HomePosts Tagged "Prepping" (Page 40)

You can’t live without food and water. If you store them, you can’t use them if someone puts a bullet in you and you bleed out, so you have to learn to use weapons and practice first aid. And you need a shelter to keep supplies in, away from rain, sun, and vermin of all shapes and leg-counts. These things are what the “Prepper” community often focuses on. And they’re right to do so. Food, water, guns, ammunition, medical supplies, and shelter are all essential. But there’s one thing that, while not completely ignored, is I believe sorely neglected among the Survivalist segment of the population. And that is morale. Maintaining your group’s morale in crisis will be vital to ensuring your survival.

History is replete with examples of armies that had the best equipment but nonetheless lost their wars. The Vietnam War is one of the best case studies. The United States Armed Forces totally outclassed their Vietnamese enemies. American weapons, aircraft, supply lines, and medical facilities were superior. But American morale was, by war’s end, non-existent. To this day veterans and their families are rightfully bitter about the mismanagement, corruption, and the political obfuscation that turned the most powerful military on earth into a hogtied police force.

Now when—not if—the organic material strikes the ventilator, we as preppers will likely not be engaged in a large-scale war with multiple campaigns and the associated logistical requirements, chains of command, and so on. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it is very unlikely. We will, however, probably find ourselves in some kind of defensive armed conflict against elements of chaos and disorder from time to time. Whether they be an actual invading army, an organized and disciplined (to varying degrees) gang who have decided that what’s yours is theirs, or just a mob of desperate citizens who, having failed to prepare, have decided to liberate “their fair share” from you.

But even if none of us ever draw a blade or fire a gun in anger, after something collapses (and it will, sooner or later), life will become much harder. The old pressures of getting reports submitted on time or making it to that meeting will pale in comparison with the possibility that, if your garden fails, you and your family may starve. That is just one out of the scores of possibilities plaguing the future of a post-collapse society.

Amid this grim backdrop we find the subject of morale. Morale, for those few unfamiliar with the term, is the state of the spirits and confidence of a group and its willingness to perform its tasks. So if your morale is high, your people in your group will be more likely to perform their tasks cheerfully and to bolster one another’s spirits. If it is low, they will perform their duties grudgingly if at all, and will either actively or passively drag each other down.

Why is maintaining morale in crisis important to your group?

This is poison for any post-collapse situation. You need your people with their heads in the game, pulling together and doing everything they can to ensure their own and other’s survival. This is what, from my experience, is neglected in the preparedness community: means of maintaining morale. Ways to keep all the days from blending together into a depressing fog. Some people toss in the token “non-electric entertainments like cards or board games” and leave it at that, but I believe there is more to it.

Now before I go any further, let me address what I believe will be the greatest objection to this idea of making morale a priority. People will likely say “But, it’s going to be a constant grind! There’s no time for fun and games! Everything you do, every waking minute, must produce or preserve a survival essential!” To which I respectfully reply: Make time.

Again, I draw on history. Throughout the past 6,000 years of human existence on this planet, up until the last eighty or hundred years, the large majority of humanity has had to struggle for its survival. Food was unpredictable, politics and war were largely out of their control, and clean water was doubtful. Yet they still created beautiful things, sang songs, played instruments, danced together, and gathered to listen to the village storyteller or wandering troubadour weave tales of fantasy, history, and heroism. Why? Because they understood the importance of morale. They needed these things—in their proper place as supplements to work—to fortify their spirits for the hard labor and suffering in the days ahead.

So, with that background, I have two broad categories of morale-boosters that I think will become far more important post-collapse than they are now. These are: Music and Storytelling.


Music is everywhere around us today. It’s actually really hard to get away from it. Most of us have some kind of radio playing at work, whether we want it or not. There is music piped in to the gas station, the grocery store, the insurance agent, wherever you go it’s there. And most people walk around with earbuds crammed into their ears, listening to music off iPod and MP3 players.

I’m not against having music readily available. As someone who has no skill in playing it but still enjoys a good tune, I like having easy access to music. But something to bear in mind is that all these forms of easily accessible music rely on electricity to function properly. And post-collapse, electricity will likely (not certainly, but likely) be in very short supply. If you can get it at all. So musical-playback devices won’t be a high priority in that situation. This is where my recommendation comes in: Learn to actually play music.


I’m not saying everyone should do this. Not everyone has the time, the money for instruments and lessons, and more importantly not everyone has the desire and innate skill needed to play an instrument. I am an example of this. I can keep a pretty good rhythm on a Celtic drum, and go along that way with someone else, but outside of that, I can’t play. I’ve tried at various points in my life to play guitar and recorder, and never made the time to stick to either of them. My sister, on the other hand, is a natural with anything stringed. She can play fiddle and guitar, and is learning banjo, mandolin, and ukulele. So she is an asset to us that way. We may not be able to play, but she can, and that will help to lift our spirits.

Another suggestion would be to try to learn to sing. I don’t mean take voice lessons or opera classes per se. I mean try to do something besides wail out the words to your favorite song like a dying cat. It helps if you have sheet music to learn the words from. Even if you can’t read music, you can follow the notes up and down to see where your voice should go, and you can use the spaces between notes to gauge how long to hold a note as you sing. It won’t be perfect, but hopefully it will prevent people running away with their hands over their ears.
There is one more thing I have to say on the subject of music: learn to like music that can be made without electricity. Most music today relies on electricity. Pop, rock, hip-hop, rap, country, blues, jazz, everything. Once there is no more juice to power electric instruments, amplifiers, and microphones, people will be left with nothing but the instruments available about a hundred years ago. This means we’ll be back to things like classical, bluegrass, folk (which includes ethnic music from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America), some forms of jazz, and similar genres. I’m not saying you have to like all of these. Personally, I like Celtic, classical, and bluegrass music, but am not a big fan of Asian folk music. Whatever your preferences, try to learn one of the instruments associated with your choice or to surround yourself with people who play what you like. This may sound like I’m making a big deal out of nothing, but I’m serious. I’m not that old and I’ve already known plenty of people who would be lost during their workday if they didn’t have their heavy metal, rock, modern country, or pop music blasting away from a speaker plugged into the grid. Music, especially aggressive, highly electronic forms, can be addictive. And once it’s gone these people are going to be looking for it or a replacement the same way they would look for a physical drug. So break yourself of the addiction before it’s too late. I’m not saying never listen to a rock or country song again. I happen to like several songs from those genres and listen to them often. But I won’t go into musical withdrawals if tomorrow I could never hear them again.


So, those were my thoughts on music. What about storytelling? You’re probably thinking, “Why did he even include this? Stories aren’t essential to survival.” That’s true, they’re not. But they are important to morale. Think about it: how satisfying is it to come home from your job or whatever you do all day and sit down to a good book or your favorite television show? Pretty enjoyable, right? There you go. That’s why I bring it up. Reading or watching a good story helps pull you out of whatever rut you managed to dig for yourself that day, and transports you to another world where, if things go wrong, they get put right. Or at least, they go wrong for someone else.


One of the most popular people in villages and cities of any size was the minstrel, bard, or troubadour.

Once more, I will reference history. While there is dispute about just how dark the so-called “Dark Ages” really were, and the popular image of the medieval era as a miserable time to be alive is exaggerated, there is no doubt that it was orders of magnitude harder than our own. During this time, one of the most popular people in villages and cities of any size was the minstrel, bard, or troubadour. These men—and they were nearly always men, but that isn’t a stereotype that needs to carry over—were sometimes locals, sometimes wanderers. They brought news from afar, and told stories of the past exploits of people both from the countryside and from distant lands. Crowds would gather to hear them speak, and even if they were looked down upon officially, they were highly admired in general society.

Why? Because they helped lighten people’s loads after or during a hard day in a hard life. One reason fantastical adventures of knights and heroes were so popular was because, in a world often out of the control of the average peasant, hearing a story about a man who kills a monster, saves a town, and gets to marry the beautiful woman reminds them that there is hope in the world, that justice still exists, and that true love is still possible. These things helped them relate to their world and allowed them to bear the trials they encountered more easily.

So how does this apply to preppers? Two ways. First, if you have a natural storyteller in your group, don’t belittle them for their gift. Good stories don’t just appear out of the air: it takes a lot of mental energy and creativity to make up a compelling story. The most obvious way a storyteller like this can be a benefit is to calm restless, frightened children. If you’ve had to bug out or evacuate, and couldn’t take your home library with you, then having someone in your group who has the skill to make up stories will go a long way towards keeping children calm.

Second, depending on how long any post-collapse situation lasts, having an oral/written method of transmitting will help people connect with the past, with the pre-collapse world. Even though these methods are notorious for allowing inaccuracies to creep in quickly, they still allow a level of continuity with those who came before.

For anyone reading this who fancies themselves a storyteller, I have one word for you: paper. In a post-collapse world, with electricity scarce or non-existent, paper will be your best friend. But in our digital age, we don’t want to deal with something as time-consuming and laborious to compose as a longhand manuscript. I have been an editor and columnist for an online magazine, and I know firsthand how much easier it is to write on a computer than on paper. But I can do it, if necessary. If you’re wanting to write a longer work, don’t try to do it all at once. Write chapters or scenes one at a time, and share them that way. In this manner, you’ll save your hands, and your audience will be kept in suspense about what happens next. This will give them something enjoyable to think about as they go about their days. And if you don’t end up writing anything down for your group or if you’re not the best storyteller in the group, don’t worry. All those dollar-store tablets or bundles of lined filler paper you stocked up on have a baker’s dozen other uses!

Also, before I close, I just want to return to my earlier brief mention of art. Art has been, for most of human history, a fairly exclusive domain, inhabited by a very few people. But that doesn’t mean their products were reserved for only the very wealthy. The Hollywood image of the bare peasant hovel with nothing in it to liven the gaze is not correct. Especially in highly developed societies like those of the Celts and the Dark-Age Norse, art imbued even everyday, mundane objects with a sense of power and purpose beyond their original intent, which must surely have helped their owners weather their tough existence. So while I have mainly focused on music and storytelling here, much of what I have said can apply to carving, sculpting, painting, or other arts.


None of what I have said should be taken to mean that morale-boosters should take primacy over things like canned food, weapons and ammunition, water, and medical supplies. Nor do I condone people who are artists and musicians and storytellers ignoring other elements of preparedness. Everyone should prepare the essentials to whatever degree their circumstances allow. These supplementals are nonetheless an important aspect to consider as you make your preparations. And if you can think of something else I haven’t listed that would fit your group, please, do that instead! This article was by no means meant to be exhaustive or to be a checklist. Just to get your wheels turning.. Godspeed to you and yours.

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You can’t live without food and water. If you store them, you can’t use them if someone puts a bullet in you and you bleed out, so you have to

If you are working in the center of a large city, like London or New York, or are working in the emerging markets, where bomb scares are not unusual, it is possible that you may get caught up in an Improvised Explosive Device incident. Whether your venue, office or residence is targeted directly or it just happens to be on the same street as an IED, you will need to know how to react. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are a threat to everyone and are used frequently and with great affect by criminals, cranks and terrorists the world over. If you follow international events, then you will see that there is a lethal bombing somewhere in the world almost every day.

The basic IED can be made from commercially available materials that are sold over the counter in most places. Information on how to construct IEDs is available from military or survival bookstores, the Internet and former military personnel. The size of an IED can range from as small as a cigarette packet to as large as a large container lorry. IEDs can be disguised as virtually anything; this gives the bomber the advantage of being able to kill their targets without alerting them to the threat, giving the bomber a large degree of anonymity. IEDs can be used to kill selected targets or to kill indiscriminately. These facts are why the IED is often the favored weapon of criminal, cranks and terrorists the world over and is the most dangerous threat to security, law enforcement, military and the general public.

Here I have listed some basic information and some basic guidelines for dealing with an IED incident and in part 3 I will dissect a law enforcement response you a recent incident in NYC, after reading this you should be a lot more competent than those members of the NYPD who were running that circus!

Bomb and Improvised Explosive Device Identification

Bombs and IED’s can be disguised as virtually anything. You need to be suspicions of any objects, cars or activity in or around your locations. An unattended bag, an unknown car that has been parked next to your building to long, unknown people acting nervously… You and your employees must be aware and suspicious; everyone also needs to be trained on how to deal with a suspicious object or in the worst case scenario the aftermath of a bomb/IED incident!

The Secondary Device

Bomb Royal Avenue

A bomb explodes in a stationary shop in Royal Avenue,Belfast

The IED can be used on its own or in conjunction with other IEDs or weapons. Good bombers will always place a second device near the first device, in a likely control point for security forces or on an evacuation route from the area of the first device. The second device is to catch the personnel or emergency services coming to the aid of anyone hurt in the first blast, or security forces dealing with the incident or personnel escaping from the first blast. Sometimes the first device is designed to go off for no other reason than to draw in emergency or security services or drive people into the larger main device. You must always consider if an explosive device has been found, gone off or that there could be a second or third device somewhere.

Here are some basic examples of how IEDs would be employed by Irish terrorists; these are taken from when I was a teenager serving in the British Army in Northern Ireland in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s.

  • A man is murdered in the shoe shop that he runs, he was shot at close quarters. The murders left behind an explosive device in a shoe box set to detonate 30 minutes after the shooting, by which time security forces and emergency services were in the immediate area. Think about how many shoe boxes there are in a shoe shop! The device detonated but no-one else was hurt due to the fact that secondary devices were expected to be left at crime scenes.
  • A car bomb is detonated in a small village and wounds several people. The security forces and emergency services are limited to number of routes that they can use to get to the village. It would be expected for an IED to be placed along one of the routes into the village to catch the security forces entering or leaving the area. If time was available the routes would need to be searched and cleared, if time and helicopters were not available this would consist of the responding patrol in driving in at top speed.
  • A car is parked a short distance from a security force base with what appears to be mortar tubes inside. A security force cordon is placed around the car to secure the area and. When the security force teams are conducting their clearance searches around their cordon points, a team finds an IED attached to a trip wire. Further searches of the cordon positions turn up other IED’s. The mortar tube in the car turned out to be a piece of drain pipe, it was a hoax that was used to draw security forces into the IED’s that the terrorists placed in likely security force cordon positions.
  • A car is parked on the side of a country lane in an area regularly patrolled by security forces. When a security force patrol spots the car, they check with their control room to see if the car is registered as stolen. It’s not. The patrols have been on the ground for four days and are rushing to make it to their pick up point on time. The patrol can see nothing suspicious with the car, so they send two members of the patrol forward to check out the car. One of the team who goes forward to check the car is carrying electronic counter-measure equipment that can identify and block radio signal for remote-controlled bombs. The bomb was not remote-controlled or in the car. It was in a ditch a few meters from the car and detonated with a command wire.

You should take nothing at face value and always remember the secondary device. Always be suspicious of anything that looks out-of-place, if you are in an area where there is an active IED threat you need to draw up pans and procedure of how you will respond if you are caught up in an incident.

Types of device

Letter & parcel bomb


Damage from a letter bomb.

The letter and parcel bomb is the most widely used of all IEDs. The bombers who use this type of device range from stalkers through to hard-core terrorists. The letter bomb gives the bomber a direct line of access to the target and affords the bomber virtual anonymity for themselves, as the device can be sent from anywhere in the world. As the name suggests, the device is placed into an envelope or parcel and posted to the target. Upon opening the device explodes.

Defense against letter and parcel bombs

Below is a list of things that should be checked for on any package that you suspect as being an IED. If you or your client is under a threat, all mail should be checked. If some of the following criteria are evident on a suspect package, it should be put through an x-ray machine to confirm or ally your suspicions. If you don’t have an x-ray machine, then the suspect package should be placed in a safe area and specialist assistance sought. The package would have been knocked around whilst in the postal system, so it will be safe to move-just don’t open it.

Letter and parcel bomb recognition check list:

  • Were you expecting the letter or package?
  • Was it delivered by hand (to avoid the postal system)?
  • Is it uneven or lopsided?
  • Is the envelope rigid?
  • Is there excessive securing material such as cello-tape, string, etc.?
  • Are there any visual distractions on the envelope such as company, official stamps?
  • Are there any protruding wires or tin foil?
  • Was there excessive postage paid?
  • Was the address poorly written/typed?
  • Any excessive weight?
  • No return address?
  • Any oil stains, discoloration, fingerprints?
  • Any incorrect titles?
  • Any titles but no names?
  • Any misspellings of common words?
  • Any restrictive markings such as Confidential or Private?
  • Any suspicious postmarks such as Belfast or Baghdad, etc.?
  • Is the address stenciled?
  • Any holes or pinpricks, which could be to let out explosive fumes?
  • Any smell of almonds, marzipan or perfume used to mask the smell of explosive fumes?
  • Any mechanical sounds?

Incendiary devices

A simple form of this device can be made as small as a cigarette packet and be made from condoms and commercially available chemicals. When properly ignited, they will burn at high temperatures and are primarily designed to destroy property. Incendiaries require an initiator (flame or chemical action), delay mechanism, igniter and main incendiary charge. Incendiary bombs are usually used against shops and businesses. They can easily be placed between the cushions of furniture or among flammable objects, in the case of thermite, on or above machinery or vehicles, and timed to go off when the business is empty of staff, causing the maximum fire damage. This can also help to give the bomber anonymity.

Defense against incendiary devices If either your client or his business is under the threat of incendiary attack, the following precautions should be taken. A deterrent would be to install overt CCTV and employ high-profile 24-hour security guards. The CCTV could, in the event of an incident, be used to identify the bomber. Keep videos in a fireproof container. If the client’s workplace is an office suite, then access needs to be restricted as much as possible. Visitors should not be left unsupervised. Cameras should be placed in high-risk areas entrances/exits and outside toilets. All personnel entering the suite should be searched.

Blast bombs

This device can be made very small. A device can easily be placed in a take away food container or bag and placed in a bin or pile of rubbish. In the UK, Irish terrorists have been known to put and detonate IEDs inside of bicycle frames. This type of device is used to cause disruption and confusion. In the city of London, UK, in the early 90s, a spate of such devices placed in rubbish bins resulted in all bins being removed from the streets and the London Underground. These devices can cause great disruption and kill indiscriminately.

Defense against blast bombs Realistically, there is very little that can be done to stop a bomber planting these devices in city areas. The device can be easily disguised and moved during rush hour. It would be impossible to watch everyone, let alone search them. Security cameras on buildings and in shops would be useful when trying to identify the bomber after the device has detonated. If your client is attending a function where there is a threat from IEDs, precautions need to be taken. The empty venue should be searched by experienced personnel with, if possible, sniffer dogs. After the search, strict access control needs to be put in place with every entrance/exit covered and everyone entering the venue searched. Special attention should be paid to casual staff hired just for that function.


Photo by courtesy of C-52 of 3/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team
see: http://www.army.mil/-news/2008/06/06/9708-general-lee-rides-again/

Undercar Booby-trap (UVB)

This device is a favorite weapon of Irish terrorist’s groups. The device is placed in a container such as an empty video case or a Tupperware container and attached to the vehicle using magnets. The usual method for triggering the device is by using a tilt or vibration sensitive switch. The UVB enables the terrorists to attack selective targets. There is a risk of discovery involved when placing this device as access to the targets vehicle is needed. If the bomber manages to plant the device, it will kill and maim the occupants of the car if it is not discovered.

Defense against UVB The best defense against the UVB is to deny the bomber access to the vehicle. If the vehicle is secured in a garage, the entrance and driveway to the garage need to be physically checked before the vehicle is moved. There could be a device attached to the door of the garage or a mine in the driveway. If the vehicle has to be left unattended, then on return the vehicle and the surrounding area needs to be searched. Searching a vehicle for IEDs is an important skill and needs to be practiced regularly.

Car and lorry bombs

Car and lorry bombs enable the terrorist to conceal and move large devices. The car bomb can be used against individual or indiscriminate area targets. The use of the car bomb is very common and over the past few years, this type of device has been used in London, New York and Paris. All it takes is for someone to drive the vehicle to the target and leave it to explode. Against an individual this device could be placed along a route or near an entrance to a building that is frequented by the target. The device can be triggered by remote control, command wire or, if the target is setting a pattern, by a timer. A method of delivering a device to a high security area is to use a suicide bomber or force someone to drive the vehicle with the device in it. The latter is a common tactic of Irish terrorists. It starts with the intended driver being kidnapped or having his home taken over. The driver is then informed that if they don’t drive to the device or to the target they and their family will be killed. If they drive the device, at least he has a chance of survival. The driver is then chained and locked into the vehicle with the device and he is told how long they have got to get to the target before the device explodes. The driver has little choice but to drive the device to the target and hope the security personnel has some bolt cutter on hand with which to cut him out of the car, before the device explodes.


The car bomb can be used against individual or indiscriminate area targets.

Improvised mines

These devices can vary in size and be disguised as virtually as anything. Their triggering methods are only limited to the imagination and ability of the bomber. In Northern Ireland, large devices are usually placed in rural areas in culvert, under roads, or perhaps disguised as milk churns or in bales of hay. In urban areas, they can be placed in lampposts, rubbish bins or in vertical drain piping on the side of a building. To place a bomb into a drainpipe, the terrorist lowers the device into the drainpipe from the top and a command wire detonates the device. The command wire can go over the building or be laid in the guttering connected to a firing point out of the line of sight of the killing zone. In all such operations in Northern Ireland, the terrorists use youths as watchers. The child playing at the end of the street shouting to his friends could be telling the bomber you are in the kill zone.

Sleeper bombs

An IED can be placed in a position a month before it explodes. If it is known that at a certain time in the future you or your client will be attending an event, a function or staying in a hotel at a certain time, precautions need to be taken. In 1984 in Brighton, England, such a device killed five people in an IRA attempt to kill the then British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Defense against car bombs & mines

To beat the area car bomber, one has to vigilant and suspicious. If a vehicle looks suspicious, then get it checked out. Security forces have an advantage over private security personnel in being able to check out the background (whether it is stolen or rented) of a vehicle very quickly. So, if you are suspicious of a vehicle, call the authorities and let them check it out; if you are unwilling or unable to contact the authorities, then just avoid the vehicle. For private security personnel: when the car bomb or mine threat is directed at your client, then precautions need to be taken. If there are limited routes in and out of the client’s residence or office, then these routes need to be regularly physically checked. Any suspicious cars, recent digging or wires leading away from the road need to be checked out. When the client is traveling to and from work, the routes must be varied as much as possible. All trips should be kept secret until the last-minute and then be preceded by an advanced security team, which needs to arrive at the client destination with enough time to check out the area before the client arrives. When entering or exiting a building, different entrances/exits need to be used. If possible, use fire escapes and staff entrances. If the client is to stay in a hotel their room will need to be searched along with the adjoining rooms, if possible, and a check kept on anyone using the rooms. If the rooms are booked a while in advance, a check will need to be done on all building work and maintenance carried out in between the time of booking and the time of stay, as this work may have been used to cover the planting of a device.



Everyone should know the basics for dealing with an IED incident. If you have a business in an area where there could possibly be and IED threat you will need to draw contingency plans for an IED incident. If you are traveling to a city where IED incidents occur, you need to know how things can develop and whether security forces know what they are doing or putting you and others at risk.

There are four steps when dealing with an IED:

  • Confirmation: Confirm, to the best of your ability, whether the object/vehicle is an IED, taking into account the following considerations: Are you under a threat from IEDs? Are the objects seemingly out-of-place? Are you in an area where terrorists are operational? Is there a funny smell around the object such as almonds, marzipan or petrol? This is where your threat assessment comes in. An unattended bag in an airport will arouse more suspicion then an unattended bag in a bar or restaurant but both could be just as dangerous or just as harmless. If all unattended bags in bars or other public places were reported as IEDs, there would be hundreds of false incidents every day but one just might be an IED. If you have good reason to suspect an object or vehicle, then check it. The police and security forces should be willing to help you, if you give them good reasons for your suspicions.
  • Cordon: Once a device has been confirmed, the area around it and roads leading to it needs to be cordoned off so no-one can access. It depends on the size and location of the device, as to how far away the cordon will be but a basic rule is that you should be out of line of sight of the device. This is because if you can see the device you can be hit by shrapnel or debris if it detonates. In the private security world, cordon preparations and duties would fall on the static/residential security teams etc. If an IED turns up at your residence, the RST, if you have security personnel, would have to deal with the initial cordon and clearing of the area. Cordon equipment needs to be on hand, such as cordon tape, torches, and maps of the area and communications equipment. Plans need to be made for the evacuation procedures and cordon points for the different types of device. All cordon and control point location need to be physically searched for booby traps before being set up, the basic search would be 10 meters around the position.
  • Clearing the area: People should be moved out of the blast area of the device; the blast area depends on the size and location of the device. In some cases, depending on the size of the device, it may be safer to leave people in buildings and under cover, rather than moving them into the open. It would make sense to assign a location in your building that could be used for this purpose, and internal room with no windows would be ideal. When evacuating people, a route should be taken that is out of line of sight of the device; if the device explodes when evacuating personnel, flying and falling glass is a big danger and needs to be considered when planning the evacuation route, as is the threat of secondary devices.
  • Controlling the incident: Control of all IED incidents should be handed over to authorities, as soon as possible. You need to brief the responding personnel as to where the device is, when it arrived, how it arrived, where your cordon positions are, whether there is anyone still within the cordoned area and where they are. You also need to pass on any relevant information of threats that have been made or suspicious incidents or people who have been in the area. Not only is this professional, but it could help apprehend the terrorists.

When a threat assessment reveals a threat from IEDs, a great deal of planning is needed. Whether you are a business owner, lone international traveler or a close protection team member, procedures need to be made for dealing with IEDs. Everyone in law enforcement, homeland security and the private security industry must have a basic knowledge of how IEDs work and the effects of an explosion but they don’t. These days basic search techniques and IED recognition is a necessity for all everyone, as IEDs are the most widely used terrorist weapon and will be for a long time to come.



After reading what has already been written in this article you should be able to pick out quite a few mistakes in the New York Police Department (NYPD) handling of the 2010 car bomb incident in Times Square in the City of New York.

The vehicle that contained the explosives was a dark blue 1993 Nissan Pathfinder sport utility vehicle with dark tinted windows, it had been parked on a busy tourist-crowded street. People in the area noticed smoke drifting from vents near the back seat of the unoccupied vehicle, which was parked with its engine running and its hazard lights on. They also heard firecrackers going off inside.

A police officer approached the car and observed the smoke, canisters inside, and the smell of gunpowder. The vehicle was set ablaze, but did not detonate. Upon arrival, the bomb disposal team used a remote-controlled robotic device to break out a window of the vehicle, and explore its contents. The device’s ignition source malfunctioned and failed to detonate the main explosives. Had it detonated NYPD officials said the bomb would have cut the car in half, and “would have caused casualties, a significant fireball and would have sprayed shrapnel, and killed or wounded many people.

OK, the U.S. had been engaged in the war on terror for 9 years, so do the NYPD and other agencies not know how to deal properly with a car bomb incident? It amazed me when I saw the incident on the TV; they showed the bomb squad defusing the device with crowds nearby watching. Basic rule, you and your cordon positions must be out of line of site of the device, if you can see the device you can be hit by shrapnel etc. If the device had detonated there would have been many un-necessary casualties from the stupid cordon positions alone. The car bomb was described as a crude device, so was it not taken seriously? My first thought if I came across a crude and amateur explosive device would be, where is the real one, and that the crude device was nothing but bait to draw security forces into a trap. I strongly doubt the area and cordon positions were checked for secondary devices. In the TV coverage you could see that roads at either end of the road where the device was located were still open and cops were milling and sitting around relaxing, a suicide bomber could have driven right through the cordon and blown up the bomb squad, you can’t protect others if you can protect yourself! The NYPD’s handling of this incident can be classed as very negligent and how you should not deal with an IED incident!

If you are in an urban area and there is a car bomb incident you should initially find cover, get into a building and away from windows. If a device goes off the shock wave can break windows for few blocks around it. You don’t want to be on an open city street will glass falling on you from 50 stories up. When safe to evacuate the area use back allies and non-obvious routes and do not hang around to watch how things develop. This is because of the threat from secondary devices and because the first device may only be there to draw in crowds of onlookers or channel people into the main device.

If you are working in the center of a large city, like London or New York, or are working in the emerging markets, where bomb scares are not unusual, it

When you are assembling your Bug Out bag, most people begin with scouring the internet looking for ideas. If you are like me, this will invariably lead to a long list of supplies for your bug out bag that sound great, but weigh a ton and have very specific uses that you may not encounter. What I wanted to do was create a simple bug out bag checklist you can use to get a jump-start at building your own bug out bag that has taken into consideration a few of the lessons I already learned when I did this myself.  This bug out bag checklist is also available as a downloadable PDF so that you can print this out and keep it with you as you build your own bag.

What is a Bug Out Bag?

Let’s start out with the obvious and cover what a bug out bag is. Actually, it might be easier to say what a Bug Out Bag is not before we get too deep. A bug out bag is not an RV. This is not your luggage for a two-week vacation in Cancun. Your bug out bag is not something to replace your tool shed and you will not be able to carry everything you want on your back. If you plan to walk to some remote retreat location with everything you need to live for two years on your bag, you are sadly mistaken.

A bug out bag contains the essentials you need to live if you are forced to leave your location. This bag will have everything you need plus some additional supplies, but careful thought and consideration should be given to what you are putting in this bag. Why? Because you will have to carry all of this stuff and the more you add, the heavier it gets. I wrote a post a while back about weight considerations called “Is Your Bug Out Bag Going to Get you Killed?” and if you need more convincing about weight, maybe you should read that article first. For the rest of you I will assume that you want to carefully consider the supplies you need in this situation. For people like you I have created this simple list of Bug Out bag contents, a downloadable PDF and a little explanation for each.

The properly loaded Bug Out Bag should give you everything you need to live for 3 days at a minimum so that is the framework of this list. I won’t be packing two weeks’ worth of food in here and most of this list might be considered the bare necessities by some.

What do you need to know before you pack your bug out bag?

First of all, I like to ask the question of why I am bugging out in the first place. This helps me frame the purpose of use of my bug out bag a little, but not drastically. Like I said above, the Bug Out Bag or BOB is for saving your life. It will not and should not be thought of as the magic box with all you will ever need. The list of supplies we could put in here is enormous if you start from the perspective of thinking of everything you could possibly need in an SHTF scenario.

I believe that the items below should go in virtually every bug out bag that is assembled regardless of the reason you are Bugging Out in the first place. Will you pack different items if the economy has collapsed as opposed to a Hurricane? Probably, but the essential Bug out bag items will stay the same; you will just add to what we have contained here.

What Items do you need to put in your bug out bag?


A good bug out bag will hold all of your gear and be tough enough to stand up to abuse. Comfort helps too…


Water is essential to anyone’s survival so you must have a plan for carrying it, obtaining fresh water along the way and treating is so that you can drink it without catching a disease that will knock you on your butt at the worst possible time. If you don’t believe me, just think about the last time you were away from home and you got sick.

Water Bottle – I like Nalgene bottles because they carry a lot, but are very lightweight when empty and the opening fits at least one of the water filters I recommend, the MSR Miniworks EX Microfilter. You can’t boil water in a Nalgene Bottle though so you need options for that which we discuss in the Tools section.

Water Filter – There are two that I like. The first is the MSR Miniworks Microfilter that I mentioned above. The second filter that is great for your bug out bag is the Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System. Both will do an excellent job of converting water that you collect into drinkable water. What about UV pens or Water treatment tablets or chlorine? I don’t like the taste with treatment tablets or chlorine and I don’t want to depend on anything that needs batteries for my drinking water. Do you run the same risks with mechanical systems? Sure, but I am betting the filters above will last me long enough to keep me alive for a few days.

Extra Capacity – I like the regular Nalgene bottles, but to save trips to the creek, I also pack a backup water container in the Nalgene Wide Mouth Cantene (32-ounce). This allows me to fill up two bottles and that normally lasts me all day unless I am in extreme heat environments. This Nalgene canteen collapses down to virtually nothing so space or weight when it is empty isn’t an issue.


OK, water is covered for the most part, now we move to the next most important survival item and that is food. This topic is simple, but everyone has their own idea of what surviving is. I have seem some people recommend cans of tuna, pop tarts and ramen noodles in your bug out bag. This will certainly work. You can also add dehydrated meals designed for camping too. I am focusing on two things when it comes to food in your bug out bag. The first is how long you can store it and the second is how simple is it to prepare/vs. nutritional value.

Tuna fish and Pop Tarts are simple, and don’t require any heating so they are a plus, but I don’t want tuna in a hot car all summer. I also don’t want to have to worry if they have gone bad but I think the biggest thing is that if you are running for your life with everything you need to survive strapped to your back you are going to need some serious calories.

For my bug out bag I like two options depending on where I have my bag stored. For warmer conditions like in the trunk of my car, I like Mainstay Emergency Food Rations. These really are emergency food bars and withstands Temperatures of -40° F to 300°F (-40°C to 149°C). It isn’t gourmet dining, but it will take the extremes of summer (unless you live on Mars) and give you a ton of calories.

The second (and preferred) option if I have my choice would be Mountain House Freeze Dried meals designed for camping. I get the pouches that feed two just in case and grab the highest calorie packs you can get. The Breakfast Skillet is excellent and at 680 calories will fill you up and give you much-needed energy for hiking with that pack. I think the Chilli Mac is even higher and also tastes great. You don’t need anything for these but a spoon and hot water. Just fill the bag up with the recommended amount, let it sit and dig in. You can pack 9 of these in your pack or 6 and those pop tarts.

Clothing & Shelter

Food and water, check. OK the last leg of the survival pyramid is shelter and in this we will count clothing as well as something to keep the elements off you.

Clothes – This is simple, or it should be. You want a good pair of long pants, long sleeve shirt, change of underwear and a spare pair of socks. What if it is hot? Shorts are nice, but not necessary because you are already living without the convenience of air conditioning most likely so you will already be sweating. Why long pants? Because they will provide more protection for your legs. Same with the shirt and in the warm weather, you don’t need to get a sunburn.  What if it is cold? You will be wearing warmer clothes anyway so this should already be on your person and not in a pack. Layers is the best way to go about clothing but remember, this is just to save your life. You don’t need to be pretty and you won’t die if you have to wear the same pants for two days in a row. It’s the same with underwear.

I would also add some rain protection in either a rain coat or poncho.

I wouldn’t leave the house without sturdy shoes I can walk for a long time in and you should pack appropriate headgear for the season too. In the winter I like a beanie to keep my head warm, but again I will most likely be wearing this and won’t have it in the pack. Gloves are also a nice addition and I have something that will keep my hands warm in the winter, but something designed for work regardless.  A good pair of leather gloves should be added as well to protect your hands.

Rain fly’s are lightweight options to a full size tent.

Shelter – This is just to keep the elements off you and won’t replace a warm and toasty house. Shelter can go from the extremes of a tent to the simple tarp. Not that a tent is extreme, but tents add a good bit of weight, take time to set up and tear down and are really noticeable from a distance normally. For camping I take a tent, but for Bugging out I would consider a tarp like the ENO Pro Fly Rain Tarp instead of a full tent. Tarps are much lighter and give you protection from the elements much like a tent. You won’t be able to keep out bugs though – again, this is about life saving, not the ultimate in comfort.

Sleeping bags are another weight consideration that take up a good bit of space. My tent and sleeping bag are easily the heaviest and largest items in my regular backpack for camping. You can buy very lightweight and compact sleeping bags, but expect to pay at least $400 to save the weight and room in your pack for all the other goodies you need. In the theme of survival again, I would recommend a Adventure Medical Kits SOL Emergency Bivvy instead of a sleeping bag. These are cheaper than a regular bag at around $15, fit in the palm of your hand and only weigh 4 ounces.

Fire & Light

For fire you can get tricky or keep it safe. For me, I recommend several good Bic disposable lighters stored in a waterproof bag. Easy and virtually foolproof. Additionally, I carry a Swedish Firesteel as a back up. You can also pack all sorts of other implements but chances are that if you can’t start a fire with a lighter or a firesteel you won’t be able to start a fire anyway.

For lighting I recommend headlamps for everyone. This is a perfect hands free option to light your way that is great even for kids. I personally have Petzl E91 Tikkina 2 Headlamps for every member of my family. They are bright enough for any task, sit on your head and are adjustable. Plus, they take regular AAA batteries and not some weird off nomenclature or rechargeable batteries that some of the higher end headlamps do. Rechargeable is a great idea as long as it is in a common size that has multiple uses.

Self Defense

Baofeng – Excellent starter Ham Radio for disaster communications.

The items above should be able to keep you alive if you are out in the elements by yourself. If you are out in the elements with other people, you should consider something for self-defense. The choice of implements for protection vary by the situation you are in and what you could be faced with. I have guns so that is my go-to option for self-defense. If the reason I was bugging out was total bedlam, anarchy I would take a rifle and a pistol. If this was a temporary bug out due to a weather event or something that I thought was temporary I might only take a concealed pistol. Regardless of what the situation is, you will need something for your self-defense. I’ll leave the choice up to you.


The communications options are limited to the scenario you are in. If we have a minor event where you can reasonably expect life to return to normal sometime, a spare cell phone battery might be all you need or a way to charge the phone you have. If cell service is down your only real option would be walkie talkies which have a very limited range or HAM radios. I recommend carrying a hand-held HAM radio capable of broadcasting and receiving on UHF and VHF and a dual band antenna that can give you more range.

For the radio I recommend the Baofeng UV-5RA because they are solidly built, offer any feature you can reasonably need for grid down communications and only cost around $35. You just can’t beat that! Pair this radio up with a Slim Jim antenna and 50 feet of coax cable and lastly an adapter connector and you can easily talk or listen to anyone broadcasting 50 to 100 miles depending on where you are. Just loop some paracord around the antenna, throw that up into a tree and you are all set. You have to learn how to use this equipment, but it is in my opinion the single best Bug Out Bag option for communicating if the grid goes down.


The tools I consider bringing taking into account weight is a multi-tool like a Leatherman, a good pocket knife like a Tenacious G10 from Spyderco and a larger multi purpose knife like a Gerber LMF II. What about bolt cutters, pry bars and chain saws? I don’t think those are good for a bug out bag. Should you have them at home? Sure, but the chances you will need something like that are slim. What if the SHTF you ask and I have to break into a warehouse for shelter? I hear you, but I simply don’t think it is worth the weight.

The Multi-tool will meet most of your needs for fine tools with pliers, small saw and a wrench. If you plan on rebuilding an engine with it though…

Other tools are something to cook/boil water with a good first aid kit and some paracord.

For boiling water and cooking I recommend a JetBoil Flash. The whole kit and fuel fits nicely in one small, relatively lightweight container. With this you can boil water for your freeze-dried food or to disinfect it. It’s also really good for coffee too.

Adventure Medical Kits make a really decent ultralight first aid kit. This won’t allow you to perform surgery in the woods or remove a bullet but cover most of the bases. I would augment one of these per bag with a bag of Quick Clot and some larger pressure dressing bandages. Tampons and Maxi pads are also great blood stoppers… obviously.


I know some people throw the entire medicine cabinet in their bug out bags, but again I am only thinking about survival not going to the prom so the basics –  bar of soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, chap-stick, floss, hand sanitizer. What about women? I have added a couple of extra niceties to my wife’s BOB only because I know that will improve her outlook should we be forced to bug out. Your mileage may vary.


For miscellaneous I would add some duct tape which you can wrap around your water bottles, lighters or just about anything else, bandannas which have a thousand uses and spare batteries for any gear that requires them. What about important documents? I am still on the fence about that but I plan on writing about that later. I just don’t see an Ellis Island type of situation happening where you need to show your birth certificate, but anything is possible. I can see having ID with your current address to prove where you live.

I know some of you will ask, what about the bag? Great question, but the bag is going to depend on what you carry. I would gather your bag’s contents first and then select the bag based upon what you plan on carrying.

When you are assembling your Bug Out bag, most people begin with scouring the internet looking for ideas. If you are like me, this will invariably lead to a long


Once you have selected and purchased a handgun you then need to learn how to shoot it accurately. If you have never used a handgun before, go and get some training in defensive shooting techniques. Some people, usually men, who have limited firearms experience but believe they, know everything about firearms will not undergo training. This is an ego problem and a sign of insecurity, which can end with innocent people getting hurt. Many people do not realize that the handgun techniques you see on the TV and at the movies do not work in the real world. You cannot learn how to use firearms by reading a manual or sitting down watching DVD’s or videos on YouTube, you have to go and practice. Many former and serving law enforcement and military personnel continuously seek and undergo further firearms training, because they are professional enough to know they can always learn something new and improve their skills. Firearms skills must be learned properly and then regularly practiced.

There are just as many people in the firearms training business that claim that their system is the best, just as there are self-proclaimed experts in the world of the martial arts or other fields. You can argue tactics all day and you will still get nowhere. You must find a system that works for you and learn it from an instructor who has both a good reputation and verifiable real world experience. The best systems are simple and not overly technical. If you are ever unfortunate enough to have to use your handgun in self-defense you want to be concerned about getting rounds into the bad guy, not having to thinking if you grip is correct and if your feet are in the right place.

There are many people confusing competition shooting techniques that are developed for sports and hobbies as realistic tactical training. Big difference number one, on the streets the bad guys don’t care about the rules and will be shooting back. I have had students come through my courses that have been taught and trust techniques that look cool and work in an air-conditioned shooting range with no stress but have completely no relevance in the real world. On the street, fancy techniques that overly stress safety will get you killed and hopefully only you and not those you’re possibly protecting.

You need to realistically think about how you would handle being in a hostile situation, not on a comfortable shooting range, but being attacked by criminals in some dark parking lot or your home in the early hours of the morning when there will be no one to help you. The police, if you’re lucky, maybe, there in 15 minutes if you are able to contact them; think about what the criminals can do to you and your family in those 15 minutes. Visualize this situation and determine how you would genuinely feel and determine how you would react in the seconds you may be lucky to have to reverse the situation on the criminals. There was a saying I picked up in South Africa in 94 and agree with to this day “The police are just there to pick up the bodies”. Most police like to tell you they are your protectors but the reality is, if you’re involved in a hostile situation they will not be rushing into save you, they will be thinking about their own skin. They are happy to do the after incident paperwork and to arrest you, if you live, if it means brownie points for them or, in a lot of places, an opportunity to extort money from you.


Firearms skills must be learned properly and then regularly practiced.

The Fundamentals of Defensive Shooting

The subjects that should be included in your tactical training are defensive shooting both left and right-handed, drawing from concealed carry, using different fire positions and use of cover. If you are going to work with or carry a firearm, you should undertake stress scenario training. This should include dry and live fire contact drills, in different environments, i.e. in a vehicle, in a street, in a restaurant and so forth. Proper training, handgun maintenance, carry technique/firearm access, aiming, grip/trigger pull and shot placement are the basic factors in defensive shooting.

  • Training/firearms competence: You must be able to use your weapons safely and competently before you consider using it for defensive purposes. If you do not know how to use your weapon properly you are more of a danger to yourself and your love ones than the bad guys. Take the time to learn your weapon and how to use it!
  • Handgun maintenance: Your handgun needs to be functional and in a good clean condition. You should have good ammunition that is in a good condition. Modern ammunition can function reliably for several years being regularly carried as long as it does not get excessively damp. But I tell my students to change their carry ammo for new rounds every six months or so, just to minimize the risks of a misfire. You need to keep your handgun clean, oiled and check it regularly. If your handgun or ammunition does not work, then everything else is a waste of time.
  • Carry technique/firearm access: You need to be able to get to your handgun when you need it. You may have the cleanest $1500.00 .45 caliber handgun and be an excellent shot but this is no good if you cannot get to your handgun when you need it. I have dealt with several clients who have had handguns close to them during incidents but were unable to get to them. You must be able to get to and deploy your weapons weak and strong handed, if you can’t, again everything else is a waste of time!
  • Grip: You must have a good grip on the weapon, as I have said before, having a good grip is one of the fundamentals of pistol shooting. This is where you must practice drawing your weapon and instinctively getting the right grip, the only way to you can achieve this is by repeatedly drawing and holstering your weapon; dry training. Please ensure your weapon is unloaded before you practice any dry drills.
  • Aim: Once the weapon is deployed you need to stabilize and get it on target as quickly as possible. The chances are in a hostile situation you won’t be able to get into a formal shooting stance but you still need to deliver accurate fire on your target whatever position you are in. These three aiming techniques all have a place in tactical shooting.
  • Slow, aimed fire. This is the most accurate and is where you apply the marksmanship principles. It involves getting a steady, properly aligned sight picture and slowly squeezing accurate shots. It is normally used for shots over 20 yards/meter or when you need precise accuracy. In tactical situations you should be behind cover or in a prone position when taking slow aimed shots, support the handgun where possible. With this technique you should be able to deliver accurate shots out to 100 + yards/meters with practice.

If you do not know how to use your weapon properly you are more of a danger to yourself and your love ones than the bad guys.

  • Rapid aimed fire. For this technique you look down the top of the handgun and get a quick sight picture and shoot. This can be used against targets out to 20 yards/meters or further with practice, it’s accurate and fast. As I have previously stated whenever I use the sights I close the opposite eye to the hand the pistol is in, the same applies with this technique. Again in a tactical situation it would be best to use this technique from behind cover.
  • Instinctive fire. This technique is can be used out to 10 yards/meter or more where there is no time to use the weapons sights. Forget about the sights, focuses on the target and point the handgun directly where you want the bullets to go and squeeze the trigger. This technique is simple and fast but needs practice, will talk about it more in the next chapter. At distances up to 10 yards/meters you want to be able to fire five quick shots accurately into a person, forget double tapping. At distances up to 5 yards/meters with say a 9mm handgun, most people should be able to rapid fire multiple rounds accurately into a target with a little practice using proper techniques. It all depends on them having a good grip on the weapon and a good trigger pull.
  • Trigger Pull: You should practice pulling the trigger on your handgun until you can do so smoothly. One trick (make sure your handgun is unloaded) is to balance an empty bullet case on the top of your handgun, near the front sight and practice dry firing, the aim is you to keep the case there for as many trigger pulls as possible. If that is too easy try a coin balanced on your front sight.  You want to fire a minimum of five quick shots into a person when in hostile situations at close quarters. You should keep putting rounds into the criminal or terrorist until they no longer pose a threat.
  • Shot Placement:  In a hostile shooting incident, the criminal or terrorist must be incapacitated immediately, a wounded the criminal or terrorist can still be very dangerous. Shot placement is everything and takes priority over caliber. A shot to the brain with a .22 will drop someone where as a .45 hollow point to the stomach may kill someone in the long run but short-term the bad guy you just shot can still fight and shoot you. You need to train as you intend to fight, that’s old knowledge but it makes me laugh on most gun ranges to see people, civilians and law enforcement shooting center of mass on silhouette targets. What vital organs or bones are at your center of mass? None! The only reason I see for people being told to shoot center of mass is so they can pass qualifications with minimum effort and training. You need to be training to hit vital organs or bones, if not then you are going to be surprised when the bad guy you have just shot keeps shooting back at you.

You need to be training to hit vital organs or bones, if not then you are going to be surprised when the bad guy you have just shot keeps shooting back at you.

  • The best shot placement that guarantees nearly 100% immediate incapacitation of the target is to the brain. Shots should be below the middle of the forehead, and above the upper lip or to the side of the head above the center of ear from the cheekbones back. I have heard many people say the head is too small of a target area; well it is if you’re trying to get poorly trained personnel to pass security or law enforcement shooting qualifications. But for people who want to take the time and train properly head shots can be achieved instinctively at close quarters in a short period of time. One thing that annoys me with society in general is that these days all standards are being set to the lowest level, just because one person is incompetent it does not mean everyone is, but we can’t hurt the feelings of the incompetent ones can we… I live in a different world and understand that as far as violent situations are concerned you need to be at the highest standard and end the situation as quickly as possible. Five rapid rounds from a trained shooter towards the head of a bad guy at conversational range will end the conversation very quickly. Also, these days with body armor being freely available and the fact the criminals or terrorists may be on narcotics head-shots should be your first target area of choice.
  • The center of the upper chest, just below the neck is also a good target area. Shots that hit the lungs can be fatal but may take time to drop a target, shots the heart will kill a target instantly. I tell my students that aiming just below the neck ensures that if their shots are low or high they are still hitting vital areas on the target. Another reason for mixing my ammunition between HP’s and FMJ rounds is because I want penetration; if a bullet hits a target’s spine they are instantly paralyzed. As I’ve said shots to the lungs can be fatal but can take time to drop a target. During this time, the criminal or terrorist can still return effective fire, this is again why I tell people fire a minimum of five rounds and you need to be aggressive. If a criminal is returning fire the chances are their arms and weapon will be in front of their chest, so we need the multiple shots and ammunition that will penetrate to ensure hits on the vital areas. This area of the body may also be covered by heavy clothing, objects such as cell phones that may deflect or prevent a bullets penetration. Also, if the criminal is wearing a bullet-proof vest this can prevent rounds hitting the vital areas, be aggressive and keep shooting until the target is down. If shooting at moving targets or targets at distances over 10 yards/meters or if you know you cannot get the head shot, you should shoot for upper chest.
  • Shots to the stomach or lower can kill someone but are rarely effective in dropping a target immediately, this is again where I would say FMJ ammo could be effective for penetrating to the spine or breaking the pelvis.


  • Speed and accuracy are your main concern. Get your weapon out and get multiple and accurate rounds into the target as quickly as possible
  • Always fully load your weapon; magazine to be fully loaded and put a round in the chamber where legal to do so. I am currently writing this in Nigeria and in one incident here recently, three police officers were killed in what we believe to be an attempted hit on someone they were escorting. They approached a car that was blocking the road and their client’s vehicle, as they got close a criminal opened up on them with an AK-47, all 3 died at the scene. They were carrying AK’s also but with the safety catches on and no rounds in the chambers, they did not stand a chance.
  • Always know what is beyond your target. A dead bystander means manslaughter if not murder charge.  Go for headshots at close quarters; otherwise go for the upper chest area/base of the neck.
  • In the US, the majority of police officers killed in shooting incidents are shot at conversational range, at distances of up to 10 feet. Over 50% are shot at distances under 5 feet. At these distances there is no need to use the weapons sights, be aggressive point and shoot!
  • Two out of every three police officers killed in the US are shot at night or in low-light areas. If you can point shoot these is no need to worry about night sights and lasers etc. as you are not using the sights anyway. We will talk later about the use of flashlights/torches.
  • The most common handgun calibers used against American police officers are 9-millimeter and .38. These two calibers accounted for 50 percent of the handgun deaths. In most places in the world you will find 9mm and .38 caliber weapons, they have been around for nearly 100 years and I expect will be around for a long time to come.
  • Shooting incidents are over in seconds, you will not have time to chamber a round, get into a range stance, check breathing and use the sights on your weapon.  You should keep a round in the chamber, have access to the handgun, be aggressive and get rounds into the targets vital areas of the target as quickly as possible.
  • Criminals or terrorists usually operate in gangs so, in time train for engaging multiple targets.
  • Terrorists and criminals like guns, they train in police and military techniques using manuals and videos that are freely available on the commercial market. It’s up to you to train harder and be at a more professional level than they are.
  • Always be aware of your environment, you want spot any potential problems and avoid them or at least be ready. If it gets to the point where the criminal has set you up and has a weapon on you, you’re going to have problems. Best to always try to avoid the problems and confrontations!

  Once you have selected and purchased a handgun you then need to learn how to shoot it accurately. If you have never used a handgun before, go and get some

To be truly prepared for any type of disaster requires a good bit more effort than simply reading blogs, watching videos and accumulating supplies although I don’t discount at all those methods or preparation. The background investigation you do doesn’t all have to correlate specifically to your plan and in my experience so much of what I have researched, while not something I proactively work on, I feel it gives me perspective and as such contributes in some way to my overall prepping efforts. But at some point it helps to put your emergency response plan down on paper. When you start looking at the different aspects that could affect your life, it helps to give this process a little more structure and that is what I want to discuss today.

Many people come to the Final Prepper after a crisis has hit the news. Some have been prompted by an inner urging that motivates them to research preparedness as a way to mitigate tragedy. The reasons for wanting to prepare are different for each person, but there are a lot of common situations we can find ourselves in that require action. Action is better with training and training is born out of a plan for success. What could an emergency response plan for your family look like and where would you start prepping?

Emergency Response Plan First Step

Conduct a risk assessment

If you don’t know where to start, I would suggest you sit down and write down the risks you feel could impact your family in some way. Many of the next steps will fall in line after you know what you are prepping for.

  • Hazard Identification – Do you live in a high-rise in a major metropolitan city or at the edge of a natural forest? Each of us has hazards that perhaps other people don’t need to worry about. What specific hazards could impact you directly where you live? Some common hazards you could be concerned about could be Fire, Hazardous spills from railroad or chemical plants nearby, Terrorism, pandemic, utility outages, cyber-attack. Write down any situation you feel you should be prepared for.
  • Vulnerability Assessment – Understanding the risks above, who or what could be at risk if one or more of those hazards actually happened to you. There are people usually, maybe your own property, the larger hazards will/could impact infrastructure and supply chains. Some hazards can pollute the environment to the point where moving either temporarily or permanently may be necessary.
  • Impact Analysis – Looking at the vulnerabilities above in light of the hazards, you start drilling into what prepping needs you should focus on. There could be injuries, property damage, loss of business income or other financial loss, environmental contamination or worse.

I find that it helps some people to write down specific lists for each of the items above because that should start directing your efforts. You can almost look at the impacts and work backwards. I know that injuries are very possible in almost any hazard I identified above so medical preparation is a given. I also know that some of the risks above highlight other security needs so I can begin planning for what we need to take care of before any emergency.


Having your risk assessment done should help you build your own preparedness plan. In my case this illuminated needs for many areas:

The list above is large categories and each can be split into multiple sub-categories beneath those levels but it is a start. In many cases I was able to inventory the prepping supplies identified above that already existed in some capacity and use that to determine what was left to take care of/acquire/learn.

So that gets you to a point where you are thinking about a broad spectrum of things that could need addressing by you and what your plan of action may be. It is a start.

But then an actual emergency does happen.

Putting your emergency response plan into action

This could be after you have been prepping for years or before you have bought the first bag of beans or case of bottled water. Once the emergency has occurred, you have to put your emergency response plan into action. Hopefully you have considered the following areas below before you are forced to act.


The minutes directly before or after a disaster will afford you with a few choices and the time you have to decide can vary greatly. For the immediate safety of your group, you are going to need to figure out quickly which path to safety you need to follow.

  • EvacuationGetting the heck out of dodge may be the best thing you can do but that is easier said than done because there are so many variables. What methods do you have for evacuation? Are you able to use vehicles or are you forced to walk? Which direction are you heading and do you have a destination that you have already planned? How long will the evacuation take and do you have the rest of the city to contend with? Many of us plan to bug out but that isn’t always the best or most appropriate thing to do in all situations.
  • Sheltering – Violent storms like tornadoes or hurricanes could force you to community shelters. Do you know where these are located in your city? Do you have go bags prepared and are ready to go in a moment’s notice to make it to the shelter? Do you have family members that may be on another side of town and will need to meet you at the shelter?
  • Shelter-In-Place – In a widespread pandemic, it may be necessary to shelter in place and avoid contact with contagious individuals until the virus has run it’s course. Do you have the supplies to lock your home down and prevent contamination? Do you have the tools needed to make your own quarantine room if someone comes down with the infection? Do you have enough food and water to last the duration of the quarantine assuming that many utilities could go down as they are run by humans too who get sick or refuse to leave their homes.
  • Lockdown – Temporarily you may need to barricade yourself as in the case of an active shooter. I usually don’t recommend this approach unless you have the means to really secure the room you are in, but if you can prevent entry and need to wait out a violent situation, that may be called for. If you have no locks or no really good way to prevent someone intent on doing harm from entering, I prefer either Fight or Flight approaches as opposed to sitting and waiting to be shot, but each person must identify their own risk tolerance with the situation.


What to do after the emergency has passed

In most disaster situations, there is a period when the disaster or crisis has passed. Storm waters recede, the wind stops blowing, the earth calms and the shooting stops. This is when your emergency response plan actually focuses on a different aspect of survival, but the entire process could repeat over and over again if circumstances change or the emergency event is protracted. Later, rinse, repeat.

  • Check on people and assess damage – Do you have everyone accounted for and are there any injuries? Triage the most critical injuries:
    • Those who are likely to live, regardless of what care they receive;
    • Those who are likely to die, regardless of what care they receive;
    • Those for whom immediate care might make a positive difference in outcome.
  • Ensure safety – Assuming no one requires medical care, analyze your present location and situation. Do you need to move to another location for safety, either from the elements or bad people.
  • Gather Intelligence – Do you know what has happened and what the situation is with other people in your group? Is communication still possible by phone or radio? Do you have communication alternatives like an emergency weather radio or Ham radios?

Determine next steps based upon understanding of your people’s current state and needs for security. It may be that you just roll out the barbecue, fire it up and start cooking those steaks you had that will go bad without power. It could be that you need to evacuate to another city or prepare to defend your home. Any emergency response plan is just a framework for helping you critically analyze, plan for and prevent threats, but it isn’t a solution. Your emergency response plan should enable you to act, but you will be on your own at some point. All the planning in the world can only prepare you. Reality gets a vote and you may find the situation completely different from what you planned for.

The exercise is still valid I think and perhaps this will help those who don’t know where to start prepping with a little direction. There is much to think about but doing so now will help you later if you are forced to live through your own emergency.

To be truly prepared for any type of disaster requires a good bit more effort than simply reading blogs, watching videos and accumulating supplies although I don’t discount at all


Introduction to Intelligence

Tornadoes, flooding, and wildfires are just three examples of localized and very personal SHTF events that we’ve seen in the past month, and they illustrate the devastation of an event for which there is immediate early warning. We can be alerted to a tornado warning and seek cover. We can vacate our homes in case of flooding or an approaching wildfire. As we deal in the likelihood of SHTF scenarios, Mother Nature is 100%.

But on a regional or national scale, we’re looking at more unpredictable events for which there is little to no early warning: an electromagnetic pulse, or perhaps a cyber attack on critical infrastructure, or a financial or monetary breakdown that plunges millions into a very real SHTF scenario. The cyber attack on the New York Stock Exchange will have no direct effect on you, but the second- and third-order effects will be felt on every level and generate threats to your community. So what we should be preparing for is not the cyber attack itself, but for the follow-on effects of that cyber attack that will affect your community.

Regardless of the event, we need to be able to collect information to support decision making so we can keep our families safe. Should we bug in or bug out? If bugging out, which route should we take? If bugging in, how can we get early warning of approaching threats?

I’m going to break down a few ways that we can reduce the uncertainty in a SHTF situation. I spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan, and both of those countries were real life or death, 24/7 SHTF situations. As an intelligence analyst, my job was to keep the commander informed on the security situation and threat environment. His responsibility was to make decisions based on the intelligence we provided. If we had no incoming information, then we couldn’t produce intelligence. And this is why information is the basic building block of community security. If we want security in an SHTF scenario, then we need to know more about the threats. What we need is real-time intelligence gathering.

In 2014, a small group of volunteers and I battle tracked the Ferguson riots. The first step of battle tracking began with a process I call Intelligence Preparation of the Community. (You can watch the entire webinar here.) We analyzed the strength, disposition, and capabilities of local security forces. Knowing what equipment they had enabled us to better understand how they would react to unrest. We similarly analyzed the protest groups and identified associated individuals.

What both of these groups had in common is that they were both producing information of intelligence value. Through something as simple as listening to the police scanner, our team was able to plot out the current reported locations of law enforcement and the National Guard. Meanwhile on Twitter, we scanned the accounts of known protestors for real-time information.

In the image below, we took information reported on local emergency frequencies and potted those locations on the map using Google Earth.’Warfighter 33′ was the callsign for the National Guard Tactical Operations Center, which was set up in the Target parking lot. We also pinned several National Guard posts as they reported their locations. It wasn’t rocket science, but it started to help us understand the security situation. This is a very rudimentary form of signals intelligence, or SIGINT.


Through the night, we continued to use photographs uploaded into social media and news articles in order to identify the photos’ locations. Then we plotted them on a map. Pretty soon, we have a very good idea of which areas were generally safe and which areas had the most activity as the riots progressed and eventually burnt out. Had we lived in Ferguson, we could have used this intelligence to navigate our way to friends and family, or to help friends and family navigate away from the threats. All this information was publicly available, so we call it Open Source Intelligence, or OSINT.


So what do I do if there’s a grid-down situation?

That certainly complicates things. Before I answer that question, I want to ask you one: on a scale of 1 to 10, how important is intelligence in a SHTF situation? (I would say 10, but I am admittedly a bit biased.)

First understand that there may still be electricity in a grid-down environment. As long as there are generators, and given that there’s not been an EMP, then someone somewhere will have electricity. My local law enforcement agency claims to have enough fuel for two weeks of backup power were things were to go sideways. That’s good to know, and is the benefit of intelligence collection before an SHTF event, as opposed to a post-SHTF scramble. If they’re powered up and communicating in a SHTF situation, or perhaps some ham radio operators are, then we still need the capabilities to listen in. Otherwise, we’re going to be at a severe disadvantage.


Evidence gathering equipment used globally by military, law enforcement, governments, and intelligence agencies to interrogate mobile phones, GPS & portable digital devices, providing real-time capture of intelligence and evidence.

If there’s no power, then we’ll have to rely on Human Intelligence, called HUMINT. That means getting out and talking to people. It could mean a reconnaissance patrol. The horse-mounted cavalry were the eyes and ears of the commander before collection technology. Snipers and forward observers sitting in hide sides, whose responsibility it is to observe and report enemy activity, are often excellent intelligence collectors. An observation post equipped with a field phone, sending back intelligence information is another example.

While these are all military examples, there are similar community equivalents. Consider this: technology is a force multiplier. With SIGINT or OSINT, we can be very wide and very deep in our intelligence gathering. That’s a 1:n ratio. We have one collection platform, in this case a radio receiver, and we can scan a very wide band to collect information from anyone who’s transmitting. But when we deal with human intelligence, we’re often on a 1:1 ratio; that is, one collector speaking to one source at any given time. That’s a very slow and difficult way to do business.

So instead of 1:1, I want you to consider the scalability of that ratio. If one person is limited to gathering intelligence information from one person at at time, wouldn’t it makes sense to scale that ratio to 10:10 or 100:100? It absolutely would. Every set of eyes and ears is a sensor, so we as an intelligence element tasked with providing intelligence for community security should absolutely be interested in encouraging community members to passively collect lots of information. All that information is reported back to us, and then we’re engaged in the arduous task of compiling and evaluating that information in order to create intelligence.

Intelligence doesn’t produce itself, so it’s incumbent on us to build that capability. The more accurate information we have, the more wellinformed we can be. Without first being well-informed, making high-risk, time-sensitive decisions just got a whole lot more complicated.

  Introduction to Intelligence Tornadoes, flooding, and wildfires are just three examples of localized and very personal SHTF events that we’ve seen in the past month, and they illustrate the devastation of


You wake from a deep sleep to a screeching sound in the hallway. The smoke alarm is going off. You have just seconds to mentally understand what is happening, crawl out of bed, gather your family and head out the door to safety.

Once outside you perform a head-check, everyone is here. But your family is dressed in PJ’s and is not prepared for the cold December weather. Your cell phone was left charging so you have no way to call 911, and your car keys and wallet remain in the drawer you left them in. Your only option is to make a dash for the neighbor’s house to call the fire department. It takes the emergency services 30 minutes to respond, and by the time the fire is under control your house is destroyed and will never be inhabited again.

Where do you go? What do you do?

While house fires, flooding and other emergencies are things we hope never happen to us, there is a chance that it could occur. In 2012 there were 374,000 house fires resulting in over 7 billion dollars worth of damage and 2,385 deaths.

Once you realize that there is a risk of this scenario happening, you can either hope for the best and plan on figuring it out in the moment, or you can take just a few hours and prepare yourself mentally and physically so that you will not be forced to make life altering decisions without any forethought.

The purpose of a Household Emergency Bug out Bag is to have a small bag ready with supplies and resources you may need if you were forced to temporarily abandon your house due to an extremely localized emergency (just you). This bag will not contain any sort of camping, food preparation or “survival” type supplies that you would find in a Bug Out Bag. The assumption is that in the event of a house fire or similar emergency you would have resources like hotels, friends houses, insurance and restaurants to fall back on. If those outside support structures were not there, you would want the more comprehensive supplies found in one of the other Bug Out Bag varieties.

What to pack in a Household Emergency Bug out Bag

The rule of three is a pretty good place to start. The rule of three is a common idea that can be summed up as follows.

You can survive for:

  • Three minutes without air
  • Three hours without shelter in an extreme weather condition.
  • Three days without water.
  • Three weeks without food.

Lets look at how each of these relate to a Household Emergency Bug Out Bag

Three minutes without air


Have a small bag ready with supplies and resources you may need if you were forced to temporarily abandon your house.

If you are preparing to leave your home in the event of a fire, it is critical to have some sort of filtration for breathing. Many deaths in fires are related to smoke inhalation, and having a proper mask can be the difference between an inconvenience and death.

A standard n95 mask will help filter out soot particles, but will not help for carbon monoxide.

Just having a mask though is not good enough.

You should have early warning systems set in your home to detect when the air is becoming poisonous. Smoke and Carbon monoxide detectors should be in every room and hallway. You should also think about different ways to escape from upper floors if the route is blocked. Having an Emergency Ladder could help reduce the chance of injury if you are forced to leave your home from a second or third floor window. In addition, arm yourself to clear a path through your home by having a Fire Extinguisher in your bedroom and scattered strategically on every floor.

Once in college I was living on the third floor of a three level apartment building. The fire alarm had a habit of going off at odd times due to people smoking in the hallways so I wasn’t particularly worried when it went off at 11pm. I went down the stairwell to the first floor to turn it off at the breaker when I saw the first floor residents making a beeline for the door. They informed me that there was an actual fire in the kitchen of their apartment. I should have just evacuated then and waited for the fire department, but being young and stupid I ran back to my apartment to grab my laptop. On the way out I noticed the fire extinguisher in our living room. I dropped my laptop and grabbed the fire extinguisher instead. I ran down to the first floor, opened the apartment door and was immediately hit by a wall of smoke. Holding my breath, I raced into the kitchen and emptied the fire extinguisher onto the stove which was fully engulfed in flames and spreading to the wall. With the last bit of energy from the extinguisher the fire went out and I ran back outside to get fresh air.

It felt great saving the day and without the fire extinguisher there would have been much more significant damage to the house since it took the fire department another 5 minutes to arrive. But at the end of the day I think it probably would have been better to just get out since everything in my apartment could have been replaced if it was lost. So your first priority in a fire should be getting you and your family out safely. Your family photos, collections and stuff can be replaced or rebuilt, but loved ones cannot. Even pets can be replaced, don’t risk your life trying to save a cat.

However, if you live in a rural area or don’t trust the emergency services to respond promptly, it would be irresponsible to not have the means to stop small fires in their tracks. A handy fire extinguisher can be the difference between some damage to a room or the total loss of your home.

Three Hours Without Shelter

Emergencies never happen when we expect, that is why it is good to prepare ahead of time.

If you are leaving your house because of a fire or pipe breaking, there is a chance you will not be back for several days or weeks. If you house is destroyed, it could be months before you have another permanent residence.

Are you prepared for this possibility?

In case you need to leave home in the middle of the night when you were sleeping, pack a set of seasonally appropriate clothes in your bag. This will mean if you run outside in the winter to escape a fire you will have some long clothing to keep you warm until emergency services arrive. A change of clothes will also help if you need to go stay at a hotel overnight and are not allowed to enter your home due to an investigation or unsafe condition. Additional clothes can be bought at a later date if you can’t get home for a few days.


Apart from just clothes, you need to think about a roof for your head. Hotels are a great short-term solution. Some insurances will even reimburse you for your temporary lodging if you are displaced, but you need to have the money to front for the stay. Either keep $1000 cash for immediate expenses or an extra credit card in your bag that can be used for emergencies.

For long-term, make sure your home insurance is enough to cover the full replacement cost of your home, and if you have an option to get your temporary lodging paid for while you wait for your home to be rebuilt this could be extremely valuable coverage to have.

Most insurance information is online, but print out a copy of your policy and key phone numbers that you will keep in the bag so you can call them as soon as possible to get a claim processing.

Three Days Without Water

Water is definitely not as critical here, since you will be leaving to a safer place with normal services. However it is recommended that you have one water bottle per family member in the bag so you have something to drink between leaving your home and your destination.

Three Weeks Without Food

You are not going to be stranded for weeks without food in this scenario. A granola bar for each family member should be sufficient.

Outside of the normal rule of three considerations, there are additional items you should keep on hand.

Copies of essential paperwork – You should store your originals in a fireproof safe, but in your emergency bag keep copies of:

  • Homeowners/renters insurance.
  • Car insurance.
  • Titles and deeds.
  • Drivers/firearms licenses, passports.
  • Your inventory of valuables (for insurance replacement policies).
  • Flash Drive of precious family photos and videos.


Stanley FatMax Xtreme – For serious destruction.

There aren’t many tools that you should need, but there are a few that could be invaluable.

  1. A Large Flashlight – This can be used for light and breaking windows for escape, you should have one for each adult in case you need to split up to search for family members. I recommend the Maglite 3D cell LED flashlights for this application. Once one of my relatives was responsible for checking in on a friend’s house while they were away. She asked to borrow this flashlight and took it with her for her stop. Unfortunately, a pipe had burst and the entire house was flooded. When the fire department arrived to shut off the power and do an investigation, they asked to borrow this flashlight because it was brighter than the ones they had!
  2. A Crowbar (for breaking into a locked child’s door).
  3. Cell phone charger.


No one ever hopes to leave their home in an emergency. But if you had to leave on a moments notice, preparing a Household Emergency Bag could help reduce the stress of an already unimaginable situation and reduce your risk of personal injury.

  You wake from a deep sleep to a screeching sound in the hallway. The smoke alarm is going off. You have just seconds to mentally understand what is happening, crawl


Rabbits truly are the “one-size-fits-all” preppers domestic livestock and after reading the reasons why raising rabbits could be ideal for any prepper, we think you will agree.

Raising Rabbits for the obvious benefit: Meat

Believe it or not, rabbits actually are the most efficient of all livestock in converting feed to muscle mass. That basically means that it is going to take less pellets/grass/weeds per pound of meat to raise a rabbit to butchering size than for any other animal, including chickens. At the same time, rabbits are also faster at reaching butchering size than chickens. For example, if you start incubating eggs the same day that the rabbits are bred, rabbits will be ready to harvest about a month before the chickens are.

Furthermore, rabbits are a little more efficient in terms of man hours and equipment investment required. The female rabbits (known as “does”) do all the work of raising kits. All a person needs to do is supply a nest box. On the other hand, you need an incubator (and electricity) to efficiently raise chickens. (Hens are not the most efficient at raising chicks as this has been bred out of them over time. Actually, even in ancient Egypt there were commercial hatcheries for raising chickens.) Yes, we do keep chickens here, but only for their eggs. Rabbits can easily be kept in cages, even inside the house if need be.

A rabbit will provide enough meat for a family dinner, unlike goats and pigs which will provide a lot more meat, but will also require refrigeration or other means of preserving the excess. Rabbit is an all-white meat that is low in fat and cholesterol while being very high in protein. A common objection to rabbit meat is “rabbit starvation.” This happens when an already truly starving person eats only wild rabbits for a long period. Wild rabbits naturally have far less fat due to the circumstances of their existence.


Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits

Domesticated rabbits, on the other hand, are a bit more sedentary and do acquire some fat as a result.

Rabbit meat will also be an important source of food for our dogs. While some cringe at the thought of raising cute bunnies for dog food, our dogs will be critical to our safety and peace of mind in the coming years. Not only will they help protect us and our children during the day, but they will also be on the alert at night, allowing us to get some much-needed sleep. Our dogs will have to be fed. Commercial dog food takes a whole lot of storage space and doesn’t have a long shelf life. And history shows that the woods will be depleted of wild squirrels and rabbits rather quickly.

Bear in mind, however, that not all rabbits are created equal. In fact, many rabbit breeds raised in the US today (and actually, all over the developed world) are merely pets. Commercial meat breeds to consider raising include Californian, New Zealand, Satin, and Flemish giant (for larger families). Rabbit does will need to be bred at least twice per year to maintain higher numbers of kits in the litters. If a doe is bred only once per year, the number of kits in each litter will be lower. Of course, does can be bred much more often.


Bunny beans, bunny gold, droppings, doodles—whatever you call it, rabbit manure is by far the most desired of all manures by gardeners. It is higher in nitrogen than any of the other common (chicken, cow, horse, goat, pig, sheep) livestock manures. And nitrogen is what you want for growing lush salad greens and the early phases of corn, tomatoes, and other vegetables. Rabbit manure, like all other livestock manures, is very high in organic matter, which will improve drainage and soil structure.


Rabbit droppings are ideal for boosting decomposition in the compost pile as well

Rabbit manure has all the benefits of steer or chicken manure, but with a substantial advantage. The manures from most other livestock are “hot” and must be composted before adding to the garden. On the other hand, bunny beans are “cold” and can be applied directly into the garden. They are already perfectly pelletized, making controlled application a cinch.

For those gardeners who prefer to compost waste first, rabbit droppings are ideal for boosting decomposition in the compost pile as well. And if you really don’t want to apply the droppings directly to the garden, but don’t wish to wait for them to compost either, you can make a compost tea in just a few days. Simply add a large scoop of manure to a five-gallon bucket, fill with water, and briefly stir it a few times per day for a couple of days. Give your vegetables some of this brew and watch your plants really take off.

And finally, one non-garden use for rabbit pellets (but only the nice dry ones, not the urine-soaked ones): dog treats. Yep, you heard it here first. Most veterinarians will confirm that no self-respecting dog will pass up the opportunity to beg for a few of these gems. They are actually full of vitamins.
In a TEOTWAWKI situation, those people who have decided to raise rabbits for meat and manure will be extremely fortunate. They will be able to instantly kick into meat production for their own families, as well as producing some for barter with others. Let’s face it—very few people will have the desire or the time or resources to raise dozens or hundreds of rabbits. Far better to let the rabbit doe raise her kits to eight weeks of age and then sell breeding pairs to others so that they can supply their own meat and manure needs.


And for those who really want to maximize the value of their rabbits, consider the following:

While rabbit pelts have some limited uses in clothing, the fiber from Angora rabbits is far more versatile, and valuable. Angora fiber is seven to eight times warmer than sheep’s wool, while at the same time being much softer, much lighter, and hypoallergenic. It is ideal for baby clothing. While it will take a little practice to learn to spin Angora—like one or two hours—after that it is easy. Spinning wheels are a tad pricey, but Angora can easily be spun on drop spindles. Indeed, there are many spinners who have nice spinning wheels that actually prefer to use a drop spindle for spinning Angora. Drop spindles can run from a few to a hundred dollars; I have one that I purchased for $30 for spinning angora. I actually prefer the ones I’ve made myself from dowels and wooden wheels.
Another advantage of raising Angoras is that some women really benefit from having a creative outlet, and especially so in times of stress. Even a few minutes at the end of the day, before settling down to sleep, can be very calming. In addition, it is also a good activity for younger girls. While one may question the value of time spent spinning and knitting Angora fiber now, once those mittens or socks are on in the dead of winter, all doubts will cease.


French Angora’s – Meat-wise, they weigh in at 7.5 to 10.5 lbs. It’s a good size for the family dinner

Should you decide that Angora rabbits are a good fit for your situation, I’d recommend French Angoras for several reasons, but basically they fit the prepper’s ideal best. Meat-wise, they weigh in at 7.5 to 10.5 lbs. It’s a good size for the family dinner. Giant and German Angoras are larger, but Giants have a reputation for being difficult to breed and produce a litter and also require frequent grooming. Germans may be a good choice, but they are hard to find in North America. English and Satin Angoras are smaller, with Satins having a higher maintenance coat and English having a much, much higher maintenance coat. Avoid crossbreeds—their offspring will be unpredictable with regards to size, coat maintenance requirements, and whether they actually produce good fiber for spinning.

And while on the topic of coat maintenance, you’re probably wondering how much time exactly is required? Really, it’s not much at all—my 11- and 14-year-old daughters spend less than five minutes per week per rabbit on grooming. However, junior rabbits generally require a bit more grooming as it takes a while for the guard hairs that prevent matting to start growing in. Contrast that with the English Angoras which can require up to thirty minutes per day.


Pets will be a luxury that ultimately few will be able to afford after TEOTWAWKI hits. But an animal can be important therapy for some people. If the pet can also have a productive purpose at the same time, so much the better.

With their relatively small space requirements, rabbits can be kept indoors if necessary, due to being an apartment dweller or to protect them from being stolen. They are much more easily transported and can even ride in a passenger’s lap. Rabbits are perfectly quiet—even a next-door neighbor won’t know you’re raising them. If your rabbits make more manure than what you need for your garden, you can barter the excess to other gardeners in exchange for some produce. With the ability to produce meat faster and more efficiently than any other domestic livestock, and for all the other reasons listed above, rabbits really are one-size-fits-all for preppers.

  Rabbits truly are the “one-size-fits-all” preppers domestic livestock and after reading the reasons why raising rabbits could be ideal for any prepper, we think you will agree. Raising Rabbits for the

Preppers are a lot like spiders.

Generally speaking, web producing spiders create webs to trap their prey. They rely on vibrations they detect on the lines of web to know when it is time to react. Otherwise, they keep a low profile and lie in wait- vigilant…preparing to react. The logical perceptions of men and women who observe, reflect and act on the vibrations we pick up from the various avenues of communication and information gathering all around us, makes us much more sensitive to events than the general public.

Recently, there were two incidents which I feel preppers should stop and take stock of. Situational awareness is broader than just your immediate surroundings, it is the world we live in and the trends swirling around us every day.

The first was the incident in Michigan. A man used his vehicle to mow down some innocent cyclists. The act itself stands alone as being horrific. There is no question of his guilt. But it is the vibrations from the news media that made me take a second look. The media quickly used images and posting from his face book page-to paint psychological portrait of the man even before he had his first day in court.

Most if not all of us maintain a presence on various websites, chat rooms, Facebook pages and the like. Free speech and the right to speak our minds is a RIGHT which we all have and are not afraid to use. However, we should always be aware- that our postings could be used against us. A quote here a quote there- taken out of context, is all it takes to destroy any stand, or position we might want to take.

The second incident would be the mass shooting in Orlando Florida. I doubt if I need to convey any of the details. This too was a horrific event. But, all of us that make the effort to be prepared, for any abnormal situation, to defend our family and our homes- must take stock of the vibrations from this incident. This event is another warning that politicians are riding the GUNS ARE BAD bandwagon to not only get elected but as a solution to resolve the issues of gun violence that the media blows up larger than life itself.

Gun control will not solve the problem of violence. There are enough laws already on the books that adding more won’t solve the problem. People who have military looking weapons are not bad people just because they own this type of weapon. But, more and more the media are painting that picture and controlling the message. We should at least be cognizant of this threat as we communicate with one another.


But addressing one facet of a problem is like looking though a kaleidoscope and only seeing one image. It seems to me that our government needs to look at how society in all its many facets influences the very life style that we are trying to prevent. How we address mental Illness? How do we combat the digital recruitment of terrorist groups?

Our county went crazy when they were told that the NSA was collecting Metadata from cell phones. The ACLU was up in arms when they learned that police departments were keeping Muslims under surveillance.

Images from body cameras worn by police officers are in some cases used to convict a police officer in the media before he or she has any chance to receive a fair investigation or a day in court. By the time they do have that day- a verdict that does not match public opinion- is rejected and the officer is subjected to an unjust fate.

We as a country need to decide what our governments should be allowed to do in order to keep our country safe. We also need to be able to place safeguards to prevent them for abusing this power. All these different facets and many more need to be addressed and decisions made before we can ever turn the tide of this violent environment that we live in.

But before this happens, people like us will receive the evil eye. People like us must stay aware of the vibrations and be prepared. This will be a SHTF event that our bug out bags will not help us with. That our weapons will not necessary save us from. Our weapons are our minds and our abilities to understand what is going on and being able to adapt and overcome the unknown obstacles.

Are you Spider senses tingling?

Preppers are a lot like spiders. Generally speaking, web producing spiders create webs to trap their prey. They rely on vibrations they detect on the lines of web to know when

If you are looking into becoming more self-sufficient, one of the first places you can begin to impact your reliance on our modern systems is in how you get the food you eat. Most of us get our daily bread from the grocery store which as we have pointed out before, works pretty darn well if the grocery store is full of food, you can afford to pay for that food and you can get to the store. Fortunately for us, that is usually the case.

Convenience is a great thing, but we are reliant on a lot of systems for that convenience to work. Take some of those systems away and you could have problems. If there is a disruption in the supply chain, stores might not be restocked. If there are conditions that prevent you from getting out of your house like road closures due to flooding or ice you may not even be able to make it to the store. If you lose your job, you might not be able to afford to purchase food for your family.

I realize that while the world is still spinning that most of us reading these words don’t have to worry about that, but those are real examples of how your dependence solely on that grocery store could leave you in a pinch. Preppers can mitigate some of the inherent risks with the traditional model of food acquisition and availability by raising their own food. Gardens are normally the first thing that springs to mind, but smaller livestock make great additions as well as sources of protein.

Once you have a good garden going, people tend to look at chickens and rabbits to fill the holes in their food plans. Chickens are excellent for meat and their egg laying production and rabbits are prolific breeders. Both are relatively low-maintenance animals and can give you quite a considerable return on your investment and provide you with a source of food that isn’t dependent on you getting to the grocery store down the road.

If you are new to raising chickens or still considering trying this out on your homestead, one aspect of raising chickens that you should be aware of is that chickens produce fewer eggs in the winter. If you are counting on eggs for your diet, this could be alarming and several people have asked why chickens stop laying eggs in the first place.


Why do chickens stop laying eggs?

There are really a few reasons why chickens could be less dependable at any time of year but I will go over a few of the more common reasons below.

  • Shorter days = Less light – Chickens rely on their endocrine system to send hormones out that tell them to lay eggs. The endocrine system in chickens is affected by many things, but sunlight is one of them and when there is less daylight, chickens can lay fewer eggs.
  • Improper Nutrition – Just like any other animal a chicken needs a good balanced diet in order to produce eggs. The better her nutrition, the better her health, egg production and even the quality of the eggs.
  • Broodiness – Broody chickens are doing what comes natural really and they are trying to hatch the eggs that they and other chickens have laid. If you let a bunch of eggs collect, they may try to sit on them in order to hatch these eggs. When they are doing this, they are not laying additional eggs. This is pretty easy to remedy by removing the eggs at least once per day.
  • Age – Chickens, like women are born with all of the eggs they will ever lay. Not necessarily in “Grade A Large” sizes thankfully, but 2-3 years is a good guideline for many breeds. Once they have passed that age, or their eggs are all gone more precisely, they will no longer lay. We usually purchase a few each year to replenish the supply and sometimes if you purchase the same types older chickens can be mixed in with the newer. I am still trying to figure out if I want to cull the old before getting new. That would tend to fix some acclimation problems as well as keep me from purchasing food for birds that aren’t giving back so to speak, but there is the moral side of the argument that says I should take care of them because they took care of me. I guess it depends on how hungry I get…
  • Disease – There are many diseases that can affect egg laying in chickens. If you suspect any of your chickens is sick, it is best to consult a local veterinarian that specializes in poultry.


Shedding a little light on the issue of fewer eggs in the winter.

Is there any way to help your chickens lay more eggs in winter?

Many of the reasons why chickens stop laying eggs are going to be out of your control, but you can cheat Mother Nature in one area. Daylight.

Simply putting a light bulb in your chickens coop in the winter time will mimic the longer days of summer and tell their endocrine systems to produce eggs on the usual schedule. If you are going to do this, I would keep the light on a timer though so it doesn’t stay on 24 hours a day. The amount of daylight they should receive shouldn’t be longer than a long summer day and will still give you their fullest egg production. Leaving the light on around the clock would seem to cheat them out of a little rest.

If you are installing a light in a chicken coop you need to be aware of potential fire hazards. I keep pine flake for the bedding in my coop and I know that wouldn’t react well to a hot bulb. The bulb should be mounted high enough so the chickens can’t burn themselves on it obviously. I would also protect the bulb with some wire mesh just to be safe.

You can add a heat lamp in there if your climate warrants the additional protection. I put a heat lamp on my water, but not in the coop and they seem to do fine. There are studies that say the red light puts chickens in a more relaxed and chilled out mood if you can believe that, but a normal white/yellow light should be just fine also.

What chicken tips do you have? Do you light up the coop or is it dark for your girls in the winter?

If you are looking into becoming more self-sufficient, one of the first places you can begin to impact your reliance on our modern systems is in how you get the


One Month after SHTF; Are you Psychologically Prepared?

Psychological preparedness is a radically important part of survivalism and might possibly be the determining factor for long-term survival. In fact, the first step toward getting prepared is making a conscious affirmation to develop a will to live. I am writing this article because I suspect that most people probably have no idea where or how to begin psychological preparation for SHTF. One can only wonder about the psychological well-being of most Americans given the statistics of Americans on antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, mood altering drugs, etc. We live in an isolated world where people mentally escape into social media, television and Pokemon-go.

I developed a five step mental practice for psychological preparedness for SHTF. When or if certain horrifying events unfold, I plan to not be completely shocked but to quickly move into acceptance and action. I have already considered this scenario and planned as best I could in advance. I feel psychologically prepared because I faced these scenarios in my mind already, and overcame. I visualize myself going through possible emotionally unsettling events in SHTF and plan my emotional response. I also gather possible preps or plans that can be done in advance of these horrendous situations. Sometimes my plan is just knowing that I have decided what I would do, could do and absolutely will not do according to my principles. I’ve already considered a moral justification for certain events and plan to not torture myself with guilt should I need to act to defend myself or family.

First, I will explain the five step mental practice for psychological preparation for SHTF. I created this psychological preparation based on my personal experiences and study in philosophy, religions and psychology. Second, I will list 15 emotionally difficult events to process which could possibly happen in SHTF for which I personally psychologically prepare.

Five Step Mental Practice for Psychological Preparedness: Admit, Reflect, Observe, Resolve, Create.

Step One:

Admit the possibility of certain events. You may benefit from focusing on the reality of one particular disturbing event. Break out of your psychological comfort zone and actually ponder a variety of unpleasant, shocking and otherwise disturbing ideas which you may possibly have to face in SHTF. Humans naturally like to avoid ideas which cause pain and discomfort. Our society shames us into believing we are ‘doomers’ or ‘fear-mongers’ if we consider certain ideas. These ideas exist and their materialization are a real possibility. Think to yourself ‘If this happens, I will overcome it. Life is always changing and full of unexpected opportunities. I will prepare to thrive. Sometimes events are horrid but there are also many wonderful events in life. Everything passes eventually. I will go through this and good things are waiting for me in life.’

Step Two:
Reflect specifically on your initial feelings regarding each SHTF event. Notice your mental dialogue. Think of each series of thoughts and each conversation you have with yourself. Perhaps one series of thoughts is nervous and anxious, another is depressed, another is like a planning schedule book making a list of things that need to be done. You are the master of these thoughts and you have the ability to direct these thoughts into a productive plan. You control how much mental energy you want to spend upon each emotion. Think to yourself “I considered this event before it happened which gave me a chance to plan and become strong. I know whom I am; I am a survivor. I acknowledge my fears, anxieties, grief and there is a proper time and appropriate way to express my emotions. People throughout time overcame these events and I too will overcome. I will channel my thoughts and energy into a productive path forward for myself and family.”

Frayed Rope about to Break

I visualize myself going through possible emotionally unsettling events in SHTF and plan my emotional response.

Step Three:
Observe your thought process of grief associated with the difficult SHTF event. SHTF will not only include the death of strangers, neighbors, friends and possibly loved ones but will include other types of loss. Death comes in many forms, such as: the loss of a way of life, the loss of comfort, the loss of normalcy, the loss of dreams for the future, the loss of expectations about the way life is, should or will be., the loss of status, the loss of physical wealth. Psychologists, like Kubler Ross, suggest that humans go through stages of grief and mourning: A. Denial and Isolation, B, Anger, C. Bargaining, D. Depression, E. Acceptance. Observe the series of thoughts you have regarding each of the stages of grief when you consider an emotionally difficult SHTF event. For example, how does this event make me angry? How depressed would I feel if this event were unfolding right now? What are my emotional losses during this event? Think to yourself, “Certain losses in life are very painful but I will use these experiences to become more loving and wise. I will redefine normal, create new dreams and live in the present with hope. There is a time for grief and mourning and a time for joy. Sadness is only present because I have loved and experienced good things, which is a blessing.”

Step Four:
Resolve ANGER over INJUSTICE. Resolve fear. Resolve your line in the sand. Resolve what you will and will not do if desperate. Resolve to be honest with yourself, without judgement. Some things in life are so horrible that they are radically difficult to imagine, endure and accept. The problem of pain and justice has long haunted humanity, reflected in literature, art, myths and historical narratives. Sometimes you don’t understand why certain things happen or what meaning they have. Sometimes you will never understand. Other times you will only understand years later. Some things are disturbing and break your heart. Yet, for every ugly event in life there are plenty of opportunities to choose joy, love, peace and happiness. Think to yourself, “For whatever reason painful and unjust things happen in my life, I hope to find a meaning and lesson from my experiences. I reject being angry at things I cannot change and that are in the past. I will live in the present moment and choose to become happy, to live and to love. I trust that good will eventually overcome and justice will prevail. I will not simply react to events in my life, I will form an intelligent plan of action in my own way, on my own terms.”

Step Five:
Create a thinking method so that you feel empowered and in control. Create a plan. Ultimately, in any SHTF scenario you can only control yourself, if that. Knowing yourself is power. You CAN always choose how you will react to any situation. You can choose how you will feel and change your negative feelings to keep them from hindering your progress. Acting based on your principles and ideas, not simply reacting to stimuli, will help you achieve your goals amid a crisis. Endurance of pain can be used to build psychological strength, if you choose and control your thinking patterns. Think to yourself, “I knew this could happen, I prepared and I will overcome this through my positive actions and emotions which I control. I will create and the goodness I want in my life. I will improve my life and the lives of those around me. I will keep learning and improving for all the days in my life. I will create goals that are attainable and plans to achieve them over time.”

15 emotionally difficult events to process which could possibly happen in SHTF for which I personally psychologically prepare.

Here is my unpleasant list of things which we may encounter in SHTF but often never consider. Most of the apocalyptic genre movies that I have seen fail to adequately include these possibilities. I compiled this list from several sources, including: what I have read historically happens during mass societal unrest when people become desperate, people I have talked to that personally lived through the recent wars in Lebanon and my own imagination about what could logically happen during certain SHTF situations. The 15 ideas on this list most likely happen, or begin to happen, within the first month of SHTF:

1. Suicides. When the lights go out permanently and the food is finished people will lose hope. The realization that life will never be the same will overwhelm many. In the USA depression and suicides are already high, pre-SHTF. Hopelessness will cause mass suicides and people see death as an inevitable option. Simply realizing they don’t have food for their kids or pets will send some people into a suicidal state. I imagine in SHTF after one month there will be a horrifying epidemic of suicides, mass suicides and suicide parties. Walking into your neighbor’s house only to discover all of them dead in their bed will become a common sight. Suicides are contagious and once they start they will spread.

2. Starving people will eat their pets and any pet they find. Desperation will cause some to eat anything that moves. Parents will choose to sacrifice their pet in order to try to prolong the life of their children. As societies declines homeless pets will increase such that gangs of dogs and cats will be an indicator that certain SHTF scenarios may be pending like economic collapse. However, a month into SHTF it will become harder to find homeless pets because they have already ended up on someone’s dinner table. The guilt of eating family pets will drive some to suicide.

3. Bodies will pile up and there will be no local process for burials or clean up after people die. Whomever is left will have to deal with burials, possibly of mass people. The smell of rotting people will be overwhelming. This smell will attract rats, bugs and all kinds of pests. People will have to get together, dig graves and move these bodies with their own hands. People will find themselves having to bury their friends, family and neighbors. The smell of the dead will permeate throughout cities.

 4. Garbage will pile up like never before in the cities. When the toilets no longer work people will not understand that they need to bury their human waste. Garbage collection will cease. The smell of the garbage piles will rival the smell of the corpses. The garbage will explode into bugs and likewise attract a variety of pests. Most importantly to realize, the garbage piles are a serious danger because they will cause sickness. Lack of sanitation will lead to disease epidemics unseen in western society. I’m sure there will be a stage where people will sort though the garbage looking for food and become sick from eating from the garbage.

5. Lice, fleas, rats and pestilence will increase in the warmer climates. The days of controlling pestilence through medicine, bug spray, rodent poison and treatments will be over and a lack of sanitation will attract even more pestilence. With pestilence will come diseases. People will hunt and eat rats.

6. Simple diseases and infections will be fatal. There will be a return of diseases which people are not familiar with in modern society because they had been nearly eliminated. The lack of sanitation will cause all sorts of diseases. Stress weakens the immune system and combined with lack of medicine, lack of good nutrition and poor sanitation people will die more frequently from simple infections that would have been nothing pre-SHTF. People will drink unclean water, eat rotten food, and live in filth as diseases spread like wildfire. I have a creepy fear that in SHTF rats will eat dead bodies and people will eat rats that ate dead bodies plus some will eat dead bodies and a ‘mad cow’ type human disease will become an issue.

7. People will become cannibals. A certain percentage of the population in SHTF will definitely turn on itself and resort to cannibalism because they are starving. People don’t know how to forage for weeds or bugs and especially in cities there will be people who would rather eat their neighbors than die. Maybe some will begin their cannibalism simply because they don’t want to watch their children die. Some people will be so hungry that when they come upon a corpse they will decide to eat it or feed it to their children.


Some people will simply shut down in the face of overwhelming despair.

8. People will go insane. Mass insanity will be noticeable within the first month of SHTF for a number of reasons. Some people will go insane because they are off their medication. Some people will be insane because their fix of illegal drugs has come to an end. A likely number of drugged out junkies or alcoholics in SHTF will either die from withdrawal or go insane. Some people will simply go insane because they lack the coping skills to deal with life in SHTF. Of course, people who become cannibals will be insane. Some people who witness something horrible like the death of a loved one or find themselves in a violent self-defense situation will just not be able to cope with the reality at hand.

9. Self-Defense will become an issue. Ahead of SHTF you need to prepare yourself for the idea that if someone comes to harm or kill you or your family there could be a time when hiding isn’t enough. How far will you be willing to go to protect yourself and family? When you do what is necessary to maintain your safety you cannot fall apart psychologically.

10. Human slaves. When there are no laws you will encounter a variety of really sinister people who take advantage of SHTF in unexpected ways. If there are no punishments for crimes a certain number of people will act on barbaric and uncivilized urges. I imagine that some people who become cannibals will have a few people they store and use as slaves before they eat them. Also, some perverts will have slaves for sexual exploitation.

11. Sexual exploitation. With no punishments for crime and rising insanity sexual crimes will increase in SHTF. Crimes in general will go up, but I anticipate sexual crimes will be the most intense increase because some people will decide they want to party until they die. Gangs will exploit women of all ages and force them to trade sex for food and supplies. Women will willingly offer themselves for food and supplies as well. A desperate mother with nothing to trade to feed her child will become an easy target for sexual exploitation. Some mothers will sell their own children for food or supplies.

12. Gangs will increase. There will be groups of looters who go from house to house looking for supplies, food and things they wish to steal. Most likely there will be some gangs who don’t understand that once the lights go off they won’t come back so gangs will be stealing completely useless items like televisions and electronics. Some people actually do not prepare for SHTF because they have the mindset that if they are desperate in any way they can always steal what they need and take things by force because of their weapons and numbers in their gang. Some people actually look forward to opportunities to riot, loot and have crime sprees.


13. Cults and religious extremes. Tragedies tend to make people more religious. A number of people during SHTF will look for religious answers for their experiences. There will be a few people who take this opportunity to gain power through becoming cult leaders. People will be vulnerable to someone who has answers, offers comfort and provides direction. Also, a certain number of people will believe it is the apocalypse and they might tend to believe anyone who has a silver tongue and claims to be Jesus, or some kind of savior. Even pre-SHTF there are cults and people will certain mental problems that cause them to literally believe they are Jesus, Superman or even the Lucifer. Certainly, this sort of experience will increase in SHTF. Unfortunately, there might be some people who believe that God is punishing them and they must repent through sacrificing someone or something. People might form cults where they go around ‘sacrificing’ whomever they deem ‘sinful’ that they think incurred God’s wrath upon humanity.

14. Squatters, displaced and homeless people. When people begin evacuating the city on foot in search of food, supplies or a place to avoid SHTF there will obviously be an increase of squatters. The entire idea of ‘ownership’ of one’s house, food, possessions and land will be under scrutiny by mass numbers of people who think ownership is earned through taking what they want. There will be amazing acts of both ugliness and generosity. On the positive side, racial tensions will most likely dissolve because people will eventually need each other and starvation knows no skin color. For self-defense or other reasons there will be sneaky people who booby trap their house, taint food and set traps for squatters.

15. Emerging systems of justice that are very primitive. After SHTF and during the period of restoration once society slowly begins to restore order there will be a return less tolerant systems of justice. There will be more of an ‘eye for an eye’ way of thinking in society. Small groups will team together and create a strict, enforced code of ethics. People who rape, murder, steal or violate laws will be made a public example of what happens to criminals. Public executions will be common and swift, most likely in the form of hanging. In the worst case scenario, a sinister leader will rise to power.

In conclusion, no one wants to think about, much less actually go through these emotionally disturbing events. These events will never be pleasant but you can assign them value and meaning. Through psychological preparedness, you control the level of horror you will emotionally experience as well as your emotional reactions. You control if, how and when you will react. If you have already contemplated the darker side of SHTF and formulated a mental plan, as well as physical plans, you will definitely feel more in control when the world seemingly spins out of control.

  One Month after SHTF; Are you Psychologically Prepared? Psychological preparedness is a radically important part of survivalism and might possibly be the determining factor for long-term survival. In fact, the first

This article will try to answer many questions around self-defense for preppers. I have written a fair amount on the subject in other articles, so this will have links to other information for more detailed analysis and opinion. As always, I welcome your comments below.

Why do you need to plan for self-defense?

Many years ago when I started prepping the world wasn’t radically different. We didn’t live in any Nirvana of goodwill and peace, but the idea of preparing to defend your life from bad guys was met with much more resistance than it does now. We would talk about fortifying our homes, purchasing firearms and enrolling in training to hone our skills but frequently you would have someone comment to the effect that we were all paranoid, crazy and disillusioned idiots who saw fear lurking around every corner.

Flash forward to today and there is much less push back when we talk about self-defense. People have seen far too many incidents in the news of violence happening. All over the world we witness mobs going out of control, of riots after natural disasters, incidents with police or even sporting events where innocent people are hurt. The world can be a dangerous place now and I don’t believe a majority of people anymore think it is foolish to consider being prepared to defend your family.

Read More: Top 5 Firearms you need to get your hands on NOW!

What we do have is a lot of argument about the best means, equipment, practices and policies. I won’t be able to debate all of those here, but I will lay out my plans and suggestions below.

What are your self-defense options?

The dictionary defines self-defense as “the act of defending one’s person when physically attacked, as by countering blows or overcoming an assailant”. I believe that each of us has a right to defend ourselves when attacked. No one has a right to take my life that trumps my right to stop them from doing so. The threats faced run the gambit though when we enter the world of prepping. My suggestions will almost exclusively focus on situations where your life is on the line and the imminent threat of deadly violence is what we are talking about.

Psychological Self Defense – Can you talk or bribe someone out of violence against you? Potentially, yes but that requires skill and luck and the right set of circumstances. Assume you are out one evening and a man tries to rob you. Could you talk him out of it by appealing to his humanity or shaming him? Maybe, but I don’t want to risk failing. When it comes to self-defense I want to escalate appropriately to deal with the threat immediately. Some may feel that this is the first level you should try.


Physical Self-Defense – If talking the bad guy out of hurting you doesn’t work you may still have options. Can you run? Do you want to fight this person? Could you win? Are you sure? Do they have a weapon? Can you overpower them and what if you do? I strongly believe that each of us should as part of a well-balanced approach would be physically fit, mentally sharp and experienced in hand-to-hand combat, but that simply isn’t a reality for many people. Could a strong, fit man take out another strong fit man of approximately the same weight? Sure. Could a small diminutive woman take down a much larger attacker with martial arts? Of course. Is that you?

Read More: How to select the best handgun for home defense.

Physical self-defense in a life threatening situation for me would not be my first option either because I don’t want the bad guy anywhere near me. If I have no other means to defend myself it will come to this, but I wouldn’t use this by default.

Weapons based self-defense – To me, this approach is far superior for more people in more situations than the other two options. For starters, weapons are the great equalizer. A 110 pound female can defend herself with a weapon effectively against a 300 pound man or even two. Could she also go ninja and bring him to his knees? Sure, some could but could you? Firearms with proper instruction, used to defend your life give you great advantages. It goes without saying there are drawbacks too, but as the saying goes. I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

What is a balanced approach to self-defense?

Obviously I advocate the responsible use of firearms for self-defense but there are times when I can’t carry a firearm or I simply don’t have one on me. When those scenarios appear, the other two options have to be looked at. Can I talk this person out of violence? Can I run and escape the situation? Can I overpower them with some other inanimate object like a fire extinguisher or baseball bat across the back of their head?

When I started prepping, it was with the vision of a world gone bad. My nightmare scenario was some form of economic collapse that brought horrible times and violence right to my front door. In thinking of that, I purchased several weapons that I thought would help me defend my family and assuming anything along the lines of a full-scale violent uprising happens, I still have those at my disposal.


Practice, Practice, Practice.

But most of us go through our daily lives without anarchy. We don’t have economic collapse happening now, at least to the scale that we might have imagined it with panic and looting in the streets of our neighborhoods. We go to work, go out to eat and come home, every day. Does that mean we don’t have to worry about self-defense until some cataclysmic event happens?

Will you be prepared to defend your family mentally?

I advocate being prepared for emergencies. For this to happen, you have to be ready now. It isn’t good enough to wait until something bad happens and then start worrying about how you will defend your family. You have to be prepared to defend them now and hope that you never face that situation.

If firearms are your choice of survival weapon, you should purchase them now and get some good training in now in the proper use and function of whatever weapon you choose. Concealed carry permit applications set records every year for the simple reason that people are getting prepared. What for? Who knows but if something happens you don’t want to be that guy headed to Walmart because you are hoping to buy a shotgun only to find they have been completely cleaned out. Take steps now.

I should also mention that none of the above advice means anything unless you are mentally prepared. Violence usually occurs very fast and hesitation can kill you just as quickly as doing nothing. If you aren’t prepared to take a life, you don’t need to purchase a tool designed to do just that. Whatever you decide you will be left with the responsibility of your actions. It is worth thinking about now while you have the luxury of time.

This article will try to answer many questions around self-defense for preppers. I have written a fair amount on the subject in other articles, so this will have links to