Category Archives: Reference

Attracting Swarms to Get Free Bees

“We have told the story before about how we stumbled into beekeeping. Our first year as beekeepers we were able to attract a swarm directly into a hive without much effort. Last season we got 4 the same way (although one entered the owl box) and even caught one on video. So this year we have our method pretty much figured out and are hoping last year wasn’t a fluke. Here’s what we do…”

READ MORE: http://blog.corujas.net/attracting-swarms-to-get-free-bees

PG
About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

Propane for Preppers 101

It’s no secret propane is an important element in most family preparedness plans, as it is an excellent option for both comfort heat and cooking food.

For use as a heat source, propane heater heads and commercially available heaters like Mr. Heater are excellent sources of high-BTU heat for your work space.

To use propane as heat for cooking, some propane heater heads feature a burner surface atop the head itself which will work with just about any pot, kettle, or pan. Also available to the consumer are camp-style propane cook stoves that attach to the small propane bottles, and with an adapter, also connect to refillable consumer propane tanks.

What is Propane?

Propane is a gaseous byproduct taken from the refining of both crude oil and natural gas. It is compressed into a liquid at relatively low pressures and will convert back into a flammable vapor under the typical atmospheric conditions found anywhere on earth.

Propane was first synthesized back in 1910, it has been in commercial production since the 1920′s.

Propane has been used as a consumer product for the last 100 years and tight government regulations require propane hardware designs that are fairly fool-proof and reasonably safe to use, when used according to design and manufacturer’s guidelines.

Refillable propane tanks are a highly regulated item due to the potential for disaster upon failure. No one really wants to be in the vicinity of an explosion and fire resulting from a leaking propane cylinder. To help ensure this does not happen to you, here’s what you need to know first about dating and the aging of consumer propane tanks:

Instructions For Finding The Tank Manufacture Date

  1. Locate the collar of your propane tank. The collar is the raised piece of metal at the top of the tank, surrounding the valve.
  2. Stamped on the collar horizontally, look for a string of 4 large digits. This indicates the manufacturing date.
  3. The first two numbers represent the month the propane tank was manufactured. The second two numbers represent the year the propane tank was manufactured in.
  4. Subtract the year that the propane tank was manufactured from the current year to determine the age of your propane tank.

Re-qualified Tanks

If your propane tank has been re-qualified, the re-qualification date will either be printed on an oval sticker and affixed to the collar welded on top of the cylinder, or alternatively the date may be stamped vertically on the collar. If the re-qualification date does not have a letter to the right of it, your propane tank needs to be re-qualified within 12 years of the re-qualification date. If the re-qualification date has a letter “S” to the right of it, then your propane tank needs to be re-qualified within 7 years of the re-qualification date. If the re-qualification date has the letter “E” to the right of it, then your propane tank needs to be re-qualified within 5 years of the re-qualification date.

Expired tanks can be exchanged for new or re-qualified substitutes by visiting any of the major big box stores, or home improvement centers located nationwide. Look for the large white metal lockers filled with empty tanks directly in front of the main building. Simply inquire inside to complete the paid exchange.

Warnings

It may not be safe to use a propane tank that is 12 years older than its manufacture date if it has not been re-qualified until you have it inspected and re-qualified to ensure that it is safe to use.

Never store propane tanks indoors or in any other sealed environment due to the risk of explosion.

Propane is flammable and explosive! Always read, understand and follow the safety directions that come with every propane product you own and use.

PG
About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

Prepper Planning

Many times, as preppers, we tend to focus on long-term food storage, bug out bags and survival equipment, and all the stuff associated with prepping- which is important- but we don’t always spend as much time and consideration into planning and creating multiple contingency plans for whatever situation may occur. All the canned food and stockpiled ammo in the world will do very little good without a plan on what to do when they become essential to survival.

Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst

This may seem elementary in the extreme (of course we’re preparing for the worst, we’re preppers, right?) but it isn’t quite as obvious as it seems. For instance, if your plan is to bug-in, and hunker down to weather out whatever troubles go on from the safety of your fortified home, what would you do if you were forced to leave? At what point would you make the decision to leave? Would you go before the roads became impassable and the streets filled with roaming gangs of thugs or government troops forcing you to evacuate, or would you wait it out until there was no option but to leave, forcing you to fight your way out? When you do leave, where will you go, and how will you get there?

If you are planning on bugging-out, do you have multiple routes planned out to get there in case one, or several roads or highways are cut off or impassable? Do you have enough fuel to get to your destination if there is no gas available to purchase? Are you prepared to walk out, and how long would it take you to reach your BOL by foot?

Know your Surroundings

An important component of your Plan should be to get to know your surroundings as well as possible, and assessing them for both threats and opportunities. In a grid-down situation, a nearby prison could become a leaking sieve of escaping prisoners taking advantage of the resulting chaos to escape and prey on nearby residents for resources for food, equipment, and weapons. Likewise, local stores, warehouses, orchards, or junkyards provide excellent places for foraging for food and supplies- but be aware – there is a very thin line between “foraging” in a survival situation and looting, and usually law enforcement and local vigilantes make no distinction between the two.

Every prepper should know their local area like the back of their hand, able to get from point A to point B by any number of back roads or side streets. In a SHTF situation, it will be imperative to stay off the main roads while martial law is imposed, as well as avoiding getting caught in roadblocks and ambushes. Knowledge of local rivers and having the ability to navigate by boat would also be extremely useful – any means of travel that circumvents the major traffic areas and population centers.

A good way to start doing this is to simply take a weekend drive around town and the surrounding areas, going down the little roads you normally pass by on your way to the store, and see where they lead. You can also usually obtain local and county maps from the chamber of commerce or visitors’ center for free, as well as state road maps from your local state government or department of transportation via their website. Often there are hunting maps and state and federal park land maps freely available too, which give topographical information. These maps could be invaluable tools in a survival situation, and should be included in your bug-out bag.

Have multiple plans ready

Asses the threats specific to your region – natural disasters, locations of nuclear power plants or weapons depots, potential terrorist targets, high density population centers, etc. – and make plans with contingencies specific to each possibility. For instance, in a region like Southern California, a prepper should have plans in place for earthquakes, fires, water scarcity, and anything else which may be specific to their location, as well as general threats like civil unrest and terrorist attacks. You should plan multiple routes of escape, and know where there are safe places to shelter, both at home and also if something happens when you are at work or shopping at the store.

Include your family in the planning process

Make sure every member of your family knows what to do in an emergency situation, and have a communication system in place to be able to reach each of them when a situation develops. Time how long it takes for you to pick up the kids from school and get home, or get from your job to your house. Set up a secondary rally point in a central location if for any reason a family member is not able to make it home, or if communication is cut off. Set up a safe word or phrase which can be used to alert family members that it is not safe to come home if you are being held hostage but can communicate. Most importantly, know each other’s schedules and routes and be sure to communicate any changes in your daily routine quickly to every person in your family. In a SHTF situation, survival will depend on your family working together, functioning and communicating as a unit, rather than being separate and disjointed.

Be flexible

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” No plan can completely predict every contingency and take into account every variable. Be prepared to think on your feet and change your plans if the one you’re following does not work out. Sometimes bugging out might be far more dangerous than sheltering in place. Be prepared to be flexible, and exercise situational awareness to best determine your course of action. Historically, the species that have survived are the ones which have learned to adapt to their environment, and have evolved to changing circumstances. We must be ready to do the same if we are to survive as individuals, and as a species.

PG
About The Author: The Blue Collar Prepper is a project to help working families prepare for a post-collapse world in ways they can afford, preparing and adapting sustainably now and in an uncertain future. Check us out at http://bluecollarprepper.com

Keeping Tabs On The North Korean Satellite

Real Time Satellite Tracking of North Korean Satellite KMS 3-2

KWANGMYONGSONG 3 (KMS 3-2) is supposedly a North Korean Earth observation satellite, which according to the DPRK is designed for weather forecast purposes, and whose launch is widely portrayed in the West to be a veiled ballistic missile test. Some believe the satellite includes a secondary payload consisting of an Electromagnetic Pulse device (EMP) which is intended to be launched and exploded above a target nation, rendering the vast majority of  electrical systems and devices within the blast radius permanently destroyed. Both Russia and China have been thought to have aided in designing such a device along with North Korean scientists and their military.

http://www.n2yo.com/passes/?s=39026

PG
About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

Water Treatment: Ensuring That Your Water Is Safe

From RedCross.org

In addition to having a bad odor and taste, water from questionable sources may be contaminated by a variety of microorganisms, including bacteria and parasites that cause diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid and hepatitis. All water of uncertain purity should be treated before use.

To treat water for consumption and/or hygiene, follow these steps:

  • Filter the water using a piece of cloth or coffee filter to remove solid particles.
  • Bring it to a rolling boil for about one full minute.
  • Let it cool at least 30 minutes. Water must be cool or the chlorine treatment described below will be useless.
  • Add 16 drops of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water, or 8 drops per 2-liter bottle of water. Stir to mix. Sodium hypochlorite of the concentration of 5.25% to 6% should be the only active ingredient in the bleach. There should not be any added soap or fragrances. A major bleach manufacturer has also added Sodium Hydroxide as an active ingredient, which they state does not pose a health risk for water treatment.
  • Let stand 30 minutes.
  • If it smells of chlorine. You can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, add 16 more drops of chlorine bleach per gallon of water (or 8 drops per 2-liter bottle of water), let stand 30 minutes, and smell it again. If it smells of chlorine, you can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water.


Source: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/water-safety/water-treatment

PG
About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

Five Rules For Survival

By Riverwalker | From StealthSurvival.Blogspot.com | On Sunday, March 17th, 2013

You must be prepared to take any and all actions necessary if you find yourself in a survival situation.  You will need to be prepared to utilize any and all resources in order to insure your survival. Your skills and your knowledge may be put to the ultimate test. This will be a test that you can’t afford to fail.

Five Rules for Survival

Rule #1 – There are no rules. In a survival situation, your actions shouldn’t be bound by arbitrary rules that may exist and be essential to maintain order and stability in normal times. Things are not going to be anywhere close to normal in a survival situation until you’ve managed to get control of your circumstances.

Rule #2 – There is no guarantee of survival. Despite your best efforts, you or a member of your family or group may not survive. You will need to be prepared for this eventuality if it happens. There will still be family members or others in your group that may be depending upon you for help and guidance.

Rule #3 – There is no second chance. You will need to give it your best effort the first time if you want to survive. You probably won’t get a second chance.

Rule #4 – Don’t depend upon luck to save you. Your luck has probably run out if you find yourself in a survival situation. Put your faith in your knowledge and skills to help you survive.

Rule #5 – Never give up. If you give up, you lose the battle for survival. It’s really that simple.

Got rules for survival?

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker

Source: http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2013/03/five-rules-for-survival.html

PG
About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

14 Signs of Poor Mental Health To Consider For Prepping Partners

By SchemaByte | From SchemaByte.com | On Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Armand Gautier [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsOf course you want physically active, skilled prepping partners. You also want someone that’s not going to go nuts after a month of canned food and no sunlight. While this list doesn’t guarantee it, we definitely need to consider mental health as part of network selection criteria.

A lot of preppers go out of their way to make sure they include people with very specific skills in their survival network. That’s commendable, but short-term drills and weekend camping trips don’t indicate that your friends and family will be suitable for close quarter living after TEOTWAWKI.

It’s difficult to separate the over-generalizations of the psychologists from just normal human behavior, especially given that we as a people are unfit mentally as it is. We’re zoo animals, insane by environment, to start with. Nonetheless, some people who get along in the world we live in now probably won’t be able to function in the more difficult world after a significant event. Some people just don’t deal with stress well, and others just cover up the crazy they’ve been growing inside.

It’ll be far easier to survive with reasonable, rational people – no matter the skill sets involved. Per the Mayo Clinic, most mental illnesses don’t get better on their own even without a disaster. Certainly, suggest to people that they seek to improve their state through nutrition, exercise, meditation, and counseling, but don’t count on that happening down the road. Mental fitness is harder to acquire than physical fitness.

Here’s some quick tips on signs your potential prepping partners won’t be very pleasant post-apocalyptic roommates.

5 Indications the Potential Prepping Partner is Easily Stressed

Look for indicators that the person is continually stressed as it is; clearly if so you should be concerned about their resilience in extreme circumstances.

  1. Nervous mannerisms like continually biting the fingernails or tapping a pen demonstrate stress (or perhaps too much caffeine). If you’ve never seen the person just relaxed without alcohol or something else being involved, be wary.
  2. Sweating or shaking also indicate short-term stress, and if that’s always happening then there’s cause for concern.
  3. Continually abrasive behavior like excessive aggression, crying, and impatience are behavioral indicators of short-term stress. So is restlessness, although that’s perhaps not abrasive.
  4. Decreased immunity to seasonal illnesses like colds and flu is a symptom of long-term stress.
  5. Long-term physical illnesses like hypertension and asthma can be associated with long-term stress, but could be due to other reasons.

9 Indications of Possible Mental Illness in Prepping Partners

Don’t stop there though. Make sure you don’t have someone who’s already losing it on your hands.

  1. Look for drug or alcohol abuse, which is often associated with mental illness and at least indicates an inability to cope with the world as it is now. On top of things possibly turning quite nasty if an addict can’t get a fix.
  2. Listen for continual inability to cope with life’s daily challenges, a sign of mental illness. Look especially for signs of this increasing, which is an indication of a corresponding psychological problem gaining dominance.
  3. Pay attention to wild mood swings (manic behavior) and grandiosity, which generally indicate instability.
  4. Long term depression, sadness, or irritability is an indicator of mental illness and of course would be an ugly thing to live with.
  5. Confused thinking or the inability to concentrate, when continually present, can be a sign of mental health issues.
  6. Extreme fear, anxiety, and anger is another indicator of mental illness and also indicates that the person is hardly able to deal with the unrealized and possible threats, much less the real deal. These are, in my opinion, the people most likely to become violent with provocation.
  7. Social isolationism is given by WebMD and the Mayo Clinic as a sign of mental illness, but of course keep in mind that preparedness includes a high degree of privacy for operational security – don’t confuse the two. For the most part, keep an eye out for increasing isolationism but don’t automatically exclude introverts.
  8. Unexplained physical problems, especially when there are many of them, is a common theme among the mentally ill.
  9. Continual fatigue is an indicator of mental illness or a physical health problem, also a sign that the person won’t be able to cope with the higher physical demands of complete self-sufficiency if they become necessary.

There’s of course a lot of other behavior and tendencies that are repugnant, even if the potential prepping partner will be able to mentally function. It’s best to get to know people extremely well before you agree to joining up efforts, providing Get Out of Dodge backup plans for each other, and disclosing your preps.

Resources & More Reading

  1. Mental Health Warning Signs – webmd.com
  2. Mental illness: Symptoms – mayoclinic.com
  3. Coping with the causes of stress can help you avoid the physical symptoms of stress – essortment.com
  4. How to Spots Signs of Mental Illness – ehow.com
  5. Signs of Mental Illness & the Family – fultoncountyga.gov
  6. Signs and Symptoms of Stress – stresscourse.tripod.com

PG
About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

7 Tips To Prepare For Hard Times

By Gaye Levy | From BackdoorSurvival.com | On Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Once you have been blogging for awhile, you begin to realize that bad news – and by bad news I mean the unthinkable – sells. Funny how that works but following a natural disaster or major world event, site visits go up – way up.  When my friend George at Urban Survival first told me this I was incredulous.  But sure enough, it is true.

On the other hand, there is no reason why we should not prepare for the unthinkable even during those times when things are status quo.  (And did you notice I did not say normal although the new normal is the status quo – as tough as it may be to stomach.)

Today I would like to share a list of tips for preparing for unthinkable hard times.  It is a quick and dirty list – things that come to mind here and now in the present moment.  I am sure there are others.

7 TIPS TO PREPARE FOR HARD TIMES

1.  Practice using less electricity – a lot less electricity

I just finished the audio book version of One Second After.  An EMP, coupled the the potential of a cyber attack, tell me that it is only prudent to get by with less reliance on the electrical grid.  For many, the problem of limited or non-existent electrical power can be mitigated by generators or solar power.  Generators are great as long as you have fuel and solar power will work if you have the money to set up a solar system plus, of course, an abundance of sun.

To me, the optimal solution is to try to get by with less electrical power.  That means less reliance on my two freezers full of food and more reliance on bulk foods and freeze-dried meals.  It also means lots of batteries and some wind-up devices.

Lots of Batteries

Plan on Having Lots of Spare Batteries in all Sizes

2.  Maintain a survival library and a survival notebook

The time may come when your online resources may no longer be available.  Perhaps, as mentioned above, the grid may be down.  Or perhaps the internet will be censored with survival and preparedness sites blocked.  It could happen, you know.

Accumulate some preparedness books in print form and maintain your own survival notebook in a three ring binder.  Don’t overlook free resources that may be available from your local county or state emergency management department.  Even FEMA has some good stuff in printed form (see Free for You: The “Are You Ready Guide to Preparedness”.

3.  Make learning a habit

Set aside a brief period each week to either learn a new skill or practice becoming more proficient at a skill you already possess.  Better yet, take some time – even a few minutes – each day to find a new trick or tip to add to your survival notebook.

Amazon frequently offers free e-books on a variety of topics.  These books are typically only available for one to five days and are a great way to learn something new.  Sure, they may not be available if the power is out but if the goal is to learn from them, take notes and put what you learn into action now rather than later.

One of the most important things you can do now to prepare for a crisis or disaster is to always be learning.

Side note: On most days I post a link of two to relevant free e-book over on my Facebook page.

Vertical Garden in Shoe Pockets

Try vertical gardening – you do not need a lot of space for herbs & greens

4.  Grow food

Growing your own food can be so rewarding that I just can not fathom even the smallest apartment dweller not growing at least a pot full of herbs on their window sill.  There is something magical about popping a few seeds in a pot and watching them sprout and grow into something that is actually edible.

Beyond the window sill garden, there is the container garden, bucket garden, square foot garden, vertical garden, raised bed garden and the mini-farm.  No matter how difficult it may seem, check out some videos on YouTube or books from your local library and start growing some food this spring.

5.  Acknowledge that there will be fear and panic

Those of you that have experienced a disaster, poor health, job loss, or civil disobedience and war will understand that fear and panic are inevitable.  Realize that in the case of a disaster, there is not a darn thing you can do other than recover.  Plan for the worst and hope for the best.  A cliché, I know. But that is the truth.

Other woes such as poor health, los of a job or a financial meltdown are a bit more difficult to deal with.  Questions such as how will you cope and how will you live will cross your mind as you stay up nights wondering what you could have done to mitigate the situation in the first place.

Acknowledge now that there will be fear and panic and realize this is WHY you prep.  Prepping is the insurance policy that will help see you through hard times.

6.  Embrace companionship and love

Not to get dopey, but life is more robust when you have someone to hug.  I like to say “hug the ones you love, and love the ones you hug.”

I would also like to suggest that you share a modest portion of your bounty with your less fortunate or elderly neighbors.  I would also like to suggest that you share your kindness when kindness is shared with you in turn. Life is precious and at the end of our time, it won’t be the fancy cars, the elaborate home, or the diamond rings that count. It is will the feeling of peace knowing that you have lived well with love in your soul and compassion in your heart.

7.  Maintain your faith

If you are a religious person, find comfort in your faith.  And if not, embrace your inner strength and have faith in yourself and in the miracle of your life.  Hold this faith near to your heart – when hard times come, it may be all that you have left.

THE FINAL WORD

Coping skills when the SHTF will be easier said than done.

Being realistic, it is difficult to predict what will happen and how we will react as individuals if and when we are faced with extremely hard times.  For whatever reason – a disaster or personal crisis – we will each have to deal with situations that are foreign and unpleasant.  Having the food, water, gear and the other tools of the prepping trade will help, but I can’t help but think that there are many other things that can be done now to prepare for the worst.

I encourage you to embrace the less tangible aspects of preparedness and consider events of the day a wake up call advising you to get on with life in the best and most human way possible.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Gaye

Source: http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/7-tips-to-prepare-for-hard-times/

PG
About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

How Horrific Will It Be For The Non-Prepper?

By Be Informed | From SHTFPlan.com | On May 12th, 2012

Editor’s Note: You have no doubt had your own set of issues dealing with friends and family members that simply don’t see the writing on the wall. The following article may serve to assist you in convincing those who simply don’t know, don’t want to know, don’t care, or have never even thought to contemplate. Some of the scenarios outlined below may be frightening, as they should be, because when it hits the fan millions of people will be thrown into desperation with no hope of a solution. Be Informed provides a variety of point-by-point details that may (and hopefully will) convince the non-prepared individual to at least insulate themselves with the basic necessities. The consequences for not doing so, as you’ll see, are severe and often deadly.

I have become personally so disenchanted with the way people fail to prep.  People still don’t understand how important it is to put away.  I have gotten into arguments over this and had cretins call me a fool because I put away food, water, and supplies.  I thought about this and the frustration that other preppers have with this laid back idiotic attitude that there is no need for preparation.  There are good people that just can’t/won’t start preparing. They have the money to do so, but just don’t want to.  Many have only seen what happens to non-preppers on TV, but it still doesn’t make an impact.

In this article I detail some hard core realities to show just how awful it will be for those that don’t prep. Every one of these scenarios is something that has occurred to the non-prepper throughout history.  While strong images come to mind, the purpose is to jar some people out of their inaction and into action before it is too late.

Preppers are good people and care much about those around them, and unless something does jar those around them that choose not to prep, their own survival chances could be reduced.  For every bit of food, water, ammunition, or supplies you sacrifice to the non-prepper, the fewer irreplaceable supplies are left for you and your family in a crisis situation.  It is hoped that the following can help certain people put into TRUE perspective just how horrific it will be for those that don’t prepare.

Here are the awful consequences for those refusing to prep.

As the world continues to decay at multiple facets, the common person has and continues to be lulled into a sense that everything is improving and will continue to for the distant future.  After all, to them unemployment has peaked out and will drop until everyone that wants to work will easily be able to find good paying work,  North Korea is no threat because all their long range “bottle rockets” fizz out,  sanctions will eventually make Iran give up their nuclear program, oil prices will start going down after June or so,  Europe will bail out Greece and Spain and everyone else,  and U.S. debt will eventually come under control.

After 2012 everyone that has prepared themselves will go back to more “sensible” lives.  “Good times are coming”, baseball season is here, let’s get back to watching some more crackerjack news.

It is amazing how people become good conversationalists with most others discussing all the gossip related news, while becoming mentally tranquilized into a totally deceptive state of denial of truly dangerous issues of the times.  It’s the blind leading the blind… right off the cliff.

Rather than dealing with harsh reality, people surround themsleves with easy to digest material that can be talked about without directly influencing anyone’s lives.  Meaningless chatter.  Even for those unwilling to even think to prepare for a societal catastrophic event, there is also no desire to even face the extreme possibility of a sudden loss of one’s employment.  A personal SHTF.

Look at some of the terrible personal pain experienced in America right now – and it hasn’t even hit the fan on a grand scale. Those people who have lived it up on credit, who failed to put much of anything away for a rainy day, who’ve lost their job, and who eventually lost their unemployment benefits are experiencing the first level of collapse. This is happening to millions of people in our own country, all around us, as we speak.

These Americans, who once enjoyed the luxuries that modern living had to offer, are now at their wits end, with very little hope for a return to their previous lives. They are no longer able to pay most or any of their bills. Many have to humiliatingly turn to others for help to pay for food, or worse, to obtain old, unhealthy and poor tasting food from locally funded food banks. Their credit cards are totally worthless. Many have been evicted from their homes and have uprooted their families to live either on the street, in tent cities, with relatives, or have been forced to live at homeless shelters, They’ve have had their vehicles repossessed, or simply can’t afford the gasoline anymore. Their living conditions often make it difficult, if not impossible, to look presentable for job interviews. For many, the life of stability they knew just a short while ago is gone, replaced with fear and a constant stress to the point of nervous breakdown.

A personal economic meltdown is confined to the individual or family, or at worst a few families.  The human civilization remains intact and so do society’s safety nets.

With food assistance, rental assistance, homesless shelters, and family to turn to, even the most destitute are almost always able to find some sort of help – however menial.

It is no wonder with these known assistance programs, then, that people have forgotten or never thought to consider what happens IF and WHEN human civilization goes through a strong enough SHTF event.  If that happens on a mass scale what happens to everyone that needs help that has not prepared ahead of time?  What happens when governments are in such total disarray or destroyed altogether that they can’t help even if they wanted to?

The media and others have portrayed the good people that sacrifice much if not all “luxuries” of life to prepare themselves and their family and friends for extreme times, as chicken littles.  Those who have made the choice to store up emergency food, water, and other necessities to avoid extreme life threatening risks, including suffering horribly during and after a widespread SHTF event, are laughed at and ridiculed often for “wasting” their lives on delusional paranoia.

But who is delusional? Those who see the signs around them and understand how vulnerable the system is, or those who believe that things never change, that politicians have their best interests at heart, and that if the worst happens the government will be there to provide everything they may need?

How many have considered the dire consequences of their failure to prepare in the event that the infrastructure and everything a country’s people depend on totally collapses?

The misery from long term unemployment and lack of money is like a walk in the park compared to the severe anguish and dangerous conditions that await those who have failed to prepare for the aftermath of a large scale cataclysm.  The “minor” problems of unemployment that seem extremely major and painful to most today should serve as a wake up call to what life will be like when something much, much worse happens – when those proverbial safety nets are no longer there to catch us.

Many preppers have become deeply frustrated at those around them, especially those that truly mean something to them, because they simply refuse to put away anything at all for emergencies.  The prepper is usually a person that cares a lot and it is often difficult for them to take a tough stance towards the people that they care about.  However, unless someone changes the habits of those people that fail to get ready, decisions will need to be made, and they won’t be easy.

The choice of what the prepared prepper should do will boil down to either either adding these people to their own circle or survival group and reduce the group’s safety, supplies and self sufficiency, OR, they will have to let the non-prepper fend for themselves.  This is a very personal choice, and each of us will need to decide based on our own morals, ethics and personal relationships.

As a last ditch effort, discussing the following scenarios with the non-prepper may help them understand what life will be like without what has sustained them so comfortably for so long.

This is the hard reality the non prepper needs to understand:

  • Without power the water company cannot get water to their faucets. Without water dehydration occurs within 24 hours. Dehydration causes much suffering before death.
  • Toilets in homes, unless they have an incineration toilet that still need power to work, don’t flush without water.  Where will they go to the bathroom and then where will they dispose of human waste?
  • There will be no clean water available anywhere, especially in major cities, and they cannot live more than about three days without it.
  • Drinking dirty and polluted water will make them incredibly sick and accelerate the dehydration process.
  • Polluted water must be purified and that means having a good filter, bleach or other disinfectant, or fuel and something to boil water with.
  • Understand just how fragile the power and the infrastructure is that pumps water to the public. A breakdown in our power infrastructure or a cyber attack against utility systems will render them useless.
  • A single event can rapidly lead to a cascade of other events that would certainly collapse almost, if not, everything. This is why major snow storms, hurricanes or solar events in the past have affected millions of people in an entire region all at once.
  • A single, seemingly unimportant event may become quite terrible as its repercussions spread; this can include a far and away disaster.
  • Understand that the economies of the world are so interwoven that when one major economy falls it affects everyone.
  • Not having any food in the house means that if the stores are emptied suddenly in a bad enough situation that there will be no food available for a long period of time afterward. Recent history during disasters around the world has shown that stores can literally be emptied in minutes.
  • Think about how totally horrible the feeling of being very hungry is and what circumstances would cause one to be desperate enough to eat anything.
  • ALL stores can be closed instantly under martial law.
  • Understand that you may not be able to purchase anything after it starts, especially with any credit cards.
  • Understand the complexity of food and water distribution; breaks in these chains can stop anything from getting to the people.
  • What life will be like if no toilet paper is stored?
  • Understand that without light sources, the night will be pitch black, often with zero visibility.
  • There will be no communications, other than probably martial law type of instructions over the radio, that is if they have batteries for the radio.
  • Other than ham and shortwave radio, any information that is available will be sent out by the government as filtered propaganda that “they” want everyone to hear.
  • Without power consider what it will be like to not have any heat to stay warm, or air conditioned air to stay cooler – with no way of alleviating the situation.
  • Travelling will likely be by foot or bicycle, as their will be no fuel and roadways may be blocked.
  • Realize that ANY travel outside of the home or neighborhood will be extremely dangerous as ANYONE who moves becomes a target
  • Non preppers will be pushed way beyond their limit because of lack of supplies.
  • The non prepper must realize their government does not really care about them individually, that they are a mere number and help will likely not come from them.
  • They have to figure out somewhere to get food. This can mean wild plants which they must know how to identify as safe, or risk poisoning themselves.
  • They have to understand that when we refer to “having no food” it doesn’t mean not having the food they are used to enjoying, it means no food to eat at all.
  • They have to understand that if they are fortunate enough to have any running water, they will probably have to bathe in cold water for lack of stored fuel to heat water.
  • They have to realize that the very strange and totally unexpected is going to be all around them, made that much worse because of lack of any reliable self defense stores or skills.
  • They might have to remain on the run constantly because of looking for water and food.
  • They must understand that bad will be magnified magnitudes to living misery because of lack of food, water, and other necessary items that they took for granted for so long.

Okay, now comes the “truly ugly and unthinkable” life that most, if not all, people that have failed and refused to prepare themselves will deal with.  Clear vivid visualization is key here for anyone that ho hums the idea of prepping.

What horrors they will likely face after a cave-in of their nation’s economy, war, geophysical upheaval, or whatever crisis is bad enough to disturb or stop their nation from working and functioning?  There are plenty of very potential SHTF events that are simply awaiting a catalyst to trigger them.

  • The Non-Prepper (NP) has to realize right off the bat that 911 and other emergency calls in will be met with silence or some recording telling the caller not to panic.
  • The (NP) that has no reliable self defense that can stop an attacker, will not get help from public services, and will become a victim of rape, assault, torture, or murder.
  • The (NP) that has no reliable self defense and will not only be at the mercy of criminal elements, but also have to contend with many desperate animals, some with rabies.
  • The (NP) that has no food will either have to find food or be ready to beg for food or worse, like sacrificing their bodies or other horrible acts or things to get a bite of food.
  • The (NP) will have to go through the worst, most rancid conditions of garbage to just maybe find what they should have stored up.
  • The (NP) will go through panic and near if not total psychosis looking for any water source right before their bodies begin shutting down during advanced stages of dehydration.
  • The (NP) will go through unbearable trauma when their children and other people around them are crying, screaming, and suffering with intense hunger pains in their stomachs.
  • The (NP) will have to deal with the awful stench of rotting wastes from many sources because they have not taken the effort to even store up waste disposal plastic bags.
  • The (NP) will have disease and pathogens everywhere, not only because they have no trash disposal means, but because they haven’t prepared how to deal with trash and waste.
  • The (NP) will have to live in very primitive conditions after things around them deteriorate rapidly, because they have neglected putting away anything to make life more bearable.
  • The (NP) and those around them will likely develop all sorts of infective skin rashes from the lack of insight of storing up toilet paper.  Imagine the smell for a moment.
  • The (NP) will have to handle biting insects and other vermin that will collect amoungst the filth that will pile up.  No pest control stored up along with no other supplies.
  • The (NP) will have no way of treating sickness certain to follow a SHTF event, no first aid and likely no training or knowledge about how to treat the ill on top of this.
  • The (NP) will have sick and dying people around them because of not being able to treat minor injuries.  Didn’t even stock up on disinfectives.  Unsanitary conditions lead to infection.
  • The (NP) and others around them will experience much grief as they watch helplessly as their family members literally die of starvation right in front of their eyes.
  • The (NP) won’t believe how desperate hunger drives them and those that mean everything to them to “trying” to eat food that taste so bad it gags them and comes back up.
  • The (NP) will likely have family and friends around them that have also not prepared committing suicide because they can’t take it any longer.
  • The (NP) will witness some of those people around them lose any sense of civilized humanity in them and behave like wild animals after some time from lack of necessities.
  • The (NP) and family members, maybe friends also, will at some point end up barbecuing or eating raw the family dog, cat, bird, any pet dear to everyone for food.
  • The (NP) will likely get into physical fights with other family members over any scrap of food available as rational thoughts are lost to wanton hunger.
  • The (NP) as many other (NP’s) will eventually go out of any safety of their home looking for food and or water, become disorientated and lost, and die a hard death somewhere.
  • The (NP) that is “lucky” enough to find some government help will likely have to almost sell their soul, probably all their freedom, to get tiny rations – just enough to keep them alive.
  • The (NP) will see widespread violence and barbarism that will shock them to the core and will wish that they had purchased some form of firearm and stocked up on ammunition.
  • The (NP) better get used to attempting to explain the children and other adults why they wasted all that money on junk, and didn’t buy any emergency food and other supplies.
  • The (NP), no matter how positive they are will drop quickly into depression and lose willpower as having nothing to hold on to does this, along with lack of any nutrition.
  • The (NP) will feel the worst guilt imaginable as they hear their family moaning in anguish from lack of anything to eat, knowing they could have done something to prepare.
  • The (NP) will most likely not see the rebuilding and recovery after A SHTF event. They will, like almost all NP’s, be statistics.  Some will die hours or a day before help arrives.
  • The (NP) from lack of food, drinking bad water, no light at night, the horrid smells, no good self defense, the overall horror, will often be paralyzed with fear and despair, blank stare.
  • The (NP) is totally helpless after SHTF, will have to rely totally on charity of those prepared to live.  They will take all sorts of desperate measures likely to get them shot.  They’ll attempt to eat hazardous foods like an animal trapped in a house will do, and get sick and suffer much before dying.  The (NP) will likely die (ugly and hard) as they lived, unprepared for anything.

If we were to use one single word to describe the torments that someone who “chooses” not to prepare will go through after a true you know what hits the fan it would be “PREVENTABLE”.

Almost every single person, even a very poor person, has the capacity to put away emergency food and supplies.  Even homeless people have stashes of something just in case things become so bad that the normal hand outs and thrown-away items dry up.  Many people with good sources of income don’t even have an extra can of food or any water put away at all. This is stupidity beyond words.

Every day lightweight disasters happen in all parts of the world that disturb services enough that people are confined to their homes for a certain amount of time.  While recovery is short, people are still uncomfortable during these times.  Look what happens after a power outage at night and you will be mystified at how many homes are completely dark for hours.  People have not even bought an extra couple of candles or any battery operated light sources.  Even in well-to-do neighborhoods you may hear only a lone generator going after a blackout.  This lack of preparedness is truly frightening and plays itself out again, again, and again every time services are disrupted for minor to major reasons.  It’s as if there is something wrong with storing extra food, water, and supplies.

Even after “lessons” played out to what happens to those non-prepared, most people still feel that it just cannot happen to them, or won’t ever happen to them again.  It should be proof enough to people what happens to those unprepared after disasters simply by looking at those that have gone through it firsthand.  The difference, though, comes in that these disasters have had recovery periods and help from others. Even Haiti received some help and conditions remain putrid over there.

After a TRUE SHTF, it is presumable that government help and others coming to the aid of those in need WON’T happen for long periods of time. During that time those that have chosen to not put food, water, and necessities away are going to be in life threatening positions.  Most people just don’t get that when the supermarket shelves are empty they will stay that way for an extended period.  When the utilities go down, especially water, it may be weeks, months, or longer before they come back, if ever.  Without what someone needs to survive each day, it is not going to magically appear, and depending on the goodwill of others to feed them and sacrifice their own family’s survival chances is a terrible choice.

People MUST know what life will be like after SHTF in mega fashion if they refuse to prepare.  This is NOT new. Terrible events have plunged people into the deepest levels of desperation and hopelessness, and they will happen again and again.

While the above consequences to the non-prepper are extremely abysmal for anyone to read, the simple fact of the matter is they have already happened time and time again to those that have nothing put away.  People have resorted to cannibalism and gone to levels of primitive savage behavior out of shear desperation and out of literally losing their minds to the physical depletion of food and water that keeps the physical body operating.  Sometimes showing the extreme severity and results of a person’s lack of action, such as failure of the simple act of putting away extra food, water, and supplies, can be the kick in the complacency that they need.

It’s really easy to put away food and supplies. All one has to do is add a little bit of extra food to the grocery cart for long-term storage. Over time this adds up to a well stocked pantry of supplies.

There is something that is in a can of food that everyone can eat and enjoy the taste of, so talk to family members about their nutritional preferences and start stocking up.  Toilet paper and other supplies that really don’t have any expiration date can be put away and forgotten about ’til needed.

There MUST be common sense and intelligence to see what happens IF they don’t stock up for the future.  There has to be the DESIRE to get started, and this is the real problem with so many.

Once started, however, prepping becomes a type of life saving routine or positive lifestyle habit.   It is easy and can and will save one from misery. It may save their life and the lives of their family from ruin when SHTF, which is almost inevitably going to happen someday.  Every month and year that goes by without a true SHTF event, makes it more likely that it will happen.  Basic statistical chance shows this to be the case, but people continue the same pattern of behavior that has led them to the same devastation countless time before.

For those preppers that have people around them that refuse to prepare, you can at least have some degree of solace knowing that you tried to show the non-prepping person(s) what not having anything will mean to them and their families.

All we can do is try. Once we’ve given it our best shot, all we can do is let those who have been warned about the direness of the possibilities live their lives the way that want to. They will, unfortunately, live in a world of regret and suffering if the nation and the world falls apart around them.

To every action there is an opposite equal reaction. Preppers will see their efforts have been more than worth it.  Objects that are motionless tend to remain motionless and non-preppers will find there are horrific consequences for their lack of effort and motion to put away “life insurance” preps for themselves and their families.

This article was originally posted at http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/how-horrific-will-it-be-for-the-non-prepper_05122012

PG
About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

10 Reasons Why Building A Community Is Key When The SHTF

By Survivor Mike | From TheHomeForSurvival.com | On July 24th, 2012

Editor’s Note: The following article from Survivor Mike at The Home for Survival details strategies for community building before and after an SHTF event. While many preppers hesitate to bring any newcomers, especially neighbors they may not know, into their preparedness circle or even preparedness conversation, as Mike suggests, making friends and plans now may be our saving grace when things go sour. Operational Security is, of course, a key consideration, but so too is how you’ll handle a post-SHTF world, especially if it’s just you and your immediate family. While we’ve found it difficult to get neighbors or even family on board with preparedness planning, opening a dialogue and getting to know your neighbors is in our best interest. As we’ve learned from several post-collapse books and resources, communities and groups that band together often have a better chance of surviving than do road warriors or those who want to stand their ground alone when looters or gangs make a move on their homes and supplies. The alternatives to not building a community could and will likely be deadly, as rather than having friends and colleagues to lean on, they instead turn on you to gain access to your supplies. This is an important conversation to have, and Survivor Mike brings to light some key talking points.

You’re living in your suburban home. CNN has just said that the stock market is dropping for the ninth day in a row and people are now racing to their banks to empty their accounts. Couple this with an unstable euro, an unstable Middle East, and a worldwide economic recession and you get the start of the shit hitting the fan. How does your neighborhood react to this? Who in your neighborhood do you trust?

Now take that a step further and imagine a state of civil unrest. Homes nearby are being looted and undesirables are now common in your neighborhood. You have a weapon, but the occupants of your home include you, your wife, and your two small children. You have a front door, a backdoor, and the garage door. How do you cover all three much less the first floor windows?

What I’ve described above is the situation you will be faced with when the SHTF. So, do you need to build a community of liked-minded folks when the shit hits the fan? I believe there are 10 reasons why building a community is key when it all goes down.

1) Strength in Numbers

Being in a suburban area, I tend to worry about what will happen if looters run amok. I imagine when the SHTF, criminals will likely run in gangs. Those gangs will target individual homes for looting and potentially seek to oust the folks living there. They would target homes with a small number of occupants to make their raids that much easier.

So, to avoid being in their crosshairs, it would be optimal to be viewed as a large group. These criminals will have quite a few homes to choose from when things get tough and there is no sense in being an easy target. Remember, giving the perception of a large force is enough to deter those with bad intentions.

2) More Hands, More Work Done

Continuing with the theme of a group, the more folks in that group, the more workers you have. Those additional sets of hands will be able to help garden, cook, pack supplies, gather water, and hunt for food. While you will have to feed and care for those extra bodies, the work you get from them should more than make up for it.

I would much rather have 5 people foraging for food and supplies versus one, as time will be of the essence.

3) Pre-planning

Knowing you’ll have a community of preppers allows you to be proactive with planning now. You can request your neighbors start preparing by gathering supplies, preparing their homes and getting their financials in order. You can even go as far as planning the homes you will use for what purpose. By having those families focus on particular areas of prepping, you can be sure you will be best prepared when the trigger event happens.

At the very least, having your neighbors prepared will prevent them from being a liability when things go south. The last thing you need is a needy “friend” eating into your family’s supplies.

4) Multiple Locations

Having multiple homes in a community provides several advantages. Besides the tactical advantage of defending yourself, you acquire additional space for supplies, including areas to prep them.

Additionally, you provide the sense of normalcy for the folks in the community. Utilizing one house as a mess hall could be a possibility. Having a house serve as a medical facility is another. You would almost be able to build a town within the community. You cannot underestimate the importance of this helping with the psychology of the group trying to survive.

5) Additional Resource Network

Your neighbors will have different supplies, different tools, and especially different skills. That alone is a huge asset when attempting to survive in uncertain times. However, the resources we don’t think about are the various contacts they may have.  They may have an uncle who owns 10 shotguns. A cousin that has an RV for sale. A friend with access to critical medical supplies.

Each neighbor will have their own network of contacts that may come in handy. Those contacts become even more valuable when things get very tough. You may even choose to join a larger group that your neighbors will have paved the way for by providing that connection.  We can be sure that we will need to be creative during difficult times.

6) More Supplies

You can never have enough supplies when chaos ensues.  Your neighbor may have several bundles of firewood he’s been collecting. Another may have a portable generator and a water filtration system. Another may have access to items very useful for bartering. Each one may have specialized tools to do things you do not.

With each person you bring into to the group, you add to your potential assets. While they will come with their own liabilities (need for food, shelter, etc), the assets and skills they bring should tip the scales in your favor.

7) Never Stop Working

When you are part of a group, you’re able to work in shifts. You are also able to continue working if one of the group gets ill. This is key when you are pressed for time in preparing supplies.

As mentioned earlier, you’ll also have people that excel in certain areas. This will allow you to accomplish things efficiently and effectively.  For example, my neighbor happens to be very good with electrical issues. If we needed to fashion something electrical, I would be very hard-pressed to come up with something effective. The time I spend working on that electrical solution would be time away from building defense capabilities, which are my strengths.  Not to mention, it would take me significantly longer.

8 ) Companionship

When the SHTF, people will have a hard time adjusting. We will be going from a life where we have access to almost everything, to a life where getting the basic needs will be a challenge. While having our families will be a crutch that we rely on, having others to share the hardship with will certainly be a comfort.

As a man I know that hanging out with my male buddies is something I look forward to. Being able to vent to the other dads in the community and husbands will be a huge release (and take a bit of the burden off my wife). Don’t ignore the importance of human companionship when facing tough times.

9) Never a Bad Thing… More Guards

Obviously, the additional folks will help defend the community. Again, the different skill sets will come into play here. Some neighbors may have experience in the military which will come in handy when defending your position.

I hear many preppers say they have so many weapons in their home that would be difficult for any looters or criminals to penetrate. However, at most you will be able to fire two guns (as you have two hands). I don’t know many people that could hit a target with two guns in your left and right hand.

Having and training additional marksmen would put you at a huge advantage. Think about it, as a criminal would you want to face an armed group or dad trying to defend his wife and two kids?

10) Scouts / Reconnaissance

Having the ability to leave your compound without fear of losing it, is a distinct advantage. There will be times when you need to go out and either hunt for food, do some reconnaissance, or simply search for supplies.  Having able-bodied men guarding your community allows you (and others) to venture out to find information and plan further.

Remember, there will be no turning on CNN to find out what’s going on down the street.  You will need to be able to gather intelligence military style.

Conclusion

Clearly, having more mouths to feed and more variables in the equation will be a challenge.  However, a unified front when the desperate folks come calling is clearly the best long term approach.

This article was originally posted at: http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/10-reasons-why-building-a-community-is-key-when-the-shtf_07242012

PG
About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.