Last day for Early Bird Registration

Today is the last day to register for the 2011 Survival & Preparedness Conference to get the Early Bird Discount rate of $75.00.

Here’s the speaker lineup again.

One of the true founding fathers of modern survivalism, Dr. Bruce D. Clayton, will be discussing nuclear and radiological survival.

Mat Stien (Author of “When Technology Fails”) will be teaching “In-Place” survival skills for the many who won’t be able to get out of Dodge when TSHTF.

Tim Smith (Jack Mountain Bushcraft) will be teaching bug-out and wilderness retreat for those who can get out of Dodge.

Brian Brawdy (The Brian Brawdy Show, Solutions from Science) will be speaking about off-grid survival and alternative energy.

Private Security Contractor and former U.S. Marine marksmanship instructor Chance Sanders will be leading a session on personal and home security in a post-collapse world.

Robert Scott Bell (The Robert Scott Bell Show) will have a session on Natural and Holistic Medicine.

Lisa Bedford (The Survival Mom) will lead a session on family preparedness and another session on off-grid cooking.

Dave Scott (Alderleaf Survival School) will be teaching techniques to escape unlawful custody and evade hostile pursuers.

Filip Tkaczyk (Also from Alderleaf) will have a class on tracking, trapping and snaring game.

International educator and author of several books on health and wild edibles Sergei Boutenko will be teaching a class on foraging and surviving on wild plants.

Weapons expert and competitive marksman “Mr. Smashy” will lead a class on ammunition reloading.

John Milandred (Homesteader and founder of Pioneer Living and The Prepper Podcast Network) will give a presentation on self-reliant living, from “old-school” skills to modern-day techniques.

Firearms expert and instructor John Coulton will be teaching gun safety and maintenance.

Dr. Bones & Nurse Amy (“The Doom and Bloom Show”) will have a seminar on emergency first-aid and disaster medicine for when medical attention is unavailable (or non-existent).

Homesteader, educator and publisher of “New Homesteading Magazine”; John Lipsomb will be dong a session on heirloom seeds, storage and growing your own food.

I will be leading a couple of sessions as well. One on barter/trade ATSHTF and another on prepping with a budget.

This promises to be a great event with lots of vendors as well as the listed speakers. It is well worth the $75 registration fee for all that learning.

Conspiracy Theory — President Obama’s Citizenship

For whatever reason, it seems many folks who are into the prepper or survivalist lifestyle are also big into conspiracy theories. Based on discussions I’ve seen on Facebook and other online forums, one of the more popular theories right now concerns President Obama’s citizenship and eligibility for Presidency.

Here’s my take on the whole Obama birth certificate fiasco, for whatever it might be worth to you all.

Does it really matter? I don’t mean to sound flippant, I really don’t, but I do think many of the so-called “birthers” are devoting way too much time and energy into something that is a non-issue.

Think about this for a second. Let’s say the birth certificate is indeed faked. Then what? Do you really, TRULY think that if it were somehow proven Obama wasn’t legally eligible to be President, that he’s just gonna give a sheepish smile and step down?

Many people have posted about how the release of the birth certificate is nothing more than a distraction, engineered to take our attention away from various and sundry other events here and abroad.

What if the whole eligibility issue is the real distraction? What if the plan from the beginning was to get folks all riled up about this citizen/non-citizen issue, taking up their attention, time, and energy so they wouldn’t concentrate so much on the bills being passed?

Kinda like parenting, you gotta pick your battles. The birther argument, for all the bluster and effort, will never succeed. Devote the energy to something more worthwhile, like prepping for more realistic threats.

Child ID Cards

There is little else more immediately heart-pounding than realizing your child is missing. You turned your head for just a second at the store and when you looked back, he or she is nowhere to be seen. In a flash, your mind races through all sorts of nasty scenarios as you call out your child’s name. 99.999% of the time, you find them quickly enough and probably scold them for walking away from you (with the reality being you’re scolding them for scaring the daylights out of you).

But, what if, Heaven forbid, your child were to really end up MISSING?

Many experts recommend having recent photos of your child on hand to aid law enforcement. Consider going one step further and doing up ID cards for each child. There are many different kits you can purchase online for this purpose but you can easily do it all on your own at home.

Using a digital camera, take a good head and shoulders picture of your child. Download this pic to your computer and copy it over to a document in your word processing program. Resize it down to be about the same size as a passport photo. An excellent way to format these cards is to use one of the built-in templates for business cards. Next to the picture, have the following information:

  • Child’s full name
  • Nickname(s), if applicable
  • Date of birth and age photo was taken
  • Height, weight
  • Eye and hair colors
  • Print out enough cards so that each parent can have one for each child in their wallet. This way, the parents will always have a current pic on hand when out and about, just in case.

    Like most of our preps, this is something we hope we’ll never truly need. But, better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

    Along these same lines, as soon as your child is old enough to do so, be sure to have him or her memorize their home phone number and address. Also, make sure they know your name. Don’t laugh, this is something most parents don’t think too much about but kids often don’t even realize their parents have names until they get older. They just know us as Mom and Dad.

    The Importance of Staying Legal

    Many of us probably disagree with at least a few laws that would somehow relate to prepping. For example, where I live there is almost no way to obtain a concealed carry permit unless you are a current or retired law enforcement officer. I don’t like it, I don’t agree with it, but y’know what? I follow the law. Why? Because I don’t feel like having to devote any money toward paying legal fees to fight a charge should I be found carrying a firearm.

    See, here’s the thing. Even if you’re in the right and you prevail in a criminal court case, the legal fees can bury you. Plus, the whole time you’re battling it out in court, your weapon has likely been confiscated and is being held as evidence. So, not only are you out the thousands of dollars in attorney fees but your firearm is locked up and unavailable to you.

    I have several close friends who are at various levels of law enforcement, from local small town patrol officers all the way up to a few three letter Federal agencies. Many of them don’t agree with some of the laws they enforce, but it is their job to ensure folks are abiding by those statutes.

    I can think of few worse situations than to be sitting in the local iron bar hotel when disaster strikes the area.

    Common mistakes when prepping — Bugging out as a primary plan

    All too often, when discussing preparedness with folks, if they’ve made plans at all, those plans usually rely on some form of evacuation or bugging out from their primary residence. In many, if not most, situations, staying home is likely to be your best bet.

    Evacuation opens you up to a wide range of potential threats — weather, transportation issues, crime, who knows what else. For most folks, all of our supplies are at home. That’s where we have our pantry storage, our medical kits, and all that fun stuff.

    Of course, there are situations where you MUST evacuate. If that’s the case, hopefully you’ve been paying attention during your visits to this blog and have made preparations for that contingency. Evacuation kits, locations chosen, multiple routes planned out.

    In most emergencies though, you’re far better off to just stay home. If your primary plan is to head for the hills at the first sign of disaster, you might want to rethink it. Staying with the familiar not only provides you access to all you have worked so hard to stockpile but will likely serve to be infinitely less stressful than hitting the highway to adventure.

    Contest Winners!

    The results are in! Here are the winners of the Survival-Gear Writing Contest.

    Grand Prize:
    Grab-and-Go Bag
    Expanding My Reloading Setup For Free by Dave D.

    First Prize:
    Pocket Survival Pak Plus
    Survival — Its not about me! by Cathy S.

    Second Prize:
    Pocket Survival Pak
    Essential Basics by Scott S.

    Third Prize:
    Personal First Aid Kit
    Day Hike Mentality by Peter M.

    Fourth Prize:
    A Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicine
    Living Survival with Grandma Hazel by Bobbie P.

    Fifth Prize:
    QuikClot Sport
    Survival is Life by Steve D.

    We’d like to thank all of you who entered the contest and participated in the voting. We had several really great articles submitted. Great job everyone!

    Earth Day is today

    Today is Earth Day. Take some time and do something to mark the day. Remember folks, this is the only planet we have. The better we take care of it, the better it will take care of us.

  • Pick up some of that trash that has accumulated on the road in front of your house over the winter. Recycle what you can.
  • Take in cans for recycling. Use the money toward your preps if you’d like.
  • Work on your garden.
  • Get outside and just enjoy nature for a bit. Take along a book on edible plants and practice identifying them.
  • Plant some trees, especially those that bear fruit to help supplement your food storage.
  • Also, don’t forget today is the last day to vote on the submissions to the Survival-Gear Writing Contest. Votes are accepted until 5PM CST.

    Entertainment considerations

    Remember when you were a kid and how bored you got during rainy summer days? How you likely drove your folks crazy with, “I’m BORED!” Ok, now how much fun do you think it would be to go through that for a few days in a row or longer? How many times would you have to hear that same sentiment from YOUR child before you’d finally reach for the duct tape?

    Do your family (and your sanity) a favor and stock up on things you can do during an extended power outage, severe weather, or other prolonged emergency.

    –Board games: You can usually find these cheap at thrift stores and rummage sales. Just check to make sure all the pieces are there. You might also consider getting some extra dice, just in case.

    –Decks of cards: Obviously there is an almost infinite number of games you can play with cards. Either print out instructions from websites or get a book on card games.

    –Craft supplies: Things like pads of paper, markers/crayons, pencils (don’t forget a sharpener or two), glue, tape, that sort of stuff. Maybe toss in some coloring books for the younger crowd as well.

    –Books: As long as you aren’t in immediate danger, reading is a great way to spend some time. Consider having the family read aloud, each person taking turns.

    –Musical instruments: Granted, not for the faint of heart when young kids are involved but if you have instruments on hand, make use of them.

    Common mistakes when prepping — Stockpiling unfamiliar foods

    “Eat what you store and store what you eat” is the mantra for a proper food storage plan. Many preppers become enamored with dehydrated foods or bulk grain storage. But, if your body isn’t used to these types of foods, you may likely encounter some, um, issues when it comes time to start relying upon your pantry storage.

    Spending hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on bulk grains doesn’t do you much good if you don’t know how to prepare them for consumption.

    You’re throwing money away if you just buy a bunch of food, then toss it into a closet and forget about it.

    A proper food storage plan revolves around foods you normally eat and has those foods rotated through your pantry, consumed before they reach their expiration dates. While having some easy-to-prepare dehydrated foods is not inherently a bad idea, you should first make sure you like the particular brand(s) you’re buying.

    Obviously, home canned foods are usually best. You know what is in that jar, because you put it there. But, those jars aren’t light and they are fragile.

    The best storage plans take advantage of all the options–home canned, commercial canned goods, dehydrated foods, bulk grains. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak.

    Relying on unfamiliar foods during a crisis is just one more thing that can stress you out. Further, if kids are in the mix, well, getting a child to try a new food can be a challenge on a good day, right? Your best bet is to just stock up on those foods you already eat on a regular basis. Add to your storage a little at a time and you’ll be surprised how quickly it will all add up.

    Common mistakes when prepping — Selective Prepping

    All too often, I see both new and experienced preppers engaging in what my good friend Ed Corcoran (editor of Survivalist Magazine) calls selective prepping. This is when someone tends to concentrate most or all of their efforts into only one aspect of preparedness.

    For example, the guy who has $25,000 worth of firearms and ammunition, but only a case or two of freeze-dried foods and two rolls of toilet paper. Yes, guns are cool and sexy and should be a part of your overall preps. But, you can’t eat bullets.

    Or the woman who has enough food to feed her entire neighborhood for months on end, but has all of a dozen bottles of water. Having a deep larder is excellent but a body can only last a couple days without water.

    Take a look at your overall preps. Do you have areas lacking because you were selective prepping? Now’s the time to rectify that, so get moving.