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In preparing for what may come, big and small, we tend to focus on two things first: food and defense. Some of us do plan out our resupply and restocking – which means growing – but maybe we’re stuck in a rut because of the things we read about seeds, and maybe aren’t really and truly understanding seed types and some of the terms we see. I’d like to dig into some of those terms so we know what we do and don’t want to buy, and why.

Seed Terms

We see a few plant terms pretty commonly in our day-to-day life, especially if we’re of a certain mindset. The biggies we see when we’re researching and buying seeds are: hybrid, heirloom, OP (Open Pollinated), GMO (Genetically Modified Organism), and organic. So let’s look at them a little closer, because they’re pretty significant and tend to be rife with crazy advertising and misconceptions.

Organic

This isn’t actually a seed term. It speaks to the culture of plants, the way we treat a plant, how we grow it. States have differing requirements for what it takes to be labeled organic, but the upshot is that it limits the amount of chemicals used. GMO seeds are not considered organic, even when the modification is something that is considered an organic compound, like some of the cold-resistance genes from fish, Bt that is a naturally-occurring microbe, or genes that allow resistance to Roundup (AKA, RR-Roundup Ready). However, seeds do not have to be grown organically to be either heirloom or OP crops. Likewise, hybrid seeds can be grown organically.

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Genetically Modified Organisms

Contain genes from something that did not start off in a particular genetic line. Genes that are implanted could be from another class of plant or algae, from a frog, or from a fish. Sometimes the modification is removing a gene that would normally suppress or create a reaction. It’s a wide field.

GMO plants are mostly capable of successfully breeding, just to clear up that myth. Plants are more resilient in the face of uneven chromosome matching than animals. That uneven number of chromosomes in offspring (seeds) are what make fertile mule mares newsworthy, but the ability to cope with genetic inequality is actually responsible for some varieties and eventually speciation within plants, totally naturally. However, since most GMO plants are hybrids, it’s like rolling a 10-sided die in hopes of a 6, just like breeding two mutt dogs to each other. Because of that – and because of contracts – farmers don’t collect seed from their GMO crops.

Another pervading myth is that you have to work hard to avoid GMO plants. Yes, in U.S. supermarkets. Unless otherwise marked, almost everything in the center aisles, dairy section, and meat department has likely been fed or contains GMO corn or soy.

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However, GMO variants don’t exist for every type of crop, and few are readily available. Wheat, corn, squash, canola, beets, alfalfa, soybeans, and oil cotton are the most common GMO seeds sold by Monsanto, with sweet potatoes and papaya available in Asia. Tomatoes, rice and potatoes have been approved but are not yet available commercially. GMO seeds are actually pretty expensive, too, especially in small scale. It’s unlikely – unless we’re buying big bulk farm-cropping seeds from a supply store – that we will even see GMO products available to us.

So why do we see so many “GMO-free” and “organic” banners on seed packets? Because we’re more inclined to buy them – or pay more for them.

It’s a case of the tail wagging the dog – when we’re interested in something, companies strive to meet that interest. Even good sellers and producers need to eat and thus develop marketing strategies, but it’s something we can be aware of to save our own hard-earned cash. If we’re buying OP or heritage seeds, paying extra for a “GMO-free” label is like paying more for “cow-free” labeling on soy milk. How the seed parents were raised (organic or inorganic) is really only of political or moral interest. We’ll inhale more toxins in a day than that single seed will convey to the adult plant and its fruit. Therefore paying more for “organic” labels is more personal preference.

That’s not to say a certain pack of seeds is not worth more than another. I may be motivated to support independent farm-to-sale seed production, small companies, organic growing methods, landrace projects, or heirlooms. I might be paying for packaging, uniqueness, or to support some organization in conjunction with the supplier or retailer. Just be aware of what you’re really paying for.

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Heirloom seeds

Also sold as heritage crops, have been around for a while, somewhat unchanged. I say “somewhat” because things change. Look up the evolution in AKC standards, especially for things like Airedales and German shepherds.

You can also look at vehicle tag standards. The 1991 F150 and the 1930 Model A are both older Ford pickups that qualify for the same classic or antique plate, but they’re very different vehicles with very different capabilities. Heirloom seeds are kind of like that. Some are fifty years old, some are centuries old. They may follow a basic form, but the 1850’s cultivar will likely demonstrate more changes from the original than the fifty-year-old seeds.

That’s okay. All our crops have changed significantly, usually for the milder and sweeter, sometimes getting bigger and sometimes yielding more fruit per plant. In other cases, plants have gotten smaller, like an heirloom wheat bred by human selection over about 300 years to produce seed at 2-3’ instead of taking half the season just to grow to 5-6’.

All heirloom is going to be open-pollinated, but not all OP seeds are heirloom, and that’s okay, too.

OP/Open-pollinated

This means that seeds will breed true, beagle + beagle = beagle, pepper to pepper.

Some plants (corn, wheat) use wind to pollinate them from another plant of the same species (two or more plants are necessary for pollination or for fertile seeds). Some plants (squash) need a thin paintbrush or a bug to get coated in pollen from a male flower and then coat the important parts of a female flower, but the flowers can be from a single plant. Peas could use wind or a bug, but will usually bear fruit just fine from the pollen and eggs within a single flower. Tomatoes could bear fruit from just one flower without any assistance, but will be more successful if the flower gets shaken by us or by insects, dropping more pollen onto the petioles.

Spacing-concepts-congestion-planting-marigolds-and-cabbage-www_welldonelandscaping

So long as our spaghetti squash does not begat-begat with acorn squash and our bantam sweet corn does not make time with our strawberry popcorn, all will be well. That’s how OP and breeding true impacts us: We can collect our seeds, plant them again, and make future generations of the same squashes and corns into infinity.

It does not require a particularly long genetic line to produce those results. OP seeds have regularly been refined over years, but they may only be a few years old, relatively, especially fast-growing plants that can produce multiple generations in a year.

OP’s are commonly tailored the same way hybrids are, breeding more and more for cold and heat and drought tolerance, expanding the range that a plant can be successfully grown in, or making it resistant to the introduced and stagnant-soil diseases we fight. We also breed for more produce per plant, either same-size plants or larger plants. Sometimes OP’s go the opposite way and are bred to be smaller and more compact, so they fit in more places, or so they spend less time on foliage and can be harvested earlier and easier.

OP’s can be had both determinate (most production in a narrow window) to aid in efficient harvest and succession or rotation cropping, or indeterminate (production spread out across a longer range) so that we can stagger harvest and processing.

OP is how all heirlooms start. They’re no less reliable than an heirloom or heritage crop seed. They’re just younger, 1991 F150 instead of 1948 F150.

Hybrids

Are what result from promiscuous plants or deliberate cross-pollination. The problem is that they don’t necessarily breed true to a parent hybrid.

Look at Labradoodles (Labrador + Poodle). If I breed Labradors for fifty years, I might get some slight variations but I’m getting Labs. However, if I breed two Labradoodles, I start gambling. I may get some pups that throw back to Labs, some pups that throw back to poodles, and some pups that do present as Labradoodles. There may also be some pups that look like maybe there was a milkman involved, because neither parents nor grandparents have upright, pointy ears or spots.

Genetics are funny that way. “Hybrid vigor” is awesome, I love my mutt livestock and pets, but it’s also a gambling game. When we want to eat, we don’t like to gamble on what’s going to show up with more than a year invested in the seeds.

Hybrids have their purposes, especially since a lot of heirlooms and some OP’s are indeterminate. A lot of hybrids are also faster than their heirloom fore-bearers. Although there are heirlooms and newer OP’s that are resistant to diseases, hybrids can usually be found already tailored for our exact growing conditions. They shouldn’t represent the whole stock for somebody worried about losing their supply line, but there are arguments that can be made for including them in planting and storage.

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Bonus: Landrace

We sometimes see the term “landrace” in homesteading circles. That’s its own separate cookie, too. Landrace lines – plant or animal – represent the idea that regionally produced specimens are better than “generic” heirlooms and heritage crops.

They are being developed much the way our crops and livestock started and why we have so many breeds of chickens, pigs, goats and so many cultivars of plants: they stay in pockets. It’s not necessarily bottle-necking and inbreeding, although there is some – purposefully done and carefully controlled. It’s about a belief small, slow solutions, and in local products. It’s making a pig and a dent corn for Arizona that fits Arizona better than it does Alabama or Alaska. Some landrace programs are also working on livestock with native pasture and forage, to decrease the amount of reseeding and grain feeding we have to do.

We already apply some landrace principles when we give advice. I may suggest certain apple trees and chicken breeds for a pasture orchard, but I will also tell you to try to find a local nursery with a local or regional grower, and a local or regional breeder. The chances of you having success with something that’s intended for your area, that has come from healthy parents that are already thriving in your area, are much higher than if you order in a plant or livestock from two USDA growing zones away, even if it’s the same breed or cultivar.

Landrace initiatives are working to make those kinds of local-to-local sources more available, increasing local success.

Selecting Seeds

“One Size Fits All” is largely a myth. There are always exceptions. Needs and goals differ, so one specific seed type isn’t necessarily better or worse across the board.

Somebody might stock some 45-50 day hybrid squashes so that they can see returns if a tornado, rogue truck, fire, animal or torrential downpour takes out their garden 60 days before the average first frost. Somebody may want a hybrid cover that more effectively chokes out weeds for the first couple of years. Alternatively, some may be dedicated to saving towering heritage wheat, or may see good reason to cultivate tepary beans even though they don’t match their current climate.

That’s as it should be. We’re all different with different motivations, so we seek out our best fit.

Additionally, sometimes we can save a little money or increase our options by understanding how important a specific seed term is to us, and how important it is to us to have our heirloom or OP seeds also marked with the words “organic” or “GMO-free”.

The goal is to be aware of what those terms in seed descriptions really mean so that we can make the best purchasing decisions for our situations and expectations.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)

The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

In preparing for what may come, big and small, we tend to focus on two things first: food and defense. Some of us do plan out our resupply and restocking

How do you like having POWER?

Electric power. The one we all have access to.

Most people in the US aren’t ready for life without electricity and what it really means to be without essentials like a functioning toilet or clean running water. Or were you just thnking that your Netflix account will be the only thing affected by this?

Those living off the grid are living proof it is possible that you can live without electricity, it just takes a few adjustments.

Now, you don’t have to leave town to prove you have hero material. Not without the proper knowledge to do so. Ready for a quick question? Try to be honest. With yourself. I’m not really there with you.

How long do you think would it take for commerce, food supply, and societal order to collapse?

This is not my way of ruining your day. This is also no fear mongering. This is just a very interesting and possible scenario since it shows how fragile modern society is. Without a single resource the infrastructure falls to pieces. Electricity is the lifeblood of modern civilization. Without it, your cars, TV’s, phones, and radios can’t work. And just as your house would be suddenly quiet, so will the city be. And the shops. And the doctor’s office. And yes, you name it. It’s not even an exercise of imagination. It’s simple math.

We all know America’s electrical grid is our Achilles heel.

The good news? It serves us all.

The bad news? If it goes down, we all do.

Not convinced you can only count on yourself if there were no more electricity?

Let’s see the aftermath of a grid down scenario for the first week. It should be enough for you to realize you need all the help you can get.

Here we go.

  • Anything with a transistor would be fried.
  • The power and telecommunications infrastructure would completely be compromised.
  • The general public would be confused at first, but some would realize what happened right away and start looting and stockpiling supplies.
  • Urban areas would completely break down.
  • The suburbs would be spared for as much as a week in certain places before disorder came there too.
  • Agricultural areas would fair the best as they are fairly self sufficient, chances are they would be fine or at least better off than the rest of the country.
  • the death toll would rise significantly due to starvation, violence, and disease.
  • Urban areas would become split up between factions and gangs bent on controlling the last resources in the city.
  • The suburbs would most likely form into small groups focused primarily on resource gathering.
  • Agricultural areas would probably focus on deals between starving survivors and their selling their own food crops to affected areas.
  • Depending on the scenario, after a month foreign military intervention would come from Mexico and possibly Canada.
  • Cities like Los Angeles and Houston could fall under military occupation as the US military would be unable to do anything.
  • Canada would most likely occupy Washington and New England.
  • Most urban areas would be destroyed and unlivable.
  • The people from the suburbs depending on where they live, might attempt to emigrate to Canada or Mexico.
  • People in the agricultural areas may do the same.
  • Attempts would be made to restore parts of the electrical grid, these efforts could be made by foreign powers or citizens.
  • If they are successful, agricultural areas as well as some suburban areas would be serviced again.
  • The process would take many years though.

It’s pretty clear. But where to start preparing for such an event?

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Americans like to spend money on their landscapes – a LOT of money. According to the National Gardening Association, the amount invested in lawns and landscapes in this country has ranged from $29 billion to almost $45 billion annually over the last few years.

Research has shown that there’s some practical value to well-planned and maintained landscaping, including an increase in appraised real estate value and a significant reduction in utility costs, but whenever I see someone spending their Saturday installing expensive rolls of turf grass or hundreds of impatiens, I’m tempted to ask the question my grandfather asked my grandmother about her houseplants: “Why would you grow something you can’t eat?”

I’m not anti-lawn (not totally anyway; the kids DO need a place to play football), but as a vegetable gardener and someone with an interest in preparedness, it troubles my spirit to see so much time, energy and cash going to pretty specimen plants and yard grasses and so little going to food crops for a particular household.

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Imagine a food garden that you only have to plant once in your life-time, that takes up very little space, that will provide food for you and your family for the next 30 years

But is it possible to have the best of both worlds? And even if you already have a large vegetable garden and orchards, the diversity of edible landscapes can help fill in the gaps in your food security. For instance, think about what would happen if an insect or disease problem wiped out your apples or corn. Plus, plants worked into a landscape are more covert. The average person wouldn’t likely be able to identify a berry- or nut-producing shrub in a landscape bed unless they actually laid eyes on the berries or nuts.

Creating your Edible Landscape

Below are twelve plants to consider for your home environment that are both attractive and edible. Depending on where you’re located, some of these may not grow well in your particular USDA hardiness zone, so do your homework. Your local extension service can recommend other alternatives. Many of these can slip nicely into traditional landscapes, too, in case you have a homeowner association critiquing your every move.

Blueberries

Blueberries have appeal in all four seasons. The white blossoms of spring, the summer fruits, the red fall foliage and the bark texture visible in winter all make this plant a good fit for your landscape, and a healthy blueberry bush will bear for up to 50 years!

You’ll need cross-pollination, so select at least two different varieties that bloom at the same time. And as with all crops, know the pH of the site you’ve chosen before planting. Blueberries prefer an acidic pH of 4.5 to 5.3, so if it’s higher than this, you can adjust by adding a small amount of sulfur.

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Serviceberry

When I was a child, my grandmother always sang the praises of the “sarvis” tree, also know regionally as shadbush or Juneberry. The fruits look similar to a blueberry, although the two aren’t related. The serviceberry is a tree, not a shrub, and can reach heights in the landscape of up to 25 feet tall (and even taller in a natural environment).

serviceberryripecloseup

Bake them into pies, puddings or muffins. Dehydrate them like raisins.

I had to attend a conference this past summer, and I discovered that serviceberry had been used quite effectively in the inn’s formal, manicured landscape, and it was bearing prolifically among the more conventional ornamental choices.

Kousa dogwood

This Asian dogwood looks similar to the flowering dogwood native to the eastern U.S., but it’s more disease-resistant, it performs better in full sun, and it has edible fruits the size of a small plum. These can be eaten raw or used to make jams or jellies.

Cornelian cherry

Not actually a cherry at all, but another species of dogwood, the fruits from this tree are tart and versatile. In the U.S., they’re typically used to make jam, but in parts of Europe or the Middle East where this species is native, the fruits might be used in the distillation of vodka or served as a salted summertime snack.

Passionflower

Nine species of passionflower are native to the U.S., and other species are commercially produced in tropical climates for juice, which can be found on the shelves of most larger supermarkets. Juice can be produced from most of our native species as well, but the maypop or purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is considered the best.

PassionFlower

New research suggests that passionflower may treat insomnia and anxiety as well as prescription drugs, but without the side effects.

Where you may typically have ornamental vines like clematis running up a mailbox or trellis, consider passionflower instead.

Currants

Currants are related to gooseberries but have no thorns. Currants are one of the few fruits that perform well in partial shade, so if you have a corner of your yard that doesn’t get solid sunlight from morning until evening, consider these.

Currants

From early June through August, this bright, tangy fruit is at its flavorful peak. Enjoy it in recipes that are sweetly irresistible.

Currants come in a range of colors, from black to red to pink to white, but be mindful that some types could be illegal in your state. This is a carryover from the early 20th Century, when it was discovered that black currants were an alternate host for white pine blister rust, a disease which negatively impacted the timber industry.

Rhubarb

With its large leaves and red stalks, rhubarb can fit nicely into an ornamental bed, serving as an effective groundcover. Once established, a rhubarb patch can be productive for more than 15 years, and it’s very winter hardy.

rhubarb

Rhubarb is often dubbed the “pie plant,” and the stalks, soft and delectable when baked, do make a divine pie filling.

The stalks are an acquired taste, but many folks like to mix them with strawberries in pies and cobblers. In Asia, they’re used as a vegetable and added to stews. More unusual methods of using rhubarb would include dried and candied stalks, and some folks even like to eat them raw.

Sunchokes

Native-to-the-U.S. sunchokes grow aggressively, and they’re difficult to eradicate once established, so never plant them where you might want to grow something else down the road. The tubers can be used like potatoes, and they’re often promoted as a potato substitute for diabetics, since their storage carbohydrate is inulin instead of starch. Inulin converts to fructose rather than glucose in the digestive system.

Sunchokes

Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes, are starchy tubers like potatoes and turnips.

Sunchokes are also known as Jerusalem artichokes, but they’re no relation to the actual artichokes found in the supermarket. Since it’s technically a native sunflower, the mature plants will produce dozens of small, yellow flowers on four- to nine-foot plants.

Amaranth

Glancing through the catalog of a company that carries amaranth will give you an idea of the diversity of varieties. Amaranth can be grown as a grain, a forage, a leafy vegetable or as an ornamental. The colors and seed head shapes vary wildly. For flour production, amaranth is naturally gluten-free.

Be wary if saving seeds from amaranth, because they’ll cross-pollinate with weedy cousins like lamb’s quarters or pigweed.

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Bamboo

There are two warnings that go along with a desire to establish bamboo in a landscape. The first is that bamboo can be extremely invasive. If planting the running varieties in particular – as opposed to clumping varieties – be sure to use a subterranean barrier, or else your neighbor’s hay field may soon become a bamboo forest.

The other warning concerns the use of bamboo shoots as a food source. While the shoots are popular and high quality, there exists a slight possibility of infection by the fungal pathogen ergot. Ergot affects other grass species such as rye, wheat and barley, too. Ingestion of ergot can cause hallucinations and death.

However, you can learn to identify the presence of ergot easily, and it’s more likely to occur in wet weather.

Once you’ve dealt with the invasiveness and the potential for ergot, bamboo can be an excellent plant for the homestead. In addition to the shoots, it can be a perpetual source of material for structures, furniture, fencing and trellising, and it’s an effective privacy screen.

I’m tempted to ask the question my grandfather asked my grandmother about her houseplants: “Why would you grow something you can’t eat?”

A crisis of any scale is a tough time to either have to learn to do without, or create a lot of work for ourselves. With a little practice and planning, we can still have things that make our next dish of soup or pinto beans or squirrel a little happier, and give us some versatility in how we use flour and mixes for baked goods. We can do it without adding a ton of steps, mess, and in most cases a lot of ingredients to our daily tasks. Whether we’re at home or on the trail, that can save some sanity as well as time and labor.

This is me, so you’re mostly going to see 5 ingredients or less through here, and a focus on cleanup. I’m just not Martha Stewart. But I do like my breads and I do like something sweet now and again, so here’s half a dozen ways we can still get them, even without a working oven or supermarket.

Ash Cakes & Bannock 

What would a soup be without some sort of bread? Not as happy, that’s what. Any flour will work for either an ash cake or bannock bread, even purchased mixes like the dinner rolls Augason Farms apparently figures I’ll be making – ever, but especially in a disaster. Even when it’s got extra stuff in there, I go ahead and follow the cup-tablespoon-teaspoon ratio for bannock, or just drizzle in water or milk for an ash cake.

Those ash cakes and bannock can also be augmented by rolled oats, rolled wheat, or instant rolled barley, although you need to let those sit for 10-20 minutes to make sure they have a chance to soak up some liquid, and you’ll probably need to add more liquid than usual. It’s a way to both add some texture and variety to diets, as well as use up some of the cheaper ingredients like oatmeal that are in our storage even when we haven’t planned for no-bake cookies.

Any cornbread or cornmeal can also be turned into ash cakes or pseudo-Johnny cakes, to go beside a soup or under a stew, or to add variety to our breakfast meals.

Drop biscuits & dumplings

Most pancake and dinner roll mixes have the potential to turn into nice, easy biscuits; and anything that’s a biscuit (or bannock bread) can be dropped by mounded tablespoons into a simmering pot of broth, gravy or soup, simmered for 10 minutes, flipped, simmered another 10-12 minutes, and whala – we have a fluffy(ish) bread right there in our soups.

Head’s up: Biscuit dumplings will regularly turn your clear, light broth into something thicker and more gravy like. That is not a bad thing, just a point.

Something that can be a bad thing, is that if you completely cover the top of your soup with dumplings, it gets really hard to stir the bottom.

Both of those factors go away if you opt to make your meal in a solar oven or similar. You can do it one of two ways, just like a regular biscuit bake – stick the biscuits/dumplings on the bottom to slowly rise and fluff, or space them out on top from the get-go or after part of the bake time has elapsed.

An advantage to dumplings over other ways of getting a breading into our soup meal is that it’s still only one cooking pot.

Drop biscuits have advantages in clean-up, too, and in time and waste. When we mix a batter and then spoon biscuits out onto a sheet pan, we don’t even have to dip our fingers in flour for molding them. We sure don’t have to flour a counter and a rolling-pin or drinking glass (which is also what I usually use for a cutter).

When I make drop biscuits, they’re ingredients to oven in 5 minutes or less, and my cleanup involves a bowl and two spoons. When Mr. P makes *real* biscuits, I consider just torching the kitchen and starting over.

In a life with limited water, limited resources, and a lot of labor involved with every aspect of survival, the differences can matter. The same holds true for the drop biscuit dumplings instead of rolling out and cutting even more to make flat drop dumplings.

Hardtack

Hardtack is definitely an option to go with our soups, just like it was in colonial and pioneer days. There are lots of recipes online for baking it.

There are not as many as I’d have expected where people actually eat this stuff, and discover that it’s best soaked for a few hours first, then simmered right along with broth, tea, or soup, anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending on the alignment of the stars*.

*Snicker; but not entirely kidding on the predictability front.

That veers it away from a convenience food, but if you’re using a crock pot or equivalent, or are simmering soup for a few hours anyway, heating the house anyway, it’s pretty handy to be able to pop open a bucket of these things 2-5 years after you made them and have a nice, portable, calorie-dense portion to pick up and eat or saw with a fork and knife. We can even sub in some of our crazy flours like ground dry beans, acorn, and barley if we’re so inclined.

Just be aware that real hardtack is not Mountain House pilot bread or a cracker, and that 5-20 minutes under gravy or in a fry pan goes nowhere without a pre-soak once it’s hard and dry.

Beer bread

I am lazy, if it was not obvious from the articles about bed sheets, laundry, and gardening. I’m also not big into babysitting food at timed intervals.

Beer bread fits me to a T.

Price out some inexpensive light beer, and don’t neglect the option of a local store ordering a couple flats of forties for you. They’re actually the cheapest option for me, both bottles and cans, because I’m not willing to buy Natty Ice even for a disaster, even though there’s boxed wine in case I decide a wine IV or camelback is necessary for my sanity.

There are many recipes online. I like this one, although I sometimes just omit the butter entirely or use oil instead. This one skips the salt and goes straight to self-rising flour. We can sub in a dinner roll mix or Bisquick for either.

And the sifting … I call it optional.

We can use a beer bread recipe in any kind of cooker, from a crock pot or facsimile to a solar oven. We can make it in little cans around a campfire or rocket stove, too, or atop a clay pot candle heater.

Spread out in a pie plate or frying pan instead of a loaf pan, or separated into muffin pans, it’ll cook faster and be easy to portion out.

That can save arguments over who does or doesn’t get the heels (there are freaks out there who consider that a lesser slice). It can also just make it faster and less messy to serve, while also saving cooking fuel and time.

If you want more flavor to your bread, you can go with heavier and darker ales as you like. While I’m happy sipping a well-built Guinness or Killian’s Red, I don’t actually like them in my bread and that bread is no good for PBJ.

Griddle Cakes 

Another cheat I learned for backpacking is that you can make any baked good into a griddle cake. For those of us who want fast and easy in a disaster, or who aren’t *ready* yet and are dying for a quick and easy treat, bag and box mixes I have successfully made into little rounds of goodness with a pan or on the greased top of a canteen mug and any heat source include:

  • Oatmeal cookies
  • Brownies
  • Muffin mixes
  • Cake mixes
  • Scone mixes
  • Cornbread & corn muffin mixes
  • Hushpuppy batter

You can follow the directions (or portion them, depending on how easy fresh or powdered eggs and oil are to divide) or cut some of the liquids, and they come out about like puffy pancakes.

Thin them down a fair bit, and, boy oh boy, we’re starting to look into the gourmet side with crepes.

They can be eaten as-is like a soft cookie or roll-up, or topped with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, ice cream and milk flavoring syrups, nuts in syrup, honey, tree syrup, Karo, and jelly.

Frosting in a Ziploc bag offers the ability to make cute spirals and grids or fluffy artistic mounds. Pudding can be reserved and mixed thick to do the same, or used as a filling for crepes.

They can also be topped or filled with canned or rehydrated fruits, cannoli filling, pie filling, cream cheese, or peanut butter. You can also play with adding shredded coconut and nuts (and chocolate) to German chocolate frosting, or use sweetened condensed milk and shredded coconut as a super-sweet filler.

Fun note: They can also be baked in a skillet to cut like wedges of cornbread. I regularly bake muffin mixes in a pie pan to create thin little slices that are usually drizzled with something. Tuna cans and soup cans can also be used for any batter, as can small Pyrex bowls or ramekins. Those containers are also all options for baked pancakes, such as this one .

Off-Grid Cooking

Even when we’re not as prepared as we’d like to be, or when we like convenience and we want to continue to have convenient options in a disaster, we can still get the feel-good foods that bread and even “baked” sweet treats can be.

Whether it opens up options for us, just provides some extra backups, or becomes part of our daily habits, keeping an open mind about what we can accomplish – and how much effort it has to take – can only benefit us in the future.

This focused on my weakness: Breads. (And laziness, okay.) I totally endorse knowing how to do and make things from scratch. There are preservatives and cost issues with some of my cheats. However, from things like ash cakes and bannock that truly need few ingredients, to new ways to make and use mixes we might already have around, we don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves, especially if our disaster plans involve holing up in summertime or a lot more physical labor year-round.

Other things to consider when we look at these lists are the amount of fuel some of the treatments take, the amount of pan scrubbing and kitchen cleanup involved, and even the cookware we have at our disposal.

We also might want to look at some of our guilty pleasures when it comes to eating. Even if we don’t stock our cupboards to make it a daily or even weekly staple, we might consider stashing some premade mixes, hiding away some beer, and holding onto some tin cans so we can pop them out now and then for special occasions.

A crisis of any scale is a tough time to either have to learn to do without, or create a lot of work for ourselves. With a little practice and

When I started my own prepping journey, a bug out bag was high on my list of priorities. I read a lot of articles and watched a ton of YouTube videos about this subject and as you can imagine, there are as many bug out bag ideas as there are grains of sand at the beach. The bags all share a common goal in that they are supposed to keep you alive if you have to leave your house for some period of time.  I think where the line gets blurred however is what your own idea of the duties of your bag are for. What do you really “need” in order to “live”? If your Bug Out Bag contents look more like what you would pack in a suitcase for a vacation, you may want to reconsider your options.

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What is the purpose of a Bug Out Bag?

OK, let’s start with what a Bug Out bag is most typically used for and go from there. A 72-hour bag or kit is usually listed as the standard we as preppers should aspire to and is actually what FEMA recommends on their website. Again, this means that your bug out bag should have enough supplies to get you through 72 hours. What you put in here though should vary by person and need. If you have considered whether you will bug out or hunker down, preparing a bug out bag could be the next step in the process.

Your bag is meant to be something that you can quickly grab and run out the door. Your bug out bag should be pre-packed with the appropriate supplies and ready at a moment’s notice. Ideally, you would have practice with your bug out bag and lugging it around through various terrain and experience actually living off the supplies that you have stored in there. A bug out bag is different in scope from a Get Home Bag, but you may have some of the same types of contents in both.

A good bug out bag doesn’t have to weigh a ton, or cost a fortune to do the job.

At a minimum, your bug out bag should cover the 3 basic necessities you need to live; food, clothing, and shelter. After that, we look at supplies to make your life more comfortable or more secure.

Do I need a Bug Out Bag?

Great question! The answer depends on what you are going to use it for I think to a large extent. Bug Out Bags come in two main flavors or types. The first type is the bag that you plan to strap on and head out into the woods or use to hike to a remote location. This might be your retreat hidden away in the woods in a small town somewhere away from your home. This could also be for those who figure they are just going to hike deep into a national forest and live off the land until whatever crisis they are avoiding has passed.

For most people, I think a Bug Out Bag is more along the lines of a pre-packed suitcase so they can get out of dodge quickly without having to stop and pack. These types of bug out bags are very useful for people who may live in a wildfire, flooding or hurricane areas although I would hazard to guess that not many people in today’s society would be able to have a wildfire, flood or hurricane sneak upon them. If you are completely unaware of what is going on around you then you most likely won’t have any bag packed and ready to go in the first place. For the rest of us, fires, hurricanes, and floods are generally forecast and announced with more than ample time to prepare, pack and get out of the way. Are there circumstances where this is not the case? Of course, but we are talking in general terms here for the most average prepper scenario.

How can my bag get me killed?

There are two main ways I can see how not thinking logically about your Bug Out Bag can end up hurting you. The first is weight. Let’s assume that your bug out bag’s purpose of use is that you plan to walk out of town with it strapped to your back before the zombie hordes can breach the city. This will be your bedroom dresser, kitchen pantry, shelter, entertainment center and medicine cabinet all rolled into one tidy package. The average weight guidelines for a fully loaded backpack are no more than 25% of your overall body weight. For a 200 pound person (in good health) that is 50 pounds.

How many of you are used to walking with 50 pounds of weight on your back for 20 miles? How many of you think your bag would actually weigh more than 50 pounds? Do you know how much 3 gallons of water, the recommended amount you need for each person – for 3 days, weighs?

Having a bug out bag that is too heavy can cause injury very easily. Not only that, but it can wear you out much faster and make running, something you may have to do when the zombies are hungry, very difficult to do. Unless your bag is packed the right way, your center of balance will be off and you can just about forget doing any type of tactical movement with a heavy pack like this.

Am I talking about trained Navy Seals? No, I am talking about Mr. and Mrs. Joe Public who are probably just like most of us. We have jobs where we sit at a desk most days and aren’t training daily with 50-pound packs like the 10thMountain division. What about your children? Will they be able to carry all of the supplies needed on their backs as well? Probably not in all cases.

The second way I can see having a large pack could be dangerous is from the standpoint of a total collapse scenario where massive amounts of society are displaced, scared, hurting and desperate. With a large pack, you are a greater target. If there are truly desperate people and they see you with a big pack full of supplies and goodies they may be more inclined to relieve you of that extra weight. If their children are freezing or starving and you are walking around with the WalMart camping section attached in a big bright orange pack, they may decide that you need that less than they do.

How can we avoid this problem?

Pack Smarter – A bug out bag should be viewed as a life preserver in most situations, not a convenience store. When I see lists out there that have as their contents miscellaneous hardware and tools, saws and fishing gear I have to wonder what these people are going to do. Most of us, if there is really some type of disaster won’t have any place to fish at all. You aren’t going to likely be fixing a radiator hose on your car either. If you were, that is a different pack for a different purpose. Think smart about your bag and what needs to go in there.  If all hell breaks loose in your town, what will you really need to survive? Will a change of clothes, something to shelter you from the elements and a means to make a fire be most of what you need? Add in some food and a little water with a backup to get filtered water elsewhere, simple first aid and you have the basics covered. Will all of this weigh significantly less than 50 pounds? It should.

There are ultra-light hiking fanatics that try to scrounge every single ounce of weight out of their packs in order to have a much lower weight pack and thus a happier hiking experience.  Think about what your bag is for, how you will be using it and pack accordingly. Remember, this is just to save your life. If you have a bug out bag and you are leaving your world behind, you won’t be staying at the Ritz. Some discomfort should be anticipated so I would plan on leaving the Kindle behind.

Blend In – Packing lighter can certainly help with weight and with less weight should come less bulk. With less bulk, you should have a smaller footprint for your supplies and may be able to pack everything you need to stay alive in a smaller backpack. This will help you look like everyone else out there and not like you are hiking the Appalachian Trail. Just for the record, I am not recommending that all you need is one seriously packed survival Altoids can, but we can think about the bag that we are using to save our lives in a logical way.

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas on packing your Bug Out Bag. I would love to hear your ideas and perspectives in the comments below.

On a different note, here are some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

A bug out bag is designed in theory to give you everything you may need to live for at least 72 hours outside of your home and should be considered

Remember!

  1. Moving targets are harder to shoot than stationary targets!
  2. Smaller targets are harder to shoot than the large target!

When I ask my students what is the most important thing they must do in a hostile incident, most reply that they should simply shoot the bad guys, get access to their weapons, shoot for the head, carry a big gun and so on.  The answer I am looking for is not to get shot by the terrorists!

You should first of all work out a plan of action that you will take in the case of an active shooter or terrorist attack.  Do this for your home, business and for when you are out and about in public. Things that need to be considered are means communication, safe areas, when to fight and when to flee and so forth. Planning is what sorts the professionals from the amateurs, if you plan how to deal with a hostile situation if it happens, you’ll know what to and how to react to it and not be confused and panic!

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Plan your reaction to being shot at!

As I just mentioned, you NEED to put together a plan of action on how you will react to a shooting or a hostile incident. Over the years I have spoken to many security contractors, police and former non-British military personnel and find it amazing that when talking about their reaction fire drills most just say they would draw their weapon, if they have one and return fire…  That’s OK if you have a gun or are on a gun range but you need to take a few other things into consideration if someone is shooting at you!

This is an adaptation of the British Army individual reaction to fire drill. Some of this may apply to you and some might not- use this as a basic format. If you are serious about your security, you must put together a plan that is specifically designed for your personal situation and then practice it until it is second nature.

  • Preparation: If you have a gun it must be clean, serviceable and well-oiled. Ammunition must be of good quality, clean and your magazines full. You must be properly trained and ready to deal with the incident.
  • Reacting to fire: The immediate reaction at close quarters is to identify the threat, move to cover as you are deploying your weapon, if you have one and returning fire. If you are being shot at from a distance or do not know where the shots are coming from, you should:
    • Dash– a moving target is harder to hit than a stationary target.
    • Down– keep low and present a smaller target.
    • Cover– Get into cover from fire.
    • Locate – Observe where the threat is.
    • Return fire– if you have a firearm.
    • Winning the fire-fight, if you have a firearm: As soon as the threat has been firmly located, you must bring down sufficient accurate fire on the terrorist to incapacitate them or force them into cover so you can extract yourself from the situation.
    • Re-organizing: As soon as you have incapacitated the terrorist or are in a safe area, you must reorganize yourself as quickly as possible in order to be ready for other possible threats. You need to re-load your firearm if you have one, make sure that you or anyone with you is not injured and inform law enforcement and emergency services immediately.

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There are two types of cover: 1.) Cover from view 2.) Cover from fire (bullets and shrapnel), you always want to locate the latter.

Moving targets are harder to shoot than stationary targets. It’s a fact, it’s harder to shoot a target that is moving than one that is stationary. So, if someone is shooting at you, do not stand still, run. Smaller targets are harder to shoot than large targets! If there is no cover for you, make yourself a smaller target and drop to a kneeling position. I do not recommend prone position, as it takes too much time for most people to stand up. From a kneeling position, you can quickly run and get to cover.

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Use of cover

This is a very important and basic subject! In your home, business or when you are walking around, you should always be looking out for positions that you could use for cover in the event of a shooting incident. There are two types of cover: 1.) Cover from view 2.) Cover from fire (bullets and shrapnel), you always want to locate the latter. You also may want to consider which type of rounds the cover will stop. A table might be able to stop a .32 fired from a handgun, but a 7.62X39mm fired from an AK-47 would go through both the table and you. Also consider will you want to be able to shoot through the cover, such as at a criminal in your house through dry wall etc.

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Cover from view includes:

  • Cardboard boxes and empty rubbish bins
  • Bushes
  • Thin walls and fences
  • Thin tabletops
  • Doors
  • Shadows

Cover from fire (depending on the firearm used):

  • Thick tabletops
  • Heavy furniture
  • Stone and concrete walls
  • Dead ground
  • Thick trees
  • Various areas of a car
  • Curb stones

One of the best-publicized examples of good use of cover happened in St. Petersburg, Russia on February 26, 1996. At 4:25 pm, two mafia gunmen in long coats entered a fashionable café. Under their coats, each man had a AKS-74. They were there to kill an opposing mafia boss, who was in the cafe with his two off duty police bodyguards. The mafia gunmen fired 60 rounds at close quarters from the AKS-74s and killed both the police bodyguards. The criminal boss tipped over a thick marble table he was sitting at and hid behind it; although wounded he was well enough to walk out the cafe making phone calls, after the gunmen had escaped. A Scottish lawyer was killed; he was just sitting drinking coffee in the café when he was hit by three stray bullets. The attack took about 40 seconds from the gunmen entering to leaving the café. The Scottish lawyer was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

When you get into cover, you should always try to have an escape route and try not to get pinned down. When using cover as a shield, always keep low and fire or look around cover- not over it. When you are in cover and need to move, first select the next piece of cover that you will move to and move fast and keep low. Keep the distances between cover positions short. When you get behind the cover, assess your situation, where the threat is, etc. Keep moving this way until you are out of danger.

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Remember!

  • Always looking for and make maximum use of available cover and concealment.
  • Avoid firing or looking over cover; when possible, fire or look around it.
  • Avoid silhouetting yourself against light-colored buildings, backgrounds and lights.
  • Always carefully select a new piece of cover before leaving the cover your in.
  • Make sure you always have an escape route planned.
  • Avoid setting patterns in your movement, for example, shooting or looking from the same position at the same level.
  • Keep exposure time to a minimum; don’t look over or around cover for an extended period of time.
  • Always look up and behind you remember that positions which provide cover at ground level may not provide cover on higher floors.

Camouflage yourself

It makes me laugh when I see a lot of SWAT Teams and PSD guys wearing Tactical Black and other colors that look cool but do nothing bit make them stand out. In reality black is one of the worse colors to wear, what is black in nature, look around you now and what in your surroundings are black? I expect very little… In urban areas most walls are white, gray or cream… Light colors! The colors you wear should blend in with your background whether its day or night. Even at night dark clothes stand out when moving past light backgrounds. In the country or bush when moving through low bushes or fields the silhouettes of people in dark colors are easy to see at a distance…

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Moving Through a Building

If you have to evacuate your home or business, for whatever reason, it should be done quickly, quietly and with the minimum of fuss. You should also have already worked out your escape routes and exits. If there is an incident, get as much information as possible to what the threat is, where and what the threat is. I recommend you never use obvious evacuation routes and exits, the criminals or terrorists could have blocked, booby trapped, ambushed or manned them.

If you have to walk down corridors keep low and move fast, do not walk down the center and do not walk next to the walls. Stay a couple of feet off the walls to avoid being hit by any ricochets and wall fragments if you come under fire. Doorways and frames can make good cover, even in an apparently empty corridor look for things that could be used as cover. Remember to continuously check behind you, and if you must stop, do not stand up, stay in a kneeling position. Always be aware of where you are casting shadows, you do not want this to give away your position, such as before you go around a corner. You should always keep staggered spacing from anyone who is with you; you do not want to bunch up. Remember; one bullet can go through two people; large group of people make an easier target than a lone individual. Also if you are dealing with criminals or terrorists who are using improvised pipe bombs or hand grenades, one of these devices could take out your whole group if you are close together.

With the rise of active shooter incidents in the United States, students and faculty members are highly encouraged to be aware of the policies to follow in order to promote safety precautions in case of an active shooter incident were to take place. (Photo Illustration by Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

With the rise of active shooter incidents in the United States, students and faculty members are highly encouraged to be aware of the policies to follow in order to promote safety precautions in case of an active shooter incident were to take place. (Photo Illustration by Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

Going through doorways is very dangerous, especially if the room or area on the other side could contain a criminal or terrorist. If you must go through a doorway, try to determine if there are any threats on the other side before you enter. Use your senses of smell and hearing, in addition to sight; take a quick look into to room at a low level before entering. If you have to open a door, do so quickly, quietly and then back away from the door and listen. You want to back away from the door because if there is a terrorist in the room they will be shooting at the now opened door or moving if startled. Also consider if the wall around the door could stop a bullet; the criminal or terrorist could shoot through the wall and hit you, especially if they are armed with hunting or assault rifles. When you go through a doorway, again keep low and move fast, check the corners, when though the door move away from it and get behind cover.

You must keep a cool head as you might not be the only person evacuating the building. When you are clear of the building, get out of the area and summon support and law enforcement, ASAP.

Remember!

  • Never use obvious escape routes.
  • Use your senses of smell and hearing not just sight!
  • Move quietly, cautiously and quickly.
  • Corridors are areas of extreme danger- avoid whenever possible.
  • If you need to use a corridor, NEVER walk down the center stay a couple of feet off the wall.
  • If you must walk past an open door keep low and move fast.
  • Always check around corners before you go around them and expose yourself.
  • Continuously check behind you.
  • If you must stop do not stand up, stay in a kneeling position.
  • Avoid offering a silhouette for your opposition to shoot at.
  • Lights behind you should be extinguished.
  • Always keep a space between you and others; one bullet can go through several people.

After a Shooting Incident

You should do all that you can to avoid getting involved in any hostile situations, even indirectly. If you are somewhere where a hostile situation is developing, leave the area quickly and not by an obvious route. You do not want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and to catch a stray bullet. So, if you see a hostile incident developing and it has nothing to with you, mind your own business and leave the area, ASAP! If you are unfortunate enough to get involved in a shooting incident, when you believe the incident is over, you should reload your weapon if you have one, prepare to deal with any other threats, give first aid to anyone with you who is injured and evacuate to a safe location. You should also call for support and police etc. as soon as is safely possible.

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In developed countries, even if you believe others have already called the police, do so yourself and identify yourself to the dispatcher as the victim and you should do as the dispatcher tells you, as long as it does not compromise your safety. You must ensure that the police officers responding to the incident know that you are the victim and not the attacker. For their own safety, the police officers will assume that anyone at the scene of the incident is a threat. You should never point your gun at the police and should comply with their every request. Remember the responding police will be scared and most are not that well trained and will shoot with minimum excuse. Try to remain calm and do not argue with them- do as you are told. Make no fast movements and keep your hands where they can be seen. It would be unfortunate to survive a lethal encounter with a criminal, only to end up being shot by the police.

If you get into a hostile shooting in a country where the police cannot be trusted and going to prison would most probably mean you would catch an incurable decease to say the least, you should have pre-planned on how to deal with the situation. My advice; leave the country as quickly as possible if you are a non-resident of that country!

The Tactical Use of Lights

In my opinion, many people are over-enthusiastic in the use of flashlights. There is a big market in tactical flashlights and the companies making them wants everyone to buy one, thus making them a must have item. Flashlights have an application in hostile situations but you should remember that any light will give away your position and draw fire. Light should be used sparingly and tactically. I tell my students to get used to training in the dark and using their senses of hearing and smell in addition to sight. At night there is more chance you will hear someone before you see them! When moving in a dark environment, do so slowly and cautiously and try to make minimum noise. Try finding your way around your house or business in the dark, before you start moving around give your eyes a few minutes to adjust to the dark.

If you must use a flashlight, keep it at arm’s length and keep it on for no longer than necessary, then move quickly or get behind cover. If you want to check a room or a corridor, one option is to roll the flashlight across the doorway, corridor or into the room. Light can be used as a distraction and help to cover your movement, shine it in their general direction of your opponent and move. This will mess up their night vision and if you leave the light pointing in their direction, it will be difficult for them to see what is happening behind the light.

If possible, use remote lights, as this is more of an application for your home or business. For example, place powerful spotlights that illuminate corridors to safe rooms, stairways or doorways. If your home is broken into at night, you could move your family to your safe room and take up a position in cover behind the lights. If you hear or identify movement to your front, you turn on the spotlights; this will surprise, blind and illuminate anyone in the corridor. This will also help you to confirm that the people in your house are criminals or terrorists and give you good targets to shoot at if you have a firearm.

Remember! Moving targets are harder to shoot than stationary targets! Smaller targets are harder to shoot than the large target! When I ask my students what is the most important thing

If disaster strikes, you may find yourself on your own, without recourse to the infrastructure we use to stay safe and healthy.

So you prepare for the worst. Food, water and clothes can be easy to stockpile, but what about medicine? First aid kits are available, but what if you need more? What if you or a loved one have specific, unavoidable medical needs? Medical planning should be part of your overall preparedness plans for disasters.

How to Get Started:

“Meeting medical needs during a longer term disaster can be a challenge, but having a plan is an important first step,” Mary Casey-Lockyer, senior associate of Disaster Health Services with the American Red Cross, told Healthline.

She suggests starting by talking to your doctor.

“Discussion about emergencies with the individual’s provider of medical supplies, such as an oxygen provider is also a very important proactive step,” Casey-Lockyer added. “If an individual is on a dialysis regimen, finding out what is the emergency plan for their dialysis provider is lifesaving.”

Learn Your Area’s Plan and Plan Accordingly:

Learning about community-wide disaster plans in your area can also be good idea, Casey-Lockyer and Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior associate of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for Health Security, said.

“One should become familiar with the local hospitals and health departments response plans, stockpiles, and recovery planning as well as their own personal needs in the context of the likely disasters that could occur in the specific geographic area they are located in,” Adalja said.

Casey-Lockyer said visiting your community’s website and speaking with your local government can tell you more about regional disaster planning.

It’s also a good idea– many agencies recommend it — to have your own comprehensive disaster plan. Having necessary medicine is only part of that planning. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provide advice about communication, food and water, and meeting other needs for your family during a major emergency.

For the medical component of your plan –based on what the experts told Healthline, and suggestions from federal agencies– ask yourself a few questions:

  • Who might you have to care for in a disaster?
  • What are their medical needs?
  • How often do they need it and in what quantity?
  • How do you normally obtain it and store it?

How Much Medicine Should You Have On Hand?

For specific prescriptions, having a month in reserve is a good rule of thumb, Casey-Lockyer and Adalja said. Getting it, however, can be a challenge.

Prescription limitations depend on insurance coverage, they said. An insurance company might cap at 30-, 60- or 90-day amounts, Casey-Lockyer said. Your pharmacist should know the number of doses you’re allowed.

“(Gathering a 30-day reserve) can be difficult if your insurance coverage only allows for a 30-day supply,” Casey-Lockyer said. “If that is the case, renewing your medication at the 28-day mark of the prescription might allow an individual to stockpile a couple of doses a month to build up a reserve. Even a week’s worth of reserve would be helpful.”

She said you could also request a paper prescription for emergencies, but some regions only allow doctors to write electronic prescriptions.

Keeping a written health history, current list of medications and copy of your insurance coverage with your reserve supplies is also good, Casey-Lockyer said.

Other Additions to Your Reserve:

When building your reserve, also consider more general medical needs that can be treated with nonprescription medications: pain, swelling, colds and other day-to-day discomforts.

Again ask yourself questions: what you/your family use, how much and how often, how you get it and how you store it.

If you get a first aid kit, it should have items that address these needs. They might cover fewer days or people than you want, though. Planning for long-term emergencies might require a shopping trip for some additions.

Casey-Lockyer had some suggestions for over-the-counter medicines to add to your reserve:

  • acetaminophen
  • ibuprofen
  • aspirin for heart attack
  • cold meds
  • allergy relief
  • antacid
  • Pepto-Bismol- type medication
  • anti-diarrheal med
  • daily multivitamin

Keeping it Ready/Keeping it Safe:

Rubbermaid ActionPacker Storage Box – Store your emergency preps and they are ready for travel.

The DHS recommends storing your whole disaster kit in a few easily transportable containers — even unused garbage cans! — with individual items in airtight plastic bags.

But Adalja and Casey-Lockyer warned that the medicine’s needs must be remembered while storing a reserve.

“Medications should ideally be stored in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation which will vary with each medication,” Adalja said.

Since you’re planning for possibilities, not certainties, your supplies may sit for a lengthy period before use or, hopefully, never be used in an emergency at all.

This means you’ll have to periodically replace supplies with a finite shelf life.

For the medications, Casey-Lockyer and Adalja said the expiration dates will be your guide.

Special Cases:

So what if you are faced with disaster, and you need medicines like insulin, which can require refrigeration?

Casey-Lockyer again said your healthcare providers can help.

“Many newer types of insulin coverage do not need refrigeration and the local pharmacist will have that information,” she said. “Individuals taking biologic medication should discuss with their pharmacist how (they) might store the medication during a loss of power.”

If the medication does need to be kept cold, there are products available that can do the job, she said.

The site diabetesselfmanagement.com  suggests as an option the FRIO insulin cooling wallet or other device that use evaporation to keep drugs cool and has other helpful suggestions.

Having an emergency source of power to keep medications like insulin cold is vital in some homes. The Honda EU2000I 2000 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator is a good choice.

Adalja also suggested emergency generators or battery-powered cooling containers as way to protect medicines that must be kept cool.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has specific tips for using insulin during a disaster:

  • U.S. insulin manufacturers recommend refrigerating insulin between about 36 degrees Fahrenheit to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.  If unopened, this insulin will remain effective until the listed expiration date.
  • Insulin should be as cool as possible, but do not freeze it. If it does freeze, do not use it.
  • Insulin in the original vials or cartridges can be unrefrigerated between 59 F and 86 F as many as 28 days and remain usable. This is regardless of whether the container is opened or still sealed.
  • If the Insulin has been “altered for the purpose of dilution or by removal from the manufacturer’s original vial,” the FDA recommends disposal inside of two weeks.
  • Extreme temperatures will cause loss of potency. The longer the exposure to temperature extremes, the greater the loss. Do not expose insulin to direct heat or direct sunlight.
  • “(Exposure to extreme temperatures) can result in loss of blood glucose control over time,” the FDA states.  “Under emergency conditions, you might still need to use insulin that has been stored above 86 F.”
  • When a fresh supply of appropriately-stored insulin becomes available, the supply subjected to extremes should be thrown out as quickly as can be safely done.

Some Last Thoughts:

You’ll have a lot of questions when disaster planning and that’s to be expected. Fortunately, reliable resources exist to help you.

Use them, and remember basic needs like access to vital medicines. Those are a good place to start looking for the right answers. Doing so will help you develop a solid, common-sense plan on which you can depend should the worst occur.

 


Other Self-Sufficient Solutions And Sources Recommended For You

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)

The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

If disaster strikes, you may find yourself on your own, without recourse to the infrastructure we use to stay safe and healthy. So you prepare for the worst. Food, water and

When we got our chickens back in March I was looking forward to so many things about having them in our yard. From the eggs we would be eating to the benefits of having them scrounge through our garden to the simple things like hearing them cluck as they scratched around their pen. Having Chickens brings a whole wealth of advantages to just about anyone and they are for the most part ridiculously easy to care for.

As we were building the pen and purchasing the additional supplies needed, the subject of water came into focus. Chickens are very simple to care for and for my part only require that they be let out and put up each day (to keep predators from killing them while they sleep), food and water. I thought that if I could just figure out a way to automatically feed them, let them out and water them, they would be almost zero maintenance!

Now, I am not saying I want to sit in my house all day and not have to worry about the animals, but having a system would make simple weekend trips away from home much easier. As it stands now, we have to get someone to watch them while we are gone.

Each morning I wake up and let my chickens out of their coop, give them fresh food and water. The food part is simple as I have a closed container with their pellets right out by the coop so I just give them a scoop of fresh pellets in their feeder. Water requires taking their water container and walking back to the house to rinse and refill.

You have to do this every day because chickens need fresh, clean water to prevent them from getting sick. Left to their own devices though, chickens will not keep their water fresh and clean. They will scratch dirt into there; poop and pretty much do everything they can to make that water nasty.

Now, walking back to my house isn’t a chore, but it does seem like a waste of time and energy. I usually throw a lot of good water away just refilling and cleaning the container so I have been looking for an alternative and recently found what I think is an amazingly simple automatic watering tube for watering my chickens that keeps the water clean and cuts down on my trips in and out of their coop.

I didn’t have to look too long though because this is an issue that apparently every single other person who raises chickens has already complained about. There are tons of videos on YouTube and you can even buy pre-built kits, but this is a easy DIY project that anyone can do in a couple hours tops.

ChickenWatererSystem

When finished your waterer will look similar to this.

The concept is brilliantly simple.

  • First you need a bucket to store your water in. This will be your reservoir and I am going to use a five gallon bucket.
  • When filled, the bucket will weigh about 40 pounds so you need to carefully plan on how you are going to mount your bucket.
  • Right now, I am going to mount my bucket with a sturdy bracket screwed right into the frame on our chicken coop on the outside of the building. This way, I can refill the bucket easily without having to go into the pen.
  • The bucket holds the water which is fed via a hose to a PVC tube in the chicken’s pen.
  • The tube has small nipples that you can buy from Amazon that allow the chickens to drink whenever they need to, but they aren’t able to pollute the water. Genius.

Why did it take me so long to figure this out? I don’t know but I am glad I did. You can build your own set up using the parts list below and you will get something that looks very similar to the image on the right.

There is also a video below that shows the principles of the design, but not exactly the same execution. The parts list allows for a tube running from the reservoir to the tube as opposed to having the tube directly connected to the reservoir.

Pipe Waterer Supply List

  • Length of ¾ inch PVC pipe
  • One ¾ inch slip-fit by ½ inch FPT (female pipe thread) PVC Elbow
  • One ¾ inch slip fit PVC cap
  • Two ½ inch MIP (Male Iron Pipe) by 3/8-inch barb connectors
  • One package 3/8-inch inside diameter tubing (use black to prevent algae growth)
  • One ½ inch FPT Bulkhead union (typically sold for rain barrel systems)
  • PVC Primer and PVC cement
  • Bucket or other water reservoir
  • Drill bits in appropriate sizes (11/32 for predrilled nipple holes and 1 and ¼ inch bit for the bulkhead union hole)
  • Teflon tape
  • Silicone sealant


On a different note, here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

When we got our chickens back in March I was looking forward to so many things about having them in our yard. From the eggs we would be eating to

Editor’s Note: This post has been generously contributed by Andrew H.


Sometimes, having such a wide array of gun choices can be more of a curse than a blessing. Of course, it’s great that gun technology and manufacturing have evolved to such a point, but if you’re a beginner you simply don’t know which way to go with your first handgun purchase. But it might not be the best choice to turn to just anyone who carries, because all of their responses will be personal ones; just like your choice of a handgun should be. You will need to decide for yourself what is best for your needs. So here are some major tips for buying your first handgun you should consider and answer for yourself before heading out to make a purchase.

#1. Consider the purpose of the gun

This is a simple question – why are you buying this handgun? Do you simply want to have some fun shooting at the range? Will you use it for personal defense at home or personal defense in general, and will need to carry it around with you all the time? Answering these questions now and establishing a clear purpose for your gun will help you determine later which type it will be, because its size, caliber and barrel will be a factor.

#2. Revolver or semi-automatic

Learn the difference between a revolver and a semi-automatic pistol because it will help you choose. They differ greatly when it comes to the firearm’s size, its cartridge capacity, its reliability, how capable you are of reloading a gun under stress, its grip strength, and the list could go on.

#3. Don’t think of your first gun as your last one

Many first time shooters and/or buyers make the mistake of getting way too attached to their first gun. However, most experienced gun owners will tell you that you quickly outgrow it, for various reasons. There’s no way anybody can convince you of that, of course, so you just need to take their word for it. Don’t look at it like it’s going to be under your belt forever.

#4. Start with a low-caliber

A low caliber means a .22. And this is a piece of advice you will receive from both experienced shooters and professional shooting instructors. The main reason is that it will help you learn better, but it’s also because it has less recoil. So it will be a lot more fun to start with that, not to mention it’s going to be cheaper as well. Cheap is important when it comes to your first gun. Why? See point #3 again.

Read More: What is the best gun for home defense?

#5. Find a gun with a good grip

This is not an easy task to accomplish at all, because no two people or two shooters for that matter have the same hands, obviously. You’ll need to test as many guns as you can, until your find the one that feels most comfortable in your hand. You need to be able to move your hands and fingers across and around it with as much ease as possible, and not awkwardly and clumsily.

#6. Research is key

If you’re reading this article, you’re on the right path, but it won’t be enough. Read as many as you can. Then after you’ve decided on a few guns, read all you can about those as well. Find out their technical properties, what they can do and what purpose they serve. Do the same not just for your gun per se, but also for all the accessories you’re planning on buying for it. For instance, if you’re looking to purchase a rifle scope you’ll need to read reviews on what the best one is to suit your needs.

Reading reviews is a great way to find out which way to go.

#7. Practice, practice, practice

This particular piece of advice goes hand in hand with not hurrying into buying. So, after you’ve gone through all the previous steps and finally decided on a small list of guns you would like to own, it’s time to go down to the shop. You don’t have to buy right away, but you can examine the guns and ask all the questions you want. Another good thing about this is the fact that, while you inspect your selected guns, the salesperson might suggest some other guns they have, similar to your choices. That’s a good thing, and you should certainly take advantage of the help.

Read More: How to Select the Best Handgun for Home Defense

#8. Ethics

Think about the ethics involved in owning a gun, especially if you’re buying it for personal or home defense. Owning a gun is a big step in anyone’s life and most shooters say it has changed them. Apart from that, reflect on what it will actually mean to shoot someone. Granted, it will be in self-defense and you will be protecting yourself or your family, but it is not for the faint of heart and it will have serious repercussions on you and your life. Consider these things well before proceeding down this path.

#9. Go to the range

You may not find all the guns on your list to try out before the purchase, but you’ll find some of them. It’s important to visit your closest firing range and shoot your guns a few times to get a feel for it. Ideally, we should be able to test the merchandise we buy, especially something as important as your first handgun, and you actually have the chance to do it. One thing you need to know though, is that when going shooting at a range you will have to buy your own ammunition. This can be quite expensive. But remember, it’s better to spend some money on testing than on buying impulsively and then regretting your purchase. 

#10. Price

Never buy a gun just because it’s cheap. Guns are not an area where you want to skimp. A cheap gun might mean it’s poorly manufactured or that it has some problems the seller won’t tell you about. You should know from the start that guns aren’t cheap. So if you’re in this for the long haul, you should be prepared to spend on them, their ammunition and their accessories. The best solution is to buy from trusted and famous brands.

#11. Buying the gun

It’s always advisable to buy your guns at professional and reputable shops. They are more trustworthy and you will feel better and safer when it comes to your purchase. This will also show that you are serious shooter. And that, though you are a beginner, you’ve already invested time, money, energy and research into starting this new sport. Congratulations!

After you become a well-trained and experienced shooter and another beginner asks for advice about buying his or her first gun, remember all the pointers above. Or, better yet, reference them back to this guide.


Before you go, here’s other survival solutions recommended for you.

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)

The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Editor’s Note: This post has been generously contributed by Andrew H. Sometimes, having such a wide array of gun choices can be more of a curse than a blessing. Of course,

The Great Depression is almost universally thought of as the darkest time in recent U.S. history from at least a financial standpoint. Like many of you, I know close family members who lived through the depression and their stories of the hardships, but more precisely how they made do regardless of the times, always seem to fascinate me. People were much hardier back then I believe. This period of time is how we imagine life at its hardest; and the realities that so many people faced during that roughly 10 year span seem to loom larger in our collective consciousness to this day. All we need are the right present day events for us all to see how we fare in a similar situation and the worst predictions seem to point to a time where the Great Depression will look like a picnic by comparison.

There are some that say we are already living through another great depression but we don’t know it because of the social safety nets, which over 100 million people rely on daily to get by. Rather than waiting in line for soup and bread, you are given a credit card so you can buy junk food at the store like everyone else. Remove the stigma of public poverty and one could argue the actual harsh effects, and you might struggle less to get out of it. At a minimum, if nobody sees the outward face of poverty, why worry? Not that people on welfare have it good, but the poor in this country live like Kings and Queens compared to the poor in India or China.

Regardless of where you live, it can’t be argued that the prices of food are rising. When the price of groceries increases too far or your ability to pay is decreased, that is when creativity comes into the kitchen and you will need to adjust your menu. During the depression, meat was a luxury that was often only eaten once a week. When I say meat, I am talking about Hot Dogs. Forget having your steaks if we enter another depression. Meals were frequently based on a few simple ingredients like potatoes, flour, onions and vegetables that were grown in the family garden.

ClarasKitchen

Clara’s Kitchen: Depression Recipes

Our society faces a few problems, not the least of which is the ability to grow our own food. In the 1930’s we didn’t have frozen dinners, fast food restaurants and microwaves. Most rural families had their own gardens. If we were to suffer an event now, like the great depression that saw 25% of all workers out of a job, there would be a lot of people unable to eat. That is one of the reasons preppers talk about starting to garden now so that you will not be behind the curve when it’s too late.

If it does come to that and you find it is time to tighten your belt and start making do with less, I thought it would be a good idea to look back in time to see some of the depression recipes that people used to make. I know that we stock up on food that we eat now in the hopes that we will have enough to last us, but I doubt anyone here has stocked up 10 years’ worth of food. If another great depression happens, we will be required to be more frugal and these depression recipes allow you to feed your family with much less.

I have included a few recipes below, but there are also some great books like Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression. Clara also had her own YouTube Channel and you can see her prepare her Poor man’s Meal and talk about living through the great depression below.

In addition to Clara’s Poormans’ Meal, here are a few other options.

Great Depression Pork Stew – Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 -3 large pork chops
  • 4 large white potatoes
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 6 stalks celery, include leaves
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes

Directions

  1. Boil pork until it falls from the bone. Cut into small bite sized pieces (fat as well) and return to pot with some salt and pepper and keep on slow simmer.
  2. Peel and cut potatoes into bite size chunks.
  3. Roughly dice the onion and celery. Add all vegetables and bouillon cubes to the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer low until vegetables are done. Thicken with a mix of flour and cold water. Taste for salt or pepper.
  4. The stew is white with some green so you might want to add a chopped carrot for color.
  5. Serve in deep soup bowls with biscuits on the side. Some may want to add ketchup to their bowl of stew. This is OK – I do it.
  6. You may substitute and inexpensive cut of pork for this recipe.

DepressionEraRecipes

Depression Era Recipes

Old Fashioned Corn and Potato Salad– Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked corn (canned is fine)
  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1 tablespoon flour, mixed with
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions

  1. Combine, in a large pot, all ingredients except milk and flour/water.
  2. Cook until potatoes are fork tender.
  3. Add milk and flour/water, stirring well.
  4. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve with chopped green onion and shredded cheese as a garnish.

Creamed Tuna on Toast – Serves 4

CreamedTunaOnToast

Creamed Tuna on Toast

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 can drained tuna fish
  • 1 cup frozen peas (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • bread (for toasting)

Directions

  • Thaw frozen peas in a colander.
  • Melt the margarine in a saucepan.
  • Add the flour and blend.
  • Add the milk, stirring constantly to prevent clumping and stir until creamy.
  • Add the tuna, peas, salt and pepper and warm through.
  • As the tuna is warming, toast bread.
  • After toasted, cut in triangles and spoon tuna mixture over the toast.

Cornmeal Griddle Cakes – Serves 10-15

CornmealCakes

Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons fat, melted

Directions

  • Mix and sift dry ingredients.
  • Combine beaten egg and milk.
  • Add to dry ingredients.
  • Stir in shortening.
  • Pour on a hot griddle.

Wacky Cake – 1 Cake

This gained fame during the depression because unlike traditional cake recipes, the wacky cake didn’t need milk or eggs. It is still delicious!

WackyCake

Wacky Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Sift flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together into an 8×8 inch ungreased cake pan. Make three depressions. Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well. Pour water over all, and stir well with fork.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Frost with your favorite icing.

Do you have any depression recipes your family loves?


Before you go, here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)

The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

The Great Depression is almost universally thought of as the darkest time in recent U.S. history from at least a financial standpoint. Like many of you, I know close family

As Preppers we normally consider medical injuries in our plans. The “Band-Aid” piece of the whole puzzle is a little easier to follow than other subjects because we have more experience with treating wounds like this. If you have a cut, you know you have to stop the bleeding and keep the wound clean so it can heal. In some cases, stitches or a tourniquet or a sling may be required but a lot of us have played doctor before and these concepts aren’t so foreign.

Dental emergencies on the other hand require very specialized treatment in a lot of cases and it seems that Dental Emergencies like to pop up at the most inopportune times. The article below has a lot of good information on both minor and major injuries, some tips for treatment and considerations for if the SHTF. Warning, some of the images are a little intense so if you get squeamish… Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

TOM and Sylvia Moore and their two boys, Tom Jr., age twelve and Jed, age ten, hiked all day and near dusk made camp on a lovely grassy knoll overlooking a high mountain stream loaded with trout, apparently begging to be tossed in their frying pan.

At daybreak, Tom and Sylvia were awakened by Tom Jr. and Jed jumping up and down outside their tent yelling for them to get up and take them down to the stream. The boys had their four rods rigged by the time their parents had dressed. Tom understood their excitement knowing how much the whole family had been looking forward to this vacation.

As they started out, the two grownups found the kids’ feelings contagious. Halfway down the trail, Jed, who had been running ahead, suddenly let out a cry of pain. When the family rushed up, they found the boy lying on the ground holding his jaw. Tom picked him up and sat him on a flat rock. Blood gushed out of his mouth. Pulling the boy’s hand away, Tom saw a gaping hole where Jed’s front tooth should have been. The boy held up a bloody tooth. Tom saw where the boy fell and the bloody rock where he must have hit his jaw and realized he had knocked the front tooth cleanly out of its socket.

Luckily Sylvia had once worked in a dental office. She gently took the tooth from the boy being careful to hold it by the crown. Leading the boy back to camp, she sat him in a camp chair while she got out her emergency first aid kit. Laying the tooth on a clean piece of gauze, she washed the blood from the boy’s mouth and inspected the tooth’s socket. A small amount of blood was still oozing out. She had the boy rinse with plain water cautioning him not to suck or use any force. She then rinsed what dirt she could from the surface of the root, being careful not to touch the root with her fingers. Still holding the tooth by the crown, she tenderly inserted it in the tooth socket, holding it firmly in place while her husband, using a piece of heavy mono-filament fishing line splinted the tooth to the two adjoining teeth. She made a cold pack with water from the icy stream which she had the boy hold against his face next to the injured area to minimize swelling.

Leaving Tom Jr. and Sylvia at camp, Tom took the boy down the mountain to a hospital emergency room where they got in touch with a dentist who gave the boy more permanent treatment. He told Tom due to their quick action in replacing the tooth and bringing him in for professional help, they had an excellent chance the tooth would be permanently attached though he would have to check the tooth’s pulp from time to time to make sure it was alive. If it died, he would fill the canal and the boy could still retain his tooth for many years.

Often when taking a vacation away from home, we are prepared for general health problems but do not know what to do when faced with a dental emergency. Whether the trouble faced is a simple toothache, pain from tooth eruption or something more serious like a broken jaw or an abscessed tooth, it may threaten to spoil a vacation.

Before leaving on a trip, it is good insurance to see a dentist in order to make sure there will be no dental problems which may give trouble in the near term. It is smart to add a dental first aid emergency kit to your luggage.

This should include:

  1. Medications such as, salt, hydrogen peroxide (3%), aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol), oil of cloves and orabase with benzocaine, (like Orabase Oral Protective Paste with Benzocaine on sale at your local pharmacy).
  2. Supplies should include: cotton balls, cotton swabs, gauze pads, tea bags, a toothbrush, dental floss, toothpicks, tweezers, some paraffin or candle wax and an ice pack or a wet frozen wash cloth.

Toothache

The most common dental emergency. This generally means a badly decayed tooth. As the pain affects the tooth’s nerve, treatment involves gently removing any debris lodged in the cavity being careful not to poke deep as this will cause severe pain if the nerve is touched. Next rinse vigorously with warm water. Then soak a small piece of cotton in oil of cloves and insert it in the cavity. This will give temporary relief until a dentist can be reached.

At times the pain may have a more obscure location such as decay under an old filling. As this can be only corrected by a dentist there are two things you can do to help the pain. Administer a pain pill (aspirin or some other analgesic) internally or dissolve a tablet in a half glass (4 oz) of warm water holding it in the mouth for several minutes before spitting it out.

DO NOT PLACE A WHOLE TABLET OR ANY PART OF IT IN THE TOOTH OR AGAINST THE SOFT GUM TISSUE AS IT WILL RESULT IN A NASTY BURN.

Swollen Jaw

This may be caused by several conditions the most probable being an abscessed tooth. In any case the treatment should be to reduce pain and swelling. An ice pack held on the outside of the jaw, (ten minutes on and ten minutes off) will take care of both. If this does not control the pain, an analgesic tablet can be given every four hours.

Other Oral Injuries

Broken teeth, cut lips, bitten tongue or lips if severe means a trip to a dentist as soon as possible. In the mean time rinse the mouth with warm water and place cold compresses on the face opposite the injury. If there is a lot of bleeding, apply direct pressure to the bleeding area. If bleeding does not stop get patient to the emergency room of a hospital as stitches may be necessary.

PROLONGED BLEEDING FOLLOWING AN EXTRACTION

Place a gauze pad or better still a moistened tea bag over the socket and have the patient bite down gently on it for 30 to 45 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea seeps into the tissues and often helps stop the bleeding. If bleeding continues after two hours, call the dentist or take patient to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.

BROKEN JAW
If you suspect the patient’s jaw is broken, bring the upper and lower teeth together. Put a necktie, handkerchief or towel under the chin, tying it over the head to immobilize the jaw until you can get the patient to a dentist or the emergency room of a hospital.

PAINFUL ERUPTING TOOTH

In young children teething pain can come from a loose baby tooth or from an erupting permanent tooth. Some relief can be given by crushing a little ice and wrapping it in gauze or a clean piece of cloth and putting it directly on the tooth or gum tissue where it hurts. The numbing effect of the cold,along with an appropriate dose of aspirin, usually provides temporary relief.

In young adults, an erupting 3rd molar (Wisdom tooth), especially if it is impacted, can cause the jaw to swell and be quite painful. Often the gum around the tooth will show signs of infection. Temporary relief can be had by giving aspirin or some other painkiller and by dissolving an aspirin in half a glass of warm water and holding this solution in the mouth over the sore gum. AGAIN DO NOT PLACE A TABLET DIRECTLY OVER THE GUM OR CHEEK OR USE THE ASPIRIN SOLUTION ANY STRONGER THAN RECOMMENDED TO PREVENT BURNING THE TISSUE. The swelling of the jaw can be reduced by using an ice pack on the outside of the face (At intervals of ten minutes on and ten minutes off.

COLD SORES, CANKER SORES AND FEVER BLISTERS

Sores in the mouth, lips or tongue can be caused by many reasons, irritation, injuries which bruise or cut the lip or just a run-down condition. The germs which cause most of these sores are always laying just below the surface waiting for a chance to flare up. Usually these lesions last five days no matter what you put on them. Such preparations as Blistex, Carmex, Butyn Dental Ointment or Spirits of Camphor will relieve pain but it is doubtful whether they cause them to heal any sooner. New studies suggest that high levels of another amino acid, arginine can give the body increased resistance to these painful mouth and lip sores.

Generally, when confronted by a dental emergency, you can only relieve the pain and give temporary treatment until the patient can see their dentist. Sometimes, as was the case in Tom and Sylvia’s family, fast prompt emergency treatment can spell the difference between permanently losing a tooth and saving it.


On a different note, here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

As Preppers we normally consider medical injuries in our plans. The “Band-Aid” piece of the whole puzzle is a little easier to follow than other subjects because we have more

We’ve never advocated violence; violence is inflicted upon us. But we do believe in self-defense for ourselves.

You think being in your car is always safe? Think again. Whenever you are about to enter or exit your car, you are a prime target for a violent or armed assault.

And this is not all. You are also a target when you are just sitting in your vehicle, including when you are stopped at a light or in traffic. Less likely, you can even become a target while you are driving. Predators look for victims who are distracted, otherwise preoccupied or trapped, and all of these apply in all of the above vehicular situations. This is compounded if you are a senior citizen, as we elderly fall into a “more often picked by predators” category.

It is therefore necessary to develop certain proactive habits to avoid becoming a victim.

  1. The first rule is: You need to have a gun
  2. The second rule is: You need to make sure you have instant access to it
  3. The third rule: Always be aware of your surroundings
  4. The fourth rule is: Be prepared and ready for uncertain times

You need to have a gun

Many of us routinely carry a pocket pistol or small-frame snub nose revolver. Such a handgun in trained hands can do the job at bad breath distances when called upon. However, if you are at the wheel and someone begins shooting at you from the street or in a drive-by, will you be able to deliver precision shots with the little gun? The answer is no.

Keeping your gun in your glove compartment while you are driving is a bad idea, since it probably will not offer instant access.

For one, little guns are difficult to shoot precisely beyond bad breath distances, especially under stress. Secondly, you may have to shoot through your car windows, and you will need bullets that have adequate penetration. Therefore, for serious armed self-defense at the wheel, you need to carry a substantial defensive handgun. Medium to large frame .357 Magnum and .38 Special revolvers with heft, such as Smith and Wesson K, L, and N frames, stoked with .38 Special +P ammunition are a good option, as long as you practice defensive shooting with your revolver of choice.

If you want to be prepared, then, in addition to standard square range marksmanship practice, your practice sessions should include shooting from launching platforms that duplicate those you will be in if the balloon goes up (such as in an unavoidable road rage attack) while you are in your motor vehicle. I am talking about shooting from close quarter, compressed retention positions.

If you are not driving, and thus can take your hands off the steering wheel, a compressed, right-handed Weaver position is what applies for two-handed shooting out the window to your left. For shooting to your right out the passenger window, one-handed shooting with your right hand is what applies. If you are driving, your shooting techniques need to be modified since you must retain control of your steering wheel. I will address this situation below.

Viable pistols. Viable semi-automatic pistols for vehicular self-defense are those that you can handle with precision: Glock, Smith and Wesson M&P, Sig Sauer (9mm and greater in caliber), HK, Ruger semi-autos (9mm and greater in caliber), Springfield XD, Kahr (9mm and greater in caliber), and 1911 platform pistols fit the bill if you have chosen one that you can handle well.

You need to make sure you have instant access to your gun

If you carry a gun in your pants pocket, the problem is that your carry gun will not be easily accessible when you are seated at the wheel. Since the last thing you need is to get capped by a bad guy while you have your hand in your pocket, you need to decide how you are going to tote your pocket piece when you are in the driver’s seat. What follows also applies to bigger, non-pocket carry guns such as those mentioned above.

One option is to keep your handgun next to you on the passenger seat (as long as no one is sitting there!), under a piece of clothing, a book, or something else that will stay put over your gun.

Keeping your gun in your glove compartment while you are driving is a bad idea, since it probably will not offer instant access. If you have a middle console compartment that your firearm will easily fit in, that could be a good option.

The challenge is to avoid engagements if at all possible, but if avoidance is not possible, to win the fight that you cannot avoid.

A third option is to carry on your body in an accessible location, such as your appendix or in the cross draw position. Think about an easy on/easy off belt slide or inside the waist band holster (IWB). An IWB, however, may be a tight fit if you have a big belly.

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Most violent criminals are not afraid of the gun, but they are afraid of the resolute person behind the gun.

Another option is a shoulder holster. It keeps the handgun where you need it when you are seated at the wheel; that is, under your non-dominant armpit so it can be accessed by your strong hand. Still another viable option is an ankle holster. It offers excellent accessibility when you are seated, at the wheel or otherwise.

When I am just carrying a small J-frame snubby in a #3 nylon Uncle Mike’s pocket holster or the equivalent, I stick the holstered revolver inside my waist band at around the 11 o’clock position when I am driving. Just before or after I exit my vehicle, I transfer the holstered revolver into a pants or jacket pocket.

Always be aware of your surroundings

You must remain aware of your surroundings. Parking lots and driveways are dangerous. You mustn’t let your guard down. In traffic, avoid letting yourself get trapped in between other vehicles such that you cannot find a path of fast egress, should that become necessary. Don’t tailgate. Leave enough room between you and the vehicle in front of you so that you can drive around that vehicle if you have to. As a defensive driver, you should be doing this anyway. You should be anticipating the moves of the vehicles around you.

The same applies when you are stopped at a light or in traffic. Apply the same defensive driving frame of mind and level of awareness. Do not let anyone creep up on you, either on foot, on a bicycle, on a motorcycle, or in any other type of motor vehicle. Make sure you see them approaching and have a plan. Always be prepared to do something, but know what you are going to do!

Make the surprise be on the stranger. If the surprise is on you, it is no joke. The late, great Col. Jeff Cooper, in his book, Principles of Personal Defense, described the Xs and Os game. You give yourself an X if you notice people who breach your 360 degree environment before they notice you. You give yourself an O if they notice you first and surprise you. However, there are no Xs and Os in real life on the street, where an O (the first letter of the word Offed) spells game over, which could mean you’re dead. So, maintain the defensive driving mindset whenever you are up and about, and have a plan.

Remember that action is always faster than reaction. Therefore, if you want to stay alive and in the game, you need to have the shortest possible reaction time if you are assaulted. The only way this is possible is to train for the worst possible eventuality, and to stay awake and alert not only at the wheel, but also when you are entering and exiting your vehicle. These are dangerous times, and there is no time to slack off on your due vigilance.

Be prepared and ready for uncertain times

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A shoulder holster is an excellent carry rig for driving. But if you have to present your firearm, make sure to not cover your support arm.

An armed assault while you are driving can happen in several ways. For one, you could be shot at in a drive-by while you are driving. In such an instance, your first course of action should be to drop back out of the line of incoming fire by slamming on your brakes.

If you have to return fire, you must be capable of making precision hits with your handgun. You will be glad if you have the right handgun in a substantial caliber that you can handle, as discussed above. Little bullets, such as in .380 caliber and smaller, do not have the penetration power you will need.

You should be capable of shooting accurately from various sitting positions. When seconds count, you may have to shoot through one of your door windows or even your windshield. You can do this and still get precision shots if you have the right handgun and are skilled with it. Recognize that we are talking about close distances, as the vehicle carrying your armed assailants will be near your vehicle.

If the armed assault while you are driving is from a vehicle on your left, and you are still in the line of fire after dropping back, you will need to shoot back with your right hand. To do so, you will have to hold the steering wheel with your left hand and cross over the back of your left arm with your right hand (which will be gripping the gun). You will need to shoot one handed and make sure not to “laser” your left arm. You will need to bring the gun up to eye level and acquire a flash sight picture, or use the silhouette of the gun to aim.

This is a kind of one-handed Weaver position, which is actually similar to the Harries flashlight technique, except you will not be pressing the backs of your wrists together. You will be shooting one handed. It will be awkward! This technique needs to be practiced. Shooting moving targets is different than shooting stationary ones. As with shooting sporting clays from left to right or right to left, you need to lead your target a slight bit by shooting slightly in front of your moving target.

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When shooting in or around vehicles, you may need to use unfamiliar or even awkward shooting positions. Here, the shooter steadies the back of her hand on the car’s frame to help maintain her accuracy.

If the assault is from a vehicle on your right, you will also need to default to your right hand. However, in this case, you will be shooting one handed to somewhere within your one to four o’clock direction, depending on the location of the incoming fire. Thus, you will not be crossing over your arm which is attached to the wheel! You will need to extend your right hand to aim at your assailants on the right.

If the attack is from a vehicle in front of you, your options are to press your pedal to the metal and drive right into your assailants or to stop your vehicle and low crawl out the passenger door so you can return fire from the cover of your engine block and flank your assailants. Your adrenaline will be pumping very hard. Your survival will be at stake.

Whatever you do, do not just sit there! You need to keep moving. A moving target is much less likely to be hit. If the attack is from a vehicle to your rear and bullets are flying your way, you will definitely need to make evasive maneuvers with your vehicle to find a better position.

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When shooting through the driver’s window, you’ll need to be able to make precise hits in a seated compressed Weaver position.

If you are stopped in traffic or at a red light and you are assaulted, you should have seen it coming! In any event, drive away if you can. If you cannot, you must fight. Always be prepared to engage and fight, because you just might have to!

If you are approached by an assailant on foot, look for a way to distract your assailant to give you time to get away. It is almost always better, in civilian life, to find an alternative to engagement. Therefore, be prepared to issue strong commands to a stranger who approaches your vehicle on foot. Practice verbalizing commands confidently so that they become subconscious tape loops. For example: Sorry sir. I cannot help you … I said I cannot help you! Get away from my vehicle NOW! … I said LEAVE NOW! LEAVE ME ALONE! … DROP YOUR WEAPON! DON’T MOVE.

Hopefully, you can de-escalate the situation before it gets to, Drop your weapon! Don’t move, because at that point you had better have drawn down on your assailant! The assailant has a deadly weapon and your life is threatened.

Conclusion

Have I ever been in any engagement situation such as those I have described above? The answer is no‑and hopefully I never will. However, the goal is to stay alive, and therefore, we do need to think about these things, but we need to do more than just think and visualize. We need to prepare physically through focused practice on a range where we can run drills that allow us to develop the relevant skills. This I have done, and the training is very eye opening.

You can shoot through your windshield if you have no other option. But you had better have enough gun!

You realize that you really have to work outside of your comfort zone to train to prevail in an armed confrontation and survive. However, if the balloon goes up, as they say, the whole event will be outside of your comfort zone. Assaults don’t happen when it is convenient for you to defend yourself!

The challenge is to avoid engagements if at all possible, but if avoidance is not possible, to win the fight that you cannot avoid. Winning means getting to go home. If a bad guy chooses to threaten your life, he has made a choice and you must choose as well—to prevail and survive, or to lose the fight and die. We must do whatever is necessary to go home as planned.


Here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)

The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

We've never advocated violence; violence is inflicted upon us. But we do believe in self-defense for ourselves. You think being in your car is always safe? Think again. Whenever you are