Panic can be defined as a sudden overpowering terror that clouds one’s judgment making him or her act erratic and irrational.

History has shown us through wars, national emergencies, and various local disasters that a state of panic can trigger a profound state of dysfunction that leaves a person incapable of acting, stilling their every instinct of survival. Those that act, unaware of how to deal with a panic state and its effects, may, in fact, survive, but it becomes just a numbers game.

To survive during a crisis, you need to learn how to control yourself and deal with panic and its effects. Since panic is contagious, you have to do everything in your power to keep your cool, especially if you need to mitigate the risks caused by others.

Think of it like this, you are at the movies enjoying some times with your kids, a fire breaks out, and people start noticing it. One person starts screaming and rushes for the exit door. That’s pretty much all it takes to cause hysteria. Every single person will start to follow “the lead,” and soon enough, they will pile one over the other, making escape impossible for the rest of you.

Understanding panic

To deal with panic, we first have to understand that such a state of mind is a personal thing. It can be different from one person to another. Some are afraid of snakes; some have a phobia or self-limiting behavior that blocks them from enjoying life. In some cases, the simple image of a panic triggering element is enough to make their skin crawl.

Panic is also universal, and even the most well-adjusted individual out there will panic if placed in the right environment. The key element, precipitating panic—in even the most autonomous of us—is sudden exposure to the unfamiliar and the unexpected.

Panic follows a certain hierarchy, and it has various stages of development with predictable responses to the physical or mental upset.

Let’s envision a scenario to understand better how panic works. Let’s say you are taking your family out on a boat ride to enjoy a beautiful day. You are caught in a storm, and it can be frightening at first. Being an experienced navigator, there’s no need to panic, right?

Your wife is in the cabin trying to get the radio to work, while you and your son are working on the engine that has just stalled. There’s a loose wire dangling from the ignition, so you grab it and touch it to the coil. The small spark at the pole ignites the gas fumes in the bilge. The explosion throws you against the bulkhead. Fire starts spreading everywhere.

To make things worse, your boat broaches and a large wave swamps the deck. The hold starts to fill as a ladle dipped in a rain barrel. The water shorts out the pump. Now it’s time to panic!

You let go of yourself, and panic makes you scream, rant, act erratically. It all ends with you grabbing the last life-jacket right out of your son’s hands.

Right there, you are three phases deep in panic, and you didn’t even have the time to recognize the first two phases. Let’s rewind and see how you got in this mess, but also how you will get out of it.

The first response in an evolving crisis or the calm before the storm, as many call it, can be distinguished by a state of under activity, apathy, and unproductive preparation for the impending disaster.

Some feel it’s a nuisance to be prepared, and practicing rescue and survival procedures is just not for them. That ounce of prevention is not worth their precious time.  They believe fate is on their side, or some divine intervention will save the day.

It’s not even your boat, you’ve rented it, and the owner should be responsible for your safety. Right?

This fatalistic behavior of “letting others do it” for ourselves when we discuss disaster avoidance happens everywhere around us, and it can be deadly. We see it every day, with people believing that the government will take care of themselves in case of SHTF. The inability to act during “peace times” is the main thing that increases the body count during “war times.”

Too little, too late, can be described as the second stage of panic development. When you are on the boat, and the storm closes in, everyone will come to you for answers and instructions. They need to know now what can be done to reach home safely. Right now, when it’s too late.

All the efforts put into salvaging the situations created by apathy are unorganized, and time is wasted as the events unfold faster than you can react to them. Others will start to pray while some will become overactive, even if their efforts are random and ineffective. The first stage of real panic has settled in.

You and yours are just a moment away from irrational and self-destructive behavior. Now logic abandons the post and leaves room for the herd instinct to take the lead. In the collective mind, appears to be only one escape route or scenario, and everyone acts on it.

This can be observed in hotel fires or any other crowded places where fire creates panic. People will rush to a single exit point while other escape routes are ignored, or some become trapped in an elevator. Nobody bothered to take a look at the fire exit plan, and they now pay the price for their apathy.

In your case, you are trapped on a sinking boat, and everyone is fighting over too few life-jackets.

This stage can be defined as full-blown panic, and it starts to manifest as the boat starts to sink. Everyone ends up in the water, and their only efforts are concentrated on staying alive. Everyone reaches for something to hang onto and stay afloat, and a state of confusion settles in.

Even stranger is that your wife and kids are reacting without emotion, and they seem docile, withdrawn, and indecisive. These two responses mean the same thing; everyone is in panic, and we can notice both fight and flee instincts. Their behavior is aimless, and their thought patterns are random without a certain goal. They sweat, have tremors, startle easily, and are swallowing water.

The full impact of the disaster has passed, and you survived while others have not. The remaining survivors are now strongly dependent on your stable leadership. They become childish and “needy,” and they will follow you no matter what you do. They have chosen you as their leader, and they will be loyal until the end.

Once you manage to survive the disaster, it’s time to nurture those that have survived it as well. This can be done in various ways depending on the environment. Since you are neck-deep in water, you have to explain to the survivors that they have survived the crisis. This may not be obvious at first, and some will continue to panic and act erratically. Try to get closer and support them, encourage them, and do whatever you can to take care of their needs. Assure and keep reassuring them that the worst has passed and rescue is imminent.

Rescue may, in fact, not be imminent, and maybe the scenario ended worse than depicted above. Maybe no one survived. That being said, let’s see what you can do to prevent such a scenario from becoming a reality.

Preventing panic

The first thing we need to understand is that we all have to identify the panic response, apathy. That single moment where no one assumed responsibility for the scene ahead. In every single survival situation, someone has to lead. Someone has to take charge, no matter the environment.

Such a person should require everyone in his party to have some sort of training, some self-rescue procedures. They should practice and imagine what would happen in a certain situation with the help of their leader.

This make-believe exercise may and will save lives if the scenario envisioned becomes a reality. This is what people fail to understand, and that’s why they keep making fun of preppers.  They fail to see that by pro-acting to a disaster instead of reacting you it, you and yours have eliminated most of the unexpected. That unexpected factor that precipitates panic. 

A real leader must emerge from the chaos and must give loud and clear orders. Every piece of information given should be precise and simplified so that everyone can follow. No one is left on the bench, and everyone should get a task.

When the event spirals out of control, remember that your first reflexive response is probably the wrong one. Stay still for a few seconds and sour out the alternatives. Then make a decision and put your plan into action. However, be prepared to change your plan as developing events dictate.

Keep a close eye on the victims and encourage them to do specific survival tasks. Do whatever you can to isolate and keep under control those that are in deep panic mode since they can pull others and act as irrational as they do.

How to recognize panic

Fear and panic are not easily hidden, and you should learn how to read the eyes. You can spot a panicking person if he or she has dilated pupils, they are blinking rapidly, and they tend to look down.

They may try to hide their face or protect their head, while others will literally cover their head with a pillow or seek refuge in the corner of a room. If you are not able to persuade them into action, you may have to lead them away from the event (if the situation requires you to do so).

Conquering your fear

Panic is caused by fear, and fear can be triggered by various factors. Some fear certain animals, while others fear certain scenarios, items, and so on. The list is long, and as we mentioned earlier, panic is personal.  Fear can simply be defined as a human response to a lack of control.

In cases of people suffering from phobias or panic attacks, they have a strong urge and need to control themselves and their environment. They have become masters at finding excuses and practicing avoidance.

We are all fearful people, and many of us are uncomfortable if we are exposed to certain factors or if we have to face certain scenarios. These are normal responses, and usually, the unexpected unnerves all of us. However, you can cut your losses and gain control over your fears.

Here are some tips for doing so:

1. Start by accepting your phobia and understand that you are not crazy. Don’t fight your fears and even if you are uncomfortable, understand that this feeling will pass. Most likely, you are not in danger, anyway.

2. Face your fear. Start by exposing yourself gradually to the stimulus. Don’t give in to the flee response and look at it. Try to observe and study what frightens you. Start by experiencing your phobia from a safe distance.

3. Keep your ground and don’t flee. You may back off, but don’t run. When you manage to compose yourself, face your phobia again.

4. Teach yourself to expect the best, not the worst. This may require some cognitive therapy at first, and you need to apply what you’ve learned in a real-life scenario. For example, if you find yourself in a ski lift and you are afraid of heights, don’t ever consider that it may fall. Think about how it’s just a machine helping you to reach your goal, how it will bring you to the top of the mountain where you can enjoy a full day of skiing.  

As preppers and survivalists, there’s an impending need to understand that phobias will get in your way when you have to face a survival situation. You must learn to diffuse these fears now, long before they can cripple you when you least expect it.

In an unexpected survival situation, you may expect fear, panic, and paranoia to be present. These are instinctive responses that you will have to face, and you need to learn how to deal with them. You can do so by taking part in successful field experiences that help you gain confidence. Seek training and take your first steps into the unknown.

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If you’ve ever had a dog for a pet, you probably know how great they are. But a dog might become an even more critical member of your family when disaster strikes. If you’re thinking of getting a dog, you might want to consider what kind of dog would be best during a crisis and what you might want to train him or her to do to help your family after the SHTF.

Here are 15 reasons you’ll need a dog after SHTF along with some great dog breeds that can help you in times of disaster.

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1. Protection

A guard dog is an excellent way to protect yourself in an SHTF situation. Dogs can be trained to protect their owners, their homes, or other animals. A dog on alert can protect you from wild animals and even intruders. German Shepherds are known to be very loyal to their owners and will even put themselves between their family and harm.

2.  Rodent Control

In a disaster situation, on a farm, or even in the city, rodents can become a real problem. Certain types of dogs, especially those in the terrier family, were originally bred to catch these nasty pests.

Westies, Schnauzers, and Jack Russel Terriers are great dogs for this job, too. Having a dog around to seek and destroy rodents that can contaminate your food supply or injure your animals will help you stay healthy.

3. Search and Rescue

Dogs have a keen sense of smell and can help locate people who are lost in the woods, missing children, and even lost animals. Bloodhounds are notorious for being able to track a scent, but other breeds of dog can do it, too.

4. Deterrent

Looters, thieves, and wild animals will be much less likely to pilfer your property and goods if you have a dog around. The noise of a barking dog will keep pilferers looking for an easier, less noticeable target.

Any dog with a propensity to bark can work, but a dog with a deep, loud bark might be best. Both beagles and border collies are known for their big voices.

5. Sound the Alarm

In a real SHTF situation, your professional alarm system may not work. But don’t worry, your dog can let you know when someone is around that shouldn’t be.

A dog can sound an alarm to let you know if there are intruders, predatory animals, and even fire or other potential problems. Beagles and bloodhounds, and even small feisty pups like chihuahuas can alert you quickly.

6. Find Food

A good hunting dog can point you in direction of food, from deer to duck to other animals. They can help you locate animals that have already been hunted. They may also be able to sniff out other food sources such as fruit or berries. Labs, beagles, and springer spaniels make great hunting companions.

7. Herd Animals

Dogs have been trained for many years to help with herding animals including cows, sheep, chickens, and goats. From Australian Heelers to adorable corgis, these dogs have a long history of keeping track of livestock. They can round them up and bring them into the barn for the night or drive them out to pasture in the morning.

8. Protect Animals

Livestock Guardian Dogs, or LGDs, are trained to live with their herd and protect them from predators and wild animals. A well-trained LGD will fight off everything from raccoons to foxes and even bears in order to protect their animal herd. Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherds are often used as LGD’s because they are smart, loyal, and very trainable.

9. Assistance with Tasks

There are great reasons that dogs such as labs are used to assist people with disabilities. They can learn to do specialized assignments that help people. For example, some dogs are able to pick up small items such as papers or coins off the floor and hand them to their owners. These abilities make dogs great helpers for all kinds of tasks.

Dogs, especially Labradors, can be trained to:

10. Deliver Items or Messages

When the SHTF, you may lose cell phone service. How will you communicate with people back at the homestead when you’re out hunting? You can send your dog.

If your dog knows the way, he or she can carry messages back and forth between two parties. German Shepherds, Dobermans, and Airedales were used in war times as messenger dogs and there is no reason they can’t do this today.
Dog Delivering Message

11. Seek Help in Emergencies

St. Bernard dogs are well trained to help people in emergencies and life-threatening situations. They can carry first aid supplies, assist the wounded, and go for help when they find a person in trouble.

12. Detect Health Problems

Dogs are being utilized more and more to detect health problems and can even stop some medical emergencies before they become serious. A trained dog might be able to sense a seizure or diabetic shock before it happens.

They can sniff out life-threatening allergens and possibly be able to smell viruses in people who may not even show symptoms. Australian shepherds, poodles, and labs are just some of the breeds that can be trained to detect health issues.

13. Guide

No one wants to get lost in the dark, but if you are, your dog might be able to guide you home anyway. Not only do dogs have a great sense of smell, they have better vision in the dark than people do.

Dogs like German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are often trained to guide people who are blind through cities and towns and can lead their owners to places such as home or work on command.

14. Warmth

It can get awfully cold outside, and when SHTF, you may have trouble heating your home. On the other hand, if you are lost in the woods or trapped in a vehicle in the cold, your dog can help you keep warm. Siberian Huskies and other cold-loving dogs are furry bundles of warmth that can help you stay warm by snuggling with you on a cold night.

15. Entertainment and Exercise

Playing with a dog and walking a dog are great forms of exercise and entertainment. Although play may not be seen as a survival skill, having some entertainment on long, lonely days can bring joy to an otherwise bleak situation. Golden Retrievers are great family dogs that love to play and young labs have plenty of energy to run.

Bonus Reason: Boost Morale

Pets of all kinds, especially dogs, are known for boosting morale. Studies have shown that caring for and petting a dog can help reduce stress and encourage positive emotions.

Since SHTF can be a very trying time emotionally, a dog who can help you feel better is worth having. Feeling hopeful and having emotional grit is a key part of survival, and having a loving, happy dog of almost any breed as a companion can help you do just that.

Finding the right dog breed for your family is a very personal matter. There really is no one-size-fits-all approach to picking the right dog for SHTF. However, any dog that suits your family well can be trained to some extent and will support your family and boost morale.

A good dog isn’t just another mouth to feed when SHTF, but a vital part of your family’s survival and well-being.

What to read next: Top 10 Dog Breeds For Preppers

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Preppers all over the country have been preparing for this for years. Some have even begun to wonder if all that preparation and expense was worth it. Would you ever need all that food, water, and gear stored up ready for a national crisis? Now, you are living at least a limited edition of what a real serious SHTF could be like by experiencing the coronavirus pandemic. Even so, it is not nearly as tough as it could get.

Bug out? Not hardly this time during the coronavirus pandemic. We are instructed to shelter-in-place which means we should only be leaving the house to obtain essential supplies, food, medicine, and such. There is no cruising the highways, no visiting public areas. We can’t even sit down to eat dinner at our favorite restaurant. Most public parks, recreational areas and fishing areas are closed. We are in virtual lock down. Travel is limited. Airlines have scaled back their flights because simply fewer people are flying. The Sunday afternoon drive in the country will have to wait. Technically, we’re not even supposed to drive up to deer camp to hang out, ride ATVs, or do some informal target shooting or tin can plinking. All that is on hold.

Even if we get out to go to the grocery store, we may find our favorite brands of canned vegetables are completely sold out. I needed simple cans of sliced mushrooms. There were none on the shelf. I bought the last two cans of green beans that day. The paper supply aisle was as completely void of anything. Hoarders have taken most everything considered essential. There was no toilet paper, no hand sanitizer, no facial tissue, and no antibiotic hand soaps. We don’t know how long that is going to last.

We also have to recognize just how greedy some people are. It is probably no great surprise to us, but to witness it is another matter. Even during natural disasters, people grab way more stuff than they really need and will defend their greediness with extreme force. That is beginning to approach a breaking point in some areas of the country. Just wait.

Also not shocking, there is a run on guns and ammo. Guns and ammo sales have now been approved to be conducted curbside at the dealer’s location. Many dealers are sold out of 9mm and .45 Auto for now. Handguns are selling briskly. Just why do you think that is? The coronavirus pandemic and SHTFs are all about inconvenience and how long can you tolerate it. Be thankful on this one, we still have electricity to run everything, clean water comes out of the faucets, and the toilets flush. Imagine how bad it would be without those services during a real SHTF.

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(Natural News)
When disaster strikes, your family might not be together in one place – your partner or spouse might be at work and your children might be at school or out with their friends. In this situation, the first thing you’ll want to do is to bring your family together quickly before heading out. This process will be a lot easier if your family has an emergency communication plan, which will help your family members relay information to each other regarding their situation.

Emergency communication list

In creating an emergency communication plan, the first thing you need to do is create a list of everyone you intend to contact in case of a disaster. This will include family members, but may also include friends and neighbors and anybody else that you trust with your plans. This list needs their names, addresses, all of their phone numbers, emails and links to their social media pages if you believe you can contact them online.

Once you’ve compiled your list, choose one person who lives with you or very close to you and choose one person who lives the furthest away from you. These two people will be your main contacts for news. The first person will be able to give you updates regarding the situation close to home. He or she will also help link up your family and group members and coordinate an evacuation. (Related: Preparing your family for disaster: How to develop your emergency plan.)

Once disaster strikes and you aren’t directly in harms way, take out your list and begin communicating with every single person in it. Start with your family, and then with your main local point of contact. End with your main point of contact who lives far away from you to get an update of the situation farther out from your residence.

While communicating with the people on your list, relay every single detail regarding your disaster contingency plan, such as where to rendezvous, where to bug-out and what roads to take or to avoid. If you have the time, send them emails, text messages or messages on their social media accounts to give them a written message they can reference.

Emergency communication methods

In order to relay your emergency communication plan, you will need a reliable method of communication. If this can all be done via smartphone, landline or a computer, then you shouldn’t have a problem. However, if you don’t have cell service, you can’t reach your family or your internet service is down, you need to turn to other, more reliable means of communicating.

If possible, invest in a satellite phone. These phones have more stable networks since they do not rely on cell towers. Other possible communication methods include ham and CB (citizens band) radios.

You can even use two-way handheld radios that either work on GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) or FRS (Family Radio Service). Many of these two-way radios can function effectively at a range of anywhere between five to 35 or even 50 miles.

However, two-way radios will only work well under perfect conditions, such as if your line of sight with each other is relatively unobscured. If your family lives in an urban area, it’s unlikely you’ll get a good signal further out than two or three miles.

Invest in multiple emergency communication methods if you are able to do so. There is nothing wrong with having a ham radio at home, a two-way radio in your car and a satellite phone in your pocket.

Remember that your emergency communication gear will only work as well as your emergency plan. Work on your plan first before figuring out how to execute it.

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In November 2018, the terrified residents of Paradise, California tried to flee the rapidly approaching Camp Fire. Many of the 27,000 citizens took to their cars only to be stuck in a colossal traffic jam as the heat and flames drew near. At least seven people perished in their vehicles in the fire, which took 85 and left thousands homeless.

The problem of too few exit routes for too many people is not a problem unique to Paradise. According to a 2019 report by USA TODAY Network-California, some 350,000 Californians live in areas with high wildfire risk and have the same or fewer evacuation routes as Paradise.

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The story of Paradise is a harsh reminder of our need to know where to go and not to go during a major disaster. It also reveals the truth that crowds of people can put you in more danger than the emergency itself.

The year 2020 has thrown us wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, record-breaking heat, and an unusual storm called a derecho – not to mention a pandemic and civil unrest. It is hard not to wonder what’s next as we try to prepare for our families’ safety. What are some places to avoid when the proverbial SHTF? Here is our list.

1. Traffic Chokepoints

If you live in a location with only one bridge, road, or tunnel, you need to plan ahead. As panicked people flock to these bottlenecks, you could put yourself in danger. Pay attention to early warning signs so you can get out of the city fast, or think about whether you’d be safer if you stayed put. Have a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle at all times.

Here is what to include:

Here’s an even longer list of supplies to keep in your vehicle.

2. Hospitals

During a disaster, hospitals become overcrowded quickly. The staff will be overwhelmed, and you may put yourself at further risk of infection IF YOU wait there for treatment. Unless you have a life-and-death situation that you cannot possibly handle yourself, avoid the hospital until things calm down.

3. Grocery Stores

During the pandemic shut-downs, we have seen what panicked people do during even the hint of a crisis – they hoard food and household supplies. And they can get rude and unruly while doing it. Your best bet is to maintain a well-stocked emergency pantry that will tide you over until the crisis is over.

4. Gas Stations

When people want to flee an emergency situation by car, they will be desperate for a fill-up. Get in the habit of keeping your fuel tanks at least half full or more. Store extra fuel in gas containers at home and your bug out location.

5. Public Transportation

Depending on the type of emergency and your location, trains and buses may become some of the most unsafe places to be. You could become trapped in underground stations or hurt in the rush of a panicked crowd. Airports also will become chaotic when flights are canceled.

6. City Centers/Downtowns

We know that downtown can quickly become the centers of looting and violent behavior. If the disaster is an earthquake, then tall buildings, bridges, and the areas surrounding them will be unsafe. If the emergency is a terrorist attack, dense urban areas are often targeted first.

7. Shopping Malls

Be wary of indoor shopping malls, which can entice looters during a lengthy emergency. Besides, shopping malls are usually in some of the most crowded parts of town. You want to avoid the whole area if possible.

8. Sporting Goods Stores

Sporting goods stores, hardware stores, and other places that sell guns, ammunition, knives, baseball bats, tools, and other weapons could become very dangerous locations. These are items to keep at home so that you will not be unprepared when a crisis strikes.

9. Pharmacies

“Prescription drug shortages are a major public health problem, and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has the potential to further precipitate critical shortages of essential medications,” according to a May 2020 report by The American College of Medical Toxicology.

Supplies of common precisions and over-the-counter medications will dwindle quickly during an emergency. Be sure you keep your prescriptions current and filled to avoid running out.

10. Banks

Since having cash on hand is a good idea during a crisis, many people will head to their banks. If banks limit their hours or have to close entirely due to a power grid failure, they could become unsafe places. Always keep some cash on hand in a safe place at home for use during emergencies.

11. Large Gatherings

It may seem comforting to visit family and friends to draw strength from each other during a crisis. However, you can be more mobile and flexible to meet changing situations when your group is smaller.

12. Prisons

Security measures likely will fail during a power grid failure. Keep your distance from prisons in your area and avoid driving near them during a crisis.

Now that you know the places to avoid when SHTF, here are some other emergency preparedness tips:

Make sure your phone is set up to receive alerts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The organization has an Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) that includes text messages. You can choose the types of alerts you receive and the devices you receive them on.

Establish a family meeting spot. Ideally, you should pick four places to meet up if you get separated. They are an indoor spot (like the basement), a neighborhood spot everyone knows (like corner mailbox or a big tree), a regional place (your church or a neighbor’s house), and an out-of-town location (a relative’s home or a famous landmark).

Make a communication plan. Write down emergency contact phone numbers, medical and insurance information for each family member, work and school addresses and phone numbers, planned meeting places, and an out-of-town relative’s name, phone number, and address.

Make copies of these documents and place them in plastic sleeves for each person’s bug out bag. FEMA has a form that can help families pull all this information together.

Complete emergency cards for everyone. An “in case of emergency” (or ICE) card lists important information like name, sex, blood type, prescriptions you take or any allergies you have, and emergency contact information. The AAA has a free template for these cards, which you should keep in your wallet and car glovebox.

Fill bug out bags for each family member and tailored to their age and needs. A basic bug out bag includes bottled water, non-perishable snacks, flashlight, first aid kit, whistle, face covering, antibacterial wipes, trash bag, bandana, multi-tool, paper map, cash in small denominations, and cell phone charger. Add personal items, such as extra socks, t-shirt, toiletries, toys, games, or books.

Prepare vital documents. Keep your essential records (birth certificates, passports, legal documents) in a safe place at home, but package them together in a zippered bag so that they are easy to grab in a hurry.

You can’t place it in a bag, but probably the best thing to take along with you during an emergency evacuation is your common sense. People make bad decisions when they panic. Keeping a level head will help keep you and your family safe.

Learn to trust your instincts about people and places. At the same time, plan for the worst, but wait to be surprised by the good in people. We’ve all seen plenty of the good and the bad in people during this turbulent year. But our country is filled with good people.

An op-ed in The New York Times last March drove home this point. Jon Mooallem, the writer of the article, “This Is How You Live When the World Falls Apart,” researched the aftermath of the devastating 9.2 earthquake that hit Alaska (and much of the Northwest) in 1964.

“You’d be forgiven for feeling pessimistic, for dismissing what happened in a small Alaskan city long ago as quaint, and far less possible in our society now,” writes Mooallem. “And yet: In the 56 years since the Great Alaska Earthquake, an entire field of sociology, disaster studies, blossomed around the Disaster Research Center, with sociologists parachuting into scores of other communities after natural disasters around the world, and it’s stunning to look back and recognize how much of the resilience, levelheadedness, kindness, and cooperation those sociologists saw in Anchorage turned out to be characteristic of disasters everywhere.”

Maybe, just maybe, we can still do that today.

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The Best Places To Be When SHTFIf the grid were to collapse and America turned into an apocalyptic zone, where would you go? In North America, some places are easier to survive in than others.

There are obvious hotspots that should be avoided at all costs. For example, the major cities along the east and west coasts, which not only would be obvious enemy targets but would also turn into total chaos if the grid were to go down.

But there are many other places that would be dangerous, too. For example, northern California and eastern Oregon and Washington may seem like ideal locations, but where do you think everybody else is going to flee to when the cities are hit or become shut down? Exactly.

As Canadian Prepper explains in this video, there are a few areas that will be safer when the SHTF. Here’s his list:

Appalachian Mountains

The Appalachian Mountains are teeming with natural resources and agricultural land. Granted, they are relatively close to the east coast, and you could argue that hundreds of thousands of people would flee from the coastal cities towards the Appalachians.

However, as a mountain range, there are numerous places to hide and where you can be well secluded. Preferably stick to the western side of the Appalachians away from the eastern coastal cities as much as possible.

Idaho and Montana

Idaho and Montana are located right in the middle of the Rocky Mountains while also being a good distance away from hot spots such as Seattle, Portland, and Denver. A lot of people who flee those cities would likely spread throughout Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, but Idaho and Montana would likely remain a bit more sparsely populated.

Already, there are vast swathes of land throughout these two states that are very sparse and packed with natural resources, agricultural land, rivers and lakes, and wildlife. As an added bonus, both states are pretty conservative in comparison to the rest of the country (especially Idaho) which means taxes and regulations are low and gun rights are respected.

The Dakotas

With Idaho and Montana, the Dakotas are both sparsely populated and come packed with natural resources. They’re also far away from any major urbanized hubs that could be targets of an EMP attack or nuclear strike. Just like Idaho and Montana, both of the Dakotas are conservative with low taxes and low regulations.

Arizona and New Mexico

Contrary to what many people think, not all of Arizona and New Mexico are deserts. The southern halves of these two states are dry, arid, hot, and near major urban centers such as Phoenix.

You’ll be wise to avoid those places during SHTF, but the northern regions have more forests and closely resemble the Rocky Mountains in many ways. Here there are fewer people and an abundance of natural resources and agricultural land.

Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire

Last but not least, the woods of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire are also viable options to outlast an SHTF scenario. They have solid agricultural land, dense woods packed with natural resources, and are relatively well secluded.

The biggest negative to them is that they are pretty close to the east coast and the hot spots that are there, especially in Massachusetts and New Jersey. But still, when it comes to the Northeastern regions, the woods of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire are arguably the safest places to be.

This post is merely a short summary, so to hear more about the pros and cons of these areas, be sure to watch the video by Canadian Prepper below.

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[This is a cool idea. I’m even interested! Jan]

While many government authorities advise evacuating, in some situations it is vital to stay and protect that which you’ve worked so hard to build.

Before we jump into the spider hole discussion, follow these 4 simple steps, so you can have the best chance of avoiding the situation entirely. If you ever face some stranger breaking through your window, you know that those thugs are going to be in for a rough day.

The 4 Steps to Secure Your Perimeter When SHTF

Assess Your Weaknesses

Take a long look at everything that could possibly entice someone to target your property. Do you currently live near a bad neighborhood? Is your house relatively secluded? In a disaster scenario, many people will become emboldened by the lack of structure, though criminals will want to rob a soft target, not a house that appears like they mean business.

Develop Deterrents

While it is possible that your location might have higher security than your neighbors, a looter will not care about a video camera if the government has collapsed. A guard dog offers a strong psychological protection against a trespasser, and this can be combined with warning signs to demonstrate your intent to defend. If it is clear that you will fight for yourself and property, most criminals will slink off to easier targets.

Build Fortifications

Eternal vigilance is an impossible task. The basic repetition of a routine will create compliancy and when everyone else is out of resources, they will come for you. It is important to have built defenses against intruders before they are needed. Drop bars, plexiglass, and panic rooms are great for those with money, but many people do not have the capital needed to turn their home into a fortress.

Plan for Contingencies

While you might have boarded up your windows and sealed your doors, it is important that your plan covers exactly what you will do if your home is breached. Don’t stop there, though. After your home is breached, it will likely be the best option to leave. Develop a strategic bug-out plan with multiple egress routes.

Spider Hole Tactics to Protect Against Looters

The United States Army’s Infantry school specializes in a specific subset of warfare called Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT also referred as Close Quarters Combat, CQC). These tactics guide how small units can effectively enter, clear, and neutralize any targets within a building.

By focusing on the critical danger areas outlined in MOUT training, it is possible to see the best places to develop a spider hole with the maximum destructive force against your enemy. Spider holes were heavily used during the Second World War by all belligerents in their quest to maintain strategic superiority.

Spider holes are used primarily for scouting and observation rather than extended combat. But of course this is for millitary purposes. When SHTF, there will be no “extended” battles between two looters and a concealed prepper with an AR-15.

How to make a spider hole

Spider holes usually require little effort due to their small size and minimal construction materials. Here are the basic steps of how to build your own spider hole:

  • Find a tactical spot. Look for spots away from trees and bushes unless they don’t obstruct the view of the area you want to defend. I would personally build my SHTF spider hole in a position good for retreating if I’ll ever have to (retreat), or if I miss my first shots and my position is discovered. Anyway, even in that situation, looters tend to move to an easier target rather then picking on a dug in prepper.
  • spider hole coverNext step is designing the lid. It should be made of a light, yet resistant material that can be easily camouflaged. Depending on the spider hole’s location, you can use a variety of elements such as native plants, grass, bushes, soil or rugs – the most important fact to consider here is to perfectly blend your spider hole with the surrounding landscape!

Once you have found where to place your spider hole, you will want to have two major elements for your position, cover and concealment. Cover is defined as obstacles that can stop a bullet. Concealment is the stuff that can hide you. It is important that your fortifications do not block your vantage of the fatal funnel, and do not trap you in the spot in case you are overrun. The latter is the reason why you should not hide in a closet.

Deliberately construct your spider hole to misdirect the enemies’ attention. Create a makeshift mannequin so that in the chaos, it might draw some rounds away from you. Try to break up your own silhouette, because the eye looks for shapes rather than details once it is in the fight or flight response.

Fatal Funnels & Engagement Zones

fatal funnelThe most dangerous points of contact while fighting within a building are areas called, “fatal funnels.” These spaces restrict movement and force targets into a specific spot. The most common fatal funnel in any building is a doorway. Since a doorway offers the easiest avenue of approach for an intruder, it is possible to lead would-be looters to the specific door of your choosing. Make all of your home’s exits incredibly difficult to bypass, except for your intended fatal funnel. A smart criminal may realize this for the trap that it is, so try to find a way in which they will get caught before they realize what is going on. This often runs counter-intuitive to the deterrent method outlined above, because you want your adversary to underestimate your strength.

In order to inflict maximum casualties, the element of surprise will multiply your forces exponentially. Imagine the looters walking in through your front door, only to be constricted by a long hallway (even if your house opens naturally, move furniture to enlarge your fatal funnel) then you unleash a volley of lead from somewhere above.

Though doors are the most common danger areas in a house, MOUT teaches that stairways are the most lethal. The difference in elevation drastically reduces the perception of the incoming self-defenseforce and the stairway itself elongates the killing zone. If you wait until the enemy is halfway up the stairs, you have effectively trapped them in, since neutralizing your nearest threat will act as an obstacle for their future forward movement. Once they turn their backs, light ’em up.

Even though you will likely have the upper hand, you have to be prepared for anything that is thrown at you. In addition to having a primary engagement area, you should develop a secondary that is much more flexible depending on the situation. An example of this would be to set a spider hole somewhere within sight of the only stairway that leads up or downstairs. If someone breaks into your house in a location other than your fatal funnel, this can serve as a last ditch effort to eliminate the threat.


The post Pics: SHTF: Prepare for War: Build yourself a Spider Hole… appeared first on AfricanCrisis.

This content was originally published here.

How to Survive Mentally When SHTF

It’s time to face reality. As human beings, we are incredibly frail and fragile, especially when it pertains to natural disasters and maliciously violent storms that can quickly flip our entire world upside down in just a matter of seconds. We’re living on a planet that seems to be experiencing more and more of this lately, and you just never know when your family could be directly affected. That’s why it’s so critical that you get yourself prepared and stocked up with the right supplies before SHTF. Here is how to survive mentally when SHTF.

Mental Health Issues After A Disaster

“Prepare Your Family For Survival”by Linda Loosli

How to Survive Mentally When SHTF

How to Survive Mentally When SHTF

But did you know that your survival depends more on your mental toughness than the actual prepping and precautions that you’ve taken ahead of time? During a crisis, your survival equates to about 90% mental, and only 10% physical. 

  • For some people, it’s not the catastrophic event that puts them six feet under, it has more to do with them not knowing how to cope mentally with their new and undesirable circumstances. 
  • That’s scary for some of us to think about, especially for those who have a hard time managing stress and anxiety.  
  • An experienced prepper might have everything that they need as far as supplies to survive a major apocalyptic event, but if they quickly cave into the stress and hopelessness of an unfortunate situation, those supplies they’ve gathered will only get them so far. 
  • Being able to keep a sound mind that’s able to use the right judgment in certain situations will also prove vital. Here’s how to survive mentally when SHTF.       

Staying Calm

Unfortunately, staying calm is easier said than done. When a major calamity strikes, it’s normal for people to freak out and act in irrational ways. To be fair, fear in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. 

It’s the built-in response in us that keeps us from making reckless decisions, but giving in to that fear may have severe negative consequences. Keeping your focus on that fear can immobilize you, and that’s a very bad thing when you need to perform certain tasks just to survive another day.  

So again, learning to stay calm will have a huge effect on where you are once a major devastating event has finally blown over. Find ways to keep your anxiety in check, which may look a little differently for everybody. That may require you to sit down and break down the situation, talk with someone about your fears, and manage what you can control. 

Keep an Adaptive Mindset 

Do you struggle with change? Most people do, and this is especially true as we grow older. But after SHTF, you may never get to go back to how things once were. It will be important that you have a mind that can adapt to these changes that are happening all around you. After all, you don’t have any way of controlling all your circumstances, but you can be adaptive and flexible to those changes.  

Don’t Give Into Isolation and Hopelessness

When all hope seems lost, it’s only a matter of time before some people decide to toss in the towel and lay down to die. Which is why hanging onto hope is so critical. But if you’re isolated from others and not able to communicate with other people, it’s hard for hopelessness not to set in.

  • We as individuals were created to have interaction and relationships with one another. Not having anyone to talk with can be a very lonely experience and something that was never intended. 
  • Do you remember the movie “CastAway” when Tom Hank’s character was stranded on an isolated island? He had nobody to talk to except a blood-smeared volleyball. In the movie “I Am Legend,” Will Smith’s character talked to not only his dog, but manikins strategically placed throughout the city, and also watched old televised news reports. 

As strange and awkward as it may have been to watch these scenes play out, those were healthy ways of dealing with isolation. You need to do whatever works for you so that you can cope without losing hope.      

Keep Active

People who workout have not only found that it helps to reduce stress, but it also makes them feel better about themselves. I’m not implying that you need to head to the gym first thing following a major disaster, but you do need to make sure that you keep active and spend less time sitting around moping. Along with staying active, getting fresh air by going outside can also have a positive effect on you mentally.  

Finding Purpose In Life 

For just a moment I want you to stop and think about your life. Think about your family, friends, beliefs, and even your deepest dreams. What motivates you to get out of bed each morning? Or let me put it this way, what’s your very purpose of being here? If you can’t answer that question for me now, you’re probably not going to have the will to survive when SHTF. 

If you think that your existence is just an accident and that there’s not any purpose or relevance for anything, you probably won’t have anything to fall back on to keep the hope alive in you. Finding purpose in your life now will give you the motivation to keep on living when things have turned bleak.   

Final Word

I know that some of you are skeptical and on the fence about prepping. Especially for some of you who have watched television shows of some pretty nutty people who have gone to some pretty unusual extremes to ensure their survival. I get it, some of them are very unusual. 

But instead of taking your chances and choosing to ignore the real possibility of a natural disaster from ever happening, it’s better to always be safe than sorry. I’m not necessarily implying a doomsday scenario as I stress this, but you must take the proper precautions for your family now before it’s already too late. 

I can’t stress this enough. Having a good head on your shoulders and being mentally tough will play a huge role in whether you’re able to keep fighting to stay alive. What are some other ways that you can stay mentally strong, even during scary and unprecedented situations?  

Please talk to family, friends, and neighbors, mental health is a problem right now. We must face it head-on and help those in need. May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Mental Health Deposit photos_138207362_s-2019

The post How to Survive Mentally When SHTF appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

This content was originally published here.

Keeping a flock of chickens safe and healthy to ensure they will be around to provide meat and eggs can seem like a challenging task on a daily basis now, before the SHTF.

Once a doomsday disaster strikes, keeping the chickens safe becomes a life necessity. It doesn’t take a lot of money to protect the flock, but doing so will demand planning, manual labor, and regular checks on the coop and run.

free-ranging chickens

Chickens will be an incredibly valuable asset during a SHTF scenario. Wise preppers already know this, and are creating large and sustainable flocks are part of their survival food plan.

Poultry birds are one of the best types of survival livestock a prepper could keep. They are inexpensive to both buy, feed, enclose, take up little space, and provide a steady supply of meat and eggs. Butchering a chicken does not require costly tools or heavy lifting.

Keeping a live food supply safe is not a new concept in America, merely one that has been nearly forgotten during our modern times.

During the Great Depression families across the country had to survive largely on the food they could grow and raise themselves because they had no money to buy items from a local store.

Developing and putting into practice chicken husbandry habits now, that will also keep the birds safe not just today, but during a SHTF event. Getting the birds and the keepers used to a routine is a vital part of the safety and security process.

Not only will you be able to cross train others in all aspects of chicken husbandry from the hatching of chicks all the way up through butchering and preserving the birds, but can afford the time to work out any kinks in your plan – now, when adapting it is still feasible.

Revamping Old-Fashioned Chicken Keeping Tactics

Our grandparents and great grandparents knew that both two and four legged predators would be eager to snag a free meal or eggs that they could otherwise sell to buy other wanted items.

The same scenario will play out during a SHTF event – but probably during a WROL situation.


The essential part of maximizing the benefits of chicken keeping while minimizing losses involves not only keeping the flock in a safe and clean pen, but keeping them hidden from being viewed or heard by others.

OPSEC is the vital first step is not done properly, everyone passing by will know that you are keeping a food source all to yourself while the unprepared masses are starving. Get this part wrong, and you won’t be a chicken keeper for long.

Practicing both sight and sound discipline will help prevent others from detecting your growing food source.

If you live in a small town, do not buy your livestock feed locally. I feel horribly typing that, I try very hard to support the few businesses we have in our rural county.

But, if you buy locally in a small town everyone who works at the store and frequent customers you chat with while shopping will known – and remember, that you keep livestock.

In my area, most folks keep animals and have gardens, but most does not mean all. There will be hungry and panicked people just three days into a SHTF event.

You do not want scared, hungry, and armed masses of people showing up at your place because they frequently saw you buying livestock feed at the local store.

Do not share photos of your livestock on Facebook. Far too often folks post images of their cute new chicks, lambs, baby goats, and calves.

The people in your community that see those images will know where to come after grocery store shelves run empty – which we all know will take only hours.

The chicken coop should be placed as close to the house as possible, preferably downwind. Even if you do not visit the coop daily, it should be built near the home with an extremely spacious run (more on that below) and room for the flock to grow.

The closer the poultry birds are to the home, the better they are protected from both humans and animal predators.

Don’t forget to build a brooder – or several, for keeping a momma hen and her chicks until they are old enough to be filtered into the larger flock.

A smaller and more portable brooder should be built for housing chicks indoors due to inclement weather after late fall or early spring hatchings. Even if you cannot run brooder heat lamps, the chicks will have a far better survival rate inside where it is not frigidly cold.

Rooster Crowing

You must view keeping the poultry birds a secret just as strongly and as diligently as you do you stockpile of weapons and ammo. Purchasing a quiet breed of chickens is a great first step but all … ALL roosters crow.

In a survival chicken flock, you must keep a minimum of two roosters at all times – one is none and two is one – as the prepping mantra goes.

If one rooster dies you will have to wait and hope that a cockerel chick reaches maturity and furthers flock numbers before your family is forced to consume all the available eggs and birds.

Purchase multiple no-crow rooster collars as a part of your food security survival plan.

Preventing a rooster from doing what comes natural seems cruel, and it may very well be even though the collar does not physically harm the rooster – but, keeping the bird as quiet as possible increases the chances that you children will not go hungry.

Remember, sound carries, especially during the winter months that there are no leaves on the trees and the forest brush has died back.

We live literally in the middle of the woods on a 56-acre survival homestead and I still would want no-crow collars on our roosters during a SHTF situation.

It is not uncommon to hear the sounds of our nearest neighbors, who live across the road from the start of our half-mile private farm road, during the winter months.

Wyandotte chickens
a few Wyandotte chickens

Quiet Chicken Breeds

Hens clatter, sometimes loudly. Keeping the ladies quiet will not be as difficult as taming back the loud noise of a crowing rooster, but to help prevent all of the clucking of the hens from being herd, consider purchasing one of the top five quiet chicken breeds.

Roosters in these breeds tend to be quieter than those of other varieties, but make no mistake about it, fellow preppers, they will still crow… and not just at dawn.

  1. Rhode Island Reds – These chickens are known to be docile, quiet, cold weather hardy, and layers of superbly large brown eggs. The only downside to keeping Rhode Island Reds is their poor sitting abilities. To better your chances of being able to hatch chicken eggs naturally, also purchase some Bantam hens. These little hens lay nice small white eggs year round, and are dedicated mommas that are eager to adopt the eggs of other hens that are not doing their jobs properly. They are also a laid back and quieter breed of chicken.
  2. Buff Orpingtons – These stately looking poultry birds are not only a quiet and hardy breed, their roosters are known to be among the most docile, as well.
  3. Barred Rock Plymouth – Chicken of this breed are quiet, great free rangers, boast some of the most docile roosters, and lay medium to large brown eggs.
  4. Wyandottes – The hens from this breed are excellent layers and fairly good sitters. Wyandottes are hardy in nearly all climates and while not affectionate with their keepers, tend to be easy to handle. They are known as a dual purpose meat and egg bird.
  5. Ameraucanas – This is another dual purpose and quiet chicken breed. Ameraucanas grow to reach seven pounds, lay medium white eggs in substantial quantities, and are good free rangers.
chickens inside run

Building A Stealth Coop And Run

Spend both the money and the time to build the “Fort Knox” of chicken coops and runs. This cannot be stated firmly enough, spend the money now so that you and your family can eat later.

Do not use chicken wire on the coop or run in any way, shape, or form. Chicken wire is good for keeping chickens in but will NOT keep predators out. The wire is too thin and gives too easily to prevent raccoons, mink, opossums, weasels, or snakes out.

Hardware cloth, also known as rabbit hutch wire, should be used on the chicken run from top to bottom.

  • Dig one foot down around the perimeter of the entire chicken run.
  • Lay at least one layer of hardware cloth down so it runs through from one side of the run to the next other – from the back of the run where the birds enter from the coop to the front.
  • Cover the hardware cloth with ample dirt so it is no longer visible.
  • Use pressure treated 4 X 4 or pressure treated 2 by 4 boards to build a frame on top of the hardware cloth of the perimeter – make sure to leave enough excess on the bottom run chicken wire layer so that it can be pulled up and around the board and stapled firmly into place.
  • From here, use pressure treated wood posts or T posts on all four corners of the chicken run and spaced no further than three feet apart along the side of the chicken run.
  • Use hardware cloth stapled or wired to these supports and to the bottom pressure treated boards to frame out the chicken run.
  • The top of the run should also be made of chicken wire. Adding a wood or metal roof over part of the chicken run to protect the birds from getting too much sun and to allow them an outdoor space to room when it is raining or snowing is highly recommended.

You do not want the birds spending too much time indoors and walking around in their droppings – doing so not only makes more mess for you to clean but can also cause and spread disease.

Some poultry diseases can wipe out an entire flock in mere days. Keeping poultry birds in multiple coops to prevent the loss of an entire flock from a contagious disease is also a wise idea.

Predators will not be able to dig through hardware cloth. It can rust and weaken to the point that it is no longer predator proof over time, but this will take at least three years to occur.

Purchase enough extra hardware cloth and keep it stored indoors so the coop (and run) can be repaired as needed.

Stealth Chicken Coop

The coop itself should be placed directly on unprotected ground. This will make the birds far too vulnerable to digging and clawing predators.

  • To better protect the chicken flock, attach thick metal sheeting to pressure treated boards to make a base plate.
  • Cover the boards with two sheets of hardware cloth.
  • Cover the hardware cloth layer with another layer of pressure-treated boards.
  • For ease of cleaning, covering the top layer of boards at the base of the chicken coop with thick rubber will allow you to use buckets or water or a water hose to clean the bird waste easier.

All of the doors and flaps on the chicken coop should have at least one two step lock to secure them closed.

A raccoon can open a one step lock in only a few minutes when determined to find a meal. Using latches that can have a lock applied to them is also a good idea.

A human with an axe or wire cutters will still be able to get inside the coop, but doing so will take a while and cause a bit of noise… a lot of noise if the flock becomes startled and starts carrying on in fright.

Do not use a dusk to dawn automatic door on the chicken coop. A clever human can hold a flashlight up to the sensor and free the birds at night, making them more accessible to theft when they venture into the run.

To further protect the chicken coop and run and the poultry birds that live there, add solar motion detector lights to all sides of the coop.

Action motivated predator decoys – plastic owls that can be attached to the coop or run, etc. also can help deter two and four legged predators and alert you to the threat.

Many chicken keepers also raise guineas. They are the junkyard dog of the poultry world. They will fight animals far larger and more vicious than themselves to protect “their” flock.

When anything, anyone, or any animal is in an area it does not belong in, they will shriek loudly and frequently to let you know.

Now, both the predator decoys and the guineas are not OPSEC friendly. Only you can decide how to balance the need for secrecy with the desire to be alerted if a predator of any type of getting near your birds.

Flock Growth

Do not neglect to factor the growth of the flock into your chicken coop and run plans. You will want to raise as many birds as you can feed during a SHTF situation.

Adding ample space inside both structures, along with enough roosting areas and nesting boxes for the birds, is in a prepper’s best interest.

Overcrowding the coop and run will cause fighting and potentially injuries of the birds and vastly increases the possibility of disease spread as well as trampled and cracked eggs.

Place several hanging solar coop lights (a cord runs to the outside of the coop with the sun sensor) will help the birds achieve the 8 to 10 hours of sunlight they need to lay eggs during the short days of winter.

The lights also invite the birds to spend more time indoors when the temperature drops, staying too long outdoors to be exposed to light can cause you to lose birds to frostbite.

Chicken Longevity and Sustainability

Keeping the chicken flock safe means keeping them alive. Keeping the birds alive will require providing them with all the clean water and healthy food they need to survive.

Stockpiling chicken feed and straw is only one step in making the chicken coop a sustainable place to live.

Dig a shallow pond, or sink a plastic baby pool in the chicken run as well as setting up a rainwater collection system on the coop to help collect and store free water.

The pond option is a lot better than the baby pool due to not only the cleaning needs of the pool, but also out of concern that young birds will get into the water when the level drops below a side perching level, and drowns.

Create a composting pile in one corner of the chicken run so the birds can help you develop quality dirt for the survival garden, and you have a place to put any food scraps you may have so the birds can eat them and the bugs they attract.

Growing food in planters next to the chicken coop so they can easily be moved inside to feed the birds should also be a part of the poultry bird sustainability plan.

Micro sprouts grow quickly even indoors under normal room lights, and can be used to help supplement the nutrient intake of the flock during the winter months.

Planting a berry bush and Jerusalem artichoke plants inside the run will keep a growing supply of food for the chickens to eat.

Planting millet in a raised garden bed to cut and toss into the run for the birds to eat as a nutrient supplement, will also keep them fed after commercially manufactured chicken feed runs out.

Save your eggshells for the flock. By crushing them up and feeding them back to the flock you are infusing more calcium into their diets and will help them lay stronger and thicker eggs.

Some folks staunchly believe hens should only be fed their own eggs for fear or spreading disease.

I have never been fussy about which hens gets which eggs because I diligently do health checks on my birds during daily livestock chores, and have never had a problem with a transfer of birds germs – but your experience could differ.

Chicken Tractors

Building or buying a chicken tractor is a must for feeding the flock during a SHTF event. The flock can be moved about in the tractor so they can safely forage for their own food.

The chicken tractor browsing for food daily activity alone could keep your flock alive when their purchased feed runs out – depending upon the size of your prepper retreat.

Ample free chicken tractor plans exist online, including ones created with wheelbarrow style handles that makes it more closely resemble a rickshaw – designed to be easily pulled or pushed by humans.

I free range my poultry flocks now. They, along with my ducks that share quarters with the chickens, are trained to walk back into the run on their own before dusk to get a treat and locked up for the night.

This habit will be really risky during a SHTF event – supervised browsing for food only or a chicken tractor offer a far safer option.

Boredom Busters

Once you have built the Fort Knox of chicken coops and runs, and have taken steps to fulfill the sustainable food need of the poultry birds, it is time to turn your attention to boredom busters.

I can guarantee you that the birds will not care that the SHTF, they will still want to find ways to enjoy their day – and you will need them too.

A bored bird can not only get aggressive with other flock members, but start the bad habits of plucking out its own feathers, or try to peck its way out of the coop or run.

If you free ranged your birds before the SHTF, they will be used to a lot more freedom of movement than they will receive when kept inside of a run day and night, eagerly awaiting their turn in the chicken tractor.

Place tires with dirt, sand, or cooled wood ash inside the chicken run so the hens can take dirt baths. This is not only a social activity for the hens but it also helps rid them of parasites.

Adding several perches, swings, and natural items the birds can climb upon will also keep them physically active and mentally stimulated so they do not get bored and act out.

If you live in a small town, city, or the suburbs and want to safely keep chickens during a SHTF event the best piece of advice I can offer is – move. There are a plethora of reasons preppers are better off in a rural area, and the covert keeping of livestock is chief among them.

Trying to prevent neighbors from seeing or hearing a flock of chickens, even a small flock that includes a single rooster will likely make too much noise to adhere to the OPSEC guidelines you will need to follow to prevent the loss of the flock to the unprepared.

If they come for your birds, odds are pretty good that they might be leaving with a lot more of your preps…

chickens safety pinterest

This content was originally published here.

3 Best Ammo Calibers To Have After SHTF

On the other hand, not all guns are created equal. Each caliber has its own advantages and drawbacks, and you need to have the right weapons on hand to get through a disaster in one piece.

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9mm ammo is the most popular pistol caliber in the world. It isn’t the most powerful caliber, but a study by the FBI found that it is normally the optimal choice for defensive carry. The difference in power between 9mm ammo and the larger pistol calibers is not big enough to have a significant impact on stopping power.

Shot placement is usually the factor that matters with all calibers in that general range of sizes. Since 9mm ammo has less recoil than heavier rounds, it tends to be the most effective.

It is also light, so it’s easy to carry more of it for occasions when reloading is necessary. Most 9mm guns also have more room to hold ammo, so shooters don’t have to reload as often. At a practical level, it’s also cheap and easy to find, so it’s possible to store enough to stay supplied in an emergency.

Those factors make it the best choice for a defensive pistol. It can be used for hunting small game in an emergency, but it is better to have a more powerful round for that. If it is necessary, loading it into a pistol caliber carbine can help, and doing so allows you to share an ammo supply between multiple guns for easier logistics.

Even if that isn’t your first choice, the versatility can make it useful to have such a carbine and ammo for a backup weapon.


While 9mm ammo is versatile and potent, there are times when heavier ammo is necessary. In that case, .45 caliber ammo is usually the best bet. It offers much more stopping power than 9mm, and it can also go in both pistols and rifles.

The big advantage to using this ammo is that it offers much more stopping power. It will not make a big difference against humans or anything smaller, but it will be meaningful against deer, bears, and other large targets. That significantly widens the range of viable hunting targets and boosts your odds of a successful hunt.

The ammo is also less prone to jamming than most others. Even more reliability is possible when using a simple revolver, and most of the viable hunting revolvers on the market are chambered in this caliber.

The downside to using .45 ammo is the size. It’s heavy, and most guns can’t hold very many rounds, so you need to shoot accurately to use it. The price of the ammo can also be a little too high, so it can be hard to stockpile.

Use it if you’re confident in your aim and you need the power, but be sure to either stock up or have secondary weapons in case you can’t get enough.


Most people learn to shoot with a .22 caliber weapon. It is not a very powerful option, but it still packs enough of a punch to take down small game animals. It is also cheap and easy to acquire in massive quantities, so it’s the best way to ensure that you have an adequate supply of ammo.

The recoil is minimal, so smaller shooters can also take advantage of it without losing any accuracy. The rounds are also light, so it’s easy to take a lot of it out on hunting trips when necessary, even if the trips involve a lot of traveling.

The downside is that the ammo is weak and not always reliable. Premium rounds are available that prevent most jams and dud rounds, but that defeats the purpose of buying cheap ammo.

It probably isn’t wise to rely exclusively on .22 ammo in an emergency, but the ease of equipping yourself with it and its usefulness in hunting small game means that it is also unwise to go without it.

In the event of a dire situation or when you run out of ammo, it is always best to have a caliber that you can easily reload. Just remember, when shit really hits the fan, bullets will not be in production anymore. You might be your only supplier of bullets, so save them up and brush up on your reload skills, it could mean your life.

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About the Author: Joe Humphries is a contributing writer and media specialist for Diamond K Brass. He regularly produces content for a variety of firearm and survivalist blogs, with an emphasis on DIY ammunition reload projects.

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