Signs of Financial Collapse and How To Avoid Last Minute Mayhem

Greece is now being compared to a country that has had its economy devastated by war. As on Sunday, Greek politicians voted NO to accept further financial help and implement austerity measures at the request of European bankers.  What is the result of this vote?  The Greek people have been forced to reduce their lives to the bare necessities.

 

Greece bare shelves

Aris Messinis/AFP

While the people have been forced to deal with decreasing incomes and supply problems for some time now, recently the situation has picked up speed. The Greek crisis began in 2009, so they have had years of cutbacks to prepare them for their current situation. We thought it would be an interesting opportunity to peek in on some of the signs of economic trouble that we should all watch out for, and some things we can do ahead of time.

These trouble signs are not just for far away countries, but our own nation and even our cities. When you see the following signs, you should wrap up your main supplies list and ready your LAST MINUTE WANTS AND NEEDS LIST. The goal is to have your important items well before the supply shortages and price gouging takes effect. The Last Minute List (LML) is designed so that any shopping you do is in places opposite of other people.

Increasing signs to look for in a faltering economy:

  • Increasing unemployment

  • Increasing budget deficits

  • Downgrading of national or municipal credit ratings

  • Salary freezes at government level

  • Increased taxes on fuel, tobacco, alcohol and luxury goods

  • Cuts in public sector pay

  • Bailouts

  • Civil unrest, Union strikes

  • The use of the word austerity

  • Bank closings

  • Limits on bank withdrawals

  • Stores run low on supplies

  • Medical supplies and services reduced

  • Law enforcement, civil servants reduced

  • Bartering becomes more common

Currently in Greece there are countless reports of the communities coming to a standstill. Shops are closing and stores are out of stock in many items. Right now there is a run on the basic necessities. Foods, medicine, and toilet paper are being stripped bare and stored in preparation of national unrest and total financial collapse.

The current most popular items being hoarded:

  • Cash

  • Sugar

  • Flour

  • Pasta

  • Canned Milk

  • Chocolate

  • Rice

  • Any foods that are non-perishable

  • Medicines

  • Toilet Paper

Items such as meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables are becoming scarce. ATM machines have been running out of cash and there is very little cash left to resupply the machines, even with the severe limits on withdrawals by individuals. People on pensions are having trouble just getting through the long lines to get their money. Many shop owners have stopped accepting credit cards from national banks. The deposit insurance fund is drying up and the banks are reportedly forming a plan to seize money in many accounts over a certain threshold. The Country of Cyprus recently did this to boost their own economy, which led to people withdrawing their money and placing it elsewhere. This has also happened in Greece, that practice is called capital flight.

There have also been stories of families who are surviving because they have gardens and small livestock such as chickens and goats. It has taken a number of years to make the news about the current situation but the Greeks and citizens of many other countries have watched their way of life deteriorate. Those that took the time to prepare just in case of such problems seem to fare more well than those unable or unwilling to do so.

If you found yourself in such a spiraling and uncertain situation would you be panic shopping? Hopefully not, but if you do there is a strategy to reduce your exposure to the crowds. Most people will wait until the last minute and then seek out basic survival supplies. We don’t want to be in that category, we prefer to have that out of the way as much as possible.

Below we have created a Last Minute List (LML). The items on this list are going to help you create/repair shelter and other possible tasks of survival as well as the benefit of having barter supplies. While other people are out stripping the grocery store shelves, you may want to visit the hardware store, auto supply, farm store and such. You shouldn’t have as much competition for resources as long as you are where others are not.

This list may be customized for your situation.

The Last Minute List (LML)

This list is to be regularly reviewed and fulfilled as possible. In case of pending or imminent threat, procurement tasking of desired items should be assigned to members based on skills and transportation abilities. Attempt to locate items where others may not look. Attempt to conceal the spoils from others. Mind your safety and security at all times.

 

Big Items:

  • Tow Trailer: Covered if possible like a Horse Trailer.
  • Pack animals
  • Off road transport
  • Livestock
  • Farming equipment

Construction supplies (hardware)

  • Wood – 2×4, 4×6, plywood,
  • 2×10″ Pressure Treated Lumber for Raised Beds:
  • Nails – 1″, 2″, 3″, 4″ Galvanized,
  • Screws – 1″, 2″ 3″, 4″ wood and metal
  • Brackets: “L” – “T” – Straight
  • Metal Piping and PVC piping, fittings ½ “ and 1”- 90 degree elbows, couplings and various fittings
  • Bricks:
  • Glue: Similar to all purpose Gorilla Glue
  • Epoxy
  • Duct Tape: Gorilla Duct tape
  • PVC Glue and Cleaner:
  • Screening Material:
  • Electrical wire and connectors
  • Hand tools Hammers, wrenches, Screwdrivers, Crowbars, Machete, shovels, axes, files
  • Saws
  • Gloves
  • 12v car/ motorcycle Batteries,
  • 12v led lights
  • Jumper Cables
  • Carts, wagons
  • Bicycles
  • Mason String
  • Tape Measure
  • Hose, tubing
  • Barbed wire
  • Solar panel materials
  • Plastic bins
  • Metal trash cans
  • Tarps
  • Rope
  • Buckets
  • Rain barrels
  • Chicken wire
  • Animal feeds, Chicken Rabbit, Dog, Goat, Horse
  • Zip ties
  • Bailing wire
  • Bug spray
  • Pesticides
  • Fertilizers
  • Fly traps
  • Rat/mouse traps
  • Spare shoes / boots
  • Trash bags
  • Charcoal
  • Grill lighters
  • Deodorant
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dish detergent
  • Baby wipes
  • Spices
  • Aluminum foil
  • Saran wrap
  • Oven roasting bags
  • Black/ Gray/Green/Brown spray paint
  • Cotton sheets
  • Bungee cords
  • Surgical tubing
  • Funnels
  • Cooking oils
  • Motor oils
  • Spare filters for any engines
  • Automotive belts
  • Radiator hose repair kit
  • Flat tire repair plugs
  • Bulk Fabric
  • Fishing Supplies
  • Personal Hygiene supplies
  • Extra Medical supplies; Bandages to Tylenol

Extra Fuel:

  • Kerosene:
  • Gas:
  • Propane:

Other/ Bartering Items:

  • Disposable Lighters
  • Batteries
  • Vegetable seeds
  • Sterno fuel cells
  • Alcohol: Whisky, Scotch, and Bourbon, Rum, Moonshine
  • Anything items that could be traded for other supplies, keep in mind comfort and off grid survival items.
The situation in Greece didn’t begin yesterday and will not end tomorrow. It has been said that we are all poor at different levels and those who make the effort to create surplus will the ones that have the upper hand in a crisis economy.

What do want to add to the Last Minute List?

Is Your Survival Group On Its Last Breath?

How often do you hear this from your group members?

 

Man, our survival group stinks.

We’re just a drinking group with a survival problem.

We never do anything cool, all we do is meet every once in a while but nothing ever seems to happen. 

 

Lucky for you I have some simple ideas how to get our group back on track. You need to start making things happen or your group will fizzle out, they always do.

Fun Fact:

Do you know what the most common problems are in groups?

Commitment

and

Participation

 

Why? Well there are a number of reasons but often it’s because it usually isn’t as fun as expected, it truly is that easy. People stop showing up and the people that do show up either do all the work or spend their time socializing or disagreeing.

<<<Caution: Problems being solved ahead>>>

If you want people to spend their valuable time with you building a group, you need to give them something to work with. You must give it an identity and offer people a mission that they believe in. Even if you have a group that has been meeting for a long time you may need to take a step back and make sure you are moving in the right direction. We see groups that have fallen into autopilot mode and that’s not always good.

Championship sports teams don’t just keep winning because they keep winning, they need to re-calibrate and retool their plans, plays and teams to stay fresh and ahead of the game.”

Once we know what we are not doing we can come up with some ideas to get some things done. Those would be called goals. A goal is something that can be accomplished within a reasonable period of time that keeps the ball moving.

I’ll give you an example: have you ever been to meetings where nothing gets accomplished, or you never seem to complete a project, or the team gives up? I know for a fact that some of you right now are nodding your heads because I see it all the time.

“I don’t want excuses, I want results”

This is where the action plan comes in. Once you decide what you want to accomplish you need to take steps to get it done. Did you know that most people who are given responsibility would try harder to complete that responsibility if they believe in the task and know people are counting on them? Especially if they have to stand up at the next meeting and give a status report. You did choose the best people for your group didn’t you? Well you are about to find out.

Let’s get into how we should identify our goals and how to make that action plan so your group is working like a Swiss Watch. We are going to keep it simple and not bite off more than we can chew, for now. Remember, you want people to show up, participate, and go home feeling like they had a good time so they will keep coming back. They probably didn’t sign up for a second job so keep that in mind.

Have you ever heard the saying: “Train as you would fight and fight as you trained?” In order to train for the battle you are expecting, you need to know what you are expecting. Keep it close to the basics because every scenario you can imagine has similar requirements for survival. If you are prepared for an extreme natural disaster you are still pretty well covered in case of a zombie apocalypse. The main difference is the length of time you would need to be self-reliant.

“At the end of the day all you are trying to do is stay fed, watered, healthy and safely sheltered for as long as possible, so just do that stuff.”

How do I get this thing started?

Begin by asking your group a couple of basic questions and see if the answers are at least somewhat similar. If so, you are in good shape. If not then you’ll need to focus your group content at a lower common denominator so everyone is getting what they want from the group.

(Hint, there are no wrong answers, this is just feedback for planning)

  1. What is everyone preparing for?
  2. What are you as group currently doing to get prepared?
  3. Are the families supportive of what you are doing? Why not? What are you doing that turns them off? Maybe you need to refocus at the lower common denominator and re frame the discussion to a vision that is less extreme and more attractive to the layperson to get them involved.
  4. What kinds of things would you like to work on to get better prepared?

Your group is for all intents and purposes an extended family and it may seem like everyone has a different idea on what you should be doing. By clearing up the confusion of the basic stuff you pave the way to doing the cool stuff.

Let’s be SMART about this

Use the SMART method for determining what you want to get done. That’s another way of saying “setting goals.” When you have some ideas of things you want to do, take a moment and see if your idea meets the challenge of being SMART.

Ask yourself, is my idea:

Specific?

Measurable?

Attainable?

Relevant?

Time-Bound?


Sample NOT SMART idea:

Let’s go turn Rusty’s house into a fortress! That’s a pretty tall order and could take a very long time not to mention we would all do it differently. Look at the Doomsday Castle as an example of different… and still not done.

Ok, let’s try again:

“How about we go on a camping trip where different people in the group teach skills they are good at to the rest of the group?” Is this a SMART idea? Not yet. It’s the beginning of an idea but not a goal that people can get behind yet. It’s actually more of a thought that will become another lost fantasy unless we nail it down.

How about we try it this way?

Get the leaders to meet sometime before the general group meeting to come up with ideas to get people involved. Then at the group meeting announce that we want to plan a camping trip to Rock Lake Wildlife Area in September where we will have members teach each other skills, try out our gear, cook-out, let the kids play and have some fun.

This meets the SMART guidelines and shows the group is doing fun productive activities.

Now that you have a goal you can put it into action.

The best way to do this is to form a team to make it happen. You can either volunteer or voluntold some people to form the planning team.

They will in turn take the larger problem of organizing the campout and break it into smaller pieces

  • Get available dates for the site in September
  • Get pricing for the site and a list of amenities
  • Create a list of class ideas and instructors
  • Create a time schedule for the event and classes
  • Come up with some social time ideas for the families
  • Plan group meals
  • Make a flyer with all the details for the group

And that’s how it’s done.

By creating good ideas that fit in with what the group is all about and including everyone you will:

  • Increase participation
  • Members will become more committed
  • Families will be involved
  • People will learn new things
  • The teams will work better
  • You will really get to know each other
  • The group will become stronger and more flexible
  • The dead weight of the group will disappear or at least you will know who they are

If you have ideas to share with us of things your group likes to do, post in the comments. People are always looking for good ideas.

 

Operations Planning for Your Family

Due to the nature of survival it is wise to prepare for what to do in case someone becomes incapacitated, missing or leaves for some reason, even if the event or absence is only temporary.  A disruption event can happen at any time; it doesn’t matter where everyone is or what they are doing.

To ensure that the family can come together and continue to operate you will want to do some key tasks ahead of time.

First we want to understand the different types of event that could happen and how they relate to your situation at the time. A tornado, for instance, is a very possible event that will drastically affect a relatively small number of people at one time and usually occurs with predictable severe weather. Often the tornado strikes during the day when everyone is separated, but not always. As for an event from the complete other end of the spectrum, a massive grid down power outage that keeps a city without electricity for many days, weeks or months will affect large numbers of people and cause all sorts of societal problems and could happen at anytime.

In either of these scenarios there is one thing in common, you and your family.  You have already stocked and planned for what to do in case of disaster, but have you planned on what exactly to do if someone is lost or incapacitated? What if that person, or even you, are the only one who knows how to survive, operate a well pump, flip a breaker, shoot a weapon safely, access a bank account, contact relatives, etc. In short, are you or the kids prepared to take over the leadership position in case the worst happens?

In the case of a large scale event you may have to bug out or you may even have people coming to you. In a survival group there are usually several people with key skills, but for a small family, this may not always be the case. In a complex survival situation it will be very difficult to know and do everything by yourself so why not plan ahead so you can keep operating if such a time comes.

Top 5 reasons you will need to consider a continuity or succession plan:

    • A key person is delayed by  disaster conditions or travel restrictions
    • Someone is injured, ill, lost or killed along the way
    • Someone cannot participate because of their own lack of planning
    • Not able to communicate for some reason leaving everyone else in the dark
    • Perhaps a key person just chose to not participate for some reason

How do we get started?

The first steps are to identify who is key to the plan and identify an alternate person who is not in the primary member’s traveling party or immediate family. This is to give the best chance of the alternate showing up and staying with the survival group, family or community. The alternate should be able to perform the duties of the primary and be trained properly. Importantly, the alternate must be made aware of his/her title as alternate, and must voluntarily accept the assignment. At this point the alternate will provide all possible contact info to include an out of area relay contact so that there is the best chance of communication.

*Important tip: Anytime an out of area contact is to be used as a relay point for information, the information relay person must be made aware of the arrangement and be ready to answer calls from unusual numbers.

Next is to identify key operations. These are tasks or processes that must be done to provide for the safety and welfare of the family or survival group in an emergency.

Key operations may include:

  • Activating the emergency plan

  • Collecting everyone from work, school, shopping or other travels

  • Security: protecting everyone and everything from loss or destruction at all times

  • Food and water provisions to keep everyone going strong for the predetermined period of time. i.e. 3 days, 3 months, 1 year, etc.

  • Sheltering: keeping everyone out of the elements

  • Energy for warmth, power or communications

  • Transportation to re-position resources or evacuation

  • Medical response to injuries and safety oversight during emergency activities

  • Site safety such as immediate response to fire, flood, wind events, dangerous people

  • Communication with each other and outside world. Use your Commo Plan to stay in contact and set up a relay contact that is far away from the event location

  • Evacuation/convoy in case of rapid displacement

But what about the smaller disasters?

Not every event is the coming apocalypse, what happens if a family member is in a car accident? Your wallet gets lost, you must hurry to a family emergency out of town for several days. Who will hold down the fort, feed the kids and pay the bills?

This is when your Family Contingency Binder (FCB) will prove to be a lifesaver, This is a notebook that contains all of your operational information from critical documents such as birth certificates to credit cards to insurance policies and vehicle titles.

The FCB also has your emergency plans, maps to important places, passwords to everything, medical information, wills and trusts, Powers of Attorney for someone to handle your affairs and those of your children and actual written phone numbers to everyone important in your life (just in case you lost your cell phone too).

Just as with planning for alternate key personnel, alternate methods to achieve key operations should be defined, documented and communicated to all personnel within the group or family, not just those involved in those operations. Resilience depends on a group wide effort and everyone should know what is supposed to happen and how it should get done, this way people can adapt as needed and remain close to any defined objectives or wishes. Be sure to keep all of this information secure and under lock and key but don’t forget to make sure that several people know how to access it in an emergency.

If a sudden emergency strikes and you must evacuate quickly, try to take your binder, it will have everything you need to recover from a burned out home, prove who you are and get your life back on track.

When you take some time to prepare the people in your life as well as the stuff on the shelf you will begin to see that you may need less stuff. Share your plans and expectations with the people around you so they can be there when you need them the most and have them do the same. Give everyone the tools they would need to stand in for you if something happens, because something always happens.

For more information on group and family contingency planning, check out The Survival Group Handbook at http://bit.ly/survivalgrouphandbook 

Why Survival is Mental At Any Age

Survival is not always a gear-centric proposition.

In fact, gear is only a small (albeit important!) factor in many scenarios. It has been said that survival is 90% mental and 10% everything else. A recent tragedy in the news demonstrates just how true this is and offers some great opportunities to learn from a brave young girl’s actions.

Many people familiar with the story of Sailor Gutzler will insist that it is only by divine intervention that a seven year old was able to survive in freezing conditions lost and wandering in thick woodlands at night for help. While a miracle is possible, along with an amazing amount of luck, the will to survive likely kept her going long enough to find help for her family.

At the innocent age of seven this girl was not tainted by the demon of hopelessness, she was apparently taught by her parents when to go for help in an emergency and a plane crash where her family wouldn’t wake up certainly met the threshold of an emergency for her. She had a mission and was determined to go for help.

As we read a summary of her story I want you to consider your possible actions from two angles, the victim and the person who answered her knocks at the door.

Important thoughts and take-a-ways from her experience:

  • What is the importance of individual basic survival skills?

  • Would you know what to do if you were presented with the responsibility of caring for victims until help arrives?

  • Would you know what to do, both as a victim and as a citizen first responder?

  • Do you know how to call or signal for help?

  • What skills should kids learn and how early should we start them?

A summary of Sailor Gutzler’s story:

A 7-year-old girl survives a plane crash that kills her whole family on a trip back from the Florida Keys to Illinois. The small twin-engine plane crashes in stormy weather at night and ends up upside down in thick woods in western Kentucky.  There were 4 other people in the plane with her, her two parents, a 9-year-old sister and 14-year-old cousin. After the crash everyone in the plane was unconscious, she tried to wake them up but was not successful.

Sailor climbs out of the upturned aircraft past her dead family dressed only for the warm Florida weather in a t-shirt and shorts, no shoes and no jacket. She has a broken wrist, cuts and bruises. She finds herself in wet 38-degree weather with no idea where she is and no indication of civilization in sight.

The wing of the plane is on fire. She attempts to lite a stick to make a torch to see with but the wet weather doused the fire. There is no trail for her to use and she is not at all outfitted for the journey.

Knowing she must go for help she chooses a direction and walks nearly a mile in dark, dense, wet, freezing underbrush of thickets, blackberries, fallen trees and a 12-foot deep creek embankment.

With great fortune she eventually stumbles upon the only occupied house in the area for miles. Had she gone in any other direction she would have certainly been lost to the environment and succumbed to hypothermia.

Upon getting someone to answer the door she has the composure to explain her ordeal and ask for help. She gives enough accurate information about her situation to guide rescuers on foot to the crash site within 2 hours. She also gave enough information to increase the response from lost child to downed aircraft; this can make a difference in the type of assets called in and the speed of response.

It has been reported that the second grader had been taught some basic survival by her father and it seems that she attempted to apply some of that knowledge in her situation.

Let’s think about how this situation played out and then how we can learn from it. Ask yourself or even better; ask your family the following questions. Keep in mind that this was a seven year old who acted with amazing resolve. Think of how you would do things different at different age, health and skill levels.

    • What was working against Sailor? (Climate, fear, terrain, etc.)
    • What did she do right?
    • What poor decisions did she make?
    • What could she have done to better her chances? (Put on shoes and warm clothes, left a message at the crash, etc.)
    • Think of some similar situations that we might find ourselves in? (As a rescuer and possibly a victim)
    • What are our immediate basic needs in a survival situation?

maslows-hierarchy-of-needs

In order to survive we must address our basic needs of physiology then safety and while they are very closely related, they must be in this order. When you find yourself in a survival situation, your decisions and priorities of work must address keeping you alive and safe before you do anything else. Only then can you work on improving your position, signaling for help or setting off to find help.

This leads us to the well-known Rule of 3’s

In any extreme situation you may not survive for more than:

    • 3 minutes without air (underwater, confined, hazardous atmosphere)
    • 3 hours without shelter, clothing (freezing, hot, exposed)
    • 3 days without water
    • 3 weeks without food.

The Rule of Threes is just a guide or rule of thumb and is not scientifically accurate in all situations. The thing to remember is that if you make it to 3 in any of these categories, you are already in serious trouble and going downhill quick, hence the need to protect your physiological situation first and foremost.

Take-a-ways for the victim of disaster or tragedy

  • Provide for your physiological needs such as air, food, water and shelter/ create a microclimate
  • Assist others in your situation
  • Secure the scene and make your location safe
  • Plan to be rescued or decide to thoughtfully self-rescue
  • Use your surroundings and all resources to your advantage
  • Continually update your plan and predict for important needs
  • Draw on your will to survive and have a reason to survive no matter how odd it may be, this is critical and gives you a mission to accomplish (think of the movie Castaway and the FedEx box)
  • Focus on the job at hand and just keep going

What if someone else needs help?

As a citizen you may be called upon at any time to help in an emergency and possibly even provide life saving medical assistance.  Most of the time we have something called reach back capability. This means that there is almost always someone else to call for the next level of care and support no matter how bad or how big the emergency or disaster becomes.

Since we do not very often call for help we may be a little rusty at actually providing the proper and timely information. Additionally the stress and or surprise of an emergency may very likely cause us to forget the most basic information such as where we are, our address, phone number or even our own name.  It may sound easy to describe what is happening around you but when the adrenaline begins pumping your words might just jumble up on the way out of your mouth.

So how do we react to something dangerous and unusual where people may be injured, maybe our family or even ourselves?

    • Take a deep breath to purge your adrenaline and unlock your muscles
    • Size up the situation for safety
    • Take charge or follow the lead of someone who seems to be knowledgeable
    • Don’t argue or make things worse
    • If appropriate, send a specific person or team to call for help (you may need to provide information to guide responders to scene)
    • Secure the area
    • Provide care up to the level you are officially trained in but don’t be afraid to perform lifesaving measures
    • Gather information and update responders when they arrive
    • Assist them if they need and want help
    • A responder may also have a heavy emotional load and may need to dig deep to endure tragic situations, respect that and give them space to work
    • In long duration events you must also care for yourself. Water, food, rest
    • After all is done it will be important to properly debrief and address your mental trauma as well as others involved. It may take weeks or months for trauma to manifest

If someone flags you down or knocks on the door you will do most of the same things we just talked about but maybe in a different order.

    • Calm the person down
    • Ask what happened
    • Is anyone injured?
    • What help do they need?
    • Where is help needed?
    • Gather information needed to direct response to scene
    • Call for help
    • Go to scene or wait for help to arrive
    • Size up the scene for safety
    • Update responders with any new information if necessary
    • Render assistance as needed

In the case of the young crash survivor, she went for help and the neighbor who was at home watching TV became the initial response.  He asked the important questions and got enough information to relay to 911 to get the proper level of help alerted and on the way. He then provided care until responders arrived.  The girl knew just enough to point the responders in the right direction of the crash.

What should we teach our children that can help them survive and possibly get help in an emergency?

General Safety:

    • Their name address and phone number
    • How to call 911
    • When to call for help (mommy or daddy won’t wake up, smoke in the house, sibling is playing near the pool, etc.)
    • How to recognize dangerous situations (true signs of drowning, fire, electricity, poisons, animals, strangers, etc.)
    • Home hazards awareness
    • Basic first aid
    • Fire safety

Basic age appropriate survival:

    • What to do if they get separated urban/wilderness
    • How to stay warm/cool
    • The importance of drinking water and where to find it
    • How to make a fire
    • How to make an emergency kit for home and away
    • How to signal for help
    • How and where to build a quick shelter
    • Lightning safety/ severe weather awareness
    • How to swim, water safety
    • Recognize the real signs of drowning, how to safely rescue or help others
    • Animal dangers from pets to wild animals
    • Cyber safety
    • Stranger safety, self defense and escape from capture
    • Firearm safety

Most kids will resist outright attempts to teach them anything, especially from parents. You may need to create a culture of fun or covert learning and almost fool them into it.  It is easier if you sneak the training into events like camping, even if it’s in a tent in the living room or backyard. Anything that helps with problem solving and understanding danger is helpful and success will make them more confident.  Start young and build on their training because some skills are perishable.

Here are some ways to remember important information in case of emergency:

    • Write important things down and post on refrigerator or cabinet
    • Create a family contingency binder of critical information
    • Create a wallet card for each family member that lists everyone’s phone number including an out of area contact to use as a relay for messages. (Don’t trust memory of common numbers)
    • When you leave for the day actually look at the clothing everyone is wearing and try to remember it or take a quick picture with your cell phone you use in case of becoming separated
    • Take a headcount so you know how many are with you and if you have everyone throughout the day
    • Pay attention to where you are while driving or riding. Look at mile markers, exits, notable places
    • Know what direction you are heading
    • Be able to describe your stuff, family members, and vehicle, tag number, etc.
    • Keep a notepad and pencil handy at all times
    • Use your smartphone to take notes and pictures
    • I.C.E. the important contacts in your phone
    • Add your emergency contacts to your driver’s license online at the DMV website. Also do this for family members. In case of accident you will be notified

Let us know what you do to teach kids about survival and safety in the comments section.

Best of luck and be safe

Survival Leadership: Taking Your Group From Peacetime to Disaster Activation

All of a sudden a major event happens that directly affects your group to the point you are forced to activate. You aren’t ready; the group has only recently started working together.  How are you going to get this Motley crew all moving as a team?Some members are highly motivated and some still appear hesitant to open up yet. Attendance has been up and down. Before the event the group was more of a volunteer organization, after the event they need to be a family. Such a situation would be a challenge for any leader who is tasked with a team but when the team is not used to operating together the job becomes that much more difficult.

In order to effectively lead other people the leader must understand how they think and what their individual motivations are. Why is this important in a survival group? I’m going to ask you to role play a little in order to see outside of today and into a post disaster scenario.

The Group Member

 

Begin by imagining yourself as a normal everyday citizen; maybe you have a couple of children in school. You go to work everyday and make the ends meet. Your schedule keeps you always on the go but you realize that the world has dramatically changed and you aren’t sure if your family is ready to go it alone when the lights go out. You’ve met a few people and formed a survival group. The group gets together once a month or so and it’s never convenient. You aren’t in a panic about the apocalypse or anything so if you miss a meeting so what, right?

The leader of the group is all into it and wants to prepare with a sense of urgency, you would like to have the luxury of time and money and be involved but it is what it is right now. You are feeling pressured to do more with the group by several members. A couple others are feeling the same way and the problem is self-perpetuating. Morale is low and you wonder if you are in the right group or if a group is even a good idea.

The Group Leader

Now place yourself in the mind of the leader. You know that time is short and the group is faltering. The usual story of 20% of the people are doing 80% of the work is holding true. What can you do to get this thing turned around? In reality, sometimes all you can do is be very organized, delegate where possible and manage people by what motivates them individually. You may even need to ask someone to leave the group if they are causing trouble. You should also look at yourself and verify if you are in fact the best choice to lead the survival group. Is there someone else better suited to the politics of leadership?

Let’s go back to the disaster event trigger. Your young group was a bit of a mess before the event but will they all snap in line now that it’s for real? Possibly but it won’t be pretty right away. There is a reason for building the group ahead of time.

Imagine if we didn’t have a standing army until war was upon us. Aside from our Constitutional intentions it wouldn’t be practical to wait for war to build an army. We would have our lunch money taken away as a nation by those who prepared and trained ahead of time.

The same goes for the survival group.

The survival group leader should make an effort to operate the group, as close to post disaster as possible so there will smaller adjustments when something does happen. There will be challenges in order to walk this line between charismatic leader and tyrant. The more the group finds ways to integrate into each other’s lives the easier it will be to transition into survival mode. So what are some group planning ideas that will integrate people better?

  • Attempt to choose members all in the same geographic area so they can get together more often
  • Consider having meetings and training centrally located
  • Plan events as far in the future as possible for scheduling
  • Training events should be fun and informative
  • Be organized in all areas so as to not waste people’s time
  • Delegate tasks to others based on their skills and schedules
  • If someone never wants to help decide if they are needed in the group
  • Don’t overwork the cheerleaders, spread the load
  • Choose the leaders who best fit the role
  • Vet your members based on your group goals and needs
  • Have some sort of food or snacks at all meetings.

If an event occurs that your group has to come together it will be important to operate as a team. This goes without saying but many times group members are not used to operating at a stressful level for long periods of time. The leader should realize this and try to strike the balance of how hard to push different personalities.

So what should the survival group leaders be doing now?

  • Learning everyone’s name and personality including their family as much as possible
  • Offer training ideas and schedule learning events based directly on group skill levels and needs
  • Delegate initiatives and research to group members to get them involved and spread the workload
  • When assigning tasks agree to a follow up date with the member or committee to keep things moving
  • Follow up on assigned tasks when you said you would
  • Monitor current events and communicate concerns as needed
  • Create an event calendar as far in advance as possible.
  • Promote the 4-Cs of highly successful relationships at all times
    • Communication
    • Cooperation
    • Coordination
    • Collaboration

The survival group is kind of like a volunteer fire department, the members don’t have to be there in the first place but when they are at a fire they have to be there in mind and body. There can be no compromise. The closer you train to the event you expect, the more effective you will be when the event happens. Members should take their affiliation seriously or bow out and leaders should have the vision, fortitude, and ability to guide the group through dark times.

Martial Law and Your Survival Group: What To Do If It Hits Your Town

Recent events have again reminded us just how divided we can be as a population. Throughout American history we have been challenged to find common ground within a melting pot of ethnicity, socioeconomic stratification and political maneuvering. What will you do when it lands violently in your front yard?

Sometimes the big picture blurs out who are truly being affected. Hint: it’s us the individual citizens and the family next door. If you are reading this it is a safe assumption that you have begun to take your family’s safety and preparedness more seriously.  There has been a smoldering divide in our communities that seems to be flaring up more often lately, most recently, there has been a storm brewing over the militarization of the police at the local level. With the situation in Ferguson Missouri demonstrating a total distrust of police after the shooting of an unarmed black teen and the overwhelming military style projection of force by the state, has the match been lit for emotional contagion?

Emotional contagion is a condition that spreads when an event happens that gets a community upset enough to protest in the streets in a way that attracts people from other areas to join the cause. After a while there is seemingly little connection to the facts of the original case and now the street becomes the venue to air all sort of grievances.

So what does this all have to do with the survival group? Everything. This is all part of your situational awareness. In Ferguson you have seen the media coverage. What did you notice this time as opposed to other unrest events? I saw that almost every newscast was conducted in a normal middle class looking neighborhood. The cameras were literally broadcasting from the front yards of houses, not parking lots of some big city urban center or some far away avenue where corporate elite businesses were being destroyed. Sure there has been plenty of looting but the battles have moved onto the side streets right outside the bedroom windows of innocent families. Did those people expect a running street war with international media coverage? That’s not all that changed this time around, when have you ever heard of news crews being attacked with tear gas, threatened with violence from police and even arrested just for covering the news?

The biggest difference and the one thing that got my attention was the sniper sitting on top of a SWAT vehicle actively aiming his weapon at the crowd as if scanning for targets, one finger pull away from starting the next revolution. Somewhere along the way the lessons of Kent State have been lost. In today’s militarized society it seems as if we have turned the page on airing our differences. There are a lot of societal reasons that we won’t go into here that are fueling this divide. For now we are just setting the stage to discuss how we will survive and navigate the changing social terrain. Conflict is here and sides are being chosen. For those families caught in the perimeter of such conflicts it would be wise to be ready.

First we need to talk a little about martial law. As we have seen there has been an evolving cast of characters in Ferguson. Initially it was the local police department, then the SWAT team, then more SWAT teams with verified pentagon issued military surplus. The escalation only incited anger as more heavily armed troops arrived with such things as sound cannons (LRAD), flash-bang grenade volleys, clouds of tear gas and various non-lethal weapons backed up by very lethal supporting elements. This arms race has only caused a run on body armor, gas masks and gun sales. Upon seeing the failure to quell the protests the State Police were called in to replace the other forces and shortly it was obvious that wasn’t working either so the National Guard has been deployed.

Does this indicate martial law? Possibly and likely in this case, there is no precise definition of martial law. You won’t find martial law in the Constitution and there is no working definition of how to organize or implement martial law in any State Constitution. It can be inferred that when the military assumes authority to enforce the law we are experiencing a form of martial law. We can also make the assumption based on the progression of events in Ferguson that if the situation persists or emotional contagion spreads to other areas, so will the level of enforcement.

There have been a number of martial law deployments in our history and they have increased in the last fifty years. Often the deployments were in response to impending danger to a community for everything from union unrest to natural disaster to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Hawaii was under martial law for two years after the attack. Recently and notably Watertown Massachusetts could be seen as the latest recipient of martial law. In the aftermath and subsequent search for the Boston bombers the entire city was under siege by thousands of agents brought in from all over the country. Citizens were told to stay home and door-to-door searches were essentially mandatory without warrant or probable cause. To my knowledge, such a siege has not been done since the Revolutionary War.

Were there survival group members in the conflict perimeter? For this discussion we will say yes. What should you as a survival group do if this kind of scenario were to burst into your yard? I’m reminded of an old saying, “If you look out the window and 60 minutes is on your lawn, it’s going to be a bad day.”

There are a number of steps to take when this or worse comes to your house. First and foremost immediate actions must be taken to provide for the immediate safety of the family inside and possibly the timely evacuation if the situation degrades quickly.

What do I do first?

  • Secure all the doors and windows
  • Keep the noise levels low in house so you can hear anything that might happen
  • IMPORTANT: take a headcount of all personnel and family members.
    • Never, never assume everyone is accounted for
    • To do a headcount line everyone up and count off. Each person MUST say his or her number out loud.
  • Get everyone prepared to evacuate immediately, just in case
  • Get kids dressed and shoes on
    • Dress accordingly for climate and threat
  • Leash the dog
  • Arm yourselves accordingly
  • Flashlights issued
  • Grab your identification
  • Grab a paper map of your area so you can plot a safe direction later on if your routes are blocked
  • Put all cell phones in pockets
  • Grab a phone charger for later and put in your pocket
  • Issue any gas masks you may have.
    • If you don’t have any masks, wet some t-shirts and wear them as respiratory protection.
    • Also use eye protection for everyone. Swim goggles will help to keep tear gas from eyes so you can see, otherwise use safety goggles that have a face seal
  • If it is hot outside consider wetting your shirt to reduce heat injuries from running
  • If evacuating take some water to drink and rinse your eyes out.
    • Also consider carrying some milk to rinse pepper spray and tear gas from eyes, the cream in milk neutralizes pepper spray
  • Of course grab your bug-out bag but you won’t need all that primitive survival stuff this time, You will only be evacuating the protest area and going somewhere safe
  • Turn down lights to get your eyes adjusted to the dark outside
  • Keep everyone away from windows and stay near floor in case of stray bullets
  • If possible, stage a guard near all entries
  • Position fire extinguishers accordingly and designate knowledgeable users
  • Fill bathtubs and keep buckets nearby
  • Clear paths through yard for escape, move chairs and bicycles out of the way
  • Consider loading some Evac supplies in car and turn the car facing the road, keep keys in pocket
  • Wet large towels to possibly use as fire blankets and cover bodies during a hot evacuation
  • If you have bars on windows do not use that room as a retreat unless you can get out
  • If you have a deadbolt lock that uses a key to get out, place the key in the lock ahead of time
  • Make sure everyone knows where to meet outside in case of fire
    • Make them say it out loud
  • Do the same for a neighborhood meeting location. This is important if someone is not home during an emergency or you get separated
  • Activate your Commo Plan even if you don’t think it is necessary. Be sure to reach your out of area contact as well. This is important for concerned family in other areas who cannot reach you
  • If there is a lockdown on your neighborhood no one will be allowed in so your survival group may not be able to reach you
  • Do not evacuate into unknown or dangerous conditions unless your location or home becomes no longer safe to occupy
  • If you are evacuating be sure to approach the line of law enforcement carefully. You do not want to appear as a threat, consider how you might be armed and how they may respond
  • If you are caught in a crowd of rioters or looters try to blend in and not be a target to either side
  • If the crowd is moving, fall to the back or move to the edge to avoid being hit by projectiles from either side of the conflict
  • Law enforcement always leaves an exit for protesters to disburse, find it and use it
  • If you evacuate in a vehicle, be ready at any moment to ditch it and move on foot. This means any packs must be zipped up, kid’s shoes on their feet and tied, no sandals or flip-flops. Someone should be riding shotgun and there is a reason they call it that.
  • Travel light and don’t attract attention
  • Keep in mind that if there is civil unrest in the area, there will be three kinds of people outside:
    • the police,
    • armed citizens protecting their possessions and businesses and
    • protesters/looters.
      • There may also be trigger-happy people armed inside their homes. You do not want to surprise any of these people. Be careful when moving around on other people’s property.
  • When moving as a group or family, assume a patrol style configuration. This means to place all children, vulnerable people and assets in the center of the column and place adults who are able to observe, recognize and react to any threats in the front, back and sides as you move.
  • Remember your headcount and check it regularly to verify you have everyone. Always check the count after running or moving through an obstacle.
  • In a tactical or silent environment the count should be initiated from the front, passed back to the rear and back up to the front. This is done by placing a hand on the person in front of you and whispering the number back up to the front of the line or patrol. Once everyone is accounted for you can continue to move.
  • If there is a separation in the group it is the fault of the person ahead of the lost member. Make it a point to only move as fast as the slowest person and look behind you every few moments.

For a printable version of this post, click HERE

Feel free to print and post this information on your refrigerator or in your Family Contingency Binder as a reference. Hopefully you will never need it but in an emergency, panic and tunnel vision can overcome the best-prepared person. There is nothing wrong with using a cheat sheet because in true survival, all is fair.

Stay alert preppers!

For more information on survival groups and preparedness, make sure you check out The Survival Group Handbook: How To Plan, Organize and Lead People for Short or Long Term Survival, available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle here: www.bit.ly/SGhandbook

Also stay in touch with Charley Hogwood and P.R.E.P. at our website, www.readygoprep.com

Critical Documents Binder: FREE Downloads

With the start of the school year, now is a good time to update your critical documents binder to make sure you have the most current information.

Don’t have a critical doc binder? Here’s some free downloads to get you started:

Critical Document Checklist
http://bit.ly/criticaldocchecklist

Emergency ID Cards for each family member
http://bit.ly/emergencyidcard

The Survival Guide To The N.A.Z. (No Acronym Zone)

Perhaps it is due to the military-esque nature of modern survival but everywhere we turn we see acronyms. So we are going to take this opportunity to clear up some of the confusion about what these abbreviations really mean. We may even throw in a few nicknames and definitions too. For the new kids in class, an acronym is just a short way of saying something by using some combination of letters from the phrase we are describing. Acronyms can be very handy but are often way over used. So here are the most common acronyms you’ll see.

  • AAR – After Action Review. Used to evaluate a previous activity.
  • AR – Automatic Rifle as in AR-15
  • ARES – Amateur Radio Emergency Service. HAM Radio group
  • ARRL – American Radio Relay League. HAM Radio group
  • AO – Area of Operations. The area you are working in
  • AoA – Avenue of Approach. Roads, trails, waterways, etc. that lead to your position
  • AoE – Avenue of Escape. Escape routes from your location. You should have 2 at all times
  • Bug-Out – To leave quickly. From the Korean War era
  • BIB – Bug In Bag.  Supplies to shelter in place
  • BOB – Bug-Out Bag.  A pre-packed survival bag. Different skills and scenarios require different supplies in the bag.
  • BOGO – Buy one, get one free.
  • BOL – Bug-Out Location.  A predetermined evacuation location
  • BOV – Bug-Out Vehicle. The vehicle or conveyance you will use to evacuate
  • Car Kit – Survival supplies stored in your vehicle at all times.
  • CB – Citizen’s Band Radio. A limited range 2-way radio usually in vehicles. No license needed. Not secure for sensitive information
  • CBRNE – Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive.
  • CCW – Concealed Carry Weapon. (Or permit or license)
  • CERT – Community Emergency Response team. A federally funded emergency training initiative for citizens
  • CME – Coronal Mass Ejection. Plasma ejected by the Sun. If directed toward Earth it could damage the electric grid severely
  • Commo – Communications.
  • Commo Plan – Communications Plan. A plan to remain in contact with each other during emergency. Includes back up plan and out of area contact to use as a relay for information
  • Contingency Binder – A binder with all critical documents located in a safe, fireproof place
  • CONEX – Cargo shipping container used for storage
  • COOP – Continuity Of Operations Plan. Designates alternate personnel, processes and equipment to replace primary in case of catastrophic loss
  • CTX – Classroom Training Exercise
  • Decon – Decontamination. Removing chemical or biological contaminates
  • EBV – Ebola Virus
  • EHV – Ebola Hemorrhagic Virus
  • EMP – Electromagnetic Pulse . Caused by CME or atomic detonation. A horizon to horizon event depending on altitude of detonation
  • EOC – Emergency Operations Center
  • EVAC – Evacuation
  • FIFO – First In, First Out. An inventory term to use the oldest supplies first
  • Freq – Frequency
  • FRS Family Radio Service. Usually a set of Walkie-talkies that do not require any license. Available at most sporting goods or hardware stores. Not secure
  • FTX – Field Training Exercise
  • GCP – Group Continuity Plan – (See COOP)
  • GHB – Get Home Bag. A bag kept at work or in the vehicle designed to help you get home in case of emergency. Includes 3 days of supplies
  • Go-Bag – Similar to a Bug-Out Bag. May be mission specific with respect to content such as specialty gear
  • Golden Horde – Predicted horde of looters and refugees pouring out of major cities into the countryside after a major evacuation
  • GOOD Bag – Get Out Of Dodge Bag. A bag filled with supplies to help one leave an area immediately. See (GHB, BOB)
  • Gray Man – An approach employed to make oneself unnoticeable and not memorable. Usually used when moving through a community to be less of a target by dressing blandly and never making eye contact or speaking to anyone. Not suspicious, showing nothing of value, no logos, no bright colors, nothing tactical, not moving with any urgency but not loitering
  • Grid down – The electric grid and key infrastructure has failed, usually referred to as a permanent or long term chaotic situation
  • HAM – An amateur radio user. Communications of various frequencies able to reach extreme distances around the world. Often the last line of communication when all else fails
  • Hazmat – Hazardous Materials
  • Hills – An expression often used to describe a generalized distant location where one hopes to bug out to. A poor plan if you have no specific place to go. The hills don’t care for strangers
  • Hooch – A crude shelter in the form of a tarp or natural materials. Also moonshine
  • IFAK – Individual First Aid Kit – Usually in a pouch attached to battle gear or pack. Includes basic trauma supplies
  • INCH – I’m Never Coming Home – A concept of a bag loaded in such a way to permanently leave home.
  • Independence Conflict – The individual struggle to overcome when joining a survival group. Most survival minded people don’t like to depend on others
  • IR – Infra red – Invisible light detected by night vision devices
  • Ferrocerrium Rod – A fire starting rod that is used by scraping carbon steel to produce showers of sparks
  • LIFO – Last In, First Out – Using newest supplies first
  • Lima Charlie – Loud and Clear – Radio term
  • Lines of Drift – The natural path a person or animal will travel out of ease. Usually in the woods. Always a bad idea in hostile territory due to potential ambush or traps
  • LogPak – Logistics Package – Military term for supplies being delivered. The reason that most military personnel do not understand grid down survival. There is no reach-back capability in true survival
  • MAG – Mutual Assistance Group – A group of people who pledge to work together in emergency, disaster or survival
  • Mall Ninja – A person who buys all the tacticool stuff yet has few if any skills. Also – Armchair survivalist, keyboard commando, E-Thug
  • Mess – Military term for food. Mess plan, Mess tent, etc.
  • MRE – Meal Ready to Eat – Military rations in plastic pouches. Not a good long term food storage option
  • OPORD – Operations Order – 5 paragraph plan to conduct a mission consisting of Situation, Mission, Execution, Service/Support, Command/Signal and annexes listing any Standard Operating Procedures
  • OPSEC – Operational Security – Military term used to safeguard critical information or operations. Used in survival as a prod to not share personal or survival information including what you have and where it is and what you are going to do
  • OP/LP – Observation Post/Listening Post – A hidden battle position placed beyond the outer perimeter of a defensive location usually manned by no less than 2 people with Commo back to the command post with the mission to report any activity in the area. They are never to engage, only report. There should be a clear path of escape back to camp.
  • Out – A radio term used to say that the radio conversation is complete
  • Paracord – Nylon parachute cordage that may or not be of military quality
  • PPE – Personal Protective Equipment – Gloves, eye protection, outer clothing, respirator, mask. Usually used around chemicals, health care settings or contagion
  • QRF – Quick Reaction Force – A reserve force that is ready at all times to deploy in case of threat or attack. A secondary QRF may be secretly positioned in the center of the defensive location and only deployed if truly needed. Note: some attacks are only to probe defenses and draw out reserve forces on purpose while main attack comes from another position on the perimeter. Don’t fall for it.
  • RACES – Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (HAM radio)
  • Rally Point – A Rally Point is a location where everyone will meet up in case of separation. There can be several Rally Points along a patrol or hiking trail and must be unique and recognizable from both front and back while traveling in a hurry. Evac Rally Points can be predetermined on a map for vehicle convoys as well
  • Retreat – A location prepared for survival in case you need to leave home
  • ROE – Rules Of Engagement – Rules that specify when you can return fire or attack depending on varying circumstances.
  • Roger – A radio term used to acknowledge that you understand the last transmission. Also used as “Roger Out” when you understand and are ending the conversation
  • Ruck – Military term for back pack as in Rucksack
  • SHIP – Shelter In Place
  • SHTF – Sh*t hit the fan. Term used to describe when everything goes wrong
  • SITREP – Situational Report – What is happening right now where you are? Used to assist others in understanding your situation and be able to plan accordingly
  • SODIS – Solar Disinfection – A water purification method that uses UV rays from the Sun to kill pathogens in water. Does not work on chemical contamination
  • SOP – Standard Operating Procedures – A set way of performing specific drills and tasks that everyone knows and will usually perform without further instruction. Should be practiced in order to reduce reaction times
  • Stray Cat Syndrome – Happens when you give food to someone and they keep returning for more and may bring more mouths to feed. Never hand out supplies to others at your supply location. Anonymous charity left on the porch of a needy neighbor is safer and can be discontinued if necessary
  • Strip Map – A simple hand drawn map used to locate a place or address where signs are missing or terrain is damaged. Often used by group members as a reference to retrieve stranded members. Map consists of avenues of approach from 4 different directions and indicates all sturdy landmarks with the target location placed in the center of the map
  • SWOT – Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats – A table used to identify these qualities in a way to prepare planning and training
  • TEOTWAWKI – The End Of The World As We Know It
  • Wilco – Will Concur – A radio term used to acknowledge that you understand and will do as requested
  • WROL – Without Rule Of Law – A term used to set the stage for discussing a scenario where the is no effective governing body or law enforcement
  • 2A – Second Amendment of the US Constitution regarding the citizen’s right to bear arms
  • 4A – Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution regarding citizen’s rights against illegal search and seizure
  • 2WD – Two wheel drive vehicle
  • 4WD – Four wheel drive vehicle
  • 3-monther – A survival group member who begins as the nearly perfect candidate but becomes intolerable or inactive. Usually seems to happen at about 3 months for some reason
  • 550 Cord – Official military specification parachute cord. Has a working strength of 550 lbs. and consists of seven interior strands of nylon cord contained in a single sheath. Has a myriad of uses
  • 100 mph tape – Military grade OD green duct tape. Cloth backed and very adhesive. Gorilla brand tape is the closest civilian version

There is your list. You may see other terms along the way but these are the most common and should help you understand what someone is talking about. If you have anything to add let us know and we’ll update the list. Send an email to info@readygoprep.com

 

Happy prepping!

For more info on survival groups, check out The Survival Group Handbook available on Amazon in both paperback AND Kindle: www.bit.ly/SGhandbook

Does Your Group Have A C.O.O.P.? [No, we aren’t talking chickens]

What if a member who holds an important position becomes incapacitated or missing? What will your group or family do if an event happens that causes a serious disruption in your normal situation?

 

Since pandemic is all the rage right now we’ll use illness as our trigger event.

Today began as any other day with kids going back to school after a long hot summer break. The parents are off to work. The mother is a nurse in an emergency room the father a police officer. The news over the last few weeks has spent so much time talking about sickness in some distant land that we began to ignore it. Every case that pops up over here has been tested negative so far so it’s probably hype anyway. Even still you have taken all the appropriate cautions. You’ve increased the hand washing, stocked your sick room supplies and even prepared your survival group as much as they would listen. But life gets in the way of the best plans.

This morning one of the kids complained of a headache… isn’t that how the story always begins? It’s probably nothing, a new school year with kids coughing all over each other it’ll pass. Next thing you know you or a family member is down for the count. Then another case of symptoms shows up in the city, and another. Regardless of announced test results and cautions people are getting shaky as more become ill.  A protest forms downtown because people are upset that the drugs are being sent to other countries and supplies are low. The protest brings the sick out with the healthy making things worse. Many don’t even realize they are sick because of the possible three-week incubation time. Looting begins and people are arriving from other towns to join in on the spoils of rioting only to take the illness back to their communities.

Civil unrest spreads, food is running low at the stores because trucking is spotty due to rising fuel prices and people are staying home from work. Law enforcement begins to restrict travel, health department workers in bio suits are televised removing sick people from homes and the 24 hour news cycle creates panic by reassuring everyone to not panic. People are avoiding hospitals and staff is hit hard by infection.

You finally convince everyone that it’s time. You begin the group activation only to find out that several members aren’t feeling well and one of your families was injured in a riot while trying to escape their burning apartment building. On top of all this the travel restrictions are preventing your only survival group medic from getting to your retreat location.

What are you going to do now? With the group in such disarray how will you ever pull it together? If the situation persists the group might collapse.

 

The Continuity Of Operations Plan (COOP) is a contingency that automatically jumps into action when such an event happens.

The COOP is a term borrowed from emergency management. When 9/11 happened the businesses in the WTC and surrounding areas were immediately and catastrophically affected. Because those businesses were a part of the financial fabric of our society, their loss had ripple effects globally. The companies who had the foresight to create and maintain contingency plans were the ones who were able to get back to work the quickest.

So why should a survival group consider such an approach? There are several areas within a group that if disrupted, might cause confusion, chaos or even unsafe conditions. You have already gone to all the trouble of planning for your food, water shelter and other necessities of survival, shouldn’t you plan to preserve all of these efforts if when something doesn’t go as expected? *For the purposes of our discussion we are going to be a little clinical with respect to loss of life and hard earned preparedness so don’t be offended as we proceed. 

We talked about the COOP, now let’s adapt that framework to the survival group. We probably don’t need to worry about some of the aspects of a business COOP such as customers, IT, compliance and such but we do need to keep ourselves in the business of survival.

A Group Continuity Plan (GCP) is like an overall backup plan that pulls everything together and clearly lays out what to do and how to do it. The best part is that once you give it some thought, there is not much to do except work the plan.

The GCP will benefit your family or survival group in the following ways:

  • Loss of life or injury to personnel-
    • You will identify ahead of time who steps in to fill a role immediately after a loss
  • Damage to critical resources-
    • This includes supplies, equipment, shelter location, transportation, etc.
  • Damage to reputation-
    • In a world where projection of power or even imagined strength is a weapon, any perceived weakness could make you a target. Being able to roll with the punches and not miss a beat shows that you are organized, ready and able to fight back.

You may have some plans already such as activation, contingency, or even emergency response plans. That is great and you should have these plans in place. But there is something to remember about plans and General Dwight Eisenhower may have said it best, “Plans are worthless; however the planning process is priceless.”

One of the weaknesses of specific plans is that they are limited in focus and tend to address only certain aspects of the group only to ignore other important areas. Survival requires a holistic approach. This means that everything is somehow connected and tasks should work in concert with each other.  The Group Continuity Plan is more of an integrated approach that ties everything together.

As you begin to think about how to create a GCP follow these concepts:

  • Consider risks to your group. A hazard analysis will identify what could go wrong and how it would affect you. Think of ways to reduce these risks or recover quickly from them. This is important.
    • What could happen?
    • How likely is it to happen?
    • Identify by priority
  • Consider the impacts to the group
    • Who would be affected?
    • What would be affected?
    • Do we have a backup person, piece or place?
    • Prioritize by importance
  • Group continuity strategy
    • Identify options to work around the impacts
    • Assign alternate roles
    • Identify back up equipment
    • Combine with existing contingency plans to make solutions flow more easily
  • Develop Group Continuity Plan (GCP)
    • Make sure everyone knows and understands their primary and alternate role
    • Make sure everyone knows where things are and where back up locations are
    • Try to pre-position alternates of critical resources in another location if possible
    • If there are any legal concerns you may need to consider such as child custody, financial account access, etc. you may need to draw up delegations of authority or Powers of Attorney.
    • Make sure everyone knows when to perform their alternate roles so there is no down time while waiting for someone to make a decision
    • Communicate everything to everyone as much as possible while keeping OPSEC in mind
  • Test your plans
    • Conduct training and exercises to make sure everyone understands what they are supposed to do
    • Testing the plan helps to identify problems and solutions
    • Surprise testing or drills is very effective at reinforcing correct actions
  • Maintain your plan
    • Any time a person is changed or a technology is upgraded you must update the plan
    • Plans must include contact information as well as procedures and must be kept up to date
    • Anytime a new version is created, the old version must be destroyed to avoid outdated information
    • Plans must be shared between everyone involved. A plan is no good if kept on a shelf and hidden from the people who are expected to participate

While it may seem like too much trouble or too high a level for a small survival group, coming up with some ideas to keep you moving is well worth the effort. Don’t let all these acronyms and concepts worry you, at the end of the day all we need to do is create a well-considered backup plan to keep the survival group safe and healthy.

What should the survival group/family leadership be doing at this time?

  • Identify threats and hazards to your group and location
  • Prioritize those hazards beginning with the most immediate danger to your safety
  • Figure out the critical who and what might be affected if a hazard happens
  • Figure out who would automatically replace that person (and tell them both)
  • Figure out where to fall back to if your location is damaged or compromised (retreat)
  • Account for any special concerns such as contagion
  • Teach and train everyone in the family/survival group the skills to operate in both primary and alternate roles
  • Gather the stuff you need based on the average skill level your group has (Don’t overestimate skill levels)
  • Keep on the lookout for changes and problems at all times. Keep information current
  • Write down technical instructions, Information and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Share latest version of all information with everyone. Don’t assume everyone understands everything. Ask review questions and make them say it out loud

What should everyone else in the survival group be doing?

  • Stay current on events
  • Continue to focus on your preps
  • Avoid complacency, crisis usually comes as a surprise and no one operates effectively when caught off guard
  • If a new hazard threatens, such as a pandemic, adjust your efforts by collecting the proper skills and equipment to address the changing conditions
  • Ramp up you preparedness in accordance with the situation. It is far easier to methodically work up to a higher level of ready than to go from zero to OMG
  • Listen to the group leaders. You chose them to do a job and they must have your support to get it done
  • Take the initiative when you see something that needs to be done. You are part of a team; the 80/20 rule cannot be in effect in a survival situation. The survival group will require a 100% effort to be successful

If your survival group or family is not interested in planning for a possible continuity disruption, it will be like herding cats for a bath when crisis strikes. Bring up the subject at your next meeting and be prepared to make a sensible case. Many groups already struggle with leadership but when it’s not there in times of emergency everyone misses it.

If you find your group activated in such a scenario it will be important to communicate to them that just because it seems the world is collapsing on the outside, you cannot afford to sit back. The group will require more commitment, more discipline and more teamwork than before in order to make up for all the lost comforts of pre-disaster life.

Want more info on survival groups? Check out my book: The Survival Group Handbook: How to Plan, Organize and Lead People for Short or Long Term Survival, available in paperback AND Kindle here: www.bit.ly/SGhandbook

Survival Groups By The Numbers: How Many People Do You Need?

Once you’ve made the decision to start or join a survival group/community, you will have to make a couple of fundamental decisions.  Usually, the first question that comes to mind is “How many people do I need in this group?” Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer.  You can’t just run down to the people store and get a price quote on the difference between 4 people and 40 people.  Instead of focusing on the numbers, I suggest focusing on the goals you are trying to achieve and the situation that you are planning for.

Things to Consider

First, you must consider your own goals and situation then you will try to get an idea of how many people are going to be in the group? Second, how will we decide on membership? Survival groups can range in number from single families to thousands, so where will your group land on the scale? One of the benefits of a survival group is the division of labor.  This gives the group the ability to complete tasks that would be impossible for a single person. My suggestion is to build a group based on member skills to make sure that you have the best available candidates. You’ll want a group that is able to perform a variety of tasks, including, but not limited to:

    • Medical trained personnel
    • Mechanically inclined personnel
    • Food Production / Farming / Livestock
    • Child / Elderly care
    • Education / Teacher
    • Blue Collar Skills
    • Cooks
    • Hunters and Trappers
    • Scavengers
    • Seamstress
    • Military/Security/Self Defense
    • Ham Radio/Commo
    • Primitive Survivalist or Homesteaders
    • Toolmaker/Engineer/Blacksmith
    • Gunsmith/Reloader
    • Mechanics

You as the group will need to decide how to fill those slots as time goes on. Until then you’ll need to make due with what you have. It’s much easier to plan for these positions pre-SHTF, and you can use the search for these skills as part of the new membership vetting process. Try not to be too ambitious when you start out or you may create more problems than you solve. It is important to identify your priorities and only advance into new projects when the manpower, time, resources and conditions permit.

Begin by taking account of what you already have. Start with your existing operations and personnel. Think about the people that you would like to join the group, what skills do they have, if any. Make a list of skills that you feel would benefit the group, and that would help the group reach it’s goals.  For example, some groups wish to live completely off grid, so a ham radio operator may not be in high demand, while a blacksmith may be a very important person.  For other groups, communication with the outside world and community building is a priority, so ham radio operators are very sought after.  It all depends on you, your group goals, and your group’s plan.

Along the way you will begin to see some opportunities for interdependency. This is to say that some jobs will naturally dovetail with others. For example, most tactical, security and hunting work utilize similar personnel and equipment. Farming can combine animal husbandry and gardening.

You can always follow the Rule of 3’s as a quick rule of thumb reminder of what’s most important in survival. If you get off track just ask yourself if what you are currently doing contributes in a necessary way at this time. If not, you may want to focus on something that gives you more bang for the effort for now then revisit the other project later.

Security Operations

You’ll have plenty of ongoing daily chores and activities but you must also provide for the task of security. Remember: SECURITY IS PRIORITY NUMBER ONE! Without the appropriate level of security for your situation you do not actually own anything you have, you are only holding your stuff until someone else comes along who wants it more. We know that security never takes a day off. 24 hours a day 7 days a week, the security plan must be performed with discipline and proficiency. Too often, people overestimate their abilities and underestimate their situation.  We are wise to choose our battles whenever possible. Since all is fair in the truest sense of survival, seek out every opportunity and take every advantage available to you.

There are a number of ways to develop a security plan to meet your needs. Keep in mind that your security will need to adjust as your situation changes. This is to say that as your personnel go about their daily tasks and movement they will need to keep a theme of self protection running in the back of their minds at all times. The key to remember in developing your plan is that you must completely and accurately understand your situation, location, threats and assets. At the end of the day you want to achieve these three goals to the best of your abilities, deter, delay, and defend. As you can see by these three concepts, you will want to improve your abilities through selecting the right personnel, the right defensive measures and have an ongoing situational awareness so you know as early as possible if trouble is heading your way.

Surviving in a difficult environment can be an exhaustive ordeal both mentally and physically. Over time you will wear down until you can find a way to spread the load with others. It is important that you do not underestimate the situation or overestimate your skills. By taking action now to understand your hazards, prepare your family and plan for life’s disruptions, you will gain peace of mind for yourself and spread confidence among those who will be with you should danger approach.

New YouTube Video: How to Make Prusik Knot Handcuffs

Hey there preppers, here’s one of new videos!

http://youtu.be/Z4_UdT7-WjA

Why Florida Isn’t Such a Bad Retreat Location

 

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One of the most popular questions we receive is “Where is the best place to bug-out?”  This is usually followed by “We live in Florida and will be over-run by refugees headed north, shouldn’t we leave too?” These are hotly contested questions. The truth is that there is no one perfect location to retreat to in this country as each location will have it’s own pros and cons. However, by taking a moment and thinking it through, you’ll see that you may be better off by not following the usual path.

For those of you that know me and have attended any of my classes, you know that I never suggest heading to the “hills” unless you have a solid footprint in the area. If you have read “One Second After” (and everyone should) you may recall that the small towns used those ever-present concrete barriers prepositioned at bridges to create a defensible choke point/road block. This was to keep transient traffic out or throttled down to manageable numbers for monitored passage. Remember, if the situation is so dire that you find yourself in survival mode, you won’t be the only one. People in small towns will be quick to block passage through their areas just to preserve what they have, especially from outsiders that they don’t know or recognize.

The argument I choose to challenge today is the notion that Florida is a terrible place to be in a long-term grid down situation. Before we jump into the challenge we need to clarify some basic concepts. If you truly want to understand the urban vs. rural safety argument you should do some research on modern historical examples of collapse. For example, look to Argentina (2001), Sarajevo Valley in Bosnia (1992-1995) or even Syria today, places where people are forced from their homes with little informational or societal infrastructure in place. The goal is to survive long enough to see some semblance of civilization return.

With that said, I propose that Florida should be considered a strong contender as a state to retreat to in case of a serious grid down situation.

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I have prepared a list of benefits that Florida has to offer as a bug out location. For those of you in other states, compare my list against yours. How does your state compare? There will always be some areas that are better than others in any state. As for our great state I would definitely avoid the major cities and focus my efforts to the middle of the state, preferring to stay north of  Okeechobee, and south of the I-10 corridor due to cold temperatures and any wind carried contaminants.

Here is my list or reasons that Florida is a good retreat location:

  1. Florida has relatively stable temperatures year round. It rarely freezes, and almost never snows except up along the panhandle and northern border. However, even that is a rare occurrence.
  2. Because of the temperature, we have an almost year-round growing season for a variety of fruits, vegetables, etc. Florida’s growing season is also popular for using alternative farming methods, such as aquaponics, aeroponics, aquaculture and permaculture.

    Not even a tropical storm can stop our aeroponics setup!

    Not even a tropical storm can stop our aeroponics setup!

  3. Florida is one of the largest cattle producing states, proving it’s ability to sustain livestock.
  4. The water table is very shallow in most areas and can be accessed easily. This means that there is fresh water almost everywhere. A small investment in a quality water filtration system is all you need, as opposed to barrels or other large space consuming storage options.IMAG1255
  5. If you do decide to store water, for instance in large barrels or tanks, there is plenty of rain. For example, one day of summer rain from a roof top can yield 4,000-7,000 gallons of water.
  6. The land is mostly flat/level for building, gardening, and/or walking.IMAG1289 IMAG1353
  7. There are no state taxes.
  8. Arguably, Florida has pretty decent firearm laws. IMAG1304
  9. There are few high value terror targets by way of industry.
  10. There are only 3 nuclear plants, limiting the risk of nuclear fallout as compared to other states.
  11. We do not suffer from earthquakes, nor do we have any volcanoes.  Also, tornadoes are rare here.
  12. No deep rivers to flood over banks and levees.
  13. Any tsunami potential would mostly be restricted to the east coast of the state from the southern center continuing north. The continental shelf and the Bahamas Island chain would reduce the height of a major tsunami for the southern end of the state and water would not go very far inland.
  14. We endure occasional hurricanes but they are easily survivable if somewhat inland away from storm surge and wind fetch.  Moreover, basic preparedness will get you through the season, so if you’re reading this list, you’re well on your way to getting through a hurricane.
  15. Strong building codes in high velocity wind zone areas for stronger homes mean better resistance to severe weather.
  16. Florida has one of the best emergency systems in the nation with a well trained/funded emergency management system to respond to emergencies.  
  17. We have plenty of sun for solar power and solar water heating.IMAG1277
  18. Florida is mostly below the westerly weather patterns that would blow radiation/volcanic ash/etc. across the country onto the east coast states and everywhere in between.
  19. There are still plenty of properties available for great prices that are safely off the main roads.
  20. To listen to everyone else tell it, everyone is headed North to “the hills” so we will apparently be all alone down here. If you don’t have a well-stocked retreat location in the hills, why would you want to strike off in that direction with everyone else?

So there was my general list of reasons to consider Florida as a retreat location, just bring the bug spray for the summer mosquitoes.

What benefits does your state have to offer?

Are You A Prepping Addict?

If you are one who chooses to prepare it’s probably because there is a little voice somewhere in your mind that nags at you to be ready for this or that. We meet a lot of people in our journeys to expos and in our classes. There is a common theme that runs in the prepperverse. It can only be described as an urgency to be ready for when “it” happens.

 

So what is the point of all this? It’s simple really. You can’t do much about macro politics and high impact events other than to prepare for them. But if you allow the paranoia to seep in, you won’t make good decisions. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Unplug for a few minutes and evaluate your micro economy.

If you are able, take a moment and step away from the digital umbilical cord. This will be hard to do for some of us. If you don’t believe me give it a try. Here are a couple of exercises to see how bad you have it. We are going to start small; if we don’t start hyperventilating then we’ll move to the next level.

Try these exercises to measure your addiction:

  • Turn off the computer completely, shut off the TV; remove the battery from all the phones in the house. Now just stand there and look at your dead electronics. Did you start twitching?
  • Leave your phones at home and take two or more vehicles to a number of the same locations while running errands like we used to do before cell phones. Leave at staggered times and try to meet up at each without communicating once you leave home. Did you feel the helplessness of being unable to communicate and feel the creeping panic that something bad happened?
  • Now turn everything back on and spend an hour reading up on world events. Did feel the relief of knowing what’s happening? Were you so concerned about a distant event that you want to impulsively prepare for it rather than check your property for wildfire or flooding risk? (The pandemic is coming you know, it may already be here.) Sorry, couldn’t resist.

 Plan mentally then physically

Every construction guy worth his salt knows that you never ever schedule without planning first. It is no different in preparedness.

Plan with enough detail to achieve a goal but not so restrictive that you stall or miss a real opportunity that may present itself in your journey. Over-planning can lead to frustration when things don’t go well, and they won’t go well.

Remember:

“The best laid plans go to Hell when the first round is fired”

– Grunt wisdom

“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”

-General George S. Patton

Be resourceful and ready to adapt to your situation, when things go wrong act with a purpose and commit.

On the other hand, the shotgun approach is not always effective either. By working impulsively you will end up with a plan something akin to Swiss cheese. If you know you are going to Swiss cheese it, make sure you have the skills and resourcefulness to connect the dots. For example, you thought to procure a steel container to boil pond water and a flashlight but you didn’t think to get a dependable fire starter. Do you know how to use a flashlight to make fire to boil your water?

 Awareness vs. Preparedness

There is a stark difference between being aware of something and actually planning for it. I find it similar to wandering aimlessly through the forest, you may eventually get you to your destination but most likely you’ll just continue to wander, chasing ghosts, depleting your resources and never really getting anywhere.

 Where to go from here

There is a simple process you can use to get on track. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out or have been preparing for years.  Use the following list of priorities to guide your thinking and most importantly, be honest with yourself. As you ponder the questions attempt to spatially visualize how they connect for a more complete understanding.

  •  Take stock of your current situation:
    • Your current location
    • Family
    • Finances
  • Understand your nearest and most immediate threats:
    • Natural hazards
    • Man-made hazards,
    • People you may know
    • Transient populations
    • Criminal activity
  • Understand distant threats and how they may become immediate threats:
    • Oil prices
    • Wars
    • Resource interruptions
    • Economies
  •  Inventory your stocks for basic survival (short, medium then long term):
    • Food
    • Water
    • Shelter
    • Health/safety
    • Security
    • Communication
    • Energy
  1. Realistically inventory your (and the family’s) skills in the above areas of survival
  2. Do you have any plans in place? Primary? Contingency?
  3. Have you actually practiced for any of your contingencies?
  4. Have you updated your information across the board lately?

 Just start somewhere

Don’t try to do it all at once. Define simple achievable goals and build upon them thoughtfully.

As you can see this could be overwhelming and who has time for that. If you start out with some awareness, some knowledge and a goal you will be amazed at how fast you are advancing just by making a few simple life changes. And if that doomsday apocalypse you were worried about ever happens you’ll be ready. If the world doesn’t end you will definitely be ready for that more likely natural disaster that happens hundreds of times in the US every year.

While wondering where to look for quality knowledge and lessons learned, Look to those who have done it. Another appropriate quote from General Patton comes to mind:

“Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.”

This sage advice should be foundational thought for all those who seek to prepare for what may confront us in the future, for the future really is the past.

 

Building a Personal Preparedness Binder

Here are some helpful printouts that will allow you to gather your important personal and family information into one safe place in case of an emergency!

Critical Documents Checklist 

Emergency ID Cards

TEOTWAYKI… The End of the World as YOU Know It

The apocalyptic scenario drifts into your mind and you start to feel this undercurrent of self-doubt.  Do I have the right skills? Did I store enough stuff? Am I in the wrong place? The latest news is bad, another story of an attack, a liberty stolen, a clash of religions that is sure to spread like the next novel virus. You have become switched on to the gruesome workings of the world. No longer lulled to sleep in the apathy of abundant or adolescent days gone by.  You are a prepper.

There is a price to extreme preparedness; it’s your sanity.  The more you pay attention, the more threats you see. Is there really a growing list of hazards threatening our very existence or are we just falling victim to some form of jungle psychosis, the mental place where we can see what we believe to be there. It’s scary really, when you are so sure you hear something that you actually see it with your own eyes. Are you creating your own TEOTWAYKI? We prepare for our own peace of mind but if we become obsessive we may be unraveling our own sanity and that could mean the end of the world, as you know it.

Maybe we should blame Ted Turner. He was pretty much the father of the 24-hour news cycle. When CNN started broadcasting, critics said there wasn’t enough to talk about for 24 hours a day. We all know how that turned out. Nowadays we have hundreds of news options available to assault our minds every day. Sometimes there really isn’t much to talk about so the news needs some help.

This isn’t really supposed to be a commentary on the onslaught of information and marketing being targeted at you. This is more about deciding how much to worry about. There is a very real condition called paralysis by analysis. There is also such a thing as being blinded by the light. In this case the light being the news cycle. If we tried to prepare for everything we’d probably end up preparing for the wrong thing when it happens. There just isn’t enough time, money or closet space for such a thing.

So, what does the preparedness minded person do in this veritable buffet of hazards and global momentum? It’s actually pretty simple. Learn what is most likely to affect you today, right here, right now. That’s it. Now, prepare yourself and family in all 7 main areas of survival for an achievable period of time. 3 days is a good goal if you are just starting out. If you are a veteran prepper, take the time to perform what we call, a blind spot analysis. This means, think and practice what you would do if something happened in any of the 7 areas. If you find that two dots don’t connect to facilitate your plan, you may want to correct that. Once you are ready to bet your life on it, advance to longer periods of self-reliance.

What are the 7 areas of survival?

Food
Water
Shelter
Safety/Health
Security
Communication
Energy

Notice that there are no specific categories for doomsday on the list? That is because we need to be focused on our survival from a myriad of emergencies not just the latest news event. My guess is that your nearest threats aren’t news, yet.

So what are the likely hazards you face? WARNING! The items on the list are not all that newsworthy until one of them happens, then it becomes “breaking news!” (Note: This is how the news fills their time).

A few hazards and emergencies worthy of consideration:

  • Severe weather
  • Flooding
  • Wildfire / home fire
  • Power outage
  • Land movement – landslide/earthquake
  • Chemical spill – large or household
  • Auto crash
  • Missing children/elderly/pet
  • Job loss – income loss
  • Criminal activity – burglary, vandalism, trespass, home invasion, assault

Medical emergencies should be considered but there are so many we will just list a few of the most common. These can happen anywhere at anytime to anyone:

  • Choking
  • Drowning
  • Burns
  • Fractures
  • Lacerations
  • Illness
  • Poisoning
  • Concussions
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Falls
  • Animal bites
  • Electrocutions
  • Car accidents
  • Work accidents

Once you have sincerely evaluated what could go wrong, you’ll want to identify your priorities. Now this is where people get wrapped around the axle. It’s unquestionably more fun to plan and practice our firearms plan than it is to do food storage or write a Commo plan but you must be disciplined if you are to survive on more than dumb luck.

There is plenty of evidence to show that we are far more likely to be affected by weather than martial law, yet many people spend inordinate amounts of time and money preparing for a societal collapse. Not to say that it won’t happen, but until then we would be better served to worry about what could happen this afternoon.  Ask the good folks and survivors of tornado ravaged Moore Oklahoma what they will be preparing for next time. I’m guessing something weather related.

Moving on. Now that you have the basics covered you can more efficiently prepare for the big time event. Cases in point, pandemic, currently there are 2 separate viruses that have the potential to be global threats. They are H7N9 from Asia and Mers-CoV, which seems to have emerged in the Middle East. Public Health threats are a favorite with big news. Stories on these topics cause the reader to imagine an invisible enemy on every doorknob or toilet handle or maybe a biological terrorist at every public event. What difference really is there between the bird flu and common influenza? How about norovirus or rhinovirus?

Actually other than the potential mortality rate, there isn’t really that much difference. No one wants to be sick with any of these. The overriding point here is if you practice general safe hygiene, you can prevent most of the complications of a dreaded contagion. When a novel virus pops up on the global stage you may want to increase your vigilance and maybe practice some social distancing. It may also be time to reduce those outdated office high fives and give hand sanitizer as gifts. But other than that, there’s not much else to do. If one of these bugs gets out of control we could see some serious effects like 40% of all workforce staying home which would wreak havoc on the system and economy. But that is why we were prepared in the first place.

If a scenario like this worries you, increase your readiness with supplemental skills and supplies. So what additional items might you need for a pandemic (minus the usual long term survival accouterments you may already have)?

Pandemic Supplemental Kit:

  • Additional medical style masks such as N95 type
  • Additional medical grade gloves
  • Eye protection from fluids
  • Tyvek style coveralls to protect your clothing from contaminates
  • Plastic sheeting and good tape and to make a hot room for isolation and warm room for suiting up
  • Medical grade cleanser such as Hibiclens
  • Lysol spray for surfaces
  • Liquid bleach (Note: Liquid bleach has a 6 month shelf life)
  • Additional garbage bags for contaminated refuse

Ultimately you can see that if you were prepared for flu season, you were mostly prepared for global pandemic. The major difference would be in knowledge and skills to survive longer periods of isolation. Most likely you could be on your own for 2-8 weeks as the virus made its rounds. But be ready for the virus to come through your area in waves if it is hardy enough. Keep in mind that it is not all that rare for some of these viruses move into a post-pandemic phase and become seasonal.

As for pandemics, no one wants to be ill prepared but don’t make yourself sick over it.

(I couldn’t resist a little pun fun)

What are some other examples of duplicate preparedness that you have found?

What lessons have you learned the hard way by not planning ahead wisely before you started preparing for something?

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