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If things go sideways in a really bad way and I’m talking about the kind of bad that a region or country doesn’t quickly or ever bounce back from, more than likely you and your family will die if you’re not prepared.  Are you prepared enough to ensure your family can weather a major catastrophe?

fires-so-cal

I tend to try and be as optimistic as I can when I consider possibilities involving an SHTF scenario.  I consider myself a practical, pragmatic prepper of sorts and I tend to focus on the most probable of disaster scenarios that I’ll probably face in my area, like fires or earthquakes.  I’d like to believe that most catastrophic problems in my region can be resolved within 2 to 4 weeks assuming help comes.  But I know as a prepper it’d be foolish to not consider the possibility that things may not bounce back or help may not arrive.  If this were to happen, would I be ready to take care of myself and my family?  Many experts predict that if our power grid were to go down in the U.S., by the end of the first month, ½ of all Americans would die.  Can you live 30 days without power, water or food being available to you?

Here are 23 survival uses for honey that you didn’t knowabout.

In this article, we’ll discuss the 10 most common ways people will die in the first month if there were an extended catastrophe.  While this topic could be perceived as discouraging, the good news is we’ll present solutions to ensure you and your family will be prepared to face these challenges.

By the way, if you haven’t read the book “1 Second After”, I encourage you to purchase it today…after reading this article of course. While it’s fiction, it’s a great read and covers many of these items we’ll be discussing in this article.

So let’s jump in discussing the top 10 things that will likely kill you or your family in the first 30 days after a catastrophe in which help doesn’t come.

1. The lack of water or even safe water to drink.

prepping-clean-water

I put this intentionally first as you can only live 3 days without water.  The biggest killer at the beginning of a catastrophe will be people dying from either a lack of water or the inability to gain access to sanitary water.  If you’ve ever watched the news after a major catastrophe hits an area, you’ll see that lethal diseases will quickly run rampant through individuals that have been displaced.  The lack of sanitary water leads to diarrhea and other problems that can quickly kill people due to pathogens contaminating the water supply due to unsanitary conditions.

Preparedness Hacks: Once a nuke is heading your way, you might think that there isn’t much left to do, but you would be wrong!

Because we will show you America’s natural nuclear bunkers that are also EMP proof. When the sirens start wailing, all you need to do is pick the closest one to your home, where you can take cover before it hits.

How do you protect against this?  Easy.  Having gravity fed water filtration or other water filtration systems that do not require power to operate will allow you to make your water safe.  In my family’s bug out bags, I have a few different water filters: a sawyer water filter, a life straw, and a pure sip personal water filter.  While these small filters are good for handling bacteria, they’re not really equipped to handle contaminants in water.  In our home, we have a Berkey water filter as well which we use on a daily basis.  These filters can make contaminated water safe to drink.  If you do not have water stored and a way to filter water, you need to focus on this first.  In addition, have bleach, iodine tablets, or pool shock to kill viruses if your filter doesn’t filter at this level.

2. Starving to death

prepping-starving

The average person can only last 21 days without food.  Most Americans only have enough food for a few days as they’re used to visiting the grocery store every few days.  If a catastrophe prevents food deliveries to your local grocery store which typically carries enough supplies for 3 days, then what?  Malnutrition, food poisoning, and starvation will wipe out a large percentage of individuals in the first 30 days.

This problem can be easily remedied by building a short-term food plan.  In my home, I have stocked up on foods that we already use on a daily basis.  We pull the food from this inventory as we need it…things like spaghetti, rice, honey, beans, coffee, canned meats, canned food, etc.  This setup is by no means a long term food storage plan which we’ll cover in a future article, but rather this is food that is already used in our daily life.  Here’s what I did.  We started setting aside a little extra money in our budget each month to grab additional food we already used and added it to our inventory.  When we pull the food from our extra inventory supply we built up, we have a clipboard in our storage area where we write down what was taken and on our next trip we simply replace that food.  Many people focus on storing canned foods which are fine for short term, but having a balance of other foods that can easily sit on the shelf is a good idea as well.  Remember: begin stocking staple foods that are easy to store and prepare and have a balance of fat, carbs and proteins.

3. Your medication runs out

prepping-medicine-runs-out

This one is a bit of a challenge as you can’t necessarily stock up on medications if your doctor only gives you enough of a supply until your next appointment.  After many catastrophes hit an area, apart from people making a run on their local grocery store to grab as much food and water as they can, you can expect people will make a run on their local pharmacy to secure the drugs they need to survive.  In addition, you need to consider the effect it will have in your local area when people come off meds.  Many people rely upon medications to not only deal with health issues but to keep them mentally stable.  Without their meds, there could severe side effects.  People will get desperate and potentially dangerous.  There will be those that need their meds to survive.  Without the meds, they won’t last long.  If your health condition can be managed with changes in your lifestyle (for example getting in shape and losing weight), you need to give serious consideration to this which leads us to our next point.

4. People will die because they’re out of shape

prepping-out-of-shape

A few months ago I had a tree in my backyard which began dying and it was time to cut it down.  I don’t own a chainsaw and so I used an ax to cut it down.  Growing up we cut trees down all the time on our property and split wood…that was back when I was 18 years old.  Now that I’m over 40, that same task is more difficult.  Cutting down that tree was a bit of a challenge.  While I spend 3 days in the gym and try to do cardio activities on the other days, when cutting the tree down I began to realize I was no longer a spring chicken.  I was winded quickly and found myself wishing I had a chainsaw.  I got sloppy as well due to getting tired and nearly injured myself when I tried to cut the tree at an angle and nearly caused the ax blade to bounce into my leg (which I’ll talk about in the next point).  But the fact that I had been keeping myself in decent shape made the job possible.  In a grid down situation where things are not bouncing back, you’ll probably be required to perform physical activities to survive.

If you’re used to sitting in an office chair all day and not performing daily activities which push your body, you might be surprised how little your body will be up for strenuous labor.  Please don’t underestimate this point as something you can put off.  You have the opportunity to get your body in shape.  If you don’t push yourself, your body will naturally atrophy.  Also, consider things like how much extra weight you are currently carrying on your body.  Being obese can be a huge liability in a grid down situation.  With a modification to your diet, getting off your behind and begin moving on a daily basis, you can steer yourself in the right direction. The older I get, the more I realize the limitations of my body and the less I want to exert myself.  There may come a time when my family relies on me to have to work physically hard for them in order to survive and I don’t want to be unable because I had simply allowed my body to atrophy.

5. Individuals will die due to trauma, small injuries or simply get sick

prepping-small-injury

As I mentioned earlier while chopping down the tree, I nearly had the ax blade slam into my leg.  While it’s easy to laugh this off as someone not being safe, think about how many people will get injured performing a lot of physical activities that carry the risk of injury.  Not only will major trauma potentially injure individuals, but think about how many have a minor injury that could lead to a severe infection.  If you’ve ever had a small cut that has turned into an infection that needed attention, you could simply visit your physician to get the proper medications to treat the problem.  But now imagine individuals getting small cuts and nicks that they neglect only have it turn into something worse and no one can help.  Not only do injuries carry a large risk of death, but getting sick can as well.

During a SHTF situation, pain could become an annoyance for some, but unbearable for others.
If doctors are scarce and medicine becomes even scarcer, this one little weed, found all over North America and similar to morphine, could be a saving grace.

So what can you do?  Begin gaining medical knowledge and the proper medical supplies now.  In addition, make sure you don’t neglect basic sanitation.  Not that a long ago I took training through my local fire department named C.E.R.T.  Part of the training taught us how to stabilize individuals with major trauma.  I encourage you to begin researching courses like this in your local area.  My degree in college was Microbiology and during this time I spent a lot of time volunteering in hospitals.  While I am by no means a physician, while being in this environment I learned the basics in sanitation and treating minor injuries.  I have been working on stocking medical supplies and am working on expanding that out at this time.  There’s a lot of great channels on Youtube like the Patriot Nurse or Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy which are great for someone looking for help getting up to speed on the basics of medicine.

In addition, do yourself a favor and pick up a good pair of work gloves and safety goggles.

6. Lack of sanitation

prepping-sanitation

In the previous point, I pointed out that individuals getting sick can result in death without medical attention.  If things go bad in your area, proper sanitation will be critical.  Have you considered how you will dispose of the waste your family produces?  By waste I am referring to your urine and excrement, in addition, leftover food or dirty dishes.  We’re so used to simply flushing our toilets and taking the trash out to the curb and the problem is gone.  But what happens when the sewage stops running and the trash man doesn’t come to pick up your trash.  Then what?

A lack of sanitation can lead to illness which can spread through your home and kill your family.  Began researching options to dispose of your waste.  Essential things like washing your hands thoroughly will be more important than ever.  Having a decent supply of hand sanitizer will be helpful as well.  When I lived in Afghanistan in 2003, I was fortunate that I never really got sick even though sanitation was a foreign concept in the general population.  I was OCD about sanitation and during my time working with an NGO and living with 24 other people in our house, fortunately, I didn’t have many of the health issues that our team members had.  I attribute my good fortune to staying on top of being careful to make sure I kept my hands clean, I sterilized my water bottle daily and made sure the dishes I used had been properly cleaned.  Not only can getting sick be a problem in your family, but consider the damage it can do to morale having sick family members or being sick yourself.

7. You die when looters come for your stuff

prepping-looters

Many people envision the looters they’ll have to face will be gangs or some group of people displaced coming to take their supplies.  While marauders like this can potentially be a big threat, the reality is you may have neighbors or other family members which can turn on you if you’ve prepared and they haven’t.

When I first got serious about prepping, I thought sharing my excitement about prepping with friends and family would excite them to get serious about prepping.  It pretty much had the opposite effect: they looked at me strangely and later they brought up that if things were to go bad, they’d come to my house immediately to seek help.  Remember earlier we mentioned that only about 1% of Americans are “Preppers”?  Well, what do you think the other 99% of Americans are going to do when they can’t find water or food?  Thinking about this does concern me greatly because I’d never want to harm someone if they were hungry and coming for my stuff, especially if they were someone I knew and loved.  And by “coming for my stuff”, I don’t mean just asking or pleading.  When people get desperate, they will do anything it takes to survive.  And by “anything”, I mean “a-ny-thing”.  If you only have enough supplies to keep your family alive, what will do if that neighbor that hasn’t prepared goes past demanding help and decides they will take from you even if they have to hurt you or your family?

So what are you to do?  If gangs or looters are bent on hurting you for what you have then the answer is obvious, but what are we to do regarding friends or family?  This is a moral dilemma that goes through my head a lot and I see it often discussed in this community as well.  If you want to open your supplies to help others, remember you are lessening the probability your family will live that much longer and the probability those people you helped with keep coming back.  In my mind, there’s only 3 answers which I’ll run through quickly (and if you have other views please share them in the comment section below):  1.  Keep your mouth shut.  The less information you provide to others about what you have, the better.  2. Help others now and educate them.  While this might seem to be the exact opposite piece of advice from my point #1, you don’t have to disclose all your preps and show off everything you have to them.  Just help educate them that they should prepare.  I need to create a separate video for this, but I’ve slowly been introducing neighbors to prepping and they’ve begun taking steps to prepare.  Remember, the less desperate they are, the less of a threat they are to you.  3. Arm yourself.  If it comes down to it, you may have to be forced to protect your family.  While I have no desire to harm someone, if it comes down to me and my family and a person bent on hurting us, I’ll do what I have to do.  Side note: I don’t advocate violence and I greatly value human life.  Remember, if you harm or kill someone, you will ultimately be held accountable for your actions.  But when the social niceties that we enjoy in our society go out the window when people get desperate and they pose a threat to me or my family, I won’t hesitate for a moment to do whatever it takes to stop them.

8. You aren’t prepared for reality

prepping-reality

So your plan is if things hit the fan is to grab that awesome bug out bag and run to the mountains and live off the land.  In your mind, you dream of picking berries, drinking from streams, trapping rabbits and hunting deer.  You’ll live in a tent with your family and survive in that national forest near you.  OK, so I don’t have time in this article to break this entire fantasy down, but good luck with that.

The reality is that all that cool tactical gear you bought with the molle, the 5000 rounds of ammo you’re storing up, those seeds you purchased online to build a big crop that you’ve never planted won’t save you.  If you’ve got a family, think you can run them into the mountains to live off the land?  If you’re not practicing this lifestyle now, you’re probably not going to suddenly transition overnight to this and suddenly thrive or even survive.  What am I saying here?  Live in reality on this issue.  The fantasy of becoming some amazing survivalist with several family members in tow isn’t going to last long.  I live in a suburban environment and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my 7000 square foot suburban home will not support my family long-term unless I prepare and think ahead now.  I know we can definitely survive for an extended period of time if we’re able to bug-in and don’t have any major conflicts as mentioned in the previous point.

So what can you do?  Network.  Build relationships with other like-minded preppers.  I’ve been fortunate to find a solid network in my area. You’ll definitely meet some oddballs but overall I’ve been able to meet some solid people.  While it’s beyond the scope of this article, the lone wolf mentality will only get you so far.  Live in reality and take an honest assessment of what you and your family can do and do yourself a favor and connect with other preppers that can help where you are deficient.

9. You freeze to death

prepping-freeze-to-death

I’m fortunate to live in a part of the U.S. that doesn’t get terribly cold during the winter.  But in many parts of the US, temperatures can drop to very dangerous levels that can kill.  So what will you do?  Gonna start that fireplace you have never used before?  OK, do you have firewood already cut and prepared?  If not do you have the tools to do so and do you have places around you to cut down firewood?  For many that can not get a fuel source in time before the temperature drops to dangerous levels, they’ll try burning things that they shouldn’t and stand the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning or possibly burning their home down.

The Hidden Secrets Of Making Herbal Medicines … Right At Your Fingertips!

If you have a fireplace, start by making sure the chimney is cleaned out and have firewood on hand that is already cut up.  Find methods that others use in your area to heat their home that is not dependent on the electrical grid functioning.  Each region is unique and different in how they handle heating homes and be sure to have a backup plan.

10. You give up

prepping-do-not-give-up

Last but not least, many people will simply give up.  Even those that have prepared to cover the points above, some will simply lose the will to move forward or to keep fighting.  Things may not go according to plans.  Bad things may happen.  Your supplies may get looted, someone in your home may die.  The list of what could happen could go on and on.  The key is this: do not give up.  Especially if you have a family or others depending on you.  You may have to dig deep inside to find the strength and fortitude that come hell or high water, you will not back down and you will not give up.  If you have dependents, giving up is not an option.  Remember this: a negative, defeated attitude can be like cancer and spread to others around you.  As we discussed earlier, morale in times like this is critical.  If you’ve ever read accounts from those that have had to survive extended periods of time in impossible situations, the will to survive and the morale required to do so was the only thing that enabled them to continue living when others around them gave up and simply died.  This goes beyond having the right tools or supplies.  If you are prepping now for yourself and your family, remember, they will be looking to you to lead not only in your preps but in those dark moments when all hope seems lost.  Don’t give up.  Determine now that will dig in your heels and align your mind to that end.  You may be the only beacon of hope others have.

While writing this article, it challenged me to reconsider a few things I need to focus on a little more and I hope it will do the same for you.  Again, please feel free to provide your feedback in the comment section below.

Solar energy is a renewable source of energy with has many benefits.

The best thing is that you’ll save money on you electric bill.

To build your own solar panel almost for free, you’ll need to watch this video

This content was originally published here.

The Zika virus is in the news right now, however, it is not the only virus or disease spread by mosquitoes that you have to worry about when warmer weather arrives.

Although the chikungunya virus is not common in the continental United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have had large outbreaks.

Symptoms include high fever and joint pain, and the joint pain, although rare can become chronic. Other symptoms include swelling of the joints, headache, muscle pain, and rash. The virus is rarely fatal, but the symptoms such as joint pain can be severe and debilitating. Currently, there is no vaccine available.

It is estimated that 40 percent of the world’s population resides in areas at risk for dengue and approximately 390 million people per year are infected. There are four types of the dengue virus, so this means a person could get the virus up to four different times. There is dengue virus 1, 2, 3, and 4. The virus is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. There currently is no vaccine nor medications specifically for those infected.

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. People with malaria often experience fever, chills, and flu-like illness. If left untreated, a person may develop severe complications, which could lead to death.

In 2013 alone approximately 198 million people were affected worldwide and of those, 500,000 people died mostly children. About 150,000 cases of malaria are diagnosed each year in the United States. Many of the people infected had traveled to countries where the disease is more prevalent mainly the sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Then there is the Zika virus which is making headlines because many experts are calling it a pandemic. The Zika virus can and has caused birth defects, so pregnant women are cautioned about traveling to certain countries, and if you live in a country where the transmission of the virus is high, you have to take precautions.

How to Protect Yourself

The most reliable way to protect you is to use insect repellent. The CDC has listed repellents that are considered safe, when used as directed, for everyone including pregnant women and children. Keep in mind that when talking about active ingredients, the higher the percentage the longer the protection. Lower percentages protect as well, just not for as long as higher percentages.

Here Is a List Provided By the CDC

Other protection includes long-sleeved shirts and long pants and in areas where mosquitoes are extremely active you may want to consider headgear with netting attached.

In the heat of the summer if you do not use air conditioning and you have open windows and doors it is important that you have screens in place. If this is not possible, then netting should be used when sleeping and insect repellent used during the daylight hours. The netting must be draped in such a way as to keep insects from getting at sleeping children and adults.

Mosquitoes breed in standing water so eliminate what receptacles you can to stop water collection and treat other sources with Mosquito Dunks for example. The bacteria in the dunks kill the mosquito larvae.

The dunks are dropped into the water and left to dissolve disseminating the bacteria, which is deadly to insect larvae. Read the directions carefully, but for the most part, the dunks are safe for aquatic life and plants as well as for birds and mammals to include household pets.

Mosquito Dunks (the brand name) can be found at Lowes, Home Depot and on Amazon for example, along with other brands that contain the same bacteria.

Empty and refill birdbaths on a regular basis and treat any outdoor water features with dunks or similar products and this includes any water features you may have on your patios or porches.

Old tires, buckets, filled and untreated pools without working filters and pumps, and empty planters lying around the property will be breeding grounds for mosquito and they breed and hatch very quickly by the thousands in a very small volume of water. Remember the bucket you use to collect condensation runoff from your air conditioning unit because it can breed mosquitoes as well.

CDC. (2016, January 15). Retrieved 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/features/stopmosquitoes/

This content was originally published here.

  The media has spent decades telling us a nuclear exchange would be the end for all of civilization.  Not only is this wrong but it is down right deadly advice.  Most will survive the initial blast and heat yet many people will die horrible deaths that could have been avoided with little preparation.  This …

This content was originally published here.

8 Types of Natural Survival Medicine

1. Wild Bergamot

You are going to want to keep this herb in mind for first aid purposes as well as for other benefits. Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) contains antioxidants in the form of carvacrol. Plus, this plant also has worm-expelling, anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties. I told you that you’d want to have some of this around. 

How To Use It:

The leaves from Wild Bergamot can be used to brew a tea. The tea can treat various ailments including colic, fevers and colds, insomnia, upset stomach and internal parasites. It also smells pretty good.

2. Burdock

This happens to be one of those plants that serve more than one main purpose. Both the Common Burdock and Great Burdock (Actium species) have been proven to be excellent sources of medicine as well as food.

How To Use It:

The roots can be brewed into a tea that can purify blood, act as a diuretic and provide relief from indigestion, liver and kidney issues, gout, rheumatism as well as gonorrhea – just in case your adventure in the wild takes a wild turn. The roots of these herbs contain high concentrations of inulin which can assist with treating diabetes. There are also anti bacterial compounds in the roots and they are believed to also provide anti-cancer properties. But that’s not all. The leaves of Burdock can be mixed into a poultice to treat sores, burns and ulcers. 

3. Dandelion

There is a reason why these yellow herbs provide the first food of the year to bees and insects. That’s because they are packed with powerful health benefits that make this easy to identify ‘weed’ one of your best friends in the forest.

How To Use It:

Dandelion (taraxacum officinale) root tea treats a number of ailments including kidney, bladder, gall bladder and liver disorders. The root is believed to be hypoglycemic and contain antibiotic properties that fight yeast infections. Plus, the diuretic properties contained within this plant can help to relieve constipation.

4. Yarrow

You know the saying about not judging a book by its cover? Well, yarrow (Achillea millefolium) falls into this category because it happens to be far more than just a beautiful flower with a strong scent. 

How To Use It:

Brewing a tea from the dried flower can be effective in treating fevers, colds, indigestion, internal bleeding and bloating. Properties found in yarrow include expectorant, analgesic and sweat-inducing which all hint at treating fevers and colds. When mixed as a poultice, this herb can stop bleeding. There is one important note to keep in mind about this plant: do not use it for long periods of time and use it sparingly. The compound thujone is found in trace amounts in yarrow and is considered toxic.

5. Echinacea

You’ve likely heard of this one. You may even have supplements that contain traces of this natural survival medicine plant. As they are hardy and can resist dry conditions, you’ll be able to find Echinacea (Echinacea pupurea) in prairie locations.

How To Use It:

This plant is probably best known as assisting with immune system health which is why it is a frequent ingredient in cold and flu medications. It is also effective when used to treat insect bites and stings, burns, wounds and sores.

6. Sage

One of the things that make this plant stand out is that it can grow in adverse conditions. For example, sage is common on dry banks or rocky locations as it can grow and spread without the need for a lot of soil.

How To Use It:

Known historically as a treatment for indigestion, Sage (Salvia officinalis) can be a huge benefit if you are in the woods trying to survive for any length of time. That’s because it has properties that assist in reducing excessive salivation and perspiration. As for healing properties, sage is an effective use to treat ulcers, sore throats and mouth infections.

7. Aloe Vera

You should already have some basic knowledge about this handy plant. It is easy to find near water in sand or rocks and the goop you find inside the leaves is the magical potion you are after.

How To Use It:

The thick, stiff, pointy leaves can be cut or snapped to release a clear gel. This can be spread directly on skin to treat burns and wounds. In fact, aloe vera (Aloe vera) is known to speed up the healing process. The sap that can be located at the very base of the leaves is a laxative and can assist with stimulating digestion.

8. Jewel Weed

I’ve purposely saved the best for last. If you are in need of an actual ‘secret weapon’ that’ll save the day when wandering out in the woods, camping, hiking or hunting. Then Jewel Weed is that very item. It is of particular importance in case you forgot your first aid kit in the camper or leave it sitting on the kitchen counter. Jewel weed (Impatiens capensis) will save your bacon.

How To Use It:

Where do we start? Jewel weed leaves are packed with the compound lawsone which happens to contain anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties. Oh, but it gets better. The plant can be mixed into a poultice that can treat poison ivy rashes. Where Jewel weed scores top marks is that it has historically been a folk medicine used to treat ringworm, warts, sores, sprains, insect bites, cuts, burns, eczema and bruises. Didn’t I say that this was your secret weapon? Now you know why.

Turning Your Natural Survival Medicine Into Tea

You’ve probably noticed that most of the medicinal plants listed here are effective when brewed into a tea. Well, here’s a video showing a few of these and other great “wild” teas that are not only good for you nutritiously, but also provide you with health benefits in the form of various medicine:

Natural Survival Medicine Conclusion

The above medicinal plants are typically common in most of North America. If you happen to reside elsewhere on the planet, it would be a good idea to visit your local library to read up on what varieties of medicinal plants exist where you are. Ultimately, your goal is to properly identify the plants so that you can make informed decisions when you are on an outdoor excursion. Once you are able to do this correctly, you’ll never be without some form of natural survival medicine when in the woods.

Author Bio:

I’m Kel, creator and sole moderator of www.everydaycarrygear.com. I’m all about family and living life to the fullest. I’ve spent a decade in the military and absolutely love it and welcome the next decade to come. I enjoy researching, reviewing and buying gadgets, tools and anything to do with prepping.

Did you know that there are many plants that grow in the forest that are a great form of natural survival medicine? Among these many different and safe medicinal plants are ones that can make the difference between a long or short outdoor adventure (Get my drift?) But you just can’t grab at anything that looks green and leafy and expect it to be just what you need. You really do have to conduct some of your own research to ensure that you can properly identify what is safe and what is deadly. That’s why in this article you will find the most common species found in the wilderness and what they are good for:

This content was originally published here.

How Much Do You Use

Given the recent chemical spill that may have contaminated the tap water of roughly 300,000 residents of a number of counties in West Virginia, drinking water is on people’s minds. Ice storms, blizzards and unusually cold weather have also disrupted the water supply to thousands if not tens of thousands of people across the country recently.

How much water you actually need every day is different from how much is used or in some cases wasted.

According to the USGS (United States Geological Society), the average shower uses two gallons per minute while a bath in an average tub uses up to 36 gallons. Some tubs are larger of course and this assumes they are relatively full.

You can use between 4 and 10 gallons washing dishes in an automatic dishwasher but the amount depends on how efficient the appliance is. Hand washing dishes throughout the day can use up to 20 gallons of water.

Oral hygiene consumes one gallon of water per person each time they brush if they leave the water running. Newer automatic washing machines can use 25 gallons per load. One toilet flush is three gallons, hands and face washing one gallon daily and watering outdoor plants can use 5 to 10 gallons per minute.

This breaks down to the average person using between 80 and 100 gallons of water daily (USGS, 2013).

How Much Water Do You Need

To sustain life the average adult needs two quarts/liters of water/liquid daily. In hot weather where you are sweating profusely, you may need in excess of a gallon of water daily just to replace the lost fluids. You need constant hydration to prevent dehydration regardless of the outside temperature.

People generally do not think about dehydration during the normal course of the day because they receive fluids in many forms. Coffee, teas, fruit drinks, soda to some extent, energy drinks and those drinks designed to replace lost fluids all add to your fluid intake. Once there is a shortage of water however, people will need to concentrate on their fluid intake to avoid dehydration in any weather.

For short disruptions in the water supply you probably only need to worry about water for hydration, oral care and personal hygiene (sponge baths). After three or four days, however you will need water for laundry and for cooking meals that are more substantial. Most canned foods do not need water for cooking but dried beans, rice and dehydrated/freeze dried foods, for example, will need water in the cooking process.

Water Storage

When properly stored water has an indefinite shelf life, but the containers do not. For example, bottled water purchased from a retailer must have an expiration date by law. It is not the water that deteriorates it is the container. The plastic used will become brittle and breakdown overtime. The typical expiration date is between one and two years from date of purchase. Sunlight and artificial light will hasten the breakdown.

You can store water in food grade plastic containers designed specifically for water and they come in various sizes from five gallon thru 50 gallons and larger. Plastic milk jugs are not ideal for storing water for any length of time because the plastic is designed for short period of liquid storage. Milk is a perishable and the containers do not need to sustain the liquid for long periods.

Water in blue food grade plastic water barrels if filled with clean tap water can last indefinitely if the water does not become contaminated for any reason. Water will become “stale” from lack of aeration, and this will affect the taste however. You can aerate water by creating bubbles in the water by moving the barrel with the cap removed or by stirring with a sanitized stirring device. Stirring or otherwise disturbing the water causes bubbles to rise to the surface. The bubbles collect dissolved oxygen when they rise to the surface and burst, this process then distributes it in the water to freshen it.

Never store water in any container that is not approved for food storage. Never store water in any container that had chemicals or toxins in it no matter how much you think you have cleaned it.

Filtration and purification by boiling or chemical means will not remove deadly toxins or poisons, such as what may be in the tap water in West Virginia. You should never immerse any parts of your body in any water you suspect is contaminated with any type of toxin or chemicals. If your clothing becomes saturated from contaminated water, remove immediately to prevent absorption of the chemicals through your skin.

Certain chemicals can have a lower flash point than the temperature needed to boil water so never attempt to heat or otherwise attempt to purify any water source you suspect is contaminated with chemicals.

USGS. (2013, January). Retrieved 2014, from http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/qa-home-percapita.html

This content was originally published here.

When you research online about bugging-out the pictures associated with the articles or blog entries usually shows the person humping along a path or roadway free of snow. Do the articles talk about bugging-out in deep snow, in frigid temperatures, when there is a baby strapped to your back, when you have elderly relatives trekking alongside you? 

Rarely do you see anyone huddle up against freezing rain or blowing snow, making his or her way out of a disaster area. The doomsday shows depicted people fleeing an urban area in the heat of summer, never when the roads are clogged with snow, or the bridges are slick with ice, so what if you had to bug-out during the coldest part of the year.

Previous articles have talked extensively about bugging-out, and how in most cases, it is safer to shelter in place. However, we must always assume the worst and plan for that, and then hope for the best, so you do need a plan for bugging-out in the middle of winter.

You know better than anyone does what type of weather your area receives during the winter. Do you get heavy snows, ice, cold rains or is it dry and cold. However, what has been the pattern in the past may not necessarily apply, because of El Niño. In other words, you may get more or less of the same, or experience some dramatic changes. You would have to expect, snow, ice, winds and cold temperatures if you live in the Northern States.

We will not get into all of the reasons why you may have to evacuate, because that is a decision that has to be made by you as the situation unfolds. You will know when the time comes whether you have to leave your home or not, and in some cases, there may be a mandatory evacuation order issued by your local government.

How Would You Leave

You have to remember that during a major crisis the roads would not be plowed or treated, so the snow and/or ice may prevent you from leaving in your vehicle. Even a four-wheel drive vehicle can get bogged down in the snow and they cannot get far on icy roads.

Options include snowmobiles, skies, and snowshoes. Ideally, you would have snowmobiles with pull behind sleds so you can transport supplies and people. There is ideal, of course, and then there is the reality, so you may have to travel on skies or use snowshoes or simply try to forge ahead with what you have. You can pull sleds, or toboggans behind you, as well, to transport supplies and children or those with physical impairments.

If you live in a city having a snowmobile would likely be out of the question. You can however, use sleds, skies and toboggans, and they can be stored relatively easily. You can pick up plastic sleds with tow ropes at any Wal-Mart store, keeping in mind they are seasonal items so pick them up as soon as they are displayed.

If you had to leave in the winter you would have to get to your destination before dark unless you have extensive cold weather survival training and the proper gear to spend a night in the cold. You may be trying to get to a relatives’ home, a friend’s house, to a city close by, or to any emergency shelter, so it is important you know multiple ways of getting to your destination, and know how to get there essentially on foot.

It takes planning and knowing how to get to your destination without using roads or highways because they may be clogged with those that tried and failed to get out of town. You may very well have to travel cross country to get to your destination. Going across country may reduce the number of miles, but the terrain may be restrictive, so you do have to know what to expect if you have to get to a relatives’ home or to a neighboring town or city where there may be emergency shelters.

Pack your supplies in plastic bins with lids so they can be secured to sleds or trailers. The biggest concern is the cold. Preventing hypothermia is a priority especially if you have young children or older adults. You have to keep dry and block the frigid wind with the proper clothing.

Bugging-out in the winter should be the last resort, but it has to be an option, so make sure it is a viable option by proper planning.

This article is merely a reminder that disasters can happen to anyone at anytime of the year. Your plans have to take the seasons into account. You need plans for bugging out in the cold and in the heat. This article is more of an academic exercise, than it is anything else, one to get you thinking about what if’s, and to get you to think about your plans for cold weather travel, because it could happen to you.

This content was originally published here.

When it comes to preparedness, it’s easy to get caught up the rat race of caliber selection and food storage. “Beans, bullets, and band-aids” is what sustains an army, as the saying goes.

No one argues that these things are unimportant. But if that’s your first and only focus, then you’re putting the cart before the horse. Here’s why:

Considering what’s about to happen over the next ten plus years, I think the odds are stacked against most Americans.

Economists and investors are warning not only about a recession in 12-24 months and potential for another financial crisis, but they’re also concerned that the Federal Reserve has limited options to boost economic growth once a recession sets in.

If these economists and investors are right, that leaves open the distinct possibility that the next recession will last a lot longer than the average 11 months.

So we could see more than 11 months of economic contraction, which makes a financial crisis all the more likely.

That crisis could be in the national debt (a $22 trillion problem, and growing), corporate debt (an $8 trillion problem), in consumer debt (a $4 trillion problem), in pensions (a $6 trillion problem), in housing or in a number of other areas.

The truth about U.S. economic growth is that it’s largely debt-driven, the holes we’re digging are deep, and it’s going to have serious consequences.

Add the current toxic political and social environment, and it’s no surprise that most people gravitate towards guns and food in what could be another very ugly period in American history.

But it’s also vitally important that we understand the local effects of these national crises.

It’s vitally important that we study our local vulnerabilities and fault lines, along with current and potential threats in our own communities.

This type of information goes into an Area Study, which informs us of the range of potential conditions and outcomes during the coming crisis.

More than anything, the Area Study is our guide to understanding what factors will affect us, negatively or positively.

If you don’t have an Area Study, chances are good that you won’t be able to anticipate future conditions and events. That means you’re a lot less prepared than you think, because situational awareness is a critical factor in your safety and security.

And that’s really the value and utility of intelligence: you can reduce uncertainty about what happens in the future and identify the range of potential outcomes. Once you know that, you can identify your actual operational requirements for each scenario and be better prepared.

This quote that’s often mis-attributed to Albert Einstein sums up my point:

“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”

The truth is that no amount of beans, bullets, and band-aids will reduce your uncertainty about what happens in the future.

Only intelligence can do that.

Only intelligence can give you a more accurate expectation of what could happen in the future. And the thing is, this stuff isn’t really all that complex. The average “prepper” can do this.

If you agree that understanding the future is important, then I invite you to sign up for a four-part Area Study & Assessment email series which goes into some detail about how to build your Area Study.

Its only cost is the time I spent writing it and the time you spend reading it — plus the time you spend doing it.

It’s well worth your time. You can sign up below.

Always Out Front,
Samuel Culper

Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract Intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

This content was originally published here.

If your prepping is hap hazardous then your readiness for a crisis could be called into question. There are certain records that you should keep to ensure, you always know where you are at all times when it comes to being ready for a crisis.

Staying organized is important and if you cannot determine what you have, when you bought it, how much you have, and how long it is good for, then you may run into problems at some point, problems that could cost you money and have an effect on your preparedness. Good record keeping can help to keep you up to date and always ready.

First, however, let’s talk about security and record keeping. Businesses big and small today are developing their own disaster plans. Often times the businesses do so in cooperation with local authorities, the Red Cross and even FEMA in some cases.

Schools in particular will develop plans and stockpile certain supplies, materials, and equipment that must be purchased, inventoried and safeguarded. Private and public organizations prepare for active shooters, natural disasters, and man-made disasters.

Your preparedness and record keeping would not be much different from a large corporation except for the scale. You, as well as businesses need a plan, need supplies and need someone that is in charge of various aspects of the operation and above all else the organization needs good record keeping.

In your case you will want to control your supplies and materials so you know if there is theft, loss (misplacement), damage, spoilage, and wastefulness. You need to keep track of purchases, when and where in most cases, and track usage, when and where and by whom.

Children and even some in your Prepper group may decide that emergency supplies are so-called community property. Your children may think that mom and dad’s gear and supplies would make for a nifty camping expedition.

If you are responsible for a Prepper group and if those in the group combine resources to make purchases, you never want to be in a position where something (money) cannot be accounted for. Money, friends, and even family do not mix well in some cases. Anytime others are involved in purchases that benefit the group, as a whole, then the records must be in order for those that have a need to know, or a stake in the outcome if you will.

Does the money that has been spent match the inventory on hand? When something used the money is spent to replace it must be accounted for. If you cannot account for purchases and then match against usage then you have no idea where yours or someone else’s money is going essentially.     

The problem with record keeping is that others can access those records unless properly safeguarded, and records as simple as a receipt for ammunition and supplies should be protected from prying eyes. Records will help you do costs comparisons, track what you have and how much you have used, for example.

Today, most people keep records on computers, smart phones, and tablets which are susceptible to hacking, or susceptible to snoops that simply pick up your device. If your information is not safeguarded then anyone that comes into your home could potentially have access.

You as an individual may not find this too alarming, but if you have organized a Prepper group, helped with your company’s disaster plan, or even helped your school with theirs then there is information, records in other words, that have to be safeguarded. Have a security plan in place for your records and for the records of all involved when you are helping out, or actually work for an organization that has a crisis plan in place.

It is important that you keep meticulous records when it comes to firearms. At some point you may have to prove ownership, and you do not want to rely on the person or business you bought the firearm from to provide the documents. They may not have them, or it can take weeks in some cases, for the business or individual to provide the documents, and in the mean time your firearms are confiscated because of a paperwork snafu.

Your records are personal and you may want to limit the number of people that know you have a firearm, for example. In some states you can purchase a firearm without a license so a public record request may not show that you own any at all, which to some is a good thing, so do not make it easy for anyone to find out by leaving records laying around the house that anyone including your children can access.

Inventory sheets are records and the more organized you are the more money you can save in some cases. Not knowing the shelf life of all foods stockpiled can mean you end up wasting food. Not knowing what you have may result in duplicates as well. Of course, you cannot have too many cans of this food or that food, but the money you spend to buy something you already have may have been better spent on something you did not have. Knowing what is on hand gives you better control over how your money is spent.

You need to track what comes in and what goes out just like a financial budget, and less coming in with more going out usually means you end up with nothing. Some of you may be thinking that your supply stockpile is not large enough to worry about it. A simple glance at the shelf tells you all you need to know. However, you may not be the only one involved, others in the family may at some point have to do it, and so they need to know the details, and what better way to get up to speed than looking at the records you have kept.

Everyone needs a budget. A certain amount has to be set aside to fund your prepping, because if prepping supplies are not accounted for separately and if everything is considered daily use then things may be used without you realizing they are gone, things that you will need during a crisis. If you are not paying attention you may not know this until disaster strikes.

If you have been prepping for some time and have not kept records you can start now. You would have to go through and inventory, update, discard and replace to ensure you are ready.

You need to know what you have, what it is used for, and a record of training with any specialized equipment or gear by all involved. Additional things you may need to know include expected life span of the gear, material, or supplies, and current replacement costs of all supplies.

This content was originally published here.

People living in Flagstaff and other parts of Northern Arizona discovered just how much they depend on technology. A fiber optic cable was cut, supposedly cut by vandals leaving close to 70,000 residents without Internet, ATM services, cell service, cable television and not to mention the disruptions in 911 services, transactions at supermarkets, gas stations and the list goes on.

Stores immediately posted signs saying cash only, but people could not withdraw cash from ATM machines, and banks suffered as well because nearly every institution today relies on communication technology, which by the stroke of an ax or shovel was severed in the small town. It ended up a vicious circle of disruption that lasted for hours.

Students could not access online college courses and the so-called Internet Cafes suffered financial losses because people could not access free Wi-Fi, so why stick around and just drink coffee. It is not just about the coffee anymore.

Joseph Hobbs, an information technology consultant and contractor in the area explained why cell phone customers were experiencing problems as well.

“The information from a cell phone call is collected by cell towers and concentrated from low speed to high speed fiber optic carriers at various points” (Associated Press, 2015).

A person familiar with the situation stated that typically fiber optic cable is buried just two to four feet underground. Anyone knowing where to dig, and with a few rudimentary tools could uncover the cable and create an outage without much effort at all.

There seems to be no doubt in most people’s minds that this was an intentional act.

Next time it could be a larger city and regardless of size, disruptions in certain services such as 911 could create a life or death situation.

Was this situation a dry run, a test to gauge the response by the authorities, to see how long the services were disrupted? Did someone think that by cutting the services to the city that they could then waltz in and rob a bank or store and not have police respond, or was this a prelude to something bigger.

Did whoever cut the cable have a grudge against the provider or the city, was it an employee of the service provider, or was it an employee of the city for that matter. Was someone’s bill too high so they decided to cut the cord so to speak, or was this just a random act of vandalism.

It is hard to imagine someone or more than one person were out driving around and just decided to start digging, and then come upon a buried cable, and then deciding just hack it in two while they are at it, very hard to imagine. Someone had to know where to dig and had to know it was not a high voltage line before cutting it, it seems some planning went into this. Someone had prior knowledge and planned to cut the cable, someone set out that day to create havoc.

What is apparent is that we all are much too dependent upon technology. Store clerks are so accustomed to their machines that they may not have been able to do the simple math required to count change back when people pay with cash. People were literally in tears because of the disruption.

In today’s age of technology it defies logic that a person with a shovel and/or ax or even with a large knife could create such havoc for 70,000 plus people. It makes one wonder what could be next and will it be my town or your town, will it be my place of employment or my child’s school.

You Have To Be Prepared For Anything

Of course this will not be the last time. Until service providers whether they provide gas, water, electric or high speed Internet decides to step up their security it will happen again and possibly on a much larger scale with deadly consequences.

Next time it could be water main break, or someone could poison a water reservoir or decide to shoot up a power station and turn the lights out.

You cannot put all of your eggs in one basket. Even though debit cards are widely used as you can see they are no good however, when there is a disruption in communications. You cannot pump gasoline, cannot buy anything anywhere, and if you do not have cash then you go without until, and if the problem is fixed. Next time it could be days or even weeks.

Have enough supplies on hand so you do not have to rush to the bank or ATM machine to try and get cash only to find out they have failed as well. Make sure your vehicle is always topped off with fuel, and that you have enough food and water for short and long-term outages.

Some people if not many people simply cannot communicate without cellular service because they do not have landline service in their homes. People do their banking on smart phones, control their home security with smart phones and many alarm systems for homes and businesses today rely on cellular networks to alert the authorities when an alarm is triggered. Some people even control their entire businesses over the Internet and with cell phones and tablets. Even a short disruption creates major headaches for many people.

Be prepared to get along without the Internet, and cell service, and learn to carry some cash so when debit card transactions cannot be processed you can still put fuel in your car, and put food on the table. You know how to do it, but everyone is so accustomed to reaching for their phones, tablets and debit cards they have forgotten how to do without them, but you can, and you may have to in the very near future.

Associated Press. (2015). Retrieved 2015, from http://azdailysun.com/news/local/cut-cable-downs-internet-service-for-northern-arizona/article_904b4c69-c3d7-59ca-bc72-f8cb64313a29.html

This content was originally published here.