Prepping for Summer Vacation Season

family-591579_640With summer weather, families everywhere are hopping in the car and heading out for a nice family vacation. Preppers are leaving behind the bulk of their supplies and enjoying everything life has to offer today. That is a good idea. There is no point in dwelling on all the what if possibilities and disaster scenarios. You need to get out there and enjoy everything we have available to us today. Before you head for the car, you do need to have a bug out bag in the car, just in case disaster strikes while you are on the road.

You can store these items in a back pack stowed in the trunk of the car or in the back of an SUV.

Emergency blanket—1 for each person
A portable camp shovel
Energy/protein bars
Water
Headlamp/flashlight
Waterproof matches and flint rod or magnesium stick
Orange cones for signaling and/or repairs
Cell phone charger for the car
Compass
First aid kit
Basic tools i.e. screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers
Duct tape
Canteen or bucket for carrying water
Spare tire and the equipment to change it
Extra bottle of car fluids; antifreeze, oil, brake fluidstreet-238458_640

These few items can mean the difference between surviving being stranded on the road for hours after an accident or breakdown and not making it. If a major disaster strikes while you are on the road, you need gear to get back home or to somewhere safe. Keep enough supplies in the car to hold your entire family over for at least a day. You never know when disaster will strike. Prepping isn’t just for home.

Are You Prepared to Hunker Down at Home?

riotingIf you were given an order by the military to stay in your home or neighborhood right this very minute, could you survive? Do you have enough supplies to keep your family alive and well for at least three days? What if the lockdown persists and you are essentially forced to be under house arrest for days or weeks. Very few people have what they need to live through such an ordeal.

You may be thinking that would never happen, but it could happen. You never know if or when our own military may enforce martial law or if we are invaded by a foreign army. While the probability is somewhat slim, it is out there. A terrorist attack or a riot that erupts in your neighborhood will drive you indoors in an attempt to find safety. Events can quickly spin out of control within a matter of hours and you could very well find yourself in this particular scenario.

The following list are some of the very basic essentials you should always have on hand just in case you are forced to shelter in place with no real warning.

*Canned food. You need to have a variety of canned foods, not just a bunch of veggies or a few cans of fruit cocktail. You need soups, fruits, veggies and canned meat if you like it.

*Freeze-dried foods are great, but you will need to store extra water to make the food into edible meals.food pantry-1

*Water is one of the most important things you will store. Some scenarios will allow you to still get water from the tap. Other scenarios will mean you don’t have water from the tap or the water available is contaminated.

*Soap for washing hands and dishes will be necessary. You can’t afford to get sick by using dirty hands.

*Personal hygiene items. Toilet paper, feminine hygiene and toothpaste are all easy to store. They will be very appreciated should you find yourself stuck in your house for days on end.

*Light sources, like a flashlight, candles or a lantern. Sitting in the dark when you know there is chaos outside is intense. You can help dispel some of the fear by having some light.

*Safety and security. It is really personal choice if you want to have a gun in the home, but it is a good idea to have some way to defend yourself and your supplies whether that be a taser, knife, gun or whatever.

*Blankets and winter gear are important to have on hand. If you are forced to hunker down in cold temperatures, there is a chance the power will be out. You need to be able to stay warm. If you have a woodstove or fireplace, make sure you have a supply of dry wood ready to burn.

*First aid kit and any necessary medicines. If you require certain medicines, it is important you keep extra on hand at all times, just in case.

These basic supplies will help you ride out any disaster scenario or even something like a severe storm that keeps you homebound. If you find yourself extremely ill or are stuck at home taking care of a family member who is ill, you can rest assured you don’t have to worry about making it to the store. You have the supplies necessary to survive for a few days or weeks without leaving your house.

Droughts Increase Risk of Wildfires–Are You Prepared?

fireWith the very real possibility of drought in areas all across the country, it is important you prepare to deal with a wildfire that has spun out of control. With a lack of snow and rain, the open country is going to be akin to a giant tinder bundle. A spark from a passing car or a strike of lightning could set off a devastating wildfire that threatens homes and lives. Fire is incredibly unpredictable and can change directions at anytime. You need to be prepared and ready to flee should a wildfire threaten your home.

When you hear about or see a fire in your area, you need to pay attention. Listen to the radio and check in with the news every hour or so to check the progress of the fight. Firefighters will give containment numbers. This means they have the fire a certain percent contained. Fires that are burning out of control and have a 0 percent containment are the most dangerous.

If an evacuation advisory is issued, it would be best to listen and get out before it becomes a mandatory evacuation. If there is not an order to leave the area, you still may want to consider doing so anyways, especially if you have anybody in the home that has any kind of respiratory problems. Wild fires contain toxins in the smoke that can make it difficult to breathe and may cause adverse reactions. It is best to get away from the area and let the firefighters do their thing while you watch from a safe distance.firefighters

Keep a bug out bag ready to go at all times. It is a good idea to keep family keepsakes in a single bin that can be grabbed and tossed into the car on a moment’s notice. You don’t want to waste time trying to hunt down grandma’s wedding ring. Have a credit card available to use to rent a room in a nearby town. Make sure you have at least half a tank of gas in the car to get you far enough away from the fire as well.

Don’t assume a wildfire will never happen in your area. They can happen anywhere at anytime. Be prepared to deal with one.

New Report Reveals Power Grid Vulnerability

power-supply-493209_640There are rising concerns that the electrical grids in developed nations could be the target of a coordinated terrorist attack. Recently, a report revealed just how often attacks were lodged against power grids. We typically don’t hear about these attacks because they are fairly small and the government doesn’t want to panic the citizens. However, it is becoming more obvious than ever that a widespread, massive attack against the power grid is going to happen in the near future. While government agencies work to prevent the attack and hope to develop a system that is not vulnerable to computer viruses and physical attacks, you also need to prepare for the inevitable.

These are some things you will want to start doing today to prepare for a downed power grid that could be out of commission for days or possibly weeks or more.

*Have a supply of canned, freeze-dried and dried food on hand. Grocery stores are going to be closed during power outages and will likely be looted.

*Have emergency lighting on hand. Grab some of the solar lights from the home improvement store to use indoors at night.

*Have enough drinking water on hand to last at least 30 days. Sanitation systems will be down without electricity. Those on their own well who rely on an electric pump will need hand pumps or will need to store water.well-318609_640

*Have a supply of medicine and first aid supplies on hand. Clinics and doctor’s offices will be closed. Hospitals are going to be overwhelmed. Do your best to learn basic first aid to take care of any minor injuries that do not technically need medical attention.

*Have a battery or crank radio so you can stay informed about what is happening and how long you can expect to be without power.

*Be prepared to defend your property against those who want the supplies you have stored. If the outage is extended, people are going to become desperate and will do things they normally wouldn’t. Do not advertise what you have and do your best to keep a low profile.

Power outages are fairly common, but we always expect the power to be restored within a matter of hours. You must be prepared to ride out a major event. The possibility of such an event happening is extremely high.

Surviving a Riot in Your Neighborhood

It only takes a second for a bad decision to result in far-reaching consequences. We have seen more and more riots and violent protests erupt in cities all around the world for one reason or another. These riots end up shutting down neighborhoods and city streets, trapping anybody who happens to be in the area. The people holed up in their homes risk life and limb if they try to leave the area. They may not even be safe inside their homes or businesses if the rioting mob decides to loot and burglarize as part of their protesting.police-275875_640

You must be prepared to deal with a riot at any time. Because police and emergency services are going to be focused on keeping the streets safe and the rioters in check, you are not going to get a lot of help from them should something happen. This is especially true if the riot is large and encompasses a wide area.

It could become unsafe for you to leave your home to go to work, school or even to the store for groceries. You may very well need to shelter-in-place to avoid getting caught in the crossfire. These are some of the things you can do to prepare for a riot and steps you can take to get through one if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

1-Your best bet is avoiding the mess altogether. If you hear rumblings in the neighborhood that a protest or riot is being organized, consider going to a friend or relative’s house in another town until it is over.

2-If a riot erupts and you are smack dab in the middle of it, do your best to blend in. Don’t participate in illegal activities, but don’t take off running in the opposite direction. Casually move away from the area and do your best not to draw attention to yourself.

3-Take steps to make your home as secure as possible. Add a deadbolt to the front door. Having sheets of wood on hand to put over the windows is also helpful. Window locks may help, but unruly rioters will not be deterred by glass.

4-Have at least a 3-day supply of food and water on hand along with any medicines the family may need. Prepare to hole up in your house for at least 3 days while police or the National Guard get things under control.

5-Don’t open the door to anybody unless you know for sure who it is. Only do so if it is safe.rioting

6-Plan evacuation routes should you have to flee your home. Arrange a meeting place outside of the neighborhood for your family members to gather in case you are separated.

7-Consider making your home look uninviting by tossing trash in the front yard. You want potential looters to think your home has already been hit.

8-Avoid using light at night that will advertise you are in the home.

Rioters can quickly spin out of control in a matter of seconds. Do your best to avoid the area and get out as soon as you see things escalating. Don’t be a looky-loo and hang out to see what happens. Your home can be replaced, your life cannot.

3 Ways to Dry Food without Electricity

Part of prepping is learning skills that you will need after SHTF. There is a very strong possibility electricity will be extremely limited or completely non-existent following a major disaster. It could take months or years for the world to be righted again. You have to be able to preserve the food you grow and hunt in order to carry you through the months where it is difficult to garden or find game to hunt.chili

These are 3 ways you can dry food to store for long periods. Drying food will be one of your only options of food preservation as the world relearns the old way of our ancestors.

1-Hanging your fruits, veggies and meat out in an the open sunlight is one way to dry food enough to put it in storage. It is important you string your rope in an area that gets direct sunlight. It cannot be somewhere that is shaded half of the day by a building or trees. It can take a full day, possibly 2 days to get the food completely dry. You can help ensure the drying process is successful by cutting the food thin enough to help speed drying. At night, put the food in a cool, dry place to keep it from spoiling and put it out again the next day as soon as the sun rises. This will keep the food from developing moisture from condensation.

2-A solar dryer is something you will want to build today. There are plenty of designs available on the internet. Use an old window from a junkyard or second hand store. You can use the screen from the window or buy some screening material at your local hardware store. Stretch the screening material over a frame so that it is tight and will hold your food slices. The glass window should mount over the top of the screen. It is a good idea to build your solar dryer on legs so that is off the ground. This is a preferred method as it will keep your food from being littered with debris in the environment as well as protect it from birds and other animals.

car3-It is easy to imagine there will be a lot of broken down cars following a disaster. If those cars have all their windows intact, they will make excellent dehydrators. Push the car into a sunny place and roll up all the windows. Place your sliced food on window screens or cookie sheets. Place the sheets in the front and back windows of the car. The car will become hot as an oven—literally, which is perfect for dehydrating your food. The car will also protect your food from animals and stuff in the environment falling into it.

Is that Plant Safe to Eat? The Edibility Test

chickweedIf you ever find yourself stranded or out in the wilderness with no food to speak of, you need to know what you can eat that you find growing in the wild. There are hundreds and hundreds of plants that are edible. It is extremely difficult to try and remember what every one of those plants are. If you are traveling, you will notice that the terrains vary and so do the plants that naturally grow in the various environments. It would be tough to memorize every edible plant in every terrain. You need to know how to test a plant to determine if it is safe to eat.

These quick steps will help you determine what is edible and what should be avoided.

1-When you have identified a plant that looks like something you could eat, separate it into three main parts. Put the flowers, stem and leaves in separate piles. You could also set the roots aside.

2-Rub the portion of the plant you are planning on eating on the inside of your arm. Wait 15 to 30 minutes to see if there is a negative reaction. Itchiness, redness or burning would all be negative reactions. If no reaction, go to step 3.weeds

3-Rub a portion from the same pile on your lips. Wait another 15 minutes to see if there are any signs you are having a bad reaction. If no reaction, go on to step 4.

4-Put a portion from the same pile under your tongue. If you notice any burning, bitter taste or swelling, spit it out and avoid the plant. If no reaction, go on to step 5.

5-Eat a portion of the plant and nothing else. Do not eat anything for at least 8 hours. Wait to see if you have a bad reaction. Vomiting, diarrhea or cramps are all signs you don’t want to eat the plant.

If you do not have any negative reactions, you can eat the plant in moderation. Do not test more than one plant in a 24 hour period.

How Will You Communicate Post Disaster?

phone-210972_640If you are busy stocking up on food and finding creative ways to store water in case of an emergency, you are doing awesome. You are being proactive and doing what you can to ensure your family has what they need to survive after disaster strikes. Now that you have the food and water basics down, it is time to think about how you will communicate with the outside world or track down loved ones. You may not think of communication as a necessity, but you need to be able to stay informed about what is happening in the world around you. If you were separated from your family or are worried about how your best friend fared, you are going to struggle to keep your head in the game. You will be wracked with worry. Because cell phones and standard phone service will likely be down, you need to have backups.

Out-of-Area Contact

If you are dealing with a minor disaster, land lines may still be functioning. Have each of your family members memorize the number of a friend or distant family member that lives out of state. After disaster strikes, do what you can to call the designated person and check in. Relay messages about where your other family members can meet up with you and let them know you are okay. You could also plan to have a satellite phone on hand, but it is unrealistic for each of your family members to carry one of these expensive gadgets around.

2-Way Radioswalky-talky-544979_640

Invest in a set of good quality radios that can be used no matter if you are several miles apart. If you are across town at work and your child is at school closer to your home, you want to have a radio that allows you to communicate. There is a lot of information to research about these radios. A standard walkie talkie will not work unless you plan on being in close proximity to your family at all times. Do your research before making a purchase. You can expect to pay upwards of a couple hundred dollars or more.

CB or HAM Radios

This is an excellent setup to have in your home or your retreat. A HAM radio setup will allow you to communicate with people all over the country. You will be able to learn what is going on and whether or not there is aid coming your way or a place to go when your supplies run low. Many people assume their survival situation will be temporary and everything will come back online within a few weeks or months. That may not be the case and you wouldn’t know if you had no means of communication.

After disaster strikes, you are going to have a lot of questions. Typically, we get our information from television, the radio and the internet. When all of those things are taken offline, the sheer lack of information can make you very nervous. Fear of the unknown can make your life very difficult and far more stressful than it needs to be. Start thinking about your communication methods today so you are ready for anything that comes your way.

Seek Out Survival Training

firefightersPreppers go to great lengths to stock up on supplies they will need to survive a disaster. A year’s worth of food, a couple months worth of water and some basic necessities are all going to help give a person a major advantage. However, it isn’t only about what you have that matters. It is learning and practicing some skills that will be helpful after disaster strikes. Reading about what to do when someone has suffered a deep cut and actually taking care of the wound are two entirely different things. Reading about personal safety, performing CPR and going on search and rescue missions all require training by skilled professionals.

Part of your prepping should include some courses that will teach you these skills. You will also want to actively practice your skills by volunteering or taking refresher courses on a regular basis.

Become a volunteer firefighter. You will be given access to some free training and will be able to gain a lot of hands on experience watching and learning from certified EMTs and firefighters.

Get involved in scout-type organizations. Adult volunteers are always welcomed and you will be given the chance to participate in some free training courses that will teach basic survival skills. Regular camp outs and expeditions will give you the chance to put your skills to the test.scouts

Volunteer to help out the Red Cross. This is a little trickier to be a part of and there is an application process, but if you can land a spot with your local chapter, you will be able to learn while helping others. You can also take classes through the Red Cross.

Talk with neighbors and see if there is enough interest to start a C.E.R.T chapter in your area. Community Emergency Response Teams are encouraged. These are groups of people in your neighborhood who are given basic first aid training as well as trained in search and rescue. When first responders cannot get to an area, it the CERT team who will take immediate action.

Check in with the YMCA or community center and sign up for self-defense classes. You may need to defend yourself against those who want what you have and will be willing to hurt you to get it.

Learning survival skills and emergency medicine can go a long way to aiding in your survival as well as your family’s survival. Your skills will be of value in the aftermath of a disaster and people will be willing to barter with you in exchange for you offering first aid or teaching them some of the skills you know.

Knowledge is power! Do what you can to learn and practice these valuable skills today. Get involved and search out learning opportunities.

Planning Your Prepper Garden

starting seedsWhile spring is still a couple of months away for most people, it is the time of year you need to start planning your prepper garden. Growing your own food is an essential part of the food pantry process. You will not only save money by growing your own food and preserving it, but you will also have an established food supply source if and when things do get crazy.

It is important you spend some time planning your garden so you can take advantage of every inch of space. This is especially important if you have limited space. Many gardeners make the mistake of picking up a bunch of seeds and planting them simply because it seems like the thing to do. Those gardeners usually end up with a bunch of food they won’t eat and either give it away or let it go to waste. You can’t afford to do that when your garden is what feeds your family.

You need to learn about companion planning. One common method that has been around for centuries is planting corn with pea plants in between stalks. The corn shades the peas (which like cooler temps) and provides the pea vines with a trellis. This is an excellent way to maximize your space. Another option is to plant a root crop with a shallow-rooted crop on top. Herbs are excellent for planting over a root crop. Both plants will get the sun they need and will not fight for nutrients. Read up on this because some herbs should not be planted near certain plants. Garlic for one is not a plant you want next to your peas.seeds

Another trick you will want to learn is succession planning. Depending on where you live and your growing season, you may be able to get several crops of potatoes, corn and other veggies. If you start early enough, you can typically get at least 2 crops of vegetables with short growing cycles.

Lastly, invest in heirloom seeds. These seeds produce fruit and vegetables with seeds that can be saved and used for the next season. This is absolutely essential to your prepper garden. You want to be self-sustainable. In a SHTF scenario, you won’t be able to run to the store and buy new seeds every year. You have to produce your own. In many areas, you will need to order your heirloom seeds. They are not usually readily available in most stores. Order now so they are in your hands when it is time to start your plants indoors in preparation for the spring.