It is crucial to understand when SHTF starts. I think it is one of the most important things, to recognize that, in some cases it is more important to recognize that event and correct moment than to be prepared for that, no matter how strange this sounds.

I believe this is the truth because knowing when things turn bad can give you chance of escape.

But even if it is too late for escape, if you know this is a survival situation you think different. Make different decisions, think twice when dealing with strangers in need or accepting help from stranger who “want your best” or at least say so.

How do I prepare to know when survival mode has to kick in? Here are 5 symptoms that show that you might have a terrible disease in your area that can kill and that disease is called SHTF, society collapse or fight to survive. It comes with many names but if you know the first symptoms you can fight it better, earlier and smarter or avoid it.

Best information is a key for survival.

Personally I do not care much about press and media anymore. If you heard how situation went from bad to worse in my interviews in course area you know why.

Then there are global news of big events. They are good to keep an eye on and I read them but what really matters for me are local news. I get very few of important news from local newspapers but more from Police officers I chat with.

I also work in medical field so when things in my city get worse I know about it. More murder, riots, fights or other events where people get hurt.
You might not work in field like that but know someone, then talk to them. I did quick research and for the US for example there are law enforcement forums you could try to connect with some officers in your area.

If you find someone in your area, chat with them. Tell them you want to know their opinion. People who work in these fields have much better idea of how local situation is than what any media can tell you.

Media has to play nice with politicians, politicians need good news. Barack Obama ordered operation to kill Osama Bin Laden. Heard about it? It is election year, you will hear a lot more often about it.

But people who help victims or fight crime and give you their opinion will be able to tell you what’s really going on. Is violence up in your area? Is the media just hyping one incident or are there many more “normal” violent events like fights or stabbings nobody writes about.

Forget disaster media who write about new breakdown every day. Unless it is really something local it will take time before it affects you. Maybe you have local survival blogger or officer in your area who keeps people informed then you are lucky. Read those websites if you have them.

So besides real local street news what can help you to spot signs of SHTF?

Symptom 2: Group behavior changes, survival brings people closer and makes others less human

First you need to try to understand that SHTF event brings whole new set of things, and laws, together with complete absence of old laws.
Most important thing is, it is scary and when something is scary or people just sense things are going bad they band together.

They try to stick with people most similar to them. That’s in prisons and that’s everywhere once signs show something bad might happen.
Part of violence or why violence is easy is because the predator the one being violent considers his victim as someone very different. Almost like a thing. He is some else, almost not human. In these cases it is much easier to do bad things.

This happened during war, happens now in prisons and has happened through all of history. So once people band together and groups form and there is maybe your group or neighbours group and then there is this very different “other group”, then chance of things getting more ugly is bigger.

Symptom 3: Dead streets

Along with groups forming people try to stay with people they trust. Less people go out and if then also in group. People show up less often to meetings and social activitys.

Casual activitys like going to park change to visiting neighbors. When fear has spread so far that streets become less populated at certain times of day then it is time to get ready for disaster.

It means some people already live in survival mode but they do not know it. They probably will not have realized they have too little food storage and other things. Fear just makes them less social.

Symptom 4: New leaders emerge

Some people will use widespread fear to their advantage. Fear is powerful to control masses. Some election campaigns of politicians use fear to influence voters and get them on their side. This works with many people who do not know about it.

On local level this means that loud person in your favorite bar gathers more people around him. Some people organize groups for different also harmless things to make situation better. In times of fear people look for leader to hold on to. When things get tough those leaders will turn to be gang leaders.

Even some who did good things and became leader of good group to for example improve local situation turned into hard gang leaders who did everything to survive. I’m sure some of them never expected that but when things get tough everything changes.

Symptom 5: Nobody to trust anymore

I explain this with story of what happend to a friend.

Like great majority of people my friend watched in first days the situation deteriorating. I talked with him few days ago and I asked him can he remember right moment, or right event that he can call like something like point of no going back, or point when he clearly saw that everything is going to sh.. and something completely new is coming.

He lived in apartment building on seventh floor with his family, and he said that he like great majority of people watched in first week or two how things going down, stories of sporadic killing in city fueled by rage and hate, fear slowly started to creep into people’s mind, fear from unknown, still people believed things somehow gonna revert back to normal, nobody wanted to think too much about worst things, it was somehow unimaginable.

On one late afternoon or evening he heard shots, brakes and sounds of car crash. He goes to window and seen that truck went off the road to the dirt beside road, driver fell out from the truck, and screamed that sniper shot him. Vehicles were going on the road close to the guy but nobody wanted to stop and help him.

After 10 minutes, 10 or 12 policeman came with rifles, and take position close to the truck and wounded guy, I guess trying to figure where sniper was. Firefighters also came, but they stay 100 or 150 meters from truck. Also taking cover from possible sniper.

It was in first days when very few people knew who is fighting with who and why and who is enemy, nobody mentioned the word war too much, people still thought that things were some local unrests that gonna cease soon.

On the intersection, right across that burning truck and screaming driver, there was small store, „newspapers store“ they sell cigarettes, newspapers, lighters, candy and stuff like that.

When that truck crashed salesman ran away in fear from everything I guess.

Anyway police guys were hiding and lying down everywhere while that guy screamed, after some time one of them came to the store, used his baton and smashed glass and took couple boxes of cigarettes, after him few other also did that, he said one even took big box of bubble gums.

Police guys did not know what do with that sniper, after some time my friend says darkness came and someone started to shoot at them too, so they ran away carrying one Police man who was wounded. Firefighters ran away earlier, everybody forgot the screaming guy.

My friend said he did not even realize when the truck driver who has been shot stopped with screams. He said the image of police officers in full gear with weapon stealing things from that store was so new for him and so crushing that he clearly took that event and that moment as point of real beginning, moment when SHTF and his world broke down.

From that moment on he knew it was about survival now and rules had changed.

When you believe for years that guys in uniforms are there only to serve and protect you, awakening to something like that can be rude.
So symptom 5 is when behavior of authorities change. Clear signs now things are bad. Those might be smaller changes first and not so extreme like in my friends case, but at the end of day policeman are also fathers and sons and have family to take care of.

That night he and his family left that apartment, and moved to some safer parts of town, at that time they figured that S. had hit the fan. Not so much because of screaming guy, who died soon, but much more because image of police officers stealing things.

Also, few hours after police officers were gone, he sneaked out to the store and took some stuff, not too many things were left, but few boxes of cigarettes worth fortune in coming months.

Those are 5 important early warning signs or symptoms of SHTF. There are many more fine details to pay attention to of course. I speak in detail about all events that happened before we realized we were in a SHTF scenario in my course.

What are your early warning signs you watch out for?

This content was originally published here.

It seems a lot of people have to see where they put their money. Into preps or have to spend it on things for everyday living. I know how this feels and live like that the last decades.

After war I left city with two plastic bags full of random belongings. No documents and nothing else. I was refugee. But lucky that I was able to stay with family on countryside. I had no bug out bag.

I never really thought, ok now I prepare or anything. I simply wanted to have all sorts of things I did not have during my SHTF year. So preparing came naturally to me. No surprise. First it was all about weapons. Whenever I had money I bought ammunition, rifles and guns.

When I got my own place and job again I started to get other preps. Economic has ever been bad since war. Sometimes we get paid, sometimes not, sometimes late. So I never had much extra money but even when I got paid, I made plan what I need for next month and what not and then spend most of money on buying things in bulk. For example I drive every few weeks to gas station half hour away to buy 200 liters of gas. They have it cheaper and give discount. Buying in bulk is not only cheaper I get rid of my money and have things instead. That matters for me.

From other blog posts you also might know I do not value money much and never have after my SHTF year. You can’t eat money and when I do not get paid, or not paid in time I simply live of my preps.

People help when preparing on a budget

Interesting thing might be that my area is at brink of collapse again and has been for some time. We have 40% unemployed people so black market and exchanging things is normal. People do not have money so they exchange whatever they have. I might need new jacket but have knife I don’t want anymore and call a few people and get what I want.

Most of my friends have same or similar life philosophy, actually it is the matter of choosing right people to hang with them, so I do not have friends who find meaning of life in buying big LCD TV or having fancy car. It is more about having friends with who you can go into the woods for few days with very few things to check how it is like, or to discuss with them how we can get from point A to point B fast and safe when SHTF for example.

We meet for coffee or a few beer and plan this. It is our hobby and has been ever since war. We laugh and have good time, we fear little because we know what to expect and are prepared.

People with who you hang out have influence on you, either you like it or not, so you just have to choose with who you are gonna spend your time. Most of my friends are also exchanging / trading stuff, so it is easier for me to live without money and more with preps.

My guess is if there is slow collapse your country who is now better will come down to this level of where my country is, first before complete economic collapse.

In this state of half collapse I live in I just take safe route and that is having things. So what I write might be future advice for when time has come for your country. I just share how I prepare with my limited budget.

I can trade things now and if total collapse happens I still have more valuable things than worthless money. During collapse those with 1000 $ but broken shoes will pay 1000 $ for a new pair. Just not sure if I would sell because I can not wear those paper notes.

Friends with grey market traders

Another thing that helps is to get right connections. It helps to know some people who work in darker grey areas. People who sell stuff that “fell from a truck” are those who exchange and hustle for living and will be first who become big traders once SHTF. Their job does not change much, just more customers.

Now you may or may not approve this what i say, but consider knowing people from this “grey” area of life as a perfect part of preparing for future SHTF event. Those people is not your local drug dealer who is also on drugs, but more business people who focus on “lost and found” things.

If your country is far away from having trading people like this, look out for them once things get rougher. They will emerge fast. When they are there it is more than time to exchange money and have things instead.

Even now in normal time when i want to buy something, i always look for the word on the street where i can buy something good and cheap. If you have little you have to make things happen, somehow.

If I want military type bag, I always ask few people that I know have good info about that kind of stuff. They can point me to the guy who has that stuff for me. I do not ask too much questions, I do not want to know where that comes from, it is cheap, it is good, I have far greater things to worry about. If I had money I have guy who can sell me tuna cans, in bigger amounts, I mean 400-500 cans, almost in half price. How? Don t know, I do not wanna know.

There is the people here for buying anything, and I think it is similar everywhere i mean for most of the things there is the folks who are selling that, cheaper.

Jay who lives in Thailand went to supermarket manager to make his own deal and saved a lot. How supermarket manager could give him good prices like that? Nobody wants to know. If you do not know grey guys your local supermarket manager might be the go to guy.

How far you wanna go with buying some things from some grey people is up to you. I do not suggest anything when it comes to that. Each and everyone of us have to decide about that.

You may like this way or you may not. If you are poor or have to make difficult choices when buying preps it is form of survival already. When SHTF there will be way more difficult choices and you will laugh about this.

Find those people who trade things now

Even in good times (which are still bad times here compared to most other countries) I can get what I want with exchanging stuff. Pay good attention to when things become more valuable or better investments than money.

If I buy 4 pairs of boots that I know I will use and get them cheaper now, I do this. I live like this for years now but your country might not be there yet, but know time will come.

Money is good, money is great actually, but do not get caught up in situation like in the middle of the night with 1000 $ in your wallet, and S. has just hit the fan, and your 1000 $ is worth 10 cans of food, yesterday it was worth 400 cans, but…

We all expect that we gonna recognize signs, have time.. but we actually can be suprised, all of us. Looking at some alternative media sites I’m not sure if they promote truth or themselves more.

In the end we prepare to be safer and that is something you have to do today, not tomorrow.

Don’t prepare, save money

I know from forums that some people have problem justifying spending money on preps because other family member believe collapse can not happen or the government will provide.

This was never problem for me because all family knows preparing is only smart thing to do. Still you do not have to prepare for collapse officially. I save money by buying in bulk and also save gas by not making that many trips. Also saves my time because we do not have to leave house that often for buying things.

We are slaves of money, modern way of life is doing that to us, and it is hard sometimes to prepare but all of life is full of hard choices and making right choices today might safe one of your family members life tomorrow.

Not being a sheep today

Another good advice I think is that you have to not be one of the herd. Having new iPod might be a must have, but I do not care. It might be easy to say for me because priorities have changed a lot but I do not need most things media of advertisement tries to tell me I need.

You can start having survival mindset today. Those who think they need big LCD TV or latest iPod will have even bigger challenge once times get tougher and they are left with little or nothing.

There are many ways to do this. In this article I explain mine (my 6 months supply list is in course area).

What are your ways of preparing and staying within budget?

This content was originally published here.

After last post and the video about Homs in Syria I received some more questions about how it felt in city under siege. So today I share some details about this kind of chaotic urban warfare situation.

When SHTF there might not be army outside shooting at you, but there might be gangs who prey on you to get your supplies. Being under siege feels like someone takes the ground away you walked on.

Nothing is like it was before. When you defend your home you need to have mindset change. Home is not cozy secure place anymore. Home is the place you chose to defend yourself and loved ones. You will feel very different about place you used as defensive base forever.

To stay protected or to try to protect against firing and shelling required some skill, knowledge and in lot of the times good luck.

I can say that at the beginning people acted very brave, but on the other side that was not courage, it was more like lack of knowledge how easily man can be killed. People went out like kids with water pistols only that getting wet might be own blood or blood of friend on you.

So i watched few times how man attacking another guy who is hiding behind some cover. Attacker is just running towards the guy behind cover and constantly shooting. Other guy behind cover just leans forward for second, gets timing right, and kills the foolish attacker.

When you have bunch of civilians with lot of weapons, some strange situations can occur. Remember i am talking about people that most of them did not know too much about war, fighting, tactics and everything else.

We did not had some smart philosophy of street fighting, especially not in the beginning. But as the time goes some of the obvious things get figured, or learned if you like.

If somebody wanted to attack someone who is inside house, most usual way was to use RPG or hand granades on some of the openings to shock people inside and create some shrapnel flying around.

In some other situations (quite often) guys used human shields to get to the house, lot of guys get killed because they thought it is not OK to kill some poor prisoner in order to defend house.

Imagine that three bad guys come towards you and they push two older woman in front of them. Terrible situations. After some time most shot at everything that looked suspicious… no matter what.

Most of the fighting in the city was like shoot and hide, fight while moving, like fighting with shadows, they are everywhere and each shadow can kill you. You often fight people who you do not even see good, so to walk or run lightly was key. Often you do not see enemy and shoot at whatever. Sounds bad but in lot of the situations very good thing was to shoot at anything that looks even close to suspicious, and in most of the situation not even stop later to check.

You never know how well you hit. Just grab your stuff and move. Move… move. I remember that. Always on the run.

Psychology in urban warfare

Fear was one of the greatest ally of fighting, so if one of the group wanted to kill or expel other group from some street, position or building. Usual method was to talk to them for hours over the megaphone device. Maybe from this perspective looks ridiculous but if you listen for hours or days for one and same story how you are gonna be treated good if you surrender yourself, after some time lot of folks are gonna start to belive in that.

Or in other case you may listen for an hours what that guys gonna do to your family and you if you do not surrender youself.

Hard to imagine how wrong things can be

After watching video of Syria and people in Homs some memories came back. It was good that Jay visited me for making the survival boot camp here and ask all those questions. Some dark memories hide deep inside of me. Not easy to get to them. But this is one that came back.

My friend got caught with his comrade in one house, actually two of them are left something like behind enemy lines, in basement of destroyed house. Enemy group, some 150-200 men was doing sweep trough that street, robbing, and killing civilians who had not time to run. He said to me that they spend two days in basement, covered with all kind of junk, watching outside trough small opening, few meters from opening was a corpse of girl, maybe 10 years old.

In order to see if somebody is coming to their basement, one of them needed to be constantly on that small opening, watching. He said he managed to watch atrocities that those people did to civilians and somehow push that deep inside his brain, over the time, to put these memories away. But to stare at dead kid, all the time, with her eyes wide open, blond hair, he almost lost his mind.

One of them had a pistol and few bullets, other one had a rifle , 30 bullets and homemade grenade (made from unexploded tank grenade).

They make agrement, if they see enemy is coming to the basement, they gonna fire everything and blow themselfs with that grenade. Nobody came in basement, burned house was not interesting for other guys. After two days enemy group just pulled back.

They survived war, both of them. One of them became drug addict, lived very fast few years and died from overdose.

Other man is still my friend, he is in mid 40ies, prepared, armed, strong, skilled. He have two kids, boy and girl, teenagers. Both of them know how to shoot, how to defend themselves.

I can only write here but reality is a whole different thing. Once things turn ugly, some things can feel so wrong they can not be understood or processed with normal mind.

Actually there is no way to deal with that, sometimes with friends we can speak about these things, sometimes we laugh, other times some of my friends are quiet for days, I do not know, I have periods like that too. I think none one of us is dealing too good with that, maybe pushing it away from time to time, I have for example some periods when I am too agressive, easy to explode, rarely, but I still have it.

While this site and my course is about urban survival I hope we all never have to go through this (again). But when time comes, I’m ready and you should be too.

This content was originally published here.

You might be wondering what we ate when SHTF?

Well, not too many types of food, most popular was some kind of local pancakes, to prepare them you needed water, hand full of flour and local herbs, i don t know type of herb, but i am pretty sure it was cow food.It did not require cooking oil, and it needed few minutes on fire to be ready, feeling was like you are eating dusty carpet.

To explain it simply, it was grass, we just use small amounts of flour and water to keep that grass together. We eat that when we did not anything else.

Speaking about herbs, people used a lot garlic and  lavender as substitute for antibiotics, pine was popular as a antiseptic and of course camomile.

Cans were luxuries, we acquired cans mostly trough trade. Rice was popular to had, i ques one reason was because it easy to prepare it. Who owned some kind of garden was in advance, i remember green salads mostly from gardens, to protect that gardens was another problem, but that is theme for another post i quess.

Most popular food

It was matter of whole new thinking, for example if you manage to get somewhere tomatoes, and happened to had some sugar in house, than probably you gonna make kind of marmalade from that, or sauce, call it as you like, and put it in jars.

Most popular kind of can was corned beef because few reasons, it was meat to eat of course, it had a lot of fat in that can, when we eat meat, we used that fat and can as a lamp (add a lace and bottle cap, melt fat)

As i said mostly it was a matter of improvisation,like to make small portable stove from pressure cooker, simply with hammer nails and saw we made two openings, one for smoke and one for wood, we attached some pipe on smoke opening, so basically we had small portable stove, we could carry that in bag, or backpack, if we going somewhere on day, we could quickly cook something on that, and warm our self.

Of course it looked funny, we cough because smoke all the time, but it worked, and it was portable.
We also made stove from the bigger cans, also portable.

As the situation deteriorated more and more, some things about food changed, things were brought to a level where we eat just to survive. To explain you in simple way: in first month it was like-oh i really could use pizza or beer, but after a few months it was like- oh i really want to eat SOMETHING, it was not too important what.

There was not to many different kinds of foods, i ll try to remember here what we use to eat. Cooking and preparing food mostly was not my part in that days, but i ll do my best here.

Bread was not everyday thing, and it was not bread like we eat today, and it was homemade of course. Flour was bad quality, actually it was some kind of mixture i think. We use to bake that bread in small pots, on plate, not in oven, it took less firewood to bake it like that. After baking we wrap it in wet clothes, rug or something similar and leave it for hour or two, to make it softer.

About pancakes, we just call it pancakes, but actually it was mixture of herbs , water and small amounts of flour, baked also on plates, so when it is done you got something what look like pancake, with lot of green stuff inside and taste bad. For pancakes we used two kind of herbs, one was wild onion or bear onion, other was nettle (urtica).

We also used herbs mostly for different kind of soups, as a soup we used mostly nettle, especially if we had few potatoes to put in. We used all kinds of tea, actually something between tea and soup, i ques depended did we had anything else to put inside. Rice was popular also, alone or in form of some kind of pie.

Sometimes i did not eat for few days but at the end i always managed to get something trough trade or on other ways. It was a question of your strength and brain and some luck to find food.

Now you are going to ask me how?

OK for example two from our group go out to wait for MREs, two others go to find someone to trade something, two are going to find some usable herbs.
Food was coming in town trough few ways, depended on state of those ways in some days was easier to get some food, in other days was just too hard.
For example in one period in black market there were great amounts of some kind of cookies, or hard biscuits, in big metal containers, i do not have clue from where. Something similar to those crackers in MRE.

People avoided to eat that because rumor was that cookies are poisoned, i did not avoided them. So it was some strange situations with food too. Of course all different kinds of cans, MREs, end every other “luxury” thing was subject of many different “if s”. Preparing of food was pointed to how to “how to make it with less firewood”

In summer we prepared food in a yard on a simple two stone and one plate fire. But most of the preparing of food was simple and took as long as to “boil water”, like pancakes or kinds of donuts (not real donuts, more like a bad case of a donut)

Spices were pretty important for the simple reason because most of the home made foods tasted awful, or did not have taste at all, so we practically used them for every meal. Tabascino, peppers, rosemary everything.

You may say that we actually experimented with food but actually that is a really nice way to put it. We did not have too much problems with storing food, because we never had enough food to store it actually. It was like finding food for day or two in most cases, i mean to get somewhere more than 15 cans at once was really rare. There was some importance of having jars, because people tried a lot with making some kind of sauce or marmalade, if we had sugar it was marmalade, without sugar it was tomato sauce.

Most Useful Tool to Prepare Food

Most useful tool in preparation of food was something like a small stove, i mean even if we had a wood stove in house it was not to economic to prepare something really fast on it, it just required too much firewood to get hot so you can prepare something.

So solution was to remodel it so you can faster get “water boiling” or even try to make new one from very thin material, so you do not need too much wood to make it really hot. People used sometimes big cans for that purpose, or changed original material on old stove with thinner.

Money was actually not much worth, only in rare occasions you could use it, and under very changed valuation of course. Even before everything started the monetary situation was confused and we had hyperinflation. When all started i had as i said before some food in my house, for a week maybe not sure, some other folks who joined me brought more, and i had some money, if you compare it with today situation and money i can say that i had something like 700-1000 Euros in house and good savings in bank.

In first days of confusion i did nothing with that money, i just waited for situation to get better, so in some two months i barely found some guy and bought from him some flour for that money, at price maybe 40 times more than at the beginning of everything. On the other way if i would have been smarter and bought candles, batteries, and food for example at the beginning, in few months i would have been rich trough trading that stuff.

So real explanation of question was money worth much it depended how smart you used it. I was not smart. But truth is that very soon money simply didnt matter anymore or was nothing we even thought about.

This content was originally published here.

When small cuts become a threat

I was invited to check guy who was badly beaten by few guys, man who invited me offered me to introduce me to some man who had connection with smugglers, so i can get stuff cheap if i help this guy.

When i entered house, guy was laying on bed, could not move too much, lot of bruises everywhere on body, he was conscious, in pains, pretty much drunk. On first look he did not have some serious open injuries, my biggest concern was that i was pretty sure that he had few broken ribs, strong pain while deep breathing, and while moving his body, and clear mark of boot on his chest, obviously someone was jumping on him.

I could not do too much with broken rib, actually i only wrapped him with some layers of clothes, to improvise some kind of belt, and hope that broken rib did not induce some more serious injury to lungs, or something else.

He was coughing and spitting blood, but again i was hoping that comes from broken teeth, not from stomach or lungs. Minor cuts and bruises we just rinsed with rakia, and that s it. Nothing more we could do.

And guess, what? Few days later, i was called again, and everything was fine, except nothing was fine. One of the pretty much small cuts on his hand got infected, it was small cut, in normal times would not required sewing or stitching, maybe butterfly closure. But it turned bad.

I’ve spent days and days cleaning and removing dead tissue from that wound, trying to do something, some of his friends manage after some time to get some antibiotics, child dosage in suspension with expired date of use.

I used scalpel, not medical, it was scalpel for some wood work, i removed tissue with that, his family used mixture of honey and some pine stuff for wound, i used rakia and peace of old rubber glove to keep it open.

Anyway he survived, he did not lose his hand, but he lost function of three fingers. It was pure luck that he did not lose his life. And funny thing, not the broken ribs killed him but small cut almost killed him.

Probably nothing would happen if i had Iodine and enough sterile gauze, not to mention stuff like topical antibiotic, or Ciprobay tabs or any of this.

Now of course I’m prepared and have everything, for topical, oral, intravenous use.

Later he told me that guy wanted to hit him in the head with some agricultural tool for digging, he missed his head, he just scratch his hand with that.


Anyway, point is, to buy today full set for treating wounds, does not cost too much, sterile gloves, compress, forceps, butterfly closures, antibiotic treatment, povidone, hydrogen peroxide, anti tetanus shots, sutures… everything, it can be found for maybe 100$ here.

Is it worth 100$? Yes, it can worth 1000$ or 10000$ it can be priceless actually. When it comes to you or your family member it is priceless, if you helping someone else, you can say a price.

I learned medical profession before SHTF and work now for over 20 years in medical field, mostly emergency room and see people stabbed and shot every week. Often I’m person who has to get them ready for transport when they still lay in their blood. Here are two simple things you can do now to help your chances of survival.

Just learn basic procedure for treating wounds and make sure people around you know it too. You might be unconscious when you need treatment and loved ones should know how. Too often people treat things and make things worse not better.

Most wounds that you are going to care are gonna be small cuts, lacerations. I am not saying that you are not going to be in situation to treat gunshot wound, or open fracture on leg for example, i am using laceration as a example to show some basic rules, everything else takes much more to say, and needs to be addressed as separate and big subject.

  • 1. Use protection if you treat wounded man, gloves, mask, face shield, gown… whatever you have if possible.
  • 2. Stop any massive bleeding (if it present) by direct pressure on wound, elevation (extremity) or pressure points.
  • 3. Remove dirt from wound by irrigation, i prefer hydrogen peroxide and sterile water, use sterile swab or sterile forceps for that.
  • 4. Use iodine on sterile compresses, and dress the wound with bandages.
  • 6. Inspect wound every day, clean it, then use Iodine and compresses and bandaging.

Now remember, this all matters for you if YOU are only person with some medical knowledge and some medical supplies, if there is no doctor, no hospital, in other words if SHTF for real. If there is a higher medical authority than you available, look for it.

These are some general rules, exceptions are many, stab wound you can not flush in some cases, you can kill man in few seconds if you instantly remove knife from his leg (example), is he allergic on antibiotics? What if wound become infected after few days? Antibiotic ointments oral antibiotics or IV antibiotics?… Much more to say about this. Anyway, the standard procedure will get you out of biggest trouble in most cases.


Now here is my basic first aid EDC (every day carry). I have in bag with my gun. I have that bag usually with me or in car.

Military First Aid Bandage / Field Dressing, 6-pack, Camouflage, 4″x7″ with Gauze Ties
Military bandage is used to quickly plug hole in sterile way. It is first thing that you gonna put on any bigger wound, it is made from something like gauze pad and bandage all in one, point is if you do not have time to take too much time on the place, just use military bandage to cover wound, stop bleeding, and bandage it, all in one, and it is packeged sterile. This is often first thing used just after someone is shot or stabbed.

C-A-T Combat Application Tourniquet – Black by North American Rescue Brand
To stop massive blood loss.

Sterile Latex Exam Gloves, Individual Peel-Open Package, Medium, Box of 50 Pairs
There are also sets with mask and gloves in one sterile package. I use that.

Prestige Medical Fluoride Scissor, Black, 7 1/2 Inch
EMT scissors, it is very heavy duty scissors, for quick removing clothes from patient, i often use it on my job for cutting seat belt. Quickly, sharp and with guard so you can not cut or stab patient and good ones can even cut wire.

Povidone Scrub Solution, 16 Oz
Kills bacteria.

KENDALL VERSALONTM All-purpose Sterile Sponge, 4 Ply, 4″ X 4″, 2/pk – Pack 25
+ 3M Medipore H Soft Cloth Surgical Tape – 2″ wide –
+ 3M Steri Strip Skin Closures 1/4” X 3” – 10 Packages of 3
+ Kerlix Type Gauze Rolls 4″X4 yds, Sterile, 10/bag
If I have more time to treat wound or follow up treatment.

I have a bit different things but as most of you are from US or other country with Internet shops I looked products similar to mine up. As you see it is not much but it can make a big difference. Difference between life and death.

This content was originally published here.

When I think of prepping, I often envision the usual topics of discussion: stockpiling food, raising crops, accumulating weapons, and methods of water purification. These are all very important subjects that need to be discussed and expanded upon. However, one of the least discussed preparedness topics is maintaining good personal hygiene when the SHTF. While it may not be the most riveting problem to face, it’s still an important issue we’ll all be forced to reckon with during an SHTF event.

In the event of a sudden SHTF scenario or even the later stages of a slow-burning crisis, items like soap and shampoo may not be readily available. Jose told us about this happening in Venezuela. Whether it’s due to skyrocketing inflation that makes basic necessities unaffordable for the average person, overall shortages, or a large-scale disaster, practicing basic hygiene can become increasingly difficult.

While it’s always a good idea to stock up on soap, shampoo, and other supplies for hygiene, they’ll only last for so long, especially in the case of a societal collapse. They can act as a temporary solution to save you time and energy and keep you clean while you adapt to this new situation. However, as the disaster continues for several years, you may run out of supplies or find that the rest of it has gone bad.

Believe it or not, shampoo and soap do expire.

Sealed soaps and shampoos generally have a shelf life ranging from two to four years.

Using soaps, body washes, detergents, and shampoos that are far past their expiration dates is not only futile but also risky. Chemical compounds begin to break down and degrade in outdated products, rendering them useless, even rancid. When this happens, they can become breeding grounds for harmful bacteria and fungi.

Without soap to keep yourself, your group, and your pots and pans clean, things start to become unsanitary, and already bad living conditions worsen.

Consequences of poor personal hygiene when the SHTF

Poor hygiene can lead to anything ranging from irritating skin rashes to bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. Bad bacteria, dirt, and dead skin gradually accumulate and outnumber the good bacteria on your skin that are beneficial to your health. In its least threatening form, going a few months without showering or clean clothes can be a real morale killer for your prepper group. At its worst, living in such an unsanitary way can not only cause poor health and eventually kill you, but it can also cause unnecessary disease outbreaks, posing a direct threat to your family or group.

In an SHTF event, sicknesses that were once easily treatable in modern society suddenly become much more potentially life-threatening.

If you’re trapped in a perpetual state of survival mode, where you’re constantly thinking about how to obtain food or clean water or whether you can defend yourself and your family from attackers, your personal hygiene often becomes neglected in favor of other more critical priorities. And I don’t blame anyone. I’m not going to be thinking about when I can wash my hands if people are trying to break into my house. I’m not going to be thinking of showering if there’s been a long drought and I don’t have much drinking water left. T

here are going to be tough circumstances where personal hygiene is placed on the back burner. But when the immediate threats clear, it’s imperative that we get ourselves cleaned up to the best of our ability.

Current cleanliness routines are a more modern norm.

Showering once a day is more of a modern cultural norm. It started becoming popular in the 1800s when people were faced with the threats from unsanitary living conditions in populated areas. They took extra showers and began cleaning up their properties as a precaution.

Before people lived in complex, technologically advanced societies, they often couldn’t bathe as much as they needed. They lacked access to their own private showers or bathtubs and often had to travel to rivers or streams if they didn’t have their own well.

In the event of a societal collapse, at times, you may not have the luxury of being able to shower every day. If you find yourself in such a situation, you should try to make it a personal goal to bathe at least twice a week so you don’t compromise your health or the health of your family.

What did our ancestors use to keep themselves clean?

Today’s soap and shampoo products all have one very important trait in common: lye is used to create them.

Our current soaps cannot be made without it. Most companies, in addition to lye, use a cocktail of other chemicals in their soap recipes. In a more severe SHTF scenario, most of us won’t have access to jugs of lye or these chemical components anymore.

However, our ancestors survived without these particular types of soaps. So what did they use throughout the ages?

All around the world, people used a variety of ways to clean themselves before the invention of modern soap and shampoo. We can look to what our ancestors used around the world as our inspiration. Generations of people before us have survived for millennia by using natural alternatives.

People once used sand, clay, and salt to help scrub away dead skin and dirt. Some people used scrapers to help remove dirt and grime from their skin. Our ancestors would often make primitive bars of soap with beeswax, fats, and various vegetable oils, such as olive oil and coconut oil, mixed with ashes of wood. Sometimes they would clean their hair with vinegar, alcohol, lemon juice, and beer rinses. Others would use a pot of water to steep various herbs in it to bathe and wash their hair.

While people today may scoff at these ideas, it was certainly good enough to help our predecessors survive. I can personally attest that vinegar is an excellent cleanser. Olive oil on its own can help remove dirt and grime from the skin. I use it on a piece of soft towel to help safely clean my animals’ ears. When I first tried it years ago, I couldn’t believe how well it removed the dirt and wax!

Many of the herbs we stockpile in our medicine cabinets already have antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. We can easily grow, preserve, and use these herbs not just as a natural medicine but also as an alternative method to keep harmful germs off of our skin. I already added a few drops of oregano oil to a basin of water to soak my dishes in to help sterilize them, especially if my family is sick, and it works like a charm. And if the sage tea I drink can help me fight off the flu, it should also be good enough to add to hot water so I can bathe, should I have no access to soap or disinfectants during SHTF.

Some ideas for natural alternatives for personal hygiene when the SHTF

There are quite a few methods that we can use to stay sanitary and maintain our personal hygiene when the SHTF. It depends on what resources are available to us at the time, whether we’re bugging in or bugging out, and if we can grow and produce our materials or simply forage for them. No matter what you decide to use, it’s a good idea to boil any water you plan on using in order to sterilize it. If you don’t have that option, consider collecting rainwater or going to a water source that is fairly clean and not polluted.

Salt scrubs

We can forage for salt near sandy areas at riverbeds. While salt can help remove grime from the skin, it’s also an essential nutrient that can be difficult to procure. I would personally prefer to save and use salt on food for nutritional value during the collapse instead of using it to bathe.

Sand scrubs

This is a much more viable option to help scrub away dirt. Sand is common and easier to find. You can mix it with an oil of your choice or just use it with water.


Clay is another possible alternative to remove grime from your skin. It’s reportedly good to use for detoxification purposes.

Charcoal scrub

You can easily make your own charcoal scrub by burning wood from certain types of hardwood trees, such as ash, walnut, and oak. Charcoal is known for its absorbent, cleansing, and detoxifying properties, making it effective in removing dirt from the skin.


If you know how to make your own vinegar, this can be great to wash your hair and skin with, as well as clean pots and pans. Vinegar has natural antibacterial properties that can help keep you clean and sanitized.

Vegetable oils

For those who grow their crops, you can create various oils, such as corn oil, soybean oil, almond oil, and olive oil, to name a few. These oils can bind to oils and grime on your skin, making it easier to wash the dirt away. You can opt to add sand, salt or herbs to make an effective mixture. This is a suitable alternative for cleansing.

Herbal waters

Steep herbs of your choosing (or those available) in water to create herbal waters for rinsing and cleaning your hair and skin. Add one teaspoon of herbs per 12 ounces of water. Some herbs with antimicrobial properties include sage, rosemary, basil, tulsi, bay leaves, rose, hibiscus, calendula, lavender, thyme, oregano, pine needles, garlic, cloves, echinacea, ginger, peppermint, lemongrass, licorice root, goldenseal, dandelion, neem, tea tree, aloe vera, parsley, fennel, and catnip.

When foraging for these herbs, make sure you properly identify them to avoid using any look-alikes that may be ineffective or harmful to your skin. Conduct a small patch test on your skin to ensure you aren’t allergic to any of the herbs.

You can make your own (clear) essential oils from herbs to add to your laundry to give clothes a fresh, clean scent.

Starches to Clean Clothes

A variety of starches can be used to wash and scrub clothes. Wheat starch, cornstarch, potato starch, or rice starch can be used in place of laundry detergents for natural fabrics. They work by removing dirt and helping to prevent future dirt build-up. Simply save the water when cooking starchy foods to use for this purpose.

Lemon juice

While lemon juice was used in the past for hair and skin care, I strongly advise against using it on your skin. Lemon is photosensitive, as well as lime, grapefruit and bergamot. Any oils or juice that are absorbed into your skin will cause a chemical reaction when exposed to sunlight. You’ll experience blistering and severe burns on your skin from photosensitive oils. Use the previous recommended methods instead. Lemon juice can still be used to clean surfaces rather than skin.

These solutions will be different but effective.

Remember, these alternative methods won’t be like the shampoo, detergents, and soaps that we’ve grown accustomed to using. They won’t produce the same lather, bubbles or scents. However, they are based strictly on the function of removing oil, grime, and dirt and washing away germs. These methods rely on ingredients that we can grow or make ourselves and are relatively easy to find in nature.

Your hair may feel greasy after the first few times of using natural soap methods, but this is not because they don’t work. It’s because our skin is conditioned to produce an excess amount of oils due to the constant use of modern soaps, which unfortunately strip away our natural oils. In an SHTF event where we are forced to stop using modern soaps and start using alternative methods of cleaning ourselves, our skin will gradually begin to regulate oil production again and return to normal, healthy levels.

What are your thoughts on personal hygiene when the SHTF?

Maintaining personal hygiene during a crisis is important for your well-being and the overall health of your group. Utilizing natural alternatives to soap and shampoo can be an effective solution.

Do you have a strategy in place for keeping clean? If you have any other ideas or methods to share, let’s discuss them in the comments section.

About Blackbird

Blackbird grew up in poverty in the rural Pennsylvania countryside during a harsh economic recession. She learned self-reliance from her family at a young age and is now a seasoned prepper of many years. She enjoys nature walks, reading, gardening, working outdoors, and drawing in her spare time.

The post A Prepper’s Guide to Personal Hygiene When the SHTF appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

This content was originally published here.