xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' June 2013 ~ The Prepared Guy

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Beyond the Basics - Power

Having a source of electrical power during an emergency may not an absolute necessity.  However, it will be a welcomed convenience, at least in our home.

First, ask yourself this question:  What are the minimum items that I need to power in an emergency?  My two most basic answers to this question are:

1.  Flashlights.  These are a basic staple of any emergency preparedness kit.  Flashlights are an everyday tool that you should always have with you.  Finding yourself in the dark can happen everyday.  

If you carry a concealed firearm you should always have a good quality, reliable light with you at all times.  If there's an intruder in your home when it's dark you had better be able to identify whether that person is a friend or foe before you pull the trigger.  

2.  Radios.  Any small radio will do but I recommend that you have an emergency radio with weather channels as well as short wave bands.  In a crisis the only form of communication that is almost always guaranteed to work is HAM radio.  This includes short and long wave radios.  If you truly want to be prepared get your HAM radio operators licence from the FCC and a HAM radio in either 2 meters and/or 440.  These are the most common bands and there are many people already actively monitoring and using these bands.  Two-Way FRS (family radio service) radios can also be effective tools during an emergency over short distances.  

Second, ask yourself these questions.  How am I going to power these tools in an emergency?  That's a simple question.  Batteries.  But, how will you power these devices in an extended crisis?  Can you store enough batteries?  If you have rechargeable batteries how are you going to charge them?  Powering these devices over a short period of time is easy, it's how to power them over an extended period of time that's the trick.    

The problem with power is that unless you change your lifestyle you will always need it.  In an emergency or crisis your lifestyle will change dramatically.  Unlike our day to day life, in an emergency there will be a stark difference between wants and needs.  

If you own a generator it can be a short term cure to many of your power needs.  You do, however, need to determine what your minimum power needs will be and choose the size of your generator appropriately.  You also need to determine how you will get that power to those critical appliances.  You should also understand the limitations of a gas powered generator.   You will either need to store fuel, which can be difficult and dangerous, or own a generator that is powered by natural gas or propane that can be connected directly to your natural gas line or propane tank.  Even these options may not be 100% reliable in an extended emergency situation.  You'll also need to know how to service your generator as a technician may not be available.  Another problem with a gas powered generator is that they are noisy.  Even the quiet Honda generators make a recognizable and distinct sound that tells everyone around that there's a generator running nearby.  Noise can be your enemy when you are trying to lay low.  Announcing to the world that you have resources in an extended emergency situation could cause you to become a target.

Part of your emergency plan could or should be to incorporate how to live with not having power by making other provisions for activities like washing clothes and cooking.  Is the expense of buying a natural gas generator and paying to have it connected to your home worth the expense?  Or would you be better served by using those funds to buy more food storage?  More on this topic in a future post.

Take a look at one of my previous posts about how to build a power station which is an answer to some of these questions.  http://www.preparedguy.com/2013/06/build-your-own-power-station.html  This power station can allow you to recharge your batteries with a standard battery charger along with powering other small electrical devices such as a television or lamps.

In addition to building a power station or having a gas generator there are several other options for generating electricity.  Below are a few links to some items that are both cost effective and and great ways to keep your flashlight and radio batteries charged.

The goal zero guide 10 plus is a very cool tool that allows you to charge batteries from one of their solar panels and than power anything that can plug into a USB port.  I have a few of these.
http://www.goalzero.com/shop/p/133/Guide-10-Plus-Battery-Pack/2:8/










This little USB light plugs into the guide 10 and makes for a very convenient standing light.
http://www.goalzero.com/shop/p/15/Luna-LED-Light/10:1/









This portable solar panel will charge the guide 10's 4 rechargeable AA batteries in 2-4 hours of direct sunlight.
http://www.goalzero.com/shop/p/12/Nomad-13-Solar-Panel/3:4/











This post is not meant as a gear review but rather to get you thinking about how you will be able to have some of the conveniences of power when you may not otherwise have it.  I have several children at home.  For them, simply having a source of light, especially in an emergency, will provide them some comfort and normalcy in an other wise potentially stressful situation.  Music is also an important part of our lives and keeps our spirits up.  Being able to recharge an iPod or other device to play some uplifting music, I know, in our home, will make a big difference.

My thoughts on generating your own power today are based around sheltering-in-place or bugging-in and on the most basic power needs.  The components I have shown above could also easily be included in your bug-out bag and taken with you almost anywhere.  

When it comes to power for your bug-out location or a more robust system for your bug-in location that is a topic for another post.  I have designed and installed solar and wind power systems in both urban and remote locations and will dedicate one (or more) of my future posts more specifically on this topic.  




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rainwater Collection

I purposefully left this out of my post on water as I wanted to share with you my little setup for collecting rainwater at our home. 

The purpose and the way I have set this collection system up is primarily for watering our garden. Utah water rights also extend to collecting rainwater from your rooftop. Rainwater collection on a large(r) scale needs to be registered with the state but a small collection system like I have built is exempt. Make sure to check with your local division of water rights to ensure that you are in compliance. Here are the guidelines for rainwater collection in Utah.


  • To collect, store, and place the captured precipitation to a beneficial use, a person must register the use with the Utah Division of Water Rights as detailed in 73-3-1.5.
  • A person may collect and store precipitation without registering in no more than two covered storage containers if neither covered container has a maximum storage capacity of greater than 100 gallons.
  • The total allowed storage capacity with registration is no more than 2,500 gallons. Collection and use are limited to the same parcel of land on which the water is captured and stored.
  • There is no charge for registration.
When I decide to expand our collection system I have the ability to do so simply by registering with the state.


As it says above, the collected water must be put to 'Beneficial Use'.  Beneficial uses include such uses as domestic use, irrigation, stock-watering, manufacturing, mining, hydropower, municipal use, aquaculture, recreation, fish and wildlife, among others.


I have found that even with a short light rain storm these two 55 gallon drums will fill to overflowing.  With our small garden I am able to water it two to three times depending upon how hot the weather is.  That really isn't much water and with how infrequently we get rain in Utah they don't stay full very long, but I believe that they could make a difference when it really counts.  



I have configured this set up so that I can easily add additional barrels.  As you can see in the pictures I have re-routed our down pipes and used a flexible pipe to make the connection to the barrels which I will easily be able to manually change over to a second barrel when the first fills.  


The barrels you see are food grade barrels with a lid that seals and clamps shut. Your system could be a simple as placing an open barrel under a down spout.  I have chosen to keep these barrels closed to keep debris and bugs out of the barrels.  I also have a metal screen in the rain gutter to keep out large debris.  The connection between the flexible pipe and the barrel is a 4" black PVC male coupler with a 4" rubber gasket over the threads on the inside of the tank to keep it in place.  The flexible pipe is simply seated in place and fits quite snug.  I have installed a standard 3/4" threaded hose bib with a 3/4" galvanized coupler, metal electrical washers and cut washers from 1/16" thick rubber packing at the lowest possible point on the barrel.  This allows me to easily connect a hose which makes watering the garden much more convenient.       

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Beyond the Basics - Water

Now that I have hammered the firearm issue to death I’ll move on to other equally important preparations.


Water: 

I shouldn't have to even mention why we need to store water.  We can only survive about 3 days without it.  Our dehydrated and freeze dried food storage is useless without it.  Sanitation is critical in a crisis in order to maintain good heath to ensure survival.  

You should have more than just a few methods of making water drinkable. This should include multiple methods of filtration, treatment and purification. Iodine tablets and chlorine bleach both work well. UV light purification such as a Steripen works great with clear water and can be used with stream or river water or at home if your tap water becomes contaminated.  If you are an avid hiker and camper like I am then you probably already have a backpacking water filter. This is a great place to start. Don’t skimp on this item. Keep an additional filter or two in storage.

Larger gravity home filters are available that can filter out fluoride and other chemicals along with bacteria and even viruses. Even though you may have a water source you cannot survive for very long on contaminated water. Along with your food storage you should make storing, filtering and purifying water your highest priority. You can also, of course, boil water to sanitize it but this takes time and energy which means that you'll need to store more fuel just for this purpose.  Take time to learn and practice trying your purification and filtration methods so that you'll know exactly what to do when the time comes to use them for real.

In order to be able to purify water you must first have water. If the culinary water source is interrupted you must have stored enough water for your needs or have an alternate source. This alternate source should not be your neighbors’ water storage. Don’t plan on being able to run down to the grocery store for bottled water and don’t plan on getting help from the government either. 

Don’t forget that not only will you need water to drink but also to prepare meals, wash dishes, do laundry and keep your home clean. Take all of this into consideration when storing and sourcing water.  Plan on using about 1 gallon of water per person per day as a minimum.  

As our family water storage plan we have established a few different methods.  First, we take our used 2 liter soda bottles fill them with water and store them in our basement.  Water should be stored in a cool dark location.  Our plan includes refilling these bottles every year.  

We also have two IBCs (Intermediate Bulk Containers).  These tanks are 275 gallons each, were originally used to transport food products and are probably the most economical way to store water.  We also plan on refilling these about once a year.  The problem with these tanks is that they are 4' wide, which means that they won't fit inside a standard door, thus we have chosen to keep them in our garage out of the sunlight.  Exposure to sunlight will cause algae to grow. 

There are lots of options for emergency water storage so take time to do your research and determine which is best for your family and situation.

Because you can only store a limited amount of water you should also have a plan for how to get water if your culinary water source is interrupted for an extended period of time.

As an example, our family plan includes being able to hike to a nearby spring to collect drinking water.  This spring is small and well known so many others will most likely also plan on using it for their alternate water source, which could potentially cause some problems.  We are fortunate to live near the outskirts of our city and can hike to this small spring within about an hour.  To carry water this distance takes time and energy and with the size of our family we would potentially need to carry a minimum of 7 gallons of water a day.  At 8.3 lbs per gallon that would be 58 lbs.  That's a significant amount of weight to carry each and every day.  But at least its an option.  As another option, and our first plan, we will load up our trailer with our empty water tanks and take them down to the local river, which is about a a 6 mile round trip, where we can fill our tanks by hand using buckets or a gas water pump.  Buckets will take much longer whereas using a gas water pump will only take a few minutes to fill one of our large tanks.  We would only need to make this trip about once a month.  We also have to make sure that we have enough fuel for the vehicle and water pump.  We have identified a spot where there is a bridge so we can get as close to the river as possible with the trailer and make our water collection trip quick and as easy as possible.

Because we currently live on the edge of a large city we are not allowed to have a water well.  Our extended plans include purchasing land in a rural area and developing a well to ensure that we will always have a clean and dependable water source.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Build your own power station

There are a few power generation stations/systems available such as the Goal Zero products.  I love Goal Zero!  Their products are innovative, easy to use and attractive.  I own a few of their products myself and recommend them.  My only concern with them is their life span.  I am not sure of how long they will continue to function.  All battery powered systems will eventually die as all batteries have a limited life span.  However, the electronic components in inverters have been known to be reliable, in general, and have a very good track record in my book.  If you were to buy a Goal Zero Yeti 400 solar generator today but don't actually have a need for it for the next 5-7 years will it still work then?  My answer is; probably.  But, the built in battery will most likely have lost significant capacity and if put into use at that time it may not last for much longer.

To ensure that you always have a reliable backup power source you could build one yourself.  The weak point in any of these types or brands of portable solar power generation systems is the battery.  Most batteries in these types of systems only last around 5 years (with repeated charging and discharging) but may live a long as 10 years or more.  You need the ability to change out this battery with an easily and readily obtainable replacement as well as the ability to replace components that may potentially fail, such as the inverter.  I have not attempted to take apart or service any of the Goal Zero products, so this may very well be possible.  However, I suspect that their components are proprietary and may be hard to get in a crisis.  This is one benefit to building one yourself.  I'll show you what I have done with parts that are typically easy to get and that will cost you quite a bit less than purchasing an already built system.  Some of these components you may already have stashed away around your house.

Here is a list of items that you will need:  

1.  Battery Box (Like those common to RV's).
2.  Battery - Automotive.  Use any battery you can get.
3.  Battery Lug clamps -  Automotive
4.  400-600 Watt Power Inverter -  DC to AC
5.  Battery power meter
6.  12V DC outlet (automotive)
7.  12V Solar charge controller
8.  12V Solar panel
9.  #14awg (or larger) wire and connectors
10.  Strap

First, I want to caution you.  Automotive and other similar batteries can be dangerous.  The positive and negative terminals, if shorted out with a tool or wire or other metal object can discharge a large amount of power which will shock and burn with potentially sever consequences.  So, take extra care to protect the terminals while you are working on this project.  Keep the lid on the power battery box at all times.  

Here is the finished product.


Mount solar charge controller inside the box. The size of the battery you choose will need to be small enough to leave space for the charge controller and 12V outlet.  You can see in this picture that there is still room for a larger battery.  A larger battery means more storage capacity and longer run time.


If you want to mount the inverter to the battery box lid as I have you'll need to select one that has provisions for this.  Some of these small inverters do not have these mounting tabs which make it harder to mount them this way.  This inverter is connected to the battery via the provided battery clamps.  I have not chosen to hardwire the inverter as I occasionally use an AC battery charger to charge the battery when the solar input is not enough.


I installed a 12V automotive outlet into the side of the box and wired it to the battery to plug in cell phone chargers and other 12V devices.  I had the 12V expansion port and USB adapter lying around which work perfect for this application.  You could also plug your AC cell phone charger into the inverter but the 12V charging is more efficient as there is a loss in efficiency when converting DC power to AC power.  So keep it simple and charge your battery powered devices with the 12V outlet and then you can run other AC appliances with the inverter.




I purchased a 12V DC LED light bulb online and put it in an unused lamp fixture.  I cut off the 110V plug from the lamp cord and connected a 12V plug that I cut off an old cell phone charger. I can plug this into the 12V expansion port and charge my cell phone and I pod all at the same time. 

I also purchased a simple marine battery monitor off Amazon for about $9 and connected it to the battery to give me a basic idea of the battery charge.  I also have a more accurate digital battery meter to more accurately measure battery voltage. 

To charge the battery I have connected mine to a 5 watt solar panel to keep it trickle charged and have a 25 watt solar panel to use when needed.  You can find inexpensive solar panels online.  To keep it simple; the larger the panel the more quickly it will charge the battery.  Remember, you need to choose a 12 volt solar panel for your 12 volt battery.  The are available sources online to help you properly size your solar panel to your charge controller to your battery bank.  This project is simple so I mean to keep it that way and not confuse you with too much technical information.  The charge controller should be large enough to handle the size of amperage of the solar panel and should also be 12V.  Off the input side of the solar charge controller I installed two wires and connectors where I can connect and disconnect the solar panel(s).






With 12V devices all that you have to deal with is positive and negative.  The positive and negative are clearly marked on automotive batteries. You will just need to determine a method of how to attach each connection to the battery lugs.  You can use automotive battery terminals which have provisions for attaching accessory components to them.  Some batteries, like the one pictured above, have lugs with holes in them, meant for smaller applications like lawn mowers which makes connections more simple.  I always use crimp connectors that are appropriate for the the size of wire being used which you can get from Radio Shack, Home Depot or most any other hardware store.  

The biggest benefit to this system is that if a component fails you can replace it yourself and keep your power system up and running.  If during a crisis your battery loses the ability to hold a charge you have the option to scrounge a new one from any vehicle.  If you have any questions or need more information about building one of these for yourself  don't hesitate to ask.
    

     

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Recommendations on Ammo


Having already said that you can never have enough ammo I have listed below the minimum amounts of ammunition that I have chosen to keep of each caliber. This is based on my shooting habits and financial capabilities as well as what I anticipate may be needed in an extended emergency situation. 

The recent difficulty to find many of the most common calibers is an indicator that many people believe as I do; that our ability to purchase ammo in the future is in danger. It is possible that there will be a day when ammunition will be next to if not impossible to get. I do not suppose that we will always be able to run down to the local gun shop to pick up whatever caliber we want and as much as we need. Recently, in my neck of the woods, quantity purchases of most calibers of ammo have been limited to between 1 and 5 boxes of any particular caliber to provide a level of buying fairness. My list below is a minimum quantity of ammo that I recommend that you should have on hand considering the possibility that there will be a time when ammo will no longer be available. For the same reasons that we should have food storage we should also have ammo storage; for a time of need. It is also conceivable that the time will come when ammunition becomes so expensive that most people will not be able to afford it. If this comes true I am sure that you can imagine what the value of your stockpile of ammo may become and the bartering value it could have. 

1. .22 Long Rifle: This is the most versatile ammo to shoot, buy and store. At currently about $.06 a round it is by far the most economical to practice with. Because of its small size and weight you could conceivably carry thousands of rounds with you in a ‘bug-out’ situation. 

Less than a year ago the cost of the .22 LR was less than $.04 a round and the demand for it does not seem to be letting up. To get this ammo you will either need to pay the exorbitant prices of individuals selling it at twice the going price or learn the patterns of when your local gun shops get their regular shipments in and then be there in line early enough to get the option to purchase a single box or two. Most retailers that I have seen are charging more for .22 LR but are not gouging. 

By a minimum limit of ammo. What I mean is the minimum amount that I will not shoot below unless it is an emergency situation. I keep more on hand than my minimum set quantity so that when I do take the family out to go shooting we do not go near or below that minimum quantity. I then replenish that amount the next time I am able to just as I would my food storage items. Keep an absolute minimum of 2,000 rounds of .22 LR on hand. 

2. 9mm (or whatever caliber you have chosen as your BFF): Keep an absolute minimum of 500 rounds. 

3. .223/5.56: For home defense keep an absolute minimum of 1,000 rounds. 

4. .357 magnum: A minimum of 250 rounds.

5. 12 gauge: A minimum of 250 rounds. I recommend that most of these rounds should be 00 Buck which is a very effective defense load. 

Of course if you can afford to store more I highly recommend it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Additional Firearms Recommendations

From here there are a few additional firearms that I suggest that you should eventually add to your arsenal. These include:

1. B.U.G. – Back-up gun. A pocket gun or snub nose revolver would qualify. This could be worn on the ankle or appendix carry. Many police are known to carry an ultra light .357 mag revolver on their ankle as it is lightweight and powerful. My primary reason to carry a BUG is not only as a gun to back up my BFF but also to arm someone else.   As I mentioned, I have teenage daughters and a petite wife so I have chosen my BUG accordingly. Most pocket guns and compact revolvers are double action only which requires consistent practice to be a good shot. Double action only entails a longer heavier trigger pull with each shot just like a revolver (without pulling the hammer back first).  This, as well as  pocket guns being more compact makes them more difficult to shoot well.  Consider this as well as the safety features when making your choice for a B.U.G.

2. .22 LR pistol – Again, Ruger is my choice. Whether it is a 22/45, an LCR .22 LR revolver, or SR-22 you can’t go wrong. A .22 LR pistol can be used for practice and training because of the low cost of ammo and low recoil. 

3. At this point I feel that it would be appropriate to ‘reach out’ and consider a long-range rifle. While a long range rifle is not necessarily considered a defensive weapon by many preppers this will truly depend upon what you are defending. If you own a very large plot of land that you must defend, and need to reach out beyond 300 to 500 yards (the effective range of an AR-15 or AK-47) then a .308/7.62x51 caliber rifle should be your next choice. You should also consider that a .30 caliber round (like the AK-47) has more so called ‘stopping power’. Thus a rifle such as the Springfield Socom .308 rifle or a Ruger Gunsite Scout would both be an excellent choice for closer shots and some long range shots. Because these rifles have shorter barrels, as they are designed more as a scout rifle and meant for a wider variety of duties, it is not as accurate at longer distances. The Remington 700 in a 22” or longer medium or heavy profile barrel in .308 caliber can reach out to 1,000 yards and beyond much more easily and consistently. Whether or not you consider this needful will be up to you. There are a number of .30 caliber rifles that you can evaluate including the .30-06, 300 blackout, 300 win mag and others, but don’t forget the importance of commonality. 

4. Now, my following recommendation, regardless of which gun you chose as your BFF, as the next gun that you need to own is… a Glock. Whatever caliber your BFF is your Glock should be the same. I say this mainly so that you don’t have to stock up on an entirely different type of ammo. Redundancy means safety in aircraft and other critical systems. I consider survival to be a critical situation as well. This is why I am suggesting a second semi-auto handgun in the same caliber as your primary daily concealed carry weapon. If you have the means and would like a different caliber then by all means do what you want. Regardless, you need a Glock. It has been said that every Glock should be a 9mm and every 9mm should be a [model] 17. This is a ‘compact’ Glock 9mm pistol. Experts say that this gun will never wear out. It is the undisputed champ of reliability and accuracy. If your BFF is a Glock then get another one. Although I believe that everyone should own a Glock, a Glock may not be the right choice as your daily carry (BFF). The simplicity of a Glock is what makes it reliable but it also lacks some of the safety features that I feel are absolutely necessary as a daily concealed weapon. This is one reason why a Glock is not my BFF. 

5. More 10/22’s. Your preparedness plans should include having the appropriate firearm for each capable individual in your family. 10/22’s are a great option for this purpose, especially if you have teenage children, because they are lightweight, easy to shoot, inexpensive and so is the ammo. Beyond that, I also plan on passing my 10/22’s along to my children as they come of age. There are so many versions of this rifle available that they can be a great gun to create a collection around. 

While there are many other excellent firearm options available, these I feel are some of the basic essentials.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Firearms for preppers Pt. 5

My next choice in priority for the prepper is a .357 magnum revolver. Strange choice you say? One thing that you need to have in not only your firearms choices, but also in all your preparations, is some versatility and redundancy. By this point, if you follow my recommendations, you would have one handgun and three rifles. Two semi-auto rifles, one pump, one semi-auto pistol and now one revolver. I would make this, your 5th firearm, a full size 4” barrel or larger version. Go with the largest frame with the most capacity that will fit your hand well. Many manufacturers offer their revolvers in two or three different frame sizes; small, medium and large. 

The .357 magnum is a very effective cartridge and one of my favorites! It kicks hard so you may want a larger revolver to manage the recoil. The difference between shooting a snub nose .357 revolver and a large frame 4” barrel revolver is significant. The smaller revolver will be painful to shoot for most people while the larger revolver will be more pleasant. The power of the .357 magnum is undeniable and is effective for mountain lion and bear and, unless you live in grizzly territory. The ammunition costs about as much as the .45 ACP but has a good amount more power. This is another of the reasons I chose a 9mm as my BFF, because I had already decided on owing a .357 magnum as well. If you find yourself in the mountains often, as I do, where you are concerned about defense from cat and bear then this is the gun you should own. The revolver is also an extremely reliable gun. If you purchase a high quality Ruger or S&W you probably won’t ever have to worry about fixing it, unless you shoot it a lot. For the prepper this is a great defense weapon that, like the shotgun, with good shot placement, will stop an attacker in their tracks. This will not be a concealed carry weapon; or rather I should say that it will not be easy to conceal. I recommend this as a backup to your primary handgun in a survival situation.
  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Everyday Carry

I am going to depart from the firearms topic for today to discuss everyday carry items that I have with me at all times that would also serve you well too.

First is a list of items to carry everyday on your person then expanding to a list of items you should have ready in your vehicle.

1.  Sidearm.  I have already written about the need to concealed carry a firearm.  I carry a 9 mm on my strong side in a IWB holster.  I have chosen to carry the XD-9 sub-compact because of the reasons I have already listed in a previous post.  This sub-compact magazine holds 13 rounds.


2.  Secondary magazine.  On my weak side belt I carry a back up magazine.  In both magazines are hollow point defense rounds.  This ammo is made to expand uniformly and give you the best change of stopping your assailant.  This magazine is an extended version which make the grip the same size as a full size pistol for both comfort and additional capacity.   This full size magazine carries 16 rounds.


3.  L.E.D. Flashlight.  I prefer the Fenix brand because of reliability and quality and carry the PD20 model.  It holds a single CR123 lithium battery.  Being a single battery LED flashlight it is small yet powerful.  At 180 lumens on high it is plenty bright for pretty much every purpose.  It also has a low, medium, SOS and strobe settings along with the high 180 lumens.  I chose the lithium battery version because their output is typically higher than a AA and they can sit for years without losing power.  This light either clips onto my left hand pocket or into its own pouch on my belt next to the secondary magazine.  If you concealed carry it is important to have a light as well.  Target identification when it's dark is paramount.


4.  Pocket Knife.  The ideal EDC knife, in my opinion, is a 3-4" blade folding knife with a pocket clip.  Where you live may regulate the size of blade that you can carry (as well as to whether you can carry a concealed firearm) so be sure to check your local laws.  I do not choose to carry an automatic version (your laws may prevent this anyway) but feel that it is necessary to have a knife that is easy to open and close with one hand.  With everything that I carry on me weight is a concern so I typically carry the Spiderco Manix.  It is a good looking, high quality knife with great features.  It is lightweight, comes super sharp, has great quality steel and has a very useful shape to the blade for both defense and utility.  It is very comfortable in my hand and has excellent jimping on both the spine and the choil.  It has a tip down pocket clip that is adjustable for either right or left handed people.  I carry this clipped in my right hand pocket and use it everyday!    As you can see... I like BladeHQ.com  There are also lots of other brands that I love other than Spiderco.

5.  Utility Tool. Leatherman. Multi-tool. Whatever you call it you should have one, or two.  I prefer the Victorinox versions although the Leatherman and Gerber are excellent as well.  I used to carry the Swiss Champ with me everywhere before these multi-tools became popular and fell in love with the quality and feel of the Victorinox brand.  This is why I like these tools best.  Choose one with the features that suit your needs best.  If you choose to carry it on your belt I bet you will find how useful it becomes.  This is the smaller version that I carry because it is more lightweight and compact but I also own and love the larger version. There isn't a tool on either of these that I don't use regularly.  


6.  Survival bracelet.  These are made of paracord are usually worn opposite of a watch and can be un-braided and used .  Paracord belts are also available.  Cordage has a variety of uses, especially in an emergency.   (I'll expound on this in a future post as well.)



7.  Cell Phone.  I don't believe that I need to expound on this.  

8.  Pen.  Remembering vital information in an emergency or recording events to document an emergency or crime is important.  Handwritten notes have been known to hold up in court and can be helpful in many different ways.   

9.  B.U.G.  Back up gun.  Carried on either your ankle, weak side or appendix carry a second firearm can be used to arm another family member.  Always choose a high quality holster that serves your specific purpose best.  I will expound on this more in a future post.

10.  Leather Belt.  A quality 1-1/2" wide leather or comparable belt is what will make all of this work well.  A thin flimsy belt will just be annoying and uncomfortable.    

These are the first 10 primary tools that can serve you well not only in an emergency but everyday.  Below is a list of additional items that I carry in a small bag that I can quickly grab out of my vehicle should I have the need:

11.  Additional ammo.
12.  Back up flashlight and batteries.
13.  Sharpie.
14.  TP.
15.  Basic first aid kit.
16.  Basic tools. (phillips, flat head, star, hex heads and wrench, small sockets)
17.  Leather Gloves
18.  Dust mask - N95
19.  100' paracord.
20.  Ear plugs.
21.  Windproof lighter
22.  Matches in waterproof conatiner
23.  Small signal mirror
24.  Firestarter/tinder
25.  Duct Tape - small roll
26.  Compass
27.  Energy bars
28.  Water bladder/collapsible water bottle.
29.  Glow sticks
30.  Contractor grade garbage bag.
31.  Cash
32.  Bandana
33.  Emergency blanket
34.  Hand sanitizer
35.  Sunblock 
36.  Notepad
37.  Gore-tex lightweight jacket
38.  Scrounge bag.  (Watch for a future post on this as well)

In addition to these items you'll need to add to additional items for cold weather conditions adding a cold weather bag to your vehicle.  Other things that you may need for your vehicle are:

39.  Jumper cables
40.  Fire Extinguisher
41.  Hatchet
42.  Compact shovel
43.  Inverter
44.  Pocket Saw
45.  Tow rope
46.  Leather gloves
47.  Air compressor or air tank
48.  Tools
49.  Comprehensive first aid kit.
50.  Wool Blanket
51.  Tire repair kit.  Know how to use it.
52.  Utility knife/razor knife
53.  2 Liter water - min. 
54.  Empty 1 gal gas can.
55.  Make sure your vehicle jack and spare tire are all there and in working order. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Preppers firearms recommendation Pt. 4

Next comes the shotgun. I know, I know. Some of you would have put this higher on your list. It is a very versatile weapon and some would say the best for home defense. A single round from a 12 gauge shotgun will stop a home intruder in their tracks. You can shoot bird shot, buck shot, slugs and many other variations of ammunition in between including specific defense rounds. Many shotguns have the ability to switch barrels from a short 18” home defense barrel that is better for close quarters situations or 26” barrels which are best for hunting. 

The problem, for me and my family, with a 12 gauge shotgun is that I have teenage daughters and a petite wife. The recoil from a 12 gauge is heavy and not friendly for people of small stature. If you choose a shotgun specifically for home defense you may want to consider a youth 20 gauge version. With a shorter stock and much less recoil it will be considerably easier and enjoyable to shoot.

All things considered, my recommendation is a pump action 12 gauge shotgun with an 16” barrel that also has the option to switch barrels for a longer 24”-28” barrel for hunting. Semi-automatics are more expensive and slightly less reliable than pumps although still an excellent choice if you have the budget. I will not give my personal choice of shotgun brand as again there are many excellent choices. Many will say that the Remington is the best. Many other say Mossberg is the best (there are many different versions of each). Each looks feels and works somewhat different but both are highly reliable and a great value. Choose whichever one you like best and you can’t go wrong. My general opinion on most everything that I buy is not to buy the most expensive and not to buy the cheapest. Do your research and get your hands wrapped around the guns you are considering. If you get the chance to shoot them, even better. If you like the way it looks, the way it feels and fits in your hands, the way it works and, if it has great reviews, then it’s probably going to be a good choice for you.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Firearms recommendations Pt. 3

My third recommendation is also a rifle. Many true gun enthusiasts will say that the only reason to own a pistol is so that you can fight your way to your rifle. I believe this to be true in most cases. An AR-15 is the most versatile gun that you can own, period! For this reason it is my third recommendation for the prepper. If you are a hunter it will probably be lower on your list; however, there are many hunters that believe that a semi-automatic rifle is a superior choice for hunting, depending upon what your prey is. 

For self or home defense there isn’t a better weapon! If you could reasonably carry an AR-15 around with you as your daily carry, or as I refer to it, as my BFF, it would be far superior. With the 30 round and higher capacity magazines available there isn’t much better choice available for defending your home from multiple intruders, or as many of you true patriots out there believe, that it is the ideal personal weapon with which to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government. 

Many of you may need to consider bugging-out of your current location in an emergency. If this is the case, you can easily break down an AR-15 and put it in a backpack. It may not be the best idea to march through town on your way to your bug-out location with a rifle on your back when it can be quite valuable to stay inconspicuous. 

Along with the Ruger 10/22 the AR -15 is highly customizable. I recommend that you add an optic that fits your needs. If you plan on hunting or shooting longer distances with it you may want to mount a scope to it. If it is mainly for defense a red-dot sight may be the right choice. There are options to mount both of these options on the same rifle.  The steel sights that come stock on most AR-15 rifles are adequate for both hunting and defense. 

One thing that you should notice with my firearm selections so far is commonality. The ammunition is common and usually easily obtainable and, during a survival situation, may be readily scrounged or bartered for. 

One argument that I know I will see is that the AK-47 is a better rifle and a more effective round. The .30 caliber round is definitely a more effective round and the AK-47 had proven itself just as the AR-15 and Ruger 10/22 have, and is possibly even more well proven. However, the .223 and 5.56 rounds that the AR-15 fires is more common and less costly than the 7.62x39 round of the AK-47. Not much more common or less expensive though. The AK-47 is not as customizable and not as many accessories are manufactured for it. So, you make the choice.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Firearms recommendations Pt.2

My second recommendation of the next firearm you should own. This is a harder decision to make and is not an absolute recommendation for everyone. However, all of my first five recommendations should, in my opinion, remain the same. The order in which you choose to purchase them may be different. Thus, my second recommendation is… A .22 LR rifle. More specifically I highly recommend the Ruger 10/22 in any of its configurations. I did not recommend a specific handgun, although I do have my preferences and reasons, because there are truly many, many great options out there for you for a handgun choice. It truly is a personal decision; from the feel of the weapon in your hands to the location of the magazine and slide releases which depends upon the size of your hands and fingers. 

However, the Ruger 10/22 has proven itself reliable and accurate for decades and thus I will give it my highest endorsement! It is great for kids and adults alike. A .22 LR rifle is highly versatile, ammo is inexpensive and it’s a lot of fun to shoot! A .22 LR rifle can be used for hunting small animals and can even, with a well placed shot or two, take down a deer in a survival situation. I assume that many of you who are reading this are probably not hunters, neither am I. However, in a survival situation you can easily carry your BFF, a .22 LR rifle and LOTS of ammo with you. Ruger manufacturers many different versions of this rifle including the classic carbine that I grew up with, heavy barrel target rifles, tactical versions, a two piece take-down rifle and many other versions. The Ruger 10/22 is also probably the most customize-able rifle (next to an AR-15) out there as aftermarket manufacturers make all kinds of accessories to customize and personalize your 10/22. 

You may also want to consider a lever or bolt action .22 LR rifle. Bolt and lever guns will ultimately be more reliable than a semi-automatic but if you do as I do; keep my 10/22 well maintained and keep extra parts just in case, a semi-auto is more versatile and can be better used in a self-defense situation than a bolt or lever action.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Preppers firearm recommendations Pt. 1

Your firearm selection should be determined by your need, your method of use and purpose.

As I already mentioned, the first firearm I believe that everyone should own is a handgun I prefer the 9mm myself but you may choose a 45 ACP. This selection should be highly personal, meet your needs and philosophy of use. You may feel that a .357 snub nose revolver will work best for your needs. Whichever you choose, it needs to become your BFF.

You need to know it intimately and be able to use it in any condition, day or night whether it’s light or dark.  You should know not only how to clean and maintain it but also repair it.  Keep at least one of each of the most vulnerable parts that your handgun could need to be replaced.  Keep it clean, lubricated and ready for action.  Have multiple magazines and even parts for the magazines. 


If you decide to get a concealed carry permit and decide to carry every day then it should always be by your side, whether in its holster on your hip or in your nightstand at night.  If you are going to carry, always carry.  As part of the decision to carry you should also make the decisions beforehand of when and how you will use it.  I will not expound upon these decisions here but you should spend some serious and somber time researching and learning and deciding on what you would do in every conceivable situation that you may be confronted with.  Go through the different scenarios in your mind and make the decisions you need to make before you are presented with the situation.  The decision to carry everyday should not be taken lightly.  


As for how to carry your daily carry handgun I personally prefer an inside the waistband holster.  It is very comfortable, highly concealable and the model that I use can be worn with a shirt tucked in.  I do not support open carry in urban settings in the majority of situations.  

For your first and ‘primary’ handgun I highly recommend that you purchase either what is called a ‘full size’, ‘compact’ or even a ‘sub-compact’ model. I do not recommend a ‘pocket’ pistol or anything smaller than a ’sub-compact’. A full-size pistol generally means that the barrel is about 4’ in length and the grip is full size; all three fingers will have space on the grip. The compact model typically means a slightly shorter barrel and a shorter grip with only two fingers able to wrap around the grip leaving the pinky finger off on its own. The sub-compact typically means an even shorter barrel and also the same shorter grip. The compact and sub-compact model are easier to conceal as the longer grip of a full size tends to stick out more and is more easily revealed. If you are going to carry daily I would recommend either of these two categories. The reason that I do not recommend a pocket pistol for your primary handgun comes down to that they are generally just too small to operate as effectively as a sub-compact or larger pistol. They are not as easy to manipulate or nearly as accurate and are generally smaller and less effective calibers. You just can’t do as much with it. There are a few exceptions to this statement. Your choice for a primary handgun should also take into account what kinds of clothing you wear every day. If you wear a suit or a dress during the day you will need to take that into consideration. A pocket pistol does make it on my list of guns to own but it is lower in priority. If you are unable to choose a full, compact or sub-compact as your daily carry, and I mean carry on your person at all times, not in a bag or purse, then a pocket pistol may be the right choice for you. However, I believe that in most cases you do not need to compromise by carrying a pocket pistol. You can adjust your carry system to make most carry situations work. A good quality belt and just the right holster carried in the right position can accommodate most concealed carry needs. 

All of these things considered I feel that having your handgun on you at ALL times is more important than having a full size pistol in a bag that can be separated from your side. You must be aware about when you leave your the bag that hold your firearm in your office or wherever it may be and who would have access to it. This would create liability on your part and keep you without your primary defense weapon when you may need it most. I say this because I am at the point that if I don’t have my BFF with me all the time I feel unnecessarily exposed. You may need to have two handguns in order to accomplish this. Carrying a full size pistol while wearing shorts or running may not work well for you where as a pocket pistol most likely would.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Next Steps

The Next Steps

Your next step to prepare should be to expand your food storage and supplies.

Expand your food storage to include some of the freeze dried or dehydrated foods that are ready-made meals that require only adding water such as potato flakes, vegetables, pasta with meat sauce, vegetable soup and the like.  At times, during an emergency situation, you may not have the time or energy to prepare a more complex meal.  Grinding your wheat storage and baking bread will take time and effort while boiling water for a quick meal will be essential at times. 

Take a close look at the supplies your family uses regularly and start purchasing a few extra items each time you go to the store.  These items could include toothpaste, floss and toothbrushes, soaps/detergents, medications, toilet paper, candles and batteries, band-aids, antiseptic, etc.

If you are a healthcare professional such as a nurse it would be advantageous for you to stock up on supplies that you could use to employ your skills.  If you are a professional in another trade you should contemplate how your skills could benefit others in an emergency.  You can use these skills to barter with others whom need your skills.  If you don’t think that you have a skill that could be beneficial in an emergency then you should start to develop one.   Do you have hand tools that you are good with that you could use to barter with?  These tools could be a simple as a pick and shovel or an axe. 

Start to build a library of books and how-to resources at home.  A set of used encyclopedias would be an inexpensive and great place to start.

Expand your ammo stockpile and consider purchasing more firearms.  Just like any tool, firearms have their specific uses.  My recommendation for how much ammo you should store for each firearm is: you can never have too much ammo.   That being said I do think that there is a minimum amount you should have of each caliber of firearm that you own. 

Over the next few days I will share my list of firearms that everyone whom considers themselves to be a 'prepper' or desires to be adequately prepared should own.   

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Defense first steps

In my opinion one of the most important parts and first steps of your emergency preparations should be to own a gun and be proficient with it.  You should also train your family to do the same.  This will keep them safe and keep them from being afraid.  When you know how to properly and safely use firearms you will gain a sense of confidence as well as ensure that you can defend your family and your supplies. 

I will go into more depth about firearms later but here are my initial recommendations for you about how to get started.   

The first firearm that you should own should be something that has enough ‘firepower’ for self defense, is easy to operate, ammo should be readily available and common and something everyone of age in your home can use well. 

Many people advocate that a shotgun is the perfect home defense weapon, others an AR-15.   While I believe that you should have both of these weapons to be adequately prepared I believe that most families would benefit from owing a 9 mm handgun as their first firearm.  Why?  Because the best home/self defense weapon that you can own is the weapon that you can always have with you.   It is not always practical to carry a shotgun or AR-15 around with you.  In fact I discourage carrying any firearm openly except under certain conditions and situation that I will discuss later. My recommendation to you is for you to obtain a concealed carry permit and carry your weapon concealed.  This way you can always have it with you and always be prepared to defend your castle.  The safest place to store a handgun, besides inside a locked safe, is at your side.  Guns don’t do much good being locked in a safe if you ask me.  Keep it with you.  Keep it by your bed at night.  Don’t let it out of your sight.  

Why 9 mm   There are several reasons why I have personally chosen to make a 9 mm my primary defense weapon.  The ammunition is widely available, it is relatively inexpensive, magazines have a higher capacity, recoil is manageable and the 9 mm is proven to be a very effective round.  Yes a .40 or .45 will be more effective but not by much.  If you need more power you should be shooing a rifle or shotgun.  The higher capacity magazines of most 9 mm handguns, over .40 and .45, will give you a higher percentage of hitting your target.  Another reason that I choose the 9 mm is because I have a wife and 3 daughters who are capable of shooting this pistol well.  The recoil of the 9 mm is manageable for all of them.  And let me tell you, they are very accurate with it!  Accuracy and shot placement is more important than ‘stopping power’.  A 9 mm handgun provides everything you need to get started.  
    
To become proficient with your handgun you need to train with it and shoot it, a lot! Shooting .40 or .45 will be more costly.  Regardless of which caliber you choose you should train with it and get to know your personal firearm intimately. It should become an extension of your body. Training and practice are not only important they are essential.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Where to start...


HOW TO PREPARE

In the beginning start with the basics; begin simple and build from there.  These are the building blocks of any prepared home:

Spiritual and mental preparation:

These should be the very first aspects to be considered with the most importance and should be revisited regularly.  Much of this is also about having the right knowledge.
Spiritual preparation
Prepping mindset
Situational awareness
Personal and family protection
Community, nation and world condition awareness
Threats, conditions, possibilities, dangers, etc. 


Food Storage:

Start with the basics.  Wheat, flour, rice, oats, beans, milk, sugar, water.  You also need to consider ways to prepare these basic staples.  You’ll need a wheat grinder, yeast and other additives to make the food you prepare more pleasing to eat.   Consider getting brown sugar and honey to flavor your oats and wheat bread, lemon pepper, salt, and other seasonings to add savor to rice and other seasonings for your beans as you desire.  You then need to learn how to prepare this food and a means of baking bread.  If you have lost power you will be unable to bake bread or cook meals as you have traditionally done.  Buy a Dutch oven and a stockpile of briquettes.  A propane camping stove is also an excellent choice to prepare food.  The small propane cylinders that you can get at most any grocery or camping store will keep for decades and are a safe way to store fuel.  You can start stocking up on these little by little as they are inexpensive.   
The reason that I recommend these items to start with first is because they are inexpensive in bulk quantities.  Buy them in 5 gallon pails that are meant to last 20+ years.

Even before you purchase these basics I recommend first keeping your kitchen pantry stocked with everything that you eat each day.  When you go to the grocery store to buy a can of beans, buy a few extra.  Follow this philosophy for everything you regularly use and then rotate these supplies to ensure they don’t exceed their expiration date.  Keep them stocked up.  You should keep enough of these everyday foodstuffs on hand to last your family for at least one month.  Then continue to add more as you are able.  This should be your primary food storage.  When an emergency happens you won’t find yourself rushing to the store, fighting the crowds for the small chance at buying your basic needs.  This could be a potentially dangerous situation which you should avoid if possible.  Keeping your home stocked up ensures that you will be ready at a moment’s notice.

For your water storage needs there are many ways to store water that you should consider.   In our home we started storing water by filling empty two liter soda bottles.  This has taken us a long time to build up a good supply but at least it was a start.  You could consider the typical blue 55 gallon drums but you must also consider where they will be stored and how you will get the water in and out of them.  There are now many different companies that make many different sizes and shapes of tanks including ones that will fit through a standard width door.  Water should be stored out of direct sunlight and preferably in a cool place such as a basement.  Your water storage should be drained and refilled every year although two or more years can also be possible under the right circumstances. 

It is virtually impossible to store enough water for all of your family’s needs thus your emergency plans should include having various methods of water filtration and purification.  Start by getting a simple backpacking water filter pump.  You could also store water purification tablets.  Basic chlorine can also be used to purify water.  There are many different kinds of water filtration and purification methods available.  You should research these various different options and figure out what is best for your conditions, needs and budget.  

Your goal should not be just to survive an emergence but to thrive during those conditions.  To take it a step further your goal should be that you will eventually be prepared enough to help others during hard times.  This is where this preparedness plan outline is heading.

Obtain enough of these supplies for 3-6 months worth of this food storage and other supplies for your entire family, and possibly others that you care for such as elderly parents, married children, etc.  When it comes to survival you will need to look out primarily for yourself and your immediate family.  However, personally, I cannot allow my extended family to suffer when I have some means to help.  This will be one of the many decisions that you need to make prior to actually having to make that tough choice during a life or death situation.  Take these conditions into consideration when making your preparation plans.

Part of your initial preparations should be to help encourage your extended family and those dear to you to also start preparing if they haven’t already and support and encourage them if they have.  This is not only to their benefit but also to your advantage as it will help to keep your emergency supplies intact reserved for your own families needs.

 Also, as part of your initial preparations you should include flashlights and batteries.  Rechargeable batteries and different ways to charge them, including solar, would be an excellent option.  Don’t forget matches and multiple other ways to light your camping stove and charcoal briquettes for cooking and heating.   

Also consider different ways to stay in touch with the outside world such as a battery powered radio with weather channels.  HAM and other short wave and long wave radios will be an effective way to communicate as these radios are not tied to any outside system and while they can utilize repeater antennas can communicate directly radio to radio.

Keep some cash on hand.  To start do whatever you can, but you should aim to have enough cash on hand to get along for one month.  ATM’s, banks and other ways to get cash may not be available. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Reasons to be prepared?


What could happen? What will happen?  What are the reasons that you should be prepared?


OK then.  I’m not gonna tell you why you should be prepared.  I’ll just tell you why I choose to be prepared.  First, because the following reasons I have listed are very real possibilities and second, I adore my family!  I feel a deep sense of responsibility to provide for and protect them.  I live by the motto; “If it is to be, it’s up to me!”  I do not count on anyone but myself to make the preparations necessary.  This means not just to be ready for an emergency situation but to be ready for whatever situation my present itself, emergency or not.   Now that you better understand what makes me tick let’s get to it.   


EMP:   Electromagnetic Pulse.  This would wipe out sensitive electronics such as computers and cell phones and make them unusable.   This could be created by a high altitude nuclear detonation which would produce a large electromagnetic field which would destroy electronic components.  There are few things that can be done to protect ourselves from this threat.  Realize everything that is dependent upon electronics and computers and you will realize the incredible impact this would have on our lives.  No more internet, phones, credit or debit card purchases and many vehicles with their complex computer controlled systems would not function.  Commerce as we know it would cease.  Imagine the jobs that would be lost because of the elimination of the digital world we depend upon.  We have set ourselves up for big time trouble with this one.
 
Nuclear Attack:  It is well know that many countries have nuclear weapons and many more are working to obtain them.  The threat of nuclear war is far from being eliminated despite treaties and UN inspections.  Recent threats from North Korea tell us that it should be a concern that we need to prepare for.  Other than the EMP and nuclear warhead creates the destruction it leaves behind needs not even be addressed.  When the twin towers were attached on 9/11 the nation’s economy suffered.  Now imagine if a single or multiple large cities were destroyed.  What effect would that have on our already delicate economy? 

Terrorism:  Although our wonderful government has tried its darnedest (supposedly) to eliminate our enemies it is a fact that the Taliban and other terrorist groups such as HAMAS have only suffered little and continue to grow in spite of everything that has been done.  Because the US government has been the ‘Big Bully” on the block for many decades other countries feel that they should not have to be pushed around by our corrupt government and are taking actions that they feel need to be taken in order to defend themselves.   

False Flags:  A False Flag event is a covert military or paramilitary operation designed to deceive in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by other entities, groups or nations that those who actually planned and executed them.  Many people believe that our own government is involved in operations against our own citizens to carry out its own agendas.

US Dollar/Economic Collapse:  The staggering US debt cannot be sustained.  Period!  Just as your own budget at home can’t remain unbalanced without eventually leading to bankruptcy the US of A is on a course of self-destruction.  The national debt is said to be around $17 Trillion.  Which is owed to the Federal Reserve; a private business owned by a conglomeration of banks.  The US government issues bonds to the Fed which are then sold to other countries.  One analyst estimates that by 2015 there will no longer be any other countries willing to purchase US debt because of our huge debt and declining credit rating.  With the US government making no significant efforts to curb spending the collapse of the US dollar is inevitable.   There are some economists that estimate our national debt, including all of the obligations of the US for social security, Medicare, etc. to actually be closer to $80T+!

Social/Civil Unrest:  As the government becomes more and more restrictive, as inflation increases, as the jobless rates increase, as our rights are being taken away from us behind closed doors and right in front of our eyes; individuals will take to the streets in protest.  With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, which was supposedly created to control defend the US from ‘home grown’ and other terrorists.  There are many who believe that the DOHS was created as a way of controlling the citizens of the USA.  The DOHS has created their list of potential home grown terrorists which includes everyday ordinary people such as constitutionalists, preppers, survivalists, conspiracy theorists, Christian groups, militias and those who don’t trust or speak out against our government. 

Hyperinflation:  With the printing of more US dollars every day, without the backing of actual gold (AKA: The Gold Standard) which was done away with in 1971, which created ‘fiat’ currency, the US dollar continues to be less and less valuable with less and less buying power, thus the cost of goods and services will continue to rise.   I’m sure that all of us have noticed the rise in price of most everything that we buy: gasoline, food, tires and just about everything else.  Prices will continue to rise which will cause people to purchase only the necessary items that they can afford including food and other household goods.  Again, imagine how this will affect our economy and way of life.

Recession/Depression:  All of this leads to recession and depression.  Some would argue that we are still not out of our last recession.  Recession or depression means that our countries economic is not growing but rather that it is declining.  In a debt based economy, as ours is, the only way to grow is by obtaining more and more debt.  With individual debt also being at an all time high many families can no longer afford to take on more debt thus causing our financial system to suffer further.  
   
Infrastructure failure:  Our national infrastructure is in getting old and in poor condition.  Roads, bridges, sewer and water systems and the electrical grid of many major and small cities are in very poor condition generally.   With not only the national debt but also the debt of many individual states in very bad shape there is little means by which to repair or improve these critical systems.  Any single event could have a devastating effect.     

Solar Flares:  It is widely known that our sun goes through cycles.  Every 11 years or so the output of solar flares increases and then quiets down.  2013 is the year in which is expected the highest amount of solar radiation of the current cycle.  These solar flares have the same effect as and EMP and have been known to knock out electrical power from time to time and are dangerous to our technology.  

Gangs/Cartels:  While some parts of the country seem to be relatively free to gang and cartel activity that is not necessarily the case.  Gangs are everywhere and are continually working to expand their influence and boundaries.  Although right now you may not see the direct influence of gangs they will continue to grow.  Where there are gangs the Mexican cartels are there as well.  In Mexico there were over 100,000 murders in the last 6 years.  50% to 80% of these murders are attributed to the cartels and their drug trafficking activities.  Their murders are brutal and out in the open.  When we get into a national crisis of some kind where resources are scarce these gangs will band together in search of food and supplies.  The larger cities will be the most dangerous but they will expand their searching into the suburbs and beyond within time.  Also, as illegal, and now some legalized, drugs continue to become more popular the influence of gangs and cartels will continue to increase.

Looting/Scavengers:  In addition to gangs there are individuals that will also band together in search of resources.  Most homes across America do not prepare for an emergency and thus only have about 3 days worth of food supply in their homes before they are forced to go shopping.  This presents a very dangerous situation.  If FEMA cannot provide help after a disaster then these desperate people will do whatever they have to in order to feed themselves and their families.  

Evil:  The analogy of the frog in the pot of boiling water is so very true right now.  Look back just a few years and compare the condition of the world then with its condition now.  In order to do this accurately you need keep yourself somewhat educated about current events and conditions in the world.  This can be depressing and generally I have tried to keep myself in the dark.  Remaining sheltered from the world is not a bad thing; unless it keeps you from realizing the actual conditions you are in and the times and situations you should be prepared against.   As we evolve and improve our status in life, as our technology and comforts improve so does the level of evil in the world its control over us.        

Natural Disasters:  Depending upon where you live you are threatened by certain specific natural disaster scenarios.  While you must prepare for each eventuality you must also think of the affects that a natural disaster in another part of the country or the world would have on the economy and indirectly upon your area specifically.  When hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico damage oil drilling rigs it shuts down oil production for a time.  This almost always affects the price of oil and thus how much it costs to fill up the gas tanks of your vehicles as well the effect on the cost of most other products that also utilize oil.   

WAR:  The United States of America is almost always involved in war somewhere in the world.  However, the potential again for large scale war is always a possibility.  The tension between many countries such as North Korea, China, Iran and the US leaves the possibility for another world war wide open.  Wars are extremely expensive which would be a further drain on the US economy and get us even deeper into debt.  
  
The Golden Horde:  This refers to the migration of people flee the aftermath of a catastrophic event in search of food, water and shelter in a mass exodus.  When a population relocates its self they not only create a burden on the area they occupy but they also consume resources that are usually available to the local residents making commodities potentially scarce.  There is also an increased potential for crime (looting, stealing, etc.), social unrest and many other issues.    

Pestilence/Plagues:  The latest avian flu strain called H7N9, potentially ‘one of the most lethal’ viruses is still baffling scientists.  So far it has killed 22 of 108 people who have been infected by it.   It is thought that this new version of the bird flu has mutated and can now potentially be transmitted person to person and is resistant to some antibiotic drugs.  Revelations chapter 9 in the New Testament tells us that one third of the population of the world will die as the result of plagues.  
  

These are not all of the things that could happen; not all of the things that we need to be prepared for including every day emergencies and occurrences.  My point in illustrating these examples is that there are more than just a few different ways in which we need to be prepared if we are to survive the coming difficult times.  As we become more advanced, more automated and more efficient, more digital, more complex and more connected we also have become more dependent upon other systems that are beyond our control to provide even the most essential elements we need just to survive.  Our water is pumped, cleaned, sanitized and delivered directly to our own homes.  Our food is prepared in immense manufacturing facilities, shipped to even bigger distribution centers and then to our local grocery stores.  To fuel our vehicles we need only drive a few miles, at most, to a gas station.  We take all of these processes for granted and the ease at which we can get what we need and what we want just when we need it.  Regardless of how convenient our lifestyle has become we need to realize how fragile these systems can be and what is required to keep all of the wheels turning. 

The purpose of this site is to provide you with information about what I have learned, my experience, and what my motivations are as a Prepared Guy. I have always felt driven to be ready for any situation by something powerful deep inside me. Being prepared has always served me well. I feel compelled to help others do the same.
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