Skills Matter—Knowledge is Only Half the Survival Battle

startup-594127__340There are two kinds of preppers. The kind that read and study and are endless resources of information and then there are those who do. The doers are learning by trial and error through actual experience. While neither way is technically the right way, it is pretty safe to say the doers are probably going to fare better in a true post SHTF situation.

Knowledge is power, but reading about starting a fire with a spark from a magnesium stick and actually knowing exactly how to hold the stick and how close to the tinder bundle it needs to be are two different things. Armchair preppers need to get out from behind the computer and get out into the wild from time to time. These knowledgeable armchair preppers do have their place in a post-apocalypse world. They will be a fountain of information and they can certainly direct others on what they should do, but if this kind of prepper is all alone, talking to the air isn’t going to help.scouts

There are a ton of skills that go along with survival; prepping, homesteading, growing food, raising animals and so on. Reading how to make cheese and actually making cheese are very different. Reading about butchering livestock and getting your hands bloody doing it will definitely be a shock to the system. Survival is messy business and if you aren’t used to or expecting the ick, you are going to have a tough time coping.

Get up, get out and get doing. Put your knowledge to the test and use the information you have gathered through research to really test your skills. Don’t wait until you actually need the skills to give them a trial run.

What’s Your Poison? SHTF Scenarios and Prepping

Children need reassurance after a disasterThere are a lot of people who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. TEOTWAWKI is on the minds of people all around the world. When you talk with other people who are into storing food, water and other supplies, you will discover you have a lot in common. Then you will get to talking and realize you have very different ideas about things. The reason you prep or the guy down the road preps is likely to be very different. You may think he is completely out of his mind and should be wearing a tin foil hat. Guess what? He probably thinks the same thing about you.

It doesn’t really matter why you are storing up a bunch of food and other emergency supplies, what matters is that you are prepared. Now, depending on your reason for prepping, you may have some unique items on your shelves that other preppers don’t have.

The following is a brief list of SHTF scenarios and the unique supplies you would want to have to survive those scenarios. If you want to cover all of your bases, it wouldn’t hurt to add a little bit of everything. Can you ever be too prepared?

EMP–This could be caused by a massive solar flare from the sun or a nuclear weapon being detonated in the air. An EMP would essentially fry all electronics. You would want a Faraday cage to store some of your electronics, like a set of 2-way radios, cell phone and other devices that have any kind of electrical components.

Chemical Weapon Attack—Being able to seal up your home to make it basically air tight is high on the list for folks preparing for this. Thick plastic, duct tape and gas masks are all essentials. You would also want some kind of air purifier to help keep the air in the house clean.root cellar

Nuclear Attack—In the event a nuclear weapon is dropped, your only real safety would be a fallout shelter deep underground. Many preppers have these and have built them themselves for under 20k. Having a supply of Geiger counters, radiation patches and full protection suits would also be a necessity.

Economic Collapse—This is always a looming threat and many people predict the dollar will become worthless. In an effort to prepare for that day, those folks are buying up gold and silver pieces, which would become the new currency. Precious metals would be the only way to “buy” things when the dollar falls, which would likely lead to the collapse of several other currencies.

These are a small sampling of potential scenarios. Things like a collision with an asteroid, the ozone completely failing and a super volcano erupting are also on the list of things to prep for. If you talk with enough preppers, you are sure to hear just about every possibility. The key is to diversify your preps so you are ready for anything.

Prepping for ‘The Big One’ and What It Means

food for storageThere has been a lot of attention in the media lately about the Pacific Northwest being hit by a major earthquake. It isn’t just people who live in the northwest that could be affected by such a tragedy. The entire west coast would be at an increased risk of a tsunami that could be as devastating as the one that hit Japan a few short years ago. Even if you don’t live on the west coast, the ripple effect a disaster would have could extend all the way around the world. Are you ready for “the big one?” Quite frankly, there are fault lines ripping across the country in one way or another. There really is no place that is completely immune from the possibility of an earthquake—even the midwest.

There are a few things you can do to help prepare your home for an earthquake, just in case the big one hits. You may not be near the epicenter, but a strong quake can be felt for hundreds of miles away. It doesn’t hurt to do a little work around your house to make it a bit safer, just in case the big one does hit and it hits where you live.

*Secure bookcases, china hutches and other heavy pieces of furniture that could fall on you in a quake. Use brackets and sheetrock fasteners to attach the heavy furniture to studs in the wall.

*Make sure your ceiling fans and light fixtures are nice and tight. Some of the older ones or poorly installed ones are very loose and could come down with a small earthquake.ceiling-fan-558988_640

*Find and label your gas shut off if you have it. Do the same for your water and electrical main. You may know where it is, but does everyone in your family? You may not be able to get up and shut it off or may not be home. Make sure you attach the wrench needed to shut off the gas near the valve.

*Secure your food on your shelves. Placing a 2×4 across the front of each shelf will help keep the cans and other items from falling forward during the shaking.

*Use bungy cords to secure large water bottles or containers to the wall. You don’t want them toppling over and spilling out.

While you certainly cannot predict an earthquake, you can do these few simple things to help you, your home and your supplies ride one out with less damage than doing nothing at all. Get prepared and go through some earthquake drills with your family.

Buying Prepping Supplies in Bulk

healthy freeze dried foodPreppers are the type who like to be prepared for anything for the long term. They don’t just look at the short term goal of surviving on their own for a couple of days while the government and emergency services mobilize to send help. Anybody who is doing that may be waiting for a long while. When you are thinking long term, you will need a lot of supplies, not a single box of matches or a single bottle of water purification tablets. You need a lot, which is why buying in bulk makes so much sense.

Buying in bulk is typically more cost effective. You can buy prepping supplies by the case load and get a significant discount. Things like hand warmers, emergency blankets and water purification supplies are just some of the things you will need a lot of. Buying individually can get expensive in the long run. You will pay anywhere from one to three dollars for a single blanket. However, when you buy in bulk, you can often get that price to under a dollar.sk1ee_lar_survival_kit

While many preppers will say they can’t afford to spend $50 on a case of hand warmers, when you break down the price for each pack, you are going to spend nearly twice as much if you buy a pack here and there. It makes good sense to save up and make those bulk purchases. It will ultimately save you money and you will have more supplies to put on your shelves. You can always use the extra you have to trade for other things you do need.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t take advantage of clearance prices and sales on the individual packs. Always be on the lookout and do your best to catch sales. Adding a little at a time to your emergency storage is okay, but if you find an opportunity to buy in bulk—go for it!

Keeping Your Food Storage Cool this Summer

food pantry-1As you continue to build up your preps, you need to take special care to ensure they are being stored properly. With summer temperatures expected to be hotter than ever, it is even more important you take precautions to keeping your food at an ideal temperature. Canned food that gets too hot will spoil. All of your hard-earned money that was spent buying the food will be wasted. Freeze-dried food may not spoil, but it will certainly not hold up as well in extreme conditions.

Here are a few ways you can help keep your food storage from being spoiled by a hot summer.

1-If your preps are in a room in the house, install a ceiling fan or put a couple of oscillating fans in the room to keep the air moving. Opening a window at night will allow a cool breeze in to help keep the room cool.

2-Cover the windows in the room with heavy curtains. Putting aluminum foil on the windows will also help reflect the heat keeping it from heating up the room.

3-Consider building a root cellar to hold your preps. The earth tends to hold around 50 degrees, which is a perfect temperature for your food. The best part about using a root cellar is it can be used year-round and is also a great place to store your root vegetables like potatoes and onions.air-2260_640

4-Basements will typically remain fairly cool, but they can get humid. Keep a fan running to help circulate the air and prevent condensation from building up on your food. Moisture is not something you want in your food storage area.

Your food storage area doesn’t have to be kept as cool as the rest of the house, but you do want to try to keep it under 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A fan can help circulate the cooler air from the rest of the house into your pantry to keep it at an ideal temperature. Your food storage is too important to let go to waste because of a little heat.

Supplementing Your Food Supply After SHTF

dandelionYou have been busy stockpiling food and are probably pretty comfortable with what you have amassed thus far. Maybe you are one of those who has calculated your food stores right down to the serving and the amount of days you have on hand. Or you may be one of those who just kind of eyeballs your shelves and guesstimates how many days you have on hand. Both methods are really estimates because you never know who is going to be home when it hits the fan. What if you happen to have relatives visiting or a portion of your food supply is damaged? You need to have a backup plan to supplement your food supply after disaster strikes.
Foraging

Foraging is going to be your best option. You may envision yourself as the great white hunter, but hunting large game is not easy. It is time-consuming and zaps your energy. Energy is not something you can afford to waste when you are low on food. You need to learn what plants you can eat that will help sustain you while you set traps or go fishing for a bigger source of food. There are literally thousands of plants you can munch on. However, nearly every edible plant has a doppelganger that just happens to be poisonous or will cause some nasty side effects. You need to spend some time learning what is safe and what to avoid. It doesn’t hurt to have a manual with your food stores to use as a reference tool. Going through the testing process to determine what is safe to eat and what isn’t can take a full day. You don’t have that kind of time.

Trapping

You may be short on ammunition and unless you have spent time learning how to use a bow and arrow, you are going to have to rely on setting traps. Traps are best used for small game, but you can certainly attempt to trap deer, bear and wild hogs. Small game is easier and more prolific than the large beasts we are used to putting on our dinner tables. Every little bit helps. Along with your book about edible plants, download and print a few instructional guides about how to build various traps with the items you find in your surroundings.fishing

It doesn’t matter if you have enough food to last a year. You have to be prepared to supplement your existing food supply just in case things go wrong or the disaster completely turns the world upside down and you will be forced to survive on your wit and skills for longer than a year. Prepare and practice today to make your uncertain tomorrow a little easier.