Jun 122014
 

It’s hurricane season again and time to make sure we’re prepared to get through what Mother Nature dishes out. From June 1st through November 30th of each year, there is higher chance of one forming in the Atlantic basin and reaching the US.

Preparing for Hurricane SeasonNow that we’re relocated in Florida, the hurricane season takes on a bit more significance. It’s more than just a slight possibility that we’ll be affected by a tempest now, than it was when we were further up the east coast and more inland.

Even during regular rain storms here, power goes out. Usually it comes right back on but it’s already went out for over an hour one day this year. So I can predict with near certainty that if a hurricane were to hit this area, we’ll be out of power for who knows how long.

Getting Ready for a Hurricane

Hurricanes bring torrential rainfall and extremely dangerous high winds. The combination can be damaging to homes and businesses yet they don’t come without warning.

With today’s technology, we know when they transform from a tropical storm into the real McCoy and even the projected path they’ll follow with relative confidence. Knowing all this beforehand lets us know its coming and to get ready to either evacuate or hunker down and ride the storm out.

Preparing for either option is best and it goes without saying that you should already have a survival or emergency kit inside your vehicle at all times. Your home should also have some things on hand to help make life easier when Mamma Earth comes a knocking.

Assuming your home is structurally sound enough to withstand the abuse of the gale force winds (or else you’d evacuate, right?), you can pretty much expect to be without power. Without electricity, you can’t flip a switch and have the lights come on. You can’t cook on your electric stove or use your microwave to heat up food. Your freezer and refrigerator won’t have the power to keep your food from spoiling for very long.

These things will happen. If it’s only for a short period of time, it’s not a big deal. But as time goes on, the longer it takes to get the power restored, the more life will be more difficult. There won’t be hot water to take a shower and there may not be any running water at all for toilets to even flush.

Think about how you’ll adapt to these conditions beyond the having extra batteries for your flashlight. If your refrigerated food goes bad, what will you eat? How will you heat up your canned goods that you have in the cupboard? You may not need to heat it up, but a warm meal is a major comfort in a situation like this.

Above all, a clean source of water is necessary. Having a supply stored for such a “rainy” day is a good idea so you’ll be set when you need it. In the case of a hurricane, you’ll have warning so you can fill up your bathtub and as many containers as you can before it hits. Just be sure to have thought this out so you can get into gear as soon as you know it’s coming.

Jun 282013
 

This weekend, I’d like for you to take a little time and put together a mini survival kit. Nothing elaborate nor fancy is required. Just a kit that will satisfy most if not all your basic needs in a survival situation, yet be small enough to fit on your belt or in a purse.

To review, here is a list of basic needs:

–Water
–Food
–Shelter
–Fire
–Light
–Security
–First aid
–Hygiene
–Navigation

Preppers are some of the most ingenious people around. This is often highlighted when it comes to building survival kits. People figure out all sorts of great ways to save space and not sacrifice quality.

So, show me something! Get creative! Send me a pic or two of your creation, along with some info about what you included in the kit. I’ll pick the best ones to feature here on the blog in the next week or two.

Send the pics to: Jim@SurvivalWeekly.com.

Jun 272013
 

Most of us have felt it at least once or twice. We’ve devoted so much time, so many resources, toward planning for what might come someday, we get burned out. We feel overwhelmed by how much we still feel we need to do. It feels like there will never be enough time, enough money, to accomplish our goals.

This is normal. This is a natural emotional reaction.

When it happens, it is your mind’s way of telling you that you need to take a break for a bit. Really, it isn’t healthy to spend all of your waking hours doing nothing but prepping, thinking about prepping, reading about prepping.

Take the well-deserved break and do something fun. Spend some time with the kids. Go on a day trip to see something exciting.

Take a Saturday night and hit the movies with your significant other. Even better, just grab something from Redbox or find something on Netflix. Pop some corn and veg out for the evening.

Get together with some friends and go to a ball game. Or a live band. Or a play.

The point is to take some time to take a step back and enjoy life. The prepping will be there when you return.

Jun 262013
 

A few weeks ago, Lisa Bedford, The Survival Mom(TM), asked several survival and preparedness bloggers for a short essay detailing how we’d know it is time to bug out, or as she put it, that the “balloon had gone up.” Here is my contribution.

One of the most common questions I get, just behind What kind of gun should I buy? and just ahead of Who sells the best-tasting dehydrated food? is “How will I know it is time to bug out?” Variations of this include “How will I know this is the event?” and “How can I get out before the crowd?”

It is very difficult to give any sort of concrete answer to these questions because they are, at least in part, very subjective. For almost all potential scenarios, my pat answer is to remain at home until such a time that home is no longer tenable or safe. But, I’ll readily admit that is side-stepping the actual question.

Here, then, are some indicators, “red flags” if you will, that things are likely to get much worse before they get better.

Stores aren’t seeing stock coming in. We’ve all heard the statistic that grocery stores only have about 3 days worth of stock at any given time. While that figure varies depending on the item, such as they may have enough toiletries to last a typical month but enough fresh meat to only last a couple days, the average for the store on the whole is likely stock levels to last a week or less. If something causes disruption to the replenishment process, that not only makes it difficult to purchase food and other supplies, the secondary result is people begin to panic. In our modern society, most people are accustomed to immediate gratification. They want something so they go to the store and buy it. Now, how often have you run to the store to pick up something and upon arriving you learn they don’t have it in stock? It makes you feel frustrated, maybe even angry. How dare they not have the new season of Justified on DVD! Now, imagine that instead of a set of DVDs, it is canned vegetables, milk, or bread and your family is already getting pretty hungry. One of the first things we’ll see in the wake of a major event is store shelves not being stocked. The disruption may only be for a few days but you don’t want to be around when people find out they can’t get food from their normal sources.

You hear eyewitness accounts of looting in your area. I want to stress the “eyewitness” part of that. In chaotic situations, rumors are guaranteed to be flying left and right. Case in point – think back to all the rumors you heard about what went on inside the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. No doubt about it, there were bad things going on but, as far as I know, the rumors about infants being killed were never proven to be anything but stories. So, if you hear that a neighbor was told by a friend of their cousin who heard from a guy down their block that their uncle saw some looters, you might take it with a grain of salt. However, if said neighbor instead tells you he saw a band of ne’er do wells going house to house as he was coming back from scouting the area, that’s a sure sign things are likely to be heading south quickly.

Emergency services are overwhelmed. As we’ve seen in the aftermath of major disasters like Hurricane Katrina and various tornadoes in Oklahoma, law enforcement agencies as well as other emergency services can easily become overwhelmed. Please do not take this as a gripe against them. Thousands and thousands of good men and women work in those fields and do the very best they can to respond to emergencies large and small. However, they are only human and they have limits. They can’t be in two places at once and there’s only so many of them to go around. At some point, triage will have to take place and decisions made as to which emergencies are more important than others. This happens every day, actually. Police dispatchers routinely need to determine which 911 calls get priority when things get really busy. A traffic accident with possible fatalities on a major highway takes precedence over a complaint about an out-of-season campfire in a backyard (yes, people call 911 for such inane complaints). However, after a major event, staffing levels may drop due to officers having been injured in the disaster, being ill, or just plain wanting to remain at home with their families and this will result in many calls for assistance going unchecked for longer periods of time, if responded to at all. Even if attendance at roll call is 100%, the sheer volume of requests for help may become too much for any department to fully bear. In the event that takes place, you really don’t want to be one of the people standing around, waiting for a squad car to arrive and hopefully resolve a problem for you.

Above all else, trust your gut. If that voice in the back of your head is telling you it is time to head out, do so. You may only have one chance to get out ahead of everyone else and make it to your secondary destination rather than end up in the middle of an interstate that has become a large parking lot.

Jun 252013
 

Part of the problem with becoming rather active with prepping and such is you sometimes find yourself butting heads with other people who don’t think like you do. Preppers, particularly those fairly new to the lifestyle, are very passionate about their beliefs. It usually takes a little longer for us seasoned pros to get our dander up but it does happen from time to time.

Here’s the thing — You can lead a person to knowledge but you can’t make them think.

One of the worst approaches is to immediately start talking about end of the world scenarios and how they should have stored enough food and water to last at least a year. That’s not a very good sales pitch, let’s be honest. All you’re doing is coming off as some sort of extremist, using a scare tactic to make a point. That’s not going to work with most people.

Start small, talk about weather emergencies that have been in the news. Bring up the need for having a little extra on hand in case someone in the family gets laid off or loses their job completely.

Sometimes though, we can talk until we’re blue in the face and some folks just aren’t going to budge. That’s ok, that’s their problem. You did your part by broaching the subject and presenting them with (hopefully) practical and factual information. If they choose not to pursue it, like the grasshopper compared to the ant, so be it.

Pick your battles wisely. Don’t get so involved that it stresses you out.

Jun 242013
 

I know this is going to sound sacrilegious but I am rather on the fence about multi-tools in general. Now wait, before you start chucking rocks at my head, hear me out.

As we go along here, please understand that I’m fully aware there are individual exceptions to these points. I’m speaking in general terms here.

First, I don’t know that any multi-tool can ever fully replace a good knife, whether we mean folding or fixed-blade. As most of us know by now, a good quality knife is a critical part of any survival kit. Personally, I haven’t found too many multi-tools that have a really good knife blade and are also easy to open and use with one hand. Quite often, if I need to cut something, I’m holding that something in my other hand and putting it down might be inconvenient.

Second, about the only time I’ve ever truly needed a needle-nosed pliers out in the field is when I’m trying to remove a swallowed hook from a fish. And, I have to say, the multi-tools I’ve tried that with haven’t worked too well. (A better solution, for me at least, was to pick up a couple hemostats at a surplus store and toss them into my tackle box.)

Plus, when trying to squeeze down on something with the pliers, many multi-tools are designed in such a way that the spines of all those other accessories dig into your hands. Sure, if you’re wearing gloves that issue is mitigated but, c’mon, how many of us really wear gloves as often as we should?

Most of the other common accessories on multi-tools aren’t always the greatest options either. Saws don’t cut very well. Wire cutters, provided the wire is thin enough, are ok. The screwdrivers work well enough, IF the screw head is open enough to get at it.

Now, with all that said, I’ll never say a multi-tool is a worthless addition to a survival kit. I think they are a valuable asset, but more as a backup than as a primary use tool.

Who knows? Maybe I just haven’t found the right one yet.

Jun 212013
 

Pandemics are epidemics that cross national or international boundaries and affect great numbers of people. In other words, a whole lot of people living in a wide area have all been infected with the same disease. This isn’t just a case of the sniffles running rampant through a school district.

With many people, the first thing to come to mind when discussing pandemics is the Black Death, sometimes called the Black Plague. While it is impossible to cite exact numbers, it is believed the Black Death claimed up to 200 million lives from 1347 to roughly 1350. In just three years, it decimated up to 60% of the entire population of Europe. This pandemic of the bubonic plague originated in or near China and spread through the Silk Road to Europe. Fleas, carried on the backs of rats that infested all the merchant ships back then, helped to spread the disease everywhere they went.

Take a moment and let those numbers sink in a bit. 200 million people perished as a result of the disease. To put that into perspective, estimated population numbers in 2012 indicate there are roughly 314 million people living in the United States, including the District of Columbia. Can you even imagine what life would be like if two-thirds of the U.S. population all died within a few years? How long do you think it would take for life to return to anything close to normal? According to some experts, it took Europe about 150 years to get back on its feet.

A more recent example is the flu pandemic that occurred in 1918-1919. This was the first major outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus. It is sometimes referred to as the Spanish Flu, only because of how the news of the virus spread back then. Remember, this was during World War I. Back in those days, censors worked hard to keep morale up by not allowing much negative news to hit the airwaves. I know, that would never happen today. So, anyway, as the early reports about the illness and mortality rates started coming in from Germany, the United States, Britain, and France, these censors did what they could to keep it hushed up. Spain, however, was neutral during WWI and didn’t bother keeping things quiet. The result was that news reports seemed to indicate Spain was being hit hard by this flu but not so much the rest of the world. Therefore, it came to be called the Spanish Flu.

What was particularly chilling about this flu outbreak was how it targeted the healthy segments of the population. Rather than the deaths being centered among the elderly, infirm, and children, it was the healthy young adults who were hardest hit. This was due to how the flu virus worked. What happened was the virus caused what is called a cytokine storm in the body. Essentially, this means the patient’s immune system went into overdrive and the healthier the patient was at the outset, the more powerful the immune system, resulting in cytokine storms that killed the patients.

This flu pandemic hit just about every corner of the planet. While numbers are still sketchy, estimated death tolls range from 50-100 million. Now, no matter how you look at it, that’s a lot of dead bodies but bear in mind that most of them perished within about a 9 month period.

Could something like that happen today? I mean, with all our modern medical knowledge and technology, surely the powers that be would be able to act quickly to develop a remedy and nip it in the bud before things got out of control, right?

Think about this, though. HIV/AIDS has been around since 1981 and they still haven’t figured out a cure for it.

Jun 202013
 

On June 30, 1908, an explosion occurred in Siberia, near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River. This explosion was about 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It is believed to have been either a meteoroid or a comet that exploded about 5 miles from the ground. The explosion leveled pretty much everything within almost 800 square miles.

Due to the remote location, it took several years for scientific investigators to get expeditions organized and reach the site. What they found at “Ground Zero” was an area about 5 miles across that contained upright trees that were scorched and missing all limbs. Moving outward from there, trees were completely flattened, all falling away from the site of the explosion. Again, due to the explosion happening in the middle of nowhere, there were no known human casualties.

However, what if such an event were to happen today, say perhaps a few miles above New York City? Meteoroids enter Earth’s atmosphere every day. Most of them burn up before hitting the ground and those that survive the fall are usually rather small. But, what if something like the Tunguska Event were to be repeated?

Jun 192013
 

So, earlier today, I saw a post from someone on Facebook asking if anyone was interested in joining their survival group’s next “training session.” I clicked over to their website, out of curiosity if nothing else. My suspicions were confirmed when I read all about their combat maneuvers and such. All sorts of braggadocio about tactics, combat, and marksmanship.

Interestingly enough, not a word about food preservation, water purification, or even basic wilderness skills.

If you’re going to organize or participate in a survival group, your training must be diversified!

Don’t get me wrong, I agree that security and defense are important aspects of a survival plan. C’mon, I even went so far as to write a damn book on the subject! But the reality is security should only one piece of the overall puzzle. There is so much more involved in long-term survival planning.

For example, let’s say you have a core group of eight people. These people are going to need 2,500+ calories a day in their bellies. They are going to need a gallon or more of clean water to drink every day. They are going to need to know:

How to garden
How to hunt
How to trap
How to fish
How to raise animals
How to preserve their food
How to survive if they get lost during “patrol”
How to keep clean without running water
How to treat injuries and illnesses
How to repair broken equipment and gear

And on, and on, and on…

If you spend all your time playing weekend warrior, you’re missing the much bigger picture.

Jun 182013
 

We’ve talked about DIY firestarters before, especially fire straws. This is another project, just slightly more involved, that brings excellent results.

Here’s what you’ll need:
–Strike anywhere matches
–Toilet paper
–A couple old candles

First, you’ll need to melt the candles. What I’ve found works well is to take an old tin can, empty and washed out, of course, and fill it about 2/3 full with pieces of broken candles. Heat a pan of water a few inches deep and place the tin can in the water. You might need to play around a little bit with the water level so the can will sit without tipping over. What you’ve done is make a crude double-boiler. As the water heats, it will melt the wax. Stir it from time to time using a twig to break up the chunks.

While that’s heating, lay out a handful of matches. Tear off individual squares of toilet paper. If you’re using kitchen size matches, tear each square in half. If you’re using the smaller matches, tear the squares into thirds. For our purposes, we’ll assume you’re using the kitchen size ones.

Roll the toilet paper around the matches, using one torn strip per match. What you want is to have the edge of the strip just below the head of the match. Roll it tight and give it a slight twist at the top and bottom of the match when you’re done to help keep the paper in place.

Once the wax has all melted, dip each match into it. It doesn’t really matter which end you do first as you’ll end up doing both. If the tin can is small, you may find it easier to use tongs so you don’t end up with hot wax on your fingers. After dipping each match about halfway, lay them out on aluminum foil to dry.

Once they’re cool enough to touch, dip the other ends, being sure to cover the entire match with wax. Lay them out to cool again.

When you go to light one, carefully chip off the wax on the match head. You want to do this lightly so you don’t light the match too soon. When the head is uncovered, ruffle the exposes toilet paper a bit, then strike the match. Hold it down for a second to help it light the toilet paper and wax, then place into your tinder.

It will burn for several minutes, giving you plenty of time to get the tinder and then kindling going.

You might also likeclose