(Natural News)
Weeds like bull thistle aren’t usually welcome in home gardens. But while most gardeners consider bull thistle as invasive plants, you can use certain types of thistle as a food source, an herbal remedy, and emergency cordage. (h/t to PreppersWill.com)

What is bull thistle?

Bull thistle (Cirsium horridulum), also called bristly thistle, is an herb with distinctive prickles. Livestock owners aren’t fond of this herb because only a handful of domesticated animals will feed on it.

Bull thistle can grow in different environments, but it will thrive in disturbed soil. The plant grows best in soils with intermediate moisture, but it can also grow in dry and wet soils.

You can occasionally find bull thistle in your lawn or garden. The plant will also grow near the edges of woods, fence lines, pastures, and roadsides.

How to identify a bull thistle

Bull thistle is an annual or biennial herb. The plant has a fleshy taproot on horizontal or vertical root-stocks with several side roots. This kind of thistle is usually spindle-shaped, and some are swollen or filled with fibers. Its roots are usually white, but they can also be tinted with the color of its soil.

Thistle stems are straight and either branched or unbranched. Thistle can grow up to six feet tall, and covered with white woolly hairs.

The stems bear spines. When you cut the stems, the sap that oozes may be clear or whitish-yellow. The sap has a sharp, bitter taste. Stems become hollow when the plant matures.

Bull thistle has alternate, lanceolate (lance-shaped) leaves with rough, bristly hairs on top and hairy underneath. The leaves can grow from 7.5 to 30 cm long.

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Lobes on the leaves are tipped with stout spines. However, mature leaves grow down the stem beyond their bases, making the stalk appear “winged” and prickly lobed leaf-like structures.

Bull thistle flower heads are purple, measuring 3.5 to 5 cm in diameter, 2.5 to 5 cm long. The flowers tend to be solitary. Flower clusters grow at the ends of shoots and branches.

Bull thistle as food source

Except for the spines, all parts of bull thistle can be used for food, making it essential for foragers. (Related: Why you should learn about herbs in your area: Wild edibles and medicinal plants can offer food security.)

Bull thistle root is edible, but it is best served with other vegetables. Cook young flower stems before serving.

Thistle leaves taste rather bland. Remove the prickles from the leaves before preparation. Young thistle leaves can be eaten in a salad or cooked as a vegetable.

Cook flower buds and use them as globe artichokes. Bull thistle seeds can be roasted before eating.

Bull thistle as an herbal remedy

According to herbalists and homeopathic practitioners, thistles have the following properties:

Tea made from thistle root can help relieve the symptoms of diarrhea, dysentery, and intestinal flu.

Tea made from fresh, young thistle leaves can help address bladder complaints, kidney infections, and urinary problems. The tea can also be used to wash and treat mild burns.

Bull thistle as cordage

Fresh thistle stems contain hard fibers that run parallel from the roots to the flower head.

Pull the fibers by hand from the stems, then twist the fibers into a strong twine. Let the twine thoroughly dry for several days before use. Make larger ropes by plaiting long strands of thistle twine.

Use thistle stem fibers to weave a coarse cloth that can be used as a makeshift canvas. Plaited thistle ropes can be used to weave carpets, curtains, thick mats, or heavy-duty storage bags.

Dry thistle seed down (hairs) are soft, making them the perfect tinder for firestarting. Combine the down with dried stem fibers or root-bark chips for best results when catching and kindling flaming sparks.

Learn to identify different types of thistle, like bull thistle, and know their different uses by heart. When SHTF, you can use thistles as food, herbal remedies, or as emergency cordage.

Sources include:

This content was originally published here.

This article was originally published by Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper

If disaster was a human named SHTF, it would be that person who takes delight in dropping by unannounced and seeing you at your worst: still in your PJs, out of coffee, and taken utterly by surprise.

The kind of person who takes advantage of your unpreparedness to ask to borrow the keys to your new car while you’re still in shock at his arrival. The kind of person who acts surprised that you’re surprised and makes you feel like 12 kinds of an idiot for being surprised. The kind of person you must always plan for like an unpleasant in-law, whether you want them to come by or not.

SHTF doesn’t generally drop by at the most convenient of times, nor does SHTF care about your prepping excuses. In fact, SHTF thrives and grows exponentially under more adverse circumstances.

25 Excuses That Won’t Matter When the SHTF

So, suck it up, put on your boots, and power through it – SHTF doesn’t care about your prepping excuses.

  1. SHTF doesn’t care about inclement weather – snow, hail, tornadoes, pouring rain, and hurricanes all just add to the party atmosphere for SHTF.
  2. SHTF doesn’t care that you sprained your ankle, broke your leg, or are otherwise less than ambulatory. If you have to bug out without a vehicle, you have to bug out, regardless of your injury status.
  3. SHTF doesn’t care that you had planned to get your vehicle repaired.  You have to evacuate regardless of the leak from the oil pan, the condition of the brakes, and the funny noise in the transmission.
  4. SHTF doesn’t care that the entire family is ill with the stomach flu.  The entire family will just have to pause to throw up while bugging out.
  5. SHTF doesn’t care that you need new hiking boots and that you just haven’t had time to get to the store and buy them. You’ll be walking through the apocalypse in the ratty ones with the sole half torn off.
  6. SHTF doesn’t care that you had planned to get the propane tank refilled and now the propane trucks aren’t running because of the ice storm that has turned your neighborhood into a mini Arctic Circle.
  7. SHTF doesn’t care that your truck is almost out of gas and the local gas stations have closed because of the disaster.  If you have to bug out, you may end up walking instead of driving.
  8. SHTF doesn’t care that your wood is not dry. It’ll bring you a blizzard if it wants to bring you a blizzard.
  9. SHTF doesn’t care that you don’t know how to cook over an open fire without inflicting 2nd-degree burns on yourself.
  10. SHTF doesn’t care if you have only a week’s supply of toilet paper – if the crisis lasts longer than a week, things will be progressively less pleasant regardless of your intention to purchase more Charmin.

Whatever your excuse may be, you may rest assured, it could easily be on this list. And SHTF won’t care about that either.

You already know what you should do.

You probably already know the things that you should be doing to prepare for a disaster. How will you feel if you procrastinate doing them and your family suffers because of it? Most of the time, it’s an inconvenience, but in some cases, a lack of preparedness can mean the difference between life and death.

If you need help and motivation, check out this article, which was designed to boost your prepper mojo in a hurry.

The world is increasingly more dangerous. The signs couldn’t be blinking in brighter neon. It’s time to get prepared. No more excuses. Disaster won’t wait to strike until it’s convenient for you.

Please feel free to share any information from this article in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to The Organic Prepper and the following bio.

Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her websites, The Organic Prepper and DaisyLuther.com She is the author of 4 books and the co-founder of Preppers University, where she teaches intensive preparedness courses in a live online classroom setting. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter,.

This content was originally published here.

sCharger-5 USB Solar Charger
Description and Specifications
The sCharger-5 is capable of charging anything with a USB connection at wall charging speeds. It can charge a Smartphone in two hours or less. It will charge anything with a male USB connection. The sCharger is water and weather resistant.
Independent testing shows that the sCharger-5 will in direct sunlight charge an iPhone in 2 hours or less, the same amount of time it would take using your homes’ electrical outlet. Out in the wild you can recharge you device as fast as you can at home. Employs a standard USB type “A” connector Output for USB is 5 volts, 1 amp (1000mA), 5 watts Length is  11.5 inches, width is 1.8″ (with USB width is 8/16″), Height is 6-1/8″ Weight 8.5 ounces Can handle temperatures up 160ᵒF
Connect it and forget it. Utilizing exclusive “Auto-Retry” technology the charger will automatically re-start charging if for whatever reason the panels have been temporally blocked from sunlight. Similar products require you to reset manually to begin charging again if the sun goes behind a cloud. Connect your device and carry on with what you are doing knowing your device will be charging. This technology is ideal for campers and hikers that may want to leave their devices at camp while they do some exploring.
Now you do not have to worry about coming back to camp to find out the charging station stopped operating because of temporary cloud cover. It would be frustrating to find your device had not been charging the entire time you were gone because it needed to be reset to continue charging.
Communications is critical so take one with you on hikes, hunting trips and camping or carry one in your vehicle in case you have a mechanical failure and your cars’ electrical system cannot charge your phone. Keep one in the car and the home so you’re always prepared when the power does go out.
The sCharger is also great for Mt. biking or going on bicycle tours, and you don’t have to worry about it getting wet in your pack, simply dry it off and you are ready to start charging again. Lightweight and compact enough it can be carried anywhere, and remember it will charge virtually any device that uses a male USB cable.
No more worries about running your phones’ battery dead because you love to listen to music as you ride. Stop for a break, recharge you phone and you are ready to go again, recharge your phone literally on the fly.
In today’s world regardless of where you live, you have to start thinking about the “what ifs”. Anything can happen to anyone at anytime. Individuals and families have to begin thinking about how they will perform essential tasks during a power disruption. Just because the power goes out does not mean certain things do not have to be done.
Final Thoughts
I found the sCharger-5 lived up to its advertised charge times and it charged my completely drained Samsung Galaxy S4 in just about 2 hours, nothing unusual about the sun it was sunny and I plugged in the phone and went about my usual business for around two hours. It performs the same every time, obviously with longer charge times under cloudy conditions.
I really cannot stress enough how important the Auto-Retry feature is. You cannot babysit the charging station and keep resetting it manually every time the sun hides behind a cloud to keep it charging your devices. The Suntactics device does it for you, so you truly can go about your business knowing it is charging your device while you are away.
One fault I did find with it however, there is not any way to strap it to my backpack or even to my body. It needs lanyard slots or sling ports for attaching webbing or cordage of any sort for throwing it over my shoulder. I would like to be able to hang the charger across my back, or strap it to my pack, plug the USB cable in while my phone is on my belt clip or even in my pack while I am walking or hiking, so hopefully Suntactics will remedy this soon.
I would like to thank Michael over at Suntactics for sending me the sCharger-5 for review and testing. You can purchase the Suntactics sCharger-5 for $139.95 at  SunTactics.com

This content was originally published here.

Has Our Infrastructure Collapsed to the Point It Is Dangerous Now

According to a U.S. study,( Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts) the water supply to more than six million Americans contains unsafe levels of industrial chemicals. The toxic chemicals have been linked to certain cancers to include kidney and testicular cancers along with hormone disruption, high cholesterol, and obesity.

The chemicals are known as PFASs (polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances). The chemicals are used in fire-suppression foams, food wrappers, clothing, and non-stick cookware to name a few.

According to one researcher that was part of the study, the chemicals have been in use for the past 60 years. Why are we just known finding this out, if the chemicals have been in use for six decades? One possibility is better testing methods and another possibility is that construction for several decades or so has been expanding to where homes are now being built in places they were never intended to be built 60 years ago.

People need water and the water sources are typically close to large metropolitan areas where industry is humming along. Industrial areas are always close to railroad and highway hubs around large cities.

Even though you may not live in town, as it were, runoff from heavy rains can get in the rivers and streams from far upstream and thus, get into reservoirs that supply cities and towns with their drinking water. Some rural areas do get their water from local municipalities, because you are inside the city limits and yet do not live in the city proper.

Most of the waste treatment plants that supply water to city dwellers do not have the capability of filtering or otherwise removing the chemicals mentioned above from the water source. Filtering, boiling, and/or chemical treatment will not remove the toxic chemicals.

There are methods, of course that would reduce the chemicals to a so-called safe level, but they are extremely cost prohibitive.

Drinking water from 13 states accounted for 75 percent of the unsafe supply, led by California, New Jersey, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Georgia, Minnesota, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

The study conducted did not test water from smaller public water systems and private wells that serve roughly one-third of the U.S. population or about 100 million people.

Yes, private wells can become contaminated if they are not designed properly, in other words, not capped correctly, or dug deep enough. Improperly capped wells allow ground runoff to enter the well from the top. You do not have to live near an industrial site or city to have your well contaminated. Runoff from farms, septic systems, roadways, and parking lots can contaminate your well, as would any floodwaters from rivers or streams in the area that may contain toxins from industrial sites miles upstream.

The Earth is a Natural Water Filter and Water Purifier but It Has Its Limits

As water seeps through the soil certain soil clay particles, which have a negative charge will attract any constituents in the water that have a positive charge, such as some heavy metals, salts, organic chemicals, and pesticides. Another mechanism is the formations of covalent bonds (sharing of electrons).This sharing helps soil retain many organic chemicals, pesticides and some inorganic constituents (Pierzynski, n.d.). 

Well-constructed wells receive water from aquifers, underground springs, or artesian wells deep underground. Water has traveled many feet, hundreds of feet in some cases, through the soil to replenish the underground water supply, and for the most part the water is safe to drink unless the soil in the area is heavily contaminated.

It is important that you test your well water and take corrective action at the user end, such as more or better filtration and purification methods. Mother Earth at times needs helps to purify water so make sure you test regularly and make changes to your system as needed.

Those receiving your water from a municipality must keep track of testing and read the reports carefully. All public water supplies must be tested and the findings made public. You can test your tap water as well, and if you find and abnormalities, then call in the professionals to do a follow up test. In the meantime consume bottled water, and depending on the contaminates you find, you may be able to shower, water plants and do laundry without any ill effects, but knowledge is key along with regular testing.

As we have stated in previous articles, when a crisis strikes you may very well be on your own. As the government expands into more and more of our lives the more it seems we are on our own. Fair, unfair, right or wrong, it doesn’t matter, you as an individual must do what you need to do to ensure the safety of you and your family. Waiting on the government to do what is needed is not the answer when an emergency arises.

Pierzynski, G. M. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.wqpmag.com/soil-earth%E2%80%99s-largest-natural-filter

Reuters. (2016, August 10). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/08/10/toxic-chemicals-in-drinking-water-for-six-million-americans.html

This content was originally published here.

Insertion and extraction, terms used by the military, but applicable in certain SHTF scenarios. Typically, insertion and extraction are done without notice. Stealth is important, but acting sneaky can also have a downside, because in an urban area, for example, regardless of the situation someone is always around, so going without notice can be difficult, …

This content was originally published here.

Selco interviewed by Daisy Luther

I was recently emailing back and forth with Selco and we were discussing the situation in the US right now, with the political polarization, the rage, and the general cognitive dissonance. I asked him if he saw any similarities between our situation and the one in Bosnia when the SHTF there during the war. When he replied I knew I had to share this information with you.

While we might like to think it could never happen here, the current events here are eerily similar to what happened there in the 1990s.

When you read this. think about recent events. The deep rage about the last presidential election and the upcoming one. The scorn, derision, and actual hatred for neighbors who think differently. The way the media fans the flames of dissent between our fellow Americans. The anger about immigration. The destruction of Civil War monuments. The unease between the races.

You’ll realize that it definitely CAN happen to us…and there’s not one darn thing we can do except to be prepared.

What parallels do you see with events in the US and Bosnia before the SHTF?

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US and Yugoslavia (in 1990) on first look do not have anything in common because people are going to say, “The USA cannot have anything similar to any socialistic system.”

This is true but only on first look.

Yugoslavia had somewhere around 20-22 million citizens, six republics (similar to states in the US), 3-4 main religions, and many national groups (ethnicity).

The official state policy was to build Yugoslavian “nationality” (from the end of WW1) and through different ways that effort was successful until the 90s.

We were “something big, united through differences with a strong connection to make something big.”

And then those differences were used to make chaos.

In the late 80s and beginning of the 90s (when democracy came) the problems started and ended up in series of wars and cases of complete collapse.

Things that I experienced in my case prior to SHTF, and things that you might recognize:

Can you explain how the current political polarization could make matters worse when the SHTF?

Strong polarization eventually brings fear and hate towards “others”, and once you get into that state of hate and fear it is very easy to be manipulated, even though prior or later, it looks weird and funny how easily you were brought into that state.

I remember the exact moment roughly 25 years ago when I was brought in discussion and actually rioting over the statue of a general from WW2 which was about to be destroyed because for some people he was a war criminal and for others he was a hero and important political figure.

It was a big event, and people were brought into that event in big numbers, arguing and fist fighting and rioting…

At the same time, the wheels of big events were actually already starting to move, and if I were smart I would have left the country or bought a weapon instead fighting over a historical figure.

Does this sound familiar?

It was only one event that was used in order to polarize people more. “Us” and “Them”.

It is so easy to manipulate people when you throw hate and fear in the game.

Polarization makes things worse when SHTF because it is easier to “dehumanize” others that are different than you. Through the fear and hate, groups are pushed to do whatever the people in power want them to do, even if that means horrible crimes. Remember, once some group of people (religion, political, regional, race…) is dehumanized (for example through smart media work) the rules are changing and everything is possible.

For example, with careful media work even today (in time of the internet, social networks, and independent information) it is possible to make the prepper movement look like a terroristic and anarchistic movement and then it’s open season on preppers.

Did political disagreements go away when it hit the fan or did they intensify?

In essence yes, they went away because it all went to how much food, ammo, or whatever resource you had. You realized that big opinions simply do not matter, especially once when you realize that all was somehow planned, and especially once when you realize how foolish you were because you trusted some things.

But of course rage was fed with again fear and hate for ”others”.

It is like that story about how they tried to explain to a conscript [someone who was drafted into the military] what is war all about: higher causes and honor and everything else, and he simply could not get it. Then later in the middle of a fight he suddenly understands everything and yells: “Oh I understand now – THEY ARE TRYING TO KILL ME.”

When you strip everything down to the bare facts, he was right.

How does it move from political arguments to one day, it has all hit the fan and everything has changed? Is there something predictable we could look for?

Again it is about dehumanizing, no matter who or what group. It is about adopting opinions like “they are so different that they do not deserve…( to live here, to have rights…)

Once that happens a whole new set of rules jumps in and those rules mean that lot of your liberties and rights gonna be taken too, and that is the problem actually.

When that happens, you will understand that it is not really important who is who. The only thing important is that somehow you do not have your rights anymore (for example the right to carry a firearm) and then you are in s..t.

You can be so mesmerized with “important political events” or something else that you might even not notice that you are suddenly not allowed to grow your own food or have a solar panel on the roof, or carry a pistol.

You might say now “it is impossible in the US”  but I think in this moment it is bigger news than if some reality show star had “spicy” video than to understand how food delivery in your city works and how much food is in one average store if everything stops moving.

Yes, it is possible.

Have you taken Selco’s online courses yet?

Taking the online courses are the next best thing to getting over to Europe and studying with him personally.

If you want the real deal from a legend who has lived through the SHTF, these are the online courses for you.

Which events in the US have you seen that made you immediately flashback to your situation?

I do not follow politics too deeply even in my country, not to mention politics in the US, but what I do follow is people’s reaction to political events. By that, you can sense where the majority of people’s opinions go and what you can expect from that.

Maybe a year ago I did comment (through an article) on some events in the US and I got an excellent comment from one of my readers who said “My nation, America, is being abruptly dragged out of a deep and prolonged state of subconscious anxiety and depression. It is being assaulted with hope and this is beginning to produce a state of relief which will be managed into uncritical nationalism if at all possible. This euphoric state of national mind is the perfect cover from which to ambush a nation. The pressing for a one world government did not die under Trump, it simply got a new face. The danger to America and to the other nations of the world is more real now than ever. Extreme sobriety is warranted at this time. Most people I have spoken with cannot see this…”

Hope in something new and something better was exactly what I was experiencing just prior SHTF, new leaders, new democracy, freedom…

It clouded my perception, I trusted too much.

What suggestions, if any, do you have to help us be better prepared for political upheaval?

As always, operate in “small circles” (your family, prepper group, network of friends). Learn useful skills, meet good and interesting people (in prepper terms).

That small circle is what it is all about and what is important when SHTF. Sorry, but your political opinion and worries about state policies are worthless, and can not change anything big- it is the big circle, and it is important only in terms of looking and recognizing signs of future events, so you may recognize the correct moment for bugging out for example.

Do not be pulled into general fear and hate because it clouds your judgment and it simply wastes your time.

Do not be pulled into it.

Do people start to realize that their opinion means nothing in politics or do they still hang on to their illusions even after it all goes sideways?

Illusions were the first victims when SHTF. Here are a few of many:

Anything else to add?

I have seen many people killed, a lot of women and children too, civilians. A huge number of people suffered, were hungry and cold and were terrified through that period.

But I can count on one hand the dead or hungry politicians in that time.

Things were good for them through that period. Some of them ended up even richer. A lot of them are still powerful in the same or different parties, and are still talking about “their people” or “ causes” or “fear from others”.

It is the way it works.

About Selco:

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. He is currently accepting students for his next physical course here.

In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today.

He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless of what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months.

Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.

This content was originally published here.

You probably spend about 38 percent of your life at work, along with the typical commute. Assuming that you’re not retired.

You spend 29 percent of your time sleeping, if you sleep 7 hours a night.

33 percent of your time you’re doing other things, at home, etc..

 So, if a SHTF event were to occur, there might be a ~38% chance that you will be at work.

For preparedness sake, this is a significant statistic. Here’s what I mean…

Preparedness For If The Balloon Goes Up While At Work

 Don’t ignore preparedness while at your work place. You might be at work if and when “it” happens.

One of the most effective ways that you can prep for this is by having adequate kit/supplies in your vehicle (assuming that you drive to work). Your vehicle will be able to hold a significant or at least adequate amount of supplies and gear of your choosing.

If you don’t commute by way of your own vehicle, it will be even more important to supply yourself at the workplace and your every-day-carry.

As is the case for most tangible preparedness choices, you’re looking at the basics first. Like water and food. You’re at work. So there’s technically shelter. Maybe the power is out. Perhaps a flashlight. It’s part of my EDC on my keychain (I use this one).

However your mission will be to get home (typically). So that means a bag (to carry your supplies which will help you get there if you have to hoof it). If your vehicle is operational and the roads are passable, great. You will probably have little problem, at least if you ‘get out of dodge’ quickly enough.

However, I haven’t defined the SHTF event. And I’m not going to. But I do hope that you will at least think about it. The “what if”. Define it yourself for different circumstances. Let that guide you as to what you might find tangibly helpful.

A Few Thoughts On Supplies For This Scenario

Walking shoes or hiking boots. Comfortable appropriate footwear in case you have to walk a great distance. That’s easy to keep in your vehicle somewhere.

Here’s a bonus… got a bicycle or folding bike? Though certainly a challenge to keep with you. Maybe it’ll work for you. Just saying.

Are you always wearing appropriate seasonal outerwear when you go to work during the winter? People go from their heated homes to their heated cars to their heated workplace. The right gear might be overlooked…

Got a desk at work? Or a personal space, a locker, other? Why not use one of the drawers for emergency supplies. Like a bunch of CLIF Bars for quick food, for example.

Keep several water bottles in there too. Is there a First Aid Kit there at work? Workplace buildings can get real dark if the power goes out. I consider a flashlight a must have too.

A change of clothes might be good – depending on your normal work attire.

From time to time I go through my truck and adjust what I keep in there for preparedness. You should too! Think about it in the context of being at work. Maybe you’ll need to hunker down there for awhile (as opposed to immediately hoofing it back home). Maybe that will cause you to adjust your supplies.

Re-evaluate what you have and make adjustments accordingly.

While those of you who are preparedness-minded probably have a decent supply of various preps at home, the point here is not to neglect your workplace. Especially since you spend so much time there.

This content was originally published here.

  The first thing you have to keep in mind is that the typical home is not a defensible structure, unless specifically designed that way. You can of course fortify your home, but once you begin doing that you have already conceded that criminals and other malcontents will be reaching your front door. In a …

This content was originally published here.

This article was originally published by Tracey Watson at Natural News

We live in an unstable world, where even countries that look financially and politically stable can suddenly descend into chaos. Venezuela is an excellent – albeit sad – example of this. Once the richest country in all of Latin America thanks to its huge oil reserves, Venezuela now resembles a war zone. Residents of this once thriving country are now forced to cope with crippling inflation, devastating food shortages, virtually non-existent healthcare, and most recently, electricity blackouts.

While we all hope that the United States will never have to face this type of devastating scenario, the reality is that nobody can predict what will happen in the future. Reflecting calmly on just what might happen in a catastrophic grid-down situation can help put things in perspective and provide the push needed to knuckle down and start preparing for any potential future “what-ifs.”

The 10 most likely grid-down scenarios

Urban Survival Site recently provided a list of the most likely things that would happen if some type of disaster should cause the national grid to go down.

No more supply trucks

Soon after a grid-down situation ensues, supply trucks will likely stop running, leaving store shelves empty and unable to supply the food and other goods that we would so urgently need in this type of situation. This is yet another reason why obtaining the right type of storable survival food now is so important.

No more stores

With stores and restaurants unable to source supplies, most will be forced to close their doors within days. Some people will very quickly realize this, and looting and rioting can be expected to ensue within hours.

Sponsored solution from the Health Ranger Store: The Big Berkey water filter removes almost 100% of all contaminants using only the power of gravity (no electricity needed, works completely off-grid). Widely consider the ultimate “survival” water filter, the Big Berkey is made of stainless steel and has been laboratory verified for high-efficiency removal of heavy metals by CWC Labs, with tests personally conducted by Mike Adams. Explore more here.

No more school

Unable to continue with normal schooling amid the chaos, schools will likely shut down quickly. Since school administrators are unlikely to allow children to leave unaccompanied, parents would need to make their way there through the chaos to collect their kids and take them home.

No more business

All commerce as we know it will shut down completely in a grid-down situation. While cash might still be used – at least for a while – banks would be closed and ATMs would not be operational. Most people will quickly switch from buying things for cash to trading (or bartering) with others to exchange goods they have in excess for those they need from other people.

No more fuel

No supply trucks also means no gasoline. And that doesn’t just mean we won’t be able to use our vehicles. The generators that many would hope to rely on for electricity will also need fuel.

No cell phone reception

Cellular phones and the internet will likely go out of service quickly after the grid goes down, making it even more important to invest in a HAM or CB radio now – while you still can. Bear in mind that no internet also means no email communication.

No functioning post offices

With no email communication available, old-fashioned letters may once more become a preferred method of communication. Unfortunately, however, post offices are likely to stop operating soon after the grid goes down, leaving people with absolutely no way to contact each other – especially those who live far apart.

No more air-conditioning

While keeping cool in summer might not be a life or death necessity, in some places it could really make life very uncomfortable, adding to the stress of an already traumatic situation.

No more heating

Now this one really can mean the difference between life and death. Insufficient heating during periods of extreme cold could result in serious loss of life. Urban Survival Siteurges people to prepare for this situation now by stockpiling firewood, propane bottles, candles, warm blankets and sleeping bags.

No more running water

Last, but certainly not least, is the likelihood that there will be no running water if the grid goes down. This means no drinking water, no way to water the plants you need for food, and no way to maintain personal hygiene or wash clothes.

Water is one of the most important items to stockpile right now, and remember to collect both drinking water and water for cleaning and personal hygiene.

It’s true that the future could be a scary place, but it will certainly be a lot less frightening if we take the time now to plan for the worst case scenario.

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This content was originally published here.

When it comes to preparedness information, far too many of the so-called survival experts focus on events that quite honestly don’t come close to having a one in a billion chance of happening.

While talking about asteroids slamming into the earth or some dystopian vision of the apocalypse might be a good way to get attention, the reality of those events happening in your life is probably pretty unlikely.

So what type of events should we be planning for?

It’s not that the big
nation-destroying events will *never* happen, it’s just that smaller individual-destroying
events are far more common. Also, those big SHTF events rarely take the form of
a big announcement: just take a look at
some of the actual disasters people have suffered over the years, like
Hurricane Katrina and Venezuela’s latest economic collapse. It’s not as if
people couldn’t see these events coming, but it’s also not as if they all
happened in one day and were announced in a special news bulletin the way you
typically see such events occur in disaster movies.

With Hurricane Katrina, the catastrophe took several weeks to
unfold; Katrina began as just one more of a
number of tropical storms, most of which never amounted to anything
serious. As this particular storm grew and moved into the Gulf of Mexico,
anyone with half a brain could see this was as good a time as any for people on
the shorelines to bug out and head inland. In short, Hurricane Katrina was
hardly an unexpected disaster, though some could certainly fault the local
leadership of the affected areas for not having acted more effectively to
evacuate their people and fix the damage afterward.

As for Venezuela, anyone with a grasp of history could have
foreseen that electing a power-hungry Marxist dictator like Hugo Chavez to
office was bound to lead to economic disaster, as Communism always has. If
anything, the only thing nobody could anticipate was that the economic collapse
would take as long to unfold as it did.

As late as 2013, fool leftists were praising Venezuela for being a “working” socialist state. Meanwhile, anyone with half a brain had already either fled Venezuela for a country with freer markets and more civil liberties or was busy storing and hiding supplies for the imminent disaster. Also worth noting, is that martial law has never really officially been “declared” there either, it was just gradually imposed through a series of enabling acts and policing actions. As Venezuela’s collapse ought to demonstrate, you don’t “wake up one morning” (as even some prepper websites like to say) to discover your nation’s economy has collapsed; what actually happens is that you watch the economy slide into ruin day by day, gradually at first, and then more and more rapidly.

This is not to say that huge nation-destroying SHTF events never begin with a huge announcement either; just that the onset will tend to take longer than a “moment” or a day.

When it comes to putting together a SHTF Plan, you should be looking at real-world historical disasters!

The truth is for most, a SHTF disaster could be as simple as losing your job or a summer storm causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home when you’re already strapped for cash. In all likelihood, those are the types of crisis situations that are most likely to happen. Unfortunately, these are not the types of threats that receive attention on prepping websites. Not many people share articles about the dangers of losing your job!

What’s your SHTF Plan? Are you prepping for Personal and Localized Disasters?

The last thing I want to do is discourage anyone from prepping; hell, even the people who are prepping for events like a zombie apocalypse are probably going to be better off during a small-scale event than their unprepared neighbors. That being said, as someone who regularly talks about preparedness, I think it’s important to really think about what you’re actually preparing for.

How realistic are your preparedness plans?

The reality of prepping is that when you reach that metaphorical SHTF moment, there is a very high chance that the event will be either hyper-personal or extremely localized in nature.

A job loss, a freak winter storm that shuts down your city, or even an event like Hurricane Katrina are all examples of localized or personal disasters. While they aren’t the Walking Dead, they are things that can feel like an end of the world event when you’re living through the situation firsthand.

If you’re not prepared financially, then you’re not prepared.

Another aspect of prepping, one that is sadly often ignored, is the area of personal financial security. It’s certainly not as exciting as the Doomsday Preppers Crap that a lot of people try selling, but the reality of the situation is that if you are not prepared financially, you’re not prepared for anything.

The odds of losing your job or being hit with a major personal financial crisis are much higher than an asteroid slamming into your local Costco. Hey, if the Asteroid keeps you up at night then have at it, but I’m telling you that if you’re not preparing for these mundane small-scale events, you’re not preparing for the reality of the world we live in.

What can you do to Plan and Prepare SHTF Moments?

In most areas of the world, including the United States, most people are already living paycheck to paycheck. In fact, according to almost every published study, 40% of Americans cannot handle or pay for a $400 emergency expense. If that number hits $1,000, only only 39% of Americans have ability to cover the emergency.

Think about that for a minute; that means that for many Americans something as simple as a refrigerator breaking down could be their SHTF moment. While romanticizing preparedness might be a good time for some, logically thinking about the reality of your situation is the only way to truly solve your preparedness equation.

Your Preparedness Planning needs to include realistically figuring out how long you can actually last without an income.

If you lost your job today, how long could you and your family go before you hit that Crisis moment?

Start taking a personal inventory of what you have, how long it will last, and how much money you have in reserves. Next, start thinking of ways to build up your stockpiles of food, water, emergency supplies, and all of the other essential necessities of life – that includes the boring things that nobody ever writes about like socks, toilet paper, bath soaps, and the things you know you will use on a daily basis.

What can you do today to fix your situation?

Supplement your income, Now!

One of the best ways to secure your future is to not put all your eggs in one basket. Even if you have a job that you consider secure, it’s still a good idea to have a backup plan.

Chances are you have at least a couple of skills that can be used to start a small side business. It doesn’t have to be big, but it will give you a fallback plan should something go bad – and hey, you never know you could find out you make a lot more money working for yourself!

Worst case scenario: you have a little extra cash to throw at that emergency savings fund. Yes, you do need one of those!

Get out of Debt!

Living debt free is an extremely important part of any well-rounded preparedness plan. It’s not sexy, it’s not exciting, but it is essential to your long-term survival. It’s about thriving, living a comfortable existence, and having peace of mind while everyone else is living amid the chaos.

Do you have a SHTF Plan?

Now that you’ve started thinking about the most likely threats that you will face, you need to really dig down and do a little work to formulate your plan.

My Plan of Action

The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide: I wrote this book to give people a real-world look at the threats that are out there and a solid plan to deal with them. Quite frankly, I was sick of seeing a bunch of wilderness survival manuals being sold as actual advice for people in the real world. The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide takes everything I know about prepping and preparedness planning and condenses it into an easy to follow guide that can be used by anyone as a real SHTF Survival Plan.

From surviving natural disasters, man-made disasters and disease outbreaks to essential tactics and step-by-step instructions for surviving urban disasters, crime, violence and terrorist attacks, readers will learn the self-reliance strategies they need to survive in just about any real-world situation.

This content was originally published here.