Tag Archives: Preparedness

6 Inexpensive Skills Every Prepper Needs

Take a second and think if there is anyone you know who has loads of supplies packed into their home. Now ask yourself if that person has the knowledge and skill level to employ that equipment in critical times. What about you? Do you have the know-how when the going gets rough?

Maybe you’re just getting started with prepping and have an extremely tight budget. Your community and family are going to need capable people who can execute vital tasks when times are hard and lives are on the line. Don’t sell yourself short if your finances prevent you from acquiring massive amounts of equipment for any number of disasters. Think about the people on the other side of the coin who have lots of gear, but not lots of training on how to use it. Aristotle’s said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and pulling together as a community can pull you through any difficult circumstances.

Take a stroll through any prepper website and you’ll see that a ton emphasis is placed on gear and gadgets. I’m here to tell you that skills beat gadgets any day of the week and twice on Sundays! Knowledge weighs nothing and you always have it on you. People often try to buy their way out of a problem, but skills are built through habit and time. Today we’re going to focus on 6 basic skills that every prepper needs: Shooting, Medical, Survival, Communication, Gardening, and Leadership.

Shooting

When things fall apart, it’s handy to know how to handle a weapon. Not just for self-defense purposes, but also for hunting. Even if you only have a .22 rifle, you can become deadly with it. Fancy scopes, match-grade barrels, suppressors and bi-pods are not required. A rifle with a sling in the hands of trained marksman can devastate an enemy force or consistently provide meat for the pot. You need to learn how to shoot – it can literally save your life!
Project Appleseed is a non-profit nationwide community of volunteers that teaches traditional rifle marksmanship that will “transform you from a person with a rifle into a principled and skilled Rifleman.” They offer inexpensive weekend shoots in nearly every state. Check out their site and get signed up for one of their events.

Medical

Medical emergencies don’t wait for the end of the world. They happen every day to thousands of people in your community. Trained First Responders can mean the difference between life and death. It’s likely that everyone will have to deal with some sort of medical or traumatic situation so it’s probably not a bad idea to learn how to deal with medical emergencies before they occur.

There are many counties/cities in every state that need volunteer firefighters. Since almost 80% of their calls are medically related, there are departments that will pay for your Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)- Basic Certification Course in return for your volunteer service to their department. This is an outstanding way to learn a crucial skill (for free) and get involved in your community. During my time as an EMT, I’ve seen first-hand the varied and extreme reactions of people’s response to stress while also developing the muscle memory to stay calm and provide emergency care to the sick and injured.

Survival

Whether you’re bugging out during a crisis or simply lost in the woods, survival skills are foundational to maintaining life. There are a lot of great resources on this topic that are free. Check out your local library for books or DVDs on survival. YouTube can also provide a lot of information regarding water purification, shelter building, fire-craft, signaling, navigation and snaring. There are a wide variety of techniques in the survival community so focus your search on practical skills and less on the primitive living techniques that can take years to master like fire by friction, tanning hides, flint-knapping, etc.

Communication

It’s a good idea to learn how to use radios now before you need them.For communities to effectively work together during catastrophes, they have to be able to communicate. In today’s society, we’ve become complacent with luxuries like the internet and cell phones that are highly vulnerable to failure when things go south.

In times of need, HAM radio operators stand in the gap to provide lifesaving information. This allows communities to prepare for incoming threats, make informed decisions, adjust provisions for crisis duration or work in concert with nearby communities. You can learn the basics of HAM radio with this free course.  Also, it’s less than $40 to get your license and using a simple handheld radio you can be talking to other operators in your community in no time!

Gardening/Canning

You’ve probably heard the saying that “Growing your own food is like printing your own money” and in hard times this has never been truer. Imagine your delight eating fresh tomatoes or strawberries after two weeks of freeze-dried food. Or opening a jar of raspberry jam in the middle of winter that you canned earlier that summer. Gardening and canning are skills that can be learned with a minimum amount of startup costs. If you have no idea where to start, check out your local county extension or city. They likely offer free workshops on these subjects and some even provide supplies to take home! Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of space. A simple windowsill herb garden can teach you the learning curve that comes with gardening. The beauty of gardening is that even if the crisis never comes, you’ll still enjoy the fruits of your labor. Ha…you see what I did there?!

Leadership

Working together is a key factor to surviving disasters and leadership is a fundamental role in making that happen. Your community is a lot like a tribe and it needs leaders at the local level. Good leadership comes from being informed and understanding what people need in hard times. One part of leadership is understanding what planning and execution are taking place at the city, state and national level. FEMA has tons of free online courses so you can work together and relay community challenges using the local chain of command. Here is a snapshot of some of the courses they offer:

  • Understanding the Incident Command System
  • Emergency Planning
  • Decision Making and Problem Solving
  • Planning for the Needs of Children in Disasters
  • Natural Disaster Mitigation

There are also free courses on personal emergency preparedness offered by your city or county. A quick Internet search should point you in the right direction.

Sometimes the hardest part with most things in life is getting started. The good news is that you don’t need a fortune to start building your skillset. The danger here is not acting on this information; you have to apply it! Like Derek Sivers says, “If information were the answer we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs”. Now you know how to get started and move towards your goal. This can actually be a lot of fun. Invite a friend along with you and learn something new together. You might even find a new hobby!

This article was written by The Prepper Journal and can be viewed here

A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers

A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers

One of the challenges of being a dedicated prepper is that is almost impossible to cover all contingencies. No matter how well you plan, prepare and stock up, you can always have situations arise that you did not prepare for or count on.

For me, one of my almost daily challenges involves travel. I fly over 200,000 miles domestically every year. This can keep me on the road and in the air almost five days a week. Not the best “Bug Out” scenario, huh?

Over the past three years I have developed a travel-friendly, TSA compliant, carry on, bug out bag.

A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers vs A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers

First, let me say a few words about what you carry. Do not try to carry credit card knives, ceramic knives, or any type of knife device intended to be covert. TSA will find it and you will be arrested. I have witnessed this with my own eyes on several occasions.

A Bug Out Bag for Frequent FlyersA Bug Out Bag for Frequent FlyersA Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers

I am going to list each item and explain how it fits into the travel bug out bag scenario. Each item will have a “problem” rating. number will appear in parenthesis ahead of each item indicating how many times I have been stopped because of the item. If I have never been stopped because of the item, “NI” will appear indicating NO ISSUES.

First, EDC (Everyday carry) items. These items should be in your pockets when you approach the TSA checkpoint. You will be required to place these items into a TSA “dog dish” for pass thru in the scanner. Any keys, metal coins, cell phones, etc. must go into the dish as well.

  • (1Tactical 300-lumen flashlight – I have been stopped only once with this flashlight and TSA only wanted me to unscrew the lid to the battery compartment so they could view the battery
  • (NI) Standard “Bic” type lighter – Yes, believe it or not, you are allowed to carry a standard lighter with you. You cannot have any torch type or jet type lighter. These will be confiscated by TSA
  • (1Metal tactical ink pen – These pens are available in many shapes and sizes. Stick with the smaller size and make sure you can demonstrate that it writes if stopped and questioned about it (only questioned once)
  • (NIParacord bracelet – This a handy item for many situations and has never been an issue.
  • (NI) Large metal coin – A large metal coin can be used as a flat-head screwdriver, can be heated to seal wounds or as a hand warmer when placed in between two pieces of cloth. I have a large NRA coin that I have carried for six years. Challenge coins are great as well.

On to the bug out bag itself. I use the Travelon Packable Multi Pocket Back Pack. I do not unfold it, but leave it in its compact size. Unfolded it expands to 19” x 12.5” x 6”. I place it in my computer bag or shoulder messenger bag. Leaving it in its compact form, I still can put the following items in it:

  • (NIEton Scorpion AM/FM/NOAA Emergency Radio – This is one of the most compact radio units out there. It has both solar charging and crank operations. It has an LED flashlight built in and a tough rubberized case and is waterproof. A top-mounted carabiner will allow you to attach it to most anything.
  • (NIMylar space blanket – These have multiple uses and have never been an issue through security.
  • (NI) Generic Whistle/Compass/Signal Mirror Match Holder – You have seen these dorky things on every survival site on the web. They normally come with matches and a lanyard. REMOVE the matches. Bad day otherwise.
  • (NILifeline First Aid Kit – This is a small, compact kit containing the normal assortment of bandages, gauze, etc. NOTE: Remove the alcohol wipes and moist towelettes from the kit and place them in your quart-size, 3 oz or less TSA bag.
  • (NI) Hotel size bar soap – Never an issue
  • (NISmall sewing kit – Small variety of needles, safety pins, buttons and thread.
  • (NIEton Blackout Buddy H2O – This a small flashlight device that is activated by adding a few drops of water to a sealed compartment on the device. Last up to 12 hours.
  • (NICollapsible shopping bag – These fold up to about 2” X 2”. Great for stashing foraged supplies.
  • (NIHiking socks (2 pairs) – If TSHTF, you will probably be doing a lot of walking.
  • (2LifeStraw water filters – This is perfect for travel and will outlast your journey. I have been stopped twice with this item. Once I explained what it was, no problem.

Remember, you are already carrying a lot of useful items as part of your regular travel packing.

  • Spare clothing
  • Paper – Notebook paper makes great kindling
  • Pens, sharpies
  • Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, etc.

What scenarios would necessitate needing these preps?

Well, hopefully, you are on the ground if an EMP event happens. If you are lucky enough not to be plunging out of the sky, the items you have with you would allow you to start a trek on foot towards home, a safer situation, etc. If you have any experience in prepping for survival, you will be scavenging and foraging as you go.

A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers A Bug Out Bag for Frequent Flyers

Economic collapse/civil unrest. When the economy goes, it will go quickly. The day the government handout checks will not cash, the country will plunge into anarchy. Angry entitlement recipients will begin looting, plundering and attacking anyone they see as privileged. Other than the tactical pen, the TSA has rendered you weaponless, so your skill set needs to include defensive techniques, etc.

Earthquake/natural disaster. Least likely if you travel domestically as I do but if it did happen, the LifeStraw could be the difference in life or death. Utilities are the first thing to shut down is these situations.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, this is just what I personally carry through trial and error with the TSA. Remember, the TSA has a horrible job. They have to deal with thousands of disgruntled flyers, flyers ignorant of the regulations, and defiant or drunk flyers as well. Your best chance to go through a TSA checkpoint unscathed is to be polite and treat them like humans. Most days, they do not want to be there any more than you do. Happy Trails and be safe out there.

This article was written by The Prepper Journal and can be viewed here

Body Armor for Survivalists - Why it Should Always Be Considered

Body Armor for Survivalists – Why it Should Always Be Considered

Nowadays, body armor is more of a necessity for civilians and survivalists. Anyone looking to be prepared in the event of civil unrest, natural disaster, terrorist attacks or any other unforeseen event understands the need for adequate protective equipment.

Body armor comes in many shapes and types, but you should have a good understanding of what it can and cannot do for. Essentially, no body armor is 100% bulletproof and different levels are only suited against the type of weapons they are tested against. This means that a bullet-resistant vest won’t be effective against knives, needles or other sharp-edged weapons. Conversely, there is a difference in how stab and slash resistant body armor works as well. Combined systems are available, but they are more expensive and cumbersome, so you have to carefully consider if they’re the right choice for you.

How is body armor categorized?

Based on the type of ballistic weapons it can stop, body armor can be classified as soft, semi-rigid and hard. Soft armor is the most commonly used – both by police officers and survivalists to stop handgun rounds. Semi-rigid plates are designed to minimize blunt force trauma while giving additional protection in high-risk scenarios. Hard armor is either ceramic or metal and is designed to stop modern battle carbines such as .223, 7.62 X 39, and .308, making it applicable in war zones and urban riot scenes.

When it comes to a decent array of pistol weapon threats, versatility, and affordability – the best choice is Level IIIa. This armor is considered as standard armor for law enforcement at this time. It offers enhanced protection over level IIa up to a 44mag and it also stops 357 Sig, which is a high-velocity round for a handgun.

What types of body armor are available?

Body armor vests come in two styles: covert and overt. Covert (concealable) body armor is used beneath clothing. For that reason, it is slim and lightweight and designed to end up being undetectable. This kind of body armor is typically made from moisture wicking fabric that will help to keep the person wearing them cool, and are also usually produced in lighter colors than other types of body armor.

Overt body armor is meant to be worn above your clothes, and as a result, it tends to be created from tougher fabrics than covert types of body armor. The idea of overt body armor is to be visible to other people, and for this reason, standard overt body armor covers are usually black, but there are plenty of other colors available. Frequently overt pieces of body armor will include high visibility strips, or be manufactured entirely from high visibility materials, meaning that the wearer stands out.

What to consider when selecting body armor?

Fit affects coverage. Body armor panels and carriers come in many different shapes, sizes, and comfort levels. Getting a proper size is crucial to ensuring your vest will fulfill its protective qualities. If it’s too big – it will be loose and won’t stop weapon projectiles. A carrier that is too tight will put too much strain on the delicate armor, wearing them off quicker.

It may seem like a good idea to immediately upgrade to hard body armor to increase your chances of survival, but don’t be quick to do it. Surviving depends a great deal on moving quickly from point A to point B without drawing attention to yourself. Heavy armor is, well, heavy. It restricts your movement and agility, making you an easy target. Heavy ceramic plates add weight to the carrier and make your protective gear easily visible – something you don’t want in a hostile environment.

Do some research and compare the different options on body armor available online. Make sure you measure correctly and select a vest that fits well, is lightweight and comfortable apart from offering a high level of protection – these are just a few of the ground rules that every survivalist should stick to when shopping for body armor.

Special Thanks to Alex Ashton from SafeGuard Armor for providing this informative article.

LIVE FIRE GEAR RING O FIRE COMMERCIAL WITH EJ “SKULLCRUSHER” SNYDER HAS BEEN RELEASED

Live Fire Gear has officially released our new commercial featuring EJ “Skullcrusher” Snyder. You may know EJ from the Discovery Channel series “Naked and Afraid” and “Dual Survival“. EJ is an Extreme Survivalist, Adventurer and Retired Army Combat Vet. He is an expert in leadership, tracking, trapping, building shelter, primitive weapons, navigation, security, self-reliance, and self-defense. Live Fire Gear was excited when EJ agreed to endorse our product. The commercial is in production now and should be ready for TV soon! This wasn’t a studio commercial. EJ was in a Florida swamp, built an amazing shelter and trekked through the woods for the commercial. He is a true survival expert.

Live Fire Gear’s Ring O Fire is now available in 13 colors! The Ring O Fire includes 25 feet of 550 FireCord, 1 Live Fire Original Emergency Fire Starter and 1 Ferrocerium Rod & Striker. We have also completely redesigned our packaging. When we launched the Ring O Fire we only offered 5 colors, but due to popular demand, we decided to expand our selection to include all 13 of our FireCord colors. You can pick up yours today for just $24.99.

Our Live Fire Original has burn times which average 30 minutes with the lid completely removed, and much longer when the lid is used. Just get your kindling going and slide the lid closed. The Live Fire Original is waterproof and can be lighted again and again.

Our 550 FireCord is More Than Just Paracord! FireCord is 550 Paracord with an 8th inner strand (color-coded and waterproof) to be used as fire tinder. When you need the fire tinder strand (formulated with Live Fire Gear’s properties) light the fire tinder and build the fire. 550 Outer shell can still be utilized for Survival Kits, Zipper Pulls, Handles, Keychains, Bracelets, Necklaces, Lanyards, Boot Laces, & Outdoor Lashings.

The Ferrocerium Rod and Striker ensures you will always have the spark you need to get your fire started.

Ring O Fire is available in ACU Digital, Black, Coyote Brown, Desert Camo, Foliage Green, MultiCam, Olive Drab, Red, Royal Blue, Safety Green, Safety Orange, Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line. Pick yours up today at LiveFireGear.com.

Easy Survival Cache Planning and Training

Easy Survival Cache Planning and Training

A key element of most survival plans is to bug out to a different location. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your personal choice to get out of dodge, the very act of bugging out could be treacherous and could cover hundreds of miles in some cases. What if you are delayed along the way and run out of supplies? Have you imagined the possibility that you may not be at home when the time comes to actually bug out to your retreat location? What if you are vacationing and are hundreds of miles away from your supplies when something happens?

Hidden survival caches offer you the option of hiding or pre-positioning supplies that you may need along your route to your final location. The idea behind this is to hide, usually bury additional food stores, weapons or ammo, fuel, clothing etc. in the off chance that you will need this before you get to your final location. Sounds great in theory, right? If you don’t have any practice hiding, or more importantly finding this buried treasure, all of your pre-planning may be in vain. Worst case is this can put you in additional danger when you try to reclaim your supplies.

This is where Geocaching comes in. For those who have never heard of Geocaching, I will give you a brief background. Geocaching is a game played all over the world. The game involves hidden “treasure” and the object of the game is to find as many caches as you can. A cache is a container that depending upon its size may have little plastic toys, a visitors log or coins inside. Each location where this treasure is hidden has been entered into a website (geocaching.com) and members can obtain the coordinates for caches anywhere. The coordinates will get you to the vicinity of the cache but you will normally need to do a little looking to find the actual booty. When you find a cache you can either swap out one of the toys with one of your own, or just leave it as is and sign the visitor log. The sizes of the caches vary from big 5 gallon paint buckets, ammo cans down to film canisters and even containers as small as two watch batteries. Yes, those are hard to find! The harder caches usually give you a hint or their name is somewhat of a clue to point you in the right direction.

Fun Activity with  your family

Geocaching is fun and it is something that can be done with almost any member of your family. The youngest children can participate and most caches are in easy to navigate terrain. I was first drawn to Geocaching as I was researching a good GPS. One of the features of most new handheld GPS units is a Geocaching application. I did a little more digging after I purchased my GPS and went to the Geocaching website to sign up. The membership is free, and allows you to search for any cache anywhere in the world. Pro memberships allow you to actually create and hide your own caches for everyone to find.

Can you see the cache?

Can you see the cache?

The process is simple and you can start out slow. I went onto the site and entered my zip code to find caches near me. I was surprised at how many there were just within walking distance. The website allows you to view the details of each cache such as how many people have found it and how recently. I selected a dozen or so and downloaded them to my Garmin GPS. I did have to download a free plug-in from Garmin first, but once that was installed on my computer sending the coordinates and cache name to my GPS was as simple as one click.

Now that I had my new trusty GPS and a whole bunch of cache locations, I grabbed a couple of members of my family and set out. We spent about 3 hours that first day and found all of the caches except one. With each new find, we were more and more amazed at the creativity of the people who had hidden the caches and the thought that must have gone into choosing the hiding place and camouflaging it so that “muggles” wouldn’t accidentally stumble upon the cache and remove it.

The term “Muggle” comes from Harry Potter and in the Geocaching world refers to people who aren’t playing the game. Some cache descriptions actually say “Beware of muggles around” which you would interpret as the cache is hidden in a very open and public location. In this case, you don’t want to just grab some hidden object out from behind a bush or you may attract unnecessary attention. In fact, this happened to me when one of the caches I was looking for happened to be on a public walking trail. I knew from the coordinates that the cache was somewhere in the bushes right next to the trail, but I was reluctant to dig too far into the bushes for fear that I would scare some woman who may be walking along the trail. If she didn’t know better it would appear that I was hiding in the bushes and that wouldn’t look good at all. I skipped that one and came back later with my children so I wouldn’t look like a creepy deviant.

Another time, we were actually in Paris and believe it or not, the Palace at Versailles has geocaches hidden there also. My wife and I were looking in this park and wouldn’t you know it but about 25 young French students who looked to be in their equivalent of the cub scouts were playing all around the location of the cache. We had to wait on them to leave also. It’s one thing to look odd in your own country, I didn’t want to get caught sneaking around the bushes with a bunch of poor French students, so my wife and I sat there, took photos and laughed.  That cache was pretty interesting and I took a souvenir and left something I had picked up in the states.

Learn land navigation

Excellent tool for finding or hiding caches

Excellent tool for finding or hiding caches

Getting back to how this “game” can help you with Survival, the website is where you find the caches gives you coordinates. For any caches that aren’t in a parking lot or park within easy reach, it is wise to do a little research before you go exploring. There are some caches that can only be accessed one way and this may not be a direct route. One cache we had to find was in the most inhospitable place I have seen which was in the middle of about 50 acres of forest that had been cleared several years back. The forest had since been taken over by tall and painful briars. I think the name of the cache had the word “hell” in it somewhere and it was hell to get to. We had to choose which path to take to get to the cache as it was in the middle of the land. There were two roads bordering the property and we drove around for a while trying to find the closest (and least conspicuous) place to park and begin our hunt. The GPS has a directional compass built in which will show you the direction of the cache and how far it is away, but that is a straight-line. You may have to go around and backtrack to get to the cache location.

If you are feeling exceptionally adventurous, you could get the coordinates and leave the GPS in the car. Use your topographic map to find the actual spot. In a grid-down scenario we may not have access to GPS or electronics so knowing how to navigate the old fashioned way is a smart skill to have.

Understand human nature

I mentioned above that it was pretty amazing to me to see the cache locations themselves. Some are hidden in fairly easy locations. Others are really tricky. After finding about 50 or so, you start to detect a pattern and I was able to walk to a location and look at the area around me and guess where the cache was hidden. You can use this to your advantage in hiding your own caches. Don’t go with the simple route; be more creative with hiding and you will make your own caches harder to find. Also, hiding your cache in the bushes right off an easily accessible path is a sure fire way to make sure someone finds it and when you go to retrieve your cache, it will be gone. If I am going to hide a bucket with guns, knife, water, ammo and food for a couple of days, it is going to be in the middle of that briar patch deep in the woods. I want this to be a giant pain to find, but one I will easily remember.

Find creative hiding methods/places

The smaller caches are usually the most cleverly hidden and that is due to their size. These smaller containers can be magnetized and hidden on almost any metal surface. That won’t really do us too much good, but familiarizing yourself with their methods can give you ideas. One cache I found was in a container that was sunken in the water. The contents were in a waterproof container, but the lid was attached to a piece of camouflaged paracord that was attached to a strong root on the bank. I only had to find the cord and pull to get the container up off the bottom of the creek. Even if I had been looking, that would have easily been missed unless I knew the exact spot where the cord was attached. Another cache was hidden about 30 feet into a huge storm water tunnel. Again, this might not work for everything but it was creative and gave me a lot of ideas.

The best caches to me are the ones hidden in plain sight. Use your best judgment on these, but let the game of Geocaching give you ideas and experience with hiding and finding your own treasure.

This article was written by The Prepper Journal and can be viewed here:

http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2013/03/09/easy-survival-cache-planning-and-training/