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Disasters, both big and small, bring on a range of emotions. These emotions can include fear, confusion, uncertainty, anger, and others. Include with those emotions the possibility of danger and dealing with a situation you may not have dealt with before and you could experience panic.

What is panic? It is a state of emotional being that causes you to act uncontrollably, freeze, shut down and/or react in a dangerous or illogical manner. In other words, it means you are unable to think well enough to act properly. Panic is not going to help you in a disaster situation.

In this article, I will help you learn how to recognize panic, combat the onset of panic, and react in a logical and helpful manner in spite of your initial emotional state. With some practice, you can prepare now so that when emergencies happen, you will be able to lead and less likely to panic later.

Panic is an extreme state of fear, terror, dread, horror, anxiety, etc. It will either cause a bad reaction to a situation, or even worse, to freeze and not react at all. We’ve all been uneasy, anxious, or afraid. Panic is an extreme onset of these emotions. If your mind is racing, your body is tensed, your heart is beating extremely fast, and you can’t think straight, you are well on the road to panic. So, what can you do?

If you feel panicky, stop and take a deep breath. Calm yourself and think through the situation. Determine your priorities and then act. Easier said than done, for certain, but there is a three-step process to help you with situations you can reasonably expect. You must Predict, Prepare, and Practice.

PREDICT future scenarios

Determine situations and scenarios that may occur, from most likely to least likely (i.e. severe weather and nuclear war, as two possible extremes). List them out in order from most likely to least likely. Then decide what your reaction should be. Once you have decided what your reaction should be, decide what you will need to react to that situation. For instance, for severe weather, have appropriate clothing and know where the best place in your work, home, etc., is for you to shelter from that weather.

PREPARE now to keep family safe

For each of the scenarios you predicted above, determine what you will need to act appropriately. For instance, in the severe weather scenario, have appropriate clothing where you can get to it. Whether this is warm clothing, rain gear, rubber boots or other gear, obtain it and put it where you might need it. You may wish to place some gear in the trunk of your car for commuting or trips. You may want to pre-position extra gear at work or keep an emergency poncho in your briefcase or backpack. The point, get what you need and put it where you need it. A warm coat and gloves left at home, do you no good if a blizzard hits while you are at work.

PRACTICE situations you may face

This is a critical thing to holding down panic. For each of the scenarios above, practice what you would do. For severe weather, have a tornado drill and have your family all go to the safest room in your home. For a fire at work, take a walk down the emergency escape route (as long as you don’t trigger any alarms). For things you absolutely cannot practice, think through the scenario and decide what to do ahead of time. You can’t practice for every possible situation, but if you spend the time practicing for likely scenarios, you will practice keeping calm and thinking through the situation, then acting accordingly. You’ll find that even in scenarios you may have never practiced, you’ll be much calmer, and a calm person makes better decisions. That brings up the importance of preparedness training.

Do your family members, employees and associates know what to do in the case of an emergency? Sure, you’ve probably done a fire drill or two, but what about other emergencies or disasters? Are you always going to evacuate the building like you would for a fire? Probably not.

In some emergencies you’re safer if you stay inside, at least temporarily. For example, what if a chemical spill happens near your building or home? If you just run out into the street, you may run right into the fumes. Emergency responders can help you decide which way to evacuate, and when is safest. If there is civil unrest or a riot going on out in the street, you may want to wait until it subsides or the police direct you to safety. The same thing applies to terrorist attacks, as you don’t want to evacuate your building right into the line of fire.

In other types of emergencies, you won’t have time to evacuate the building. Do your family members or employees know what to do if a Tornado approaches, or if an earthquake occurs? Knowing where to go ahead of time can make the difference between safety and possible life-threatening injuries.

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

Staying in place is generally a good strategy when there is more danger outside than inside. Staying inside is known as “sheltering in-place.” Sheltering in-place is usually a temporary method of staying safe until the danger subsides. For example, if a tornado warning is in effect for your location, it is safer to shelter in-place until the danger passes and the warning is cancelled or expires. Also, the place to shelter is not next to a big plate-glass window!

Still, there are emergencies where it is absolutely advisable to get out of the building as expeditiously as possible, such as a fire or gas leak.

The point is, the time to decide what to do is definitely not when the emergency occurs. You should think through the different types of emergencies and what your best course of action is for each. This is where emergency preparedness training comes into play. If you take the time to inform your family members, neighbors, or employees, you can ensure their safety, and therefore your own.

Everyone should be trained on what to do for each type of emergency. They should be taught in which emergencies to evacuate and where to meet up to ensure everyone got out safely. This will help the first-responders know if they have to rescue anyone and how many there are.

In addition, train your family members or employees on when not to evacuate. Examples include earthquakes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, etc. They should also know where, in particular, to shelter. For tornadoes, an interior, windowless room on the lowest floor is best. For earthquakes, however, choose a sturdy door-frame or shelter under a sturdy, non-glass desk or table.

The whole point of this article is to emphasize that everyone must be trained to:

  1. Understand the dangers and hazards that may occur in their location
  2. Know what to do in each particular case, including where to go
  3. Actually practice what to do in these situations.

The way to do this is to work through a Basic Plan for your business or organization, including your personal organization, your family. Then practice it!

Remember the three Ps: Predict, Prepare and Practice! Doing these things will help you learn how to keep from panicking. Perform the three Ps as much as you can, and you will be in a much better position to hold down panic and act accordingly. It may just save lives!

Disasters, both big and small, bring on a range of emotions. These emotions can include fear, confusion, uncertainty, anger, and others. Include with those emotions the possibility of danger and

Do you have an awesome bug out vehicle already sitting in the garage of your remote bunker somewhere miles away from the nearest highway? Do you have a fully stocked Bug Out Bag crammed under your desk at work with all the supplies you need including 200 feet of rope to shimmy down the windows of your 8th floor office? Do you have an entire craftsman tool cabinet full of medical supplies loaded up and ready to roll into action? If your AR-15’s are all oiled and neatly stacked in the family safe, if your camouflage is pressed and neatly hanging in the closet and everyone knows where their favorite flavors of MRE’s are, but nobody knows the reason for these supplies, you might have a problem.

As preppers we can easily tick off a lot of needs. We need to prepare. I need to get additional tactical training. Our family needs more medical and first aid training, not to mention a larger garden. We need to be more self-sufficient. We need to know more about living off the land and on and on. Like I said in other posts, prepping is a lifestyle not a destination so I don’t have too much faith that the Needs in my life will ever go away. I should always need something if only to learn more, give more and think more. Needs only stop when you stop living and I don’t plan to do that anytime soon, but what we need to do before almost any other prepping activity is just that. PLAN. It is great if you have that gear I mentioned above, but if the SHTF, do you have a SHTF Plan?

Why do you need to have a plan?

Having a SHTF Plan for what you would actually do if the SHTF is the very first thing you need to do and it will accomplish a couple of things. First, it will help you take into consideration your current state and responsibilities. Most of the preppers I talk to have some driving idea that makes them want to be better prepared for whatever life throws at them. It could be they are worried about an Economic Collapse, or it could be something as simple as a winter storm. All of the people you see at the grocery store right before a big storm want generally the same thing that preppers want. The only difference is that they wait till the last minute to do anything about it. These last minute shoppers who wipe out the grocery store shelves are thinking about the storm and how they need to prepare just like you and me. The lesson I am trying to preach is that we know storms come every year. We know that the power could go out. It could get really hard without some of our normal conveniences and we need to plan for that well ahead of time. Having a plan will help you think of all these things that the people grabbing the last gallons of milk off the shelf are thinking of, but you will have the benefit of doing it while you are calm and the lights are still on.

The second thing a SHTF Plan will do is give you a checklist that you can use to both purchase supplies you need or plan on amounts of items you should have stocked up appropriate to the amount of people you are preparing for. Which leads to the second point.

Who should be included in your SHTF Plan?

Most of us aren’t single bachelors or bachelorettes. Humans are social people for the most part so when we talk about taking care of ourselves during a crisis, there is almost always someone else involved. This might be a girlfriend or boyfriend, parent, children, sibling or elder relative. It might just be your best buddy Joe. When you start to put everything you need to account for in your SHTF Plan you will also need to expand the scope out to the others in your prepping circle of influence. Water is one of the first items to check off on this plan but you need to take into consideration how many people will be using that water. Fortunately, water is just about the easiest survival prep that you can plan for. One gallon of water per person, per day. So for 4 people for 1 week you would need to set aside (4 X 7 = 28) gallons. The amount of water you need to store should be the first and easiest thing in the plan in terms of supplies.

For myself, I have a family. We also have 2 relatives within a short distance so I am already planning on my family plus 2. Then you have to consider pets and other relatives that might show up if the disaster allows and timing is right so my plan could have to adjust to an additional 8 people if I was truly prepared. In reality, I have started with my immediate family and I am building up from there so the extra 8 is a goal, but not yet a reality. The point is that having a plan will help you come up with these numbers.

It may be that your SHTF plan involves others at a different bug out location. In this case, the food and water requirements might need to be allocated differently and as opposed to storing these all at your present location; caches at your alternate location or hidden along the route might be needed. In this situation the plan will likely involve several families and be much more collaborative than a simple plan you scratch out on the back of a notebook.

Where are you planning to go if the SHTF?

Since we mentioned an alternate bug out location above, the plan will obviously need to take that into consideration for two main reasons. First, who will be at this location you are planning to go to and how will you get there. The first part is usually when we get into trouble as larger groups start to intermingle because it is hard to stay civil in a high stress environment and even harder to accept rules that you might disagree with. Tempers can flare and in a situation where your plan is to bug out with Joe and his family to his hunting cabin in the woods you could be in for a nasty surprise. Joe’s wife Lisa might have told three of her friends who all show up with their families and plan on eating the supplies you and Joe have stocked up.

To be equitable, Joe could be the problem too. Once you show up, Joe might not be as accommodating as he once was. If the stress and fear is high enough, Joe might greet you with a sawed off shotgun and tell you to turn your fully loaded suburban around. Anything like this can happen regardless of any plans you have made with Joe, your oldest buddy since kindergarten even with a plan. Having a plan isn’t going to guarantee that people won’t change their minds. The best SHTF Plan in the world won’t keep you from getting double-crossed, but the sooner you and Joe can agree on a plan and the longer that your family and Joe’s family works on, discusses and debates the plan, the better off you will be.

If your plan is to shelter in place, then you usually only have to worry about the disaster coming to your street. This could be the weather/event or it could be your neighbors that you have to consider. Which leads to…

What do you need to consider if the SHTF?

This is the real meat and potatoes of the plan and isn’t easily constrained to a paragraph or two. For me, I lump almost everything survival related that I “need” into 4 main categories; Water, Food, Shelter and Security. My survival plan takes all of these into account based upon how many people I need to consider in my plan and where we are planning to be then multiplies those figures by the duration I am planning to be prepared for. This is just the baseline, but it is something you can easily build off of because the essentials are there.

So, let’s say you have to take care of 4 people and you are planning on sheltering in place. You live in a decent sized city, but not a large metropolitan area and you want a plan to initially cover 1 month of not being able to access any other supplies. You would know that at a minimum you would need 120 gallons of water to keep 4 people alive and healthy for 30 days. Next you would need to plan on 30 days’ worth of food for 4 people taking various considerations like food storage if the power goes out. Depending upon where you live and the time of year, shelter could be a very real concern. If you lost power or the ability to heat your home in the middle of winter, what would you need to do?

Assuming you check the box on the essentials, you have to consider security. If you are living through an emergency that lasts 30 days, there will be others that are living through that emergency too. There will be people who haven’t made any preparations to survive for a month without daily trips to the store. There will be yet others who simply want to take what you have and it is possible with the right circumstances that you could have to defend your home and protect your family from these people.

Security is another large subject, but we cover a lot of those aspects on Final Prepper so I won’t go into specifics here.  I would recommend you have something in the way of security to deal with the potential for these situations and add this to your SHTF plan.

How will you take care of X if the SHTF?

Dwight Eisenhower said “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”  Are you going to be able to plan for every conceivable option? Are you going to develop the most perfect prepper checklist in the world that accounts for every single variable known and unknown to man? No. What you can do is start with a good plan though and the sheer act of planning will open your eyes to a lot of different potentials. For me personally, I have discounted a lot of different scenarios from happening to me and haven’t planned specifically for them because I don’t believe there is a high likelihood of anything similar happening to us where we are at this time.

Planning has given me the opportunity to make these mental arguments with myself and discuss things with my spouse. We have had the ability to think about things in a way that I wouldn’t be able to as easily or as effectively do in a crisis mode. If there was a genuine crisis, I would revert to action based upon the preparations that we have already made. Most of us would do the same but the good thing about the plan is that I have already had these thought exercises. I have already stored away provisions that could be used in any number of different emergencies and we have thought about a thousand what-ifs already. Even if a disaster I wasn’t expecting occurred, the plan would be what we could fall back on. If everything failed and the plan had to be thrown out, we would still have the experience of thinking through the problems we could encounter if the SHTF and that would give us a huge advantage over others who wait until the last minute. Make a plan now and I guarantee that your life will be easier no matter what life throws at you.

Do you have an awesome bug out vehicle already sitting in the garage of your remote bunker somewhere miles away from the nearest highway? Do you have a fully stocked

Helping others

It has been discussed here at Final Prepper that helping others may be a vital component to your survival strategy. While protecting yourself against bandits and those that want to do you harm is a top concern for individuals and groups when SHTF, you are likely to come across situations where helping your own group or helping those you come across will not only be the right thing to do ethically, but will also be tremendously advantageous to your situation.

But following major natural disasters or other sudden, large-scale emergencies, first aid, even advanced medical services, may not be enough. Here are some other factors to consider when preparing your skills and gear for coping with a disaster event.

Organization and Triage

Effectively organizing a disaster scene can be as difficult and as important as directly treating victims. Prioritizing which survivors are in need of immediate care, cordoning off sections for different levels of need, and helping those who will most benefit from immediate attention can reduce treatment times, decrease the burden on those administering aid, and bring some sense of order to what is sure to be a chaotic scene.

Triage Code tags makes identifying and prioritizing people with injuries simpler.

The practice of triage is a time-tested method for effectively managing personnel and resources in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. The system works by categorizing victims into three categories:

  1. Those who are likely to live without treatment – survivors with only bumps and bruises, non life-threatening injuries, and unharmed bystanders can be immediately categorized as low priority.
  1. Those who are unlikely to live regardless of treatment – Medical personnel working in the field can often do little for those who are barely clinging to life, and while every life counts, there are likely victims who could benefit much more from immediate attention.
  1. Those whose lives could be saved by immediate care – these are the highest priority victims, and should be where medical personnel’s resources should be focused in the early stages. Victims who need tourniquets to stop bleeding, burn kits to mitigate damage, and measures to avoid victims going into shock can all be applied immediately in the field and can be the difference between life and death for the victims.

Prioritizing survivors in this way can be facilitated with triage kits that include color-coded tags, tarps, and markers. While you may not be able to set up a perfect triage clinic in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, being familiar with how these operations are organized, and preparing yourself with the adequate tools for the job can go a long way.

Communication

Natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, and tornadoes can come without warning, leaving victims tremendously disoriented and potentially panicked. Similarly, building collapses, terrorist attacks, and structural fires have the tendency to induce chaos and confusion in their aftermath. In a situation where the institutions we depend on to return order to a scene are no longer able to fulfill that function, you may need to contribute to restoring calm and jump starting life-saving procedures.

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho – Staff Sgt. Kalani Kaauamo, 366th Medical Group, performs triage after a simulated car accident at the base hospital.

2-Way radios2 Way radios can be essential tools for communicating both with off-scene resources as well as on-scene organizers who are managing resources. Having a few 2-Way radios and spare batteries will help you get the most out of personnel.

Bullhorns – Sometimes, you need to communicate to a large audience all at once. Giving instructions, warnings, tips, or procedures during the commotion of a disaster scene can be impossible without the aid of technology. Using bullhorns can help speed up the communication process while improving its overall efficacy.

Combined with a working knowledge of how to triage patients, these tools can all contribute to effective emergency management. While these may not be at the top of your bug-out list, you should consider keeping them handy at the office, at your home, or in your car.

Personnel Safety

The scene following an emergency can continue to be a dangerous area. Damage to surrounding structures, the possibility of a second disaster, and lingering environmental effects like air pollutants and hot surfaces can all bring severe injury to otherwise healthy survivors. Hard hats, dust masks, safety vests, goggles, and work gloves should all be on hand to keep response teams safe while survivors are triaged or removed from the scene altogether. CERT kits often include all of this gear for quick access to everything you may need to respond to disaster.

Medical Aid

This is typically the first thing people think of when they imagine treating a disaster area. As we’ve discussed, there’s a lot more to successfully managing the immediate aftermath of a disaster. With that said, proper medical tools and training will be the most direct aids in saving lives and mitigating the effects of injuries.

Trauma kits Trauma kits can be purchased in a variety of sizes and should include blood clotting materials, burn care kits, sterilizers, tourniquets, hardware like paramedic shears, and various assorted bandages and first aid essentials. Make sure you’ve got an accurate inventory of what tools are available and get at least a basic grasp of first aid.

Finding a Job

Even if you’re not directly administering aid, there will likely be a job for you to make things better. Serious medical attention should be left to trained personnel, as unskilled hands could wind up doing more damage than help. But if you find yourself at the scene of an emergency, especially in a post SHTF scenario, there are going to be dozens of jobs for you to fill. Finding survivors, directing them to the proper triage zones, fetching tools for those administering aid, and generally contributing to a calm and orderly atmosphere can go a long way towards saving lives.

Being able to navigate the confusion and panic surrounding a disaster event is difficult even in the most developed and high-functioning societies. If an emergency situation were to present itself following an economic collapse or in the midst of an unrelated failure of the support infrastructure we so often take for granted, it will be those closest to the event that will need to step up and help those around them.

Helping others It has been discussed here at Final Prepper that helping others may be a vital component to your survival strategy. While protecting yourself against bandits and those that want

When SHTF and you find yourself needing to replenish your quickly dwindling supplies, do you know where to look? I can tell you right now that if you try to head to a local grocery store, hardware store, or other popular shop, you are putting yourself and your family at great risk.

Humans are creatures of habit. Stores and places that people used every day to get supplies are going to quickly be overrun and cleaned out following a collapse. In addition, gangs may be lying in wait at these popular places because they know it’s a great place to prey on desperate people trying to find supplies post-SHTF.

So, if you find yourself in need of supplies, what do you do instead? Perhaps your stockpiled supplies were somehow ruined or even stolen or confiscated or you just underestimated your needs.

How do you provide for yourself and your family without putting yourself in the way of additional threats?  The trick is to know where to find supplies post-SHTF in those buildings where other people won’t think to check right away. You have to be creative, think outside of the box about what you’re in need of and where you might find it OTHER than a grocery store, hardware store, etc.

Instead of going to places that would normally stock the supplies you need, think about which places in your area USE or STOCK the items you may need. Trespassing and breaking and entering are illegal and not something to be undertaken lightly and should be avoided if possible. But in a disastrous event, where your family is in danger and government and other emergency services are unavailable to assist, you have to do what needs done.

We’ve given you some examples below along with a few things you might find at each place. We also have this other list of places to avoid when the unthinkable happens.

Physical Therapy Clinics

One of the places to find supplies post-SHTF that almost no one will think to look is physical therapy clinics. You won’t find a ton of food here, except a few things the staff kept on hand in the staff lounge. But you will find things the therapists used to treat their patients during appointments. Look for things such as ace bandages or wraps, crutches, analgesic creams, hot/cold packs, walkers, a wheelchair.

One thing you will find that most people won’t know can be used are large rolls of TheraBand. This is long stretchy sturdy material, similar to an industrial rubber band. It’s used in therapy exercises. Therapists cut off the length they need for each patient during appointments and that piece can only be used for that patient, so they keep large rolls of it, usually hanging on the wall. You may have seen something similar used it during an exercise routine.

TheraBand can be used for a wide variety of things other than therapy including to make a rope, make a slingshot, tie things to your pack, or make a sling for a sprained or broken arm.

Public and Private Schools

Any public or private schools that aren’t being used as an evacuation center or shelter will most likely be abandoned. Depending upon the type of SHTF and how quickly it occurred, these buildings may not even be locked. Public and private schools stock food and beverages so they can feed children breakfast and lunches every day. Most people won’t think of this as a resource. You may be able to find some of this food still intact that you can use.

Industrial Buildings and Manufacturing Facilities

These buildings will be abandoned quickly, especially if the power is out indefinitely. But they can be a great place to find supplies because other people won’t think to look in these buildings and they are often located away from densely populated parts of the city. This means you can avoid huge crowds of desperate people and still find supplies you need.

Check the employee lounge or offices for things like personal first aid supplies, water, and food. You may also find things like walkie talkies, tools, first aid kits, generators, and batteries. Depending on the type of facility you could also find fuels such as propane, kerosene, and gasoline. Look for abandoned company vehicles. These could be parked, fully gassed up and ready to go Monday morning. Keys are usually hung in a box on the wall in the maintenance or shipping office.

Daycare Centers

Daycare centers, preschools, and other facilities designed to care for children during the day will likely be quickly evacuated and otherwise abandoned post-SHTF. These are the perfect place to look for supplies that you may need, especially if you have children. If the facility has an on-site kitchen for feeding lunches, you may find stockpiles of food. But even if there is no kitchen, you can find snack foods such as crackers, peanut butter, etc. that was kept on hand to provide lunch for a child whose mother forgot to send one.

The other supplies you may find at daycare centers are things such as diapers, wet wipes, blankets, cleaning supplies such as bleach, and even some spare clothing. You could also find some medications and first aid supplies. Daycare centers keep these things on hand to provide for the children in their care. In some centers parents are required to send in supplies to be kept at the center for their child. All of these will have been abandoned in the chaos.

Nursing Homes

Nursing home facilities that care for the elderly and the ill will most likely be evacuated or abandoned post-SHTF. Some facilities may be used as shelters for other patients evacuated from smaller facilities. But nursing homes stockpile a lot of supplies to care for their patients that you could use post-SHTF.

At nursing homes, you will find stockpiled food used to feed their patients. In fact, you’ll likely find nutrition packed food such as Ensure, Gatorade, or even Pedialyte that was used to make patients were getting what they needed. In a nursing home you will also find medications (possibly locked up but still there), medical supplies, blankets, sheets, and towels, and even spare clothing left behind when the patients were evacuated.

Restaurants & Coffee Shops

One place that many people may not think to check right away for supplies are abandoned restaurants and coffee shops. These can be a source to find supplies post-SHTF because they stock food to have available to cook and serve their customers during normal times. Sure, some places may choose to try and stay open but cash will run out quickly and customers won’t be able to pay. Staff will want to get home to their families, so many of these locations will be abandoned.

Once inside, find the food storeroom and check their cooler area to see what is still cold. Depending on how long it’s been abandoned, you may find food that is still usable. You’ll also find utensils and other things to cook with if you are on the run. There could be a first aid kit somewhere near the kitchen. Even grabbing several of the tablecloths could come in handy.

Veterinarian Clinics

One of the places to find supplies post-SHTF will be veterinarian clinics and hospitals. In most cases, these buildings will be abandoned. Hopefully any pets there at the time of impact will have been released or otherwise cared for. And yes, some people will think to check here but not as many as will flock to local pharmacies.

At a vet clinic, the thing you may find are medical supplies and some pharmaceutical grade antibiotics. You can also find old blankets and maybe a first aid kit. Check desk drawers and closets in case the staff kept a small stash of medications for their own use. Look for things like Tylenol, Benadryl, and things most people would keep in their desk or locker at work.

Hospice Centers

Facilities designed to care for patients who have terminal illnesses and are dying can be one of the places to find supplies. Hospice centers focus on treatments that keep patients comfortable and free of pain. Unfortunately, hospice patients need a lot of care and many of them won’t survive long without someone to look out for them.

Some of these facilities will be abandoned by staff. But hospice staff are dedicated individuals so there may still be at least one staff person who remained to care for the patients. Approach these facilities as a last resort and with the understanding that you likely won’t like what you see inside. You may have to plead your case with a staff person through negotiation or force.

Once inside, look for medications for pain such as morphine, analgesics and steroids. You’ll also find items such as syringes, needles, bandages, medications, antibiotic ointments, gauze, blankets, sheets, and pillows. You should find some food and perhaps some antibiotics.

Health Food Stores

Although health food stores are a place known to have food, they are a specialty store. In the United States, many people won’t think to look for these because they’ve never set foot inside one. They don’t know what’s there and may not even know that a health food store exists in their town or city. This means you won’t be as likely to run into large crowds of people.

Health food stores stock lots of foods that are all natural, healthy, and nutritious as well as vitamin supplements that can be used to augment your diet in the coming weeks and months.

Thrift Stores

One of the places to find supplies post-SHTF that can be a veritable treasure trove of goodies is your local thrift stores. Believe it or not, some of these will be overlooked by people who are looting. They will focus on chain stores and places with “new” items.

A thrift store can be a great source to find extra clothing, books and furniture to burn for warmth, blankets, a tent, and cookware. In some thrift stores you will also find a hardware section that will have tools, string, duct tape, and other supplies you may need.

There you have it. A whole list of places to find supplies post-collapse that hopefully won’t be crowded with people, won’t have someone lying in wait to ambush you, and won’t be completely picked clean. Regardless of how well you think you have stockpiled supplies, it’s always a good idea to have a map pre-marked with the locations of some of these types of places. The more supplies you have at your disposal, or know how to find quickly, the better your odds of surviving for the long-term.

When SHTF and you find yourself needing to replenish your quickly dwindling supplies, do you know where to look? I can tell you right now that if you try to

Prepping in its most basic form to me is about proactively taking steps to ensure you and those around you are ready with skills, supplies and a plan to react to emergencies or disasters in a way that promotes your survival. The core of short-term survival I would argue is something that many of us take for granted and that is water.

Why do you need to store water for emergencies?

The simple answer to that question is one that you probably already know. We all need water to survive and if you go without it for a while your health deteriorates. You can get headaches, become lethargic and weak. Go with water for more than a couple of days and you die. Water or lack of sufficient, clean drinking water, more than almost anything else (I will go into the other things later) will kill you.

That much is pretty simple. Usually everyone can accept that premise without even blinking an eye. What they frequently have problems with is this idea that you could ever find yourself without clean drinking water. We in virtually all of the developed world have water treatment facilities, plumbing and systems that bring clean water inside the house or our offices and you would be hard pressed to walk anywhere in even the smallest cities without quickly finding nice clear, plastic bottles of water for sale. But what if the water in the tap was tainted? What if the tap no longer put forth clean, shiny water? What if the stores with all of those bags and bags of bottled water were empty? This is where prepping begins.

To prepare, you have to do something proactively.

It isn’t wise to sit back and say things like “that would never happen” or my own personal favorite, “the government will take care of us if that happened”. In any large emergency, you will be reliant upon yourself as evidenced in almost every case in recent history. Yes, disaster relief organizations and government assistance will usually mobilize, but do you want to wait for that to happen? Even the government tells you to prepare on its website, ready.gov. If they are saying not to wait for them, what does that tell you?

fema-sandy-closed

I don’t know why anyone would count on the government. Maybe they will do something right, but I wouldn’t bet my life on them saving me.

How much water do you need to survive?

So we agree that everyone needs to stockpile water, but the next obvious question is how much? The amount of water you need vary greatly depending on a few different factors. A general rule of thumb is that you need one gallon of water per person per day. This assumes hydration needs and hygiene. You won’t necessarily drink a gallon of water, but you might need it for reconstituting freeze-dried food, cleaning cooking implements or washing your body. On some days you might not even need a gallon of water. Other days you could end up needing much more than one gallon if you are exerting yourself physically or the temperatures are elevated and you are losing fluids to perspiration.

In my opinion, water is one of the easiest preps to cross off your list and since it is so vital, it made the cut as the first in this series. To calculate how much water you need, just multiply the number of people you are prepping for by the number of days you want to be stocked up for. In my family, I have those who live with me (4) as well as extended family who I plan will come to our location (another 4 potentially) as well as some friends (add 4 to that) so I am looking at potentially needing to supply water for 12 people. 12 people for one month is 12 X 30 = 360 gallons of water.

Where is the best place to store water?

That is only for one month. What if the emergency lasts longer than one month? What if the town’s water supply is still not safe for drinking at that point? 360 gallons takes up a lot of room no matter how you look at it. If you have 55 gallon barrels in your basement that is still 6 barrels and again that assumes everyone is staying at or under their one gallon a day limit.

I have a few different ways to store water. The first is stored in heavy-duty plastic containers that hold 7 gallons each. These are great because they are more portable, they stack and I can get some storage in smaller spaces, like the shelves of a pantry. I can also easily transport a few of these to my Bug Out Vehicle if necessary. This storage only lasts a week.

If you have the space, larger water storage containers work best.

After that I have rain barrels that hold 50 gallons a piece. The great thing about rain barrels is that they can be refilled by Mother Nature without you having to do anything except make sure the water is disinfected. But, this requires an outside location and not everyone has a home on land where they can back up a barrel under the gutter. People who live in apartments have different space limitations.

For apartment dwellers, I would recommend using the stack-able storage, but diversify that around your apartment so you don’t have weight all in one space. Usually any apartments are built on concrete substrates so even several hundred pounds of water in a closet wouldn’t risk compromising the floor. You can also try storage facilities if necessary.

What do you do when the water runs out?

But no matter how much water you have stored up, it could still run out in the worse emergencies so it is important to have an alternate plan to acquire good water afterward. Actually, I think it is more important to plan to procure water than it is to stockpile it in the long run.

Platypus GravityWorks Filter System, 4-Liters of water in minutes.

Water borne bacteria and viruses are not something you want to encounter in a disaster situation. Stomach bugs, even minor can put you down and give you diarrhea. Who wants to worry about getting sick when the world ends much less crapping yourself all the time when the toilet paper is in short supply anyway? A simple and reliable method of making your water safe to drink is also very important.

Boiling water is a sure-fire way to kill all bacteria and viruses. The drawback to this approach for me is that you have to start a fire and use a container. The fire could alert people to your location and that might not be what you want. Also, you have to wait for the water to cool before you can drink it and boiling isn’t going to get out any sediment, it will just make your water safer to drink.

I prefer gravity filters for their ease of use, compactness and filtration ability. With a filter like the Platypus Gravityworks, you can quickly filter 4 liters of water just by filling up a bag and it’s ready to drink in minutes. Literally, I filtered 2 liters in less than 2 minutes.

There is also using bleach to disinfect ,water purification tablets and even iodine, but these aren’t without their drawbacks too and do require you to wait for the chemicals to work. Your choice, but there are options.

Make sure you have plans to supply the water needs of your own survival group at the initial point of any emergencies and long after by crafting your water preparedness plan now.

Prepping in its most basic form to me is about proactively taking steps to ensure you and those around you are ready with skills, supplies and a plan to react

 

A lot of preppers do not possess the proper skills for surviving in case of any natural disaster even though it is essential to do so. The main reason for the lack of adequate skills is that many people lack the proper survival skills training to cope with any emergency situation. In the subsequent paragraphs, we are going to mention 8 important survival skills that anyone must have in his or her kit.

Locating and purifying water

It is said that an individual cannot survive for more than three days without drinking water. However, in case he or she needs to survive in a severe environment, it might not be possible for him or her to survive even that long.

Water is essential for the human body to function properly and this is why one of the most important survival skills will be to locate and also purify water. In case you’re able to light a fire then you might consider boiling the water. Otherwise, you might also store sufficient water prior to leaving for an exploration. Although it might not solve your problem entirely, it is the best thing that you can do during a survival situation. We all know that nature is our best friend and we should make it a point to learn which plants will provide us with drinking water; however, it might prove to be disastrous for you in case you fail to understand it properly.

Making a fire

It is definitely tough to figure out which particular survival skills are the most important in a disaster situation; however, one cannot ignore the importance of making a fire in this respect. A fire will help you in many ways such as purifying the water, keeping yourself warm and comfortable, sterilizing surgical equipment, making tools, cooking food, signaling for help and also safeguarding yourself from wild creatures. Above all, you will feel much more confident by having a fire.

Building a shelter

While you are outdoors, things can change all of a sudden at any time of the day. For example, there can be a great fluctuation in the temperature. Although you might be experiencing a dry climate in the morning, you should not be surprised if it rains heavily at night. While you are trapped in an emergency situation, you might use your vehicle as your shelter in case you happen to be with the car. Otherwise, think of some natural resources that you can use as your shelter. It will not be a bad idea to safeguard yourself from the inclement weather by taking a refuge inside a cave.

Predicting weather

Casio Men’s PAG240-1CR Pathfinder Triple Sensor Multi-Function Sport Watch – Compass, Barometer and Altimeter.

In most situations, we are hardly concerned about the climatic condition in our daily lives unless of course there are some natural calamities like tornadoes and floods. Being able to forecast the weather is an essential survival skill that you should have during any disaster situation. In case you happen to be in the wilderness, you can be affected very badly by any change in the weather conditions. You might find it extremely hard to light a fire if there is a heavy precipitation as well as a strong gale. You will never be caught unaware if you are able to develop this particular survival skill. But how is it possible? Below we have mentioned some fundamental forecasting skills the majority of which will depend on natural phenomena like:

  • Air pressure – Although it is impossible to measure the air pressure physically, you should be able to ascertain the direction of the air flow. Usually, the clouds will be moving from a high-pressure area to a low-pressure area.
  • Clouds – You’ll be able to forecast strong wind as well as rain by observing the clouds. Under normal circumstances, heavy precipitation can be expected in the presence of dark and low hanging clouds.
  • Wild creatures – Animals are able to understand any change in the weather by their natural instincts. For example, you can predict rain in case the insects start to disappear.
  • Hunting skills – Often you can suffer from lack of adequate food during an emergency situation. In that case, it is essential to have the ability to hunt wild animals who can provide you with a steady supply of food. In case you are a beginner, you should focus on catching some smaller animals like rabbits, fish and so on instead of going for larger creatures like the tiger, deer, etc. Hunting fish will not be much difficult for you but you should be careful while catching them. There might be other creatures like alligators in the water that you must avoid at all costs. Moreover, catching fish is not a joke and you need to be properly trained to do so. You might also try to set a trap near the river which should help you to catch some fish within a few hours.

Identifying edible vegetation

In case you are trapped in the forest, don’t go out eating everything you run across that looks good since they might even be poisonous for you. You might be starving, but you must have the ability to identify the plants which are edible. Consuming these plants will help you to avoid cooking as well as saving your precious time. There will be no need to hunt for animals, make a fire and cook. Moreover, these plants will provide you with the energy which you need for survival. Some edible plants that you can find in the wilderness include asparagus, burdock, and cattail.

Making use of survival tools

It is essential to choose the appropriate survival tools since these will help you to perform many jobs such as making your shelter or even repairing the one which you already have. Apart from this, they will also aid you to collect wood for making a fire which you will need to stay warm and also cook food. Some of these survival tools include a flashlight, emergency candles, tactical folding knife, hiking backpack, scissors, hammer, nails, pliers, etc.

Attitude 

Your attitude is going to play an important role if you get caught in any type of emergency situation. You must have the confidence that you will survive. Losing hope can prove to be fatal in the long run. Having the proper attitude along with a few survival skills will help you to overcome any tough situation.

  A lot of preppers do not possess the proper skills for surviving in case of any natural disaster even though it is essential to do so. The main reason for

Quick: what do you do if you’re in the city, the grid is down, and the toilet won’t flush? Break out the cat litter, contractor bags, and a trusty 5 gallon bucket, of course!

But how long is that single tub of cat litter in the back of the garage going to last your family? Is your pallet of fifty pound bags actually a year’s supply? We know “one gallon of water per person per day,” but how much litter is needed to clump it all up afterwards?

The role of cat litter in sanitation is to bind up the moisture in the gloppy mess of sewage making it easier to handle, inhibiting bacterial growth, and thus reducing odor. We need enough to bind the moisture and cut the smell to acceptable levels. As you cannot measure smell, this estimation will be based on the amount of water we need to bind.

Why do you need cat litter?

The average human produces about 4.5oz of solid waste per day of which 3.5oz is water [1]. We also produce about 1.5 quarts (3lbs) of liquid waste per day [2]. In total, there is about 3.25lbs of water in our waste per person per day.

There are several kinds of cat litter on the market: clay, clumping clay, silica crystal, and natural litters like pine and paper. What we’re concerned with is how much water an amount of litter can absorb per pound.

Silica-crystal based litters can absorb about 40 times their weight in water [3]. Sodium bentonite clay (‘clumping’ litter) is good for 10-15 times its weight [4], and other clay (non-clumping) is good for half of that – about 6 times its weight [4]. Pine litter can absorb 3 times its weight [5] and cellulose (paper) litter can handle 1.5 times its weight [6].

Read More: Importance of Sanitation after SHTF

Note that a lot of manufacturers give “x times more absorbent than clay” ratings, but don’t tell which clay, per volume or per weight, and so on, so I stuck to claims of “absorbs x times its weight in water” to have a better common point of reference. This could also vary by manufacturer, so read up on your litter of choice to get the most accurate estimate.

These are maximum ratings reported by the sellers, so they are likely spruced up. We have to keep surface area in mind as well: even if you can technically dry your daily solid waste with 0.1oz of silica litter, if that’s not enough to cover the leavings, the litter is not going reach everything without stirring. Gross!

Reliance Products Luggable Loo Portable 5 Gallon Toilet

In a stressful emergency situation, no one is going to have the patience to scientifically ration the litter by weight, either. Litter absorbs by the pound, but you will use it by the scoop. Even if you get a scoop sized to your litter’s absorbency (you do have your custom titanium grid-down scoop, right?), you might scoop a level scoop while junior uses heaping scoops.

All this suggests we should build in some wiggle room. Silica is powerful, but also likely to be surface-area restricted. I would estimate silica litter can easily handle 20x of its weight in water, clumping clay litters 10x, clay 3x, pine 2x, and paper 1x. Given that in a sanitation emergency you will need to account for drinking extra water if it is hot or you get sick, we should also round-up the amount of liquids to 4lbs to be safe.

Thus, a fast and loose estimate of the amount of litter you need per person per day is going to be 4lbs divided by the absorbency number above. For instance, silica litter is 20x, so 4lbs divided by 20 is going to be 0.2lbs per person per day. A standard clay litter is 3x. 4lbs divided by 3 is 1.33lbs of clay litter per person per day, or a family of four using a whole 20lb bag of litter in 4 days!

If you’re in a hi-rise where the grid going down will take the sewer pumps with it, it might not be unreasonable to have a week supply of litter, so that family of 4 will need close to 40lbs of standard clay litter! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to drag that much cat litter up the stairs or find a place to store it. Thankfully, with a bit of planning we can reduce this number by a factor of 8.

Liquid waste is the bigger problem – 3lbs vs 0.25lb of solid. Liquid waste is also sterile, and an airtight lid keeps the smell down, so you could separate solid from liquid and use litter on the solids only without creating too much of a health risk. Even doubling for wiggle room would leave us with 0.5lbs of water in solid waste per person per day. That 20lb bag now lasts a family of four for a whole month!

In practice, this means putting an airtight jar or jug next to your waste receptacle to be emptied into an airtight bucket away from the living space such as in the far corner of your balcony or just outside your door. Keep in mind small children may need instruction and prompting to make sure they’re with the program. The ladies may also appreciate certain accommodations. Talk to them for ideas.

What to do with all that mess?

But what do you do with a full bucket? Depending on fluid intake, you might be dealing with around 1.5 quarts of liquid waste per person per day or 1.5 gallons for four people.

Though liquid waste is sterile, I would not recommend dumping. Venturing outside your apartment in a densely populated area sans utilities is a bad idea to start with, and would you just let someone dump 5 gallons of waste on your lawn? The city might fine you when order is restored as well. You have to do what you have to do, but don’t plan on being that guy!

Eliminate the worry of #2 with this simple makeshift toilet.

I would also avoid depending on your garden, especially a container garden which has no subsoil for the waste to leach into. Liquid waste has high concentrations of salt and nitrates, which most plants can’t handle without dilution. This requires water, which is precious in a grid-down situation. It also risks exposing your food supply to any medications or supplements you’re taking, and if you’re eating heavily preserved foods like MREs, all those chemicals are going into your plants too. Yuck!

Buckets are cheap and stack-able, so it is feasible to maintain 1.5 quarts of bucket per person per day, or 9-10 five gallon buckets per month for a family of four. 15 three gallon buckets would also work if you would rather lug 24lbs at a time rather than 40lbs. Figure out a place to store full buckets and you’ll be all set.

Remember kitty litter and buckets will run out. A week’s supply is a good idea, and a two-week supply will probably be enough for most circumstances. If you’re planning for a month, you would be better off figuring out the logistics for a longer term solution such as a latrine or leach well dug deep into a nearby flower bed.

So there you have it – a “gallon per day” rule of thumb for a cat litter sanitation solution:

First check what type of litter you are buying to figure out its absorbency. Silica crystals: 20x, sodium bentonite clay: 10x. Other clay: 3x. Pine: 2x. Cellulose: 1x.

Divide 4lbs of waste per person per day by the absorbency number above to get a ballpark estimate of how much litter you need. Just like with water, multiply by 2 or 3 if you want to be cautious.

If you have a plan to deal with liquid waste separately, you can get away with replacing the 4lbs above with 0.5lbs, but remember to add extra in case of illness.

Remember that people won’t weigh litter scientifically each time they need to go, so get a grid-down scoop sized for your litter at the dollar store and make sure everyone in your household understands your litter strategy. And don’t forget the needs of your actual cats!

References:

[1] Average human solid waste production:
[2] Average human liquid waste production:
[3] Silica litter absorbency:
[4] Clumping and non-clumping litter absorbency:
[5] Pine cat litter absorbency:
[6] Paper cat litter absorbency:

Quick: what do you do if you’re in the city, the grid is down, and the toilet won’t flush? Break out the cat litter, contractor bags, and a trusty 5

Have you ever wanted to sit down and enjoy a good movie that has a little to do with prepping or surviving?

Me too, but there is never a “Preparedness”, “Survival“, or “Reasons to Prepare” category in the movie sections so finding new movies that peak my interest can be difficult. Therefore I present to you, The Great Prepper Movie List! There is a section for family appropriate movies but please consult the ratings and reviews of a movie before turning it on with the kids.

A lot of the older movies and documentaries on this list can be found on Netflix and/or YouTube, those are good places to look as well. Please note – due the nature of what we prepare for, outside of the family category, some of the movies on these lists are exceedingly violent in nature. I have linked the movies to Amazon or Wikipedia where ever possible, please read about the movie before you get it. Check the synopsis, ratings and reviews prior to viewing or purchasing especially if you are sensitive to certain types of violent situations.

Click on the listed Movies below to read more about them. Each one is linked to a purchasing source and/or more information.

“Why We Prepare” Movies

Contagion

 

 End of the World Movies



 
 

 

Post ‘TEOTWAWKI’ Movies
(why we stock more than three days of food movies)

 

 

Outdoor / Survival Movies

 

Prepper Minded Family Movies
(Ratings Range from G to PG 13)

 

Prepper Minded Documentaries / Docudramas

  • After Armageddon: Highly acclaimed docudrama about a runaway flu pandemic has swept the nation and killed a large part of the population, one family must learn to survive to make it to a safe haven. A couple of ‘doomsday preppers’ are featured in this special.
  • Yukon Passage: Older documentary of four young men retracing the foot steps of gold stampedes through the Yukon Territory surviving off of minimal supplies and the natural world around them.
  • Collapse (Michael Ruppert): Documentary about a former Los Angeles police officer, author, investigative reporter and radical thinker. He is interviewed about his beliefs that unsustainable energy and financial policies have led to an ongoing collapse of modern industrial civilization.
  •  Collapse (Nat GEO): Docudrama on how societies succeed or fail and how our own society may fail.
  • Earth 2100: Docudrama, a future look at our planet and society through the life of Lucy, and the input of experts. Good quality and chilling reality.
  • There is No Tomorrow: A fantastic 34 minute animated youtube documentary on how our “growth based” society is unsustainable even with ‘green energy’ and the future we will face. Full of facts; author unknown.
  • When Aliens Attack: Well done docudrama on the theory of a future alien attack and what human society could actually do about it.
  • Aftermath: World Without Oil: A docudrama that poses the question “what if the world ran out of oil?” and theorizes about what would happen. There is a you tube link here as I have not found an available DVD.
  • Aftermath: Population Zero: A docudrama that poses the question “what if all humans disappeared” and follows what would happen to the planet, our homes, structures, and pets…
  • Evacuate Earth: A fascinating docudrama that theorizes how we would evacuate the earth in the face of impending doom, and how society would react. There is a you tube link here as I have not found an available DVD.
  • Super-Volcano: A highly acclaimed docudrama on what would happen if the Yellowstone super-volcano erupted.
  • Perfect Disaster: Anatomy of a Solar Storm: Docudrama that theorizes what might happen to our civilization and technology if we are hit by a massive solar storm. This is part 1 of 5 all parts featured on you tube as I could not find an available DVD.
  • Apocalypse Man: History Channel special hosted by former U.S. Marine and martial-artist Rudy Reyes on how to survive the aftermath of “TEOTWAWKI” in an urban setting. This is a youtube link, as there was no available DVD.
  • American Experience: Surviving the Dust Bowl: Highly acclaimed documentary about the American Dust Bowl and how they survived it.
  • American Experience: Influenza 1918: Documentary about how America was ravaged by the flu epidemic of 1918 that killed 675,000 people–more than died in all the wars of this century combined–before disappearing as mysteriously as it began.
  • American Experience: The Crash of 1929: A documentary about the start of the Great Depression and what it meant to America.
  • The Day After Disaster: A docudrama about what would happen if a nuclear bomb exploded in the heart of Washington, D.C.
  • Training for the Apocalypse: A History Channel special about the personal stories of two men and what prompted them to prepare.
  • Monumental: In Search of America’s National Treasure: Highly acclaimed documentary about America’s beginnings and how that relates to where we are headed now.

 Prepper Minded TV Shows

  • The Best Defense: An excellent current Outdoor Channel educational series teaching self-defense through knowledge, skill, practice, and emergency preparedness.
  • Dual Survival: Current Discovery Channel TV series featuring survivalist instructor Cody Lundin and his partner as place themselves in various locations to demonstrate how to get home alive.
  • Doomsday Preppers: Part of Nat GEO’s current ‘American Outliers’ group of shows featuring preppers from around the country.
  • Doomsday Bunkers: Discovery Channel Series focusing on a company that builds bunkers for those who prepare.
  • Meet the Preppers: APN’s own Phil Burns goes into depth on prepping with his family in this Animal Planet special.
  • Jericho: A CBS fictional series about a small town’s efforts to survive following a national terrorist attack and the collapse of the United States.
  • Survivorman: Discovery Channel series, survival expert Les Stroud strands himself in the wilderness for days on end in order to demonstrate how to survive and get home.
  • Man, Woman, Wild: Current Discover Channel series featuring special forces survival expert, Mykle Hawke, and his wife Ruth as they strand themselves in random locations to demonstrate how to get along, survive, and get home alive.
  • Alaska The Last FrontierA fantastic Discovery Channel series about the Kilcher family and their homesteading off-grid way of life in Alaska.
  • Revolution: NBC’s current post apocalyptic science fiction drama series that follows a group of people who are trying figure out how to turn the power back on, after losing planet wide electricity 15 years earlier.
  • The Walking Dead: A current AMC original fiction horror series about a zombie virus has infected most of the human population, those left fighting to survive battle the zombies and themselves.
  • Life After PeopleA History Channel series spin-off from their ‘Aftermath: Population Zero’ docudrama. See what happens to the cities and the structures we built after humans are not around to maintain them any longer. As a side note this series does cover some interesting information on the fate of un-maintained nuclear facilities and dams.
  • The Colony: A Discovery Channel series that is a reality hybrid show that challenges 24 very different people, to rebuild their own civilization in a post-apocalyptic world created for them.
  • The Alaska Experiment: Discovery Channel reality series, four teams of urbanites attempt to survive the wilds of Alaska for 3 months.
  • Alone in the WildA three-part series featuring extreme photographer, Ed Wardle, as he is dropped off in the middle of the wilderness and attempts to survive three solo months. Link to you tube provided as I could find no available DVD.
  • Survivors: A British sci-fi drama about a plague of global proportions. Anarchy in the streets. The collapse of government and the rule of law–perhaps even the end of civilization itself, followed by the rise of tyranny and vigilantism.
  • Out of the Wild: Nine ordinary people are given a three-day crash course in survival, then are dropped off in the depths of the rugged Alaska wilderness with minimal equipment and map to make it back to civilization.
  • 2012: Countdown to Armageddon: A five-part History Channel series which covers many different views of how the world will end. It features several different preppers in the series including APN’s own CEO, Hugh Vail.
  • I Shouldn’t Be Alive: An extremely well made and highly acclaimed series by the Animal Planet of harrowing reenacted survival stories from around the world. This is linked to one season, but there are 5 others available.
  • Little House on the Prairie: An American pioneer drama series about a family living on a farm in Walnut Grove, MI. Based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Books. The family appropriate show ran for nine seasons from 1974-1982, all seasons have been released to DVD.
As preppers, it’s important to remember that movies and TV shows are for entertainment purposes ONLY. Just because a hollywood director thinks modern society is going to end up like a scene from “The Road” after any given prolonged disaster doesn’t mean it’s really going to happen that way. Please don’t base your urgency, plans, or preps on movies or TV shows, instead base them on careful research and common sense.
Do you know of a good movie that folks may enjoy, but it’s not on the list? Add it to the comments section below to share it with everyone else.

Have you ever wanted to sit down and enjoy a good movie that has a little to do with prepping or surviving? Me too, but there is never a “Preparedness”, “Survival“,

“Lost” is a word I dread. For most of us, the worst day of our lives is the day we lose a loved one. Not death. As callous as it may sound, when a loved one dies, we know where they are. Lost. I’ve been out of volunteering with animal rescue and CERT/SAR for nearly a decade, but the word can still make my stomach clinch. Losing a loved one creates questions that haunt us. We see tens of thousands of losses every single day, even in the most advanced of nations, with all of technology at our disposal. Seniors walk away befuddled. Kids disappear – from backyards, sidewalks, school trips, and camping. Spouses or friends leave and never return. We never know what happened to many of them. For some, pets also make the list of loved ones, and while the loss may not be as devastating and life changing as the loss of a human friend or sibling, it’s not something they want brushed off.

Nothing will ever prepare us for the emotions that come from truly losing someone we love, although there are books and support groups that can help. It wouldn’t hurt to do some research, because the immediate aftermath and especially a lengthy search of even just days can lead to some ugly stews of emotions that rip apart couples and families sometimes. There are things we can prepare, however, that increase our chances of getting a loved one back. A lot of them revolve around making it faster to get information out. The tips below will help you begin the process of preparing for the worst day so that you will be better equipped to come through with everyone intact.

Preparing for the Worst – Make a binder

No instruction about a binder or file is ever going to be as popular or fun or sexy as talking 5.56 bullet weight or go-faster tactical gear, canning, or the ubiquitous bug-out bag. Make one anyway. In it, keep:

  • USB drive with saved files
  • Printed photos
  • Printed “missing” posters and handouts
  • Posters and handouts with photos in place but blanks left for items like contact information and the description
  • Blank posters that can be set up for anyone, anywhere

Create lists of faxes and emails ahead of time, and possibly an additional file for the physical addresses for:

  • Hospitals
  • Rescues
  • Veterinary clinics
  • Homeless shelters
  • Animal control
  • Police stations (local, county, and state, and the nearest metro area or areas)

Don’t forget bordering states and counties, or the state and counties you’ll be traveling through to get to a bug-out location. Don’t forget the authorities for domestic and foreign travel, and the embassy, although you might exclude some of the hospitals and shelters for traveling.

It wouldn’t hurt to include blood type, friends’ numbers and addresses, and vehicle make, model, color and tag numbers for each person as well.

missing-sandy-shelter

Keep your binder in your vehicle. If there are three vehicles, make three binders – we spend a fortune on coffee, fast food, wifi, movies, and gear we’ll almost never need in most lifetimes; we can afford the printing. Ideally, also keep a binder in an off-site location like a trusted friend in a state with few natural disasters but at least not in the same flood and fire zone where you park and live.

Make a small folder with some printed photos and posters and possibly some wallet-sized handout cards to put in the bugout/72-hour bag of every adult over 110 pounds.

Set up an email account

You can add this one to your spring-forward, fall-back checklist with the smoke detector checks: Set up a special email account with an easy to remember username and password (“[email protected]”, password: Missing2016).

Send yourself a separate email with each family member and pets’ name as the subject, and applicable photos and the standard information about each. Log in, update the files with recent photos, especially of young children that change so much every six months in those first few years. Attach ready-to-go missing posters in jpg and pdf format, and the list of faxes and emails to send it to – hospitals and authorities for humans, shelters and animal control for animals (you might also include law enforcement if there’s a chance they were stolen). You might even include the PowerPoint or word doc that you’re using to edit.for-the-worst-blank-missing

Make sure you’re not the only one who can open it. Make sure your family or a friend knows it’s there in case you’re incapacitated in the accident or tornado where your toddler or dog disappear, or where your spouse or father are disoriented from a head injury and walk off to find help, then don’t reappear.

I’m told that cell and wifi service is now at a point that we will never again see another day like 9/11 where you can’t get calls through – and there’s always the text option. I don’t rely on that, though. I know that landlines go down, too, but if I’m on my last bar of energy, I’m calling somebody on a landline, giving them the account and passwords even on a voice mail, and then I’m sending a text to everyone I know to get them to open those accounts and send emails out to the list included in each. After that, that’s when I start with my own device. And I’m memorizing the three landline numbers of people who I trust, so that if I don’t have my smart phone or a signal or book, I can still make that phone call.

Because, yeah, paranoid is a word that would apply. There are some other words that apply, though.

Katrina and Sandy are two of them. So are “Loma Prieta”. “House fire” would be two more, along with “spring break”. “Oso, Washington, 2014” would be three. “2010 Tennessee/Queensland floods” apply. Moving away from stuff that has actually happened, a regional power loss with signal disruption would be an example of a what-if. So would a stolen bag/phone/vehicle or damaged phone during an emergency or disaster, a mall visit, or a trip to another country. I can also get my mother started on media while I deal with cops, or divide the lists among people who can just log in and get them without doings searches.

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Flooding in Colorado.

The faster we are able to get photos and information out, the better off our family and furry friends will be if we lose them – however we lost them. If I can get to any phone, media and authorities can better help me find my loved ones because a backup system is in place.

What to include on posters – and when

Standard information for posters and police reports include age – I prefer using a birth-date for these so that it remains applicable and doesn’t need updated every six months for adults, but go with it if you’re hand-writing or filing these out fresh, or include both. Hair and eye color can be changed, but tend to be standard. Height is standard as well, but has more impact for adults because kids grow so fast (although people can be really bad at estimating others’ heights). Weight fluctuates, but go ahead and include it, especially if it’s different *now* than when a picture was taken. Also include build – bulky, pudgy, fat, skinny, and lithe as well as small, medium/average or large.

Include tattoos, scars and birthmarks in descriptions. Keep a list and inform authorities of dental work, implants, replacements, and previously broken bones – things that will show on an x-ray.

During the first hours of a search, clothing is important. Pay attention. Know if a jacket, purse, or briefcase is missing so you have that item to look for. It may very well be in a vehicle, on the back of an office chair, or in a locker, but it may also be laying at the edge of woods or the door/gate of an evacuation shelter or compound, or on a sidewalk. If identified, a dropped can give searchers a place to refine and focus. Likewise, a senile senior who took a hat and briefcase might be seeing Detroit or Small Town, USA, even as they wander in the woods, but if they habitually walked or biked to work, a diner, church, or a particular bus, knowing the pattern can give searchers somewhere to immediately check and can sometimes lead to a fast return. Finding the briefcase can narrow the search area.

After the first days or week, clothing becomes less important to the search efforts, especially coats and outerwear. It’s already on record and will be used as part of an initial ID or area check should a body or article be found, but it can drop off your posters. After the first week or two, save room on those for the things that don’t change.

dogs-shelter

There are still pets that have no home from Katrina.

The same applies to collars if a dog was absolutely stolen from a vehicle or yard, but otherwise, for animals, sure, go ahead and leave in their collar, harness or halter descriptions, especially if it’s unique. If it’s red nylon, say so. Don’t take up too much room in the description for those items, though, especially if there’s something else like flattened and worn-down canine teeth, a patch of fur that runs backwards, a spot that looks like Texas, or if “Fido” is more commonly called “Boog” or “Spaz” – that information is of more use to rescuers and people on the streets.

If you’re using the provided posters, go ahead and print out some that are just blank so that information can be tailored and so that you can have a fresh one available for a dog you pick up or a new partner, or if a spouse has changed their appearance drastically from the last image. If no photo is available, you can always use that space for the basic description, and add details in the smaller area.

Give yourself options

Leave the contact information blank on some of the handouts and the forms’ tear-offs. That way if you’re in a grid-down situation or traveling and something happens to the primary contact’s phone, you can pencil in others.

The same goes for leaving the description blank. It’ll take 10 minutes to fill them out if you hand off the 2-5 fully printed versions, but it’ll be a lot cleaner and neater to write them in than scratch information out, especially for the poster tear-offs and the quarter-page handouts.

Of course, that also means you want a black and blue colored pencil (it’s harder to erase and doesn’t smear as much as graphite or ink) and an ultra fine point permanent marker, and you’ll want those in a separate Ziploc from your USB stick.

Buy loved ones a better chance

Some aren’t wild about having their kids’ fingerprints and DNA taken at safety fairs and school fairs. Unfortunately, that delays ruling out or confirming the identity of a body or if there’s debate about who somebody belongs to. If you’re not going to go the route of filing those so they’re already available to law enforcement, consider getting an at-home kit to do them yourself.

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Most importantly, get the authorities involved as early as possible. Don’t screw around because “they’re just…” or somebody’s going to be mad, because you panic that you took your eyes off a kid or a gate’s open. If you saw a van and now the dog’s missing, call. If somebody should have been home or given you the call that they’re back from packing 2-4 hours ago, call. And for the sake of your child or senior, for damn sure call 10-15 minutes after you shout in the backyard or have them paged at the Smithsonian with no response. Give the cops and SAR teams a fighting chance to save them.

Lost

“Lost” is a heartbreaking word for everyone involved. Our modern world and conveniences can’t prevent it. It happened in the old days, too, and we can expect it to keep happening – pets, children, seniors. “Missing” sucks enormously. The imagination takes over and haunts us when a loved one goes missing. Unfortunately, it’s an epidemic as prevalent as cancer and obesity and abuse. 80-90K people are missing at any given moment, 500-750K cases reported a year. 10 million cats, dogs and equines go missing or are stolen every single year.

The first hours are absolutely critical. The younger the person, the more critical the very first handful of hours. Almost all of us have some scorching hot days or some really nasty frigid, windy, wet days when we opt not to go out through our year. We can use them to gather information, take some fresh photos, and make our loved ones a little more likely to come home to us.

We prepare to cart them away from the ravenous hordes on wilderness treks and in souped up BOVs. We prepare to defend them with firearms and primitive weapons. We prepare feed them. Isn’t it worth it to spend a day twice a year doing what we can to get them back from a fate that strikes daily, big cities and tiny towns?

“Lost” is a word I dread. For most of us, the worst day of our lives is the day we lose a loved one. Not death. As callous as it

A critical prep that you have to plan for including in your bug out bag is water. When I first got into prepping, I had people saying that they would carry all of the water they needed in their bug out bags. If you figure 3 gallons (1 gallon per person per day), that would simply not be wise or possible for most people for very long. Then I started seeing people say they would pack 3 liters of water. That’s better, but 3 big plastic bottles is almost 7 pounds, not to mention you must have space for them. Not the end of the world, but not insignificant either.

One of the ideas I try to promote is to watch the weight on your bug out bags and not overload them. I recommend this for a lot of really simple reasons. If your Bug Out Bag is too heavy, it will hurt eventually. It might not hurt when you first take off walking, but it will eventually. In addition to rubbing you raw and potentially causing injury, you will be more off-balance and less able to quickly move. If you can’t move out of danger quickly enough, that bug out bag could get you killed. The better idea is to pack your bug out bag in a way that is as light as possible while still maintaining the essentials you need to survive for up to 72 hours. Don’t go minimalistic for the sake of making the scales proud, but you should look carefully at the overall weight.

Water, Food and ammo, possibly a tent are all great places to shed pounds from your bug out bag and today we are focusing on water. I have personally tried a few different water filtration methods and wanted to highlight the pluses and minuses for you today on Final Prepper as I see them. Hopefully this information you will make sure the bug out bag water filtration options you choose will work well for you if you ever need to use them.

In addition to being less heavy than simply carrying your water on you at all times, these bug out bag water filtration options will give you increased range and capabilities. Instead of being limited to only the water you are able to carry, it is easy to filter an extra liter or more from sources along your route. All the while, ensuring that the water you are drinking isn’t going to make you sick.

MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter

This first filter I tested is one I have owned for years and up until recently used on my backpacking trips. The MSR MiniWorks EX is a great water filter that is activated by a manual pump. You simply connect the hose, stick that into the water and screw your Nalgene bottle or dromedary bag onto the bottom of the filter and start pumping. In just a few minutes the water from your  source will be pressed through the filtration system and with a little time, you will have a full bottle of clean water to drink. Filtering a standard Nalgene bottle like below probably took 3-4 minutes.

msrminiworksfilter

The MSR MiniWorks EX was my first backpacking water filtration. We loved it when we had to depend on it in the woods.

I would take these down to the river and fill up everyone’s water bottle as well as two 48 ounce bladders we had when we stopped. The bladders were to refill bottles and went toward coffee and reconstituting our freeze-dried food.

So, good and bad about this filter. First off, I like the fact that this is pretty simple to use and you don’t have to get down into the water to collect anything. The water tastes great and the pump has stood the test of time for the most part. I did have one pump stop working on my wife when we were on a backpacking trip. Fortunately, I had two filters so we had some redundancy built-in. Pumping does take you a little while and the pump isn’t the lightest or cheapest option. Once you return from your trip you need to clean the filter element, usually with a scrubbing pad to get the gunk off of it and let everything dry completely for a few days before you put it away.

MSR MiniWorks Features

  • Ceramic/carbon Marathon™ EX element effectively removes bacteria and protozoa including giardia and cryptosporidia
  • Also removes unpleasant tastes and odors caused by organic compounds, such as iodine, chlorine and pesticides
  • Filter can be cleaned over and over for maximum field life with no tools required
  • Bottom screws onto an MSR Dromedary® Bag or Nalgene® water bottle for easy operation (both sold separately)
  • Easy dis-assembly lets you troubleshoot and maintain the MSR MiniWorks EX filter in the field

Weight: 14.6 ounces

Cost: $84 on Amazon.com

I also found this excellent review of the MSR MiniWorks EX from Black Owl Outdoors for those who like to watch videos.

Sawyer Mini

When I first tried out the Sawyer Mini I thought this was the best invention in the world at least from the standpoint of water filtration options for preppers. The filter was extremely lightweight, compact and could filter hundreds of thousands of gallons. The Sawyer Mini could be used as a straw to drink from a water bottle like the life straw or from the included squeeze bag that comes with it.

The cost, low-weight and ability to filter so much water is an incredible advantage, but using either the squeeze bag or a standard water bottle has some drawbacks in my opinion. You are still only filtering on demand unless you squeeze the water into another container and that isn’t always the most practical. One of the reasons I don’t think the LifeStraw is the best option for me in all cases.

sawyerwaterfilter

You can use the included squeeze bag to collect water and the Sawyer will make it safe to drink.

Sawyer Mini Features

  • Hollow-fiber membrane offers a high flow rate; sip on the Mini like a straw and it filters the water while it’s on the way to your mouth
  • Filter will also fit the threads on the included Sawyer 16 fl. oz. reusable pouch that you can fill at a lake or stream and then use to squeeze water through the filter
  • 0.1-micron filter physically removes 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli; removes 99.9999% of all protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium
  • Filter will also fit the threads on most bottles of water that you buy at a grocery store; can also be used as an inline filter (adapters and hoses not included)

Weight: 2 ounces

Cost: $20 on Amazon.com

I also found this review for perspective from Preparedmind 101

Polar Pure – Crystal Iodine Water Treatment

The third option I tried is Polar Pure. Polar Pure is a Crystal Iodine water treatment, not a filter. The bottle holds actual iodine crystals you might be able to see in the photo below. The process is for you to fill the bottle with water and let this sit for 1 hour. At the end of an hour you have something like concentrated iodine brine that you can use make almost any water safe to drink. There are simple to follow instructions on the bottle and even a hand-dandy gauge to tell you how many capfuls of the solution your water will need to be safe. The number depends upon the temperature of the water.

polarpure

Polar Pure uses iodine crystals to disinfect water.

You pour the recommended capfuls into your 1 liter water bottle and let it stand for 20 minutes before drinking. When you are done, just fill the bottle up with water again and it will be ready for your next treatment in another hour. This relatively small bottle will last for up to 2,000 liters of water, although I don’t know who would count them. When the iodine crystals are gone, so is your ability to use this to make your water safe.

Iodine, unlike the micron water filters above can kill viruses. Giardia, mentioned above is caught by the water filters, but if you have something like hepatitis or polio in the water, the simple filtration method above won’t work. Now, the question becomes, do you have to worry about viruses in the water you are drinking or just organisms that can make you violently ill?

The Polar Pure bottle is one that I would carry with me as an extreme back up for highly questionable water. The science is good on making your water safe. Iodine has been used for a very long time, but the bottle is glass. You could be in trouble if this is all you have and it is broken. Additionally, iodine will make your water safe, but it won’t filter it out so if you pour yourself a big cup of slightly brown pond water and treat it with iodine, it will be perfectly safe for drinking – brown pond water. Filtering your water first through a handkerchief or something like coffee filters at a minimum would be better. Some people use Polar Pure plus another filter for the ultimate in safe water.

Weight: 5 ounces

Cost: $20 on Amazon.com

For those who want to see the polar pure in action, there is a good video from Provident-Living-Today.com

Platypus 2L GravityWorks Filter

The last item I tried out for my bug out bag water filtration decision process was a relatively new purchase. I had heard about the Platypus GravityWorks Filter system from one of the readers on Final Prepper when I was initially looking at the Sawyer answer to the same functionality. The Platypus was almost half the price so I decided to give this a try because it looked like the perfect solution to me.

platypusdirty

Keeping the bags separated is easy with clear labels.

The Platypus 2L GravityWorks Filter is a two bag system. You have one bag for water collection and it is very simply labeled “Dirty”. Your dirty water goes in here and it has a wide opening at the top which works very similar to a zip loc bag. This wide opening allowed me to collect 2 liters of water from the creek very quickly and easily. You can see my test water isn’t a crystal clear glacier spring so the bag’s label was very appropriate.

platypusbaghang

The Platypus Bag system has a simple attachment system to hang your bag of water to be treated up on a tree, bumper or anything higher than the clean bag. Gravity does all the hard work.

Another nice feature were the connectors. The Platypus GravityWorks has a quick connect so you can collect your dirty water and either pack it out for filtration later or carry it back to camp. The filter element snaps in and you are ready to filter.

platypusquickconnect

The Platypus filter element snaps into the reservoir quick connect and you are all set to filter water.

platypusgravityworks

This system is fast. I only filled up about 1 liter but it was filtered in less than 2 minutes.

Once the filter is snapped in, the water will flow almost immediately. The tube running from the filter has a stopper that you can use to quickly pinch off the flow while you hook up the clean bag. As long as the bag of dirty water is higher than the clean bag, the appropriately named GravityWorks filter will take care of all your heavy lifting while beautiful clean water flows into your empty bladder.

This system will hold 2 liters of water which I think gives you a lot of water for the average person. You can also just filter two liters, then collect two more liters of dirty water for later. You will be carrying four liters of water with you at all times. Two filtered and two that needs to be filtered.

Cleaning this system is as simple as lifting the clean water bag up over the dirty water bag and squeezing your clean water bag. You will see the dirty sediment flow back into the dirty bag and you know your filter is clean when that stops.

Platypus GravityWorks Filter Specs

  • Easy, Pump-free filtering
  • Fast! 1.5-liters per minute
  • Weighs as little as 7.2 oz. (203 g)
  • Ultra-Compact
  • Meets all EPA & NSF guidelines for the removal of Bacteria and Protozoa, including Giardia, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Salmonella and Cholera

Weight: 7 ounces

Cost: $79 on Amazon.com

And I found this review from Outdoor Gear Lab that shows the larger 4 Liter system.

So What is the best bug out water filtration system?

This question isn’t something I can answer with a definitive statement that will stand for all time or in all situations, but I will share some of my thoughts. My idea of bugging out involves living possibly for some time in forested terrain. I plan to be on the move and I don’t want to slow down more than I have to for rest. Water is crucial for life so I don’t want to have to go to more trouble than is prudent to acquire it. Additionally, if I am strapping a pack on my back and walking out the door, I have to plan for being on my own so to speak for potentially much longer than 72 hours.

I have considered both caplets like the Portable Aqua Water Filter tablets and I even own some of them, but they last for a finite amount of time. The standard bottles will give you I think 25 quarts of water. With a hike for three days in the summer, enough for food and your bottle will quickly be cleaned out. It will go faster if you are sharing.

platypuswaterfiltration

I had all of this clean, fresh tasting water in a little less than two minutes.

The LifeStraw product is one I just don’t think is practical. It is a great idea, don’t get me wrong, but I for one don’t want to be forced to stick my head in a puddle just to get a drink. I want to take giant gulps of water if I am thirsty and I want to be able to take water along with me. Sure you can fill up empty bottles and drink out of them with a LifeStraw, but I think there is a better option.

The MSR Filter pump has usually been a great filter, but because it is mechanical, I have had one give me troubles. I was able to repair it eventually, but that wasn’t a good sign. I should have back-ups anyway I know, but I would rather go with a more stable platform and the MSR is heavier than all of the other options I have tested.

What about boiling water? Sure you could do that, but you have to build a fire first and then boil your water, then let it cool down. Do you want to do all of that in the heat of summer? Even in winter, that fire might be nice, but to go through all that effort for drinking water seems like a fall back plan, not the first option.

Iodine crystals like Polar Pure seem to be the best option for killing viruses, but like I said, their bottle is glass. One slip out of your hands onto a rock will end your water filtration options for that bug out trip. Even if you don’t drop it, I prefer to drink water as soon as possible and wouldn’t want to remember to keep my iodine warm for effectiveness.  I think Polar Pure makes sense as a back up, but not the sole method of water filtration in a bug out scenario. For Backpacking trips Polar pure is a great idea. If you have the time to leisurely prepare your water, I think this is a good option.

The Sawyer as it is would probably be my second choice because of the weight and size. I would have to fill a large reservoir, something like the 48 ounce Naglene Bladders and rig up some way to squeeze filter a larger amount of water into my bottles. Not the best, but it is incredibly light and could get the job done.

What about items like the SteriPEN that use UV light to make water safe to drink? What about EMP? What if it breaks? What if you run out of batteries?

I think that for me the GravityWorks system from Platypus is the easiest and fastest way to collect water that will be clean and fresh tasting. With it’s fast flow rate, I can grab a 2 liter bag of water, hook up the filter and throw them both in my bag if needed and keep on going to a safe location. This seems to offer the most capacity with the fastest filtration time and easiest system to learn and remember. I can teach my kids how to use this in about 2 minutes which is about the same amount of time it takes to produce 2 liters of clean water.

That is my take on the best bug out water filtration options. What do you use?

A critical prep that you have to plan for including in your bug out bag is water. When I first got into prepping, I had people saying that they would

You wouldn’t be reading this article trying to figure out what tools you needed to build stuff with if you thought life was like the Sound of Music. But if you’re reading this to add another layer of knowledge to your prepping arsenal, you are at the right spot. Figuring out the basic tools and machines that can get you productive in a time of crisis or in everyday life is more important than you think.

Needs

Let’s start with the basics. Having a mix of manual tools and battery operated power tools will not only keep you efficient but will ensure accuracy in whatever you decide to cut, saw, chop or drill. Here are the tools that will provide the best versatility in a time of crisis or just when you are trying to figure out how to mount those deer antlers above your master bed.

Manual tools:

  1. 16’ Measure tape and 100’ measure tape –  just in-case you want to draw that line in the sand that you dare your neighbor to cross or just need to measure the board length you are going to hand saw.
  2. 8” and 48” level – which allows you to check the horizontal and vertical (plum) of anything you want to truly keep squared.
  3. A good set of chisels – that run in sizes ¼”- 1 ½”. They work great for knocking down corners on wood and cleaning out saw cuts and joints. Make sure the handle is made to handle a hammer strike so if you need to carve out a Billy stick you won’t damage the handle.
  4. Prybars – in a few different sizes, 8” 16” and a 24” big one made for when you are really needing to pry your neighbors food supply door open.

    solarpanelstarterkit

    Solar Panel Starter Kit 400W – You might appreciate a way to recharge your cordless electric tools.

  5. Clamps– you can never have enough clamps! C-clamps, F-clamps, Spreader clamps, Pipe clamps, everything you need to hold stuff together during a glue up or spread things apart.
  6. 6” layout square – It’s a triangle usually made out of aluminum or metal used to make square cuts on lumber stock. Framers sleep with this tool like it’s the Holy Grail. You just can’t make your life any easier with such a simple device.
  7. Block plane – Used to flatten edges of wood, smooth joints and works fantastic for cleaning an edge to glue up to.
  8. Handsaw – For when your battery operated reciprocating saw runs out of juice and the solar panels you are using are working less efficiently because it’s raining outside.
  9. Mallet – Use it as an attitude adjuster or for its real purpose: to coerce things into fitting correctly without destroying or denting them.
  10. T-Bevel/Sliding bevel – Made to measure all kinds of angles you may encounter when building your survival tree-house. Use it to cut angle trim or a slew of other things.
  11. A good screwdriver set and bit set that has a Phillips, star and flathead slotted bits in it.
  12. Utility scissors – A good industrial pair of scissors will be great for opening MRE’s or cutting your jeans to treat yourself when the neighbors Pit-bull decides to use your shin as a drumstick.

workshop

Enough of the manual stuff, lets dive into battery operated POWER TOOLS! As you already know we no longer live in the Stone Age, and technology can help us even when the grid is down. With advancements in solar, hooking up and using the sun to charge your tools through solar panels and inverters is a great way to keep efficient.

With Solar in mind, your power tool arsenal list should include the following:

  1. 20 Volt Jigsaw– Great for cutting angles, circles, arches and works when you need some speed when pumpkin carving.
  2. 20 Volt Impact Driver– you never know when you need the power, but at least you have it.
  3. 20 Volt 6 ½” Circular Saw made to cut lumber quickly and rip large sheets of plywood.
  4. 20 Volt Reciprocating Saw with multiple types of blades including smooth cut, rough cut and a few for all-purpose use. This tool is a must. It’s great for cutting low-lying tree limbs, flush cutting plugs and all sorts of things inside and outside of the shop.
  5. 20 Volt drill driver or simply called a drill. You will have the manual one that you will realize after ½ a turn makes the hair on your knuckles fall off due to the strain of a screw stuck in hardwood. But when you really need to screw stuff down fast this will be your Huckleberry.

For the serious hardcore woodworkers out there, you always have the Amish option. Which is going out and buying a Tablesaw, Jointer, Planer, Sander and Wood Lathe; pulling all the motors and attaching a pulley system so your buddy who lost at your poker table the night before, can pedal power your machine while you woodwork away. For the rest of us, the list above will enable you to handle 95% of most jobs around the house or when building your dream artillery bunker!

You wouldn’t be reading this article trying to figure out what tools you needed to build stuff with if you thought life was like the Sound of Music. But if

There is always a very healthy dialog on all sides of any issue when it comes to Survival or the Preparedness movement. From Bug Out Bags to firearm recommendations and caliber pros/cons. What an individual should be Prepping for, or more precisely how they should start prepping themselves is no different.

If you take everything we could cover on the subject of prepping and list all of the permutations for each scenario, the list would be rather lengthy. Actually thinking about this list and everything you need to do can start to hurt your brain. Everything that needs to be done and purchased and planned for can be overwhelming. I have personally spoken to people who begin to wake up to the idea that they need to prepare and they feel a sense of urgency and then one thing leads to another and they shut down. “Why Bother”? There is no way they can do everything that needs to be done.

It is at this time I like to recall one of my families favorite movies, “What about Bob?” and the mantra that the main character is coached to say over and over again is “Baby Steps”. If you have never seen the movie, here is a clip below.

So, how to start? You can never have every tool, skill, weapon, supply or retreat option that you will ever need and most people won’t have the resources to buy everything they need before they may need it. You have to start somewhere.

Start with a Plan. – A plan is what gets you thinking about everything you need to do. I personally scoured websites for a lot of information, read several books and watched a ton of YouTube movies on the subject. Then I wrote down everything I thought I would need to get me to “Phase 1”. What was Phase 1? That was my imaginary line in the sand of the basics. Just the minimal supplies and equipment that I thought I would need to be marginally better off than 90 percent of my neighbors. Think about who you are prepping for. Are you only looking out for yourself or do you have others in your family? Do you have kids younger than teenagers who may not be able to carry their own load? Do you have older parents or grandparents you need to care for? Knowing the scope of people you will be responsible for, or who you think may count on you when the SHTF is important for a couple of reasons. First, you can begin planning based on numbers (6 people plus 2 pets for example) and second you can start thinking about what you will need to do when people you haven’t planned for come knocking.

Establish a priority – If I were to take everything I need or think I need to be 100 percent prepared it would be that long list we talked about. Now, if you are anything like me you aren’t a billionaire with money to burn so I have to pick and choose what my family is going to purchase and when. There is no secret formula for this and every situation is different but here is how I would prioritize things. Water, Security, Shelter, Food, Money.

Water – If you haven’t heard of the rule of 3’s it goes something like this. “A person can survive for three minutes without air,three hours without shelter, three days without water, three weeks without food.” Now you may be asking yourself, “Why didn’t you put air first”? And if you are, it’s because I think that if you don’t have any air, we have bigger problems. Nobody should be worried about lugging around oxygen tanks. OK, so lets take the most likely scenario and deal with shelter next. You don’t have water. A normal person needs 1 gallon of water per day to survive that counts hygiene also. I think that you can skip a few showers and it wouldn’t be that much provided you aren’t sweating a lot but lets stay with 1 gallon. If you have 4 people in your family and a couple of pets lets say 5 gallons of water gets you one day. You can buy 55 gallon jugs, fill them up and start that way or you can buy 5 5-gallon jugs and that gets your family 5 days without any water. Is it enough to last you for the entire zombie apocalypse? No, but its a good start. If you are near water, buy a good water filtration system or install rain barrels to really increase your supply.  Baby Steps.

Security – This category will be worth a hundred other posts but for this one, lets just say you need a way to protect yourself and your family. Again, every person’s situation is different. You may live in New York or Chicago where firearms are basically illegal. Maybe you have a baseball bat. That isn’t ideal, but its something. You need to think in terms of how you can defend yourself. It may be that all you can do is carry a taser or mace. That’s a start. Maybe you get the Crovel? For others I would say ideally you need for each adult member of your family a handgun, shotgun and AR or AK. That can quickly add up, so if you are starting from scratch I would recommend a shotgun before you purchase anything else. Why? Because they are relatively cheap (less than $200), you don’t need a permit to buy and can not only scare people but they can do a lot of damage. After that you have to consider your options. An AR would be the best bet, but since the latest flurry of government threats to take them all, the prices are off the chart and supply is very low. You can probably still score a good deal at a gun show, but time is running out I think. Get your shotgun while you can and then move on to a pistol. I won’t debate pistol caliber’s but a 12 gauge shotgun is a great start. Baby Steps.

Shelter – For most people you have a house, apartment or somewhere to live so why do you need to worry about Shelter? Just look at Hurricane Sandy or Katrina. What if you couldn’t live in your house or had to evacuate for some reason. Shelter would be nice to have.  A tent that you can carry (think backpacking) is great. A tarp and means to support it (para cord works great) will suffice. If you have or are in cold weather, I also count as shelter sleeping bags and plenty of warm out-door gear to include great footwear. You may be walking. Or, the power or heat may be out. Do you have a heater that doesn’t use electricity? Barring all else, to you have warm clothes and blankets? Baby Steps.

Food – This is one area that I think we initially make over complicated. The average family doesn’t have more than 3 days worth of food in their pantry according to some experts. I think it would more likely be that people could make it a week. Again, they wouldn’t be eating well, but they could exhaust everything they have. You can think about this in terms of how long you want to go without being hungry. You can run out and buy boxes of freeze-dried food or you can simply buy some more items that you normally eat. Ideally it would be both, but we are starting here. It is pretty easy to take your one week supply and build that up to two weeks, then a month if you put your mind to it. It does take discipline and remember this isn’t like Christmas. You shouldn’t go put another month’s worth of groceries on the credit card. Build your supplies slowly, rotate your stock and you will begin to be more ready for any supply disruptions that happen.  Baby Steps.

Money – There are a lot of ways you can do this depending on what you believe is the most likely scenario. Even if we are talking about $20 a month you have to start saving and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the bank. I personally think each person should have cash on hand and some precious metals like Gold or Silver stashed away. The first thing to happen would be that you can’t get your money out of the bank. It does you no good to have $10,000 in the bank if they won’t let you take it out. We will discuss later why this is a very real possibility. So buy some Silver; its cheaper than gold, keep some cash on hand and this will give you some security if it all heads south before you can make it to the ATM.

Is that all you need to do? No! I don’t want you to think this is an all-encompassing post either, but it is a start for people who don’t have the first clue where to begin. My personal list was probably a whole page of notes and included a lot of things I don’t yet have, and in all honesty may never acquire but that’s OK. I am not going to sweat what I don’t have (too much) but I will keep striving to be better prepared. I am still working on my preps too, but I have most of the basics covered and I feel more comfortable about building on the preps I have. You will too, if you start with Baby Steps.


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