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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

 

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.

137921727100

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.

petrescue_jpg

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

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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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

Having a plan in place for Communication in a disaster or survival situation is important to your preparations. This may be a plan for communicating with your family if you are away. It could entail group communications at a retreat or neighborhood watch scenario or it could be as simple as letting family members know where you are if you are forced to separate? Taking the time to plan your communications now can save someone’s life and make any other plans you have function more smoothly.
Communications also encompass staying aware of news and information. If you are in the middle of a natural weather event and you need to know what if anything else is coming your way or which parts of town are the most impacted, you will want to stay in touch with the outside world. If there are traffic snarls that are blocking your retreat route or rioters or vigilantes have cordoned off a section of town you need to go through, you need to know this well in advance of trying to lead your family through there and adjust your plans accordingly.

Know your neighbors

This has certainly been discussed at great length but it bears repeating. The simplest and closest forms of communication you have are the people who live right next to you. During hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, neighborhoods banded together quickly after both of these tragedies for support and protection. This is another reason to stay focused on your surroundings and practice good Situational Awareness. You as well as your neighbors should know who lives in the houses around you. They may know if one of your neighbors is on vacation and someone strange is lurking around their house. Neighbors can check on people who may be older or need special assistance when regular service isn’t possible.

It is highly likely that after a disaster you may not have the ability to call the police or paramedics to assist people who are injured. Your job in this case would be to join up with your neighbors to take care of the injured and help anyone who needed assistance. The power of the group will make you all much more successful at staying alive, fed and sheltered as much as possible.

Special Family Signals

If you are forced to leave your home for whatever reason and a member of your group isn’t able to leave with you a predetermined symbol comes in handy to pass the unspoken message of where you have gone. Some of you may recall in one of the Doomsday Prepper episodes, Johnny O had a secret communication plan for his family. I think in Johnny’s case there was a wooden bear on his front porch with a fish lying in its lap. His family was taught that if the fish was turned a different way or was not “normal” that was a signal for his family to immediately head to their bugout rendezvous location.

Having a similar signal like this could be beneficial for you. I would caution that the secret signal should be a little harder to accidentally trigger. In my case, it would be easy for one of the neighborhood kids to knock the fish over and I would come home and think everyone had left me. Less obvious signals can be devised that can alert family members to your status and what is to be done next.

Another aspect of this type of survival communication is simply leaving a detailed record or note for someone. If you are a backpacker and plan to go into the woods on a multi-day hike, it is always a good idea to leave a note with your plans and expected arrival date with two people. I would leave one note with a close friend or family member who would contact the police if you didn’t show up at the appointed time. I would also leave another note face down on the dash of my car. The information should let anyone who is looking for you, have a really strong idea of where to start looking.

Solar Powered/Hand Crank Radio

Ambient Weather WR-111B Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Digital Radio

In any emergency situation, staying informed not only gives you information but it can be reassuring or even motivating to you and your family. I would recommend that everyone have at least one emergency or weather radio at any of your locations. I keep one stored with my emergency supplies and only have to walk into the other room to grab it out of its box. You do want a radio that is powered by batteries in case the power is out and a nice option is to have either a solar panel or hand crank to power the radio in case you don’t have batteries.

There are tons of options on radios but The Adventurer is currently the highest rated according to Amazon. It runs off batteries, crank or solar and has an optional USB port to plug your phones in when they run down. Additionally it has a light to shine around while you are listening to either weather/AM/FM or NOAA broadcasts.

 

Cell Phones

Cell phones are the first thing you would think to grab in an emergency scenario and actually, having a fully charged phone and spare battery are great contents of any Bug Out or Get Home Bag, but they might not be in use in a major catastrophe. If you remember 9/11 cell phone traffic was knocked offline. Even during the relatively minor earthquake in Virgina in 2011, cell phone service was interrupted. Imagine if a real catastrophe or earthquake happened.

This problem isn’t limited to cities either. If you are too far off the map, your cell reception may not be sufficient to make a call. For example, you can look at just AT&Ts coverage map and see that there are giant portions of the western US that are completely uncovered by AT&T’s towers. You don’t want to depend on your cell phone in an emergency.

Internet

Can the internet be useful for communications? Of course it can, but like cell phones I wouldn’t rely on that for my disaster plan. In most emergency situations there isn’t power. You could take another route and say that the communications on the internet may compromise you. There are ways to stay anonymous on the internet, but they do require some level of work and every day more systems are designed to snoop on you regardless of the safeguards you have in place. Now if your entire family is a bunch of hackers with backup power generators, have at it! The common person shouldn’t rely on this method in most disasters.

CB Radios

Cobra® 29 LTD BT CB Radio with Bluetooth

CB or Citizens Band radios have been around for a long time. I remember my father had one in his old Mercury Capri and we would turn it on every once in a while and listen to the truckers talk while we were on a drive. I would try to come up with a clever handle, but it usually just revolved around whoever my favorite TV show hero was at the time.

CB Radios generally have a range of 5-20 miles depending on the terrain. Each channel is a different frequency and channel 9 is the emergency channel. You can listen to channel 9 for news updates and stay in touch with friends or family well away from your home. Some models like the Cobra® 29 LTD BT even have Bluetooth now so you can take calls on your CB. You just need a CB and an antenna and you are in business. Installation is simple and you can talk to anyone who is within your range.

 

Scanners

PRO-164 1000-Channel Handheld Scanner

A great companion to a CB Radio is a scanner, sometimes called a Police scanner that randomly scans all of the radio frequency channels. It surfs for you and when it finds traffic, it will stay on that channel during the broadcast. Some scanners hold thousands of frequencies and you can use this to hear what emergency service personnel are saying. You can also hear news before it makes it to the TV. If the scanners are still working and your police department isn’t blocking the frequency somehow you can hear what is happening in other parts of your town and make plans to bugout if necessary.

Two-Way FRS radios

FRS Band Radios

Everyone who has ever been to WalMart has seen the FRS radios or walkie talkies. These are great on car trips when you want to stay in contact with another driver in a different vehicle. They are also good for camping trips when one group wants to separate from another group. They do have a much smaller range and this is highly impacted by line of sight. I think on the pair I bought, the range says “up to 23 miles”. Yeah, right! Maybe if you are standing the in middle of the desert and you can see the person 10 miles away. And you have a tail wind…

These radios are better than nothing, but the communication (as with CB’s) isn’t secure so don’t think you can purchase two of these and set up a foolproof command center at your bugout location. They would be great if your communication didn’t need to be secure though and most models now have sub channels so you can set your main frequency to channel 12 and your sub or “privacy” code to 110. This way, without a scanner someone would have to be dialed into the exact same frequency to hear you.

Military Surplus

TA-312/PT Military Telephone

Once again, one of my favorite options (for certain scenarios) is a good old field telephone (TA-312/PT). These are pretty simple. You have two phones and they are connected by a line. Communication line, it’s really just a two strand line. When you want to talk to someone you crank the arm and the other phone rings. I think you need two D batteries also to power them, but since this is really low voltage, they will last a long time. This is as secure as the phone line and may work at a retreat area with one phone out in an OP and the other inside the house as long as the line is buried.

Regardless of the method you choose (we have several) it is wise to think about different scenarios and the communication plan you would use to keep in contact with your family. What other ideas do you have for communicating with your group?

What about Short Wave or Ham Radio? Good question. I think Ham Radio is an excellent option, but it is a complicated topic with a higher entry cost, learning curve and commitment which means its worthy of its own post. I will be discussing Ham radio in the future.

Having a plan in place for Communication in a disaster or survival situation is important to your preparations. This may be a plan for communicating with your family if you

Is it just me, or are there entirely too many T-shirts in the world?

Perhaps I had a few as a youngster, but the first I can truly recall was a white T-shirt with a rubbery photo of a Studebaker on the front. I wore it with stylish orange hip-huger bell-bottoms embroidered with butterflies. Because I was 14 and bought the shirt with my dish washing earnings, I wore it until the emblem eroded and the fabric turned gray.

Now it seems, T-shirts are everywhere and often free, given out at fundraisers, sporting events and as advertising. Our local thrift stores receive so many donated T-shirts, they simply bag them up as shop rags. Trash bags crammed full sell for $4. Many of the shirts are brand new.

 

Fortunately, there are a gazillion ways to those brightly colored garments. Jersey fabric of 100-percent cotton is so versatile. It can be stretched, sewn flat, weaved, hooked, crocheted, dyed, tied in knots, and, best of all, the ends don’t unravel.

tomato-mulch

Use an old T-Shirt to mulch your tomato plants

Weed-free veggies

One of my favorite uses for surplus white T-shirts is as garden mulch. Simply cut the side seams and under the arms. Lay the shirt flat with a plant growing up through the neck hole.

Yes, I know, the T-shirt looks funny laying there on the ground for a while. But the fabric quickly fades and does such a wonderful job of controlling weeds that I soon forget it was once a shirt.

Two fun up-cycling uses of T-shirts include weaving strips of jersey fabric into place-mats, table runners or rugs. Another is the pioneer-favorite braided rag rug. Both projects are uncomplicated and use materials at hand. You do not need an expensive loom, sewing machine or other gadgets. I’ll briefly explain weaving here.

placemat

Create place mats with old T-shirts

Loom-less weaving

To weave T-shirts into useful household articles, you’ll need to assemble a loom – basically a wooden frame, like a large picture frame reinforced at the corners. This frame can be four sticks of wood fastened with screws. For large projects, use 2X4’s secured with angle iron.

A good loom size for scatter rugs is about 30 inches by 36 inches. To create larger rugs or table runners, several finished woven pieces can be stitched together (laced, actually).

To begin, tie off the warp (vertical) string to the bottom of the loom. Do not tie it in line with the frame side, but in 4-6 inches to make weaving easier. Wind the string figure-8 fashion to the top and bottom of the frame, pulling tightly and winding about 10 strands per inch. As you run out of one roll of warp string, simply tie on another. The knot will be hidden as you weave. When you have the desired width, tie off the end. For a finished width of 26 inches, that’s 260 loops around the loom.

stitching

Jersey fabric is very versatile.

No-fray fabric

Next cut your shirts into strips. Cut off the shirt bottom below any emblems, embroidery or other embellishments. Cut off the hem. If the shirt has side seams, cut those off. If not, just cut one side so that you end up with a large rectangle.

Depending on the fabric weight, cut strips 3/4 inch to 1 1/2 inches wide. You’ll want your strips to be a fairly even thickness once rolled. So, cut heavier fabric into thinner strips and lighter fabric wider.

Now, this is one of the really neat aspects of jersey – it rolls into a tube when stretched. When you have a nice stash of strips, begin stretching them to create a yarn-like tube.

So you can weave longer between stops, several strips can be stitched together to create longer strips. To create less bulk in your woven article, stitch the strips together diagonally by placing the end of one strip on top of another, right sides together, forming an “L.” Stitch a seam on the bias by hand or machine.

Ball up your T-shirt yarn until ready to use. Your strips can be sorted according to color to create a pattern, or woven at random.

Begin weaving first with the string you used for the warp. Weave over and under 4 strands of warp at a time, working your way back and forth until you have a band of about 1/2 inch. Weaving can be done by using a shuttle, a sort of long wooden spool, although fingers work just fine.

rag-rug[

The finished product

The fun part

Finally, it is time to weave your old T-shirts into something beautiful. Start weaving the first strip a few inches from the end, threading the strip over and under each warp string. When you reach the end of a row, beat down the yarn with your fingers, a wide-toothed comb or fork to keep the rows tight and straight. Then, come back the other direction with your yard, in the same over-and-under pattern.

When you come to the end of a fabric strip, stitch on another one and keep going. Instead of stitching, you can also knot your strips together for a bumpier, more rustic look. End your strips somewhere within the woven article and not on the end.

At the upper end of the woven article, after weaving the last row of fabric strips, weave another 1/2-inch wide band of warp string again.

To remove the article from the loom, cut the warp string from the frame, 8 strands at a time and tie it into overhand knots. Continue cutting and tying across the top and bottom of the woven article. Finally, lay the finished piece on a flat surface and trim the strands evenly to whatever length you prefer.

Braided rugs

To make a braided rag rug, cut strips at least 2 inches wide, again avoiding any thick emblems or embroidered designs. When you have a worthy pile of strips, begin by pinning together three strips and anchoring them to an immobile object, such as a doorknob or piece of furniture. Keep braiding and attaching more strips until you reach the desired rug size.

Here are a few tips about braided rugs made of T-shirt fabric:

  • Large rugs are heavy and difficult to wash, so plan to use the rug in places without heavy foot traffic.
  • Wash your rug by hand in a large tub outdoors and then line dry in the shade to prevent fading. Remember, it’s heavy when wet!
  • Use a strong, thick cord for lacing the braids together, as thin carpet thread or plastic fishing line will eventually cut through the T-shirt fibers.
  • Lining the back with an old sheet takes only another hour or so of effort, but will lengthen your rug’s life considerably.

Now, get busy, have fun and just think of how many Studebaker T-shirts you saved from the landfill.

 

Want more?

Here’s what the HuffPost Parents and HuffPost Women Facebook audiences said about giving T-shirts a new life.

Without further ado, here are 20 ideas for upcycling T-shirts, from the simple and practical to the downright creative.

Reusable bags

“Turn them into a reusable bag. Cut fringe and tie along the bottom, cut off sleeves to turn into handles.” ― Teri Lynn

“A no-sew reusable bag! So easy and I still get to see the cool shirts I’ve collected from races or fundraisers every time I use them.” ― Cari Cowling

“We host Family Service Fairs (where families do good for local nonprofits), and used old T-shirts to create reusable grocery bags to help get plastic bags out of the environment. The organization that inspired the station is called Boomerang Bags.” ― Doing Good Together

Quilts

“I’ve saved all my daughter’s scout, sports and school T-shirts and made her a quilt for college.” ― Della Yurasek Csehoski

“I made a blanket from old band T-shirts when I was pregnant to give to our son when he gets older but I’ll probably never really let him have it, it’s too cool!” ― Ali Walter

SaveThe Polka Dot Chair25 DIY Gifts for Dad on Polka Dot Chair Blog1K+Kathy ZellerT-shirt quilts

Jewelry

“My friend makes baby-friendly jewelry from old T-shirts ― necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and scarfs, etc.” ― Krisztina Oláh

“Turn them into headbands and jewelery, using braiding, knotting and macrame.” ― Danielle McEwan

“Cut them into strips, braid them into necklaces so my kids chew on them instead of their T-shirt collars.” ― Hortencia T. Benavidez

Pillows

“Stuffed the leftovers into a travel pillow for the kids. A tad bit harder than I would have liked it, but they don’t seem to mind. Otherwise, they are used for rags and other DIY projects.” ― Sylvia Salas-Brown

“We cut around the T-shirt design and add other fabrics around it to make pillows.” ― Marie Meidinger

“Pillow covers when kids are sick or I’m sweating at night.” ― AnneMarie Greenfield

Art

“I stretched some of my husband’s race tees over square art canvases. They hang in our family room along with my medal rack.” ― Anna-Marie Ward

“I frame my old concert tees in record album frames and then hang them up in my screened porch.” ― Michele N. Lotman

“Put them over canvases to hang on the wall.” ― Karla Marie

“Put into small embroidery hoop for ornaments or large for display.” ― Neelloc Niffit

Savefeelincrafty.wordpress.comold t-shirts turned into art. I might have to do this for my boy’s Harley room instead of a quilt with the Harley t-shirts I have.983Tegan BennettLovely D.I.Y. Stuffs!!

Towels

“Towels for my curly hair!” ― Sarah Beth

“Use them to towel dry your hair, smoother than actual towels so supposed to be less damaging.” ― Soma Chatterji

Kid clothes

“Turning a T-shirt into a romper for a child.” ― Heidi Else

Pet accessories

“I have a dog who shreds her bedding when she boards so I make dog blankets for her by sewing four T-shirts together. They’re harder for her to destroy and cheaper than dog beds.” ― Melissa Westmoreland

“I have dogs, so anything fabric gets its second life as dog bedding.” ― Melissa Lynserra

“Our Aussie shepherd mix likes to play tug (and rip!) and then sleep with them.” ― Kathleen Wright

“Knot and tie into dog toys!” ― Tara Olivia

“My Key Club uses them to make chew toys for the local animal shelter.” ― Teri Madewell

“Old T-shirts make great surgery recovery shirts for dogs. My dog HATED that stupid cone, but the shirt didn’t bother him one bit!” ― Lauren Olcese-Mercurio

SaveSheKnowsDon’t toss that old T-shirt! Snip it up to make this toy for your furry friend.32Helen DaleFor our pets

Donations

“Donate them to Rethreaded, an organization that helps people ‘sew a new story’ in their lives. They make and sell items, including various items from T-shirts.” ― Anita Davis Sullivan

“Donate them. I’m not crafty enough to make things, and there are always people who need gently used clothing. Pay it forward, y’all.” ― Erin Hablenko

Sleepwear

“I just sleep wearing them and use them in that way until they lose their usability. Best bedroom clothes for me.” ― Natalia Shveykina

“My daughter takes them to wear for pajamas.” ― Wendy Greve

Rugs

“I cut a bunch of shirts into half-inch strips and knitted a small area rug for our kitchen.” ― Elina Singh

“Braided T-shirt rugs with the pieces left over after doing quilts/pillows and rags.” ― Ashley Edinger

“You can cut them into strips to knit or crochet rag rugs.” ― Kelly McDaniel Whitney

Savefromjumblejoy.comLearn How To Make a No-Sew Round Braided Rug With T-Shirts!1K+2MaryEllen HagerlCrafts that interest me

Doll clothes

“My kids cut up old T-shirts and make clothes for the Elf.” ― Claudia Reis

Scarves

“I made T-shirt scarves for my daughters out of their old T-shirts.” ― Kimberly Anderson

“Cut it straight across, right beneath armpits, and create an infinity scarf.” ― Laura Coronado

Lampshades

“I’ve turned one into a macrame lampshade!” ― Danielle McEwan

Makeup Wipes

“Make reusable makeup-removing wipes (soaked in micellar water).” ― Lauren Neiger

Rags

“Mine go from T-shirts, to PJs, to rags after that the trash!” ― Brandy Allen-Burgard

“I use them for polishing silver (inherited a bunch, pain in the butt to maintain).” ― AnneMarie Greenfield

SaveKalyn BrookeEver wondered what to do with tees that were stained, had holes, and generally weren’t good enough to donate? This tutorial teaches you how to turn old t-shirts into dust rags, and includes the secret to getting crisp edges every time!226Nancy IsomCleaning

Hair care

“I wear them when coloring my hair and tear them into strips for hair curls.” ― AnneMarie Greenfield

Reinvented clothes

“Give it new details … i.e., cut off the sleeves and give it a different neck.” ― Mish Buonantuono-Rausch

“Re-design to new shirts, bags, skirts … ” ― Rachelle Carrillo

Gardening aids

“Garden ties for holding up plants like tomatoes.” ― Neelloc Niffit

“Tear them into strips and use those strips to tie up tomato plants in the garden or other plants/trees.” ― AnneMarie Greenfield

Recycling

“Recycle them. School has a bin and it raises money for the school.” ― Stephanie Tapia

 

What do think? Right when you thought there’s nothing much to do today..


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

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

A T-shirt can be stretched, sewn flat, weaved, hooked, crocheted, dyed, tied in knots, and, best of all, the ends don’t unravel.

There is a mantra within the hallowed halls of prepper knowledge, lore and opinion that goes something like this. The only way to survive TEOTWAWKI is to find a hidden retreat far away from any city of significant size and live there as self-sustainably as possible year round. This idea of the survival retreat has been around for years and it is actually a lifestyle I aspire to for myself and my family. I dream of a fortified home in the woods, streams rolling through my mountain location, solar arrays, livestock in fences, wild game aplenty and wood burning stove goodness all around me. There is one major problem with this mantra though and that is the prospect of moving everything we have and living in a cabin in the woods is nearly impossible for the large majority of us.

If you accept the argument that the hinter boonies are your best chance of survival, then the flip-side of the mantra and conventional wisdom is that everyone living in or near the cities will die. It can give you the idea that you are doomed unless you are living in Northern Idaho, chopping wood for your stove and tending to your garden every day of your life. Is that the only choice we have? Does ultimate survival come down to either living in a small handful of states or you are screwed – no matter what? Is Urban Survival an oxymoron? If you aren’t one of the lucky ones who lives 2 hours away from the nearest Walmart are you doomed to die a horrible death? The real question for the majority of preppers is this; is Urban Survival possible?

The problem with surviving in urban environments

I will readily concede that you have problems living in urban environments that will make survival tougher. Larger cities have a higher population of people living in closer confines. This makes any available resources like food and fuel deplete much faster in times of crisis just because there is greater demand for these resources. Sheer numbers overwhelm the system more quickly and the panic associated with a larger mass of people spreads faster, it is more chaotic and violent. It would be like a swarm of locusts.

Urban survival skills are different, but can save your life just the same.

Urban environments are a larger risk for terrorist attacks because of the higher concentration of people and media attention. If you blow up a few buildings in New York you will cause a much bigger stir (and kill more people most likely) than blowing up the same number of buildings in Steamboat Springs CO. It is the same with virus or disease in that it spreads much faster in higher concentrations of people. Larger cities pose a larger risk to a numerically higher number of lives so risk to your life is higher.

Additionally, urban environments for the most part have limited natural resources unless you consider buildings, parking lots and concrete or asphalt natural resources. Sure, there are trees in cities, even New York has Central Park, but can you imagine how long it would take for Central Park to have every single one of its trees chopped down if some catastrophe happened and people needed wood fires to keep their families alive? Some major cities are built along rivers, but the water is usually so polluted you wouldn’t want to bathe in it much less try to eat anything that lived in there. Along with that lack of natural resources, there is not an abundance of good soil for growing food, at least not in quantities sufficient to support the populations of those cities.

I am not saying that you have a better chance for survival in cities, but I think we should be looking for options in every prepping scenario.

Are there any advantages to urban environments?

Yes, there are definite problems with urban survival chances, but do cities offer any advantages at all? I think you could find some benefits if you know what you are looking for. For starters, cities offer much more secure buildings than rural environments. Large concrete buildings are much better at stopping bullets than the walls of any suburban home. I think cities would offer you a greater supply of materials to use in a worst case scenario as well. If things got so bad you had to outfit your vehicle, Ala Mad Max, all of those spikes and metal would be much easier to find in cities.

There are places to grow food in cities.

Scrap metal, fencing, chains, wires and building materials as well as spare auto parts (batteries and tires) would be much easier scavenged in a city. Try building a fence out of trees or a coconut battery… Yes, this is a worst case scenario but I wanted to at least discuss some of the potential upsides as opposed to simply saying if you live in the cities you will die. Cities offer a lot of advantages in the form of security and observation simply because you have tall, semi-hardened structures. You can position look outs on 4 buildings a few blocks apart and using simple FRS radios, command a huge area.

What do you need for urban survival?

So now we have discussed some of the drawbacks and possible resources you could take advantage of, what is really needed for urban survival? The simple fact is that you need the same things for survival in the cities as you do in the suburbs. The difference is finding some opportunities you might be able to use to your advantage if you find yourself stuck in the city after a disaster.

Food

Food is a constant survival need and I recommend stocking up as much food that you normally eat as possible and augment that with some amounts of long-term storable food like freeze-dried food or MRE’s. What will you do when your food supplies are gone? You will need to do what the people in the burbs are doing and that is bust up some ground and get your food growing as soon as possible. As a backup I recommend having a supply of Heirloom seeds with which to do this, but starting now will give you the best chance of long-term urban survival. That is assuming your city wasn’t nuked of course.

In a grid-down scenario rooftop gardens may be necessary for urban survival.

 

Urban survival requires many of the same resources as survival in the country.

Food co-ops are a great idea, but you will have to rely on yourself for food in a survival situation. Roof gardens would be one way to grow vegetables. Could this feed a whole building? I don’t know but it is an option you have in the city that could allow for food production within the safety of your higher vantage point. Another option that the city affords is a high number of homes in a relatively small area. Each of these homes may have food or supplies after a collapse (assuming of course nobody is living in there) that could be available for scavenging. Scavenging is a polarizing subject I understand, but would be a possibility in a worst case scenario.

Water

Rainwater collection might be a little harder in the city as most buildings have flat roofs that house equipment, but if you have a flat surface that collects water that can be diverted into tanks, it should work the same as anywhere else. Another aspect of city living is that almost every building has water sprinkler systems and these can hold many thousands of gallons of water that should be safe for drinking or can be filtered with a good gravity filter. The trick would be to find the main drain valve which is commonly found in a stairwell on the same floor as the fire sprinkler heads that it supplies. The water may be draining outside so don’t turn that knob unless you know where the water will be coming out. Optionally, some buildings have water tanks right on the roof.

Fire hydrants also are a good source for water and if you find a low hydrant (lower elevation) you may be able to get millions of gallons from that source alone.

Shelter

This to me seems to be one of the benefits of urban environments that of course is weighed against the risks. There should be an abundance of shelter options for you but safety will be an issue here. In a TEOTWAWKI scenario, many people will leave, many could die. There should be available shelter that you can find. I would try to get up as high as possible and work on fortifying my entryway so that I could really make it difficult for anyone to get in. I would look for warehouses with heavy metal doors before shops with glass windows, but you may have to look at several places before you find a suitable location.

It aint pretty, but it could keep you alive.

Shelter in this regard is primarily going to be focused with keeping you out of the elements initially. For something more permanent, I would be looking to live with a larger group of people for common defense and shared work duties. Could these be the people currently living in your building? Could you control access to your building now or after some fairly simple fortifications?

Security

Safety of the people in your group will be extremely important and this will rely on having observation at all times, a good communication system and a plan to deter threats. Solar panels situated on the roof of buildings could keep your power supply from being noticed (unless there is someone in a higher building) from the ground and reduce the risk of theft.

Solar panels mounted to the roof will reduce risk of detection or theft.

Access control to stairwells could prevent attackers from sneaking up unannounced. Barricades could be easily constructed from old furniture or equipment, even sections of fence. The height of the buildings will give you vantage points and could allow you to funnel any traffic into one location that could be manned by a couple of people with radio access to a spotter on the roof.

Would all of this be possible? It would depend on the disaster, where you are, what you have with you and a lot of other things. Would urban survival be more difficult? Maybe, but I don’t think it is hopeless. Unless there was some serious issue driving you out of the city, it may be safer to stay while everyone leaves and tries to survive on the road or in the woods.

I don’t think cities will be completely devoid of people in a SHTF event. I think some will find a way to survive as humans have for a long time.

What do you think?

There is a mantra within the hallowed halls of prepper knowledge, lore and opinion that goes something like this. The only way to survive TEOTWAWKI is to find a hidden