Category Archives: Survival Manual

A place where we don’t take for granted, what we’ve taken for granted.

Washing dishes (during an emergency)

(Survival Manual/4. Shelter issues/Washing dishes)

A.  How to Wash Dishes in Cold Water
eHow, by Patricia Loofbourrow
<http://www.ehow.com/how_5715569_wash-dishes-cold-water.html#ixzz1HXbvE8aH>
We’re used to hot water, dishwashers and other modern conveniences. But what about when the power goes out? In many area of the Midwest, ice storms cause power outages, sometimes for weeks. Hurricanes in the south or earthquakes in the west can lead to power outages as well.
For those who live in all-electric homes, losing power for more than a few days leaves you with a stack of dirty, greasy dishes to deal with, and unless you’re ready to spend all day heating water, you’ll soon be asking “How do I wash dishes in cold water?”
Here’s how.
An additional benefit to using this method is that it uses minimal water, so if your water supply is low (for example, whatever the disaster is has disrupted water supplies as well) you won’t waste a lot of water on washing dishes.
Be prepared!

Instructions: things you’ll need:
__•  water
__•  dish soap or bar soap
__•  sponge or dishrag
__•  a dish pan
__•  dish drainer (you can also use the rack on your dishwasher for a drainer if need be)

1.  Place dishes in the empty dish pan.
2.  Stacking the dishes neatly in the dish pan will help you get as many in as you can. Keep sharp items (like sharp knives) out of the dishpan; place these on the counter and wash them separately.
3.  Place a small amount of dish soap on the sponge or dishrag (between a dime and a nickel sized spot). If using bar soap, rub the damp bar with the sponge or dishrag a couple of times.
4.  Pick out silverware and scrub them with the sponge or dishrag one at a time until they are clean (no grease or stuck-on food), laying them on the counter with soap still on them. When you have a good handful of silverware (or you have cleaned all of them), pick up the entire bunch and rinse them under a slow stream of water over the dish pan so the soapy water falls into the dish pan.
5.  When you have rinsed all the soap off the silverware, turn the water off and place the silverware into your dish drainer.
6.  Take the bottom plate from the stack of plates in the dish pan and soap it until it is clean.
7.  Turn on a slow stream of water and rinse the plate, then turn off the water and put the plate in the dish drainer. Repeat step 7 for each plate in the dish pan until either all the plates are clean or the dish pan is full of water.
8.  You may notice that the dishes are easier to clean as you go along, because the soapy water soaks off any stuck-on food as the plates sit in it.
9.   This is called greywater, and is still useful if you need it.
10.  When the dish pan is full of water, take out any remaining plates and put them to the side. Dump the dish pan water into your garden, use to flush your toilet, pour it onto your compost bin, or pour down the sink if there is nowhere you need the water.
Note: Use the next method if hot to b oiling water is available.

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B.  Washing Dishes in a Camp/Emergency situation. Hot water available.
<http://www.your-camping-guidebook.com/camping-dishwashing.html#ixzz0pSQPdOKN>
Most campers are environmentally conscious and prefer to stick with reusable rather than disposable kitchen items but give in to the throwaways because washing dishes while camping seems like such a daunting or impossible task.
So here is the easy step-by-step camping dishwashing process that we faithfully use to wash dishes when we are camping. We use this method on both our family camping trips as well as our scouting trips where everyone brings a mess kit and there are no throwaway plates, cups, or utensils used.

What Equipment Do You Need?
When setting up our camping dishwashing station, first we start with the equipment list. We keep all of things packed in our kitchen box…except for the water, the dirty dishes, and the human of course!
__•  Paper Towels
__•  Your Favorite Dish soap
__•  A Dishcloth/Sponge & Scrubby
__•  Tongs
__•  Three Dish pans
__•  Hot Water
__•  Cool Water
__•  A splash of bleach or sanitizing tablets (optional)
__•  Dirty Dishes

Step 1:  Heat The Water
Immediately after dinner is ready, we put two or three pots of water to boil on the stove while we are eating. Actually, we put two…and then do the third one afterwards because that is what works for us with the equipment we have. One pot will be in the largest cooking pot we have, for the other we use our coffeepot.

Step 2: Wipe The Plates
After dinner…and this is the only place we use disposable paper good item…everyone takes a paper towel and wipes their plate and silverware clean of any food particles. This can be done with one paper towel and it is an important step to help to keep the food particles out of the washtub. We put the paper towels in the fire ring to be burned later during our campfire.

Step 3: Set Up The Wash Tubs
Now it is time to get the three tubs out. You can work from left to right, or right to left, whichever works best for you.
I will call them A, B, and C to make it easy to follow along with the directions. I usually fill the tubs only halfway or a little more…not to the top.
These are just cheap ordinary rectangular dish tubs you can get at Wal-Mart. They easily nest inside each other and you can put a bunch of your kitchen stuff inside the top one for storage.

Step 4: Prepare the tubs
•  Tub A is for washing. We put a few squirts of dish soap in here, then fill the tub halfway with regular water. You should be using an environmentally safe, biodegradable soap such as Campsuds or one of the Dr. Bronner’s natural soaps. When the hot water is ready, we add some to warm this tub up. This is a personal preference. I like the water to be warm when I am washing the dishes while my husband likes cool water (which feels yucky to me!).
•  Tub B is the rinsing tub and gets just plain water in it. We fill the tub 1/3 of the way with cool water, and the rest (about 2/3) with hot water.
•  Tub C is for sterilization. This is a very important part of your camping dishwashing station…don’t skip it!!! Some people like to use sterilization tablets, some put a few drops of bleach in the tub (health safety standards recommend 1 teaspoon of bleach for every 2 gallons of water)…but we use only pure boiling hot water. This is extremely hot and you will need tongs to pull the dishes out of this tub.

Step 5: The Washing Process
•  Using a paper towel, thoroughly wipe any food residue off of the plates. You want as little food as possible to be in the tub when washing. One paper towel is good for wiping several plates.
•  Start with the cleanest dishes first, leaving the dirtiest dishes, usually the pots and pans and mixing bowls, for last.
•  The first dishes to be washed will be placed in Tub A with the soapy water and dishcloth or sponge, just like you do in a sink.
•  After washing, the dishes come out of Tub A and into Tub B where you agitate a little to rinse off the soap.
•  Now the dishes get moved from Tub B, the rinsing tub, to Tub C, sterilization. Be careful when you put the dishes in so you don’t splash the hot water on yourself!
•  Let the dishes sit a few minutes in the boiling water (Tub C) while you go back to Tub A and wash some more dirty dishes….put these washed dishes in Tub B to rinse, and while they are in there, with the tongs take the clean, sterilized dishes out of Tub C.
•  Spread some paper towels, or use a portable dish drainer if you like, and let them drip dry upside down (we do spread out paper towels for this which we reuse all weekend)

And that is it! Now in writing this, it sounds like a complicated procedure, partly because I really broke down the steps into baby steps to make sure I was explaining it well. But really, camping dishwashing is very simple and easy to do. Your dishes are done in no time at all…and with a lot less water than you use at home!

6.  Dumping The Water
Now it is time to clean up the camping dishwashing area! The method that we use to dispose of the dishwater also sounds a little complicated….but it is not at all…and it is done this way to wash out and clean up your dish tubs without using any more water than you already used for the dishes!
•  First dump out the water in Tub A. This was the washing water with the soap…and will be the dirtiest of the three tubs (See the ‘minimal impact’ method of dumping your water, discussed in the next section.)
•  Now…dump the rinse water from Tub B into the empty Tub A (this gives Tub A a rinse with cleaner water that you already have).
•  Now…dump the boiling water (it won’t be boiling hot anymore) from Tub C into Tub B. So now Tub C is empty and clean and you are done with it. Turn it upside down with your other clean dishes to dry.
•  So now you have water in only Tub A and Tub B. Go ahead and dump the water from Tub A again.
•  Now pour the hot water from Tub B into Tub A so Tub B is clean and empty, and Tub A is getting its final rinse with the batch of hot rinse water. Put Tub B upside down with the clean dishes to dry.
•  Finally, dispose of the water in Tub A and turn it over to dry…and you are done! And your dishes are done too!

This is the method I learned 12 years ago when I was a Cub Scout mom and leader….and we have used it on every family campout and Boy Scout training and troop campout I have been on. We always set up a three-tub camping dishwashing station…and the dishes come out clean and, most importantly, sanitary.

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C.  Some Rules For Your Camp/Emergency Dishwashing Station
As campers we love nature and its beauty and try to do the best we can to promote Leave No Trace camping, or camping that does as little damage as possible to the environment.
There are many debates as to whether soapy camping dishwashing, is more harmful to the environment than using paper and plastic disposables.
All of the research I have done points to camping dishwashing with reusable plates, pots, silverware, and cups, as being the preferred method…but here are some important steps you should take when washing your dishes at your campsite to make sure you protect the area so many can enjoy it in the future as well.
__•  If possible, use small quantities of biodegradable soap.
__•  Make sure you wash and dispose of the waste water at least 100 feet from any water source. Never pour it into a river or lake, or any water source as this will contaminate the water!
__•  If possible, dig a small hole to pour the water into, to allow the ground to filter the water and return it back to the water source in its own natural way. If you can’t dig a hole, spread it over the ground to encourage natural filtration.

During campouts, I have seen people washing their dishes/pots/pans under a running spigot on their site. This is not an acceptable practice of camping dishwashing for several reasons. First, the running water is a huge waste of excess water! Second, the water is not being dispersed of properly to encourage natural filtration.
Using the ‘three-pan method’ for camping dishwashing takes a few extra steps than using a running spigot, but it is proper camping technique, sanitary for the environment…and for you, your family, and our dishes!
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D.  How to Use Clorox Bleach in Water Treatments
November 19, 2010, eHow.com, by Cricket Webber
<http://www.ehow.com/how_7366404_use-clorox-bleach-water-treatments.html#ixzz1HXdgkCLL>
In an emergency, purified water is essential.
The most thorough way to purify water is to boil it, but in an emergency this is not always possible. If you have no way to boil contaminated water, you can use Clorox bleach instead. Bleach is an inexpensive and highly effective disinfectant. You can use bleach to clean all sorts of surfaces, and it is used to keep laundry disinfected and clean. Common household bleach breaks down to salt and water after it has performed its disinfecting task. Never drink undiluted bleach, but you can use it to safely purify water in an emergency situation. The purified water can be used for drinking, cooking or washing dishes.
Procedure:
1.  Pour the water you want to purify into a clean container. If the water has a cloudy appearance, filter it before adding it to the clean container. Use a coffee filter or a paper towel to filter particles out of the water.
2.  Add Clorox bleach to the water with an eyedropper. To purify 1 qt. of water, add 3 drops of bleach. For 1/2 gallon of water, add 5 drops of bleach, and for 1 gallon of water, add 1/8 tsp. of bleach. If the water is cloudy or cold, increase the amount of bleach to 5 drops for 1 qt., 10 drops for 1/2 gallon, and 1/4 tsp. for 1 gallon.
3.  Dish rinsing:  a) If using hot water to rinse to disinfect dishes and utensils, add 1/8 tsp bleach per gallon water. b) If using a cold water rinse, add  ¼ tsp bleach per gallon water.
Mix the bleach thoroughly into the water.
4.  Let the bleach and water sit for at least 30 minutes before you use it. If the water is cold or cloudy, allow the water to sit for at least 60 minutes. The purified water should smell faintly of bleach when the reaction is complete.
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E.  How to Prevent Food Borne Illness by Cleaning Your Kitchen
eHow.com, by Amanda C. Strosahl< http://www.ehow.com/how_5069352_prevent-borne-illness-cleaning-kitchen.html#ixzz1Q0ankTIP>
[I have adapted this article to the emergency kitchen-Mr Larry]

More than 200 known diseases are transmitted through food. In the United States alone, an estimated 6 million to 81 million illnesses and up 9,000 deaths are caused by food borne diseases each year.
Keeping your emergency kitchen clean is a simple, yet effective way, of preventing food borne illness. Here are some easy steps you can take to make your kitchen a safe area.
1. It is easier to clean an emergency kitchen or camp table work  surface when you do not have to fight your way through it. Store pots/pans and dining accessories in cupboards, cabinets or boxes.  Keeping the extra surfaces to a minimum will provide less breeding ground for bacteria.
2. Clean out your refrigerator-ice chest on a regular basis. Discard any food that shows signs of spoilage. Wipe down the shelves and door using warm, soapy water or cleaning spray. It is safe to use dish detergent in your water when cleaning your refrigerator, but avoid using a variety that has a strong fragrance.
3. Clean up any spills on your stove top each time you cook. Use warm, soapy water or a kitchen cleaner. If you have used a camp oven, wipe the surfaces and racks after the interior has cooled. It is easier to remove drips and grease from the oven as they happen.
4. The work surfaces are the most dangerous areas in the emergency kitchen. Food, utensils and hands come directly in contact with these surfaces several times per day. Wipe down the work areas of your countertops or work top table before and after using them. Use hot, soapy water or a kitchen cleaning spray. Remove everything from the work surfaces and wash the entire surface once per week. An effective sanitizing solution for thoroughly cleaning the kitchen counters is to mix one capful of bleach into a quart of warm water. Allow the counters to air dry.
5. Wash dishes as soon as you can after using them. Do not let dirty dishes sit out on the counter. Bacteria and mold grows quickly on dirty dishes, especially in warm temperatures. Dirty dishes attract flies and other insects, as well as rodents. Wash dishes by hand using the procedures discussed above each time you prepare a meal.
6. Change your dish towel and dish washcloth daily. Bacteria can survive for weeks in a wet dishcloth or sponge. It is important to change your dishcloth, dishtowels and sponges on a daily basis. Use one dishcloth or sponge for cleaning the counters and another for washing the dishes. Use disposable paper towels when cleaning up spilled fluids from raw meat. If you plan to use a single dishcloth throughout the day, let it soak in a little water that has had a couple drops of bleach added to it between uses.

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Filed under Survival Manual, __4. Shelter Issues

Valuable skills

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Valuable skills)

A. 7 Reasons Learning Grooming Skills Should Be Part of Your Preps: Haircuts and Dog Grooming
24 June 2013, AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net, General Prepping
Pasted from: http://arewecrazyorwhat.net/7-reasons-learning-grooming-skills-should-be-part-of-your-preps-haircuts-and-dog-grooming/

skill barber

Learning how to cut hair and groom dogs might become a necessary skill to have if the S ever does HTF, and it might prove to be lucrative to boot. As you might have guessed from my writing, the general look of things around my blog, and my attitude, I’m not a very high maintenance kinda girl. Sure, I’ve had my hair and nails done before but only on very special occasions. Normally, I might have my hair cut once a year. This past year I cut my hair super short and went back to my natural hair color which is now salt and pepper. (Yes, I did color my hair for many years but I did that myself too.) My point in telling you all this is that over the years I’ve become almost completely self-sufficient when it comes to my grooming and my families grooming.  My self-sufficiency didn’t stop at my ability to groom my husband and children – I also learned to groom my dogs. Here are some of the reasons I decided it was in my best interest to learn these skills.

1. You Save  Time and  Money: This was my number one motivator to learn grooming skills. I learned how to cut my children’s hair when my oldest was about three because it was a lot of money to have his hair cut once a month. Well, maybe it wasn’t too much for just him but my husband already went to the barber once a month, and now my three year old needed his hair cut, plus I had a younger baby that would need his hair cut soon enough. I saw that the cost was going to add up fast. (This was before I even gave birth to my third son). So I bought clippers and a book and learned. My husband always joked that the boys were too young to care how they looked so if I messed up it wasn’t that big of a deal. By cutting my husband’s and boys’ hair I save about $720 a year. I was cutting hair long before we acquired dogs so the leap from grooming humans to animals was not too hard. I have a standard poodle and a wire fox terrier – two breeds that need to be groomed. (We cannot have a dog that sheds because two of my children have asthma.) By grooming the dogs I save about $640 dollars a year. Even if you don’t have a dog that requires grooming, if you live in a hot climate many people often shave their dog’s fur (especially long-haired varieties and even some short-haired varieties if they start shedding a lot) to make them more comfortable.

skill haircut1As you can tell from the age difference of my son in these photos I’ve been cutting his hair for years.

skill haircut2Here is the after picture of the most recent photo above.

2. Grooming is Part of Proper Hygiene:  If  the S does HTF hygiene will be more important than ever. Without running water and other conveniences it will become increasingly difficult to maintain proper hygiene. Hygiene is often overlooked in prepping because most of us have never been without it for an extended amount of time (like months…) and we often figure it will be the least of our worries. Learning how to tend to your families grooming needs could mean you don’ t have to deal with pests like lice and fleas and all the diseases they bring with them. Learning proper grooming could help your family stay healthy when doctors are scarce. If you are already in the practice of grooming everyone in your family all you’ll have to worry about is making the jump to doing it off-grid without electric clippers. If you do a little scissor work each time you groom this transition won’t be a big deal.

3. You Can Avoid Unwanted Stress: If you already know how to groom everyone in your family you won’t have to try and learn how if there is a collapse. You’ll be used to doing this chore and with a few minor adjustments it won’t seem much different than doing it under normal circumstances. After all, you’ll probably have other problems to deal with. Learning how to cut hair or groom your dogs should not be one of them. It also helps younger children (and animals) to have continuity:  ”mom has always cut my hair so it’s no different than normal”.

4. You’ll Have the Right Equipment and Know How to Use it in a Collapse: It’s one thing to buy clippers or scissors for cutting hair, and it’s quite another to actually use them. There is really no way to know if you have the proper equipment for cutting hair unless you are currently in the practice of grooming. Many home hair cutting kits don’t even come with scissors anymore, they just come with electric clippers. I learned how to cut hair with clippers, then I learned how to cut hair with scissors – it’s a process. If you start learning how to groom now you will be able to “think through” how you’ll handle things in an off-grid situation and know what equipment you’ll need.

skill fur trimHere is a before and middle picture of my big pup (she’s not quite done there on the bottom). It takes me about four hours from start to finish and I groom her about four to five times a year.

5. You’re Often Better Than a Professional:  Often times if you know how to cut your child’s hair you will be able to do it better than a professional. After all you know his hair type. You know if it’s thin or thick or if he has one cowlick or two (one of my sons has two). You know how his hair is “trained” to lie on his head. I tried to save money once by taking my children to one of those salon colleges where they let the cosmetology students cut hair for practice (as a result the price is super cheap). Big mistake! Also, on the few occasions that I’ve had my poodle groomed the professional grooming her did not clean her ears correctly. (Note: different breeds of dogs have different grooming needs. So before you begin to groom your pet please research your pet’s breed so you will be aware of any special issues unique to their breed.)

skill haircut3I can cut around ears pretty well now but that wasn’t always the case. Never forget it does not have to be perfect!

6.  If You’re Good Enough You Might Be Able to Offer Your Services For Barter: If there is a collapse and you have this skill you might be able to use it to barter with and obtain much needed supplies for your family. Let’s face it, not everyone is going to be prepped with everything they need no matter how hard they try. So knowing a skill that not everyone knows might come in handy one day.  (Note: it is currently illegal in most places to cut hair or groom animals for profit without a licence. So when I say barter I mean after the SHTF and these laws may no longer apply)

7. Grooming is a Chance to Examine Your Child or Dog: Most mother’s examine their children when they bathe them but there is that time around 10 years old when kids are learning hygiene that a mom might do a thorough examine every day. If you cut your child’s hair you can examine them for any abnormalities. This is especially helpful when it comes to grooming animals. If you groom your animals you can be on the lookout for everything from parasites to cancerous moles. By doing it yourself you can keep a record of any problems and keep an eye on any potential problems. Professionals are supposed to be on the lookout as well but most grooming boutiques have multiple employees and if you are lucky enough to get the same groomer each time they might not remember your animal after examining tons of others.

If you are looking to start grooming either your children or your dogs I recommend doing a search on YouTube where you will find many videos that will help you feel less intimidated. I also recommend a book called Scissors and Comb Haircutting as a good reference for learning how to cut hair. You can buy a Wal-Mart hair cutting starter kit when you decide to start learning (I certainly did), however, I learned very quickly that you get what you pay for. In addition, having cheap tools makes it harder to learn and harder on the family in general (you’re more likely to nick their skin).  My hair cutting tools are made by WAHL.  Here is the latest model of what I own.  The same goes with dog grooming tools. I actually upgraded my human tools and then used my Wal-Mart special on the dogs for a time. Again, big mistake and really I have to say buying the right tool for the job matters even more with animals. It just made such a huge difference in the ease of grooming them. Here is the clipper I have for my dogs. This clipper requires a blade.  I use a number 10 blade for my poodles face and paws, then I use it to cut all of my wire fox terrier’s coat, this is the shortest cutting blade and basically shaves the dog. To leave a short coat on my poodle I use a number 7 blade  in the summer and a number 4 blade for her in the winter. Be sure to always buy ceramic blades – they will last a lot longer. You will also need a good pair of scissors but I recommend not buying those through mail order so you can get a pair that fits your hand. You can buy them at a beauty salon supply store such as Sally’s.

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B.  5 Uncommon Skills That Will Be Useful After the SHTF
2 July 2013, BackDoorSurvival.com, by Gaye Levy
Pasted from: http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/5-uncommon-skills-that-will-be-useful-after-shtf/

I believe that community will be important in a post-SHTF society.

It is also my belief that each member of a community will need to contribute in one way or another to the group as a whole.  It is easy to think of those contributions as something physical that you can touch and feel such as food, medical supplies, fuel,  firearms, ammunition and cash. The problem, of course, is that depending on economic circumstances and logistics, even experienced preppers may have very little extra in the way of tangible assets to contribute to the community as a whole.

Today I would like to move beyond the need for Prepper’s to have physical and monetary assets .  Instead, I would like to suggest five uncommon skills that will be needed by every post-SHTF community.  These are skills that do not take a lot of money to learn and yet they will be extremely valuable and in high demand if the SHTF.  These are skills you may not have thought about, but important skills none-the less.

FIVE USEFUL SKILLS YOU MAY NOT HAVE THOUGHT OF
 1.  Sewing
Anyone who was a child during the Great Depression will know that new clothes were a luxury afforded by very few.  Clothes were worn until they were literally thread bare and even then, they were patched and mended, usually by hand. In those days, one of the very first domestic skills learned by a young skill seamstresschild was how to sew on a button.  After that, they were taught ironing, hemming, and darning.  Common opinion was that darned socks were lumpy, but they were better than no socks at all and lumpy or not, they kept your feet warm.

These domestic skills were not limited to just the girls.  As the Survival Husband will attest, little boys were also taught to sew, iron, hem and darn.

In a world where new clothes and even bolts of fabric are precious, if available at all, sewing skills will be needed to create new garments out of old.  Such things as sanitary pads for the ladies will need to be fashioned out of discarded pieces of cloth and even washable TP from old rags may be needed.  But most of all, clothes will need to be repurposed and made usable again.  And for that, someone with sewing skills will be invaluable to the community.

2.  Barbering and Hair Cutting
How often do you get your hair cut?  Once a month? Every two months?  When there is no salon around the corner or worse, no money for a salon, the next best thing is a good set of shears and someone with a modicum of hair cutting knowledge.

At the risk of sounding frivolous, no matter how bad things get, I know that I am going to feel better if I am well groomed and look nice. I am not talking about a fancy hairdo and salon highlights (which, by the way, I do not have).  I am talking about a nicely trimmed hairstyle, nothing fancy, that keeps hair out of my eyes and is short enough to wash and keep clean using only a modest amount of water.  The same applies to men although for many, a shaved head will be a viable option.

To get started in home barbering and haircutting, you need some barber shears and a trimmer.  I happen to use a Wahl Peanut that also does double duty for dog grooming.  A portable trimmer will run off of solar power so the lack of electricity should  not be a problem although there are plenty of battery operated models to choose from as well.

The other thing you need are some warm bodies that will let you practice on them. Note that I am not suggesting that you set up shop; States have strict licensing requirements when it comes to cutting hair and barbering.  What I am suggesting, however, is that you acquire some basic skills practicing on family and friends so that when the time comes, you can perform basic hair cutting for other members of your survival community.

skill SHTF bake3.  Cooking and Baking for a Crowd
When the pioneers traveled across the country in their wagon trains, certain individuals were designated “Cookies”.  These individuals were responsible for cobbling together family style meals from whatever provisions happened to be available.

Cooks, or “Cookies” will also be sought after in a post SHTF community.  The reason for this may be not be obvious but in truth, there will be so many chores to do that for the sake of efficiency,  it will be useful to have a central kitchen, where communal meals are prepared, perhaps even outdoors over an open fire.

People need to eat and anyone who has the skill to cook and especially to bake for a crowd will find a welcome place in the survival community.

4.  Teaching
Young people are going to need to learn the basics of reading, writing, and science.  As I wrote in Education After the Collapse – A Journey Back to Little House on the Prairie, the schoolhouse of old was likely the kitchen table, with Mom and Dad pitching in to teach their children the basics.

In a post SHTF society, there will not be traditional schools to educate children.  Instead, children and their parents will be on their own unless someone is willing to step up and teach them not only the basics, but also how to solve problems and how to think critically when solving problems.

What will it take to teach?  Some textbooks, paper, writing materials and flash cards will be good to have but even more important, is a willingness to share knowledge and to exhibit patience when dealing with children who have been displaced or may be confused by the scary world changes taking place around them.

5.  Entertaining
This last skill is something I have rarely, if ever, seen mentioned in prepping circles.  In a world where there are no movies, no TV, no video games and no mall, staying pleasantly occupied during leisure periods will be a challenge.  The risk, if there is no entertainment, is that you will either work yourself to death because you are bored or you will become depressed due to the lack of imaginative stimulation.

Entertaining  in a post SHTF world may include singing or playing the harmonica, guitar or accordion.  It might also include teaching a group to dance, play charades or even to play a rousing round of canasta.  Knowing how to entertain others and bring a bit of fun into their lives is a special trait that can be honed now and put into use over and over again, regardless of how bad things get.

THE FINAL WORD
Let’s face it. In a post-SHTF society, there are going to be the haves and the have-not’s.  As a matter of fact, one of the fears that many of us have is that someone will come knocking on the door empty-handed and will ask or even demand to join your community of preppers.  This could be a family member or neighbor or even a stranger who has done little if anything to prepare in spite of the many warning signs.

Although you may have some charitable handouts at the ready, inviting someone to be accepted into your home or community is going to require some tough scrutiny.  Part of that scrutiny will be to evaluate whether they have a useful and needed skill to bring into the mix.  And by useful skill, I mean a skill that will enhance the lives and lessen the burden of the others that are already there.  The five skills I have outlined today are the types of skills that will be sought after in such a situation.

My recommendation is that even if you do not think you will need them, it is a good idea to become proficient at one or more of these skills now. After all, if you need to bug out with simply your bug-out-bag and the clothes on your back, you may be the one knocking on a stranger’s door with nothing but your  skills to offer.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Personal documents

(Manual/ Prepper Articles/ Personal documents)

AHow to Create an In-Case-of-Emergency Everything Document to Keep Your Loved Ones Informed if Worst Comes to Worst
30 June 2011, lifehacker.com, by Melanie Pinola
Pasted from: http://lifehacker.com/5817021/in-case-of-emergency-how-to-organize-your-important-records-in-a-master-information-kit
pdocs how toIf you were hit by a bus today or were otherwise incapacitated, would your loved ones be able to quickly locate your important information or know how to handle your affairs? Many of us have a great handle on our finances, but our record keeping systems might not be obvious to family members or friends who might need immediate access to them in times of emergency. Here’s a step-by-step guide to organizing your vital information so it can be conveniently and safely accessed when needed.

The Goal: A Master Document or Folder with All Your Important Information
Perhaps the easiest method for creating a centralized document or set of files would be creating a Google Spreadsheet that you could share with your family and friends and keep updated regularly. We’ve created a basic Master Information Kit template just for this purpose, see above and copy from: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AurQ-1EcaNVWdERYNFoyazJLYXpqSGRvN1lxeE1Gb2c&authkey=CIW485gI&hl=en_US&authkey=CIW485gI#gid=0.
pdocs info kit

[Master Information Kit template]

The spreadsheet includes prompts for the information below, but you can customize it for your particular needs. To use the template for yourself, in Google Docs go to File > Make a copy… to save it to your Google account (make sure your version of the document’s sharing settings go back to the default “Private”).

Update: Due to high traffic to the template, Google Docs is only showing it in list view, making it impossible to copy. This zipped file has downloadable versions in PDF, XLS, and ODS formats. You can still import these into your Google Docs account.

There are really only a few steps to setting this organizer up: gathering your records, securely sharing them, and keeping them updated. Follow along and you’ll have your kit set up in no time—and a little extra peace of mind.

Step 1: Gather Your Vital Records to Keep in the Master Information Kit
The most important personal records:
First, there are a few documents that you obviously should keep in a secured location (a fire safe or safe deposit box):

  • Social Security card
  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Any other official, hard-to-replace documents
  • Scan these items so you can have a digital record of them as well. If you encrypt the digital files, e.g., with one of our favorite encryption tools TrueCrypt, and you can even upload them to Google Docs and share the files with your loved ones (make a note of them in the spreadsheet). See encryption file discussion at: http://lifehacker.com/5679777/best-file-encryption-tool-truecrypt

You’ll also want to add to your emergency records kit:

  • Contact information: Both your contact information and your emergency contacts’ info. This includes your nearest relatives, your will executor(s), and employers.
  • Will and medical directives: Add a copy of your will/living trust and medical letter of instructions (keep the originals with your legal representative). You can upload a PDF file to Google Docs for this purpose.
  • Insurance: Homeowners, auto, medical, life, disability, and other insurance agents/brokers contact info and policy numbers
  • Financial accounts: Bank, investment, and credit card/loan accounts information, including institution names, phone numbers, and account numbers
  • Health records: Immunization records, allergies, dietary restrictions, medications, medical/surgical treatments
  • Pet information: Description of each pet, vet contact information, and any important medical notes
  • Property: Car information, home purchase papers/deeds, and other home inventory items.

Again, adjust for your relevant information. Our Master Information  Kit spreadsheet includes individual sheets for most of these pieces of information, so just make a copy of the sheet (File > Make a Copy) and start filling it out, in section at a time.

Step 2: Export Your Accounts Information
Account Passwords
: For login information to important accounts, it’s best not to store your logins in an online document like this. Instead you can export your logins from password managers like Keepass, LastPass, or 1Password to a CSV file and then encrypt it so it can be shared securely. Our spreadsheet template includes a sheet specifically for describing your method of storing these files—the location of your vital documents, and any passwords needed to locate them.

Step 3: Share Your Master Information Kit and Vital Documents
The Google Docs spreadsheet is easy to share. Once you’ve filled out your version of the spreadsheet, click on the Share button and you can email people who you want to be able to view or edit the document. (Think people who you’d also consider emergency contacts.)

For your encrypted files, like the logins mentioned above, you could upload them in Google Docs, store on an encrypted USB thumb drive, or use something like Dropbox. Give the recipients your encryption password but for security reasons, only let them write down a hint to the password. E.g., vacation spot 2010 + pet bday + myfavoritesinger’smiddlename. Also, if you use Dropbox, make sure you encrypt sensitive information first. An encrypted zip file seems an ideal solution.

Step 4. Regularly Update Your Everything Document
You’ll need to update your files/master records book when you update your accounts.
Like setting up an emergency plan or a 72-hour emergency kit, this master information kit will need to be reevaluated regularly—consider doing so at least yearly (e.g., at tax time, when you’re already looking at all your accounts) or, better yet, quarterly.

Set up a reminder on your calendar so you won’t forget. When you get your reminder, don’t wait—just quickly look over the items in your document and if anything has changed, update it. If not, you’ve only lost a couple of minutes of your day toward a very good end.

More Resources for Creating a Master Information Kit
If you’re a Quicken user, for example, you may have access to Emergency Records Organizer built into the program, which can compile your emergency documents for you, based on the info you put in Quicken. It should be in the “Property & Debt” menu or you might find the program under your Quicken folder under Program Files.

Erik Dewey’s free Big Book of Everything is a very thorough organizer for all your affairs, with placeholders for you to record your bank accounts, insurance policies, tax records, and more. The 44-page Big Book of Everything is available in PDF or Excel format.  See and download from: http://www.erikdewey.com/bigbook.htm

There are also a few personal documents organizers in dead-tree version, like For the Record with the same purpose, in case you want pre-printed book. See at: http://www.amazon.com/Record-Personal-Facts-Document-Organizer/dp/1589850580/?ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309395730&sr=1-7&tag=gmgamzn-20

Our Master Information Kit template (listed above) is a simplified version for the most essential information and with an eye towards sharing on Google Docs (or downloading and saving).

Whichever method you choose, having all your vital information in one easily accessible place can be comforting, for both you and your loved ones.

.

B.  Why you should pack a Survival Flash Drive
Survival Cache.com,pdocs thumb drive
Pasted from: http://survivalcache.com/survival-flash-drive/

When we think of survival scenarios we don’t often think of packing important documents: Drivers License, Handgun Carry Permit, Passport etc. However, I think this is a bad idea, and here’s why you should pack a survival flash drive in your Bug Out Bag.

Consider Your Odds
First, the chances of you finding yourself in a regional survival situation, such as Katrina or Haiti, are much greater than an end of the world scenario.
So let’s assume you were in an area-wide situation, had to bug out, and all of your stuff that’s not on your back got destroyed.

pdocs bureaucratsFear the Bureaucrats
So you made it out, but with all your stuff gone you might not have any of your important documents with you. While that doesn’t really seem important compared to your life, the years worth of red tape and bureaucratic paperwork that we call a government doesn’t care. In fact, at that point you are a non-person.

How do they know you are who you say you are? You have no proof of identification and a terrorist attack just destroyed your city. How do we know you aren’t the terrorist? (After all you had an escape plan prepared)
While this may sound ridiculous, given the nature of our government these days it’s really not that farfetched.

Survival Flash Drive
To prepare for a localized survival scenario in which you will eventually have to re-enter regular society make it much easier on yourself and back-up your most important documents ahead of time.

All you have to do is buy a cheap USB flash drive, (or a waterproof one) scan all of your important documents, and store them on your flash drive in your Bug Out Bag. Bug Out and you’ve brought your all important “life on paper” with you. You can also keep this USB in a element proof bag like a Loksak Bag.

*Don’t go buy a scanner if you don’t have one, just take the stuff to Kinkos or Office Max and have them scan it all for you.

** Warning: Modern Copy Machine and Scanners have an internal Hard Drive that keep a digital copy of everything they scan. All it takes is one malicious worker at the store to steal your identity. If at all possible find a private copy machine and scanner.

What to put on your Flash Drivepdocs documents

  • Driver’s License
  • Handgun Carry Permit
  • Passport
  • Bank Account Documents
  • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • Insurance Information
  • Marriage Certificate
  • All of the above for all Children
  • Important Family Pictures

Be extremely careful keeping up with your Survival Flash drive, back in the regular world that is your identity.

.

C.  The Most Critical Survival Tool
10 Feb 2011, Bug Out Bag Quest, by Lee
Pasted from; http://www.bugoutbagquest.com/2011/02/most-critical-survival-tool.html

pdocs smart phone- electronics

I’m often asked by readers: “What’s the most valuable survival tool?” At the risk of offending many people, I’ll share my answer with all of you: It’s not a gun, or a knife, or a way to start a fire, or any of the other macho answers – it’s an iPhone. An iPhone (or similarly featured smart phone) is the only tool that is useful in every type of emergency or survival scenario:

1. Car in the ditch? Call for help.
2. General emergency? Contact your family.
3. Bugout situation? Let your family know your plans.
4. On foot in a bugout situation in unfamiliar territory? Use the phone’s GPS and maps.
5. Want to carry critical personal documents? Store them encrypted in the phone.
6. Need to document what’s happening around you? Use the phone’s HD movie or still camera.
7. Need to be rescued from an unknown location and have cell signal? Take a picture of your surroundings and mail it, complete with geotag.
8. Need your survival library? You can carry 10,000 books with you.
9. Want all this and more for very light weight? You got it – the iPhone is basically a computer that you can put in your pocket.
10. Worried about running out of juice? No problem – the phone can quickly charge from AC, DC, or solar, and will hold a charge on standby for days.

This phone can satisfy all of your communication needs except for a grid-down situation. It can store all of your documents. It can navigate. It is sturdy. It gets my vote as the most valuable survival tool because it is the most versatile survival tool.

.

D.  Replacing Your Important Papers
5 November 2013, Fema.gov, Release Number: NR-084
Pasted from: http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/11/05/replacing-your-important-papers

DENVER – Not only were Colorado homes damaged by the recent severe storms, flooding, landslides or mudslides, but many survivors also lost valuable personal documents.  The documents include everything from Social Security cards to driver licenses to credit cards.

The following is a partial list of ways to get duplicates of destroyed or missing documents:

Birth and Death Certificates – Birth and death certificates can be replaced by visiting your county vital records office or on line http://go.usa.gov/DFbw

Marriage Certificates – The online link for replacement of marriage certificates is http://go.usa.gov/DFbw

Marriage Dissolutions (divorces) – The online link for divorce decree replacements is http://go.usa.gov/DFbw

Adoption Decrees – The Colorado District Courts link for adoption records – if the adoption was finalized in Colorado – is http://go.usa.gov/DFbw

Immigration Documents – Contact your county office or the site below for citizenship, immigration, permanent resident card (green card), employment authorization, re-entry permit and more. uscis.gov

Driver Licenses – Visit any Colorado driver license office with acceptable identification and proof of address. Fee required.

Vehicle Registration, License Tab or Title – Contact your county motor vehicle office. You will need proof of insurance and Colorado vehicle emissions. Fees administered by county.  http://tinyurl.com/m2hchyh

Passport – Complete form DS-64 from http://tinyurl.com/ld6z28k

Military Records – Request Standard Form 180 (SF-180) from any office of the Veterans Administration, American Legion, VFW or Red Cross, or download from http://tinyurl.com/lnu2pmt

Mortgage Papers – Contact your lending institution

Property Deeds – Contact the recorder’s office in the county where the property is located

Insurance Policies – Contact the insurance company for replacement papers

Social Security Card – Go to a Social Security Administration office. You also can request a copy of your Social Security statement online http://www.ssa.gov

Transcript of Your Tax Return – Call nearest Treasury Department office, IRS office or 800-829-3646; request form 4506. To find your local IRS office, go to http://tinyurl.com/mvk5dvu

Savings Bonds/Notes – Complete Form PDF 1048 (Claim for Lost, Stolen or Destroyed U.S. Savings Bonds); available by calling 304-480-6112 or at http://www.treasurydirect.gov/forms/sav1048.pdf

Credit Cards – American Express, 800-528-4800; Discover, 800-347-2683; MasterCard, 800-622-7747; Visa, 800-847-2911

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Post Collapse: Eyewitness 2

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Post Collapse: Eyewitness 2)

This Is What Crisis Feels Like: A Personal Story: “It All Changed. Literally Within A Day…”
12 June 2013, SHTFplan.com, by Simon Black
Originally published by Simon Black at Sovereign Man.
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/this-is-what-crisis-feels-like-a-personal-story-it-all-changed-literally-within-a-day_06122013

 If you’re one of the 1,000+ subscribers who has take the trip down to Chile, you might have had the pleasure of meeting Marco, my right-hand man in Chile.
One of the great things about Marco is that he intuitively understands our Sovereign Man philosophy. Because he lived through it.
You see, Marco is originally from Argentina. And he has some extraordinary stories about what it’s like to live through a sovereign default and currency collapse.

post collapse riotFrom Marco:
“On December 1, 2001, Argentina’s economy was in trouble. Unemployment was high, debt was high, and recession had taken hold. But life was somewhat ‘normal’.

Basic services still functioned. And no one had to really worry about… food. Or water. Then it all changed. Literally within a day.

On December 2nd, our bankrupt government imposed measures that essentially froze everyone’s bank accounts. You can just imagine– one day having access to your funds, and the next day being completely cut off.

Within a matter of days, people were out in the streets doing battle with the police. The government soon defaulted on its debt, and the currency went into freefall.

I was doing some post-graduate work in Boston at the time. As a foreigner in the US, I wasn’t really able to work… so I was living on a tight budget from my savings.

Yet, overnight, I went from being able to pay my rent and living expenses to being completely cut off from my funds. I had nothing.

But when I spoke to my family back in Argentina, I realized that they had it even worse.

Everything became scarce. The electricity went out all the time. Even food on the grocery store shelves ran low. You would eat what you had available at home.

And in a way, food became a medium of exchange. Within just a few days, people went from having confidence in their currency to not trusting it at all. No one wanted to accept paper money anymore, especially for something as valuable as food.

And if they did, it would be at 2-3 times the normal price. With all of this unfolding, I flew back down to see my family.

My father called me and said he had stashed his life savings in US dollar cash in a bank safety deposit box. He needed my help getting it out.

When we arrived to the bank, there were thousands of people in the streets rioting. The police were there in paramilitary gear. It was so tense, we had to bribe someone just to get inside the bank.

Fortunately we were able to get access to the box. But… we had to walk 3 or 4 blocks to the car. It was half panic, half adrenaline rush walking past an angry crowd with my father’s life savings shoved down our pants.

Looking back, this was crazy. But at the time, it was the only way. Then came the even harder part– getting it out of the country.

We had friends who would take rowboats full of cash to neighboring Uruguay. But this was incredibly risky.

At the time, the only legitimate way to get money out of the country was buying ADRs (Argentine public companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange). And the only reason we were even able to do this was because we had the contacts.

But we got killed on the fees. The commission alone was 20%, and then, of course, the stocks we purchased took a dive.

So my father ended up losing about half of his savings trying to get it out of the country at the wrong time.

What’s funny is that we eventually ended up suing the government. They had destroyed everyone’s life savings, and even seized pensions as well.

The government dragged out the legal process for years, almost a decade. They were hoping that all the retirees who were suing them would simply die off, and the problem would go away.

Eventually, we won the case (along with thousands of others). But the judge gave the government a ‘suspended sentence’. So, no penalty.

There are so many more stories to tell about this… and fortunately I can laugh about it all now. But at the time, it was beyond stressful.

The best way I can describe it is despair. And this is really the worst emotion you can have. Because when you’re in a state of despair, you’re hopeless. It’s a terrible position to be in.

Life becomes hell because you do not know whether you are going to be able to put food on the table the next day.

And in such a state of despair, you’re not in a position to make good decisions. It’s all about survival.

Of course, we kept thinking, “why didn’t we see this coming? Why didn’t we do something sooner?”

If only we had moved some money out of the country before, or taken steps to safeguard his pension, life would have turned out much differently.

It’s like that old saying– better to be a year (or decade) too early than a day too late. Because one should never underestimate the speed with which things can unravel.

B.  Why Most Disaster preparedness Experts have No Clue what the Hello They’re Talking About!
8 Aug 2013, OffGridSurvival.com,  Posted by: Rob Richardson
Pasted from: http://offgridsurvival.com/disasterpreparednessexperts/

Emergency Preparedness Planners Are not Planning on Saving you during a Disaster!
I’ve talked to a number of these people over the years, and two thing always become glaringly obvious. First, these people usually despise anyone outside their Ivy League discussion groups – especially anyone who calls themselves a prepper.  Second, they have no idea how to help people become better prepared, and many of them have no idea how to respond to an actual emergency.

Let’s briefly deal with the first point, because I believe they’re behavior is a huge problem – one that is likely to cost many lives.

 Do Preppers deserve a bad rap?
It really depends on how you look at the situation. While I’ve been very critical of shows like Doomsday Preppers, I have met some of these people, and a lot of them are actually incredibly knowledgeable. Yes, some are only on these shows to exploit they’re 15 minutes of fame, but there are a great number of people who call themselves preppers that could be incredibly useful to the general public.

The problem comes in how the media, and shows like Doomsday Preppers, have chosen to portray these people. Instead of highlighting them in a way that can help better prepare the public, we often only here the word prepping when it’s tied to some psychopath who just killed a bunch of people.

Sadly, and something that leads me into my second point, is the fact that these “preppers” often have more practical knowledge than the emergency preparedness experts our government pays to do this for a living.

 Emergency Preparedness… or just Useless Government Bureaucracy?post collapse fema
I’ve been to a number of emergency preparedness conferences and expos, and the one thing that bothers me the most, is how clueless most  of these people are. While most of our first responders have a pretty good idea of what they’re doing, the bureaucrats – and the idiots who run agencies like FEMA – seem to have more interest in how they look than they do in saving the public from disasters.

 Case and Point: Last year I attended an emergency preparedness summit that literally surprised the hell out of me. I went hoping to get a better idea of how emergency preparedness people plan for disasters, what I came away with was anything but helpful.

Conference after conference was devoted to things like social media, how to respond to the media, and how to basically cover their asses once they screwed something up. Hour after hour was devoted to discussions on how to respond to the media when things didn’t go as planned.

These people were literally reviewing case studies of all the times they screwed things up, and then talking about how they could have better handled the media backlash. I couldn’t believe it; instead of reviewing these screw ups, and then figuring out how to prevent them, they instead choose to figure out how they could better respond to media criticism. Government at its finest!

 You are the only First Responder you can really count on!
A couple days ago, I wrote about my experience of watching someone get sucked under the water while attempting to swim across a cove I was fishing near. This experience, along with my experience at a number of emergency preparedness expos, has solidified my belief that you need to be your own first responder.

Whether it’s being prepared for future disasters, or being prepared to defend your home from intruders, the only person you can really count on is yourself. In most disasters timing is everything, and you simply cannot rely solely on emergency responders to keep you safe. You must be prepared to deal with emergency situations yourself, even if that’s just keeping things stable until emergency responders can respond.

 You are the First Responder during an Emergency, and you need to keep that in mind going forward. It’s your responsibility to do everything you can to learn the skills, and the techniques you need to survive in an emergency situation.

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Post Collapse: Eyewitness 1

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Post Collapse: Eyewitness 1)

post collapse city

A.  Real Life Account of Post-Collapse Argentina: Life in Post-Collapse Argentina, Oct. 2005
10 Feb 2013, Tech Prepper, originally Fernando Ferfal Aguirre author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” (see an image of book’s cover below)
Pasted from: http://www.techprepper.com/general/a-real-life-account-of-post-collapse-argentina/

 The following is an account of a student in Argentina during their economic collapse (source: RapidTrends.com via @ShelfRelianceOH). This is the closest thing I’ve read to a “been there done that” guide to surviving TEOTWAWK (The End of the World As We Know It).

“My brother visited Argentina a few weeks ago. He’s been living in Spain for a few years now. Within the first week, he got sick, some kind of strong flu, even though the climate isn’t that cold and he took care of himself. Without a doubt he got sick because there are lots of new viruses in my country that can’t be found in 1st world countries. The misery and famine lead us to a situation where, even though you have food, shelter and health care, most others don’t, and therefore they get sick and spread the diseases all over the region.

What got me started on this post is the fact that I actually saw this coming, and posted on the subject here at Frugal’s, [frugalsquirrels.com] months before the new viruses spread over the country and the news started talking about this new health emergency, which proves that talking, thinking and sharing ideas with like-minded people (you guys), does help me to see things coming and prepare for them with enough time. So I started thinking about several issues, what I learned (either the hard way or thanks to this forum) after all these years of living in a collapsed country that is trying to get out an economical disaster and everything that comes along with it. Though my English is limited, I hope I’m able to transmit the main ideas and concepts, giving you a better image of what you may have to deal with some day, if the economy collapses in your country. Here is what I have so far:

URBAN OR COUNTRY?
Someone once asked me how did those that live in the country fare. If they were better off than city dwellers. As always there are no simple answers. Wish I could say country good, city bad, but I can’t, because if I have to be completely honest, and I intend to be so, there are some issues that have to be analyzed, especially security. Of course those that live in the country and have some land and animals were better prepared food-wise. No need to have several acres full of crops. A few fruit trees, some animals, such as chickens, cows and rabbits, and a small orchard were enough to be light years ahead of those in the cities. Chickens, eggs and rabbits would provide the proteins, a cow or two for milk and cheese, some vegetables and fruit plants covered the vegetable diet, some eggs or a rabbit could be traded for flour to make bread and pasta or sugar and salt.

Of course that there are exceptions, for example, some provinces up north have a desert climate, and it almost never rains. It is almost impossible to live off the land, and animals require food and water you have to buy. Those guys had it bad; no wonder the northern provinces suffer the most in my country. Those that live in cities, well they have to manage as they can. Since food prices went up about 200%-300%. People would cut expenses wherever they could so they could buy food. Some ate whatever they could; they hunted birds or ate street dogs and cats, others starved. When it comes to food, cities suck in a crisis. It is usually the lack of food or the impossibility to acquire it that starts the rioting and looting when TSHTF.

When it comes to security things get even more complicated. Forget about shooting those that mean you harm from 300 yards away with your MBR [main battle rifle]. Leave that notion to armchair commandos and 12 year old kids that pretend to be grown ups on the internet.

Some facts:

  1. Those that want to harm you/steal from you don’t come with a pirate flag waving over their heads.
  2. Neither do they start shooting at you 200 yards away.
  3. They won’t come riding loud bikes or dressed with their orange, convict just escaped from prison jump suits, so that you can identify them the better. Nor do they all wear chains around their necks and leather jackets. If I had a dollar for each time a person that got robbed told me “They looked like NORMAL people, dressed better than we are”, honestly, I would have enough money for a nice gun. There are exceptions, but don’t expect them to dress like in the movies.
  4. A man with a wife and two or three kids can’t set up a watch. I don’t care if you are SEAL, SWAT or John Freaking Rambo, no 6th sense is going to tell you that there is a guy pointing a gun at your back when you are trying to fix the water pump that just broke, or carrying a big heavy bag of dried beans you bought that morning.

The best alarm system anyone can have on a farm are dogs. But dogs can get killed and poisoned. A friend of mine had all four dogs poisoned on his farm one night, they all died. After all these years I learned that even though the person that lives out in the country is safer when it comes to small time robberies, that same person is more exposed to extremely violent home robberies. Criminals know that they are isolated and their feeling of invulnerability is boosted. When they assault a country home or farm, they will usually stay there for hours or days torturing the owners. I heard it all: women and children getting raped, people tied to the beds and tortured with electricity, beatings, burned with acetylene torches. Big cities aren’t much safer for the survivalist that decides to stay in the city. He will have to face express kidnappings, robberies, and pretty much risking getting shot for what’s in his pockets or even his clothes.

post collapse fernando bookSo, where to go? The concrete jungle is dangerous and so is living away from it all, on your own. The solution is to stay away from the cities but in groups, either by living in a small town-community or sub division, or if you have friends or family that think as you do, form your own small community. Some may think that having neighbors within “shouting” distance means losing your privacy and freedom, but it’s a price that you have to pay if you want to have someone to help you if you ever need it. To those that believe that they will never need help from anyone because they will always have their rifle at hand, checking the horizon with their scope every five minutes and a first aid kit on their back packs at all times…. Grow up.

SERVICES
What ever sort of scenario you are dealing with, services are more than likely to either suffer in quality or disappear all together. Think ahead of time; analyze possible SHTF scenarios and which service should be affected by it in your area. Think about the most likely scenario but also think outside the box. What’s more likely? A tornado? But a terrorist attack isn’t as crazy as you though it would be a few years ago, is it?

Also analyze the consequences of those services going down. If there is no power then you need to do something about all that meat you have in the fridge, you can dry it or can it. Think about the supplies you would need for these tasks before you actually need them. You have a complete guide on how to prepare the meat on you computer… how will you get it out of there if there is no power? Print everything that you consider important.

WATER
No one can last too long without water. The urban survivalist may find that the water is of poor quality, in which case he can make good use of a water filter, or that there is no water available at all. When this happens, a large city were millions live will run out of bottled water within minutes. In my case, tap water isn’t very good. I can see black little particles and some other stuff that looks like dead algae. Taste isn’t that bad. Not good but I know that there are parts of the country where it is much worse. To be honest, a high percentage of the country has no potable water at all.

If you can build a well, do so, set it as your top of the list priority as a survivalist.
Water comes before firearms, medicines and even food. Save as much water as you can. Use plastic bottles, refill soda bottles and place them in a cool place, preferably inside a black garbage bag to protect it from sun light. The water will pick some plastic taste after a few months, but water that tastes a little like plastic is far way better than no water at all. What ever the kind of SHTF scenario you are dealing with, water will suffer.

In my case the economical crash created problems with the water company, that reduces the maintenance and quality in order to reduce costs and keep their income in spite of the high prices they have to pay for supplies and equipment, most of which comes from abroad, and after the 2001 crash, costs 3 times more. As always, the little guy gets to pay for it. Same would go for floods or chemical or biological attacks. Water requires delicate care and it will suffer when TSHTF in one way or another. In this case, when you still have tap water, a quality filter is in order, as well as a pump if you can have one. A manual pump would be ideal as well if possible. Estimate that you need a approximately a gallon per person per day. Try to have at least two-four weeks worth of water. More would be preferable.

POWER
I spent WAY to much time without power for my own taste. Power has always been a problem in my country, even before the 2001 crisis. The real problem starts when you spend more than just a few hours without light. Just after the SHTF in 2001 half the country went without power for 3 days. Buenos Aires was one big dark grave. People got caught on elevators, food rots; hospitals that only had a few hours worth of fuel for their generators ran out of power. Without power, days get to be a lot shorter. Once the sun sets there is not much you can do. I read under candle light and flashlight light and your head starts to hurt after a while. You can work around the house a little bit but only as long as you don’t need power tools. Crime also increases once the lights go out, so whenever you have to go somewhere in a black out, carry the flashlight on one hand and a handgun on the other.

Summarizing, being in a city without light turn to be depressing after a while. I spent my share of nights, alone, listening to the radio, eating canned food and cleaning my guns under the light of my LED head lamp. Then I got married, had a son, and found out that when you have loved ones around you black outs are not as bad. The point is that family helps morale on these situations.
A note on flashlights. Have two or three head LED lights. They are not expensive and are worth their weight in gold. A powerful flashlight is necessary, something like a big Maglite or better yet a SureFire, especially when you have to check your property for intruders. But for more mundane stuff like preparing food, going to the toilet or doing stuff around the house, the LED headlamp is priceless. Try washing the dishes on the dark while holding a 60 lumen flashlight on one hand and you’ll know what I mean. LEDs also have the advantage of lasting for almost an entire week of continuous use and the light bulb lasts forever. Rechargeable batteries are a must or else you’ll end up broke if lights go out often. Have a healthy amount of spare quality batteries and try to standardize as much as you can. I have 12 Samsung NM 2500Mh AA and 8 AAA 800mh for the headlamps. I use D cell plastic adaptors in order to use AA batteries on my 3 D cell Maglite. This turned out to work quite well, better than I expected. I also keep about 2 or 3 packs of regular, Duracell batteries just in case. These are supposed to expire around 2012, so I can forget about them until I need them. Rechargeable NM batteries have the disadvantage of loosing power after a period of time, so keep regular batteries as well and check the rechargeable ones every once in a while.

After all these years of problems with power, what two items I would love to have?

  1. The obvious. A generator. I carried my fridge food to my parent’s house way to many times on the past. Too bad I can’t afford one right now.
  2. A battery charger that has both solar panel and a small crank. They are not available here. I saw that they are relatively inexpensive in the USA. Do yourself a favor and get one or two of these. Even if they don’t charge as well as regular ones, I’m sure it will put out enough power to charge batteries for LED lamps at least.

GAS (Propane and natural gas)
Gas has decreased in quality as well, there is little gas. Try to have an electric oven in case you have to do without it. If both electricity and gas go down, one of those camping stoves can work as well, if you keep a good supply of gas cans. The ones that work with liquid fuel seem to be better on the long run, since they can use different types of fuel. You can only store a limited amount of compressed gas and once you ran out of it, you are on your own if stores are closed of they sold them out. Anyway, a city that goes without gas and light for more than two weeks is a death trap, get out of there before it’s too late.

A DIFFERENT MENTALITY
I was watching the People & Art channel with my wife the other night. It was a show where they film a couple for a given period of time and some people vote on who is the one with the worst habits, the one they find more annoying. We were in our bed, and this is when I usually fall asleep but since the guy was a firearms police instructor I was interested and managed to stay awake. At one point the guy’s wife said that she found annoying that her husband spent 500 dollars a month on beauty products for himself. 500 USD on facial cream, special shampoo and conditioner, as well as having his nails polished! If you are that guy and happen to be reading this, or if you know him, I’m sorry, but what an idiot!! “500 USD, that’s a small generator or a gun and a few boxes of ammo” I told my wife. “That’s two months worth of food” she said. We were each thinking of a practical use for that money, the money this guy was practically throwing away. Once the SHTF, money is no longer measured in money, but you start seeing it as the necessary goods it can buy. Stuff like food, medicine, gas, or the private medical service bill. To me, spending 500 dollars on beauty products, and to make it worse, on a guy? That’s simply not acceptable. The way I see it, someone with that mentality can’t survive a week without a credit card, no use in even considering a SHTF scenario.

And this guy is a firearms instructor?… probably the kind of guy that will say that a handgun is only used to fight his way to his rifle… and his facial night cream…
Once you experience the lack of stuff you took for granted, like food , medicines, your set of priorities change all of a sudden. For example, I had two wisdom teeth removed last year. On both occasions I was prescribed with antibiotics and strong Ibuprofen for the pain. I took the antibiotics (though I did buy two boxes with the same prescription just to keep one box just in case) but I didn’t use the Ibuprofen, I added it to my pile of medicines. Why? Because medicines are not always available and I’m not sure if they will be available in the future. Sure, it hurt like hell, but pain alone isn’t going to kill you, so I sucked it up. Good for building up character if you ask me.

Make sacrifices so as to ensure a better future, that’s the mentality you should have if you want to be prepared. There’s stuff that is “nice to have” that has to be sacrificed to get the indispensable stuff. There’s stuff that is not “basic need stuff” but it’s also important in one way or another. My wife goes to the hairdresser once every month or two. It’s not life or death, but it does make her feel better and it boosts her morale.

I buy a game for the Xbox or a movie to watch with my wife every once in awhile, just to relax. 7 or 10 dollars a month are not going to burn a hole in my pocket. Addictions such as alcohol, drugs or even cigarettes should be avoided by the survivalist. They are bad for your health; cost a lot of money that could be much better spent, and create an addiction to something that may not be available in the future. Who will have to tolerate your grouchy mood when your brand of smokes is no longer imported after TSHTF?

PART II: URBAN SURVIVAL

GRAY/BLACK MARKET
Once the SHTF the black/gray market will take no time to appear all around you.
In my country, gray markets were even accepted in the end. At first it was all about trading skills or craft products for food. Districts and towns would form their own barter markets, and created their own tickets, similar to money, that was used to trade.
This didn’t last long. Those tickets were easy to make on your home computer, there was no control and eventually people went back to paper money.

These markets were usually placed on warehouses or empty land, and were managed by some wise guy and a few thugs or hired security. Anyone can go rent a kiosk inside these markets for about 50-100 pesos (about 20-30 dollars) a day and sell his goods and services. Peace within these markets is usually respected… lets just say that these managers don’t call the police if someone tries anything funny, like stealing, fighting or taking advantage of women. That’s not good for their business and anyone that tries to mess with their business finds out how much pain the human body can actually experience or gets a free ticket to meet the Lord. Sometimes even uniformed cops manage security on these markets, for a small fee of course. As always, you still have to be careful. They may still try to pick your pockets or even attack you once you leave the market. Once you leave the market, you are on your own, as always.

These markets evolved and now a lot of different products are available. Today I visited my local market, a warehouse that is fairly well set up and cleanly managed. They had problems for selling stolen merchandise and fake brand name clothes a few days ago.

What can be found at the local markets? Mostly food and clothing. Some have more variety than others but cheese, canned food, spices, honey, eggs, fruits, vegetables, beer, wine and cured meat are generally available, same as bakery products and pasta. These are less expensive than those found at supermarkets. Fresh fish is sometimes available but not always, people don’t trust many products that need refrigeration, and they get those at supermarkets instead.

Clothes are also popular and you can find copies of brand name clothes, imitations, or even original stolen new clothes, the same goes for shoes and sneakers. Children clothes, underwear, socks, sheets and towels are all very popular. Some sell toys, but they are always China made, mostly poor quality though there are some few exceptions. Others sell tools, also made in China can be found as well, but they are of poor quality. Some offer their services and repair stuff or offer work as handyman.

You would be amazed of the junk that these guys manage to fix: TVs, CD players, Power tools, etc. They even manage to solder the small integrated circuits boards sometimes. Give one of these guys a screw driver and a bar of chocolate and he will fix a nuclear submarine.

After food and clothes, the 3rd most popular item has to be CDs and DVDs, movies, music, play station 2 and Xbox games, programs, it all ends up there just one or two days after the official release in USA. Seems that they have a guy hidden under Bill Gate’s desk or something. Anyway, almost everything can be found there, and if you want, you can ask around, talk to the right guy and buy illegal stuff like drugs or black market guns and ammo. The quality of the drugs is questionable, of course, and a lot of addicts die from the mixtures these guys sell.

Guns are mostly FN High Powers, Surplus 1911s and Colt .45s, Sistemas, and old Colt Detective revolvers in 38 special that found their way from police and military armories into the black market. Condition isn’t very good but if you have money you’ll be amazed of what you can end up with. Everything that is used by the military and police, including SMGs a, Browning 50 BMG Machine guns, and even frag grenades, is available in the black market, if the customer has the amount of money and a little patience, of course. The big guns may take a while, but the handguns and grenades are readily available.

GOLD!!
Someone hit me in the head please because I messed up about the gold issue.
Everyone wants to buy gold! “I buy gold. Pay cash” signs are everywhere, even on TV! I can’t believe I’m that silly! I just didn’t relate it to what I read here because they deal with junk gold, like jewelry, either stolen or sold because they needed the money, not the gold coins that you guys talk about. No one pays for the true value of the stuff, so big WARNING! Sign on people that are buying gold coins. Since it is impossible to determine the true mineral percentage of gold, small shops and dealers will pay for it as regular jewelry gold. What I would do if I were you: Besides gold coins, buy a lot of small gold rings and other jewelry. They should be less expensive than gold coins, and if the SHTF bad, you won’t be losing money, selling premium quality gold coins for the price of junk gold. If I could travel back in time, I’d buy a small bag of gold rings. Small time thieves will snatch gold chains right out of your neck and sell them at these small dealers found everywhere. This is VERY common at train stations, subways and other crowded areas.

So, my advice, if you are preparing for a small economical crisis, gold coins make sense. You will keep the value of the stuff and be able to sell it for its actual cost to gold dealers or maybe other survivalists that know the true value of them. In my case, gold coins would have been an excellent investment, saving me from losing money when the local economy crashed. Even though things are bad, I can go to a bank down town and get paid for what a gold coin is truly worth, same goes for pure silver. But where I live, in my local area small time dealers will only pay you the value of junk gold, no matter what kind of gold you have. So, I’d have to say that if TSHTF bad, gold jewelry is a better trade item than gold coins.
.

PART III: GUNS, AMMO AND OTHER GEAR

After TSHTF in 2001, only the most narrow minded, brain washed, butterfly IQ level idiots believed that the police would protect them from the crime wave that followed the collapse of our economy. A lot of people that could have been considered antigun before, ran to the gun shops, seeking advice on how to defend themselves and their families. They would buy a 38 revolver, a box of ammo, and leave it in the closet, probably believing that it would magically protect them from intruders.

Oh, maybe you don’t think that firearms are really necessary or your beliefs do not allow you to buy a tool designed to kill people. So you probably ask yourself, is a gun really necessary when TSHTF? Will it truly make a difference? Having gone through a SHTF scenario myself, total economical collapse in the year 2001, and still dealing with the consequences, 5 years later, I feel I can answer that question. YES, you need a gun, pepper spray, a machete, a battle axe, club with a rusty nail sticking out of it, or whatever weapon you can get hold of.
A LOT has been written on survival weapons. Everyone that is into armed survival has his or her own idea of the ideal gun battery. Some more oriented to a hunting point of view, others only as self defense means and others consider a little of both, and look for general purpose weapons. Talking about guns, there is one special subject I want to rectify, and it’s the point on what’s the primary weapon for the survivalist, specially a urban survivalist that has to function in a society, yes, even after the SHTF.

The primary defensive weapon for the survivalist is his HANDGUN. It’s the weapon that stays with him when he is doing his business around town of working on the field. The survivalist IS NOT a soldier, even though you are a soldier or you once were the meanest mother on the battlefield, your home town is not a battlefield and it won’t be, even if the SHTF. A LOT of water has to go under the bridge until the situation gets to a point where you can calmly walk down the street with a rifle on your shoulder. People, if you are interested in real world SHTF situation and you want to prepare for the real deal, then understand that this isn’t black or white. You wake up one day and listen on the radio that the economy collapsed and that the stock market closed indefinitely. What do you do? You still have to go to the office/work/whatever. Kiss the wife good bye and walk to the office with your AR across your back, or across your chest, Israeli style, ready to shoot? You won’t get far. Someone will shoot you or throw you in jail, or in a mental institution.

What I’m trying to explain, is that it’s ok to prepare for China invading your country, Germans and UN or Martians. That is the extreme, least likely worst case scenario.
There is an infinity spectrum of gray between the black and white. White being your average normal day and black being total TEOTWAWKI, lizard men invading the planet.
Rifles do have a place in the survivalist’s arsenal, and a very important one. But you have to understand that 90% of the time, the handgun will be the weapon you have available when you need one. You can’t compare to a trooper in Iraq that has his weapon with him at all times. I ask you how many soldiers do you know that keep wearing camouflage and toting their M4s around town when they return home?

What works for war does not work for the survivalist, especially the urban survivalist.
Even if you live in a retreat far from town, you have to work, don’t you? Or do you have employees that take care of all your mundane tasks, leaving you all day to keep watch with your rifle ready? A soldier is part of a huge machine; HIS job is to carry that rifle, while others take care of other needs. A survivalist, one that is not part of a large survivalist group, has no one to cover for him.

When a new guy looks for advice on what to get for defense, some will recommend a rifle or shotgun as a first defensive weapon.

Let’s say race riots start in this guy’s city. He still has to go to work every day. What is he supposed to do? Shove his pump shotgun in his pocket? A handgun, even though less powerful, can be used for home defense AND go with you wherever you need to go. If the place floods, he can still hop into an evacuation boat without leaving his weapon behind. I’m sure no rescue team will pick you if you are carrying a long arm. They’ll ask you to leave it behind for sure. What if your government, realizing that TSHTF and that they lost control of the events, bans all firearms indefinitely? Don’t know about you, but if things are that bad, I’d like to be armed. You can hide a handgun under a jacket. You can’t hide a long arm under your clothes.
I think it was Clint Smith who said that the handgun is only to be used to fight his way to his rifle. Man! That sounds “macho”. I’d love to see him walking into Walmart with his tactical M4, taking the subway, visiting the doctor or going to the bank. “Over here Mr. Smith, you can hang you M4 right next to my coat” I don’t think so. Guys, unless you have your own shooting school, you do not get to carry your rifle to work.

OK, now that I got that out of my chest lets look at some options.
Handguns: Revolver or Pistol? Pistol ALL THE WAY! Yes, I saw the video of the guy that accurately emptied his S&W in ½ a second. I also saw the shooting range and the crowd behind him, watching the event. Can he shoot and reload that way if he is in his car, driving with one hand and shooting with the other, while a bunch of scum bags in another car are shooting at him? Hey, maybe he can. I know I can’t. Can you?

Generally speaking, the revolver is more difficult to master than the pistol. The double action is hard and it affects speed and accuracy. It can be done, but I found that pistols are easier, as did many shooters. Also, even though they seem to be more simple, revolvers are not as rugged as service pistols, the mechanism that cycles the cylinder and cocks the hammer is both complicated and fragile compared to auto pistols.

Before anyone starts casting evil voodoo spells at me for insulting their prized S&W or Ruger: I own revolvers and like shooting them, I just don’t think they are the best option for self defense, and I see that everyone I talk to in my country who is worried about security as I am also chooses pistols. Quality pistols resist sand, mud and dirt in general better than revolvers, where a small pebble locked in the mechanism may render the revolver inoperable.
I personally had a problem with a new stainless steel Taurus Tracker .357 magnum. After shooting it a couple of times I reloaded it and shot all 7 rounds as fast as I could and when I tried to empty it, I found that the empties were stuck because they expanded because of the heat. I had to wait until the gun cooled a little so I could empty the gun. Stuff like this can get you killed, even more in a 7 round handgun.

I once saw a man walk into a gun store wanting to trade his 357 magnum revolver for a 9mm high capacity pistol. He said he was driving when thugs from another car started shooting at him. He was chased for a few blocks. He said that he pulled his revolver and started shooting at them, and ran out of ammo real fast. He wanted more capacity and fast reloading. I could not agree with him more. Some will consider this “Spray and pray”, thinking that all rounds should hit the target and if some don’t then it means that you need more time at the range. Those same people will tell you that they intend to use bolt action rifles as defensive rifles, making each shot count, without ever missing their target, one shot one kill. I don’t agree with this. One shot one kill is ok for snipers, but the survivalist should have other alternatives.

I don’t see anything wrong with shooting four or five rounds at a chasing car. If those rounds make them think twice about their intentions, they are rounds well spent in my book, even if they don’t kill the attacker. Suppressive fire is possible if you have a high capacity pistol. I wouldn’t doubt on using such a tactic if it serves my purposes, or if it buys me time to get out of there. Also keep in mind that criminals are cowards and therefore attack in groups. The survivalist should be able to face more than just one attacker. Getting into a gunfight with two or three armed men while packing a 6 round revolver is rather hard to deal with. A high capacity pistol can load about 15 or 19 rounds, and that can certainly make a difference in a gunfight where you are outnumbered.

A forensic doctor that used to live in my neighborhood got killed last year. He was ambushed when he exited a restaurant by 5 or 6 men. Even though they did kill him he managed to kill 4 of them and severely injure another. He shot regularly and carried a Glock .40. I’m sure he was lucky but I also think that his choice of weapon was also important in the outcome. If anyone is wondering, people in my country that are serious about self defense carry Glocks. Those that don’t have the money for a Glock carry Bersas, FN 9mm High Powers or 1911 surplus .45s. At first I wasn’t sure about the Bersa, but once I tried them I saw that they are very decent guns.

The caliber choice calls for endless debate and it is not my intention here. Lets just say that 9mm , 40S&W and 45ACP are the obvious choices. 40S&W seem to be the most adequate, both in FMJ and HP, while 9mm lacks some stopping power and hollow points should be used if possible. Though the 9mm lacks power compared to the 40S&W, it is more popular world wide, a factor to consider seriously when choosing a handgun for SHTF. Besides, 9mm can also be used in a number of carbines and SMG, another important fact to be considered.

SMGs and carbines chambered for 40S&W and .45 ACP are also available, but they at not nearly as popular as those chambered for 9mm. Whatever you choose keep 500 or better yet 1000 rounds of quality ammo for your handgun at all times. 100 rounds won’t last much if the crisis lasts long. Also consider that once the balloon goes up, governments tend to restrict guns and ammo.

Rifles
I previously stated that the urban survivalist will be using his handgun 90% of the time he needs to defend himself and family from attackers. I didn’t pull this figure out of thin air; it is quite accurate based on what happens here on daily basis, even a little optimistic. Cold harsh reality has shown us that most attacks occur when entering or exiting your home, when you are more vulnerable.

Almost no one is stupid enough to try to enter a barred house with armed occupants. Believe me people; the gene pool will clean itself rather fast once the SHTF. So, is a rifle necessary? Of course it is! There is still that 10%, and that 10% can still ruin your day. And this percentage sky rockets if you intend to use that same rifle for putting meat on the table. If you have to settle with just one rifle, go for a semi auto. Ideally you should have a bolt action one and a semi auto rifle. A bolt action and a semiautomatic 308 would make a nice combination.
Whatever you choose, try to keep it within military calibers and military weapons if possible.
It may seem that I have something against bolt rifles but I don’t. I think they are fantastic weapons, but I think that semi autos are much better fighting weapons. The idea of “picking them out” 300 meters away with your bolt rifle, as they come in a row blowing whistles and firing warning rounds is laughable at best. Bolt rifles do have advantages over semi autos, accuracy not being the most important one. Bolt rifles such as Mausers last forever and are harder than rocks, and THAT’S important. They are simple, easy to repair tools that will serve you (within their limitations of course) longer than any other weapon. For example, the coil spring on my Mauser 1891 safety broke into 3 separate parts, after almost 100 years of faithful service. I dug into my tool box and found a spring left over from a kitchen shelve door. I cut it approximately to the length of the previous spring, replaced it and the rifle was fixed. There are not many weapons that allow this. And it is a very valuable attribute once the SHTF and spare parts are no longer available.

Stick to common calibers, 223, 7.62×39mm, or 7,62×51 (308). 223 vs. 308? I’m not going there. If you prefer 223 because it has less recoil, it’s lighter, or you favor the AR rifle go ahead. If you think that 223 is more powerful than 7,62 sign up to Physics I.
Just remember what I said before, a survivalist is not a soldier serving in Iraq, and you don’t have the entire USMF to back you up. You are on your own. You are not going to pin your attackers down with a questionably effective round and wait until someone hits them with artillery.
About ARs… I wouldn’t trust my life to a rifle that has more versions than Rocky sequels… the way I see it, it means that the basic design was the problem and there is no solution. On AK … all has been said. The most popular rifle on the planet, and popular not because of politics, but because it works. It also fires an intermediate power, effective round, available world wide. SKS are also good, but I’d rather have removable magazines. Again, don’t use voodoo on me because I say I wouldn’t trust my life to a AR. If you keep your weapon clean, know its limitations and feel comfortable with it, go for it please. A couple of rounds of 223 will kill anyone just as well.
If you want a rifle that can do a little bit of everything relatively well, do yourself a favor and get either a M1A or a FAL in 7,62 (308) with a carbine length barrel. Preferably with a red dot scope and some kind of light mount. Leave full length barrels to hunters and bench rest shooters. Do your homework on both guns and you’ll see what I mean.

Choose 308 not because of the added range you can get out of it, but because of its power at all ranges, choose it because it turns cover into concealment. Think about all the possible cover material you can find in a city, like cars, trees, low walls and other structures. The 308 will go right through it, or destroy it after a few rounds. It’s a proven cartridge through out the years.
Shotguns.

Shotguns are good general purpose guns. The main advantage I see is the devastating stopping power and the ability to use special ammo, like slugs and less than lethal ammo. I’m not so sure about the role as an “inside house” gun. The muzzle blast is great and quick follow up are not easy, especially when adrenalin is pumping through your system or, even worse, when someone is shooting back at you.

Pistol caliber carbines and SMG.
If possible , I’d choose a SMG reduced to semi auto (only if necessary, of course, full auto selector is better if possible ) or other kind of short, small, pistol caliber carbine. The combination of a 9mm handgun and a 9mm carbine or SMG reduced to semi auto or full auto class III has lots of advantages in my book and is a fine combination.
Some think that full auto is a waste of ammo. I don’t think so, not if you know how to use your head, and use this feature wisely. If you can get a short barrel and collapsible stock, you’ll also have a weapon that can be hidden under a heavy coat. A red dot scope would enhance accuracy a lot. The advantage of having the same ammo for long and small arm is not to be taken lightly. From the logistical, survivalist point of you, this is one big thumbs up! Think about cowboys and Americans that lived in the west, they also knew the value of using the same ammo for rifle and handgun. They had single action handguns and lever action handguns chambered for the same ammo, the modern survivalist can have the same ammo for his auto pistol and his sub-rifle as well.
Some think that a pistol caliber long arm is just one big clumsy pistol or a rifle sized gun that delivers pistol power and accuracy. This is BS. Anyone that ever fired a pistol caliber rifle or SMG knows that they are much more accurate, hitting torso targets at 100 yards is easy, and a little more if you have a red dot scope. Also, SMGs can manage hot ammo specially made for such guns, much more powerful than the one for handguns. Even if you use regular handgun ammo, the added barrel length adds a few extra feet per second making it more powerful. Just check the information on boy armor. Body armor that is rated to stop 9mm, for example, is not rated to stop the same 9mm ammo out of a SMG or carbine, because the added speed will make that same round penetrate the vest. Anyway, +P ammo is more than enough power out of a SMG or carbine, you don’t have to go looking for special SMG ammunition.

If you can get full auto that’s one nice feature to have, not worth it if you are on a tight budget, but if you can get it, it may come in handy someday. Full auto SMG are giving police in my country a lot of headaches. A criminal with little or no training will put 3 or 4 cops armed with pistols and shotguns on their toes, just because of the sheer volume of fire these high capacity 9mm deliver. There was this case of a bad guy standing in front of a patrol car full of cops on a red light stop, pulling a 9mm SMG out of his coat and emptying it on full auto. The cops didn’t have a chance, he killed them all. The car looked like Swiss cheese with 40 9mm holes all over the vehicle.

SOUND SUPPRESSORS
All I’m going to say on this subject is: Have one if you can. That’s it. I’ll leave the rest of it to your imagination, don’t make me say it. Today it may seem like a “nice to have” feature… after the SHTF, it may be a “O God I’ve got to get a suppressor!!” feature.
I’d buy a good suppressor instead of a ultra high dollar scope like the SOG. Buy a good quality scope, but don’t spend a fortune on it, and use the rest of the money on a suppressor. If you are serious about preparing for SHTF, you’ll thank me one day, just trust me on this one. 9mm and 45 suppress quite well. Not as well as .22 , but there is much more power on the big bore ammo. Combined with a full auto SMG, the possibilities are much greater. Sometimes it’s just better to go unnoticed, especially in a SHTF crisis.

BODY ARMOR
Dear God! Buy body armor PLEASE!! It’s dirt cheap in USA. Preferably, get the police concealable kind (class II) Then continue to work on it and get class III A military armor and some rifle plates, just as you do when you start buying guns. You’ll end up with 2 or 3 sets of armor which are great to have for family members and spares. Just so you know, I got so desperate about body armor I ordered it from USA through internet (bulletproofme.com), I ended up paying a total of nearly 600 USD for body armor that costs 200 USD in USA. Buy it while you still can. When the SHTF you’ll end up wearing it, believe me. I don’t wear mine all day long but I do wear it when I have to go some place dangerous, deal with people I don’t trust, or when I have to go teach Architecture Representation late at night, and must travel through a much dangerous road at 12 PM.”

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Basic Concepts

(Survival Manual/2. Social issues/Basic concepts)

One of the most amazing points of ‘Preparedness’ is- the sudden awareness of your vulnerability.

1.  Definitions:
•  Wealth is the ability to survive a given number of days forward. Wealth is not measured  in dollars, but in how long into the future you can survive; food is wealth, etc. (Buckminster Fuller)

•  Self Sufficiency
:
  Refers to the state of not requiring any outside inputs or aid, support, or interaction, for survival. Having a bank of batteries that feed power into your systems after the power is out, but which use the power grid to recharge once the power comes back on.
Self Reliance: Is having a solar panel to recharge your battery bank, so you do not need the power grid.
Having a degree of Self Sufficiency does not mean turning your back on the system (grocery store, electric co.), it’s about accepting the fact that the systems can fail and  developing a degree of separation from your dependency. The pioneers who first colonized the New World, Australia, and parts of Africa were self-sufficient because they had to be and, in this context, the term suggests a kind of rugged independence associated with mastering a new and rather hostile environment.

•  Self Reliant: The practice of being dependent only on yourself, and being able to care for yourself in any situation. Still need inputs, but have a back up a limited period of ‘self sufficient’ capability. To rely on something is to depend on it. If you are self-reliant, you rely on yourself.
This can be a good thing if you are independent and take care of yourself. Self-reliance of any kind, political, social or personal, is not an easy goal to reach. “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you like everybody else,” writes E.E. Cummings, “means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.” It’s a battle well worth fighting-for ourselves and for future generations.

•  Acute: The immediate/abrupt onset/effects of a disaster, i.e.,  the ground shaking during an earthquake, the shock wave and immediate fallout from a blast/nuclear explosion, being fired
from ones job, home invasion, home fire. The period of acute effects is variable depending on the nature of the disaster.

•  Aftermath:  A period of time following a disastrous event in which the consequences of the disaster come to bear on you and your area, i.e. famine follows a severe drought; the aftermath is always worse on the survivors than the brief and often violent phase of the disaster. Survivalists primarily
prepare for the Aftermath.

•  An Event cascade: Engineers used to talk about guarding against the “single point of  failure” when designing critical systems like aircraft control systems or nuclear power plants. But rarely does one mistake or event cause a catastrophe. As we’ve seen in Japan (2011 earthquake, tsunami, nuclear plant explosions), disaster is usually a function of multiple mistakes and a string of bad luck,
often called an “event cascade” or “propagating failures.”

•  True Wealth: True Wealth is having possession of what it takes to keep a full belly, maintain a sense of hope and pay your bills.

•  How long can you survive? People wish to emulate others who live in Mac-Mansion homes, however, the affluent ‘rich’ depend on their job incomes to maintain their lifestyle, shut off the income and they’d be broke in 30-60 days. Their ‘wealth; is based strictly on income. However, a small farmer holding a laborers job in a rural box factory might be considered wealthy,  because he has survivability. In the aftermath of a disaster money may not have value, while goods, i.e., food and water have value. (If I have food and you have gold, before long I’ll have all your gold and you’ll have a small amount of my food.)

Could you live in your home for 3 months if there was a National Epidemic Lockup? Would you have water stored for every member of the family for drinking, washing and flushing the toilet? Would you have enough food, toilet paper, Kleenex, personal medical supplies, and  other auxiliary products on hand?

•  Financial Concerns: Once you are well on your way to acquiring your family’s preparation tools, equipment, and supplies, consider acquiring extra items to help others and to use as future barter
goods. You might be able to trade extra water filters, garden seeds, survival books, cooking fuel, batteries, antibiotics, and ammo for other needed products or services. Some people are even converting a modest percentage of their traditional paper investments into some gold and/or silver coins for trading purposes, as well as for prudent wealth diversification.

Having wealth in forms other than solely paper dollars, plastic credit cards, or a 401k account might make the critical difference in one day being able to buy gas or get your gravely ill child to the front of a mile-long line to see the only overworked doctor or dentist or pharmacist in town. It’ll sure beat only waving around your last mutual fund or bank statement then.

•  Commonality of Disasters: We all share a common circumstance and that is, if the public systems/social structures/political leadership/economic and military systems we depend on fail, then we are left to fall back on our personal resources for survival.

The systems we count on can simply be made non available to individuals or to groups that share a commonality, or they can fail on a local, or larger geographical level. Systems may be available to most
people, but not accessible for others. For example if you lose your job and run out of money and are unable to pay your credit card, then your credit line is closed down. So, while the financial net provided by credit remains available for most, it becomes inaccessible to you.

If there were a series of EMP explosions above the USA, the country’s financial electronic infrastructure would fail, making electronic deposits, transfers, credit checks, electronic debits and
electronic cash registers, checkout scanners inoperable commercial retail trade would have failed. For a short period, trade would be crippled and not available to anyone,  it would become available to persons with cash.

•  The World’s Largest Ponzi Scheme. Ponzi schemes have a tough time existing in “reality”. They typically need the “virtual world” in order to wreak havoc on their victims because in the real world
things are exposed, but in the virtual world it is easy to hide behind lies – because the system in which we live is, in fact, NOT REAL. Our government won’t publish M3 (which tells us how many US dollars are currently in circulation).
What does that tell you about the true strength of the dollars we hold? The US dollar is right now potentially the largest Ponzi scheme in the world because no one knows how diluted its supply really is, yet it is the entire world’s reserve currency. If that doesn’t make you want to own at least some gold
I don’t know what will.

•  Regarding The Federal Reserve: “They will thrash about more as the air gets thinner and thinner. They see the likely end-game. They will push it into the future are long as possible.  And just before the inevitable happens, they will press the panic button – a false flag, a civil insurrection, a world war. And then they will make their escape and hope to pop back up again when it is safe—as the savior
to a devastated and downtrodden citizenry desperate for help.”
The last duty of a central banker is to tell the public the truth.” — Alan Blinder, Vice Chairman of the  Federal Reserve

•  The Virtual World: Our world has become virtual in so many ways; from our bank accounts to our relationships on social networking sites. We judge our wealth by looking up our 401 K’s online at work instead of counting the physical assets in our possession. We judge our support systems by how many people wished us a happy birthday on Facebook. We judge our personal security by the fact that we may live in a community with a reportedly low crime rate instead of our own abilities to defend ourselves. We view the world through our television sets which tell us that economic collapses always happen somewhere else. We couldn’t imagine gas stations that are out of fuel, grocery stores with empty shelves, banks with no money, or a local police force that refuses to respond to calls unless they are deemed a “priority”.

We couldn’t imagine these things because most of us in America believe that our “civilized society” has evolved to the point where we don’t need to produce things anymore. Instead we just need to pay the rest of the world (with the dollars generated from our service based economy) so that they can produce things for us. Regardless of how fragile our social and economic structure has become due to our reliance on the strength of our currency and our inability to appreciate the gravity of a full-blown societal panic, our ability to thrive in this virtual world has led to a false sense of security that is sure to catch the majority of us off guard when things begin to get worse and the reality of this economic depression begins to settle in.

2.  Concept Notes
• 
You don’t know if, or when, or with what severity a disaster might strike, while you do know
the history of your area and the nature of past disasters. You don’t know what will and will not be available to you in the aftermath.
•  Survival is not a right and it’s not guaranteed, you have to make it happen.
•  The typical American’s rainy-day plan: Hope it doesn’t rain.
Poll: 24% of Americans have the recommended six months expenses set aside (mostly older people, in their 50s and 60s), 24% have no emergency savings at all (under 30 years old, and/or incomes less than $30,000/ year.). Fewer than 50% had saving worth 3 months expenses.
•  Where ever you live– the greater the population density of your community and surrounding communities, the greater the resource requirements are, and the faster a breakdown will occur when the supply infrastructure (money, food, water, electricity, auto gas, etc.) is stopped.
•  Once the Welfare and Medicare checks stop ‘the poor will take care of their own family’ by taking from the people with an apparent wealth of material goods, people who are perceived to be their oppressors anyway.  Once you lose that sense of community, it’s basically every man for himself.
•  Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.
•  If I have food and you have gold, before long I’ll have all your gold and you’ll have a small amount of my food.
•  Reality has no compassion, its neutral.
•  A battle plan never survives contact with the enemy.
•  Preparedness activity is difficult to track statistically, since people who take measures are usually highly circumspect by nature. people should “assume the possibility of a breakdown of the civilized
infrastructure.”
•  The veneer of freedom, prosperity and civilization is very, very  thin, and the monetary authorities
can destroy it with a few years of severe inflation.
•  Your safe haven should be as designed to be as self-sufficient as possible and capable of growing some kind of food. It should be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes,
etc. Think Swiss Family Robinson. Even in America and Europe there could be moments of riot, rebellion or other causative factors  precipitating a period when law and order temporarily completely breaks down.
•  Banks only have around 4 cents in cash for every $1 on deposit. As long as the US & world economy and currencies are in decline, the number of nations in revolution and in bankruptcy are increasing, don’t leave any more than the minimum amount of currency in your account.
•  People say, “I would never buy silver or gold at these prices.” But it’s not a matter of price. It’s a matter of possession. At the end of a monetary collapse what matters is what you actually posses, not what you have claims to. Claims quickly become worthless. Wealth is goods. Money is the claim
to goods. Understand this and you will understand why gold and silver have stayed around as money for centuries while governments and their “legal tender” have come and gone. I suggest you get yours before you can’t.
•  The Wall Street Journal podcast (4 June 2011)  reported that a study recently showed that 40% of the businesses forced to close due to a natural or manmade disaster, never reopened.
[My take on this is, should the disaster be small scale, then the town, city, county, state or regional community can step in with support, but if the disaster involves several regions, or becomes national in scope, there will follow massive unemployment that will not promptly recover, but will linger on continuing to degrade the affected areas.]
•  Money: Gold is the money of kings. Silver is the money of gentleman. Barter is the money of
peasants. Debt is the money of slaves.
•  “Invest in anything that Bernanke can’t destroy, including gold, canned beans, bottled water and flashlight batteries.” (David Stockman, Reagan’s Budget Director, October 2010 )
•  When there’s a gap between perception and reality, more reality won’t close the gap.
•  Those who sweat the most during peacetime bleed the least during wartime.
•  The more experienced you become, the more dangerous you become to yourself. (Because you begin to behave according to patterns that may not in fact repeat, setting yourself up for an alternative undesirable  outcomes.)
•  Remember, none of us will ultimately be survivors – we all have to die one day. But the successful survivor extends his or her life beyond an earlier death…a death that was caused by ignorance of how to make that life last longer.

3.  Survival concepts
A.  The Rules of 3:
In any survival situation,  prioritize your activities to protect yourself from the closest, most pressing
element in the Rules of Three. If you are in an area with extreme temps seek to protect your core temp then look for water, if you have adequate temps/shelter  and water, look for food…

Rules  of Three table

3 minutes You can only live about 3 minutes without air/breathing.
3 hours You can live only about 3 hours exposed and unprotected to extreme temperatures. Hyperthermia (body core rises to about 103ºF-106ºF, and usually is slower to kill).   (body core declines to 87ºF-90ºF, can occur quickly if the body/clothing is wet
freezing rain or submersion, then exposed to freezing or near freezing air temperatures).
3 days You can only live about 3 days without safe water.
3 weeks You can live only about 3 weeks without food.
3 months Death may follow without socialization after about 3 months.
3 years Apathy/Disinterested: May only live 3 years without an interest or goal in life

See author and instructor Cody Lundin’s website,  http://www.codylundin.com/

B. It’s a Calorie Game
“It’s a calorie game’. A survival situation is all about conserving energy when you can and expending energy wisely to accomplish something to better your situation. Whether it’s building a shelter for weather protection or using traps to hunt for game while you are busy doing other things, it’s all about
calories. To save calories in a survival situation you need to focus on the essentials and not spin your wheels doing a bunch of things that won’t improve your status or enable a rescue.

 C.  7  Skills used to defeat the 7 Enemies of Life.
The 7 Skills:
•   Fire Starting
•   Water Procurement
•   Shelter Building
•   Foraging for food
•   First Aid
•   Self Defense
•   Signaling
The 7 Enemies of Life:
•   Cold and Heat
•   Thirst
•   Fear and anxiety
•   Hunger
•   Fatigue
•   Pain and Injury
•   Boredom and Loneliness

D.  Can survivalism  be compared to a game of chess?
In chess you have your pawns, knights,
bishops, rooks (castle), queen and king. Good chess players always think several moves ahead, they have plans and backup plans. If one plan does not work out, then the next plan is put into play.
Pawns – stockpiled food, water and other supplies.
Rook (or castle) – Your home, shelter, retreat, bug out location.
Knight – Your weapons and firearms.
Bishop – Your faith,  religion, morals or values – this is what you believe in.
King and Queen – the family unit.

Pawns are the stockpiled food and supplies because you will go through them the fastest. These are
expendable items that you have a lot of. Maybe pawns could also include seed stocks? If you get a pawn to the other side of the chess board, you get a piece back. So if you plant a seed and get something in return, that would be like getting a chess piece back. If you open a case of MREs, you lose a pawn. You
only have so many to go through before you will run out.
Rook, symbolic of a home and shelter. A man’s house is his castle.
Knight, symbolic of old Europe. These are defenders of the faith and crown. They are portable, and able to jump over other pieces on the board. The knights job is to protect the queen.
Bishop, symbol of what is good and holy.
King and Queen, the goal of the game  is to keep them alive. Just as the queen is the strongest piece on the chess board, so are women strong in a survival situation. A lot of times women are more resourceful and cunning then men.
The King, without his queen and other resources, he is nothing. As the game draws to an end, and the king is the only piece left on the board, we realize how important team work is. As he scurries about trying to avoid checkmate, survivors with no friends, family or other resources will scurry around trying to stay alive.
As the opponents pieces move in for check mate, so death moves in to claim its next victim. Only through resources and skillful planning, will the king and queen win the day.
Pasted from <http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=104882&highlight=survival+chess>

 E.  The Five Cs
The Five Cs are the core of what Dave Canterbury teaches in what he calls the Pathfinder System. The five Cs are (in priority)
Cutting – A solid dependable knife.
Combustion – A way to quickly and reliably start a fire in all conditions.
Cover/Clothing- A way to get out of the elements of nature and be protected. Also how to dress
appropriately for where you are.
Container - A way to carry, store and boil water for purification. Also for carrying food,  cooking, etc.
Cordage - A way to tie and lash together available resources for shelter, carrying, traps, etc.
http://www.thepathfinderschoolllc.com/

 F. Three kinds of people: Sheep, Sheep Dog, Wolves
Sheeple: Kind, decent and productive, don’t hurt one another unless by accident.  In denial of the potential for danger and self-sufficiency. They don’t particularly like the sheep dogs as they ‘look’ too much like the wolves and may have a capacity for violence.

Sheep dogs: protect the flock and confront the wolves. People of the front line.  People with the heart of a  warrior, a warrior class. Ones who walk the heroes path,  who walk into the heart of darkness. The military, police and armed Citizens (particularly ones w/ Carry Permits).
Sheep dogs are people who have a capacity for violence, but who’d never consider hurting any of the sheep. Typically, the sheep tend to be afraid of the sheep dogs, referring to the police as ‘ruthless cops’ and others as ‘crazy Survivalists’. Yet every year, more bad guys are shot by armed citizens than by police.
Sheep dogs have one advantage over the Sheep, they are able to survive in an environment that destroys 98% of the other people…Sheep Dogs are not in denial.

Wolves: Have no empathy for their fellow citizens. Criminals target people’s body language,
watching for people who walk bent over, slowly, unsteady distracted and weak. Victims are chosen in a way similar to a large carnivorous cat does, selecting one that looks weak then culling it out of the herd.

 5.  Best of John Pugsley
February 15, 2005, http://www.stealthinvestor.com
“A number of years ago, three friends and I flew by ski-plane into the tiny town of Bettles just south of the Arctic Circle in northern Alaska. We then adventured by dogsled a few miles up a river, where we came across the cabin of a fur trapper and his family.
Fascinated, we looked at the skins that made his livelihood, shared some moose-jerky, and listened as he explained how he tended some 20 miles of trap lines.

It seemed dangerous to us. He’d be gone for days, alone, miles from the cabin, completely at the risk of the violent Alaskan winter storms.
“Not a problem,” he winked, “I’m insured.”
“Insured against being caught by a storm?,” I asked incredulously.

“Yup. Self-insured. Every mile or so I’ve buried a cache of survival stuff, you know, matches, fuel,
food…essentials to hold me for a few days if I get snowed in. The caches are my insurance. Even collected on it a few years back. One cache saved me.”

Clearly, a cache of supplies is a primitive, but effective form of insurance. In exactly the same sense, the
strategies of second citizenships, offshore trusts, foreign bank accounts, and international asset diversification are global caches, and thus forms of self-insurance against political and economic storms.”

6.  Philosophical  & Biblical
•   “What a changed country we have become in our expectations of ourselves. A less affluent America survived a Depression and world war without anything like the 99 weeks of unemployment insurance, welfare payments, earned income tax credits, food stamps, rent supplements, day care, school lunches and Medicaid we have today. Public or private charity were thought necessary, but were almost always to be temporary until a breadwinner could find work or a family could get back on its feet.” (Pat Buchanan)
•   “In early 1964, a Food Stamp Act was signed into law by LBJ appropriating $75 million for 350,000 individuals in 40 counties and three U.S. cities,” say Pat Buchanan in his article, Food Stamp Nation. “Now, 43 million—one out of seven Americans—either can’t or won’t feed themselves.”
•   “I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large-scale.” (Thomas Jefferson, to John Taylor May 28, 1816 )
•   “A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” – Proverbs 22:3
•   “The wise see danger ahead and avoid it; but fools keep going and get into trouble.” (Proverbs 27:12)
•   “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)

•   “The way that is bright seems dull;
The way that leads forward seems to lead backward;
The way that is even seems rough.
The highest virtue is like the valley;
The sheerest whiteness seems sullied;
Ample virtue seems defective.” (Tao Te Ching 41)

•   “God will save you from hidden traps and from deadly diseases.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you can hide.
His truth will be your shield and protection.
“You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day,
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side, or even ten thousand right beside you;
But it shall not approach you.
For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways”. (Psalm 91:2-5)

•   “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

A Final Word
To better avoid  unhealthy and overwhelming angst trying to prepare for all future dislocations
and disruptions, keep in mind, that each step is like acquiring commercial insurance. We all hope and pray we won’t need that insurance, but if we ever do, our families won’t find us lacking in providing for their basic safety and welfare.

Once you’ve started making the type preparations discussed in Survival Manual, strive to stay balanced. Thank God that you have begun, try to awaken others, and begin to confidently relax in your new alert status. You’ll then be able to more fully enjoy life with your family knowing that you’re firmly on the road to better being able to handle just about any event that might occur in this quickly changing world. Mr. Larry

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Food storage layers

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Food storage layers)

A. The One-Year Pantry, Layer by Layer
13 Mar 2013, SHTFplan.com, by Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/the-one-year-pantry-layer-by-layer_03132013

This article has been generously contributed by Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition. After joining the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999 Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management & response.

She is the author of the soon to be released Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. You can begin your preparedness journey or extend your existing plans by visiting the FREE 52 Weeks to Preparedness guide.

When planning for emergencies, layering is an ever-constant theme. I often emphasize when one begins to prepare that you start simply by preparing for small-scale emergencies, and then slowly begin adding onto those existing preps to create a longer term preparedness supply. These emergency layers help you create a reliable foundation, and the same layering approach can be used when creating a food storage pantry.

There are some emergency food considerations to keep in mind:

  • The amount of people in the household.
  • Have a good amount of food varieties to reduce food fatigue.
  • The serving size of the food.
  • Vitamin content in the food.
  • The expiration date or “best if used by” labels on the food.
  • Special health conditions for family members.

Additionally, these essential food pantry rules can come in handy when you decide on which food to purchase.

Your Food Storage Layers
Layer 1 (0- 72-hours)
– In the onset of an emergency and the days following a disaster, the first food to go should be from the refrigerator. Keep in mind that refrigerated food will stay cold for four to six hours, assuming the door is left closed as much as possible. In a fully stocked freezer, foods remain safely frozen for approximately two days if the door stays closed. You want to use up your perishable foods first and then begin preparing your foods that are frozen. Plan meals to meet a 1500-2000 calorie diet that are high in nutrients. Once the perishable food has been consumed, it’s time to move onto your secondary layer of your emergency preps. A word of advice – have an ample supply of water on hand!

Layer 2 (4-30 days) – These emergency foods should consist of “just add water” meals or meals that do not require substantial amounts of water, fuel or preparation time. Having some canned, pre-packaged dinners, or meals that are “ready to eat” during emergency scenarios will help you begin acclimating yourself to cooking in a grid-down scenario as well as to help provide some comfort at the same time.

Keep your family’s preferences, any existing health conditions and food allergies in mind when preparing this food storage layer. Another thought to keep in mind, is that a large amount of water will be needed to rehydrate some of these meals. Have a large amount of water stored or a means to filter water during an emergency.

Layer 3 (31-99 days) - I have often said that our preps are our life line. The items we choose should be able to carry us, not only through difficult times, but perhaps through impossible times as well. This layer of pantry foods should consist of multipurpose, everyday pantry items. These foods are relatively inexpensive and easy to acquire. Keep food storage shelf lives in mind and regularly rotate these items in order to maintain a fresh food source. Further, having a fresh source of vitamins will help your body thrive during an emergency. Consider storing a supply of seeds for sprouting – they are cheap, easy to store and require minimal amounts of time for growth.

For those who are preparing for longer term or extended emergencies, at a minimum you should have a 3 month supply of food and build it up to a 6 month supply. This will be the beginning of your longer term food source, and re-packaging these food sources into more durable containers or packages will keep your food’s enemies away. Further it is a good idea to begin storing large quantities of foods that have extremely long shelf lives.

web link
For a list of the 11 emergency foods items than can last a lifetime, click here:

http://readynutrition.com/resources/11-emergency-food-items-that-can-last-a-lifetime_09032011/

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Another method of bulking up on foods with long shelf lives is to invest in freeze-dried foods. These preserved foods have a shelf life of 20+ years! All you need to do is add hot water and voila!

Some foods to consider for longer term storage are:

  • Carbohydrates: white rice, pasta, wheat, oats, dehydrated fruits and vegetables, sugars, honey, fruits, roots and tubers (cook these well) and cereals. For those with wheat allergies, click here.
  • Proteins: legumes, eggs, nuts, peanut butter, canned meats and fish, oatmeal, grains, wheat, quinoa, seeds, MREs, popcorn
  • Fats: whole milk, ensure, peanut butter, oil (preferably plant based oils), nuts and seeds
  • Vitamins and Nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin D, vitamin powders, dehydrated fruits and vegetables, seeds to grow vegetables and for sprouting, survival bars

Layer 4 (100-365 days+)If you find yourself in an emergency for over 100 days, it’s time to get real about the situation you have found yourself in. You must assume this could be your new reality. That said it is time to take steps toward long term survival. Having an understanding of essential skills, homesteading and gardening/farming concepts and learning ways to sustain yourself for the long term is of the utmost importance.

Micro livestock is a group of hearty animals that will help you make the most of smaller pieces of land. To read the pros and cons of this livestock choice, click here: http://readynutrition.com/resources/how-micro-livestock-can-be-used-for-suburban-and-rural-sustainability_08042011/ . For those in suburban dwellings, consider chickens, rabbits and fish stored in aquaponic for a long-term food source.

As a prepper preparing for long term emergencies, you want to continue storing up foods mentioned in the last layer and add freeze-dried or dehydrated foods to your stockpile. Given that you are preparing for an extended or long term emergency means that you will also need to begin looking at ways to prepare or preserve food sources off the grid. Learning how to can, dehydrate and ferment foods will help you maintain your food supply. Moreover, to prevent malnutrition, you will want to concentrate on accruing essential food sources such as carbohydrates, protein sources, fats and essential vitamins and nutrients (see above list of food considerations). Having a vitamin source such as sprouting seeds or stockpiling multi-vitamins during this period will also ensure that you are providing your body with regular doses of needed vitamins.

During an emergency, we are often left to fend for ourselves. Having an ample supply of emergency foods can help your family thrive during the most difficult of times. Take the time now to learn how to make the most of your food supply, learn pertinent skills and the importance of balanced diets and the lasting effects nutritious food has on our body because when emergencies occur, we will need this knowledge the most.
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foodlayer list

 Visual Pasted from: http://visual.ly/1-year-food-storage

To me, the above chart is a good start and core provision, but I’d add a lot of fruit, vegetables, other dairy and taste accessories to the menu.
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B.  Preppernomics: Investing in Your Food Supply
June 2013, The Organic Prepper, by Daisy Luther
Pasted from: http://readynutrition.com/resources/preppernomics-investing-in-your-food-supply_19062013/

The first step is to take inventory of what you have – you may be surprised to realize that you already have a week or a month of supplies in your pantry.  Read “If You Don’t Know What You Have, You Don’t Know What You Need!” at
http://readynutrition.com/resources/if-you-dont-know-what-you-have-you-dont-know-what-you-need_02102012/
for more detailed information on inventorying the items that you already have.
foodlayer prepared foods
Note: the 52 Weeks to Preparedness section found at:
http://readynutrition.com/resources/52-weeks-to-preparedness-an-introduction_19072011/
of the website Ready Nutrition contains a wealth of information for the beginning prepper. It’s a budget-friendly approach to getting prepared!)

Once you’ve figured out where you are as far as supplies are concerned, you must figure out a way to finance your prepping endeavors.  Your budget may be so tight that you can barely keep the lights on but there is still hope.  When you change the way you shop, you’ll soon find that some of the budgetary stress is relieved.  But first things first, you have to free up enough money to get started.

If your house is anything like mine, you probably have a whole refrigerator full of leftovers – resist the urge to do your normal weekly shopping trip and feed your family leftovers combined with the goods you have in your pantry.  Take that money that you would normally spend for groceries and let’s get started!  No matter how small your budget is, you can begin building security for your family.  I am basing these prices on my teeny tiny small-town grocery store, this week. You may be able to get more, based on what’s on sale in your area.$

20 List

  • 2 pound bag of rice
  • 2 pound bag of beans
  • 4 cans of spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cans of peaches in water
  • 1 jar of peanut butter
  • 1 jug of white vinegar
  • 5 gallon jug of water

$50 List
everything in the $20 list and

  • 4 boxes of saltine crackers
  • 4 jars of unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 pounds of sugar
  • 5 pounds of flour
  • 1 liter of olive oil
  • 3 cans of green beans
  • 2 boxes of baking soda

$100 List
everything on the $20 list and the $50 list and

  • 1 canister of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 canister of baking powder
  • 10 pound bag of potatoes
  • 5 pound bag of onions
  • 5 pound bag of carrots
  • 2 pounds of powdered milk
  • 6 pounds of pasta
  • 5 bags of dried spices of choice
  • small assortment of treats (candy, chocolate chips, etc – you have $5 to spend on things that make life more pleasant!)

If you’ve ever checked out my website, The Organic Prepper, you may think these lists are in conflict with the “organic” theme.  While I’d certainly love to see everyone give Monsanto the cold shoulder by buying local and organic, it’s just not always feasible, especially when you are just getting started. I’d rather see people begin to take control by having a supply like the one listed here – something that when combined with the foods in the cupboards might see you through a month of hard times.

What’s more, when you have this little bit of security – this one-month food investment –  you can begin to build on this with healthier and more nutritious options.  You can start learning how to be more self-sufficient by growing what you can, by learning to preserve food and by buying in bulk.

See the Organic Prepper website at: http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/

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C.  No Matter How Much Food You’ve Got Stored, It Will Eventually Run Out in a Full-Blown Collapse
1 Mar 2012, SHTFplan.com, by Joe Alton, MD, aka Dr. Bones
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/no-matter-how-much-food-youve-got-stored-it-will-eventually-run-out-in-a-full-blown-collapse_03012012

The following article has been generously contributed by Joe Alton, M.D., aka Dr. Bones, of Doom and Bloom Nation where you can find strategies to stay healthy that include traditional medicine, alternative remedies, and medicinal/survival gardening. For the best in emergency and long-term disaster medical preparedness we encourage you to check out The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook and follow Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy on their weekly podcast.

To Survive, How Much Land?
Have you ever wondered how likely it is that you’ll be able to produce all the calories you’ll need on that piece of land you have? How much land for livestock? How about those solar panels you were thinking about? How many square feet of panels will provide you with the electricity you’ll need? There are ways to figure this out, and the answers may surprise you.

Let’s start by talking power. In a collapse situation, you’ll probably be able to rely on the sun and wind and not much else, unless you’ve built a watermill. The best answer might be installing some solar panels on your roof. This is a commonly available option that many people are considering nowadays. Let’s say part of your roof is facing south (the best place for a solar panel) and you get 7 hours or so of sunlight, on average. To get the amount of power that an average home uses in a year, you’ll need 375 square feet of panels. These things aren’t cheap, and that much hardware is going to be beyond the average family’s financial reach. This means that you’ll have to make decisions regarding how to ration the power you ARE able to produce. Look around the house, and you’ll probably see lots of things that are plugged in that you can eliminate if the stuff ever hits the fan. This is part of the planning you’ll need to do now, so that you’ll be better prepared for times of trouble.

How about food? If you have a family of four, you’ll want to provide at least 2,000 or so calories per adult, more if you’re a big guy, maybe a little less for kids. The formula is simple: At least 30 calories per kilogram of body weight. One kilogram equals 2.2 pounds, so an 80 kilogram adult would weigh 176 pounds. 30 x 80 = 2400 calories/day. Less for kids, of course. All in all, you’ll need to provide 8,000-9,000 calories a day to maintain your family of four’s weight.

[In order to work directly with pounds, ((your weight in lbs/2.2) x 30 calories) = so that from the example above, ((176 lbs/2.2) x 30) = 2400 calories. Mr. Larry]

So, let’s talk about some hard realities. No matter how much food you’ve got stored, it will eventually run out in a full-blown collapse. For your future success, better get that garden growing. Anyone who’s done it will tell you that there’s a learning curve, and you sure don’t want to plant that first seed in the midst of the “Zombie Apocalypse”.

Now, let’s separate your garden out into three categories: 1)  fruits, berries, and vegetables, 2) then wheat, 3) then corn. If you went totally vegetarian, you would need a little less than half an acre per person to provide all of those calories. That means a family of 4 needs almost 2 acres of farmable land! [in production]

The majority of this land will go to fruits, berries, and veggies. You’ll get the most nutrients in terms of vitamins and minerals from these. To decrease the amount of land you’ll need, consider companion planting. Some organic farmers will plant sunflowers, and then plant peas that will grow up the long stalks. The same goes with corn, squash, and pole beans. Squash will grow low to the ground, pole beans will take the intermediate area, and corn up high. Make sure you don’t put plants in the same family together, such as dill and carrots. They will share the same pests and diseases, which could possibly spread from one crop to the other.

If you stock up on wheatberries and use your handy dandy Wondermill, you can cut the land requirement down a bit. A mix of prepared food storage and gardening will keep you healthy and fed for a longer time. Corn isn’t a very land-efficient crop, but you might need it for your livestock. An alternative if you need to trim that acreage down a bit more is to stock up on bushels of corn feed; that’s about 55 pounds of feed for about $9-10. This is a good idea, but you’ll use a lot of it. It takes 10 bushels of corn to get a hog from weaning to slaughter. Btw, corn prices are going higher; they were less than 5 dollars a couple of years ago.

Don’t forget, you’ll need some land for hog wallows, goats, rabbits and chickens. All of these animals can be raised in relatively small amounts of space, and provide important protein. You’ll need a good 200 square feet for 3 hogs, more if they have piglets. You can get away with less for each of the other animals.

You might have to forget about cows; they aren’t land-efficient. If you want milk, think about goats, especially Nubian Goats. This variety can produce 1800 lbs. of milk a year, according to various sources. That’s a lot of milk! How about eggs? The average family of four will eat 1000 eggs or so a year. To reliably get this quantity, you’ll need about 10-15 birds in your henhouse, depends a lot on the breed and the ingenuity of the local foxes and raccoons.

You could probably squeeze this all in with an acre and a half of land. If you don’t have that much property, now you know you’ll need that much more food storage to make up the difference. This is information I thought was important for me to know, and now you know it too.

[Note: I lived on a large rural property and ran a "hobby farm" for thirty years. At various times I raised sheep, geese, ducks and bees, all the while maintaining an annual garden, a fruit orchard and reducing the electric bill by burning wood chain sawed from my wooded acreage.
From this dedicated hobbyist experience, I learned not to count on the crops nor the livestock. They were really no more than a supplement. Yes, there was food from those sources, but it was not in the quantity you'd expect from SHTF literature.
There are way too many problems, which ranged from:  planting, germination, plant spacing, weeding, plant insect disease, root crop rotation, animal disease and medications, predators, vagaries of the seasonal and annual weather, canning-drying-long term storage, saving viable seed for the next year's crops.
Professional, lifelong, "real farmers" aren't any better at small scale survival farming that you, they work from a tractor the same as many of us work from a desk. Real survival farming technology has been pretty much lost and one broken link in the annual cycle of food production would be a FAIL for you and your family if you absolutely depended on the process.

My recommendation is to buy freeze dried and dehydrated foods in nitrogen packed #10 cans and 5 gallon pails, have several means of water purification and bulk storage, put together a small PV system with several panels, deep cycle batteries and inverter, stock up on "Fish" antibiotics, and hope, no, pray that "if things go south", that you have enough reserves to get you across the gap into the recovery.

In a national or global EMP, full grid down situation, you'd might be best served by "leading your entire neighborhood" to the city's edge to take control of a food & merchandise "warehouse". Just a thought. Mr. Larry]

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