HomePosts Tagged "Prepping" (Page 15)

It is currently hurricane season for the Atlantic and Pacific regions of the United States.

As I write this article, Hurricane Dorian is a Category 4 storm with the potential to reach Category 4 status. As of now, the storm has an uncertain path, but East Coast folks – please watch this one closely, as some models suggest it could head right for you.

Hurricanes are unpredictable, as anyone who has experienced one knows. This makes them challenging to prepare for, but fortunately, there are things you can do to increase your odds of survival, should one head for your region.

It is important to understand that a hurricane need not be a Category 5 to be incredibly dangerous and cause serious damage. When Hurricane Isabel hit my Virginia neighborhood in 2003, the storm was barely a Category 1. It was the first (and to date, the only – thankfully) hurricane I’ve experienced personally, and back then I really had no idea how difficult the aftermath would be.

This book teaches you how to both diagnose and treat any medical problems you are going to encounter. Learn more about it here.

I fully expected the “authorities” to take care of everything after Isabel passed. I thought they’d clean up all the debris and have the roads cleared and power on within a day or two.

I was seriously mistaken.

Isabel had an unusually large wind field (an example of a hurricane doing “unpredictable” things). Thousands of trees were uprooted. Power lines and telephone poles were downed all over. Hundreds of houses were damaged…many beyond repair. Hundreds of roads, including major highways, were blocked by fallen trees and other debris. The heavy rainfall caused inland flooding, which closed roads and damaged homes and businesses.

We were without power for over two weeks. Because we – and most of our neighbors – did not think to purchase generators in advance, one neighbor decided to head out to buy them for us. He wasn’t able to find any until he reached Pennsylvania – every store he checked in Virginia and Maryland was either closed due to the storm or had already sold their entire stock of generators. That gives you an idea of how hard it can be to find important supplies in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Preparing for a Hurricane

In The Prepper’s Blueprint, the importance of understanding how unpredictable hurricanes can be is discussed and emphasized. This type of natural disaster is truly one of the most difficult emergencies to prepare for simply because there are so many variables to account for. These storms can range from mild to severe and can cause wind damage, flooding, and tornadoes. You can be fully stocked with provisions, but what good will that do if your home is flooded in a matter of minutes and all of your supplies are destroyed or inaccessible? Before Hurricane Harvey made landfall last year, it was predicted as merely a tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane. In fact, many living in the area did not think much of it in terms of severity and only stocked up on supplies for a few days. Within those few days, it had developed into a Category 4 with 132 mph winds.

This hurricane primer has essential articles with supply lists that can aid you in preparing for a storm.

Should you stay or should you go?

Often, when a hurricane is approaching, government officials will issue evacuation orders to people in designated evacuation areas. Most governments use one of two terms when issuing evacuation notices. An evacuation order is when officials strongly encourage people in certain areas to move to a safer location. Personal discretion is allowed, but not advised. A mandatory evacuation order means that emergency management officials are ordering all people in the designated area to move to a safer location – personal discretion is NOT an option. People who refuse to comply need to understand that this kind of order means they should not expect to be rescued or given any kind of assistance once the storm has reached the area.

If you can leave the area before the disaster strikes, then do so, and seek shelter elsewhere.

Should you decide to stay put for whatever reason during a hurricane, adequate preparation is crucial to survival. Please check out our guide here – now, so you can prepare far ahead of the storm: Last Minute Preparedness: How To Prep For Sheltering in Place.

What about disaster shelters?

While disaster shelters may be the only option for many, it is important to understand the risks associated with them. In the article, Just How Unhealthy And Unsafe Are Disaster Shelters, Sara Tipton explains the harsh truth about such shelters:


There is another danger associated with spending time in a disaster shelter: sexual assault. Overcrowded and understaffed shelters unintentionally put all those who stay at them at risk. There’s no way a handful of people can monitor hundreds of others at all times.

The elderly are a part of the population that is particularly vulnerable during times of evacuation and emergency. They face many concerns both before a disaster strikes and immediately afterward. Hurricane Katrina is a tragic example of how devastating big storms can be to the elderly: roughly 71 percent of the hurricane’s victims were older than age 60, and 47 percent of those were over the age of 75. Most of these victims died in their homes and communities. At least 68 (some of whom were allegedly abandoned by their caretakers) were found in nursing homes. If you are elderly or have loved ones who are, please plan accordingly. Staying at home and local shelters may not be the best places for those who have special health concerns and are not able to adequately care for themselves.

Also, please don’t forget about your furry and feathered family members: take your pets’ needs into account when you are preparing for an impending hurricane as well.

What to expect in the aftermath of a hurricane

Many Americans believe that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will come to their rescue after a natural disaster. Unfortunately, the agency has many challenges (to put it lightly). Even if you are one of the few who manages to successfully navigate FEMA’s confusing red tape and complicated bureaucratic system to get aid, help from the agency often becomes something many describe as an “inescapable hell.”

Prepare for the worst and make sure you can survive on your own. We cannot emphasize this enough.

While the bad weather hurricanes bring usually sticks around for 12 to 24 hours, there are other dangers that often linger for much longer. As I mentioned earlier, after Hurricane Isabel struck my city, my neighborhood was without power for over two weeks. Some areas in the Hampton Roads region were without electricity for even longer. Some roads were closed for more than a week.

There are five possible life-threatening scenarios that hurricane victims must understand and prepare for.

1. Contaminated water

Water contamination is common after a hurricane. The facilities that remove contaminants from drinking water are typically unusable if they’re inundated with floodwaters, or if they do not have the power needed to run their pumps or the ability to get fuel for their generators. The water supply could be tainted with anything from unpleasant but relatively harmless gastrointestinal invaders like Norovirus to more serious bacteria like Vibrio, a potentially deadly microorganism.

Ideally, you’ll have enough water stored for you and your family. Water is a top preparedness priority. Aim for a supply of 3 gallons of water per person/day, minimum, stored in food-grade containers. If you have pets, you’ll need to make sure you have enough water for them too. Remember, while water is crucial for proper hydration, you’ll also need to use it to prepare food and for sanitation purposes. I don’t think there’s such a thing as having TOO much water stored.

For more on water storage, please see Emergency Water Storage Ideas for Every Type of Disaster and 5 Short-Term Methods to Store Water.

Even if you believe you have adequate water stored, be sure to learn about water purification methods and devices as well…just in case. Always ensure the safety of your water by properly filtering or boiling it before use.

There are portable water filtration systems you can keep on hand in case of emergency. The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is one of them. It’s a compact, portable, three-part system that can be put together and placed over a drinking vessel like a water bottle. This system comes with a straw that you can use to drink directly through the filter itself. It can also be hooked up to a Camelbak water pouch.

2. Flooding

The risk of contracting an infectious disease is heightened after a hurricane, in large part due to flooding. Flood water is a perfect vehicle for pathogens: it can harbor bacteria, different viruses, and fungi – and often is contaminated with sewage and hazardous chemicals.

There are numerous reasons to avoid flood water entirely. Wading through it – even if it is shallow – can cause drowning because moving water can sweep you off your feet, and can rapidly transport you to deeper bodies of water. Snakes and other dangerous creatures (depending on where you live) can lurk in flood waters. Debris could be floating in it, and could cause serious harm. And, of course, electrocution is a deadly risk – fallen power lines may have exposed the water to electricity.

To protect your home from flood damage, learn how to properly create a sandbag barrier or consider investing in a system called AquaDam.

If you live in a flood zone, special preparations are in order. The following articles can help you better prepare.

  • Are You Ready? How to Survive a Flood
  • Disaster Supplies for Flood Preparedness
  • A Step-By-Step Guide to Preparing for Disasters

3. Blackouts

A major risk after any hurricane, blackouts can be devastating for those without a plan.

From refrigerators to cell phones, people have almost become completely reliant on electronic devices for their survival, and for this reason, a blackout can have disastrous implications for the ill-prepared.

In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast and left widespread, long-term power outages in her wake. On October 31, over 6 million customers were still without power in 15 states and the District of Columbia. On November 7, 2012, 600,000 people were still without power. After Hurricane Ike hit in September 2008, our very own Tess Pennington and her family experienced a power outage that lasted more than three weeks!

In an article about her experience, Tess wrote, “In retrospect, I was naive in my preparedness planning. I was planning for the best-case scenario rather than the latter, as well, there were many aspects of preparedness that I hadn’t considered and paid the price for it.”

The grid in New York City is still vulnerable, nearly 6 years later. But NYC is not the only part of the US that has an aging and weak grid that is susceptible to damage – much of the US power grid is vulnerable.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prepare your family for power outages.

  • Be ready to prepare food off the grid.
  • Stock your pantry and bug-out bags with nutrient-dense food that does not need to be refrigerated or cooked to eat, like nut butter, nuts, seeds, granola bars, protein bars, and dried fruit.
  • Fill up your vehicle’s tank while you still can – gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
  • Be aware that most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist. Have a backup plan in case your power is out longer than a few hours.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it. Garage doors can be heavy, so know that you may need help to lift it.
  • Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.
  • Have cash on hand in case ATMs are down and stores are not able to process credit cards.
  • Learn how to protect your food supply when the power is out. To be proactive, begin using perishable foods in the freezer and refrigerator to minimize food spoilage. Also, to keep items as cool as possible during a power outage, limit the number of times the refrigerator or freezer door is opened. If you are concerned that your meat may spoil, preserve it beforehand, by either the canning method or the dehydration method.
  • Freeze soda bottles filled with water and place them in the refrigerator during outages – they will help to maintain the optimum temperature.
  • Stay indoors and try and keep your body temperature as normal as possible.
  • Close window blinds and curtains to keep your home cool.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment (like air conditioners) or electronics in use when the power went out. Power may return with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can damage computers as well as motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace.
  • Consider purchasing at least one gas-powered generator. They require about a quarter gallon of gasoline for each hour of use. This means you will need to keep plenty of extra fuel on hand. For a blackout period lasting 3 days, it would be wise to keep at least 15 gallons stored in your house for use in your generator (or car).
  • Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to run directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not run a generator inside a home or garage. For more on safe generator use, please read This is One of the Unspoken Dangers That (Silently and Quickly) Kills During Emergencies.
  • Leave on one light so that you’ll know when your power returns.
  • Use the phone for emergencies only. Listen to a portable radio for the latest information.
  • Access to fire will be critical in a blackout. Be sure to have at least three different ways to make fire, such as a magnesium and steel fire-starter, matches, and butane lighters.
  • Lanterns will be effective alternative light sources as long as you keep kerosene in storage. Speaking of fuel, you may also want to use propane for use in a barbecue grill or for other propane-powered appliances.
  • Having extra flashlights will make a fundamental difference during a power outage. Keep extra sets of batteries for each flashlight.
  • If you don’t already have a first-aid kit now is the time to get one. Sanitizing gel is also a smart item to have in your supplies.
  • A radio with a crank generator will enable you to hear emergency alerts without having to ubackup-up power.
  • Have at least 3 days of clean clothes ready for each family member.

4. Supply shortages 

If you live in an area where people shift into panic mode at the mere mention of snow flurries, you know that grocery stores can become a chaotic scene in the days prior to the expected weather. We rarely get snow in this part of Virginia, so when it pops up in the forecast, stores quickly run out of bread, milk, and water.

As you can imagine, everyone and their second cousin will be scrambling to stock up on supplies in the days before an impending hurricane. The closer it gets to landfall, the worse the situation gets. This is why getting ahead of the crowd is crucial – to your stockpile and your sanity.

Obviously, food, water, and gasoline are items that can quickly become scarce in the event of an emergency. But, there are other items that some might not think to purchase in advance of a big weather event. These include bleach and other chemical disinfectants, cleaning supplies, disposable gloves, trash bags, toilet paper, and home repair supplies.

Regarding toilet paper – hurricane survivors tend to grossly (pun intended) underestimate how much they are going to need. Toilet paper is used every day and when it runs out, things can get very, very unpleasant. Why add to your misery? This is an item that is very much worth stocking up on. On average, consumers use 8.6 sheets per trip – a total of 57 sheets per day. Multiply that by a week-long storm and a family of 5 and you are going to run out quickly if you don’t buy enough.

5. Tornadoes

As if dealing with a hurricane isn’t enough, it can bring along a particularly dangerous partner in crime: tornadoes.

Hurricanes and tropical storms are collectively known as tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones and tornadoes are both atmospheric vortices.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Tropical cyclones may spawn tornadoes from a day or two prior to landfall to up to three days after landfall. Statistics show that most of the tornadoes occur on the day of landfall, or the next day. The most likely time for TC tornadoes is during daylight hours, although they can occur during the night, too. Although statistically, the largest number of tropical cyclone tornadoes occurs on the day of landfall, some of the biggest and most damaging outbreaks have taken place 1 or 2 days after landfall.”

“A tropical storm has all the ingredients necessary to form a tornado: They have multiple supercell thunderstorms, they contain the necessary instability between warm and cold air, and they create wind shear, an abrupt change in wind speed and direction which can create swirling vortices of air,” explains 6abc.

Most hurricanes that make landfall do create at least one tornado. “The majority of those tornadoes are short-lived and of the weaker EF0 or EF1 variety, but some can reach EF2 or EF3 intensity,” according to The Weather Channel:


Brian McNoldy, a researcher at the University of Miami, explained the phenomenon to Live Science:


Most tornadoes occur in a tropical cyclone’s outer rain bands, about 50 to 200 miles from the center, but some have been spawned near the inner core. “In a hurricane’s outer bands, tornadoes represent a burst of concentrated destruction in an area that otherwise might not see the devastating levels of wind produced by the hurricane’s core,” according to a CNN report.

Hurricane-produced tornadoes are difficult to predict – they tend to appear quickly and with little to no warning. For this reason, it is very important to pay attention to the weather and to be prepared for a tornado (or several tornadoes!) to strike.

Are YOU ready for a hurricane?

Earlier this year, AccuWeather Atlantic Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski predicted the United States will see 12-15 tropical storms in 2019 – of which, 6 to 8 are likely to become hurricanes, and 3 to 5 are likely to become major hurricanes.


Stay safe!

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)

It is currently hurricane season for the Atlantic and Pacific regions of the United States. As I write this article, Hurricane Dorian is a Category 4 storm with the potential to

Hey there internet. We need to have a talk on the subject of what’s yours and what’s mine.

The state of network security is that it is in shambles, even if you have a lot of resources and IT teams at your disposal.

It’s absolutely insane how open information networks are, especially those that are used at homes and small businesses. There is a lot to think about in terms of what level of privacy is realistic and how far you can take security without just stepping on your own feet and making it harder to use your networks.

I think it is worth it to go over some of the major examples of hacking incidents over the last 10 years and then let’s dive in to what this means for you and the security of the private information you value in your personal and work life. When reading remember that in modern times

There is no true privacy on the World Wide Web.


An estimated 143 million people in the US had their names, addresses, social security numbers, drivers license numbers and more stolen. Some say this is the worst personal info security breach in American history to date.

The bummer is that they had a security protocol for two months before this happened and simply failed to install this update so hackers had ample time to glean info.

Predator Drones

In 2011, it was revealed that the US military’s drone fleet was infected with a virus known as a key logger. So far they claim that there has been no case of them losing control of a drone but they have said recently that the virus keeps coming back. After 6 years, they suspect it is benign but they don’t know.

These are sophisticated machines and weapons that contain valuable information. Them there is the fact that a hacked drone could be used for some pretty bad things. If any agency should be worried about how vulnerable their security is, it should be those that have the safety and security of others on line.

Other incidents of predator drone hacking have been reported as well. Take the case back in 2009 where Defense officials are quoted by The Associated Press as saying that there was evidence of at least one incident of insurgents in Afghanistan monitoring drone video feeds.

In 2011 the Iranian military reported to the Christian Science Monitor that they were responsible for hacking and taking down a CIA surveillance drone worth millions. Not only that, they did it using very basic computer navigational know how that allowed them to even bring it to a soft landing. An engineer on the inside is quoted as saying “By putting noise [jamming] on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This is where the bird loses its brain.”

Bay Area Transit System

The Bay Area Transit System ticketing system was hacked and files encrypted. The Transit System lost a lot of money because they let everyone ride for free on the day of the hack. The hackers demanded 100 Bitcoins which at the time totaled around $74,000. They did not pay the ransom but their IT team managed to get things in order.

You have to wonder how much information was actually stolen at the time. It could have been worse. Look at the example of the 14 year old that hacked his hometown of Lodz, Poland’s tram system and derailed 4 cars. Luckily no one was killed but who can say what the future holds in such an insecure world?


In 2015 the IRS was hacked and 700,000 accounts had their information put into jeopardy. Since you are required to give the IRS information there is really nothing you can do to protect your IRS account. They are supposed to do it for you but get this, in 2017 they awarded Equifax, yep the same company that lost a record breaking amount of records to hackers, to take care of the fraud protection for their site.

We should not be surprised when it happens again. In fact it gets better, Equifax also designed the software for logins that resulted in a hack in 2015. So they were awarded another contract after making the biggest identity hack mistake in the USA to date. Is it just me or does that make no sense at all?


It was recently revealed that Uber was hacked and customer info was held for ransom. Uber took the approach of paying the ransom and then covering it up until it was leaked and they were forced to publicly acknowledged what happened.

In 2016 a bank employees computer was hacked and used to make payments using the SWIFT system. Although $81 million was actually stolen when it was done, they are making an effort to steal an amazing $1 billion.

This is supported by the fact that they used fake emails to indicate to the New York Federal Reserve that they wished to transfer this money. The $81 million that did get stolen was sent to casinos and agents for casinos. A lot of this money is still missing.

Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Defense

In 2015 the OPM and the Department of Defense admitted that two major data breaches had resulted in   the personal information of 21.5 million people being made available to hackers. The records included the personal information of government employees with major security clearances as well as info about their friends and family and those that were put on applications as references for very sensitive government jobs.

It is estimated that 1.1 million sets of fingerprints were stolen. These hacks mean that intelligence operatives may be exposed to other governments thus jeopardising any future missions they may take part in as well as putting their safety at risk both in and out of the workplace.

If top agencies are incapable of protecting the most sensitive personal info of secret agents, then that truly shows the deplorable state of digital security in the United States today.

In Iran in January 2010, at the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Plant in Iran, something was clearly wrong. For some reason centrifuges used to enrich the uranium gas were failing when they shouldn’t. Five months later a security firm was working on an unrelated call and discovered Stuxnet.

This virus is not like others because it is made to actually cause mechanical damage to equipment. In the Belarus case it was causing computers to crash and reboot constantly.

It was then discovered that Stuxnet was causing the pressure within centrifuges to not be regulated at safe levels. The Natanz plant had an air gapped system so there was no way to get Stuxnet into the plant without an external source.

How did they do it? A simple USB drive with Stuxnet on it was used at 5 companies with known links to the plant.

Thus there was some info coming in on USB drives from the outside. While it was not from the internet this goes to show that any sharing of information from “the outside” is a breach and eventually that is probably going to mean your air gapped system has something sinister on it that could lead to a disaster of unprecedented scale when you are talking about nuclear power.

The editor of The Wired, Kim Zetter wrote a full length book called Countdown to Zero Day covering the whole story of Stuxnet for those that are interested in further details about this case and what it means as we think about the security of networks throughout the world.

The Electric Kettle and Iron Incident

Back in 2013, CBS News reported on an incident where electric tea kettles manufactured in China were found to have hidden wireless transmitters in them. Sure this was reported originally by Russia and regardless of how you feel about them, there is evidence that they are right.

A wireless transmitter is small enough to fit into virtually any device that plugs in and it costs little to do it. The transmitters in the kettles and irons reportedly could connect to any hidden Wifi network with no password protection within 656 feet.

In a densely populated area that could be dozens of networks and a lot of stolen information! This is a technique known as “phishing”. If you send out a few thousands of these then one could hope that a few will find their way into a board room or maybe even somewhere better than that. Since transmitters are so cheap, it can definitely be worth it to send out a lot even if only a few every send back anything of true value.

When you live in a world where even the tea kettle might have a bug then privacy is a thing of the past.

Facebook and Social Media

I find myself looking at Facebook too much because more people use it to communicate than ever. I am amazed what people reveal on there. All your posts are indexed! Sometimes if I lose a photo I just go on Facebook and use a search term.

They never lose anything but that doesn’t mean others cannot download your entire Facebook record. Social media encourages the sharing of outlandish behavior and your posts can definitely be used as evidence.

Many a trial has been sped up because of social media evidence. There is little surprise that when you follow the money, one sees that CIA money was involved in the start up of Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg may seem like a major success story to entrepreneurs but he had a lot of help along the way.

Facebook is a way to get the general populace to share information and pictures that they otherwise might have kept private. It is not a bad deal for the CIA , FBI, etc. to let citizens do a portion of their job for them. Facebook was an amazing investment for them that has payed off big.

Twitter and other social media outlets are also used to gather info but it is hard to compare them to the wealth of info that Facebook has archived and is gathering daily.

Smart Devices = Spying

There is no way I will ever have Smart Appliances in my home or locks that are controlled with Smart technology that allows remote access and control. Nor do I relish the idea of a hacker being able to turn the heat up or down in my home or have appliances spying on my private conversations.

I also really don’t think anyone really needs a fridge that has access to Pandora music and Facebook. Are we really that distracted to think we need these things? Also they add a lot of expense to an appliance. My $500 fridge has served us fine over the years.

You might remember the fuss made when it was revealed that Samsung Smart televisions were capable of spying. The experts at The Wired have some tips on “How To Stop Your Smart TV From Spying On You.”

If you choose to use Smart Devices then you need to consider if they are worth losing some privacy over in your communications and the daily grind at your home and work.

So why are major network security breaches and hacking incidents more common than ever?

Windows operating systems are the most common and also very insecure no matter what you do.

Windows is one of the most insecure operating systems out there. The National Security Administration has a major back door built into it and hackers know it inside and out. Without a good antivirus program it seems to barely be functional.

The days of Linux and Mac offering a high level of security are over.

Linux based systems are not as secure as they once were. There was a time where it was not as hackable and viruses barely every reared their heads. I am still a big fan of Linux based operating systems and there are some out there that are supposed to be more secure than others but they are not necessarily as compatible and easy to use for the average user.

The main reason that Linux is no longer secure is thanks to the CIA/NSA demanding that a backdoor be built in. They have a lot of clout and you no longer even have the option of having any privacy from government agencies both domestic and foreign as well as any sophisticated non state actor.

Although the video below tries to be humorous, you are smart enough to see behind the lines. Who is going to stick their neck out too far?

It is clear that designers of all major computer operating systems were approached by intelligence agencies and given a choice where there is really only one answer if you want to stay in business. The old phrase “take the silver or the lead” comes to mind.

What would you do if a major agency approached you and offered you money or a lot of trouble? Why you take the money so you can stay in business.

Privacy Considerations To Remember

All cell phones have GPS in them even if they don’t have any internet access on them. Telecommunications are constantly providing all cell phone meta data making it so phones are being tracked all the time. Law enforcement and other agencies can access this info with ease.

All modern cars have anti-theft devices that house a GPS transmitter so your vehicle can be tracked all the time. This means tow truck drivers can track down where you are parked if they are coming to repossesses a vehicle someone has stopped making payments on.

Cars can be hacked using the Wifi system. Many modern vehicles have Wifi which allows an easy door in. 

  • OnStar in your car is always on
  • Amazon Alexa is always on
  • Google is always on and sending location data even if you have disabled location services. Android phones are always transmitting your location data so don’t think just Windows phones and similar are doing this. 

Police have Stingray Technology To Track You

Stingrays are also known as cell site simulators or “IMSI catchers” are devices designed to track you via your cell phone signal. Stingrays send out signals that convince cell phones in the area to send them your location and identifying info. When this technology is used it can also get the info of a lot of people who are using cell phones in the given area.

Put a piece of tape over your camera

The former director of the FBI James Comey himself told The Hill that he puts tape over his webcam and had this to say about security at the FBI offices.

“You go into any government office and we all have the little camera things that sit on top of the screen,” he added. “They all have a little lid that closes down on them. You do that so that people who don’t have authority don’t look at you. I think that’s a good thing.”

Computers have build in microphones and cameras in them that can be utilized by hackers. If you value your privacy then you should at the least disable your microphone by going into your computer’s hardware settings or if you want to make it inoperable you can put glue in the microphone hole. Add a piece of tape or use a black permanent marker to cover your camera lens. 

It is more secure to use a USB camera and microphone that you plug in and use as needed and then unplug when not being used. If you notice in Comey’s statement he says that the FBI uses this protocol.

You can secure your network from other citizens that lack major hacking skills but that is about as good as it gets.

Encypting your computer and network is possible. This can prevent others from leaching off your wifi or use your network for nefarious purposes. Be aware though that WEP2 encryption protocol is compromised so that means any network can be compromised even if encrypted.

Don’t open unknown emails and watch out what sites you visit and allow access to your info

Phishing emails and using some types of websites can result in viruses and spyware that can capture your information and slow your computer down.

Don’t give up on your network password but realize how little security it can offer if someone really wants to get into your network.

Make sure you have a complicated secure network password. This means no using the most common names in your life. While you can change passwords often if you want, this doesn’t offer as much protection as you might think. Networks transmit passwords and keyloggers and spyware can pick them up quite easily.

No matter what you do, if the places you are required by law to give info to are hacked then your info and files are out there.

Charges that are unauthorised and file breaches happen all the time and you never know it because companies catch it and correct it before it causes you issues. Sometimes they will let you know if it is bad enough that they need to change your card but you probably don’t know about the vast majority of them. It is good that they catch them and it doesn’t cause common folks trouble but it would be very disturbing to know exact figures.

Turn down your range

I know that in the past I have written about relaying your internet signal but at the same time if security is your concern you need to turn down your signal so that it does not broadcast past where you actually need it. The more you are broadcasting a Wifi signal the easier it is for someone to notice your network and start poking around.

Pay for a reputable anti virus and spyware remover and keep it up to date

There are many different anti virus programs out there to choose from. All of those listed are $20-$40.

Consider an alternative Linux based operating system.

Linux based systems are more secure and there is definitely less Malware and Viruses designed with it in mind but over time that might change even more than it already has. Ubuntu is the most common Linux system but there are some that are designed to be more secure.

Here are some links to Linux based systems available for download that are supposed to be among the more secure to use:

  • Qubes OS
  • Tails :The Amnesic Incognito Live System
  • Black Arch Linux
  • Kali

Pen names and aliases

As a writer, I have always considered using a fake name for secuiry and privacy but I don’t because it realy doesn’t matter so much. I guess if I wanted to I could hide from the average person a bit more but if someone wants to find you it is pretty hard to prevent that.

The Air Gapped Network

So let’s be honest about the internet. It really was invented to share information and then it exploded into what we have today.

Have you ever considered that as a business or even at your home, that you could benefit from two separate networks. The first network would allow just computers on your local network to connect and share with one another. The other network could be for browsing.

An air gapped system is usually only used in instances where computers are being used to control hardware. A home camera security system is one example.


Virtual Private Networks can help with basic security but anyone that really wants in is not going to be stopped by one. I wish it was as simple as getting a VPN.

VPNs will give you some extra security but the bottom line is this:

Since government security agencies have demanded a way in to any system, everything is compromised. Sophisticated hackers will not have much problem getting in even with a VPN.

Evasive services like VPN’s and other tactics attract the attention of security services so you can actually raise a flag by using them. This means they may actually put more effort into accessing your information.

You should also consider that even VPN servers are vulnerable to hacks. Just because your info is being protected via the VPN, your info is still in their system so if the VPN provider gets hacked then your info may be accessible to the hackers.

The Chip Card Issue

A lot of us have been using smart chip debit and credit cards for awhile now. They are an invasion of privacy, slower at the checkout, easily damaged, and they transmit way too much information.

I don’t like going shopping and then coming home to find that when I am online the ads are mysteriously targeted to what I already bought or very similar even if have not looked at any of those items online. For starters I am not likely to buy the same version of what I just bought in town.

Second of all, this is down right creepy. I wanted to believe it was a coincidence but it has happened far too many times for that. I also don’t fancy something that they recommend carrying in a shielded wallet to prevent thieves from stealing financial info.

Methods Of More Secure Communications

There is a trend towards using older methods of communication for secure communications. Here are some ways that offer more security for times when you want the most privacy.

Typewriters and word processors are back

Even government agencies and foreign powers like Russia are using the written word rather than the electronic written word. This has led to a demand for used typewriters, A vintage IBM electric is $500.

There are other options too, I am writing this on an AlphaSmart Neo Word processor that stopped being manufactured in 2007. I love it because it is just for writing. No distractions. If I want to transfer a file it must be done via USB. IT was $18 shipped on Ebay and barely used. The keyboard is mechanical so it will last practically forever.

The Alphasmart Neo. A handy solution for distraction free and more secure writing when necessary. Not bad for $18-$30 on Ebay.

Letters & Paper Notes

When was the last time you wrote a letter by hand? It is has probably been awhile and some younger people may never have. It is actually one of the more secure ways to communicate in the age of virtual snooping and sabotage.

Writing by hand sometimes helps you think about what you are saying more because there is not as many distractions.

SD Cards

Use Micro SD cards and send in mail or store info on them but realize viruses and spyware can still be hidden in the directory.

Secure Second Hand Lap Top For World Wide Web Browsing

One possibility for a more secure computer is outlined below:

  1. Buy a used lap top and wipe the system clean.
  2. Install one of the more secure versions of Linux listed previously in this article. Do the installation using a disk or USB drive. Preferably do this at an internet cafe or other shared network. This will prevent anyone from knowing your exact home location.
  3. Never use the computer on your home network

This is not a perfect recipe for security but it does take some extra steps that can prevent some hacks, viruses, etc from finding their way onto your network at home.

The bottom line: The keys are lost and gone for good

One thing is for sure, if you don’t want others to know it or see it then don’t put it out there on the web.

They lost the keys to the backdoor that was built into operating systems. Those with the keys can hold info for ransom and guess what? Major places pay the ransom so that encourages the behavior to continue.

There is no getting the keys back. Try to be safe out there.

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)

Hey there internet. We need to have a talk on the subject of what's yours and what's mine. The state of network security is that it is in shambles, even if

In a previous article, I might have mentioned something about cowboys and bandanas. Apart from the fact that they looked awfully cool and would help them conceal their faces during a bank robbery, those wild rags, as they were called, had more uses beyond fashion or crime. And since bandanas will never go out of fashion, I’ve decided to do this little follow-up to show you how this painted rag can save your can in a shit hits the fan situation. So, without further ado, here are 17 survival uses of a bandana.

Water collection

Water’s essential in field survival. Still, if you get lost or anything, you won’t be able to rely on your emergency water supply. If there are no streams or rivers nearby, it’s possible to use your bandana to soak up water. Tie to your ankles and walk through tall grass during the wee hours of the morning to collect dew. Tree holes usually harbor a small amount of water. Get that bandana in there and soak as much water as possible. It may sound disgusting, but you can also squeeze some water from that rag after a long day’s walk (yup, drinking your own perspiration).

Crafting a simple pouch

Don’t have any pockets left to carry out your gear? No problem! You can whip up a simple pouch which can be attached to your belt or backpack. Just place your items in the center of the pouch, bring all folds into the middle, and tie it with a piece of dental floss or whatever cordage you have available.

Head protection

It’s obvious that a bandana cannot replace a safety help, but you can also use these thingies to keep your head dry when it’s raining, or the sun’s up in the sky.

Makeshift bandage

In case you’ve lost your med kit or had to use that gauze as tinder, you can use your bandana to bandage a wound.  If you have to deal with a large arterial bleeder, you may also use that wild rag as a tourniquet.

Setting up the table

Sorry if there are no roses nor lit candles – all I can offer you is a bandana used as a tablecloth.

Getting your keister clean

Well, you know that they say – when shit hits the fan, there’s nothing more to do than wipe your behind and move on. In case you run out of TP or paper tissue, take out your bandana and improvise. Just be sure to wash it before using it as a headcover or tablecloth.

Marking a trail

If you feel like you’re walking in circles, get the bandana out of your bug out bag and place on the ground right where the trail starts. Keep going. If you still see the bandana, it means you have to change your approach.

Repair broken backpacks

One of the most frustrating things that can happen in the field is a broken backpack strap. If you don’t have a sewing kit in your B.O.B, just use your bandana to replace that strap.

Starting a fire

No need to tear your clothes for tinder if you have nothing left in your box. Just place the bandana on the ground and set it on fire using your method of choice.

Using it as a mask

If you need to cross an area filled with dust or debris of any kind, you can always wrap the bandana around your head. Don’t forget to soak it in water to increase its filtration efficiency.

More grip on tools

Knees are weak? Hands are sweaty and cannot get a decent grip on the tools you’re using? Wrap the bandana around your hand and give it another go.

Instant sleeping bag warmer

What’s the purpose of including an electric blanket in your bug out bag if there’s no electricity around for miles? Still, you’ve got to do something about getting some warmth inside your sleeping bag. Making an indoor fire is the obvious approach, but not the only one. Before making a fire, wall your pit with whatever rock you find. When it’s sack time, take a couple of hot rocks, place them inside the bandana, tie the pouch with some rope or string, and place under the sleeping bag.

Making ice packs

Bruises? Fever? Headaches? Use an icepack. Get your bandana out of your B.O.B, put a couple of ice shards inside, wrap, and profit.

Gas Cap

In case something happens to your gas cap, don’t run around the city with that intake exposed. Until you reach the next auto shop, you can stuff a bandana inside to protect the gas pipes. You can do the same for gas canisters if you’ve lost the metal cap.


As a father of two, I’ve always had to make supply runs to the store for diapers. You know you’re in deep shit when two boxes per day are not enough. In case the local store runs out of diapers, or there’s no one else around the house to take care of your kid while you’re away, use your bandana as a diaper.

Naptime cover

Do you know what I hate most about having to nap during the day? The sunlight is getting in my eyes. Ever since my kids came along, I was forced to rethink my napping habit. Well, long story short, if you’re in the situation, you can sleep like a boss even during the day by using that bandana as an eye cover. Try it yourself! It works like a charm.

Picnic protection

Too many insects around the campsite? Well, if you don’t have any repellant on hand, cover the food basket with your bandana to prevent those pesky termites from making away with your food.

This about covers it for my funky ways of using a bandana in a shit hits the fan situation. What’s your take on this? Hit the comments section and let me know.

Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

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

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

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

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

In a previous article, I might have mentioned something about cowboys and bandanas. Apart from the fact that they looked awfully cool and would help them conceal their faces during

Welcome to the jungle! We ain’t got any fun, games, plants or even swinging vines. What we do have is concrete, iffy back alleys, and lots of ways for you to lose your wallet and, perhaps, even your very life. Charming perspective, ain’t it?

Well, that’s more or less what it feels like living in the big city; nature may be wrathful, but not even her can hope to emulate our fellow man when devotes his entire energy to darker things. Urban survival has gained a lot of traction over the past couple of year and, I, for one, agree that you don’t need to become in the middle of nowhere in order to exercise those survival skills.

Anything can happen when you’re on the street – and that’s not fear-mongering, that’s a reality. If you don’t believe me, just hop on the Internet and do a quick search on crime in your area. You’ll be surprised to find out that your seemingly-quiet neighborhood becomes a minefield at night.

Anyway, after these cheerful little thoughts, let’s get acquainted with today’s topic – urban survival. Prepping means being ready for anything and at any time.

This also covers things like taking a stroll around the park or visiting another part of the city. Can’t say I got into too much trouble around the city, but then again, I’ve always tried my best to avoid some areas, especially at night.

No, it doesn’t have anything to do with mystical mumbo-jumbo, but anyone can get a little jumpy when having to traverse a poorly-lit area with tons of dark corner and who knows what else.

Ever since I got bit by the prepping love bug, I’ve always done my business to carry around a downscale version of my B.O.B. Well, on the outside it looks like a regular backpack (nothing too fancy about it), but in the inside, I have all the tools I need to get out of just about urban SHTF situation. So, without further ado, here are my choice of X items that shouldn’t be missing from your urban survival kit.

  1. Tactical flashlight

I truly believe that entire books can be written on the topic of tactical flashlights, and for a darn good reason – they have many other uses, some of them going well beyond their original purpose. Now, this is the kind of item you really wouldn’t want to buy from a thrift or yard sale.

A high-quality tac light can cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000, depending on things like construction and add-ons. I found it best to carry around one of the tac lights that come with a built-in taser (the electrodes are built into the flashlight’s butt, so be careful not to fool around with it).

Apart from the fact that most tac lights are LED-powered, meaning that they offer thrice as much battery life and light compared to those using incandescent bulbs, it can also serve other purposes. For instance, if someone wants to mug you, use the back end to zap him.

Or, if you prefer something more hardcore, you can always use that tac light as a club. A high-quality tactical comes with various gadgets which you can use to attach them anywhere – suction cup for walls or glass surfaces, strap, and socket for headwear, and even a lanyard hole. They are very robust but, at the same time, very light (mine weighs a little over 200 grams). So, get yourself a tac light and toss it in your urban survival kit.

  1. First-aid kit

No matter where the winding road takes me, I always carry around a downscaled version of my B.O.B’s medical kit. If you’re going to stroll around the city, you won’t need stuff like straight scissors, suturing kits, syringes, saline solution or whatnots.

For a basic urban first-aid, toss in a couple of Band-Aids, sterile pad, a small bottle of disinfectant, hand gel, and a couple of safety pins or some tape. That’s it! Still, if you live in a rough neighborhood, you should remember to pack extra supplies in case you have to deal with a more severe injury.

Moreover, if you have any allergies, you should always carry an EpiPen and a box of antihistamines in case you experience an allergic reaction. Before I met my wife, I used to hang around another part of the city where – how should I say this? – was not for those faints of heart. Since the opioid crisis’ on the rise, I made sure to carry a Narcan pen with me at all times.

No, it wasn’t for me, if that’s the question on your mind, but on several occasions, I found myself standing in front of various individuals who ODed on God knows what. Why not spend a couple of bucks each month to save a life? Chance are that you will never need to use a Narcan pen or someone, but wouldn’t it be neat to have one close when someone’s life hangs in the balance?

  1. Small pry bar

No, I really don’t fancy myself a burglar, but I always remember to carry a small prybar in my urban survival backpack in case I need to get off the street really fast and need to break down a door or something.

That thing’s really very useful in you to live in old condos where the elevator tends to break down on a daily basis. So, no matter the circumstance, a pry bar is always a valuable asset. Just don’t go waving it around like crazy, unless you want to wind up in the cooler on purpose.

  1. Face mask

Living in a big city means sucking in all kinds of toxic fumes and gases. I am very grateful to all those wonderful people for getting hybrids because I can still feel the smoke coming from the exhaust pipes during a traffic jam. Anyway, you really don’t need to face a chemical attack in order to make use of a face mask – there are some areas of the city where the fumes are thick enough that you can probably cut them with a blunt butter knife.

  1. Emergency potty

There’s nothing worse than having to go number two, only to realize that the toilet’s clogged or the water pump has stopped working. Well, I have to admit that this is a little strange, even for a prepper, but I always carry one of those foldable potties in my backpack.

Yes, yes, I know that most of you are picturing me know to get out my portable potty to “spend a penny” on a crowded subway, but it’s not like that. You may never know when the shit hits the fan, and you wind up having to cross half of the city for a working toilet. No, I will not expose myself on a bus full of people, but I will find a secluded place for when Nature calls in those moments when there’s nothing available nearby.

  1. Multi-tool

I always like to carry around Ol’ Vicky (that’s how I named by Victorinox Swiss Multi-tool). Why? I don’t know for certain, but I usually find a way or two to use my multi-tool before the day’s over. I found very handy for those Saturday afternoon bike trips of mine – I should seriously consider buying a new bike since I tend to spend more time making repairs than actually riding it.

Anyway, the multi-tool’s a very useful asset, no matter where you go and do. Broken zipper? No problem! Key broke in the lock? Just use the multi-tool to get it out. Locks are cheap; doors aren’t!

  1. Work or hiking boots

Wearing heavy-duty work or hiking may not much of a fashion statement, but they can help a bunch during an SHTF situation. Of course, being in the city means that you won’t have to do too much mountain climbing. Still, in certain situations, you’re going to need that extra traction offered by a pair of hiking boots.

For instance, there’s no guarantee that during one of the walks you won’t wind up stuck in an elevator or inside a subway tunnel. Both situations call for hiking, climbing, and maybe running. Sure, you can always wait for the repair team to arrive and fix the thing or you can get out and lend them a hand. Remember that in some cases, like a tunnel collapse or whatever, it may take the emergency response team hours to get to you.

That wouldn’t be much of a problem if you didn’t have a limited oxygen supply or surrounded by injured or scared to death people.  Anyway, weather permitting, you should do yourself a favor and tour the city in hiking boots. Of course, not every social call allows for this type of footwear, but I’ll let you figure that one out yourself.

  1. Solar charger

I find nowadays smartphones very irritating. Yes, I know you can take lots of pretty pictures with them, shoot 4K videos, surf the Internet, buy stuff online or play games, but that battery life though. Had this Samsung Galaxy Whatever-Model smartphone – great gadget.

The only thing wrong with it was the blasted battery – 6 hours on a full charge. That’s how long my battery lasted, no matter the circumstance. Tried changing the battery, tinkering around the apps; nothing worked. So, I’ve decided to carry around one of those portable solar chargers.

They work great, and if there’s enough sun, you can probably get a full charge in 4 hours or less. However, the best thing about these solar chargers is that you don’t have to stop in order to charge your phone or whatever. The solar cell can be taped to your backpack and the cable’s long enough to reach your pocket. Try it out! You won’t regret it.

And so, we come to the end of yet another article in which I glorify the well-made bug out bag. Well, it’s not exactly your run-of-the-mill backpack, but you get the idea. I know that most of you don’t feel comfortable carrying zero hour items while going shopping, strolling in the park or going to propose to your SO, but do bear in mind that shit happens everywhere, regardless if you’re a big city dweller or the king of your own mountain.

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)

Welcome to the jungle! We ain’t got any fun, games, plants or even swinging vines. What we do have is concrete, iffy back alleys, and lots of ways for you

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

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

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

The information in this book can be used immediately to improve your health, and expand your treatment options in many areas even if there is never a crisis event for you and your loved ones. Click on it for details.

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

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

Creating your Edible Landscape

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


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

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



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


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

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

Kousa dogwood

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

Cornelian cherry

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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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

Build Your Own Medicine Chest. Click above for more details on this book.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ash Cakes & Bannock 

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

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

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

Drop biscuits & dumplings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Beer bread

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

Beer bread fits me to a T.

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

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

And the sifting … I call it optional.

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

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

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

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

Griddle Cakes 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Off-Grid Cooking

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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Plan your reaction to being shot at!

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

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

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


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

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

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Use of cover

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


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Cover from view includes:

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

Cover from fire (depending on the firearm used):

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

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

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



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

Camouflage yourself

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

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Moving Through a Building

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

After a Shooting Incident

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

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

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

The Tactical Use of Lights

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Get Started:

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

She suggests starting by talking to your doctor.

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

Learn Your Area’s Plan and Plan Accordingly:

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Much Medicine Should You Have On Hand?

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

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

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

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

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

Other Additions to Your Reserve:

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

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

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

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

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

Keeping it Ready/Keeping it Safe:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Cases:

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

Casey-Lockyer again said your healthcare providers can help.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Last Thoughts:

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

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


Other Self-Sufficient Solutions And Sources Recommended For You

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

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#1. Consider the purpose of the gun

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

#2. Revolver or semi-automatic

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

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

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

#4. Start with a low-caliber

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

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

#5. Find a gun with a good grip

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

#6. Research is key

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

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

#7. Practice, practice, practice

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

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

#8. Ethics

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

#9. Go to the range

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

#10. Price

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

#11. Buying the gun

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

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

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

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

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

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

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

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

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

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

If you believe that you are Rambo and plan to survive whatever the world throws at you with nothing more than a big survival knife and some weapons you pull off unsuspecting sheriff deputies who were foolish enough to follow you when you bug out into the woods… this post might not be for you. For a lot of the rest of us out here, there is an understood advantage to forming a larger prepping group. You can see the value in a team of people who share the common goal of survival and you realize the wisdom in pooling your resources with a group of individuals who are able to mutually benefit each other in a time of crisis.

The only problem is how to find other preppers near you without possibly ruining any OPSEC you have tried to maintain or by looking desperate.

A reader name Mike sent the following question:

“I am from Truckee CA. and am trying to find other preppers in the Truckee area. The Truckee community seems like they are all using social networks ??? I do not use social networks (too easy to be tracked by the government) any suggestions how I can meet other preppers ???”

Mike mentions that he realizes that people in the prepping community are using social networks but he, like a lot of others doesn’t feel comfortable using them himself. I certainly don’t blame him but I think there are some ways that our modern communication options and yes social media too can be leveraged that would limit your exposure. I am fully aware that the NSA is spying on every single digital piece of our lives so if you aren’t comfortable using social media you should stay off.

Why would you want to meet others?

There is strength in numbers so a larger survival group is going to be able to do more. With more people you have more ideas, more resources, more skills, more intuition, perspective and wisdom. Of course all of those things could be negatives too if personalities clash or if you and your MAG (Mutual Assistance Group) disagrees and you are on the losing side of a particular issue. If there were a true disaster you could wind up in worse shape if your group turns on you so this is one aspect of prepping that deserves a lot of careful research and contemplation.

There are whole books devoted to forming the perfect survival group and how to conduct things like decision-making (who gets to make them) and the creation of rules, a governing body, types of social order and that is beyond the scope of this post. Any group can have good points and bad points, but I think the generally accepted belief is that you would be better off in a group of your choosing now before any crisis than on your own after a crisis. The trick is to choose wisely.

So where would you start in the process of looking for a place to find other preppers? There are some obvious ones and not so obvious ones but I would probably think that finding a responsible mature survival group would not be as simple as searching on a website.



There are websites out there that seem devoted to matching you up with a prepper group. Sites like prepperlink.com and ITS Tactical have forums devoted to helping you find a prepping buddy where you can usually search by location. The idea is that you go into your state, announce yourself as looking for a group and then everyone will talk to you about their group, but I see a few problems with this approach. First, the ideal survival group would have to be on that forum you are looking through, want to talk to you, and on top of that, currently accepting other people. It is really hit or miss.

Never kiss on the first date

There are other websites out there like MeetUp.com which I think are a little more promising. I have used Meetup.com to find a prepping group near me and attended meetings. This group was not what I would call a MAG, but they might grow into that over time. They have regular meetings and are a good place to meet like-minded people. Every time they met there were topics around prepping, survival or self-sufficiency covered. In a setting like this you aren’t really there to specifically join a survival group, but you are interested in what they are saying. I am sure that some of the people were actually involved together but the meetings were much more informal, anyone could join and was probably a way for them to vet members before they approached them. Actually, the Meet Up I attended could have had multiple separate groups and I wouldn’t have known.

For me personally in looking for a survival group I am not so much looking for a group, but looking for people. Each person in the group is going to be someone you trust with your life. If there is no trust, then why join anyone? This may be something that you need to build over time by talking to the most logical choices out there; your friends and family. If you don’t have some friends who share the same beliefs as you, why are you hanging around them?

In all my time as a prepper I don’t know that I have ever been completely transparent with anyone about my motivations, fears and plans for prepping besides my wife. Actually, you the audience of the Prepper Journal are probably more privy to my thoughts than even my wife so in some ways you are my Mutual Assistance Group. You wouldn’t be at my home if the grid went down, but I have learned so much from our readers and from the other blogs in the prepping community. This type of transparency that I discuss about myself and my plans is not what you want to bring to the table on your first meeting with others. I think most of you play your prepping close to the vest too which as it turns out could work in your favor. I know that in specific instances as the case allowed I was able to share information about me that could be common to prepping but it could also fall into other categories. I don’t wear my I’m a Prepper t-shirt into work or anything like that but I have talked to co-workers on occasion as current events brought various topics to the front of conversation.

If you have friends or acquaintances you don’t have to bring up the subject of prepping at all to get a feel generally for how they perceive the world. You could discuss the recent Ebola news to gauge the level of preparedness in some people. You could talk to others about the stock market. Still others you could simply talk about hunting or shooting sports, even gardening or canning. I think the easiest group to join is the one you are already in but maybe those around you don’t have any concept of a Survival Group. Maybe they are looking too?

Do you have friends who share hobbies with you? Do you have family members that you talk to about news and your plans in certain scenarios? This is where I would start because you have a built-in level of comfort with them even on the most basic level. It is certainly better than walking into a room full of strangers or telling everyone on a forum (that anyone can see) what your plans are and where you are living. If you do want to go down that road I would make the following suggestions.

  • If you are using the internet know that what you type could potentially be seen so I would be as anonymous as possible.
  • If you want to check out forums to see if there is anyone in your area that looks promising, sign up with a fake account. Make sure this fake account uses completely fictional information about yourself to include your name, birthday and location. Write it down so you don’t forget what your fake birthday is if they ask for that. Most just want an email and password.
  • Get a new email address that does not have your name in it. Sure, Google or anyone else could find out who you are but if your email is fuzzynavel8141@gmail.com it is better than jerimiah.johnson@gmail.com. This will give you some anonymity from the people you are contacting, not the NSA.
  • Don’t offer up too much information. I would start generally asking questions, but non-invasive questions. You could say you are looking for a group and maybe what your skills are and the general location you live in. See how the conversation progresses. If nobody responds you don’t have your details out there for anyone to read.
  • If you do make contact it might make sense to take anything further offline as much as possible. You can trade emails and take your conversations off the forum. They are still electronic but not out there for everyone to see.
  • I would never use Facebook to look for a survival group. Just forget that.
  • Try MeetUp.com and search for prepper groups or survival or self-reliant living. Go to some meetings and get to know people for a while to see if you have any affinity with anyone there. You might be surprised.
  • Take your time and look at this like dating, sorta. You want a great relationship to blossom here, not a one night stand that you regret. Good things take time and this is no exception. A survival group conveys a huge commitment and an even larger level of trust so make sure you know why you are making the decisions and that the people you are making them with are sound.
  • Try looking for friends first who share your same beliefs and values as opposed to a whole group. One die-hard buddy is worth more than a dozen people you don’t know.

Anyone else have any experience with a survival group they want to share?

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)

If you believe that you are Rambo and plan to survive whatever the world throws at you with nothing more than a big survival knife and some weapons you pull

Some have already come and gone, because the season comes earlier and earlier every year, but for a lot of the country, tax-free shopping for school related supplies is right around the corner. There are also sales associated with back-to-school, the beginning of the hunting season cycle, and the changing of seasons that we can take advantage of, and some states and retailers will also be sticking some merchandise on sale for National Preparedness Month in September.

Along with those sales, retailers tend to throw a sale or two up ahead of the holiday rush in October and November to make room for new stock, and there are sometimes additional sales or tax holidays in August and September for preparedness and energy-saving appliances.

Check here The Ultimate Preppers List of Supplies

In some cases, taking advantage of tax holidays and sales is just about saving a little money that we can then apply to other budgets. In other cases, a sale or the absence of tax is what drops something inside our budget ranges.

Sometimes though, even when it’s not a preparedness-related sale, there are things we can stock up on that applies directly to preparing for the worst. Today we talk about how you can save on prepping supplies.

1. Savings For Stockpiles & To Apply Elsewhere

Clothes and hunting gear are an entire cookie for preppers, especially those with kids. Hand-me-downs and thrift stores are great, and I’ve made some great finds at the beginning of various weather and sportsman seasons at Salvation Army and Goodwill. Still, some things are nice to have fresh. If you’re trying to maintain an every-other-size stockpile for somebody who’s still growing, combining store sales with tax-free holidays can be a way to basically earn enough to pay for another garment or two.

Similarly, if we budget ahead of time, we can sometimes score electronics and appliances for gifts and our households without paying tax and sometimes with additional total-purchase or single-item discounts and store markdowns.

I don’t typically shell out enough to qualify for some of the energy-saving appliances or generators, but we’re all at different levels and not all of us head to Howard’s Appliance Center of Augusta or the Habitat Restore in Louisville. If there’s a big item on the docket for the next year or two, planning the purchase around a tax-free holiday is kind of a no brainer.

Saving 3 to 9% on a six-dollar pair of shoes doesn’t put that much change back in the jar. Saving 6% on a $1,200 generator or whole-house fan system, now … $72 will buy a fair bit of wheat, oatmeal, gauze pads, tampons, or mulch, and it’ll make a big dent in a battery-operated electric tool or weed-eater or a good pair of boots.

*Some stores will just offer a discount on total purchases during that weekend or the days and weeks leading up to school, and those can be great ways to save on pretty much anything.

2. Back-To-School Supplies for Preppers

Saving money is nice, but sometimes we don’t always see the potential in back-to-school tax-free and sale season for anything but clothes and potential savings that make the crumb snatchers a little more affordable. There are all kinds of things that qualify (by state – look up your rules and restrictions) that we will be buying another time or maybe haven’t even thought of.

There’s no way to cover all of them. We have some darn clever folks on this site who can undoubtedly think of another dozen examples each that back-to-school sales and tax-free holidays can make more affordable. Here’s my top twelve:

3. Maps

Some places will count their road atlases or county/state books as educational, and some states don’t care at all. That can lead to serious savings on our pre-printed atlases and maps.


4. Printer Paper & Toner

I’m constantly printing local area maps, pre-made missing posters, directions to natural resources and resource locations like pallet dumps and bamboo stands, DIY instructions for builds and even common repairs for things I would currently watch of YouTube, and recipes. I’m also routinely printing user manuals for tools and appliances that I pick up second hand.

Paper and toner can help with entertainment and education as well.

I can create my own search-a-word and crossword puzzles with some free sites to have on hand for holidays and birthdays even for adults, and I can print preexisting targets, puzzles, games and coloring sheets to help break monotony. Homeschooling site downloads can ensure any children will continue to be at least somewhat educated even if that great big disaster occurs.

We can print out all kinds of things, and if we’re going to go that road, we might as well budget and get as much of it on sale and tax free as possible.

5. Scissors

Some states and stores will restrict the types of scissors you get, but if they’re anywhere on the list, most will include anything but kitchen and garden shears. Scissors are one of those things that makes our life easier, so if you need some good ones for trimming hair, cutting herbs, and getting into packaging, now’s a good time to get them.


6. Colored Pencils, #2 Pencils

They’re not just for kids. When I come do a site assessment, I routinely have a pencil. The colored pencils don’t erase real well, but they also don’t smear even as much as lead/graphite, and they sure don’t run or bleed in 40-70% humidity or rain like ink will. Sure, I could buy special notebooks and paper, but why spend more?

7. Notebooks, Binders

This can be a chance to get good notebooks with binder-insert holes and heavy-duty paper instead of the cheap-o’s. A variety of sizes is great to have on hand for daily life, but especially if we want to stick a couple of mini’s or steno-sized or half-sized notebooks in plastic baggies and then a backpack or pocket to carry around.


Clear contact paper or similar plastic craft sheets have a multitude of uses in daily life and preparedness.

8. Contact Paper/Plastic Sheeting

This stuff can not only make our carry-around maps a little more durable, they’re great for covering maps to pin to walls. Leave a border of the plastic around them and use a map pen or grease pencil over top of the contact sheet, and we never punch any holes or totally booger up what can be a precious resource even today.

We can also basically double-over contact paper to make a durable but easy-folding and easy-rolling overlay sheet – or twenty – that can keep information like resource locations, cache locations, and points of defensive or evasive interest separate.

In the same vein, if we attach our doubled-up sheet to a dowel or two, we now have a portable board that we can carry around with us to neighbors, to educate a handful of kids at once, to explain to the existing residents why it’s in everyone’s interest to pitch in on a fire break, and to facilitate trade between households.

We can also slap this stuff against a lot of walls, and instantly have a dry erase board for tracking chores, harvest, canning, a monthly calendar, or working out build designs or homework problems.

(A lot of those can also be accomplished by hanging a sheet on the other side of a window, but a couple rolls of contact paper is cheaper and lighter to move around, and won’t kill or injure anybody if it falls off the wall.)


Chalkboard spray paint lets us turn a wall or a spare board into a reusable writing surface for daily life or emergencies.

9. Chalkboards, Chalkboard spray paint, dry erase boards

All of these offer a reusable alternative to paper without resorting to charcoal on walls, today and in an emergency. It could be keeping score in a game, it could be teaching a kid order of precedence for mathematical equations, it could be a whiteboard class, or it could be mapping plans for the homestead’s planting or defense. A variety of sizes are out there, from lap boards to wall-fillers.

10. Alcohol Pens, Dry Erase Markers, Map Pens

Some will be on sale or tax free by state, some won’t. They’re handy to have for all the same reasons listed in contact paper above.


Images: Ultra fine dry erase and permanent map pens are commonly counted as school supplies during tax-free weekends and store promotions.


11. Super Glue, Wood Glue

Super glue and wood glue will routinely slide into the arts and crafts headings of back-to-school sales and tax-free weekends. Humanity got along without them for millennia, but they sure do make some fixes nice and easy. Elmer now sells a glue-all that’s pretty good and that slides right through with other school supplies if a store is being resistant.

12. Duct tape

Sometimes you have to get the crafty colored versions of this to qualify during the back-to-school season, and there’s not always enough savings to justify the cost. However, if there’s a sale, this is one to jump on, because from little holes in screens to hanging curtains over windows for light discipline, duct tape does so much for us even outside of the tool box and range bag.

13. Hygiene

Some states are now recognizing the endless lists students are supposed to report with, and including things like tissue paper of both types, hand sanitizer, liquid hand soap, paper towels and bleach/Lysol wipes in their tax exemptions. Some will do it for preparedness weekends, too, but back-to-school is where I see them most often.

14. Hats, brimmed

It’s not clothing or accessories. It’s gear. Honest.

With my father and man-of-the-house, and my own slight addictions, I can’t imagine not already having a ton of hats on hand. They’re also not something I expect to be totally un-findable in a world-ending event. However, I grew up in the Deep South, spend a lot of time on boats and near shorelines, and lived in Arizona for years. A hat with a brim really is life and death in some places, not only for its shading and prevention of open sunburn blisters on ears and necks, but also by saving the eyes in snow as well as woods and fields and especially urban environments. Brimmed hats can also keep rain out from under the back of your collar and from streaming down your ears.

Ball caps and knit ski caps totally have their place, but if a state is allowing for hats, it might not be a bad idea to pick up one with a brim. Boonie styles can be wedged in nearly as small a space as a ball cap, there is a reason cowboy and ranch styles are still worn while working, and there are a whole array of sports types with a full-circumference brims to fit both hot and cold seasons.

15. Do Your Homework

We can save a lot of money and be better prepared for storms, personal reversals, and crises of major proportions by taking advantage of tax holidays and seasonal sales. There are numerous sites that list tax holiday weekends. I happen to like this one.

It breaks tax-free weekends down by state and then the untaxed items, and it provides quick links to the specific pages for each state’s rules and requirements. Definitely read the rules and requirements, because states like to include and exclude some oddball stuff. Regularly.

It would not be crazy talk to print out and carry the applicable untaxed or sale items list and carry it to the store(s) with you. This is the only way a buddy of mine got the entire staff of a hardware store in Virginia to actually abide by the state tax holiday, because they were totally unaware. It’s also nice just to keep it handy instead of relying on memory or the shopping list.

The link above undoubtedly misses things, and there are a number of states that usually run a weekend somewhere between August-November to push either appliances or generators and other preparedness items that aren’t listed yet. That happens with all of them. For example, this is the only one that lists Texas’s new preparedness category for the August 5-7 weekend that I’ve found. If I hadn’t already known about it, I could have missed it.

Prevent those regrets by searching your state, any surrounding states if you’re on a border or the savings would be worth a couple tanks of gas, and “tax free” or “tax holiday”.

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)

Sometimes though, even when it’s not a preparedness-related sale, there are things we can stock up on that applies directly to preparing for the worst.

Just like responsibilities, laundry goes unattended to until absolutely necessary. Doing laundry comes from way back. We are not doing it just because the clothes are dirty and look bad, but also because we want to prevent infections from spreading around or other diseases.

In the 3rd world countries, because of the poor conditions of having proper hygiene, the people deal with ebola, cholera or some other viruses. Washing clothes is a sign of civilization.

There are many ways people can do laundry some of them are just below:

Powered Options

There are a number of options that use power, but use a little less or have a lower draw that most generators can provide (to include fuel-burning and mechanical like wind or hydro, or solar backup banks). There are also the small-space and high-capacity machines that have a pretty big draw, but they’ll use it efficiently. Those let us still do whole loads in 15-20 minutes or so, and walk away from loads that are washing ou clothes so we can go do something else.

Some of those options include:

  • Maytag Wringer Washers –  (the Amish favorite) and similar rebuilt antiques
  • Small RV, camper and tiny-living washers
  • Wonderwash – Non-electric Portable Compact Mini Washing Machine
  • Mini Mr. Heater RV-camper washer

Some of the electric options do require water hookups, or for you to be there to drain and refill when they’re ready. It’s something to be aware of while gathering information. Also, be aware of the power draw. As mentioned, some of the mini’s are only more efficient or smaller than standard washers and can have high power draws.

Some of the RV and camper or dormitory mini’s are all-in-one units that either convert to a dryer or have two chambers. You can also get separate low-power, highly efficient, or space-saving dryers like the EasyGo Wardrobe Dryer that works like an oversized dehydrator but for clothes (without the shrinkage) or dedicated spin dryers like the XtremepowerUS Stainless Steel Tumble Dryer.

Lehman’s Own hand

Lehman’s Own hand-washing and crank wringer laundry system

Commercial, non-powered laundry cleaning options

There are options for just picking up a hand-crank or foot-pedal washer as well, for those who aren’t DIYers. Most are going to be in the general build of a lettuce spinner or a tumbling “egg” washer. Some require hoses (or hassle) to drain, too. Some are a little easier on that aspect, but they all have to be rinsed somehow. Sometimes the little guys will wash the clothes, but then it’s up to us to better rinse the soap out and wring them dry.

Some of the commercially available hand-crank or manual-pump washers are:

  • Easy-Go Washing Machine  (and similar like the Eco-egg and many others)
  • Drumi – The Foot Powered Washing Machine
  • Scrubba laundry bag
  • Old-school, historic crank washers like those at Lehman’s and similar retailers

*Most of these are going to be pretty small and only do 1-2 pairs of jeans or a few shirts at a time.

DIY project to power a spinning-basket drum washer using a bike

DIY project to power a spinning-basket drum washer using a bike

Manual Clothes Washers

There are truly lots of options to go DIY or old-old school. You can buy some of the options for manual washing, but there are really easy DIYs for some of them that can save move or just keep you from spending it because by the time you need them, the power’s off and you can just salvage them.

Plunger + bucket = DIY Clothes Washer for your Laundry

Plunger + bucket = DIY Clothes Washer for your Laundry

Instead of buying the large head, consider just drilling some holes in a clean plunger so that it doesn’t stick to anything. You can use a 3-5 bucket system or a bathtub, storage tote, trough or small stock tank. No reason not to use an aquarium or planter or filing cabinet drawer if they’re available (for this one or any other).

Related – The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

I like buckets and storage totes with lids I can drill a hole for the handle for because it’s less messy. Five or six waiting buckets makes the process fast for me. It only takes a couple of minutes per load. They go in the first with a few drops of dish detergent or a penny-sized pool of pine cleaner, get pumped 8-20 times, then they go in the first clean water bucket. It usually takes 3-4 buckets for me to be confident they’re well rinsed. Unless stuff is just black, I can use the soapy bucket 2-3 times without adding detergent. By then, the first rinse bucket or two is getting pretty soapy, I add a little more, and somebody takes the dirty wash bucket to dump. That bucket gets refilled and goes to the end of the line.

You can go even more advanced with it like these guys:

Simple DIY Washer

Mechanized bucket washer

*If you use Dawn or an eco-friendly detergent, that bucket can get dumped for well-established trees and shrubs, or into less-sensitive annuals beds. Dawn is still not great for compost, and it’ll shut down the microbe processing for red wiggler bins.


You can spend money on a washboard. Or you can just plan to take the large A/C or heater intake vent cover off the wall and use that alone or along with the current bathtub brush(es). I don’t find any real difference in clothes results, but I’m not doing lacy finery or sweaters on them. You do need to pad the bottom edge with a dowel, bamboo, or section of hose before you stick it in your bathtub, though.

The nice thing about a board and a brush is that you can really work specific spot stains, and you can use bar soap and laundry powder as well as dish soap and liquid detergents like pine cleaner, which can be had in super condensed forms really inexpensively. I also don’t worry about soaps degrading my buckets or toilet plunger (or the $20 blue thing I bought before I knew better) or my potato/bathroom brush and grate. Some people are a little crazy sensitive about the types of soaps they’ll use on their “real” washboards.

Related – 4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

The downside is that you’re going to be doing one piece of laundry at a time, two tops, and it takes me a lot longer than dunking a pair of jeans in the buckets and plunging, even if they’re oily and it takes me 2-3 sessions of 15 plunges to get them clean. It takes me way longer to do the weekly hand towels and wash cloths with a washboard.

Boiling your laundry

Finnish Immigrant Boiling Clothes for Wash, Near Bayou Cumbest, Mississippi. Around 1900

Finnish Immigrant Boiling Clothes for Wash, Near Bayou Cumbest, Mississippi. Around 1900

This method will lift some things, but anybody with two Xs and a learning curve for adulthood or wine on a shirt can attest that cold water is our friend when it comes to stains and appearance. Boiling clothing is really more about just killing germs. You can do as many clothes as you have a container to fit with room to stir them a bit – stock pot, maple syrup boiling cauldrons, big Dutch ovens. You want to boil in excess of 30 minutes and you want a hard, rolling boil. This is a good method if you’ve already got a fire going for something else and appearance doesn’t matter, but be aware that boiling alone will not kill all germs. Many bacteria will form resistant spores that “hatch” again as conditions return to tolerable. The addition of a soak in cool water and bleach for whites or pine cleaner for colors can help with both stains and germ reduction.

The nice thing about just boiling is that once it’s cool, the water can be dumped into any garden plot, creek, or pond without anything that wasn’t already in the dirt touching it.

Stones, brushes and boards at creeks

Stones, brushes and boards at creeks

*Please use Dawn detergent or a no-kill camping soap or detergent so we limit our impact on the microbes that are the base of the food systems in creeks and ponds.

This isn’t that different from a brush and washboard. It’s how I did a lot of laundry in my time as a through-packer and kayaker. You apply some sort of soap (or just water if you pre-boil clothes to kill germs) and then scrub with whatever’s handy – even if that’s just the friction of clothes against each other.

Mop wringers and presses

There are mechanical clothes wringers that can be purchased. Or you can pick up a mop wringer or press for a whole lot less most of the time. There’s also a crazy-expensive 5-gallon salad spinner on the market for restaurants that can replicate the washer’s spin cycle.

Quickfire considerations

Consider the expandable or rotary racks for indoor drying as well as lines inside and outside

  • Laundry matters for hygiene reasons, not just appearance.
  • Many of us are already going to be working pretty hard, so investing in a fast or low-labor option may appeal.
  • Small battery-powered fans and generator-run box fans can help drying immensely in campers, tents, and humidity or cold-rainy houses with limited airflow and high moisture (when dehydrating food, too).
  • Bleach is only a sanitizer in cool water. Boiling and hot-hot water break down that aspect and it becomes only a whitener.
  • With most hand-washing systems, bleach is going to be best used out on a tarp in the yard or in a bathroom (and in grubby clothes or birthday suits).
  • Laundry is a high-water-use process a lot of the times, so a good catchment system or backup system is important. They sell some powders and gels for water-free shampoos, body wash, laundry, and pet shampoos, but they tend to be pricey.
  • Consider the expandable or rotary racks for indoor drying as well as lines inside and outside. Getting clothes dried especially on cool, damp days can be a trial and there’s only so much space near a stove.
  • Nobody ever said a now-defunct extension cord, cargo straps, or dog tie-out line can’t be used as a clothesline or that you can’t string your line between your shed and a vehicle. Don’t spend money you don’t have to until you’re totally set to take care of yourself for at least 6 or 12 months.
  • We can take cues from our ancestors (and parents) who had/have “school” clothes and “play” clothes and through-packers who change undies and base layers, let those air dry, and re-wear outerwear. Work clothes get re-worn multiple times. (Ask service members how often they washed BDUs/ACUs/Cammies/Diggies).
  • Wearing farm boots or gaiters can protect clothing from picking up debris and muck.
  • Use two sets of sheets and pillowcases on beds and inside bags. Sheets function as the base layers for packers. They’re thinner to wash and faster to dry than blankets and quilts.
  • If pets get on furniture or beds, consider throwing another set of sheets over the comforter or quilt so that can get washed instead of the thicker covers.
  • The more hankies, towels, and sheets we have available, the longer we can go without needing to wash them, which can become an issue if the whole household gets a stomach flu or head colds when it’s cool and wet outside. We’re not overly inclined to be doing laundry even now, and without the ability to just press buttons, it’s going to be even harder to keep up with sickness, wet animals, and poorly trained humans. A pass-through pine sol or bleach can absolve Salvation Army rejects of all previous germs, and freebie rejects can be a great way to increase our storage of those items without paying a dime.


Laundry sometimes doesn’t get its due, even from people who’ve had the joy of showering in their clothes first or going weeks with just a couple of pairs of base layers and a set of outerwear. We can pre-plan a lot of ways to reduce the amount of laundry we have to do and take advantage of a number of DIY projects and household items to create low-cost alternatives to our stand washers. Super-condensed, powerful cleaners like commercial Pine Sol concentrate and liquid dish soap can be used just a few drops at a time and stored for upwards of 10 years without loss of potency, or we can research lye and germ-killing plant teas for our laundry purposes. For those who already have power systems in place, there are some low-power-draw options that can maintain some ease with the process.

For most of us, water is going to be a consideration – and it will be a consideration even before we run out of clothes in a lot of cases, unfortunately. Some methods are more and less water-friendly, and some of them allow more reuse of laundry water than others. That might influence us one way or another as we cruise through our options.

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)

Some methods are more and less water friendly, and some of them allow more reuse of laundry water than others.