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In today’s world, when a calamity knocks, people would go after one another to offer help and support each other all the way. However, sometimes, tragedies bring out the worst out of people. Some of these scheming calamities seem to target defenseless victims like the aging, the disabled and of course, women.

Most of the times men escape death because they know how to fight and to protect themselves. Their physical weight and height come in handy in most times too.

A lot of times, women are referred to as the fragile and weak ones. Favorably, many self-defense tips and approaches can trim that disadvantage and grant women the ability to shield themselves and those that they are obliged to protect, for example, their children.

Physically and Emotionally Fit

Women need to be physically and emotionally fit at all times. For example, if they have gone camping, should any danger arise, like a sign of an intruder from afar, they need to be ready to jump into action. They will need to run, really fast, to protect themselves from danger or to simply go and get help. Sometimes, the threat may not always be represented as a person. Other tragedies may be manifested in natural disasters like an avalanche, a storm or a tree falling.

Below are some of the wilderness safety tips women can put in place to be safe. Although sometimes all one may need is a survival boot knife, other regimens may be more helpful. Some of the tips revolve around things women may have been doing before, in preparation, not while faced with danger.

1. Exercise

It is important to keep fit. Otherwise, how will you jump into action if you cannot run? Exercising at least five times a week may be helpful. Other activities may also involve lifting weights or moving a log. These training tips are advisable because strength is vital in getting help.

Another idea to get in shape to be ready to defend yourself while out camping is rock climbing. This is especially easy since you do not need to go to the forest to become good at rock climbing. While the best practice would be the natural setting, today, rock climbing can be done at malls or even at the comfort of your home. Makeshift rock-climbing walls may not give the exact situation, but they prepare you for what’s on the outside for when you do go rock climbing or are faced with a situation in which you need such skills.

The good thing about exercising for survival and fitness is that one does not to be a member of a professional gym or hire an expert trainer to show you the ropes. All it takes is a simple regimen to keep fit, be it running, jogging, breathing exercises, and so on.

2. Survival Course

As much as you may be ready and willing to go out in the wilderness and enjoy the fresh air, the risk you are running is as real as a snake bite or a fractured knee. Many people may not be willing to try it out, but survival and defense classes are becoming more popular by the day.

The courses are short and have more to do with practical situations than the theory. What’s more? They are offered by professionals who may be retired Marines, medical practitioners or survival experts.

3. First Aid and Quick Response

Many courses will train you on how to avoid being in harm’s way. However, in the case of disaster, what else could you do to survive? There are a number of quite basic First Aid tips that women should have in hand to be better placed to save their lives. They are such as knowing how to stop a nosebleed, treat a snake bite or improvise and stabilize a fractured bone.

4. No Giving Up

The main thing the trainers and those who have survived tragedies in the wilderness will tell you is that you need to keep a positive attitude throughout the process. The positive attitude will help you stay focused during training and in the face of disaster. So many people have talked about going for hours, sometimes days, without water, fresh air or warmth. In the case of an avalanche, it is important to keep in mind that rescue is on the way and you just need to hold on.

5. The Mind Game

A danger is not always presented in the form of a person, but when it does, it is time to play smart, rather than showcase your mastery of the Kung Fu skills. Naturally, men are more muscular than women, and if they are your attacker, then it is time to play smart. Mind games such as playing defenseless and trying to understand your attacker’s psychology may save you more than a high kick or a blow to the face will. It is, therefore, important to keep in mind where you are, and who may be out to attack you. Some of the questions you need to ask yourself include:

This information will be vital especially if you are going camping in a different region, away from home. Read news and crime journals and reports about the general security of the area. Such information may be readily available on the internet. Reading about a new area gives Intel on what to expect, or not to expect.

In the same vein, know your surroundings. You should have contact details of a nearby hospital or sheriff’s office. This will be substantial even if the danger is not presented in the form of an attacker. In the case of a storm and the cabin is struck by lightning, perhaps reaching the sheriff’s office for assistance in the event of accidents may be essential.

6. Gun and Ammunition

 

Being fit may get you out of a situation, but being smart may save you faster and in a better way. Women, and indeed everyone else, need to be familiar with the gun and security laws governing their state or country. If you are going to be in a place that may put you at risk of being attacked, it only makes sense to have protection.

Most people keep guns in their houses or on them, but this is subject to the law and the permits required. If all the legislation boxes have been checked, then it’s time to learn how to load the gun, and of course, fire. Know what gun you are most comfortable using and if you need to spend some little time at the range to perfect your aim, then, by all means, do so.

Conclusion

All in all, security is key, not just for the women, but for everyone who is going to spend some time out of the comfort and safety of their home. Whether survival classes or keeping fit, always be on the lookout for what harm may come your way and how best to stay safe.

  In today’s world, when a calamity knocks, people would go after one another to offer help and support each other all the way. However, sometimes, tragedies bring out the worst

Prepping is something that takes time, some level of commitment and usually finds its roots in some motivating reason or lifestyle characteristics. Preppers intentionally work toward a goal or measurement that can be held up to life for comparison. By preparing to have food stored over the winter, you may have a measurement of how long you can feed your family with those foods you are storing away. Food storage is just one example, but being prepared to a level that most would agree is some measure above their peers, takes work and it is so easy to make excuses to get out of that work.

Prepping follows life and comes, at least in my instance, in phases. There are times when I am more motivated by events in the news to get prepared. There are days when I have a little extra money and I can spend it on some piece of gear I have been meaning to acquire and there are times when I don’t really do anything that you can say would be a common trait of a prepper. I just exist and go about my day like anyone else.

There are phases to everything in life and certainly you can’t stay in a state of high alert all the time or you would eventually burn out. I plan on writing about that topic soon, but for this post I wanted to talk about the excuses people make to not start prepping in the first place. These comforting snippets we say either because we believe them to be true or use them as our get out of jail free card. By simply saying a problem doesn’t, exist we absolve ourselves of any guilt we might feel by doing nothing. It is far easier to say words than to act and today I wanted to try to address some of the excuses for not prepping that I have heard in the brief time I have been doing this.

The audience for these excuses are anyone who thinks prepping or getting prepared for emergencies in life is foolish.

Nothing will ever happen to me – This excuse has several evil step sisters and believe it or not some people believe that you can rely on the bible to escape having to do anything. If you believe something bad will happen to you, you obviously don’t have faith do you? I do have faith but I believe God gives us many things we can use to protect our lives. God has absolute control over everything I believe but he also gave us free will. We can choose to jump off a cliff and I am pretty sure anyone who tries that will die. An often quoted verse from the Bible is Proverbs 22:3 which says:

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

I know how simple it is to pull a verse out of the Bible, devoid of all context and frame it in a way to match your argument, but this one for me seems consistent with so many other stories, parables and lessons from the Bible. God does intervene in the lives of people, but he also tells them what to do and expects them to follow suit in order to save themselves. Bad things happen all the time and I don’t think it is foolish to guard yourself against danger. If you can see problems happening down the road that could cause you harm and you do nothing about it, you will likely pay the price – one way or another.

The government will come to my rescue – This excuse for not prepping should be the one that anyone with half a brain would know is false. Government was not made to come and fly you off the roof of your home if it floods. You were given reason, logic and intelligence of self-preservation, if nothing else that should be guiding you to safety. Counting on the Government to save you is a waste of time in my opinion and I don’t want to wait around on anyone for the safety of my family. If a bad guy comes to my door, kicks it in and comes inside and says he is going to kill me and rape my wife do you think I am going to be calling 911?

Prepping is multi-faceted, but the core issue is taking responsibility for your own health and safety into your own hands. Don’t expect the government to show up and put you on a boat to happy town. You should have been prepared enough to get out-of-town before you needed to.

The banks will never close in America – They didn’t close in Greece or Cyprus did they? The banks most certainly didn’t close in Argentina either in 2002. Banks certainly wouldn’t have any reason not to give you the money you deposited with them because they are good honest people who have your own interests at heart. Yeah, if you believe that, I have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you. Banks are if nothing else, in this business to make a profit. Some would say they are making obscene profits and I don’t dispute that but what I do know is they don’t have to give you your money. Ever.

When you deposit your money in a bank, they consider your money theirs and you as an uninsured creditor. You are simply loaning them the money, they get to do whatever they please and if they lose your money due to shady business practices, oh well. Too bad. Don’t believe for a second that if something goes south in the world of finance, that you have any guarantee of access to your money. They may open up in a couple of weeks if they are forced to close and only allow you to get out a small amount each week. Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure you have alternate plans for at least some portion of your finances.

What could possibly go wrong?

There is no way the super markets will ever run out of food – Super markets depend on deliveries of food. They don’t make those pretty bottles, cans and bags in the back room. Just like they don’t make clothes in the store in the mall you go to. When the supply is gone, it has to be replenished. Some people get hung up on the amount of days that a typical grocery store has worth of food on hand. I have heard three days of food as a good guideline and for normal shopping that is probably right. When you go into the store, you will see how many packages of bread of the type you like to eat, maybe 2 dozen packages? What if that store was filled with hundreds of people in one day? How long do you think that food would last?

The grocery store should not be your last resort for food. The grocery store should augment the supply you already have at home which should be more than enough to eat for at least one month. I recommend a year, but you have to start somewhere. You don’t want to be the person walking into the grocery store after panic buying and complaining that there is no food. You won’t win any prizes for guessing incorrectly how much food they have on hand.

The government would never take your guns – I have two words for you, Martial Law. It was most recently implemented in a large-scale during hurricane Katrina and when that happened, they went door to door and confiscated firearms from law-abiding people. They didn’t go into crack town and take the guns away from the gangs, they took them from little old ladies. With the right reason, the government already has laws/orders on the books to confiscate firearms and if you think that could never happen, you must also think the government writes fairy-tales down to amuse themselves. Don’t believe me, just look at the video below.


You might think no person needs guns and that is fine if that is your belief, but I want to have something I can protect myself with. The only reason to take guns away from law-abiding citizens is to remove their ability to fight back. You may also think that the government doesn’t seem worried about anything and they would tell us if we were in trouble. I don’t think that is the case.

I will point out just some of the more interesting Executive Orders that are on the books currently. I am not saying which administration wrote these, but they are still current, so the government has some idea that bad times are possible or else, why the need for the following?

  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.
  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has broad powers in every aspect of the nation.

I can hear someone saying now – “Well, of course the government is in control of those things, I mean they are the government right”? Read it again and take a look at the topics covered by these Executive Orders. The government has plans for things going so bad that they will have to come in and control every aspect of our lives. They see the potential for disaster. Shouldn’t you?

FEMA recommends three days’ worth of food so that should be enough – The last time we had a good winter storm, the roads weren’t cleared near my home for a week. Yes, we got out but that was a simple storm. What if something really bad happens? Do you think three days is enough? What if the power is out during that same storm for 5 days? Would you want to trust that no matter what the situation was, that it would be over, all sorted out, cleaned up and back to normal in three days?

FEMA’s recommendations in my opinion are better than nothing, but they should not be considered all you need. You need to plan for feeding your family forever, not just for three days. Granted, we can’t put millions of pounds of food in our homes, but they still don’t have New Orleans back to the way it was before Katrina. Sure you can buy groceries now, but do you want to take the risk that three days is all you need?

I don’t have money to spend on prepping supplies – What do you spend your money on? Do you get your nails done? Do you pay hundreds of dollars for satellite TV? What about that Xbox? How many times a week do you get a $4 coffee? Are you paying for some music download service so you can hear all of the Johnny Mathis you want anytime, anywhere?

Most of us spend money we don’t need to spend on some luxuries and I do it too, but I have made preparations for my family. I did sacrifice on some of the things I wanted so I could have supplies to keep my family fed, with clean water and shelter and security if our house disappeared tomorrow. Life is all about priorities for most of what we do. If you can look at your family while they are starving and say, sorry Johnny, I had to have the Prime Time ESPN package so I couldn’t buy any more groceries for you, that is on your head.

I don’t have room for extra food in my house – Unless you are living in a van down by the river, you have room. If you don’t have room, get rid of some of the stuff in your house. You can store food under beds, in bookshelves, in your kitchen cabinets, in hall closets, under your kid’s beds, behind the chairs in the living room. There are places to put food if you are looking and not having any place to store food is no excuse. Do you have room for that flat screen TV?

I don’t want people to think I am crazy – I don’t want to see my family hurt or suffering. I don’t care what people think about me as long as my family is safe and alive. I would happily be the brunt of a million jokes than have to look at my family and apologize for not doing what I could to take care of them.

Even if you are completely alone, what do you care what anyone thinks about you? You brush your teeth so you don’t get cavities I hope. You have health insurance if you get sick and car insurance if you get in a wreck. Why is having a little insurance for other emergencies so crazy? Get over yourself and start taking steps to be prepared or you could end up dead. Yes, if you don’t do anything to help yourself, if you keep your head in the sand you might be caught up in a world you don’t like. The worst thing that could happen to preppers if we are wrong is that we spent some money on food that lasts 25 years or guns we never have to use. Which side of that reality do you want to be on?

I am not perfect and I wouldn’t hold my preps up as the end all be all, but I am on that journey toward preparedness. I like to think I am pretty far down that road and I am just trying to get as many others on the path as possible. What do you have to lose besides your life?

Prepping is something that takes time, some level of commitment and usually finds its roots in some motivating reason or lifestyle characteristics. Preppers intentionally work toward a goal or measurement

In lieu of the several disasters that strike the world every day, many individuals feel the need to prepare for the impending doom.

It takes a lot of efforts to adopt the survivor traits of a prepper. bravery, determination and independence are among the popular survival traits you may envision an excellent prepper should have. However, beyond all these traits, a person must have the survival skills and endurance to be classified as a fit prepper.

Sometimes, you can instantly spot the characteristics of a prepper. On the other hand, in certain times, the characteristics for survival are not explicitly obvious. So, how do you know if you can refer to yourself as a prepper?

1. Possesses Strong Family Values

Preppers strongly believe in values of a close family unit. You’ll find that as a prepper, your commitment to honesty and respect within your family is something you cherish the most.

When calamity strikes, you know you’ll be a better prepper simply by just having your family’s support for better or worse. Knowing you have unconditional support makes you feel more confident that you can withstand different challenges disasters may bring.

2. Welcomes Mobilization

An ideal prepper is someone who welcomes mobilization at its best. You know you’ve got what it takes to be a prepper if you value physical fitness for survival. A prepper does not easily give up on running in order to find a way how to plan food stocks wisely in the soonest time possible, when disasters are about to strike.

3. Embraces Diverse Personalities

Having the ability to mingle with people of different personalities makes preppers stand out in the crowd. You know you need to be flexible if you’re determined to pursue prepping. A wide support network is inevitably necessary if you wish to overcome the greatest challenges life has to offer.

4. Listens to What Others Say

An excellent prepper listens in on the stuff people around them say. Having this trait is essential if you want to perfect your prepping skills in the shortest time possible. Perking up when people seem to sense you’re prepping avoids preys on survival food kits you might have in storage, in no time.

Taking action before something untoward happens enhances a prepper’s chances for success in trying to achieve his basic endeavors.

5. Perseveres in Looking for Additional Source of Income

Having additional cash enables a prepper to have more resources to combat the disastrous consequences catastrophes bring. Give in to your prepping survival desire by looking for additional sources of income to ensure you’ll be able to finance survival food and other basic necessities you need in life in preparation for the impending doom.

A prepper is not afraid to get into jobs they may be uncomfortable of having. They will resort to all means in order to boost their income potentials, even if they have never done something like this before. Preppers are not afraid to improve their skills in favor of an available job that will help them to pull in the right income that they need.

6. Knows How to Budget

Looking way ahead into the future is part of prepping. You may prepare for the worst case scenarios ahead of time by learning to budget your finances, and saving monetarily for rainy days. A detailed daily plan will guide you on how to effectively budget your money, as early as possible.

A prepper strictly makes overspending off-limits in his life. A prepper does not procrastinate when calculating his finances on a regular basis. Doing this helps him avoid short and long-term overspending.

7. Does Not Hesitate to Change for the Better

You’ll maximize your chances of survival if you change for the better, as needed. You may want to be more outgoing to develop stronger relationships with others. Doing so will increase your chances of having the appropriate support system to augment your survival potentials. You never have to worry about running out of disaster food supply without a back-up support, if you develop close positive relationship with others.

8. Considers Rural Area A Safe Haven

A low population works things out alongside with preparedness for disasters. A rural area is the perfect place where preppers may take refuge. Of course, it’s easier to overcome catastrophes if the area you live in is not heavily populated.

9. Gets Into the Habit of Gardening

You know you’re turning yourself to become more self-reliant to survive if you grow your own food. Growing your own food by doing regular gardening symbolizes your desire to be independent from food or grocery stores.

Survival relates to refusal to settle for anything that’s easily accessible. Preppers survive by making efforts to make all helpful resources closer within their reach.

10. Takes Risks Fearlessly

A prepper knows that any disaster poses imminent dangers.

You know you’re a prepper if you’re someone who knows the step by step guide for disaster preparedness. Taking risks when utilizing this guide is an integral part of being a prepper. If you’re prepping yourself in combating upcoming earthquakes, of course, you’ll need to risk allotting time to prepare for the disaster comprehensively. You may need to sacrifice leaving behind your favorite hobbies, as you get busy prepping for doomsday.

Make the characteristics of a survivalist and prepper in you; stand out by continually improving your preparedness skills. The little efforts you make in enhancing your ability to prep may pose benefits you never thought would be possible. Subsequently, you’ll find it natural to become better equipped to survive even the deadliest disasters that may come your way.

Sometimes, you can instantly spot the characteristics of a prepper. On the other hand, in certain times, the characteristics for survival are

At some point, the information you have been processing must turn to action. The knowledge that you have been gaining and the perspective of someone who now sees the world differently has to be used to do something for yourself or your loved ones. You must make the choice now to be proactive, to lead and to take control of your life from a prepping perspective because Hope won’t feed you.

In my own prepping journey, there have been phases. Initially I was on a serious information gathering mission and devoured all of the material I could. I can’t nail down precisely what if any event caused me to wake up figuratively, but I do remember strongly feeling that I needed to start thinking long-term about my family’s future and by that I didn’t mean retirement. I don’t think there was any real event like Y2K or any terror attack. There had not been any natural disaster that spurred me on, but there was a gut-level awareness that kept me awake at night and consumed most of my thoughts for a long while; almost like an itch that you can’t scratch. I believe that someone was trying to tell me something and I started listening.

The easiest way to get started for me and most others was the Internet. You can spend days staring at your computer and wandering down rabbit holes getting lost in a sea of information. The rabbit holes are sometimes pretty shallow, but other times if you are curious, go to levels you wouldn’t dream. For me with my background I was able to believe some sources of information easier than others in my same place in life. Initially I was drawn to what some would consider conspiracy theories. I think these are more interesting to the average person if you don’t seriously believe that anything bad ever happens. I on the other hand knew just enough about history and the capacity for evil in the hearts of man that I viewed these theories and concepts with an almost academic view. Instead of saying to myself “that is just stupid”, I would evaluate each and rationalize individual pieces of the narrative. I used each to give me another piece of the puzzle of information but I did my own research and came away with my own opinions. There is an old saying (and at least one cheesy 90’s song that I own) that there are three sides to every story. Yours, Mine and the Truth. I do believe that there is truth in almost everything out there, but you might have to dig for it and that is what I started doing.

This digging spurred me on in my prepping efforts and became my motivation for a lot of different beliefs but I have learned over time that the reasons for prepping are too numerous to count. There are people concerned about space aliens, the shifting of the poles, fires, mudslides, EMP, tsunamis, zombie attacks and adolescent girls with PMS. There are a million scary reasons to prepare and none of them are more “right” than any other. Prepping is frequently distilled down to a reason or threat but I don’t know why. This seems to exist purely to give people a way to shoot down preppers for what they are doing when the reason why doesn’t matter at all to me. That is one problem I have with the Doomsday Preppers show in that they focus on debunking the reason for these people prepping at the end of every segment. Why? You spend 15 minutes watching someone prepare for adverse events and then you hear, “Experts say you are totally stupid for worrying about that”.

Do Something

I don’t want to get bogged down with reasons for prepping. I think it is perfectly fine to just say you don’t want to be caught off-guard in the case of an emergency. This is simple common sense. If your car slides off the road into a ditch in a driving snow storm are you going to be happy you had the contents of your Get Home Bag to keep you and your young kids alive? Sure! Are you going to complain that survival kit was only for when the zombies attack? No. Would you keep it locked up and not use it unless the government started letting the aliens that they have been partnering with finally attack us? Of course not and yes I am being intentionally silly. The bottom line is that bag is there to help you when you need it. The reason you need it doesn’t matter, but what does matter is that you have it when you do need it. That is the best place to start.

OK, so the rather lengthy introduction to this post is over now so what am I trying to say? Take this knowledge you have been amassing and do something with it. I know that some of you are new to prepping. You may (like me) have already spent days researching what needs to go into a Get Home Bag and have the list sitting right next to the bed on your nightstand. Now, you need to go to the store and get the bag. Pack it and take it with you. Having knowledge of what you need is only the first step, action is required for most of that knowledge to be any use to you.

You may have been researching the best shotgun for home defense and have price spreadsheets and are watching the now infamous actions of the DHS and their ammo buying binge, worried that you have waited too late. Do Something! Get out there and get you a firearm if that is what you are looking for and as many boxes of shells you can get your hands on. Thinking about this to the point of inaction doesn’t help anyone. We call this analysis paralysis and you have to break out of that trap.

Chart Your Progress

I am not one of those copious note takers. My wife is and I know a lot of other people who have little notebooks filled with detailed notes about every meeting and conversation. I know one person at work who can just about dictate exactly what was said by every person in every meeting from two years ago. That isn’t me.

What I can do pretty simply though is create simple lists of things I want to work on. For my prepping items I have a couple of spreadsheets to help me track the things I need to focus on. The first spreadsheet started with all of the items I thought I needed to be super prepared for most any contingency and has highlighted some items that I had overlooked. This had things broken down into different categories that I thought were important. I started with Power, Shelter, First Aid, Water, Food, Garden, Tactical and Livestock. Under each category I had lists of items like tents, sleeping bags, spare tarps, water filters, etc. and I used this as my guide to how I was doing. The great thing about a spreadsheet is that you can easily add or modify how the results lay out and add priority or cost to each item.

For my ammo spreadsheet I listed all of the calibers I needed and what my goals were. Then I conducted an inventory of everything I had on hand, made a simple calculation and that showed me where I needed to get to. I still haven’t made it to my goals, but I know right where I am and can easily see what I need to focus on first. I also added cost per rounds and projected what my eventual cash outlay would be to get to where I wanted to. That has since been blown out of the water, but the spreadsheet can easily be updated.

Don’t stop there

Getting started is the hardest part of any project. I view prepping as a lifestyle that you begin slowly and grow into over time. Taking that first step is really all you need to put you and your family on a path to preparedness. Once you have started with putting your plan into place, acquiring tools, equipment or skills to help you, the next phase is to broaden your reach. Talk to your family about prepping. Help neighbors see the wisdom of having some food stored up for a rainy day. Take steps to prepare yourself financially for whatever may be headed down the road and you will see how your perspective changes again. I think you will see that you may become less focused on the boogeyman (and there are many out there) and more on the idea of being self-reliant and prepared for any situation you are faced with.

As with my previous comments about research on the internet, as you start prepping you will identify other areas you may not have considered. Once you start thinking about food storage, that may lead you to think about what you will do after all of that food storage is gone. Planning for your Get Home Bag may logically lead you to consider how your choice of vehicles could impact your preps. Analyzing your defensive options may cause some thought about what immediate threats or strengths you have in your own neighborhood.

The main point is to start. Get into the game and start making positive progress toward your goals. As I said at the beginning, hope won’t feed your family. You have to make that happen and the time is now.

This digging spurred me on in my prepping efforts and became my motivation for a lot of different beliefs but I have learned over time that the reasons for prepping

You should be riding around with survival gear in your vehicle. Period.

But just in case you get caught empty-handed, it doesn’t hurt to know about the useful pieces you can scavenge from a vehicle to help you survive. Now I understand that most people usually don’t feel right about destroying their possessions, especially something as significant as a vehicle.

But if you end up in an emergency situation, and you need to tear up your ride for the raw materials as a matter of survival, then it’s time to color outside the lines. After all, your vehicle (and the pieces therein) can be replaced. Your life cannot. Here are some of the most useful parts of a vehicle, which would be valuable commodities in a survival scenario.

Mirrors
The rear view mirror is your easiest target, and it can usually be removed from its bracket by sliding it down the windshield. The side mirrors will take more creativity or destruction to remove, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

The mirrors can make a fine, clear signal mirror to flash sunlight to distant targets. The mirrors can also be handy for first aid, especially if you are by yourself. Without a second set of eyes on the problem, wounds, ticks and other problems on your backside are awfully hard to treat without a mirror.

Fabric and Insulation
No, your insurance won’t cover your wanton destruction. But it could be worth the dissection and removal of upholstery and foam to create warmth in a cold environment. Anything that would pass for dead air space can be used for insulation. Carpet, mats, and seat covers can all be used for bedding, or makeshift blankets.

Plastic and Rubber
The plastic and rubber on most cars and trucks will burn with a black smoke, which is great for daytime signaling. Floor mats, dashboards and any other plastics can be thrown on a big fire to make the desired dark plume. Tires require more caution. Never roll an entire spare tire onto a fire. The pressure will build and it will explode dangerously. Let the air out of the tire, too, before you start cutting it into pieces to chuck into the bonfire. Caution: Stabbing a pressurized tire has caused blades to blow back on their wielder and do bodily harm.

The Battery
The vehicle battery and a bit of wire can give you sparks to start a fire. Be extremely careful that the wire doesn’t weld itself into a complete circuit, which could cause the battery to melt down or even explode. If you’re part electrician, or part MacGyver, you can wire up the battery to the vehicle horn and/or a headlight. This rig can be used for a heavy, yet still portable, signal device.

Other Useful Car Parts
Many other useful car parts abound. If the vehicle is old enough to still have a cigarette lighter, you can use this as a safer way to make fire than previously explained. Motor oil and other oils will burn with a black smoke to create a smoke signal. Wires can be used for snare lines.

Older cars can have some magnesium parts, like distributor caps, which can be shaved and used for fire starting. Newer cars may have even more magnesium under the hood. Steering column mounts, tranny covers, engine mounts, exterior cowl (Mustangs), dash frames, seat frames, etc. can be scraped or shaved to make dust which will light with a hot spark.

Editors Note: In addition to the articles above, there are tons of other uses for parts of the vehicle from alternators to hook up to wind turbines or exercise bicycles to power batteries, to springs and just spare metal for fabrication. In a total grid down scenario abandoned cars will offer plenty of supplies for the enterprising prepper.

But if you end up in an emergency situation, and you need to tear up your ride for the raw materials as a matter of survival, then it’s time to

I have been a prepper for several years now and have been on both sides of probably every argument out there in some form or another at one point in my life. I don’t have the same perspective on life that I used to when I was 22. I would imagine that not many of us do still think the same way when we are in the midst of raising a family and can look back on our 20’s from a couple dozen birthdays. The music that rolled out of the radio when I graduated high school is now considered classic or vintage or my favorite, retro. When I was younger my outlook on life was almost the polar opposite from what I think now and I like to believe that I have grown up a lot. Maturity can make a big difference in a person, but I guess experiences, character and who you surround yourself with all factor in their own heavily weighted portion of influence as to who you end up becoming.

I won’t go into everything I believed as a young man in my early (young and dumb) twenties but let’s just say I leaned a lot more to the left back then mainly I think that was because I only cared about myself. Then I met my wife and had some of those life experiences I mentioned (kids, several career changes, someone to worry about besides my sorry self) and my perspective changed almost completely with time. After several years of being the complete opposite of my younger self in terms of social and political outlook, checking a new box at the polls and more life experiences I have settled into what I believe is my true skin for lack of a better phrase. The closest you could now classify my outlook on life politically speaking anyway is Libertarian. That’s a pretty big turn from someone who voted for Clinton, twice.

But this article isn’t about politics, it’s about why I’m a Prepper and that introduction was really all to say that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I had the brain, maturity and perspective I had in my twenties. If I hadn’t gone through the experiences that impacted my life and met the woman who completely changed everything I could be an entirely different person.

Fast forward from my relatively worry free twenties to the responsibilities of a father and husband. Around 2008 I started to think that something wasn’t really right. I have discussed this before, but it was a gut feeling that I needed to take extra steps to make sure my family would be protected. Protected from what? It was my perspective on life and what I was seeing that was stirring a sense of urgency to learn more about what other aspects of life there were that perhaps I wasn’t aware of. It was the urgency to protect my family that led me to research a wide variety of subjects which eventually led me to prepping even before it was a cool term on National Geographic.

The concepts of prepping made so much sense to me because I had people that I cared for and I didn’t want to see any harm come to them. It was logical to want to protect them from hunger, lack of water or intruders. I could easily see both the usefulness of prepping supplies to help my family out while at the same time looking much more broadly at our society with a new understanding about how things are run and presented to us. It was around this time that I started to research for myself the things I was being told and asked to accept without question.

These clowns wouldn’t last a month

Everyone comes to this subject of prepping from different paths but I would expect that anyone who has even lifted the covers ever so slightly on the wide open world that falls under the blanket of the word “prepper” has heard detractors. It doesn’t matter what you are prepping for there will be people who emphatically argue that you are crazy to prepare. These same people get downright belligerent that anyone would be so stupid as to think about their own survival or self-sufficiency. All you have to do is go on any YouTube video that has anything remotely resembling prepping and there will be lots of comments to the effect of “These clowns won’t last a month” or “you people are all idiots for believing anything bad is going to happen”. I am not surprised at this response but I can’t really understand it.

Preppers that I know almost universally are simply trying to make sure they are prepared if something happens. It is this process of preparation that they are undergoing to in some way make their lives better in their opinion if a crisis happens. All of these people who mock preppers are saying that the preppers are foolish for preparing or that they will die regardless of their preps so either way they are idiots.

These nut jobs should not be encouraged.

There are still others who view shows like Doomsday Preppers and Prepper Conventions all over the US as somehow encouraging bad behavior. As if watching people on TV is going to make someone a nut job. These nut jobs are just trying to protect themselves or their family. What about all the other TV shows? Do they encourage the nut jobs too? What about Reality TV shows that have people running around naked? Do they encourage the exhibitionist? What about Sports programs that feature athletes who abuse their family? Do those encourage the wife beaters? What about movies that encourage all manner of evil things? Do those encourage terrorists?

Besides the obvious aspect that preppers and their detractors are looking at the world with a different perspective, I think that there is one key difference between preppers and the people who think we are crazy. Preppers for the most part seem to be preparing for an unknown future. They take steps to stock up on food and water should they need it. Preppers learn skills and purchase weapons to defend their families if a situation arises where their lives are in jeopardy. Preppers don’t know what is coming, but they prepare for the chance that something will. Why? Because tragedy has happened many times before.

The people who call preppers “nut jobs” seem to know everything. I say this because they can easily spout off how nothing bad will ever happen, or how the US is “the richest frickin country in the world” and that we will never see anything like chaos here. EVER! Or if anything does happen it will be “nuclear war that will wipe everyone out anyway”. The detractors know everything and the preppers know nothing in their eyes. It reminds me a lot of how I was when I was much younger. Not that everyone who thinks prepping is wrong is a young whippersnapper, but their opinions and attitudes match mine at a much younger age.

I started prepping because to me it is simple common sense and I have people that depend on me. It’s common sense because I have been to the grocery store when it was closed and I needed something. I have run out of gas on the side of the road. I have been lost without a cell phone and I have experienced needing something I could have easily acquired ahead of time. I have seen winter storms block roads for days. I have also seen so many times where things don’t end up all right. I have seen riots, looting, famine, ethnic cleansing, civil wars, hurricanes, depression, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, economic collapse, virus outbreaks and all forms of evil perpetrated by one man against another. That “gut feeling” I had in 2008 hasn’t gone away, it has only gotten harder to ignore.

I have a responsibility to protect my family and I have taken a lot of steps over the years toward that goal. These steps would probably make a lot of people out there call me a wacko but I’m OK with that. I have said before that I would rather reach the end of my days as a very old Great Grandfather with all of my family surrounding me talking about how crazy I was than to have a single person who calls me crazy now admit that I was right all along as we stare at disaster.

Prepping isn’t crazy, but believing you know everything and that nothing will ever go wrong might be. I’m going to stick with my approach and we’ll meet up later and see who was right. Good luck to you.

I have been a prepper for several years now and have been on both sides of probably every argument out there in some form or another at one point in

For years I have been fascinated with hanging. Yes I realize how morbid that sounds and no I never tortured animals or smaller children in my youth or any other time for that matter. I am talking about the hanging you see in old western movies where bad guys are dealt with at the end of a trial. The act of hanging is both brutal and efficient. The quickness of someone simply taking a short fall into oblivion almost makes the act itself a little less horrific – that is if you can discount the cause of their actual demise and overlook the sound that must accompany their bodies reaching the end of the rope as it were.

I may get some push back on this post, but there are times when I feel our justice system is too complicated, corrupt and doesn’t do one thing that it was designed to do and that is act as a deterrent. Trials go on for years, appeals spawn other appeals and the whole time we are paying for criminals to get an education, to have access to internet, to workout and learn other crimes. In some cases, a simple length of rope would be faster, more efficient, infinitely cheaper and would bring back the public execution that surely would act as a deterrent again. Nothing like watching some bad men hung in the public square to make you think twice about killing someone.

Before I get the angry emails about how many people have been found innocent and are exonerated by DNA evidence let me clarify what I am referring to. I realize that the death sentence isn’t applicable for every crime and I am not suggesting otherwise. I am not advocating we round up some people we think are guilty and find a tall oak tree. I am also not advocating any violence against any person for any reasons other than the proper (community agreed) dispensation of justice after a fair, open and legitimate trial by elected representatives. I am not advocating lynching or terrorizing anyone with this post.

On the other hand in a TEOTWAWKI world which is one we frequently hypothesize about on Final Prepper and other survival blogs –  if we are to have some semblance of order we will have to have justice. If society and our framework of government is destroyed, who will dispense with justice? Will we have jails for someone to serve life in prison? Who would pay for that to happen in the first place if we are all scratching to survive? If the grid ever collapses, one way to prevent violence or brutality is to punish those who visit violence upon our community. Hanging might make a comeback.
This is all a theoretical exercise I know but for anyone who was curious like me of how to tie a hangman’s noose, I found the following video.  If nothing else, you can learn how to tie this famous knot. You never know if you will need to use it one day.

Before I get the angry emails about how many people have been found innocent and are exonerated by DNA evidence let me clarify what I am referring to. I realize

This Featured Video is by Dale Collett, an outdoor survival expert from the British Bushcraft School. Dale shows us the steps involved in building a debris hut shelter in the woods using ridges and dry leaves. You might be asking yourself why would you need to do this and the answer should be pretty simple to anyone who is viewing this site. Shelter is actually the most important survival item you need when we are dealing with temperature. There is a saying called the rule of threes and that is as follows:

You can live 3 weeks without food

You can live 3 days without water.

You can live 3 hours without shelter.

You can live 3 minutes without air.

Air and water and food make sense, but what do you mean 3 hours without shelter? I walk outside all of the time and I am perfectly fine you say? That’s true, but if you are stranded in the woods and the temperatures drop to 40 degrees and you have no way to heat yourself, what happens? Hypothermia. Knowing how to make a shelter can keep heat in or in warmer climates it can also keep you cooler by keeping the sun off you and causing the opposite effect of Hyperthermia. Each can be deadly and it is important to know how to regulate your bodies core temperature to prevent succumbing to the effects.
Check out Dale’s tips for this simple to build shelter:

You can live 3 hours without shelter.

As editor for Final Prepper, I think it’s fair to say that I might think of Doomsday more than a lot of people. I think all preppers do to varying degrees. I try to imagine a world on the other side of collapse; a future that is soaked in chaos and anarchy, of people on the edge of survival. I think about these things not because I am a deviant psychopath bent on seeing the world burn while I assume some throne atop the wreckage of civilization; I think about the worst our society can become so I am hopefully able to plan in some way for contingencies like this. I figure if I plan for the absolute worst case scenario I will have at least spent some brain-power now trying to figure out solutions to the challenges in my imagination. If nothing happens, that is perfectly fine but I don’t want to be shell-shocked and unable to act if something horrible really does happen. In reality, that may be what happens regardless, but I do consider mental practice a worthwhile exercise.

We talk about combating violence with violence on this blog a lot, but usually from the standpoint of protecting yourself, your home or your loved ones and that is a very real and tangible possibility even now. If you add some SHTF event on top of the regular evil in the world, I believe violence will become extremely more prevalent. We in the U.S. have been largely insulated from violence and war inside our borders anyway for a very long time. Strangely enough, the rest of the world has not. I believe it only takes the right scenario or chain of events for our nation to see tanks rolling down our streets, massive protests with hundreds injured or even killed in the name of ‘restoring order’, martial law, and many thousands arrested for dissent. I also think it is possible for the right trigger event to completely destroy all semblance of society and with it our understanding of law and order. When there are no rules anymore, what do you do?

When there is no more Rule of Law

As preppers we prepare for disasters and unplanned events of all shapes and sizes. I like to believe that the actions I take to be more prepared can be used for millions of different scenarios and enhance the lives of my family even if there are never any disasters. Just the other week, I was fortunate enough to put out a small fire in our home with one of the fire-extinguishers I had purchased expressly because I was thinking about living without the benefit of the fire department. This simple prep we made was able to potentially save our home from burning down. In this case, that small act of preparing for fire actually made me prepared to act in a way that protected my family for a situation I had planned for. Go Figure!

We plan for losing the ability to purchase healthy food, losing access to water, health care and yes for bad guys coming down our street to loot or destroy, but eventually the fires will die down and we will have to restore our own semblance of society. In a worst case scenario, there will likely be no police force. We call this WROL (Without Rule of Law) You won’t have courts, lawyers, probation officers or detention centers paid for and run by taxpayer dollars. What happens when these legal process systems we have relied on to deal with the criminals among us are gone?

At some point in the bleakest future we can imagine, maintaining the rule of law might be our responsibility. Your community might be the police force, the judge and in some cases, the executioner. Instead of protesting police, you may find yourself along with your neighbors in the role of dealing with the bad guys.

All crimes are not equal. Different punishments for different offenses will be wise.

Crime and punishment when the grid goes down

We are a nation of laws and regardless of what you think about the particular laws, civil society needs rules to live by. To enforce the laws we have consequences and those are all sloppily handled by our local governments in various fashion. If you ask me there are entirely too many laws on the books now, but that’s an argument for another day. I do agree that some laws/rules are needed to keep everyone responsible or to hold people responsible for their actions. These will be no less important in a SHTF scenario, but your problem could be codifying the laws your community agrees on and identifying some process for carrying out justice when everything has gone to hell.

In this case I am referring to communities of people. When a group of people are together and relying on each other for mutual support, they will need to answer some questions if they want to formalize a process. Lone Individuals who are on their own will be ruled only by their own individual morals and ethics I think in a SHTF scenario. If you are living out on your remote piece of land and someone comes into your house at night, or is caught stealing some livestock, you will be left to your own devices I think in dealing with them.

In a community and maybe even in large families you will have to deal with consensus and agreement more so I believe unless you plan on running things like the Governor of Woodberry. In order for communities to get along, the rules will either need to be agreed upon or enforced under penalty of threat of violence. For the sake of this article, let’s assume your neighborhood has formed a small survival community, the worst of whatever disaster has passed and now you are trying to rebuild your own society piece by piece. This is TEOTWAWKI here, not some regional disaster that you would eventually recover from.

Justice in a WROL world may mean the death penalty.

What could you possibly have to consider when it comes to the rules and laws of the community?
Who decides what the rules/laws are? – In a survival community, I don’t see anyone electing a single leader, but that could happen. There should be some form of leadership and this can be made up of several adults chosen by the group. The community should identify what rights this leadership has and the extents of any power provided to the leadership. No point in giving someone control over the community who will be a dictator.

What are your rules/laws? – This might sound easy at first, but over time it could become more complex without clear wisdom. I think it might make sense to deal with offenses against people first such as theft, injury or murder. These crimes may have clear-cut victims but for the sake of your conscious, a method of determining beyond a shadow of a doubt; the guilt or innocence of someone is key. You could start with the Bible and use elements of Levitical law, but that will set you up for harsh penalties that may not always seem fair. Do you really want to cut off someone’s hands for stealing? What if the person who stole was a child?

How are the rules shared with the survival community? – If you make a law/rule for your community you will have to ensure that everyone knows about the rules. You can’t simply say, the penalty for dumping poop near the stream is death and start killing people if they didn’t know the rules. Publish the rules in a common place and have a meeting with the community to go over all of the laws and give them a chance to offer feedback or ask questions.

How do you come up with penalties? – You can assume you won’t have access to a prison to incarcerate anyone as punishment for their crimes. Even if you did, you would have to spend resources feeding and taking care of the person. Punishment should be swift and effective so that the community isn’t burdened by the person who committed the crime. Could you make them spend the day in the stocks like they did as recently as the revolutionary war? For the penalty or punishment, this should be agreed well in advance so the rules come with penalties that are publicly known ahead of time by all members of the committee. Outsiders, if they are let in should be notified of the community rules immediately. Another reason to keep them simple.

Who will establish guilt or innocence? – I think an impartial party or group of people should be responsible for deciding guilt or innocence when it comes to punishment. This could be as simple as three people from the community who each get a vote after hearing the evidence. The people chosen could be different for each “Trial” to keep things fair.

How is punishment carried out? – I don’t think the people who decided the laws or a person’s guilt or innocence should be responsible for punishment. In the case of the death penalty, who will be the executioner? Who will slide the hangman’s noose around their fellow community member’s neck? This is not a job for a sick or vindictive individual. It should weigh heavily on anyone responsible with carrying out death in the name of justice.

As many problems as I have with the justice system in our country, I am not excited about the prospect of potentially being responsible for dispensing justice in my community. Again, this is an extremely bleak vision of a future that I don’t believe anyone wants, but topics like this do interest me with the potentials they highlight.

What about you? Have you thought about community rules and laws after a SHTF event?

As preppers we prepare for disasters and unplanned events of all shapes and sizes. I like to believe that the actions I take to be

For all its faults, I still really enjoyed watching Doomsday Preppers from National Geographic. No matter how bizarrely the antics of the preppers who appeared on this show actually were or (in most cases I believe) were framed to heighten the entertainment factor; I was able to pull information from each episode. Each prepper was engaged in more or less what I strive to do every day, but with different resources, approaches and rationale. I really only had two complaints with the show and these are admittedly superficial but tainted the overall experience for some people I think. The first was the ratings which improved over time and then were eventually dropped I think this past season. The second was that each prepper had to state what it was they were prepping for as if anything else were to happen outside of their stated concern they wouldn’t know what to do or the preparations they had made to date would be invalid.

The list of items that these preppers had as their reason for prepping wasn’t as unique as I expected but you did get a little variety in there. I think that most of the shows I saw showcased the preppers as preparing for Economic Collapse, but there were a lot of these self-described survivalists who were worried about violent weather, EMP, nuclear war or meltdown of power plants, pandemics, or terrorist attacks. The small minority were theorizing that we would have the Yellowstone super volcano eruption or that the poles would shift.

What are you prepping for?

I probably wouldn’t have been a good candidate for a prepper on Doomsday Preppers for a lot of reasons not the least of which is that I would never go on any show like that, but aside from that detail I don’t have a bunker, I have not purchased an abandoned missile silo (although that would be pretty neat) and I don’t live out in the boonies in a cabin. I also don’t have the resources that a lot of these preppers seem to have to buy tons of gear, create my own apocalypse bus or tank and I personally am not prepping for one specific thing. If Doomsday Preppers asked me what I am prepping for I would have to say I am prepping for anything.

It isn’t that I am like Chicken Little and believe that doom is lurking around every corner but I approach prepping from the standpoint that you need several basic items to live no matter what disaster happens. I think that viewing your prepping strategy from this standpoint will allow you to prepare for more and be more broadly prepared than someone who is just prepping for a single event. I have said this before in other ways but I think the concept is valuable to preppers as they start the process of prepping.

For example, Ebola has been in the news for the last several weeks and anytime there is a perceived crisis like this search engine traffic from people who are looking into the topics of survival and searching for information on how they can be prepared starts to increase at Final Prepper. It makes sense that there is more interest because the news didn’t stop talking about the Ebola patient for weeks and then we migrated into the possibility of self-quarantine as the option for people to avoid the disease. Naturally we tried to cover some of these topics on Final Prepper as well.

But what about the people who view Ebola as the “Big Thing” they are prepping for? Is it possible that some of these people who were going about their lives happy as a clam before patient zero was found in Dallas but who were momentarily focused like a laser on how to survive Ebola are looking at this all wrong? Could it be that in the rush to prepare for this single potential disaster of an Ebola pandemic that they were missing the bigger picture?

Are you a well-rounded Prepper?

For years I have been prepping for all sorts of different events. If I am being honest I think the most likely man made event could be some form of economic collapse and I am by no stretch alone in that thought. However, what if we don’t have an economic collapse? Will all of my prepping supplies be wasted? Will the time and energy I invested be foolish? Will my family finally get to laugh at me and talk about how silly I was to have Bug Out Bags for all of them or enough food and water to keep my family alive for 6 months?

My family might get to laugh and that is honestly my hope when all is said and done, but I still don’t think that if nothing happens, anything I have done was a waste. I am prepping because I want to take care of my family and that boils down to providing for their needs in a survival situation. It may not be an economic collapse and in reality they might not be in a survival situation necessarily to take advantage of the preparations I have made. It could be a simple winter storm that knocks power out for days. Could we survive a blackout with no preps? Probably, but would we be better off with the backup power we have? Would they be warmer with the alternate sources of heat I have set aside? Would they feel safer with some of the security provisions I have made?

I believe the smarter strategy is to plan to survive regardless of the disaster because we don’t really get a vote. I might not be planning for a flood because I don’t live in a flood plain, but what if some ridiculous weather event caused our town to become flooded? Do you think I would sit back and tell my family too bad? This wasn’t the disaster I had planned for? Maybe I could fashion life preservers from all of the N95 masks and Nitrile gloves we stocked for Ebola?

Five minutes before prom is not the time to learn how to dance.

Call it prepping tunnel vision. I think that is what some people get into without knowing it. If you consume yourself with the most logical threat on your threat matrix you could miss the snowball rolling down the hill that will kill you. I know that some people who for example live near a nuclear power plant are planning for a meltdown, but what if that doesn’t happen and what you are really faced with is a pandemic? Sure the plant could eventually meltdown, but you might have more to worry about in the short-term from a tiny virus than that big nuclear plant.

Reacting to news events is normal and part of me does the same thing to some degree. I use these events in the news to spur me to action, but it isn’t like I haven’t been prepping all along. I might re-inventory my stocks, but the next crisis isn’t making me go out to the store to begin working on my food storage plan. The next threat of social unrest won’t prompt me to think about securing my home or defending it. I guess what I am trying to say is keep your eyes on the larger goal of keeping you and your family alive regardless of the crisis that appears. No matter what you think could happen, you need to be prepared for what does happen and no amount of planning for specific disasters will work as well as a broad-based plan for survival regardless of the disaster. Plan for surprises because you and I both might be surprised at what eventually happens. Will your preps keep you alive no matter what?

I probably wouldn’t have been a good candidate for a prepper on Doomsday Preppers for a lot of reasons not the least of which is that I would never go

Have you ever stolen anything? Chances are that most of us have at least one time in our lives. This could range from the completely innocent act of taking something you thought was yours by mistake, like your buddy’s Metallica CD, to something more heinous like the outright theft of a wad of cash laying on the table. Most of us, I would assume, haven’t done anything like the latter and even if we did, could probably chalk a good bit of this up to youthful indiscretions that you may or may not have already paid retribution for. I would imagine that few if any of us have even thought of smashing a window in or kicking down a door, entering someone’s home and taking anything. I would expect that even fewer of us have busted a store window down, barged inside and reemerged with a flat screen TV or handfuls of new clothes ripped from the rack. They are arguably the same thing though and that is stealing. Whether it’s your friend’s money or the TV from the store in town, if you take something that isn’t yours it is theft, right?

Is there ever a time when it is ok to steal? Maybe you say, we aren’t stealing we are scavenging and that is perfectly fine. Under the right circumstances and in the right situation I would agree with you. So today I wanted to discuss looting vs scavenging and how the two are related and how in a survival situation you could go about scavenging for items that could save your life.

When is it OK to Loot?

For many of us, just about any recent examples of disasters, protests, sports riots or uprisings in various forms illustrate a certain amount of looting. During Hurricane Katrina, looters floated garbage cans filled with clothing and jewelry down the streets. Even before Hurricane Sandy made landfall, people were tweeting their plans to loot the stores. There are usually people in the media or experts who want to explain away this type of behavior and remove any responsibility from the people perpetuating these crimes and associate guilt to societal breakdown. They insist that these people should be held blameless for their actions because of the disaster and the horrible effects it must be having on their lives. I think that in the overwhelming majority of cases that is crap and people who are looting by and large are simply criminals that should be punished. For me, looting is wrong and I can easily make the distinction between looting and scavenging. It comes down to a few basic questions for me.

What are you taking? – The looters in both Katrina and Sandy that I mentioned above weren’t taking items to keep them alive; they were plundering stores to enrich themselves. A flat screen TV is not something you need and could never be reasonably excused as necessary for your life. Jewelry? Clothing could on some very small-scale be construed as needed for survival in the right circumstances, but not if you already have a house full of clothing.

Why are you taking it? – The looter takes what they can get, not what they need. You may argue that these people were poor and they needed those TV’s, that clothing and that jewelry to make their lives better. Maybe they were going to sell those goods for money (not sure to whom) or that they needed those goods as reparations for some injustice 200 years ago. Even more absurd, you could say they needed the clothing to be able to get a better job. Right…

Who are you taking it from? – If you are taking almost anything from an electronics store, jewelry, liquor, or clothing, you are looting. This is what we routinely see on the news and these aren’t people who are scratching to survive, they are just stealing because there are no police around or worse, the police aren’t doing anything to stop them. Bottom line is these people are thieves and in a true grid down emergency, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t pay for those TV’s with their lives.

In those three examples above, there is no right way to steal. You don’t need anything you are stealing and your life is not in peril if the supplies you are taking aren’t acquired. You are simply looting because you can.

What makes scavenging any better than looting?

Scavenging on the other hand is what you see in almost every dystopic portrayal of a disaster or future where the world has gone to hell in a hand basket and people are eating dog food. If you watch any type of survival/apocalypse movie, the main characters will invariably find some supplies in a department store or abandoned house, maybe in a car somewhere. In the last Walking Dead, two characters found supplies of food in a house they came across. In the movie the Road, they actually found a survival bunker full of food. Food is very definitely something you need to live. I point to movies and TV shows because most of us have never lived through a situation where we had to steal food to live because there simply was no place left to get food anymore. These movies and TV shows are the only example of a future that some of us can imagine in extreme cases. Extreme poverty in third world countries is not what I am talking about here.

Imagining a total collapse of society, not a regional storm; certainly not a soccer game riot, where the supply lines and means of support we have relied on for years are completely ripped out; I can see us all facing a future where scavenging might be required if you expect to live. If we had a zombie apocalypse (I know there is no such thing as zombies…yet), nuclear war, global pandemic or a massively disruptive event that wiped out a lot of people in a relatively short period of time you could find yourself scavenging for items you need to stay alive. I can guarantee if something that horrible happened you wouldn’t be going after the big screen TV’s anymore. You would be looking for food, maybe even a dry place to sleep, anything that could keep you alive or safe. The problem is, so would anyone else who was alive.

Scavenging for food seems very logical under extreme conditions. What if you are wearing boots that are worn or even worse, footwear that isn’t appropriate to walking every day? Would you go looking for new shoes? Would you look for a good pack to carry everything, assuming you didn’t already have a good bug out bag? Scavenging is at its most basic searching for items to keep you alive or that could help you. Scavenging is not looting a brand new TV because you want to watch the game when the power comes back on.

Scavenging is not something I plan to do if people are around or there is the reasonable expectation that whatever event I am going through will be short-lived and that is one of my reasons to prepare. I don’t expect to be effected by short-term emergencies.  I would go into abandoned homes or businesses in extreme conditions if I was fairly certain that the owners were dead or could reasonably assume they would not be coming back. If this was my own area, I would start as far away from my home as possible and work my way backward towards my home. To keep track of the homes I had been in, I would try to have a map. This would prevent me from going into the same houses twice. If I was sheltering in place I would be looking for supplies I didn’t have or ones that could augment the supplies I do have like extra food, medical items, ammunition or items that can be used defensively. How is this different from looting if I already have supplies you ask? In my hypothetical, everyone is gone or dead and I am collecting what would rot to keep me and my group alive. I am not running into a store for a TV because the water rose (temporarily) or the power was out (temporarily).

If you need to scavenge, you have to realize that isn’t act isn’t without risk either. This must be balanced with the risk you face going into these homes, leaving your own and how much the home or neighborhood has already been scavenged by other people. Scavenging for food to save my family’s life is a risk I am willing to take under the right conditions. Getting some new sneakers or a flat screen TV is not.

For many of us, just about any recent examples of disasters, protests, sports riots or uprisings in various forms illustrate a certain amount of looting. During Hurricane Katrina, looters <a

I was reading an article about the mega disaster in Japan in 2011 and how difficult it was for the victims to ask for medical help or get in touch with their families. And there was a certain paragraph that caught my attention:

“Look, it’s impossible to prepare for anything of the scope and magnitude of the Japanese disaster,”said Jack Gold, an analyst at J.Gold Associates. “The Japanese disaster is so wide-reaching that [communication] infrastructure was affected, not just the individual cell towers.

Despite what the U.S. carriers say, I can guarantee there would be outages if we had the same scope as the Japanese disaster.” (computerworld.com)

And it doesn’t even take a disaster this destructive to break down our communication systems. Just think about it: during a disaster, everyone tries to get in touch with their families, so it`s basically impossible for the lines to be functional. Sure, cellular carriers have improved their disaster readiness and recovery programs over the years (especially after 9/11). But even if they’ve reinforced structures and improved battery backups… you don`t have the guarantee your network won’t be down for hours (or even days!). And that also applies to Internet connection.

So how do you stay in touch with your loved ones when you’ve got no Internet or phone connection? Here are just a few steps you might want to consider when creating your survival plan:

#1: Develop an emergency communication plan with your family members

First, decide who you will call to update with your status during an emergency. It`s better to have 2 or 3 contacts, in case one of them doesn’t answer. Ideally, at least one of your emergency contacts should be out of town. During a disaster, it might be easier to make a long distance call than to reach a person living in the disaster area. Make sure everyone memorizes their contact details, but also write the data down for each member of the family.

Also, you should set a meeting point. In case all communication fails, there should be a place where everyone reunites.

#2: Make a personal data “file”

You may never know what happens during a disaster, so in case something wrong happens to any of your loved ones, it`s best if they have a personal data file with them. Here`s what it should list:

  • full name
  • home address and phone number
  • work/school address and phone number
  • parents’/children’s names, phone numbers and addresses
  • out-of-town relative or friend, address and phone number
  • list of health issues (don`t forget about allergies!)

Everyone should carry this list around with them, at all times. My former English teacher had a son with a severe heart malformation. One day, the boy collapsed on the street and the only thing that saved him was this personal file that a passer-by found in his backpack. He immediately took him to the hospital and gave the file to the doctor, who operated him and saved his life.

#3: Try alternative communication methods

An article on E-How.com mentions 4 reliable communication alternatives that you can choose from, according do your needs and budget:

Two-Way Radios – In the event cell towers are down and landlines don’t work, a set of two-way radios might be just the ticket for staying in touch. If you remember two-way radios as a static-filled but mostly frustrating toy from your youth, think again. New versions of this communication option can have a range of 30 miles [PH adds – Not likely unless you are on top of a mountain or the desert with nothing in between you and the other radio], which should meet the needs of most families in the average urban situation. Some features to pay attention to when shopping are battery life, channel selection, range, privacy codes and size.

CB Radio – CB radios, or citizens’ band radios, have been used for decades by amateurs to communicate with people across the state or around the globe. Most people are familiar with the version of CB radio installed in truckers’ rigs. These are similar to portable two-way radios. Another CB radio option is a base unit, which is installed in the home. Base stations can communicate reliably up to about 30 miles, although this can extend to hundreds of miles when atmospheric conditions are right. Because a CB radio has its own antenna, you don’t have to rely on a cell tower or telephone company land line to stay in touch.

Rotary Dial – Most landlines telephones in use in America today are cordless. They’re handy, but have a serious drawback: When the power goes down, they no longer work. A cheap workaround is to visit your local pawn shop and pick up an old-fashioned rotary dial phone that can be plugged directly into the phone jack. These continue to work even if the electricity is down, provided that the telephone lines are intact.

Bulletin Boards – This strategy is about as low tech as it gets, but can be very effective in emergency situations. This “bulletin board” refers to the old-fashioned type, often made of cork and hung on a wall, usually at the entrance to a library or other public establishment. Before a disaster strikes, outline with family and friends a network of three or four bulletin boards at different sites around town. In the event your family becomes separated and can’t find one another, instruct everyone to post messages on the preselected bulletin boards.

#4: Use free post-disaster communication services

Some foundations and NGOs have set up free services to help you get in contact with your family when communication lines are down. Here are three of the most popular, according to apartments.about.com.

Safe and Well ListMaintained by the American Red Cross, this free Web service lets you register yourself as “safe and well” following a disaster. As a registered member, you can select standard messages indicating your well-being as of a certain date. To help maintain privacy, people who search for a member must know the member’s pre-disaster phone number or address.

Contact Loved OnesContact Loved Ones (CLO) was created by Project Genesis, a New York not-for-profit organization, to help people reach family and friends in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. As long as you can find a working telephone, you can use this free voice mail service during any type of emergency by listening to or leaving messages — and there’s no access code required. This service is helpful if your regular telephone isn’t working or you’ve been displaced from your apartment.

To access the service, just call 1-443-992-4890 and follow the instructions.

National Next of Kin RegistryThe Next Of Kin Registry (NOKR) is an emergency contact system that helps locate a person’s next of kin in the event that person is missing, injured or deceased. Unlike the services mentioned above, this service intends for you to register before a disaster occurs. In addition to registering yourself, you can register family members and friends, along with their emergency contact listings. Each registration is time-stamped and the information is kept secure. In the event of an emergency, only registered agencies (such as the police or a medical examiner’s office) are permitted to retrieve your information.

#5: Access Internet without the Internet

Yes, you can actually do that just by using your phone. And it`s quite easy, too.

You can still use Google even if all you have is SMS access. Just add 466453 (GOOGLE) to your phone book, then text to it as if you’re searching.

Here’s something you may not have known about your phone number: It has an e-mail address. Almost every carrier operates what’s called an e-mail gateway, meaning that you can send and receive e-mails via text.

Here’s how to figure out your phone’s e-mail address:

  • If you’re on Verizon, it’s [email protected] (as in [email protected]), or if that doesn’t work, [email protected]
  • If you’re on AT&T, it’s [email protected], or if that doesn’t work [email protected]
  • If you’re on Sprint, it’s [email protected]
  • If you’re on T-Mobile, it’s [email protected]
  • (For other carriers, or to troubleshoot yours, check here.)
  • Now, to receive your e-mail via SMS, you’ll need to forward it to your gateway address: Most e-mail services offer this for free in the settings page. Here’s how to do it in Gmail, for example. You’ll have to turn this on before you lose Internet access. So, like, now.
  • If this doesn’t work, and in my experience it may not, depending on your carrier and e-mail provider, you can try an automated forwarding service such as TXTJet.

To send e-mails via text, you can usually just enter an e-mail address instead of a phone number. These same e-mail gateways work in reverse, meaning you can either respond directly to messages forwarded through the gateway or send a new message by entering “[email protected]” in the recipient box in your texting app. This works on many older phones, too, though typing out email addresses on a T9 keypad will be a chore.

It’s not the most graceful process, but it works.

If you don`t have a disaster communication plan with your family yet, you can start off by following these instructions, while adapting them to your needs. And if you’ve got some other ideas that I haven`t covered in this article, please share them with the MFSP community in the comments section. And don`t forget: whatever you do, stay safe!

I was reading an article about the mega disaster in Japan in 2011 and how difficult it was for the victims to ask for medical help or get in touch