Easy Prepping Activities to Do at the End of the Year

Easy Prepping Activities to Do at the End of the Year

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Now that 2015 on the wane, it’s a good time to evaluate how we did as we look forward to 2016.

  • Evaluate how much supplies you have stored up.  How much water and food have you managed to store so far?  For us, due to space issues, we have about a couple week’s worth of water, and about 10 weeks worth of food, including the refrigerator and pantry.  We have a ways to go in terms of water, but we added some water storage containers and some back up water filters.
  • How much equipment do you have?  We checked our supply of batteries, matches, flashlights, camping stove and lanterns as well as solar chargers in case the power gets interrupted.
  • Consider the skills you’ve picked up.  At Apartment Prepper, so far we’ve learned how to make bread from scratch, brew coffee without electricity, sprout seeds and make home made yogurt.  We also featured basic recipes for plain white rice, and making a pot of beans.  The balcony garden could have done better, but we are getting ready to start is up again this coming year by ordering reasonably priced heritage seeds.
  • De-clutter and make more space for your supplies.  We are constantly trying to find space for survival supplies, so we have to keep re-evaluating our space.  The end of the year is a good time to clean up.  You will also want to check if any pests are around your storage areas.  We are pretty vigilant about keeping pests out but notice they try to come in from the outside.  In apartment buildings, whenever someone moves in or out we notice a few extra pests trying to come in.
  • Examine your canned food expiration dates.
  • Evaluate your home security.  Being in the big city, we are always conscious of security issues.  Make your doors and windows more secure and consider other alternatives for home security.
  • Evaluate items you carry daily and consider personal security items as well.

The above is not a complete list, but should hopefully get you thinking about your own preparedness and survival activities.  Don’t beat yourself up if you fall short of your own expectations; instead, give yourself a pat on the back on how much you have accomplished!  Likely, you are already ahead of 70% of the population.

© Apartment Prepper 2015




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How to Avoid Getting Trapped in Your Office Building

How to Avoid Getting Trapped in your Office Building

I work in a high rise building downtown.  The other day I had the terrifying experience of getting trapped in an elevator with six other people.  It was lunch time and two out of four elevators were not working.  A crowd was forming to get on the two remaining elevators.  When I finally got my turn, six other people came in with me.  I already felt closed in, being in such tight quarters.  The doors closed and the elevator proceeded to move down.  The elevator suddenly stopped and everyone started looking around uncomfortably.  People started shuffling their feet.  It was a terrible feeling – what if this lasts a long time?  The guy closest to the emergency button pressed it and a loud buzzer sounded.  It felt like an eternity, but after about three minutes the elevator started moving again.  I got off the next stop even though it was not my floor.  I had uncomfortable shoes on, but I took the stairs 10 floors down.

This happened on a regular day, and it was scary enough.  Imagine if there were an emergency, power is going on and off and everyone is trying to get off the upper floors all at once.  The elevators would be jam packed and overweight, exceeding the weight limit.  There would be more chances of a breakdown.

I realize even if you are one of the first to leave there are still lots of others trying to leave at the same time.  People may be orderly at first, but that is until someone starts to panic.  Panic spreads quickly and before your know it, chaos can ensue. 

Get in the mindset to prepare in case of emergency and you find yourself at work.

1.  Know where the stairwells are located and where they lead.

2.  Stock your desk with bottled water and non perishable food just in case.

3.  Keep a pair of comfortable shoes in your desk drawer, just in case you have to run down the stairs or have to walk home.

4.  Keep a few emergency items such as a flashlight if you have to find your way out in the dark, extra jacket or blanket, Swiss Army knife umbrella or rain gear etc.

5.  Assemble a small First Aid kit for your desk.  Include personal necessities such as contact lens solution, extra pair of glasses, asthma inhaler, or other prescription medications etc. just in case you are unable to leave for a day or two.

6.  Plan a walking route in case the parking lot is inaccessible and have to walk home.

7.  Have alternate routes home, and paper maps to guide you if your GPS is not working.  Of course, you already have a car survival kit right?

8.  Be aware of what’s going on in your area – check the news on TV in the break room if you can, read the news online if you have access.

9.  If there is an impending natural disaster, or bad weather has already started early in the morning, consider staying home from work and taking the day off.  Sometimes the best precaution is just to stay away.

10.  It is a good idea to know who among your co-workers live in your area, so you can share a ride in case of emergency.

11.  Trust your gut.  Don’t hesitate to leave your office if an emergency happens and your gut tells you it is time to leave.

12.  Know all the exits out of your office, the building as well as parking garage exits.

Make a plan on how you would handle a disaster at work now before an emergency occurs.  Thinking ahead will help you avoid panic and stay calm no matter what happens.

© Apartment Prepper 2015



How To Prep Like A Spartan

How to Prep Like a Spartan

Written by Chris Ruiz

This post originally appeared in The Bug Out Bag Guide

The Spartans were renowned throughout the ancient world for their military prowess and disciplined lifestyle. They did not win every battle, but they did beat back larger forces to defend their homelands time and time again.

This ability came down to their dedication to preparedness, their whole society was geared towards it. Spartan men and women were trained from a young age to respect the community as a whole and dedicate themselves towards its preservation. This included training in warfare, foraging, adaptation, and conditioning oneself to hardship. They were in effect a nation of preppers! No wonder they were respected by their fellow Greeks!

Today we idolize the Spartans for their strength and discipline in books, movies, slogans, and more. But what can we learn from their culture of preparedness?

Learning To Survive At An Early Age

At age 7 Spartan children left their families to join the Agoge. This was a training program for both boys and girls that tested their strength and wills as well as taught them the skills they needed to serve Sparta as they came of age. The Agoge was renowned throughout the ancient world and powerful families from friendly nations vied to secure a place for their own children for 1-2 year stints.

Male Spartans had to endure thorough physical training to prepare them for war campaigns and the hardships of living in the field. Looking at the Agoge program that every boy Spartan had to pass through gives us some great insights into their mindset of preparedness. There are a lot of elements within it that we can draw upon when looking at how we prepare today as well as how we instill this mindset into our children.

Hardship was the norm

An especially important element of Agoge training was being taught to endure pain and hardship. Students were often made to suffer hunger, thirst, cold, fatigue and lack of sleep. Spartan boys were made to walk long distances without shoes, bath at the cold waters of the river Eurotas and wear the same piece of clothing year round. This was meant to condition them to the realities of wartime and is a valuable example for us today.

When prepping, being conditioned to hardship is a valuable asset. If you have to be on the move day after day evacuating from a disaster or terrorist act you will you be slowed down because you are cold, hungry, or your feet hurt? Are you ready for the hardship imposed by the removal of everything that is comfortable in your life? In order to be truly prepared we have to ready ourselves for such deprivation.

Flexibility and using the environment around them was expected

To be a Spartan boy going through the Agoge was to always be tired and hungry. In addition to the harsh physical training, they were constantly being underfed. To get the nutrition they needed the boys were encouraged by their teachers to forage from the world around them and steal from the kitchens. However, if they were caught stealing – even though it was encouraged – they were severely beaten as a punishment for failure.

For modern day preppers this shows how important it was seen to be able to feed yourself while on the move. Would you be able to feed yourself in the absence of a grocery store? Do you think you could liberate food from a watchful source without being caught if your life depended on it?

No rest for the weary

Even if they were able to fill their bellies, they still had an uncomfortable night ahead of them. This is because in their barracks, Spartan boys were not even allowed to have blankets to keep them warm at night. They slept on top of straw and reeds, which they gathered without knives from riverbanks, strengthening (and scarring) their hands in the process.

While this requirement would toughen up their limbs it would also show the value of using the environment around you to make what you needed. For us today we can look to our shelter building skills to emulate the Spartans. Are you able to build a shelter by hand in the wilderness? Keeping warm and dry after a day of hard walking gives you the opportunity to recuperate so you can be mobile again the next day. Shelter building with scavenged materials is an essential skill that all preppers should master.

Females Spartans were held to high standards as well

Female Spartans were trained in a variety of subjects both mental and physical:

Athletics – running, dance, gymnastics
Writing
Poetry
War Education

This program was aimed at building female Spartans into good citizens able to serve the state. Additionally their training prepared them for the mental hardship of being separated from their fathers, brothers, and children while they were off on campaigns.

Physical Fitness Was A Big Part

If you are ever caught in a situation where you have to bug out you will surely be put to the test physically. Just having your bug out bag packed and ready to go will not be enough, you need to actually be able to carry it until you reach safety.

Spartan Training

The Spartans put a huge emphasis on physical fitness in both in the Agoge training and throughout their entire culture. Both men and women were expected to maintain their fitness during their entire lives.

This emphasis helped define the Spartan soldier and enabled them to march for longer and fight harder, even against overwhelming odds. The Spartans won a great many of the ancient Olympic Games due to this commitment to physical fitness.

Students in the Agoge were constantly encouraged to compete against one another to weed out weaker members and push everyone to constantly improve. Female students would even be encouraged by their instructors to observe and mock the competitors to drive them even harder at their tasks. Agoge students were expected to gain proficiency at:

Distance running
Gymnastics
Jumping
Javelin
Discus
Wrestling
Combat

How Can We Train Ourselves?

So, how can we use this as inspiration for our own prepping? As with any challenge we need to train harder than we expect to have to endure when the test comes. This may mean taking your bug out bag for a walk on weekends to condition yourself to carrying it. If that proves difficult try just going for a hike without it until you can build up your strength to carry the load. My old mixed martial arts coach used to say, “sweat in the gym so you don’t bleed in the street” which captures this mindset perfectly.

A Lifetime of Dedication

For Spartans, their dedication led to a lifetime of service. All males who passed through the Agoge lived in state owned barracks and continued to serve in the army until age 60. They continued their own training and once experienced, the training of the next generation for basically their entire lives. From age 7 to age 60, ALL Spartan males would relentlessly dedicate themselves to the prosperity and preparedness of their nation.

Modern Day

Today as a nation we are obviously very far from this single minded focus. But, on an individual level can we seek to emulate this dedication? Would you start training your children at age 7 to serve the interests of your family day in and day out until age 60? Can we instill the proper mindset and pass essential skills and knowledge on to them in the face of our own distractible and fragmented culture? I know I will be trying to do so with my own children, it seems to be an immensely worthwhile investment. I will try to lead by example and show them the way.

Our Own Preparedness Mindset

Looking at these examples we can clearly see why the Spartans were respected among the ancient world and are still looked up to today. Their level of dedication and preparedness was truly impressive. The rigorous training they practiced and widespread commitment would be impossible to replicate for most modern day Americans.

It is however this mindset that preppers seek to emulate. In the modern world we can still train our bodies and minds to endure hardship, overcome mental and physical obstacles, and pass these values on to the next generation. Dedicate yourself to this as the Spartans did and you will be able to face any challenges that get in your way.

Your Thoughts?

Do you have a way of preparing that would make the Spartans proud? How do you prepare yourself physically and mentally to face hardships? Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

About the Author:

Chris writes the Bug Out Bag Guide website. He created this site to help ordinary people prepare for the uncertainties of the modern day world.  This may mean making a bug out plan for you and your neighbors or simply packing some EDC items to take to work with you.  Either way a well prepared society is the best safeguard against any natural or man-made disaster.

 




Monday Musings: 1/19/2015 The First Steps to Take when Getting Out of Debt

The First Steps to take when getting out of Deb
This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.
First, my updates…
Add your “two cents!”  For our avid readers, our giveaway for A Time to Endure by Kyle Pratt is still going on.  Read the review and sign up for the giveaway here.  All you have to do is enter your answer to the following question:  What threats are you most concerned about this 2015?  What steps are you taking to prepare?   There seems to be a common thread in the answers so far.  Add yours and I will do my best to post articles regarding your most pressing concerns.
When getting out of debt is a goal Like many of you, I too have some credit card debt that I am resolving to pay off.  Although I am frugal and have been careful with spending, I have some old debt from the last downturn that is still hanging around.

Whether you have old debts or new debt incurred from recent Christmas spending, you know that feeling that comes over you when you JUST KNOW you need to do something.  But just like prepping for the first time, planning to get out of debt can be overwhelming.

What first steps can you take to when you want to get out of debt?

1.  The first step is simple but requires self discipline:  Stop using your credit cards!  Do whatever you need to do to get out of the habit of using credit.

  • Don’t keep your credit cards in your wallet within easy reach-leave them at home.
  • Store the cards away in a safe deposit box.
  • Some people freeze their cards in a block of ice, or take the more drastic measure of cutting them up.
  • Even if you cut up your cards, don’t cancel the cards because some creditors will immediately expect you to pay the debt in full, OR, your credit rating will be negatively affected by the loss of credit.

2.  Check the balances for all your debts, interest rate and monthly payments so you know what you are up against.  Knowing this number will stop you from being in denial about how much you really owe.

Once you’ve done the two steps above, you’ll need to track and slash your spending and make a budget.  I am doing various cost cutting measures and will write about it in a future posts.

Please share your favorite money saving tips in the comments! 

Now for the links…


 

How to Avoid Getting Hurt in a Riot

How to Avoid Getting Hurt in a Riot

If you live in a large city, the risk of a riot is always present.  Riots can be triggered by many reasons, from rowdy festival goers, the aftermath of a big game, , dissatisfaction with a verdict or official actions, and many others.   Even people who are lawfully congregating or holding a peaceful protest can unintentionally be swept up in a riot.

How do you avoid getting hurt in a riot?

There is no telling when a riot can happen.  Because of the unpredictability, it is not one of the risks that people really think about when preparing for a disaster.  But there may be ways to avoid getting yourself or your family hurt if one erupts in your vicinity.

Mental preparedness

  • Consider the possibility.  Never think for a minute that this won’t happen to you.  If you live in a city, it can happen.
  • Stay calm.  If you start seeing things escalate in a crowd, resist the urge to panic.

Always be aware of your surroundings.

  • Don’t be one of those people who are tethered to their phone and never look up.
  • Listen to the news and know what’s going on before you venture out.
  • Scope things out, even when things look normal.
  • Know all the exits wherever you are.

Avoid the area

  • Don’t be a lookie-loo.  A lot of people get curious about what’s going on, and instead of avoiding the area, they will be tempted to go check it out, drawing them closer to the line of fire.
  • Resist the urge to take pictures.
  • As soon as you become aware of something developing, start moving in a calm, orderly fashion.  You would not want to stumble and get trampled
  • Move in the same general direction of the flow of traffic, until you can veer off to a safer area.  Moving against traffic will be much harder, attract attention, or make you a target.

 Don’t attract attention

  • Keep your head down
  • Do not get involved.  You may agree with one side or other, but if you are trying to keep yourself or your family safe, now is not the time to get caught up.

Stay close to your companions

  • Kids can easily get separated from their parents in a riot.  If you have kids with you, keep a tight grip on them.  You may have to carry the smallest one.  In shopping malls, have seen parents doing a fast walk with kids struggling to keep up behind them.
  • If you are with others, try to stay close or within earshot of each other.

Items to have on hand

  • Have cash and change at all times so you can arrange for transportation if you can’t drive or get to your car.
  • Keep a pair of comfortable shoes in your car or in your office.
  • Many stores shut down if they are in the middle of an afflicted area.  Have a week to two weeks worth of food and water in your home, same as preparing for any disaster.

If you are driving

  • Know alternate routes home – it would best to avoid main roads and instead take side streets.
  • Lock your windows and doors.
  • Watch out for pedestrians – there may be a lot of people milling around or trying to stop traffic.
  • Always keeps your gas tank at least half full – you don’t want to have to stop for gas at the worst possible moment.
  • Have extra food and water in the car, along with a survival kit.
  • Leave as soon as you can or you may get caught in a traffic nightmare.

Sometimes, trouble can erupt around you.  The key to staying safe is being mentally prepared, and knowing what to do.

Stay safe!

 

 

 

What to Do If Your Partner Thinks Prepared = Paranoid

What to do if you partner think prepared equals paranoidThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

On a beautiful day such as the one pictured above, it’s hard to even imagine a natural or even a man-made disaster disrupting things.  If you even mention something about being prepared, your relatives or friends will say “you are just being paranoid.”  I have heard this so often among people who want to prepare; even one of our readers has brought it up in a comment.

Should you forget about being prepared because your partner and your family do not support you?  No!  I think there are a ways to get around this issue.

Understand the other point of view

We have to accept that the majority of the population is not concerned about preparedness.  Even when faced with facts and news about what happened to other people who had been in disasters, they refuse to do anything to prepare.  There are a lot of reasons for this:

  • Ignorance:  Many people are not aware of the threats to infrastructure, and what would happen if trucks stop delivering goods.
  • Fear:  Afraid to admit a lot of things can go wrong.  People do not want to feel threatened and may get turned off the idea
  • Consumerism:  Would rather spend money on shopping for clothes, gadgets, expensive vacations
  • Someone will save us:  Belief that someone (government, family) will be always around to help
  • Normalcy bias:  Belief that things will always be as they were before; refusal to admit something could go wrong even in the face of facts.

Once you understand the reasoning for their resistance, you can start working on your approach.

What NOT to do

Do not try to get preachy or argumentative.  If they are already resistant to the idea, getting into an argument isn’t going to change their mind.

If you get confrontational about it, the person may just “dig their heels” even more or become hostile about the idea.

Start slow

If you sense that your family has objections, you will need to start slowly, with baby steps to get them used to the idea.  Introduce the idea during appropriate times, such as while watching a zombie movie, TV show or hearing about a disaster in another state (that could happen in your location).

Approach the idea in a way that is not threatening but as a conversation piece “What would we do if that were to happen?”  The type of responses you get will determine your next move.

Regional disasters

The easiest things to prepare for are regional perils that your family may face.  It is easier to justify your efforts because of probable threats.

If it’s hurricane season and you are in a hurricane area, you have a good reason to gather supplies and set it aside “just in case.”  Then you can slowly build your stockpile.

Compromise

If your wife or husband loves to shop for the latest and greatest, but you’d rather spend money on emergency supplies, come to an agreement on spending.  Some couples agree on a certain amount of “fun money” per pay period that each one is free to spend without judging from the other.  He or she may want to spend “fun money” at the mall, but you spend yours on supplies.

Other non-threatening approaches

  • Convenience:  If you have supplies, you do not have to be constantly running to the store to restock.  Every new parent knows panic when their baby runs out of formula late at night and they have not gone to the store.  That is something to avoid.  Even running out of everyday items such as sugar or toilet paper is a big pain if you have to drop everything and go to the grocery store for one item because you left it out of your list one day.
  • What matters most   Everyone has things that he or she feels strongly about – , things they would not want to run out or lose access.  The wife or husband who feels you are just being paranoid won’t be so critical if you show you are “doing it for the kids.”  No one would want their kids to suffer in the event of an emergency.  Teens may be concerned about losing power on their smart phones – get them a solar charger.  If your teen daughter is concerned about never running out of tampons, then by all means, stock up on those items.
  • Cost-Cutting:  You can start your stockpile without raising a lot of eyebrows by using frugal techniques that help your household save money.  Start using coupons and taking advantage of “buy one get one free” offers.  When questioned about buying multiples of one item such as canned fruit or granola bars, emphasize what a great deal you got so you stocked up.
  • Hobbies and skills:   You can learn survival and self sufficiency skills like bread making, canning or wood-working without making someone feel insecure by labeling these activities as hobbies.   I once had a long conversation with a mom at church.  She was describing all her husband’s hobbies- gardening, archery, hunting, fishing, and even metal working.  The family, who lives in a nice neighborhood, even has a mini foundry in their garage where her husband crafts swords!  These sound like great survival skills to me, but no one had a problem with it in the neighborhood.  These activities are all considered “hobbies.”

If you feel strongly about becoming prepared and getting some degree of security for your family, it is important that you get started.  Don’t alienate your significant other in the process; instead, frame your activities in a common sense, practical light.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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Tightening the Belt Mentally and Physically Ahead of any Possible Disaster

Tightening the Belt Mentally and Physically Ahead of any Possible DisasterThis article first appeared in Preparing with Dave

Article by Dave at preparingwithdave.com

Our Personal Actions:

Here at the Preparing With Dave homestead, we keep tightening our belts around here figuratively in preparation, ahead of any possible disaster that closes the stores and strains emergency services. Nothing severe in starving, but merely changing the sources of food we eat and the need for many conveniences, both in supplies and stimulation of the mind.

This action is to lesson the amount of strain on our minds and bodies in the event of drastic change in our social and infrastructure environments. Yes, government services such as emergency services are an environment of sorts, as much as power and water systems. They are human-created environments of convenience. In there absence, many people will suffer and possibly die without supplied water, power, and emergency services of many types.

There are many areas of life that are human-created environments that are experienced by not only the needs of the body, but also of the mind. Humans do not live in closely social structures as much anymore. We are in our own houses, our own phones or computers, and many other types of technological environments we travel through and live within.

Let’s look at some areas where we here, are simplifying our lives and Tightening the Belt in Preparation Ahead of any Possible Disaster…

Simplifying Food and Supplies:

In the food and supplies area of our lives, we have simplified our diet in many ways to incorporate nutritionally and protein packed powders we use in smoothies to acclimate our bodies and minds to this way of eating prior to any disaster. Doing so, we have also become more healthy in the process of this action. Our cells of every part of our bodies are healthier, our probiotics are at high and diverse, and our immune systems are much stronger to fight off infections, bacteria, and viruses.

Powders are also lighter lighter than canned and jarred food, so if we had to relocate, more could be carried even if we were forced to travel on foot. We could actually carry one-hundred pounds of food in dry form and a small straw filter to survive for some time. Just find water, filter it, add the mix of powders, and drink. Simplified survival. Not total nutrition, but survival nutrition that is packed with vitamins and protein.

You can acquire or make your own dried powders. I would suggest Hemp Protein Powder, Tomato Powder, Maca Root Powder, Cacao powder, Chia Seed, Chlorella Powder, Citric Acid, and Flax Meal. These can be used in your everyday diet and easily rotated for freshness.

In other areas of supplies, we are making our own toothpaste and deodorant. The toothpaste is very simple to make with just baking soda, Himalayan Salt, and peppermint oil. This toothpaste can also be placed in the emergency pack, along with a bottle of peppermint oil that is also good for many other uses, including keeping insects away. I haven’t used shaving cream in many years, and my wife keeps it very simple yet beautiful in her grooming and make up.

Many foods that are normal in households, we do not have in our’s. We do not have potato chips, soda, candy, gum, ice cream, chip dips, frozen dinners, packaged pre-measured food mixes, cereal, rice, grains, bread, cake, pie, refined sugar, iodized salt, potatoes, and more. Our home is quite boring for anyone used to these items. We avoid grains and have relieved much inflammations and stomach discomforts. We hardly ingest any sugars, except those starches found in the fruits and vegetables we eat. We actually shop in about 2% of the grocery store now. Quality over quantity!

While our food and supplies are more basic than most regular lives of other people, the less we have the more relaxed and happy we have become. Less, has actually become more in the area of freedom and happiness in our lives. Less processed food and more naturally grown and prepared at home food, has given us more quality health and less pain and discomfort. Less manufactured products has given us more free money to use in other prep areas.

TV, Media, News Print:

Television is one of the largest tools to program and alter the thoughts, consciousness, and overall personal traits and actions of people, along with their belief system. The quality and overall character of the shows and programs has diminished in very fast in the last fifteen years into a drama fest and attacking of many healthy traits of character and discipline. We choose not to expose ourselves to dysfunction, there by, staying functional in reason and accountability to our beliefs of character and values.

Exposure to any outside influence will not only alter a person’s mind, but the drama aspect is like a sticky substance of addiction that will make some people feel uncomfortable without the drama in their life. Drama causes certain endorphin chemicals to be released into the body and can become an addictive situation.

Instant Gratification Syndrome:

People in modern societies of the world are presently living in an age where almost anything that is desired can be had almost instantly. There is no longer a waiting period of any substantial amount for anything, as long as you can or are willing to pay for a faster service to get whatever it is you want to you when you want it. A person can have almost anything, anywhere in the world, delivered to them overnight.

Even any news or information is raced to the people that want it, in a competition frenzy of the medias around the world. “You heard it first here”, is the cry of many networks. People are being programmed to feed on drama, and without it in a quieter survival situation of simply food, water, and shelter, a person might actually go insane from exposure to peacefulness. They will be driven by an internal programming force to actually create drama, in order to have a more familiar and comfortable environment that they are accustomed to.

As a prepper, we should be letting go of this dramatic technological programming, and be preparing our minds for a simpler life. That is the most severe scenario, where we are living off what we make from the earth and nature around us. Many people, including preppers, are not going to be able to easily handle the more simplistic lifestyle of TEOTWAWKI or SHTF scenario, where all power and technology is useless to pursue, due to the lack of people to maintain it and the more serious priority of securing food and water daily.

For this reason, we should be spending more time away from the use of technology, and use manual devices to do our work as much as possible, while limiting ourselves to only a minimal amount of artificial forms of entertainment.  We should also be limiting our need for instant gratification in as many ways as possible, as lack of patience can affect our hunting, security, and even our safety in doing everyday survival chores. Frustration due to a lack of patience, can make a person react anxiously in there daily survival efforts, and possibly suffer a life-threatening injury from an inappropriate action.

This is why people describe off-grid living as “a slower pace of life”. If you hurry in the wilderness lifestyle and you get hurt, there is not a hospital a few blocks away. Thinking is a serious part of life in off-grid living. You must plan your moves wisely, to avoid injury or damage to what you have. A mistake in this way can ruin food, damage needed hides and make them useless, or cause you an injury that will limit your ability to due what is needed to survive.

We that are serious preppers must train for the worst and live happy lives, knowing that we are ready for however severely life changes for us and the world. That’s what prepping, or preparing as I like to say, is all about. Preparing for lifestyle changes brought on by a serious event of disaster, whether natural or unnatural. To wait until something serious happens, to start changing our overall mindset, is a recipe for insanity and not prepping at all.

It’s Not Just About Food and Water:

I always say this, because it is a fact. We all must preparing mentally, physically, spiritually, and in skills. Those skills are also mental skills, physical skills, and spiritual skills. If we do not train the mind, it is unprepared. If we do not train our bodies, they are unprepared. If we do not train our spirits and build a close relationship with them, we are not prepared closely together.

To train our minds, we must avoid drama-technology as much as possible. This exposure actually ruins the rational thought processes of the mind. Most of the shows on TV today are geared towards playing fun at dysfunctional living. They will not serve to grow a healthy thought process or a mentally stable and sound mind. We must consider real-life scenarios of disaster, conflict, and survival where we stay in the solution, rather than how TV dramas only stay in the problem. Hence dysfunctional!

To train our bodies, we must step away from all technology and have a physical relationship and respect for the thing that carries us around and helps us lift and utilize many everyday items, including bring food to our mouths. A living off-grid lifestyle requires a body that can accomplish many chores daily just to survive. More chores depending on the weather or terrain. If we wait until something happens, thinking that we will get in shape as we go, then we are not preparing. That is unless we are preparing to die.

If we are not building a relationship with our internal spirit, then we are not preparing to have that internal power drive us forward through severe adversities, comfort us through any craziness, or give us courage to walk or run through fear when we need to and fight for our lives. We must spend quiet time with our spirit to build a solid relationship, with our creator as our guide, or whatever your beliefs is in any specific or general way. The spirit of the universe or mother nature for example. To me, God is all the same with all people. Just different ways to say it. Same feeling and same origin inside where we communicate with that power.

We must learn many skill, at least in a general way, or we will be handicapped in the wilderness no matter how good of shape we are in with our bodies. We are not going to survive with just the clothes we have now. We are not going to survive on just meat alone. We have to learn plant, both edible and medicinal. We must learn to hunt and process even the smallest hides for shelters, bedding, clothing, and footwear. We must learn team skills with others, and bartering and trading skills, as well as basic mannerisms to avoid conflicts that can lead to long term battles.

We Must Let Go:

We as preppers, must let go of technology as much as possible. Networking is great, but we must also do our own time in prepping our minds, bodies, spirits, and training in our skills of mind, body, and spirit. We must let go of convenience as much as we can, even if we start small.

As we have done this in many areas of our lives, we have experienced healthier and happier minds, more peace in our hearts, more available money for preps, and an overall feeling of more freedom in general with life. Less shows to keep up with. Less money spent on foods that are unhealthy. Stronger thought processes that would be deemed as high intellectual ability. We have also become healthier, stronger, and leaning more towards going off-grid, because we are more prepared for the life-style away from technological convenience.

About the AuthorDave writes preparingwithdave.com.  He created this page to share his experience, knowledge, actions, and continuing path with others.  He hopes your tour around the website is informative and you continue to visit for updates and sharing of your comments. Please visit Dave, on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/preparingwithdave

If you have any questions, ideas, or comments, please feel free to message him on facebook

 https://www.facebook.com/preparingwithdave

 

 

 

Going Home by A. American: Book Review and Giveaway

Going-Home-199x300If the power grid were to collapse while you are far from home on a road trip, how would you handle it?  That is the premise of Going Home:  A Novel of Survival by A. AmericanGoing Home is the first book of the series, followed by Surviving Home and Escaping Home.

Going Home has a very believable story.  Morgan Carter, the main character, thought he was going on a quick business trip and was on his way home when all electronics just stop.  His car stalls, his cell phone dies and all transactions become “cash only” as stores are unable to process electronic transactions.  His trip quickly turns into a struggle to survive as he tries to get home from 250 miles away.  The scenario is actually one of my fears as a prepper:  being far from home and family when a disaster happens.

Morgan is a regular guy, an everyday prepper.  He is prepared, in terms of a “get home” bag, but he is not a super hero nor has any extraordinary training.  In short, many readers can easily relate to him.  The environment and political climate described in the book are also very plausible, and close to reality.

The events in the book move along at a constant pace and keeps you riveted in what happens.

I think if we had to choose what we didn’t like about it, it would be that some of the characters were a bit too trusting and friendships were struck too quickly.  I believe people would be more reserved in real life, but that is just me.  Except for this minor issue, I have no misgivings about the book and highly recommend it to everyone.

Mr. Apt Prepper actually read this book before I did, and told me his opinion about the book:  he could not put it down.  He thorough enjoyed the story and also appreciated the survival skills described, as well as details about the equipment contained in the bug-out bag.  He has finished all three books in a matter of days.

Now for the giveaway…

One winner will be chosen to win all three books:

Going Home

Surviving Home

Escaping Home

 

Just add your comment below on either one or both of these items:

What are your best bug out bag tips? 

OR

What items have come in handy in your bug out bag or emergency kit?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, December 7th at 8 pm Central.

*Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

 

 

 

 

How People May React

This morning I was pulling into a gas station pump when I witnessed an occurrence that was disturbing after I thought about it.  The gas station was crowded, with every row filled with a customer.  The station also had parking spots facing the convenience store.  A woman, driving this huge Suburban (let’s call her (“Suburban Driver”) with kids in the back seat, was backing out of one of the convenience store spots got very close to hitting the minivan at the pump next to me.  The driver of the miniwan,(we’ll call her “Minivan Lady”) honked her horn as she was afraid the Suburban will surely hit her car.  It got close, but nothing was hit.  I expected Suburban Driver to just shrug and keep going, but instead, she got very furious that she got honked at.  Her face contorted into an angry mask, and instead of just driving away, she actually got out of her Suburban and started yelling and gesticulating that Minivan Lady should relax.  “CALM DOWN I WAS NOT ABOUT TO HIT YOU – YOU f—*** b–*** !!!,” which seemed really ironic given she was the one losing her temper.  Suburban Driver got really aggressive and went up to the window of Minivan Lady who just locked her doors and looked aghast.  Suburban Driver finally went back to her car and sped off, driving aggressively.  Minivan Lady was quite shaken.

After witnessing this encounter, I was perturbed that someone would get so aggressive and exhibit violence over something as trivial as getting honked at, and in front of kids.  I really shouldn’t be shocked–we’ve heard of fights breaking out over parking spots and people coming to blows at Christmas sales.  But actually seeing how people react and get ugly made it more glaring.  Who can say what frame of mind she had to begin with?  She may have been stressed but that is no excuse.  If someone could potentially get violent over a trivial incident, can you imagine how people would react when there is a disaster?

Last week I wrote about obstacles that could keep you from getting home in an emergency.  Witnessing the incident this morning, I realized road rage can become an obstacle when:

  • People are stuck in unending traffic jams and unable to get home
  • Store shelves become empty and people can’t get food and water for their families
  • Depressed or mentally ill patients will no longer have access to mood altering medication
  • Jobs become scarce and livelihoods are threatened
  • Homes are foreclosed or lost

What can you do?

  • Realize and accept that people will not be acting at their best
  • If you are the one starting to feel stressed and agitated, take a step back and take a deep breath.  The cliche about counting to 10 works.
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and empathize with what they may be going through.
  • If you are the target, do not let the matter escalate – you always have a choice to walk away.  Pride and “being in the right” won’t matter much to your family if you get hurt or killed.
  • Pray for patience and strength to overcome any difficulties.
  • Be prepared.

Even in everyday situations, being prepared can help you could avoid many irritants and inconveniences:

  • Leaving early instead of late will avoid the stress of being rushed.
  • Saving money for a rainy day helps you deal with unexpected financial emergencies
  • Preparing your kids’ clean clothes, lunches, paperwork the night before avoids the morning rush
  • Keeping at least a quarter to half a tank of gas at all times avoids having to stop at a gas station when it’s inconvenient.
  • Getting out of debt means less worries.
  • Having food stored at home means not having to run to the store.

Being prepared goes a long way toward giving you peace of mind, whether a disaster happens or not.

 

 

For beginning preppers

 

Don’t Become a Boiled Frog – The Need to Respond Appropriately to Problems

 

Boiling water

   It is said that if you slowly increase the water temperature, a frog won’t notice and will eventually and passively die in the pot.

 

The following is a guest post from David Spero at Code Green Prep.

Yesterday, Bernie wrote about Five Reasons Why You May Have to Bug Out Even Though You Don’t Want To.  It is very important to realize that sometimes we need to bug out, but our inertia, our fear of change, and our positive hope that problems will quickly abate – all these things prevent us from responding as quickly as we should.

Much of what we think about and prepare for involves a sudden massive disaster that occurs with little or no warning.  We consider the effects of a sudden EMP or power grid failure that almost literally switches our lives and lifestyles from normal to nothing as quickly as flicking a light switch.  Not only is the event sudden, but it is also ‘in your face’ obvious, and we know we have to respond urgently quickly.

But we sometimes overlook the slower sorts of disasters that might also overwhelm society as we know it, and end up, not immediately, but gradually over time, with a Level 2 or 3 scenario [ed: see David’s definitions of Level 1/2/3 scenarios here] just as seriously as a sudden unexpected disaster.

The real danger of the slower unfolding disasters is that by the time we even realize they are enveloping us, we might find our options have become constrained and reduced.  This is akin to the story of how to kill and cook a frog – you place it in warm water, then very slowly increase the temperature.  The frog won’t even realize it is being cooked, and by the time the water has reached boiling point, the frog has succumbed.

Examples of Boiled Frogs

Although there is some debate as to the truth of being able to truly boil a frog this way, there is no debate that society as a whole has experienced some amazing 180 degree turns on issues.  Activists seeking to bring social change have learned that the best way to make a major change is not to attempt a sudden revolution in public thought, but rather to make a series of gradual changes.  There are many examples of this.  To offer up several – and without expressing any moral judgment, but merely observing the huge change in social values that have occurred, we point to :

(a)  Drunk driving.  Two or three decades ago it was normal and acceptable for people to drink as much as they wished and then to drive home, somehow.  People would boast about their crazy/dangerous driving the next day; and if they were pulled over, they’d usually be let off with little more than a warning.  As you surely know, today people are ashamed to admit to driving drunk; the fines and penalties (including imprisonment and alcoholism treatments) have gone up and up, and the permissible levels of blood/alcohol have gone down and down.

(b)  Gay marriage.  It is not all that long ago that people could be sent to prison in some western nations if they admitted being homosexual, and it was widely ridiculed and decried by most people in general.  Now the opposite applies – people can be sent to prison for ‘hate crimes’ if they express a dislike for gay people, and society is inexorably tilting towards allowing not just gay relationships but also passing to such people all the rights and privileges of marriage and allowing gay people to be married.  One advocacy method used by gay rights advocates is to ‘name and shame’ people who oppose them – people are now embarrassed and ashamed to admit they dislike the thought of gay sex.

(c)  Guns.  A couple of generations ago, gun ranges were to be found in the basements of many schools.  Guns were common in schools and in society as a whole.  Nowadays, if a child even draws a picture of a gun in a schoolroom, they are liable to be expelled under a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards guns in schools, and anyone bringing guns into a school is likely committing both a federal and state crime.

Okay, enough on that – point well taken, we hope.  In all these cases, the changes did not occur overnight, but have instead evolved, little by little, over years and even decades and common social custom now is pretty much the complete opposite of what it was a generation or so back.

It can be the same thing with negative situations – they start off subtly and slowly, and at first seem temporary, but as time passes, what was temporary becomes permanent, what was a problem becomes the new normal, and so it goes.  By the time we realize we’re in a severe situation, our options and ability to respond positively have diminished.

We’re not saying that an EOTW disaster would happen quite that slowly (although it might), but we are pointing out that things have a habit of ‘catching us unawares’ if we’re not closely monitoring whatever the process is that is evolving and thinking through its implications.

Furthermore, the reality is that no matter how keen a prepper we are, few of us really want to activate our prepping plans, possibly prematurely, and there’s also a subconscious inertia and resistance to change that will unduly delay our responding to events that need a timely response.  We need to be alert to changes and ready/willing/able to respond to them at the appropriate point – a point which of course should be before rather than after the time at which it becomes too late!

Some Slow Disasters

Let’s now think about some types of slowly evolving ‘disasters’ that might occur.  These tend to be more economic in nature than anything else – the first two examples are country-wide in nature, the third is regional, and the last two are more personal.

Electricity cost/shortages

We have seen electricity shortages come and go over the years, particularly in California in 2000 – 2001.  With the continued restrictions on building just about any type of new power station these days, it is far from inconceivable that electricity may not become in short supply again – a situation initially masked by it simply becoming more and more expensive, and then perhaps becoming rationed.

The ugly flip-side of the moves towards ‘smart energy management’ is a shift away from our universal expectation that electricity should always be available to us, whenever we want it, and for whatever purpose we need it for.  As we know from our planning for ‘grid-down’ futures, at present electricity truly is one of society’s greatest blessings, and whether we pay 5c or 50c per kWhr, it is a great value.

At what point would you decide that electricity had become too expensive and too short in supply, and in effect respond by going ‘off-grid’ and ‘growing your own’?  For an apartment dweller, this is of course more difficult because you don’t have vast expanses of roof to line with solar cells, or much control over the energy efficiency of your dwelling.

Petrol cost/shortages

Some parts of the country have seen gas prices brush and even break through $5/gallon on occasion in the past, sometimes for months at a time.  How long will it be before gas prices reach $5/gallon, all the time, everywhere?  And then $6?  And $7?  Even $10 and $15?

If that sounds unlikely, think of this.  Less than 25 years ago, gas was under $1/gallon.  It has gone up in price almost five-fold in 25 years.  For decades, petrol and other oil products were steadily reducing in price each year (in real terms after adjusting for inflation), and then they sort of flattened out, and now they are increasing at rates greater than inflation.  Here’s a useful graph showing prices from 1896 forwards in the UK, and here’s a spreadsheet of prices in the US from 1949.

Proponents of the ‘peak oil’ theory predict that gas prices will skyrocket in the next decade or less.  At the same time, it will become in shorter and shorter supply.  The latest move towards shale recovery has bought us some more time, and some more oil, but the ‘greenies’ are objecting and fighting this as furiously as they can.  A large – and growing – sector in our society doesn’t wish us to have access to cheap oil products.  They wish us to become oil-poor, as a way of – they believe – ‘saving the planet’.  In any case, as we’ve seen, even our domestic oil is going up in price, simply to match the market increases in oil prices worldwide.

At what point, at what price, will you say ‘enough already’ and give up on your present gas-based lifestyle?  What will you have/use/do as an alternative?  If your apartment isn’t centrally located, or at least close to good public transport, how will you respond?

Water cost/shortages

One of the biggest constraints on growth in much of the country is the availability of fresh pure water.  It is hard to know which is the bigger blessing in our modern lives – abundant affordable electricity, or abundant affordable water.  Happily, we presently have both, with the worst form of water shortages typically being nothing more severe than some restrictions on washing our cars during some of the summer months.

But the cost of water is steadily increasing, while its availability is becoming more and more constrained.  Last year (2013) we saw some of the worst droughts in decades affect crop production in much of the mid-west; all that means to us as consumers currently is little more than increased prices for meat, wheat and corn based products.  But with a decent steak now costing $15/lb or more – three times what it cost a decade or so back – how much further will we allow the costs of the basic essentials of our diet rise?

Even if water (and sewage) costs are built in to the rent you pay, you know that if the landlord has to pay more, then your rent is going to go up too.  At what point do these costs (and possible use restrictions) cause you either to move to a new region, or to retreat from normal society and to set up an alternate lifestyle, independent of your increasingly problematic and expensive city water and sewer services?

Unemployment

Maybe you lose your job.  Maybe you don’t get another job.  Month after month, you see your savings dwindle, and also, month by month, as time passes you become less and less appealing to potential employers.  All employers prefer to hire someone who is already employed, and all employers feel uncomfortable and worried if they see a person who has been out of work for many months.

As each month passes, you have less and less remaining capital.  At what point do you switch gears and change objectives and either move to another city to find work there, or instead ‘bug out’ for economic reasons, and switch to building a self-sustainable low-cost life elsewhere?

Neighborhood Decay

This is an interesting one (it has happened to me).  What happens if the area you live in starts to suffer from evolving urban demographics and becomes increasingly down-market?  The good news is your rent might stay the same or drop.  The bad news though – the nice middle class people who used to be your neighbors are leaving, and are being replaced by people you’re less comfortable living alongside.  Crime rates start to increase, and so on and so on.

At what point do you bail out yourself?  Do you simply move across town, or to a different city entirely, or is that the point where you move to your retreat?

Faster Evolving Disasters Can Catch You Unawares Too

Although we’re talking primarily about how a slow change in something can catch you unawares, by gradually evolving from insignificant to significant without you realizing or anticipating it, similar affects can come from faster developing problems too.

For example, and as Bernie mentioned yesterday, a forest fire heading your way.  At what point do you respond to the potential of being trapped?  Sure, you could rely on waiting for the authorities to officially notify you and command you to evacuate, but you might then find yourself with too little time to do a well planned well prepared bug-out.

The Longer You Wait, the Fewer Your Choices

The longer you wait to respond to a negative event, the less well able you can do so.  As you burn through your cash, it becomes harder and harder for you to consider options that don’t immediately start to bring in a cash flow again; and as you get closer to certain doom, your alternative options become fewer in number and less desirable in nature.

Furthermore, when it comes to an actual bug out situation, there is a world of difference between getting out of Dodge a day before the hordes all start to mass-migrate, or being part of the throng of evacuees because you dithered and delayed.  The day before, you can drive out of town on relatively uncongested roads and with the rule of law still more or less in place.  The day after, the freeways will become parking lots, the mobs will be rioting, and the rule of law will be disintegrating.  Any successful bug-out plan must have, at its core, the ability to act quickly and before the main mass of people slowly sluggishly start to respond.

We’re not saying you should panic the first time things turn sour on you in any part of life and living.  But we are saying to be careful about slow creeping problems that take away your independence and freedom, little by little.

The biggest problem people face is knowing when to say ‘enough, already’ and to activate some sort of formal response to a problem that has been gradually worsening.  Let’s look at one more example before considering a solution.

Don’t Lose ‘The Auction of Life’

If you’ve ever attended an auction, or browsed eBay, you’ve probably ended up buying something you didn’t want to buy.  I’ve bought a ridiculous car that I could barely drive off the lot, and I’ve paid way more than I told myself I would for things that I didn’t need.

Even when not being foolish yourself, you’ve surely seen countless examples of other people getting caught with the ‘auction fever’ which is the reason why auctions can work so well (for the auction house and seller).  We get caught into the excitement of the event, and we are also influenced by the people around us.

How many times have you told yourself ‘I won’t bid on this because I have no interest in it, nowhere to put it, and no need for it’ and ended up leaving the auction with the item under your arm?  How many times have you told yourself ‘I’ll bid up to $xx and then stop’ and ended up bidding way over that amount?

We all know how and why this happens.  But somehow, that knowledge doesn’t stop it from continuing to happen into the future.  Now for the ‘Auction of Life’.  This is one auction you can’t afford to mishandle.

The real trap in the ‘Auction of Life’ is that we keep revising the ‘trigger events’ we set ourselves.  We run the risk of recalibrating them and pushing out further and further the scenario which triggers our response.  We keep ‘bidding’ more and more in the ‘Auction of Life’ long after we reached the point where we’d dispassionately and originally told ourselves we’d stop.

How can you prevent this from continuing into your future?  That brings us to :

The Need to Create Lines in the Sand

Enough of auctions.  Let’s look now not at an example of the problem, but an example of the solution.

If you’ve ever attended a good self-defense class, you’ve been taught about the need to create clear ‘lines in the sand’ – events that clearly signal that the person who you are concerned about has evil intent, and events which cause you to confidently respond appropriately.

For example, you don’t like the look of the people walking towards you, so you cross the road.  If they cross the road to intersect with your path, that’s a clear ‘line in the sand’ that has been crossed.  You then might choose to turn the corner or cross the road back again – if they cross the road again too or follow you around the corner, then you know, for sure, this is not random circumstance.  Two lines in the sand have been crossed.  You might then call out – ‘Stop, Back Off, Go Away’.  If they continue towards you, you then present your pistol and say ‘Stop or I shoot!  Back Off!  Go Away!’

If the person still moves towards you, you then know ‘Okay, so he crossed the road to follow me when I did, then he crossed the road back to keep following me when I did, he ignored my warning, and now, with my gun pointed at him, he is still ignoring me’ and that gives you the confidence to know that your next action – an extreme one, but now an essential one, is justified and appropriate.

The key thing is having the confidence to act decisively on a major life-changing event.  In the example above, if you don’t have the confidence to act decisively, you risk becoming a victim rather than a victor, and if you don’t have the clear decision making process in your mind, you’ll be dithering for too long and suffer the consequences.  If you keep ‘raising the stakes’ in this ‘Auction of Life’ you’ll find that you’ll be the loser.

It is the same with anything else.  You need to set lines in the sand so that when they are crossed, you are aware of the event and ready with an appropriate response.

For example, you might decide ‘If gas prices reach $x, I will get an ultra-fuel efficient car’ and you might further decide ‘if gas prices reach $(x+y) then I will move from my current suburban lifestyle in which I need a car to an alternate lifestyle where the essential things are either within walking distance or conveniently served by public transport, or reachable by bicycle’.

There are other things, too.  You might decide ‘When the taxes in this state exceed the taxes in (another state you’d like to live in) then I’m going to make the move’.  You might decide ‘If this state restricts firearms and my right to self-defense, then I’ll move to a state with a more enlightened social policy on such things’.

Summary

Don’t risk becoming a boiled frog.

Create ‘lines in the sand’ that will sound alarms in your life when events cross over them, so that you realize ‘Hey, this is very different to what it used to be and what I want it to be’ and to allow you the freedom and flexibility to respond to changes in your life and lifestyle and life standards before it becomes too late to do so.

In particular, monitor the changes in your local environment and compare/contrast them to the changes in possible bug-out locations.  Maybe things truly are better somewhere else in the US, and maybe you should act positively to respond to the chance of a life-style improvement in such a better location.

David Spero publishes the Code Green Prep website.  He has a masters degree in business, has lived and worked internationally, speaks several languages, is a nationally accredited firearms instructor, a licensed ham radio operator, and a respected voice in the Prepper community.

 

 

Get the real deal. Whether bugging out or sheltering in place, you can never have enough clean water for survival: For your water purifier needs, please visit:

 For beginning preppers

Visit SafeCastle for your preparedness supplies:

Visit SafeCastle for your preparedness supplies
Good ideas for building a food storage plan can be found here: