15 Things You Don’t Actually Need To Survive Disasters

Last week I’d heard about a story of three family members who died during Hurricane Irma because they ran a generator inside their home. Although I couldn’t find more details, I did find this article about the incident.

Sadly, such a tragedy was entirely preventable by understanding what carbon monoxide (CO) is, how it can kill you, and perhaps most importantly: what items produce CO.

Here’s some good articles about carbon monoxide and safety:

And here’s a good article about running generators safely: How To Safely Operate A Backup Generator.

Anyway, what that tragedy really got me to thinking about was those things (or actions) you don’t actually need to have (or do) to survive in a disaster, such as with the recent hurricanes.

Now, I’m assuming that this family was running a generator to power an air conditioner because it was relatively warm weather at the time, but that’s pure speculation on my part. If they were running a generator for any other reason then it’s even worse because there are honestly very few reasons why you’d need electricity after a disaster.

Now I can hear you saying, “But, wait! I need to keep my refrigerator and freezer food from spoiling!”

No you don’t.

You SHOULD be able to do so… but you don’t HAVE to, especially if it means doing something ignorant like running a generator inside your home.

Regardless, you don’t need to have or do many things, such as:

  1. You don’t need power to keep the lights on if you have other light sources such as candles (not my first choice) or battery-powered lanterns (a better option). Heck, you could just sit in the dark but that sucks.
  2. You don’t need power to run a stove or oven or even a microwave if you have alternative cook sources like a BBQ grill or even makeshift stoves. (Note: BBQ grills can also produce carbon monoxide if charcoal-based and even propane grills can put off CO as well).
  3. Heck, you don’t even NEED to heat most foods so long as it’s been precooked, such as with canned foods. That said, some foods just need to be boiled to make them edible like rice, beans, pasta etc.
  4. You probably don’t need hot water either for any reason (except as noted in #3); this makes for cold showers and cold teas but it still works.
  5. Like I said above, food can be allowed to go bad and so the refrigerator doesn’t need to be kept cool. That said, I understand there are some cases where you’d hate to lose many hundreds of dollars worth of food and so you should be able to keep them running but it doesn’t have to be a generator that does it (hint: your car works pretty well for this purpose) and, besides, coolers and ice work well enough for a few to several days.
  6. You probably won’t need to do laundry in most cases since most of us have plenty of clothes in the closet which can be dusted off.
  7. You don’t need to bathe for weeks or longer in most cases (but I’m sure it would be appreciated by most people around you, lol). Even a simple washcloth rinse off is better than nothing.
  8. You sure don’t need WiFi or the internet or television… except then you couldn’t read this. 🙁
  9. I’d suggest that you don’t need your cell phone but it is our primary means of communication these days and so you really should try to keep it powered… and, of course, learn to text during and after disasters since they’re FAR more likely to get through jammed cell towers.
  10. You probably don’t need to go anywhere in your car if you’re hunkering down but I sure would prefer you had the option and so storing some extra gasoline with fuel stabilizer is a good idea.
  11. You don’t need almost ANY beverage (such as soda or beer) besides water to survive; sorry, you’ll live without either.
  12. You don’t need water to flush toilets or for most common household activities; keep water for the most necessary activities such as drinking, cooking, and minimal personal hygiene including brushing your teeth and the washcloth bath… and for pets too.
  13. In many cases you don’t need to air condition your home. Granted, there are some locations and times of the year where you’ll be miserable but so long as you can stay hydrated, in the shade, with a breeze,an so on then you’ll live. Of course, there are some folks who simply cannot tolerate the heat such as the elderly and so must be planned for.
  14. In some cases you don’t have to heat your home either. Yes, there are locations and times of the year where you’ll literally freeze to death if you don’t (and you know who you are) but most of us will survive by putting on more clothes and huddling under lots of blankets.
  15. You won’t need to do any dishes for weeks if you bother to stockpile some disposable supplies. Even if you want to use your dishes then items like cups, for instance, could be labeled with names and reused for quite a long time. I’d assume you could get creative too with your other dishes.

I’m sure I could go on listing items and actions you could likely do without in a relatively short term survival situation, but I’m sure you get the idea.

That said, there are some items/actions that you really shouldn’t go without. For example, any life-necessary medications or other medical equipment that literally keeps you alive come to mind. As such, it behooves you to have plenty of these medications on hand as well as the ability to power medical equipment for several days or longer if the power goes out.

Similarly, it would be silly to not be able to care for your basic needs, such as being able to heat your home if you live somewhere that you could truly freeze to death (as mentioned previously) and, of course, at least some minimal amounts of food and water. I still can’t believe people run out at the last minute to grab bottled water before a hurricane… ugh.

I’d encourage you to prepare yourself properly so that you don’t HAVE to go without… it’s not hard to do and I can show you how to get it done in only 5 minutes a day but you have to take action to make it happen.

Seriously, Why Are We Still Having Runs On Water Prior To Hurricanes?

Hurricane Irma Water Shortage, Image Credit

Recently, due to the onslaught of Hurricane Irma I read an article titled Is Hurricane Irma causing too much panic over water, and other preparedness supplies?

Of course, it’s not just water that people rush out to buy at the last minute, people buy batteries, gasoline, and apparently pop tarts to name a few items that “fly” off the shelves whenever news of an impending disaster looms large. And it’s not like this is new behavior, people have done this since forever and apparently will continue to do so because we just won’t learn from the past.

Anyway, I thought to myself: why on earth are we still having runs on water prior to hurricanes or major storms? Can people NOT make even the slightest effort to prepare in advance and have at least a little bit put away for needs like this? Can people NOT see what happened to folks in Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Sandy?

I mean, how damn hard is it to keep a few cases of bottled water shoved in the back of a closet or under a bed or wherever works? Sure, the water won’t stay perfect forever in disposable plastic bottles, but it will certainly last for years and you’d surely be happy to have it when the water stops flowing or you can’t buy any at the store because they’re out.

The same can be said for other items like batteries and flashlights as both of them will stay good for many years without worry… heck, lithium batteries will last for a decade or longer with minimal loss of capacity.

Gasoline may be a slightly different story but even untreated gasoline doesn’t go bad in a week or even a month. In all honesty it will probably still be good in storage for up to a year without much concern and if you add preservatives such as PRI-G (which you should be) then the gasoline will surely be viable for at least a year or longer. How hard is it to do THAT? I can assure you it’s not very hard as I’ve done it for many years now myself.

None of these actions take but a few minutes of planning and forethought and maybe a few minutes to actually accomplish.

Regardless of how easy any of this stuff is, there’s now worry about people buying up more cases of bottled water than they actually need thereby not leaving enough water for everyone else who didn’t bother to prepare beforehand. Worse, there’s concern that these very people are either (1) going to sell this very water at an exorbitant markup or (2) hoard it. Gasp! None of this is newfound suggestion or behavior either.

I say hoard it… hoard it all if you were at least smart enough to beat everyone else to the punch, if you will. This isn’t socialist China after all… well, maybe… never mind.

Really, if you’re still living life by failing to have even the minimal of necessary supplies to keep yourself alive then shame on you. Don’t blame the folks who beat you to it. And don’t blame the government for not forcing them to do what you failed to do, though, I am a bit surprised officials haven’t at least set limits on what you can purchase.

If, however, you were smart enough to prepare ahead and, better yet, get out of harm’s way then kudos to you, count yourself as one of the 1%… the 1% smart enough to prepare before disaster strikes.

How to Survive After Trauma – 11 Things I Wish I Knew Sooner

How to Survive After Trauma, Image Credit

[Editor’s note: I figured this was an appropriate topic to discuss riht now considering the recent disaster caused by Hurricane Harvey. Remember that no matter how strong or prepared you feel you are, anyone could find themselves or a loved one struggling with the emotional aftereffects of a trauma, particularly a disaster.]

Would I call it haunting? Yes.

For a long time the image of the gun in front of my father’s face was etched in my mind. It’s not what you expect when you open the door for a loved one.

Intruders gained access to the premises and our safety was compromised.

The time during the ordeal is blank in my mind.

Somehow the authorities were called. Somehow my father got away. A few exceptional law men caught the perpetrators and got back our car.

No one was hurt. But how do you cope after a gun was held to your head? How do you explain the feeling of seeing a loved one in mortal danger?

How do you cope with the aftermath of a traumatic experience?

What if an attack, accident or other traumatic event leaves you with too many questions? The result could prevent you from functioning normally. If this continues you may even face medical challenges. When psychological challenges start intervening with normal functioning you run the risk of developing a psychological disorder which isn’t ideal during disasters or, worse, SHTF.

But you can stop it. Here are a few tips I know can empower you.

I Haven’t Experienced Trauma – Why is This Important?

Safety tips help to keep you as safe as possible, but nothing is guaranteed. If you really want to be prepared you must consider any eventuality. This includes possible trauma after disaster.

Surviving the aftermath (and associated trauma) is as important as getting through the disaster itself so that you can return to a normal way of life again.

  1. Accept Your Reaction as Normal

One emotion at a time is hard enough to handle for some. Now imagine experiencing many emotions all at once.

This is what happens after traumatic events. You can feel:

  • Rage at the perpetrators
  • Fear that the criminals will return
  • Hurt that someone took advantage of you
  • Embarrassment because you weren’t prepared
  • Grieving for lost items after a robbery or disaster

Some of these will happen in phases but they have the tendency to overlap and can overwhelm you easily.

This is normal.

When we believe we’re acting out of character we may fight these emotions, but they’re all necessary. You have to feel and work through them. Don’t deny yourself experiencing all of these emotions.

2. Talk About It

So how do you start dealing with the emotions? Talking is your best weapon.

You have to be desensitized from the experience. You can do this by talking:

  • Hear what happened from your own point of view
  • Hear what others experienced if they were involved
  • Hear about others’ challenges

These situations are traumatic because they (luckily) don’t happen often. When you talk about it the event becomes more general. The trauma is alleviated.

3. Know You’re Unique

Your general feelings will align with many other people’s experiences, but you’re still unique:

  • You may be upset about something no one else finds significant.
  • You may remember details no one else noticed.
  • You may take longer than others to work through the trauma.

If you don’t accept your unique reactions you’ll prevent a full recovery. You can’t rush through your recovery process if you need in depth help on a certain aspect. Your recovery process must be customized to help you with your unique challenges.

4. Forgive Yourself

My father felt guilty for months. He felt he put us in danger. He was even mad at our reactions. But some of our reactions were based on our concern for him.

What else were we supposed to do? We all did our best in the circumstances.

A lot of our anger is wrapped up in what we think of our own actions. If we stay mad at ourselves we won’t move past other psychological challenges.

5. Become Prepared

After the ordeal my father’s new found peace came from renewed vigilance.

Never again did he want to feel like “I should have done more.” This change in attitude led to changes in many aspects of our lives.

Part of being prepared includes:

  • Show you’re ready to defend yourself and your family. Criminals back off when they’re not sure of being in control.
  • Waste their time. Burglars don’t want to stay on the scene too long because the risk of getting caught increases.
  • Showcase your vigilance. If criminals expect a strong defense they will look for another target.
  • Be confident. I’m not saying be aggressive. This can lead to unnecessary conflict. But criminals want victims to submit. If they see they can’t manipulate someone they may leave sooner.

Weapons

None of us used weapons before the break in. This all changed after our traumatic event.

Today we’re kitted out. And, yes, there are legal ways of protecting yourself.

You can easily arm yourself to help be and feel prepared:

  • Keep pepper spray on your key chain. Attackers may see it and will probably go elsewhere and, at the very least, you have it readily available to use.
  • Pepper spray in your car is great too. If you know you have something to ward off someone then you won’t feel at the mercy of an attacker.
  • Place necessary items all over your home or office, such as:
    • Flashlights
    • Pepper spray (or other self defense items)
    • A baseball bat

All of this communicates to intruders you’re prepared but also helps you be better prepared too.

[Editor’s note: pepper spray and other self defense options are useful to consider–I know I have them too–but they’re no substitute for firearms when it truly comes to defending your life.]

Premises

Make sure your home is as safe as possible.

Assumptions are your enemy. Criminals can pick nearly any lock and will find a way into private areas quicky. Make it difficult for them to do so with security doors and grilles as they do wonders.

Remember: If it’s going to take too long to get past a security barrier a burglar may very well move on.

[Editor’s note: surveillance is a great deterrent too… if criminals know they’re being watched and recorded they may choose to move on as well.]

Actions

Change how you act. For example, you can be more:

  • Assertive
  • Conscious of your surroundings
  • Organized and prepared

If you’re in a rush or distracted you’ll neglect valuable safety measures, even simple ones like remembering to lock your doors each time you leave.

How did these Preparations Help us Survive After Trauma?

Part of the trauma was the feeling of being powerless. To recover we had to feel in control again. Each action helped us counter fear and uncertainty.

6. Deal With Your Dreams

Your dreams will tell you what’s bothering you:

What do you dream about?

Who are you mad at in your dreams?

Who is with you in your dreams?

Your dreams can serve as a source for answers. But bad dreams can’t keep haunting you forever. This can result in physical and psychological problems.

Learn

Learn about your concerns by writing down your dreams. You’ll identify problem areas such as:

  • Rage towards yourself
  • Rage towards others
  • Situations you fear

If you know what’s bothering you then you can find answers faster.

Any stress in your life can make these problems feel worse. You have to manage your life as well as the residue of the trauma.

How do you do this?

Stop Dreaming

You don’t want bad dreams to plague you forever. When you’re in need of some good sleep try these tips:

  1. Write down the main events of your day before you get into bed. If you know what causes general stress your subconscious doesn’t have to tell you about it in your sleep.
  2. Write down main responsibilities for the next day before you sleep. Once again this reduces general stress.

[Editor’s note: I’m not quite sure how these tips directly relate to getting over trauma but there may be something to be said for using these techniques to help alleviate general stress during a disaster.]

Lie down with your eyes closed. Don’t sleep. Let your thoughts go and see what surfaces. Write down what bothers you about your day or any traumatic event. Write down what you want to do about each problem. By bringing these problems to light then your dreams become less powerful.

7. Find an Outlet

Stress and fear are closely connected with energy in your body.

Stress and fear cause adrenaline to be secreted which puts your body on alert so it can handle pressure such as to fight or run away.

After a traumatic event (such as a natural disaster) your body can be in a perpetual state of readiness. This isn’t healthy.

When your body is overwhelmed with these feelings and hormones you may feel:

  • Pain in your head or shoulders
  • Overwhelmed by small everyday tasks
  • Emotional for no reason

Help your body expel the energy and tension. For instance, a new hobby may be in order. You can:

  • Do a sport such as running or cycling
  • Go to the gym more
  • Dance
  • Do breathing exercises

Your instinct will be to rest as you may feel fatigued as a result of trauma. You need a balance between exercise and rest to fully recover.

8. Ask the Professionals

Will your pride keep you from recovery?

Many people see it as a sign of weakness to visit a professional for help but that’s not true at all. In fact, you can ask many types of professionals for help, including:

  • Yoga instructors help alleviate stress
  • Doctors can help diagnose and medicate stress
  • Psychologist and therapists help deal with trauma
  • Homeopaths offer natural products to help you sleep

To get past the trauma as quick as possible use the resources available to you.

[Editor’s note: There’s no shame is asking for help! That said, many of these resources may not be immediately available to you after a disaster.]

9. Look Out for Warning Signals

How stubborn are you? Will you listen to friends or family’s advice? If you know you won’t allow others to tell you what to do the responsibility lies with you. What will you do when you:

  • Become agitated for no reason
  • Have panic attacks
  • Black out for short periods
  • Have to be conscious of danger signals.

Have a plan in place. Find a doctor you know you can trust. Have the doctor’s contact details on hand at all times. You never know when you may need it.

If you prefer privacy no one has to know you asked for professional help.

[Editor’s note: Again, this is good to know and do when society is functioning normally but if/when a major disaster strikes such as Hurricane Harvey, a doctor you can trust may not be immediately available. That’s why it’s a good idea to locate and even to establish a relationship with such people before disaster strikes.]

10. Stop Generalizing

Many traumatic events involved other people:

Did they attack you physically?

Was there emotional abuse?

Did someone directly cause the trauma indirectly (such as a car accident)?

It’s easy to generalize regarding traumatic events. You may feel you never want to associate with a certain type of person again if you’ve been assaulted in order to protect yourself from future traumatic events.

How will you continue relationships with people if you judge people before you get to know them?

Your recovery’s purpose is to help you function well again. If you pull away from a certain group of society you’ll miss out on many experiences. It may even hinder normal functioning at work or in social environments.

This may be a subconscious reaction. As such, you have to:

  • Be aware of your actions and reactions towards people
  • Realize when you become prejudiced
  • Consciously place yourself in the company of such people
  • Start being desensitized to that group

Your brain remembers negative impulses better than positive ones. It will take a few positive experiences to counter the one traumatic event you went through. Don’t rob yourself of healthy interactions with people.

11. Use Organic Help

All of the tension you’re feeling as a result of a traumatic event certainly has an impact on your body. Strained bodies become sick and weak. This can be because of too little sleep and/or constant strain.

Momentary trauma and prolonged stress can decrease your body’s ability to fight against sickness. Your body will handle stress up to a point before showing the effects of it, including:

  • Flu symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

Your fight is physical as well as psychological. Help your body survive the physical impact by follow a nutritious diet and supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals. For example, magnesium helps fight the effects of stress.

Conclusion

Do you need this now or are you preparing for possible future events? Ask yourself how much you want to return to normal functioning. Conscious decisions—that will result in positive change—are necessary. Don’t take a chance and simply believe you’ll recover. We often don’t realize the effect of trauma until it’s too late. You must make specific adjustments to ensure a worthwhile future.

Author Bio

John Stuart is a content marketer working alongside Attenborough Door, manufacture and install a wide range of automatic doors across the UK.

Live Near Water But Not Sure Where To Evacuate To? Try This…

How To Evacuate Near Water

The recent flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey got me to thinking about flooding where I live because, after all, we live very near the water’s edge along the Puget Sound. And, while we’re likely high enough that any minor flooding wouldn’t be a problem… what if something BIG happened? Where would we go?

Well, as planning would have it, I do have evacuation routes to get us well away from the area but I’ve come to realize that some of those involve driving (or maybe walking) very near likely flood-prone areas which obviously wouldn’t work out too well if the flooding occurred in relatively short order.

The other major problem I had with planning a quick evacuation due to flooding is that we’re surrounded by tall trees which makes it a bit more difficult to merely step out of my front door, take a gander, and decide which way is uphill. Where we used to live in Missouri it was no problem to look for miles on end in any direction… here that just isn’t possible.

So, I did what any good under-the-age-of-80 person would do: I turned to Google Maps. And, as it turns out, they have a handy little terrain feature which shows contour lines and elevation.

Just go to Google Maps, click the “Menu” button on the top left corner of the screen, and select “Terrain.” The map will transform into something resembling a topographical map with a bit shading denoting elevation and a few contour lines. Yes, there’s plenty still to be desired but it’s better than nothing.

What I don’t like about the Terrain feature of Google Maps is that if you either zoom too far in or too far out the contour lines and elevation markers disappear which makes it a tad difficult to use but still easy enough that I can look at where I live and figure out fairly quickly where I can go to get to higher ground in a few minutes drive… and I actually wouldn’t have thought about the particular spot I have in mind.

Anyway, I tried a few other interactive maps such as elevationmap.net which might actually be a better tool because it seems to include the same information as Google Maps but with the added benefit that you can click on a specific point on the map and click “Get informations” (yes, I spelled that correctly according to the tool) and you’ll see an altitude shown whereas Google Maps doesn’t seem to do so.

Last, if you’d like to see a more traditional interactive topographic map then try US Topo Map tool. Click on “Download Maps” on the left sidebar then you can search for your address, for example, and you’ll get a good map to make use of with contour lines, elevation, and more. The best part is that it’s all overlaid with streets so you can plan a route easily.

Hope this helps you figure out where best to evacuate to if flooding is a concern for you. Stay safe out there. 🙂

Mayor Right Not To Order Evacuation?

Hurricane Harvey Flooding Houston, Image Credit

Honestly, I haven’t been paying much attention of the Houston hurricane except to occasionally view a few photos of the aftermath and to keep up with how rescue and recovery efforts are going. I do hope these folks stay safe.

Anyway, I recently read an article in The New York Times with a similar title as this blog post (guess where I got the idea from) because it caught my eye. “Right NOT to evacuate,” I thought. Really?

After all, it seems to me that THE right action here would be to evacuate from an obviously dangerous situation, especially when you have time to do so, however, the author of the article asserts that:

“It is logistically impossible to evacuate millions of people from low-lying coastal areas ahead of a major hurricane. The disastrous evacuation in preparation for Hurricane Rita in 2005 proved the case.”

Sure, evacuating millions sounds like an impossible task for government officials anywhere even with days to plan for and execute it. And, besides, many folks are going to ignore the call to evacuate because that’s just human nature and likely because they’ve “been there and done that” before and found nothing bad happened to them or their homes when they did heed the call.

Looking only at the numbers from previous orders to evacuate there’s something to said for not calling for mass evacuation; the author goes on to state that:

“In total, some 130 people died in that [Hurricane Rita] evacuation, more than have ever perished in a hurricane in the state’s history, with the exception of the 1900 Galveston storm. Of those deaths, about half occurred before the storm hit Texas.”

Hmmm… that does make a compelling case for not evacuating, and if we measure success of calling for evacuation or not in death toll numbers (which currently stands at 14 as of this writing) then odds are that not ordering mass evacuation was the right move:

“While we do not have any hard numbers yet, my guess is that we will eventually learn that something less than 10 percent of the homes in the Houston region have been flooded by this storm. Had a general evacuation been called, 90 percent of the people would have evacuated for no reason.”

Ok, no reason to sound the alarm bells if we don’t need to. That said, maybe something more could have been done to ONLY evacuate folks expected to be directly affected by storm surge? Perhaps authorities did so and I’m just not aware of it.

Regardless, even if authorities don’t order mass evacuation there’s no reason for individuals and families to stay put if they have the means and ability to evacuate… we know for sure they would have had the warning time to do so, at least with respect to most hurricanes.

Of course, if I’d lived in a hurricane-prone area most of my life I would probably be quite hesitant to leave for a variety of reasons.

What would you have done? Stayed put and hoped for the best or high-tailed it out of there?

There is one wildcard here and that’s the flooding caused by rainfall which is difficult to predict yet still very dangerous:

“We can predict with reasonable accuracy what areas will be flooded by storm surge based on the forecast and elevations. But flooding from rainfall is highly unpredictable and variable based on the dynamics of each particular rain event. Rarely will we know days in advance which areas will be flooded.”

And this is where it gets dicey, in my opinion, to stay put. Even if authorities can reasonably predict where storm surge will flood, they can’t do so with flooding from rainfall. So, why stay put and take the chance?

Besides, even if you didn’t perish directly from the storm you could be putting rescue workers in greater peril trying to rescue you when they didn’t need to OR you could be taking away their time and efforts from someone else who really does need their help.

My advice: during the next hurricane go visit your in-laws whom you’ve been telling you’re going to come visit for the past ten years now but something always seems to come up last minute so you have to cancel the trip, lol.

FYI, here’s another good article on Why Hurricane Harvey became so extreme that was a good read if interested.

 

EDC Kit: Back To Basics (Guest Post)

EDC Kit, Image Credit

When becoming involved in survival and prepping, there are many different ways to get started. For instance, some people start by learning about specific survival skills, while others start by buying supplies. Some people buy a few survival tools and learn how to use them, while others just spend time becoming more self-sufficient.

There is no right or wrong way to get started. Just making an effort puts you miles ahead of the average person. However, there are some misconceptions about putting together packs and gear…

3 Types of Kits

Which one of these is right for you depends on your goals and your situation, read on…

Bug Out Bag (BOB)

One of the first types of kits that you will encounter is the Bug Out Bag (BOB). It seems like every survivalist has either put together a BOB, has purchased a pre-made one, or at least knows what it is.

This bag is designed to give you the supplies needed to survive if you packed up and left your home in a hurry, often being gone for days to weeks. However, the likelihood of needing to pack up and leave your home is relatively small. [Editor’s note: It totally depends on where you live and the situation you’re in… please be prepared to bug out if need be.]

Do not misunderstand me. Having a bug out bag is important and an excellent idea. It is just that the list of scenarios in which you must abandon your home is just small.

Get Home Bag (GHB)

The get home bag is designed to be kept at work or in your car with just enough supplies to get you home. Even if you end up on foot, most people would only be traveling for a couple of hours or a day or two at most. This makes a get home bag typically smaller.

It also makes the items more focused on urban survival. Most people spend their time walking the city streets, not trudging through the woods and is a more likely scenario as most people spend their days at work several miles from home. [Editor’s note: Yes! Most of us need to think about being able to get around city streets, not the woods.]

With the majority of your supplies at home, the end goal should typically be to make your way back home. Unfortunately, you could find yourself unable to get to a bag in your car or desk which brings us to…

The Everyday Carry (EDC) Kit

By far the most important and most undervalued kit you can put together is an Everyday Carry kit (EDC) which is an assembly of tools that you can carry with you at all times. That does not mean leaving it in the car or storing it in a locker at work. You have to keep these items with you.

This is the survival kit you are most likely to use, the least expensive to assemble, and has the most valuable tools. However, most new survivalists end up focusing on extreme bug-out scenarios instead of an emphasis on the everyday scenarios that are most common.

Most people work in an environment where they want to hide their survival background. Keep in mind that when SHTF, human nature is to take what is needed from the people who have it. That is, co-workers may be inclined to take your kit if they know it is on you.

As such, for the items in your EDC kit to be effective they either need to be hidden or be able to hide in plain view.

Bag or No Bag?

One of the easiest ways to conceal your EDC kit is in a small bag of some kind. Of course, this poses some problems as it must be a bag that you can take with you everywhere — to the bathroom, to meetings, to lunch, literally everywhere.

Aside from maybe a purse or laptop bag, this can be difficult. Another problem with keeping your whole kit in a bag means that someone can steal it or you can lose it and now you are completely vulnerable. Besides, keeping your whole kit inside a bag makes it more difficult to access the items you need quickly.

For example, you can keep a tactical pen in the bag for self-defense. But do you prefer to dig through the bag looking for it or just pull it out of a pocket? For most people, I feel that doing without the bag is a better option but the decision is up to you.

Main Items to Consider

To some degree, the items that you choose for your EDC should reflect where you spend most of your time. If you work in a large city, they should reflect urban survival. If you work in the country, they should reflect wilderness survival.

Regardless, you should always first consider the four pillars of survival: food, water, fire, and shelter. Then consider self-defense, first aid, navigation, and signaling for help.

You can carry as many items as you like as long as you are comfortable with their weight, size, and appearance.

Knife

For any survival scenario, many people consider this to be the most valuable tool to have because it is incredibly difficult to replicate its capability with natural materials.

Sure, you can sharpen a stone or hone a piece of glass but it can never be as strong or as capable as a steel blade. A good knife helps with self-defense, cleaning food, cutting cordage, building a shelter, starting a fire, hunting and dozens of other tasks.

Full Tang or Not?

The tang of a knife is how long the blade extends to the handle.

In a full tang knife, the blade extends all the way to the end of the handle, this makes it incredibly strong. However, the average full tang knife is quite long since it cannot be folded.

There are three primary ways to carry a full tang knife for your EDC kit. If you can carry a knife on your belt, that is my suggestion. It allows you to take a larger blade that is better for chopping and self-defense.

If that is not an option, you can carry a boot knife or a neck knife. A boot knife is hidden in a sheath inside the ankle of a boot, while a neck knife is carried on a chain around your neck. Both can stay completely hidden under your clothing.

Folding Knives

A folding knife is commonly known as a pocket knife because that is where it is intended to stay. While the hinge makes the knife a bit weaker, you can still find quality options.

It is important for it to be a locking blade knife as this prevents the blade from folding in on your hand. You can buy folding knives with several other tools included.

My suggestion is that you stick with a single or double blade knife and save the other instruments for a multi-tool if needed.

Fire

Many people think that you only need to start a fire in wilderness survival situations. This is simply not the case. There are plenty of scenarios in which the heat could be cut off from an urban building or you could be forced to venture out into the cold winter streets.

You should always have one or two reliable ways to build a fire in your EDC kit as you can die from exposure in just a few hours.

[Editor’s Note: I prefer to keep a mini Bic lighter on my keychain for this very purpose.]

Lighters

Normally, you are going to use your EDC kit for short term survival. This means that lighters are ideal for starting a fire. A Zippo lighter is reliable, durable, windproof, and can even be refilled with any flammable liquid. If you do not want to spend the money on a Zippo lighter, a couple of Bic lighters are a good alternative. They are still reliable and cost nearly nothing.

Ferro Rods

A ferro rod is small, windproof, waterproof, and requires no fuel. I like to keep a ferro rod with me along with a fire assistance product such as Wetfire cubes. In many cases, I can build a better fire with this combination of tools than I can with a lighter. [Editor’s note: lighters are pretty darn easy to use so I would encourage you to have one on your person if possible.]

You need a striker which can be any piece of high carbon steel including your knife. By striking the steel on the ferro rod, you create super-hot sparks that ignite many types of tinder.

Water Purification

Again, assuming that you can find clean water because you are in the city is not smart. Many buildings are supplied with water through pumps that can shut down without power. You should always have at least one method to purify water.

Filter Bottle

This is the method I prefer for my EDC kit. It is a commonplace to see people carrying a bottle of water with them everywhere they go.

The difference is that my bottle has a filter built into the lid that removes 99.999% of harmful contaminants. It even makes “safe” tap water taste better. Nobody knows the difference.

Straw Filter

This filter accomplishes the same thing but is small enough to keep in your pocket. If you do not want to carry a bottle everywhere, this is a good option. The only downside is that you must get down on the ground to sip from the straw in most cases.

Iodine Tablets

I also carry these little lifesavers everywhere I go. The vial is about the size of my car key and holds dozens of tablets. Each one can purify a bottle of water. I had situations where my filter clogs beyond repair and these tablets saved my life. The only downside is that they must dissolve for 30 minutes before you can drink the water.

Cordage

This is another one of those items that are difficult to replicate with natural materials. Cordage is vital for anything from climbing to building a shelter. It can be used for cooking, self-defense, trapping, or fishing if you do not have a regular fishing rod. The key is finding an easy way to carry it with you.

Paracord is by far the most functional type of cordage. It is thin but has seven internal strands that can be pulled out and used separately. The most common option is 550 paracord which can hold a 550-pound load.

The easiest ways to carry a paracord are as boot laces, bracelets or lanyards. I always replace my shoe and boot laces with appropriately colored paracord. This way, I have about 50 feet of cordage available at all times.

I can also remove the inner strands and reuse the outer sheath for laces. You can weave paracord into lanyards and bracelets for additional options. I typically keep one of each on me at all times.

Recently, certain companies have started making survival style paracord that has additional functions, such as a flammable cord with a Ferro rod and striker for the tips of the laces.

Another has the typical seven interior strands along with a strand of copper wire, a strand of fishing line, and a strand of flammable material. These can add even more function to an already needed item.

Other Items to Consider

You can go on and on listing out potential items for your EDC kit. Here are some of the most popular we have not yet mentioned.

Weapons – I have seen survivalists carry handguns, tactical pens, ball bearings on a cord, or even brass knuckles. A tactical pen is ideal for an office setting because it just looks like a nice pen.

Before you choose a weapon, know what your local regulations are. These are especially important in urban areas.

Emergency blankets – These are small enough to fit in your pocket and reflect 90% of your body heat back to you. They are suitable for wrapping up or for building a shelter.

Multi-tools – You can often see people carry these handy tools on their belt in a leather pouch. I even have one small enough to fit on my keychain. They have dozens of functions and are perfect for projects in which you are away from your tool box.

Wallet tools – In my wallet, I carry a folding knife, a multi tool, a survival card, and a lock pick set. There are all kinds of gadgets that are designed to be shaped like a credit card.

Small fishing kit – This includes line, hooks, sinkers, floats, and sometimes lures. You can make these small enough to fit in a mint tin.

LED light – These bright flashlights are small enough to fit in your pocket, on your keychain, or in your wallet.

Checked Your Fire Extinguishers Lately? I Haven’t And That Was A Mistake…

Fire Extinguisher,

Just the other day I’d decided to check on my smoke alarms and fire extinguishers and while I was at it have my youngest son try to put out a very small (and controlled) fire in our driveway just so he had an opportunity to hold and use a fire extinguisher which I don’t think I’ve ever had him do.

Well, as it turns out the first fire extinguisher I grabbed indicated “red” meaning it needed replaced; I gave it a try anyway… it was dead as a door nail. So I grabbed another one that indicated “green” and with a quick test THAT one didn’t work either!

I thought, “Uh oh… when’s the last time I checked these?” Believe it or not, I used to keep a good list of all the prepping tasks I needed to check on and when but, sadly, I can’t find the list anymore let alone remember the last time I even looked at it.

As it turns out it’s probably been a LONG time since I’ve actually looked at one of my fire extinguishers and, sadly, I found another one that needed replaced too. Surprisingly, the extinguishers I have in our vehicles still worked even though I would have assumed they–if any of them–would be bad since they’ve been exposed to both extreme hot and cold for many years… go figure.

The good news is that this has caused me to create a new prepping tasks list and, of course, to replace my fire extinguishers too.

I did briefly look into trying to refill them but apparently the type I have can’t (or shouldn’t) be refilled because they have plastic heads as opposed to metal ones and are prone to leaks… perhaps that’s why they don’t work any longer.

Anyway, just last night my wife was cooking dinner when the kitchen smoke alarm went off which isn’t unusual and so I didn’t bother to move from the basement couch as my wife was sort of yelling something incoherent which I did my best to ignore. As it turns out one of the burners had something stuck to it and caught fire. It wasn’t a big deal but I’ll take that as a sign I need to replace my fire extinguishers sooner rather than later, lol.

My suggestion: go check on your fire extinguishers and while you’re at it your smoke alarms just to be sure they’re still in working order.

Inflatable, Reusable Sandbag?

Inflatable Sandbag, Image Credit

Ok, inflatable might be the wrong word to describe this sandbag as inflation implies air is involved, but it is certainly different than the traditional “fill your own” sandbags we’ve all come to despise, lol.

Anyway, I just recently ran into this SoSaveBag.com which perked my interest as it’s apparently a sandbag that actually swells when contacted with water:

“SOSAVE sandbag is an innovative instant sandbag sandbag. It is a jute bag with another inner bag as a special double layer structure bag. When it is dipped in the water, the functional material contained in the bag swells and increases its starting weight up to 50 times.In this way its volume becomes a flood defense barrier in case of water overflow.”

Interesting. I do wonder what the inner water absorbing material is… I can’t seem to find that out.

Regardless, it’s apparently reusable, biodegradable, lightweight, easily packed, etc., etc.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find a price for these either as ordering is via email which I didn’t have the patience for, plus I tried downloading some catalog but that failed too.

Hmmm…

Seems there’s some work to be done on the website so I haven’t a clue how “above board” these folks are, especially since it’s all in China. Hopefully, these “sandless” sandbags are the real deal and something people can start to make use of.

Let me know if you have any experience with them or a similar product. Thanks.

3 SHTF Problems You May Not Have Thought Of

Image Source

Recently, while I was sitting at the orthodontist waiting for my kid’s braces to finally get removed, I began to think about “what if SHTF” and I we didn’t have an orthodontist (or dentist) readily available who know what to do with such things?

After all, I don’t have a clue how all that orthodontics gear works and since my youngest still has many years of orthodontics to go, I should probably get a clue. I know the braces are cemented in there somehow but besides that I’m sure I would do more harm than good if I tried to do any of it off on my own, let alone try to keep their teeth properly aligned either… that won’t happen at all, lol.

SHTF Problem #1: Your Teeth

You’d be surprised but in a truly long-term SHTF situation teeth may be a much bigger problem for many people than they realize.

Besides just having cavities, who knows what types of additional–and sometimes very serious–problems you might encounter, here’s a few I can think of:

  • Abscess teeth. I’d wrote an article a long time ago about how it killed my wife’s uncle. It’s a much bigger problem than most realize and can lead to a variety of serious health problems.
  • Crowns that come out. This would leave the root uncomfortably exposed and probably indicates a much bigger problem. While the usual SHTF remedy for “bad teeth” is to just pull it, that might not be as easy with a crown removed and probably rather painful I’d imagine.
  • Orthodontics, various appliances. Really, anytime you’re in the middle of a process that takes years to complete, I’m guessing you’d also need the knowledge to know if it’s working properly and I’m also guessing that you could quickly do more harm than good. My gut-reaction is to remove the braces (or whatever) but, again, I don’t know how.

I’m sure there are more significant problems to be aware of here and while I have various extraction tools I do wonder how useful they may be with crowns, for instance. And considering that an abscess tooth is such a problem it would be a good idea to have appropriate antibiotics.

SHTF Problem #2: Birth And Babies

This is another big concern that many of us could have but not even consider until that “surprise” hits us. Obviously, this can be minimized by having and using appropriate protection, though, there will still be plenty of instances where people will have babies post-SHTF, wanted or otherwise.

Now, women have been having babies for as long as humanity has been around and doing so relatively successfully, the process isn’t without it’s complications to say the least.

And, of course, while most people choose a hospital with all of the medical benefits… they just won’t be available or accessible in a long-term situation. About the only solution would be to befriend an OBGYN or midwife and hope for the best. Lucky for me I’m married to a midwife. 🙂

Besides concern for the baby, such as being able to resuscitate them, complications with the mother are just as serious, especially hemorrhage. Both of these problems may result in death if you don’t have a knowledgeable resource to take charge and even then the worst may happen simply because they didn’t have appropriate drugs or equipment.

Again, having babies is no joke (and fraught with many serious complications besides what I mentioned above) in good times with all of the support structure we have in place. Afterwards we’re back to hoping and praying of the best.

I won’t get into potential complications with newborns as I don’t know about these types of problems to offer any sound advice.

SHTF Problem #3: Pets

Most of us have little idea what to do when we run out of pet food and, more important, may find ourselves torn between feeding our pets from our dwindling food storage foods or not. Granted, many of us may not be torn at all and simply just feed our pets as if they’re our children. 😉

I do wonder just how well most pets (and I’m thinking of dogs and cats mostly) will do with a significant change of diet from their typical dog or cat food to all human food? I’d suspect they will manage somehow.

What about potential medical issues? Again, if there’s no vet about the best we can do is to care for them as if they’re human and then hope for the best.

For us, we have a dog and then also guinea pigs who, sadly, would be the bigger problem because they eat mostly vegetables, hay, and pellets. As much as I really like them they probably won’t last long post-SHTF.

Anyway, what problems can you think of? What SHTF concerns would you have that you may not have thought about?

 

2017 Prepper Bundle + Giveaway + Special Offer: 90% Off 30 Resources, 6 Days Only!

A while back I was asked if I would be willing to contribute to the 2017 Prepper Bundle and I said “sure, sounds like fun.” But it wasn’t until recently that I realized just how massive this prepper bundle truly is…

You see, I recently had a chance to find out just what’s included in this prepper bundle and who’s involved and I immediately realized this was going to be big!

For instance, you’ll find contributors like Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper, Todd Sepulveda of Prepper Website, Misty Marsh of Simple Family Preparedness, Lisa Bedford of The Survival Mom, Melissa Norris (of her own website), Jodi and Julie of Food Storage Made Easy, Paul Wheaton (he should need no introduction), and plenty of others besides myself.

Anyway, it’s a huge group of knowledgeable folks who contributed their expertise on quite a wide range of topics to get you better prepared. Here’s some of the resources to get you salivating a little (author’s book description follows the title with the occasional redaction to speed this up, lol):

  • The Guide to Primitive Survival Traps – A book for all outdoorsmen and survivalist who enjoy the sport of trapping and wilderness survival. With an easy, basic read and images for an easier understanding, this book provides you with instructions to making primitive survival traps.
  • Meal Planning for Long-Term Food Storage -Start building your food storage today! This kit is the easiest step to building your long-term food supply. Including 7 different recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Recipes are basic and easily converted for food storage cooking. Each group contains a shopping list for 1 week, 1 month or 3 months to help facilitate easy gathering of a family’s food supply.
  • Build Your Own Emergency Off-Grid Power System – This book began as a project to prepare ourselves to survive without electricity for an extended period of time, maybe as long as a year. We share our research into battery-centric, electricity storage devices that most people refer to as “Solar Generators” using solar panels to collect electricity to store in batteries.
  • Fifty Ways To Make Survival Tools From Trash And Household Items – This is a collection of “how-to’s” from the writings of Ken Youngquist as he explains the uses of “trash” as they apply to emergency and survival scenarios. Who knew that duct tape can be used as a magnifier? that a plastic bottle can start a fire? That a soda can combined with a potato chip bag can pasteurize water? Learn these “how-to” techniques so that you can be better prepared for what lies ahead.
  • Canning 101: A Primer – Start building your food storage today, from scratch! Canning provides a means to build your pantry, one batch at a time…of homemade, shelf stable food for you and your family. Not only build up your stock of healthy ‘convenience foods’ for your everyday pantry needs; but build a long (or short!) term food storage. Everyone has a ‘rainy day’, eventually. Be Prepared for it! Learn to what you’ll need to start canning, where to find it and how to get started safely canning your own healthy, delicious food and meals.
  • Mini Seed Saving e-Course – Learn how to seed save your own garden seed every year from someone who has been saving the same strain of green beans in her family for over 100 years. Gain the foundational knowledge of seed saving, including cross-pollination, and never purchase seed from the store again. This course walks you through the amazing living history of heirloom seeds and how to start creating your own seed bank.
  • Prepared Kids – Our children are the next generation of adults in the world, and we get to help raise them! Whether we are their parent, grandparent, guardian, or family friend, we can raise children that are responsible and self-reliant. In this book, I share ideas that our family and others have used in raising our children that have helped foster in them an attitude of self-reliance and preparedness.
  • Homemade First Aid Kit – Have you ever wondered how to make your own homemade first aid kit using natural products? Then this is the book for you. It tells you exactly what natural items you need in your first aid kit, what to use them for plus covers miscellaneous items-like tweezers – that you might accidentally overlook when making your own first aid kit.
  • The Prepper’s Guide to Disaster Water Security – When disaster strikes your community, are you going to be one of the 1000’s waiting in a FEMA line every day for your ration of water? Or are you going to be the hero, the person who planned ahead and can take care of your family in the comfort of your home during the disaster and subsequent recovery? If you want to be the hero, you need The Prepper’s Guide To Disaster Water Security your complete guide to building a bulletproof water program.

…and those are just the ones I bothered to highlight. Of course, there’s my contribution too:

My Contribution To The Bundle…

How to Stop Burglars Dead In Their Tracks – Inside my report, “How To Stop Burglars Dead In Their Tracks” you’ll uncover who these criminals really are, how they plan heists, what factors deter them, which items they want most, 27 actions you can take right now to stop them (including easy security measures) as
well as a dozen hiding spots no criminal will suspect.

I know this doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s directly related to being prepared but you’d be dead-wrong when all your stuff gets stolen because you took your security less seriously than you should have. In my super-biased opinion it’s probably the MOST important of all the topics covered in the bundle. 😉

That bit of sarcasm aside, there’s a lot more included I haven’t even mentioned yet covering a wide range of topics, including: first aid and survival skills, general survival, shelter, food and water, managing and organizing your preps, and more… you really should check it out for yourself.

There’s Still More To The Prepper Bundle…

  • Prepper Supplies Checklist – Looking for a list of survival gear that can help you determine the right preparedness supplies for you and your family? Prepper Supplies Checklist is a workbook designed to help the user develop an emergency preparedness plan. It is presented in an easy to read format that includes stories, photos, illustrations, helpful tips, and some great survival gear ideas!
  • Building A Cob Style Rocket Mass Heater – A rocket mass heater (RMH) can heat your home with one tenth the wood of a conventional wood stove. A RMH is a DIY project that usually takes a weekend to build and about $200 in materials. This DVD will show you two rocket mass heater builds featuring the most popular style: cob.
  • Wonder Oven Recipes – For those interested in Wonder Oven style thermal cooking, this e-book is a convenient way to get all of My Food Storage Cookbook’s printable recipe cards. It begins with a 6 page explanation of Wonder Oven cooking (including best practices and tips) and is followed by 28 recipes. All in one, baby!
  • 6 Steps to Your Quick Win Emergency Kit – Once you know the peace of mind that a stocked and ready emergency kit can bring, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to finish your own! This 4-week course helps beginners put together their emergency kit. We’ll cover how to identify the likely disasters for their area, how to put together a simple kit to cover basic emergencies, and then how to put plans in place to personalize individual and family kits.

…and still plenty more not even mentioned yet.

What’s The Bundle Cost?

By now I’m sure you’re wondering how much this costs and you’ll be shocked (and pleasantly surprised) to hear it’s all ONLY $29.97 for the online, immediate access version. Better yet, you can pay a bit more and get the online version plus a USB thumb drive with the same content for $59.97! That way you can get it now and have it for ready reference should SHTF.

The Prepper Bundle Bonuses…

As if all that’s included weren’t enough there are some awesome bonuses as well, such as a very good savings on the All American Sun Oven (my personal favorite solar oven), access to the Pioneering Today Academy, the Trayer Wilderness Academy, and plenty more… but you’re going to have to see them for yourself.

After I’d went through this massive list myself I was looking for the “buy” link myself, no kidding. Turns out I get a free copy for having contributed to the bundle. With that in mind, I’m willing to go above and beyond the call of duty…

My Prepper Bundle Giveaway To You

Seeing as though I want YOU to get prepared and to utilized this information, I’m willing to buy an online only copy for one of my readers.

Just share this on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and then add a thoughtful comment below by this coming Friday night, I’ll pick a random winner, announce it on Saturday, buy a copy, and then reach out to you via email to hand off the login details.

Again, please share this using the provided share buttons and leave an actually useful comment as to why you can make use of this bundle. (Obviously useless comments will be ignored.)

The thing is that I’m leaving on Sunday for a full week and won’t be around to check emails and whatnot… so, if I don’t hear back from you on Saturday via email you’re simply going to have to wait until I get back for your login details. And if I still don’t hear back by then I’ll move on to someone else… you snooze, you lose.

Your Special Offer On My Own Survival Course

Now, I must be feeling generous today since I’m also willing to offer everyone who’s bothered to read this far a full 25% off my own survival course, The Prepared Path, during this 6 day prepper bundle event as well.

If you’re a long time reader then you probably know about my course but, if not, you should check it out and get your discount while you can.

Be fully aware: this offer on MY course has absolutely NOTHING to do with the prepper bundle offer. They are completely separate offers.

Please DO NOT contact the prepper bundle folks about my course or me about the prepper bundle.

To be perfectly clear: if you want the prepper bundle you must buy the prepper bundle. If you want my course then you must buy my course. If you want both then you must purchase both separately. Got it? Good.

Now, stop procrastinating and go grab your own copy of the Prepper Bundle before the sale ends on June 12 and while you’re at it grab The Prepared Path too at 25% off and be so prepared you won’t know what to do with the rest of your day. 🙂

Prepper Bundle