend any time at the range” but it can also be the catalyst to get some of the less exciting tasks completed at the same time.

Some of the prepping tasks that are ideally suited for cold weather months include:

  1. Rotate Food Storage – The food you put up for the future or for tough times should always be rotated and maintained. If it is consumed, it should be replaced. If it has an expiration date, eat it before it goes bad and then replace it! Even though some long-term storage food is good for 10 or even 25 years, it can still go bad far sooner if it is not properly kept. As a result of this fact, the winter months can serve as the perfect time to check over food stores and ensure that cans aren’t swollen, boxes aren’t stained or soaked with moisture, or that there are not “things” living in your food.
  2. Update Emergency Information – Curl up in the easy chair with your computer in front of the fire and make sure that the administrative side of emergency preparedness is together and organized. Things that can be updated include the evacuation routes that would be taken from home, work, etc., who to call if there were a tree that fell across your driveway, and ensure the accuracy of insurance information/coverage amounts.
  3. Plan Next Year’s Activities – What do you want to accomplish next year? Is the garden going to be bigger? Will you grow a different variety of a certain plant? This is also the perfect time to determine what your financial goals will be and how your projected income will fit into your prepping efforts.
  4. Learn New Skills or Brush Up On Old Skills – Some new skills can be acquired through reading, taking a class, or watching a video. If you are staying inside anyway, learn one of those new skills that you have been thinking about picking up! YouTube is a great resource for many survival, homesteading, emergency preparedness, etc. related videos and allow anyone with a computer and internet access to learn something new or brush up on a skill that lacks confidence. The local library usually offers a wide variety of books that can be useful in this same area. Many skills such as cooking or home brewing can have some level of mastery achieved in the course of one cold weather season.
  5. Perform Maintenance/Upgrades – Equipment needs to be maintained and upgraded. Maintenance and equipment upgrades can sometimes be put off and the downtime that winter affords can be the ideal time to perform some much-needed work. Firearms can be cleaned and oiled, knives can be sharpened, first aid kits can be upgraded, and the car can be taken to the shop to have the oil changed and the tires rotated.

Winter does not have to be down time for preppers. There is always something that can be done regardless of the weather. These are some of the ways that I could think of to stay prepping during the cold weather, how do you plan to stay with it this winter?

Principles of Personal Defense

I have been familiar with one of the war hero’s of our nation, Colonel Jeff Cooper for a number of years now. He is renowned in the firearms community for establishing the Gunsite Training Institute where he provided training on rifle and shotgun as well as pistol training in Cooper’s modern technique which is identified in part by the use of two hands to shoot accompanied by the use of the weaver stance. In addition to a proud military history and phenomenal training academy, Jeff Cooper had a writing career that extended across seven decades of his life. While he wrote for several magazines and newsletters throughout his life, Cooper also wrote many books, one of which is titled, Principles of Personal Defense which serves as an awesome primer on situational awareness and dealing with the reality of having to defend oneself in the face of attack.

What I find particularly great about Principles of Personal Defense is that it is written from the perspective that attackers should not be allowed to dictate the circumstances in which we live. Colonel Cooper mentions in his introduction that only a small percentage of people are sociopaths that will commit crimes and go on to mention that,

Violent crime is feasible only if its victims are cowards. A victim who fights back makes the whole business impractical. It is true that a victim who fights back may suffer for it, but one who does not almost certainly will suffer for it. And, suffer or not, the one who fights back retains his dignity and his self-respect. Any study of the atrocity list of recent years-Starkweather, Speck,Manson, Richard Hickok and Cary Smith, et al-shows immediately that the victims, by their appalling ineptitude and timidity, virtually assisted in their own murders. (“Don’t make them mad, Martha, so they won’t hurt us.”)

Obviously the list of criminals from “recent years” is not so recent as this quote is taken from the first edition written in 1989 but the principle is a sound one. The idea of personal defense in this booklet is not limited to one particular setting but encompasses crimes at home and on the street which provokes additional thought as well. Cooper goes on to outline the seven principles of personal defense which are:

  1. Alertness – Know what is going on around you. This is covered with two basic rules. The first is know what is behind you and the second is pay particular attention to anything out of place.
  2. Decisiveness – When faced with a life threatening situation you must make the appropriate decision on how to react immediately.
  3. Aggressiveness - “The best personal defense is an explosive counterattack.” Being on the defense doesn’t allow one to be on the offense but a violent defense can completely stop an offensive attack.
  4. Speed – “The perfect defense is a counterattack that succeeds before the assailant discovers that he has bitten off more than he can chew.” Speed is key to surviving an attack by an assailant.
  5. Coolness – Keep your cool. Failure to keep it together can result in an inability to mount an effective defense.
  6. Ruthlessness – “Anyone who willfully and maliciously attacks another without sufficient cause deserves no consideration.” Operate within the confines of the law but offer no relief to the enemy. Given a chance to remove the threat, do so.
  7. Surprise – Do what your attacker does not expect you to do. By catching the attacker off guard, you can gain the advantage.
This booklet is not a long read at all and I would encourage everyone to read it. Even if you do not have an interest in firearms, the book can teach the reader a great amount about situational awareness and dealing with an attacker or the potential of facing an attack.

In addition to the previously mentioned works, COL Cooper is deeply engrained in many other principles of firearms training which include the four rules of firearm safety and firearm carry conditions. If you have ever heard of the scout rifle concept before then you have heard of another one of the works that COL Cooper is well-known for refining.

What do you think is the most important principle of personal defense? Leave your remarks in the comments section.

Do you have a personal defense story that you would be willing to share? If so, please fill out the contact form on The Prepared Ninja homepage and let us know about it.

Disclaimer – Consult all local laws and regulations regarding use of force and personal defense. The author of this blog post is not an attorney or not otherwise qualified to offer legal advise or counsel on any subject. The information provided here is strictly for the purpose of provoking thought on the subject matter.

Dealing With Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries are a common threat to a great number of people across the globe every year. It is estimated that in athletes alone, approximately 10 percent of participants suffer annually from an overuse injury. Don’t be mistaken either, athletes are not alone in this realm of suffering. Overuse injuries can occur from sports and recreational activities, occupational hazards, household chores, or any tasks that are performed repetitively. So what does this have to do with prepping? There is a fairly widespread feeling amongst preppers to learn new skills, get into better shape, do this thing or that thing better, or make up of what others are not doing. This can lead to overuse injuries!

What Causes Overuse Injuries?

The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine provides a very clear and easy to understand definition of the cause of overuse injuries,

The human body has a tremendous capacity to adapt to physical stress. In fact, many positive changes occur as a result of this. With exercise and activity, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments get stronger and more functional. This happens because of an internal process called remodeling. The remodeling process involves both the break down and build up of tissue. There is a fine balance between the two and if break down occurs more rapidly than build up, injury occurs.

When these injuries occur it can be a result of starting a new activity and trying to do too much, too soon. An example would be relocating from an urban environment to a rural location having never split firewood before and deciding to split an entire tree’s worth of wood in one day. This would likely be too much, too soon and could lead to an overuse injury because your body is not used to this activity and your body would not be able to fully recover from this activity. Undertaking a new activity and using a poor technique can also lead to injury.

Other risk factors that can lead to overuse injuries include previous injuries, making up for lost time after taking a break from an activity, poor form, using improper or broken equipment, differences in work surfaces (hard vs. soft), and anatomical factors such as flat feet or unequal leg lengths.

Preventing Overuse Injuries

As the saying goes…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. With that being said, prevention can come in a number of ways. Someone with experience/expertise that can offer assistance in proper technique will be invaluable in helping prevent injury. Taking the time to stretch and properly warm-up prior to starting any activity is also helpful. Another prevention technique is the ten percent rule which essentially equates to not adding more than 10 percent to any activity or training program per week to avoid injury. An example of the ten percent rule is a runner not adding more than 10% to their total distance as compared to the week before. This can prevent overuse injuries like shin splints for the runner.

Diagnosing Overuse Injuries

There is only one way to get diagnosed with an overuse injury. *See a healthcare provider. There is not any equivalent to this option. Not every overuse injury requires an elaborate set of tests to be diagnosed but there is no substitution for the expertise of a physician. With that being said, there are ways to treat your symptoms if you are not able to immediately seek medical care for some reason.

Treating Overuse Injuries

One of the primary methods of treatment for overuse injuries is either rest or an easy/hard approach where a combination of easy and hard activities are facilitate continued activity and maintenance of overall fitness while individual injuries recover. These practices can be especially useful in treating the early symptoms of overuse injuries. R.I.C.E. is another useful tool in treating overuse injuries to the extremities, especially those that involve swelling. The acronym R.I.C.E. stands for:

  • Rest – Rest to prevent further injury.
  • Ice – Ice the area to help prevent swelling.
  • Compression – Use an ACE wrap to provide compression.
  • Elevation – Elevate the injured extremity will also reduce swelling.

Pain can also be a particularly bothersome symptom which be alleviated by aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications. By the way…pain is usually the body’s way of saying slow down a little.

How do you prevent overuse injuries? Leave a comment and let us know how.

*DISCLAIMER – The author is not a physician and the information and opinions expressed in this article are not in any way a substitution for the treatment and advice of a licensed medical provider. The information, views, and opinions expressed in the article are provided for informational purposes only and should be used at the readers risk.

Source: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

Build A Barometer Workshop!

After yesterday’s post on how to predict the weather for yourself I was inspired to look at some other tools that could be useful in prognosticating future weather events if the end of meteorological forecasting AKA “weather guessing” were to occur. Something that could prove to be invaluable would be a barometer (an instrument used to measure barometric pressure). There are a couple of ways to accomplish this. The two basic methods are using air in a jar with a balloon over the top or the colored liquid in a jar with a plastic tube or straw method. I debated spelling out each method step by step, but then I got smart and found YouTube videos! In addition to showing how to make a barometer, the first video also gives some tips on how barometric pressure effects fishing.

What additions would you add to your weather prediction arsenal to ensure that you are ready to predict the weather after TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It)???

Rain Or Knee Pain? Predict The Weather!

A key driver of activity in life is weather. A baseball game, a military mission, the space shuttle launch, and school days throughout the country are all things that are impacted both negatively and positively every year by different weather factors. If there were to be a break down in communications from an EMP or some other catastrophic event that prevented weather forecasts from being disseminated to the general public, weather prediction skills will become invaluable. So what are some of the things to look for when trying to predict what the weather has in store? Clouds, geographical features, barometric pressure, animal behaviors, and folklore/traditional sayings can all be reliable guidelines to use to predict the weather in the absence of professional meteorological outlooks.

Clouds

Clouds can be a good indicator of what the weather may be doing. If you can learn to identify the different types of clouds, you may be able to accurately predict specific types of weather that may be rolling your way soon. Different categories of clouds include:

AGL = Above Ground Level

Low Clouds (Under 6,500 Feet of Altitude)

Cumulus – Meaning heap in Latin, these clouds are typically the easiest to identify and are usually associated with fair weather but cumulus clouds are known to produce precipitation if they are very tall. If these clouds get bunched and large, it can result in heavy showers particularly when the weather is warm.

Stratus – The Latin word for blanket or layer, stratus clouds are low hanging clouds that are known for covering the entire sky like a blanket. Stratus clouds often produce rain and drizzle. Usually if they lift quickly in the morning it indicates that a decent day of weather is ahead.

Nimbostratus – These clouds are classified by the dark sheets that blot out the sun and are usually followed by extended precipitation (several hours) within a couple of hours.

Stratocumulus – Clouds that may produce light precipitation but usually dissipate by the end of the day and are identified by the low, rolling mass of thin, lumpy white to grey clouds that may cover the entire sky. 

Middle Clouds (6,500 to 20,000 Feet of Altitude)

Altocumulus – These clouds are patterned white to grey clouds that often appear in waves or are rippled and are larger than cirrocumulus clouds. Altocumulus are considered to be fair weather clouds and usually occur after storms.

Altostratus – Formless grey to bluish clouds, they will form a thin veil over the sun and moon. If they gradually darken and blot out the sun or moon, it is a sign that precipitation is on the way.

High Clouds (Over 20,000 Feet of Altitude)

Cirrus – Meaning curl in Latin, cirrus clouds reside high in the atmosphere in the very cold air because these clouds are made of ice crystals. Cirrus clouds are usually associated with fair weather but occasionally may also be an indicator that storms may be on their way.

Cirrocumulus – Clouds that appear in layers that look like either fish scales or rippled sand. Sometimes cirrocumulus also appear to look like rippled surface water on a pond or lake. These clouds are considered a sign of good weather and often clear out to blue sky.

Cirrostratus – These clouds are composed of ice particles and form a halo around the sun. When a sky filled with cirrus clouds darkens and the clouds turn to cirrostratus it is likely a sign of rain or snow to come depending on the temperature.

Towering Clouds (Up To 60,000 Feet of Altitude)

Swelling Cumulus – These flat-bottomed clouds with growing, cauliflower-like towers often form in the middle of the day and precede cumulonimbus clouds.

Cumulonimbus – Towering storm clouds that produce hail, thunder, strong winds, sleet, rain, lightning, and tornadoes. These clouds are characterized by a top that is often shaped like an anvil. If these clouds form early in the day it can mean that there are greater chances of severe weather.

Geographical Impact on Weather

  • Coastal regions typically have more moderate temperatures that inland regions, meaning that they generally are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
  • The air above urban areas is often warmer than in less developed/lower population dense areas. This can sometimes result in an artificial low pressure system.
  • Hilly regions generally have temperature shifts where warm air will move uphill during the day and downhill at night.
Barometric Pressure
  • The Nose Knows – The strength of scents often increase or decrease along with changes in barometric pressure. Plants will release their waste products in a low pressure atmosphere which generates a compost-like smell, indicating upcoming precipitation. Swamp gasses (marked by their unpleasant smells) are also released just before a storm as a result of low pressure in the atmosphere. The scents of some flowers are also very strong just before a rain.
  • The air bubbles in your coffee cup will ring to the outside of your cup when a low pressure system sets in. This is an indicator that rain is on the way.
  • Smoke from the campfire indicates approximate barometric pressure. If the smoke from the campfire hangs low to the ground (an indicator of low barometric pressure) than rain is likely to fall soon. If smoke from the campfire rises high (an indicator of high barometric pressure) then good weather is in the future.
  • While there is no scientific reasoning that I could find, it has been shown through various studies that people who suffer from joint and muscle pain can sense (usually through pain) when the barometric pressure is dropping. This is a sign of precipitation.
Animal Behaviors
  • Crickets can help you determine the temperature! Count the number of cricket chirps you hear in fourteen seconds and then add 40 to get the temperature in Fahrenheit. Example: 40 Chirps + 40 = 80 Degrees F / To determine the temperature in Celsius, count the number of chirps in 25 seconds, divide by three, then add four to get the temperature.
  • Many animals ears are sensitive to low pressure systems. Wolves and dogs will become nervous before a storm and emit whines or howl-like sounds.
  • Seagulls and geese won’t often fly just prior to a storm. The thinner air associated with low pressure systems makes it harder for these birds to get airborne. Seagulls also will not fly typically fly at the coast if a storm is coming.
  • Birds flying high in the sky indicate fair weather (high pressure system).
  • Cows tend to group together when poor weather is on the way and they will typically lie down before a thunderstorm.
  • Ants will steepen the sides of their hills just before it rains.
Folklore/Traditional Sayings
  • “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morn, sailor’s take warn.” – A red sky at night during sunset (when looking toward the West) indicates a high pressure system with dry air that has stirred dust particles into the air which causes the sky to appear red. Typically the jet stream and prevailing front movements go from West to East meaning that the dry weather is headed toward you. A red sky in the morning (in the East with the rising sun) means that the dry air has already moved past you and a low pressure system is behind it (moving your way) bringing moisture with it.
  • “Long notice, expect it to last. Short notice, expect it to pass.” – If clouds take several days to build, extended rain is likely in the cards. If a storm system builds quickly, it is likely to dissipate quickly as well.
  • “Clear moon, frost soon.” – If the night sky is clear enough to see the moon as a result of no cloud cover, heat will be allowed to escape and the temperature could drop enough for frost to form in the morning.
Other Indicators
  • Lightning strike distance can be estimated by counting the number of seconds between the sight of the lightning and the sound of the thunder and then divide this number by five. This will give you the distance in miles that you are from the lightning strike. To determine the distance in kilometers, the process is the same except you divide the number of seconds by three instead of five.
  • Check the grass at sunrise. Dry grass at sunrise indicates clouds and/or strong breezes which can mean rain. Dew on the grass means that it probably won’t rain that day. (If it rained the night before, this method will not be reliable.)
  • Cloud cover on a Winter night translates to warmer weather because the cloud cover prevents heat radiation that would ordinarily occur and lower the temperature on a clear night.
  • The low cloud cover that is typically present right before rainfall also results in louder and more vibrant sounds as they are reflected and amplified off of the low clouds.
  • Wind Direction – Winds blowing from the East indicate an approaching storm front where winds out of the West generally indicate good weather. Strong winds from any direction indicate high pressure difference which can mean a possible storm front approaching.
  • If the sharp points on a half-moon are not clear, rain may be on the way (haze/low clouds distort images).
  • Humidity is most often felt when it is high but indicators of high humidity include frizzy hair, curled leaves on oak and maple trees, swollen wood doors, and salt in the shaker that is clumped together.
*Most of the weather prediction methods in this post are only tested/known/suspected to be effective in North America.
If there is anything that I missed or if there is something that you would like to add, please leave a comment in the comments section.
Sources for this post include: The United States Search and Rescue Task Force, The Happy Camper by Kevin Callan, Camping’s Top Secrets (2nd Ed.) by Cliff Jacobsen, and the University of Hawaii

DISCLAIMER: Nothing contained here should be taken as a replacement for professional meteorological weather prediction and should be done at your own risk. Predicting the weather for yourself is not an exact science and should be done for entertainment and the end of the world purposes only. The Prepared Ninja, its writers, staff, and affiliates strictly deny any endorsement of use of the methods outlined above.

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.

“Roughing It”…Overcoming Toilet Paper Shortages

Photo Credit: ColoredToiletPaper.net

A lesser focused on area of preparing for the end of the world/the apocalypse/zombie invasion often involve things that we as Americans take for granted such as having toilet paper to clean up after…ourselves. There are essentially two options, stock up on so much toilet paper that you never run out or come up with the best possible substitutes. This post will serve to highlight some of the best possible substitutes for T.P. that I was able to identify.

There is only one basic principle that applies (no pun intended) to toilet paper substitutes which is that you are essentially only limited to what you can stand to push up against your tush. Here are some ideas:

  1. Phonebooks (Cleaner backside from A to Z)
  2. Old Paperbacks – These can be found for free at yard sales, libraries, schools, universities, etc.
  3. Water – Take a squeezable water bottle and poke a few pin holes in the lid, fill with water, and squeeze. The light pressure will help wash away the mess.
  4. Cloth – Cloth scraps, rags, or ripped up old towels/clothing items are all great replacements for toilet paper and can be washed and reused. As a Soldier, when we were in the field we used to always joke around that you could always tell who wasn’t constipated because their shirts were always the shortest from tearing the bottoms off to clean up after themselves.
  5. Romans used to use a sponge attached to the end of a stick that they would soak in salt water to keep it clean. (My guess would be that it would only get to be “so” clean.)
  6. Natives in coastal areas and near bodies of water that contain mussels would used their shells to clean up “behind” them.
  7. The Cree’s weapon of choice was sphagnum moss to take care of business.

The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) recommends the following four options as the best alternatives to toilet paper:

  1. Pinecones
  2. Snow (Use in moderation. Environmental injury to the buttocks isn’t fun from what I have heard.)
  3. Sticks (Choose wisely, my son. I would avoid sticks with thorns myself.)
  4. Weathered Rocks (Emphasis on weathered here. If there are sharp edges there could be problems. Be especially careful in areas with lava flows/historic volcanic activity.)

While these four things are obviously found in the great outdoors, they are also items that can be found without too much difficulty in the suburban/urban environment should the need arise. The greatest difference being that in these environments, your available supply of second string T.P. in the suburban and urban environments will be far less than in the wilderness and rural areas.

Cache Me If You Can!

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

Photo Credit:freedomguide.blogspot.com

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

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

Caching Considerations

-Planning     -Concealment     -Site Selection     -Soil Types

Packaging

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

Methods of Emplacement

-Burial     -Equipment     -Emplacement Site Considerations     -Submersion

-Special Considerations For Specific Types of Equipment

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

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

Sutures, The Megan Fox Of Medical Skills

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

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

Some of the contents of this manual include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Bollocks! I Need Bandages! (And Medical Knowledge)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hesperian Health GuidesBooks & Resources

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

Open MichiganUM Medical School

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

Health Sciences OnlineSearch

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

Mayo ClinicFirst Aid

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

American Veterinary Medical AssociationFirst Aid Tips For Pet Owners

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

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

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

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

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

How To Make A Swedish Fire Torch

I saw this video by Reggie’s Bushcraft on YouTube and had to share it because I thought it was great. I have never really forgotten anything major like a stove when I went camping but this is a useful skill that would be a great help if it were to happen. Having the ability to make a Swedish Fire Torch like the one that is made in the video could prove to be invaluable in a number of situations. Thank you to Reggie’s Bushcraft for making such a useful video.

US Army Ranger Medical Kits

OK Folks. This is the last installment of the series that I have been running on the military special operation medical kits. Today will focus on the US Army Ranger Med Kits. I think that the Ranger Med Kits are by design, the best in the business. There is a ton of thought that is put into what goes into each of the Rangers kits and I think it shows. As an Army medic, my aid bag was always modeled after the Ranger aid bags because it was always the logical choice. The approach that is used when designing these kits is to be able to treat all likely battlefield injuries while not adding the extra bulk or weight of extra or unnecessary items. My feeling is that the thoroughness and thought that is utilized for just one component of the medical operations of the US Army Rangers is a testimony of what makes the Rangers such an effective fighting force.

DISCLAIMER: This kit contains items that require a prescription to legally obtain and items that require special training to safely and properly use. This information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as any encouragement to obtain any certain piece of equipment for personal or professional use or to attempt any medical protocols or procedures that you are not properly trained and licensed to perform.

 

The packing lists below are intended to be minimum stockage lists for the typical Ranger combat mission. Medics are authorized the flexibility to ADD components to their equipment as based on the mission requirements. Medics are not authorized to deviate from the minimum packing list unless approved by the unit medical director.

RANGER MEDIC RBA/RLCS (Ranger Body Armor/Ranger Load Carriage System) MINIMUM STOCKAGE LIST

The RMED RBA/RLCS packing list are items that the medic carries on his body without opening an aid-bag or rucksack. All items are to be carried in a manner that provides ease of access. The intent of this packing list is to provide all immediate initial care for a trauma casualty without opening external bags and equipment.

1 EA – Ranger Load Carriage System

AIRWAY

1 EA – Cricothyroidotomy Kit

1 EA – Nasophayrngeal Airway 28FR w/ Lubricant

BREATHING

1 EA – 14G, 3.5” Needle

2 EA – HyFin Chest Seal, 6”

2 EA – Asherman Chest Seal

CIRCULATION/BLEEDING

2 EA – Combat Applications Tourniquet (CAT)

2 EA – Emergency Trauma Dressing, 6”

2 EA – Hemostatic Dressing (Chitosan)

1 EA – Hemostatic Bandage (Chitoflex)

4 EA – Kerlex, Vacuum Sealed

FLUIDS/IV ACCESS

2 EA – Saline Lock Kit

1 EA – Sharps Shuttle

MONITORING & DIAGNOSTIC                                               

1 EA – Pulseoximeter, Finger

MISCELLANEOUS

1 EA – Exam Light (Tactical Green)

1 EA – Headlamp

6 PR – Gloves, Exam (Black Talon)

1 EA – Trauma Shears, 7.25”

1 EA – Scissor Leash/Gear Keeper

____________________________________________________________

RANGER MEDIC ASSAULT AID-BAG MINIMUM STOCKAGE LIST

1 EA – AidBag, M-9 (TSS-M-9-RG)

AIRWAY

1 EA – Nasopharyngeal Airway, 28FR w/ Lubricant

1 EA – Cricothyroidotomy Kit

1 EA – King LT-D Supralaryngeal Airway Size 4

1 EA – Suction, Hand-Held (Suction Easy or Squid)

BREATHING

1 EA – 14G, 3.5” Needle

2 EA – HyFin Chest Seal, 6”

2 EA – Asherman Chest Seal

1 EA – Bag-Valve-Mask

CIRCULATION/BLEEDING

2 EA – Combat Applications Tourniquet

3 EA – Emergency Trauma Dressing, 6”

1 EA – Emergency Trauma Dressing, Abdominal

2 EA – Hemostatic Dressing (Chitosan)

2 EA – Hemostatic Bandage (Chitoflex)

3 EA – Kerlex, Vacuum Sealed

1 EA – Tactical Compression Wrap

DISABILITY/IMMOBILIZATION

2 EA – Cravat Bandage, Muslin (or ACE Wrap)

1 EA – Traction Splint (KTD or TTS)

2 EA – SAM Splint II

FLUIDS/IV ACCESS

2 EA – Saline Lock Kit

2 EA – Hextend IV, 500cc

1 EA – Sodium Chloride Flush, 50cc

3 EA – IV Kit

1 EA – FAST-1 Sternal Intraosseous

1 EA – BOA Constricting Band

3 EA – Raptor IV Securing Device

1 EA – Sharps Shuttle Container w/Locking Mechanism

MONITORING & DIAGNOSTIC

1 EA – Stethoscope (Mission Dependent)

1 EA – Pulseoximeter, Finger

MEDICATIONS

1 EA – RMED Medications Kit

EVACUATION EQUIPMENT

1 EA – Hypothermia Kit (Mission and Aid Bag Dependent)

MISCELLANEOUS

1 EA – Exam Light (Tactical Green)

6 PR – Gloves, Exam (Black Talon)

2 RO – Tape, 2”

1 EA – Trauma Shears, 7.25”

1 EA – Scissor Leash/Gear Keeper

MISSION DEPENDENT AID BAG ITEMS

1 EA – Chest Tube Kit

1 EA – SAM Pelvic Sling

1 EA – ACE Cervical Collar

1 EA – Field Otoscope/Opthalmoscope Set

1 EA – Minor Wound Care Kit

1 EA – Glucometer

1 EA – Thermometer, Oral

1 EA – Thermometer, Rectal

____________________________________________________________

RANGER MEDIC MEDICATIONS KIT MINIMUM STOCKAGE LIST (Proficient & Always Carried)

1 EA – Drug case (Otter or Armadillo)

2 EA – Combat Wound Pill Pack

1 EA – Diphenhydramine HCL Inj 50mg (Benadryl)

1 EA – Dexamethasone Inj, 4mg/ml (5ml) (Decadron)

1 EA – Epi-Pen Anaphylaxis Auto-Injector

4 EA – Fentanyl Transmuccosal Lozenge, 800 mcg

2 EA – Ertapenem Inj, 1gm (Invanz)

5 EA – Morphine Sulfate Inj, 5mg

5 EA – Nalaxone Inj, 0.4mg (Narcan)

5 EA – Promethazine Inj, 25mg (Phenergan)

2 EA – Ketorolac Inj, 30mg (Toradol)

25 EA – Acetaminophen Tabs, 500mg (Tylenol)

2 EA – Diazepam Inj, 5mg (Valium)

1 EA – Tubex Injector, Cartridge Unit

5 EA – Syringe, 10cc Luer-Lok Tip

5 EA – Needle, Hypothermic 18G/1.5”

____________________________________________________________

COMBAT WOUND PILL PACK (CWPP) – Carried by Every Ranger

2 EA – Acetaminophen Tabs, 500mg (Tylenol)

1 EA – Moxifloxacin HCL Tab, 400mg (Avelox)

1 EA – Meloxicam, 15mg Tab (Mobic)

_______________________________________________________

SALINE LOCK KIT

2 EA – 18G X 1.5” Catheter/Needle

2 EA – Alcohol Pad

1 EA – Constricting Band, Penrose

1 EA – 2X2 Sponge, Sterile

1 EA – Saline Plug, Locking

1 EA – Syringe, 10cc Luer-Lok Tip

1 EA – 18G X 1.5” Needle, Hypodermic

1 EA – Raptor IV Securing Band

1 EA – Tega-Derm

1 EA – Pill Bag

____________________________________________________________

CHEST TUBE KIT

1 EA – Forceps, 9” Peans

1 EA – Scalpel, #10

1 EA – 36FR Chest Tube

1 EA – Heimlich Valve

4 EA – Sponge, Sterile 4X4

1 EA – Asherman Chest Seal

1 EA – Chux

1 EA – Lidocaine Inj, 1%

1 EA – Syringe, 10cc Luer-Lok Tip

1 RO – Tape, 2”

1 PR – Sterile Gloves

2 EA – 1-0 Armed Suture

2 EA – Petrolatum Gauze

1 EA – Betadine Solution 0.5 oz.

____________________________________________________________

CRICOTHYROIDOTOMY KIT

1 EA – Scalpel, #10

2 EA – Gloves, Exam (Black Talon)

1 EA – Syringe, 10cc Luer-Lok Tip

1 EA – Tracheal Hook (North American Rescue Products)

1 EA – Alcohol Prep Pad

1 EA – Povidone-Iodine Pad

1 EA – Tube, 6mm Bore-Cuffed Cricothyroidotomy

____________________________________________________________

IV KIT

1 EA – IV Solution Set, 10 Drops/ml

1 EA – Saline Lock Kit

1 EA – Tegaderm 4.75” X 4”

____________________________________________________________

MINOR WOUND CARE KIT

4 EA – Pad, Non-Adherent (Telfa)

2 EA – Betadine 0.5 oz.

1 EA – Moleskin, 12”

10 EA – Band-Aids 3” X .75”

5 EA – Steri-Strips

5 EA – Sponge, 4X4 Sterile

2 EA – Scalpel, #10

5 EA – Pad, Povidone

5 EA – Pad, Alcohol

5 EA – Compeed Dressing

5 EA – Tincture of Benzoin Ampule 0.6ml

2 EA – Applicator, Povidone-Iodine

Do You Have Skills?

I think that most people would agree that survival is about having the appropriate skill sets to sustain life. This does not only apply to Bear Grylls type survival, but daily life as well if you think about it. Isn’t the set of skills that you use at your job a survival tool? If you did not have the particular knowledge and abilities to perform your work you would probably be unemployed. This would significantly impact your chances of survival without an income and a way to provide for you and yours. With all that being said, one of my goals this year is to continue to expand my collection of skills in an attempt to make survival easier for me and my family.

One of my primary skills that I hope to improve on this year is gardening. It is getting to be time up here in the Northern states to prepare for summer gardening and that is what I am doing. I was raised in a family that did plenty of gardening so from a personal experience standpoint I have that angle covered but there are still a couple other obstacles that stand in my way of being a skilled gardener.

The two obstacles that I am facing:

1. I am new to the Northern climate.

2. We are living in a leased house.

These are my solutions:

1. We just moved to Michigan in the middle of last year and I do not have the experience of what a full year of living here is like. I am doing my best to research gardening and growing food in the colder climates and how to work with the shorter growing season. This has proven to be somewhat difficult as a result of the unseasonably warm temperatures this year. If everything was “normal” as far as the weather was concerned I think it might be a little easier because a traditional timeline for seeding and transplanting, etc. would work. Because of the warmer temperatures it seems like things should be started sooner this year but then many people still think that it will snow at least once more even though right now it is in the 70′s outside.

2. I am going to be using a variety of container gardening methods. This will allow us to work around the inability to have any area of the property that we live on “torn up” to plant a garden. The main effort of our garden will be using the traditional container gardening method as well as being supplemented with the gutter garden method. I must admit that I am excited to try out the gutter garden to grow lettuce, spinach, radishes, and some other small vegetables. The containers will be used for larger plants like peppers, squash, and beans to name a few examples.

This is an experience that my entire family (me, my wife, three boys, and our dog) is excited about taking on this summer so we will see how it goes. I have hope that it will be wildly successful but at the end of the day there is really nothing to lose. The worst thing that could happen is that we remain relient on the system that currently brings us our food. The outcome that I hope to see happen is that we get one step closer to food independence and my family’s independence as a whole.