Tag Archives: Community Building

Monday Mania – 5.9.2016

In this weeks edition of Monday Mania: Strategies for Dealing with Those Who Aren’t Prepared, 20 Reasons Preppers Are Happier Than the Rest of the World, “Skills That Could Save Your Life”: 25 Forgotten Survival Lessons You Need to Know, Raise Plants and Fish Together with Aquaponics, & 15 More

Monday Mania – 5.9.2016

The internet will not defeat me! Although, I must admit that I have been feeling awfully defeated over the last few weeks with the difficulties I was having here with the site. I was getting whooped by the internet.

I’m back though (seems like this has happened too many times) and ready to get Monday started.

There is nothing too exciting to report from my life at the moment. I am looking at a potential career change. I am praying that God’s Will can see me through this unpredictable time.

I was able to recently purchase a Smith & Wesson M&P22 which I am looking forward to being able to do some plinking with. It was a purchase that was predominantly motivated by the fact that I wanted a small pistol that my kids will be able to safely learn to shoot with.

That’s about it.

I hope y’all have a blessed week!

-Tom

 

MY FINDS FOR LAST WEEK:

Strategies for Dealing with Those Who Aren’t Prepared – This is a subject that cannot be ignored but requires some dedicated thinking? I can’t say for certain because the individual situation may dictate; but, don’t ignore the fact that when everything is at it’s worst, people will do ANYTHING to take care of them and theirs.

20 Reasons Preppers Are Happier Than the Rest of the World – Just being honest here; but, I don’t think too hard about all of the ways that prepping has impacted peoples lives that often. This list of 20 things that make a prepper’s life better is fairly insightful and worth reflecting on.

“Skills That Could Save Your Life”: 25 Forgotten Survival Lessons You Need to Know – In my opinion, skills are the most overlooked component to prepping,

Raise Plants and Fish Together with Aquaponics

Stocking a Variety of Fish Will Hook You on Aquaponics

The Skills That Will Really Matter After An Economic Meltdown

Laying Foundations: Building an Auxillary Cell – If it all falls apart, do you have a support network in place to sustain your efforts?

5 Security Measures That Will Keep You Alive During Doomsday – I’m not a fan of certainties when it come to the end of the world so I wish this title read, 5 Security Measures The Will HELP Keep You Alive During Doomsday. So it’s not perfect for me. Who cares? There is some good information here.

Another Look at Faraday Cages – A faraday cage seems to remain a tertiary goal for most preppers, and that is ok. That is an individual choice. What I can tell you is that if you are going to go to the trouble of making one, make sure you do it right. There is little margin for error.

The Small Group’s Mission Essential Task List, Part One

The Small Group’s Mission Essential Task List, Part Two

How to Turn Salt Water into Drinking Water – Here is an interesting look at three methods that can be used to turn salt water into drinkable water.

Survival Homesteading: Crop Production and Storage for Livestock

Survival Communications After a Collapse: “Pringles Can And Broadband Routers Could Create a WiFi Network”

MORE MADNESS IN THE WORLD:

Lunch Lady Called the Cops on 8th Grader Who Paid for Chicken Nuggets with a $2 Bill – Are there really adults who don’t know what a $2 is, or what it looks like?!?!

State Dept. Now Claims “We Never Said No Boots on the Ground in Syria” – The truth hurts. How is it that anyone still buys anything the government is saying?

Berned: Tow Truck Owner Tells Sanders Fan to Ask the Government for a Lift

School Shushed for Singing Anthem at 9/11 Memorial: “Obey Authority, Even if We Don’t Understand It”

INTERESTING READING:

Tracking and Separating Seeds for Success – This is some serious gardening!

That’s a wrap for me this week. As always, I hope that you all have a great week and keep getting ready for tough times. It seems like we get closer every day to something unfortunate coming along.

If you found something that you would like to share with the group or have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at tom@thepreparedninja.com.

Come back next week for another edition of Monday Mania.

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Are You Prepared To Help Others?

I am a fan of M.D. Creekmore and receive his regular updates from The Survivalist Blog via email. One of the emails that I look forward to getting from him the most is his, ‘What did you do to prep this week?‘ blog post. This past week I was especially intrigued by one of the things that M.D. said was a part of his weekly prep activities. Mr. Creekmore said that he put together five care packages for the unprepared that consisted of some canned food, a small bag of rice, a small bag of pinto beans, and a wool blanket. I thought this was an incredible idea. It addresses the fact that there is always people in need following disasters whether they be from a natural cause or man-made.

Photo Credit: RedCross.org

There is a contingent of people who believe when those in need show up at their gate or on their door step that they will just shoot them instead of help them. These are many of the same people who think community building is not necessary and that they will face societal collapse and widespread disaster by themselves. Let’s just say for a moment that there is a person that could look their neighbor of many years straight in the eye while their children look on and shoot them square in the chest. I am sure there are people out there like this but my hope is that they are few and far between. Even if these folks exist, where are they going to stack up all the bodies? The bottom line is…and the whole point of this blabbing on and on is that the average person is not capable of killing another human in cold blood.

The reality is that the few cannot prepare for the masses, but there are a few preparations that can be made such as those that M.D. Creekmore have been making that will make a difficult situation easier.

An example of the contents of a community assistance kit might include:

  • One half-dozen cups of ramen noodles ($2 at any supermarket)
  • A water bottle (this can be obtained for free from many conferences, fairs, and community events)
  • Sewing kit (this is another item that can be obtained for free, often times from a hotel stay)
  • Hygiene kit consisting of hotel shampoo, conditioner, and lotion as well as a dollar store tooth-brush and a trial size toothpaste and trial size deodorant (estimated cost of $3 or less if frugal shopping practices are put to use)
  • Roll of toilet paper (snag the extra roll the next time you stay at a hotel or use one out of the super-duper jumbo pack that you bought at the membership outlet store)
  • Selection of Band-Aids, Alcohol Pads, and Sterile Gauze (something that can also be obtained at the local dollar store and should cost about $1 for each kit if putting together multiple kits)
  • Instead of donating all of your old clothes to the thrift store, sweat pants, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and ski caps are some great items that could be held on to and placed in these assistance kits to offer those in need a change of clothes or additional warmth.
  • All of these items should fit nicely in one of those reusable shopping bags. (this is another item that is commonly obtained for free at community events and conferences)

This is a very basic kit but still comes in with a price tag of about $6 when a little planning is used. Now I am sure there are at least some readers that are thinking…what is this dude’s obsession with hotel stuff? Well, I spend my fair share of time staying in hotels for business purposes which gives me the chance to notice all of the items that are available at hotels. These items are free for the taking and are built-in to the cost of the rooms so you might as well take advantage of this opportunity to add to your preps or create these community assistance kits. Another great resource that could be utilized for stocking these kits is the free section on the local Craigslist website.

Please add your ideas on how to make the best community assistance kits possible for the lowest expose possible in the comments section. Thanks for checking out The Prepared Ninja!

8 Lessons Learned From A Recent Disaster

It is easy to think about disasters and have things like wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, riots and financial collapse come to mind. I will readily admit that events such as those are what come to my own mind when I think about disasters. This last week though my family had the opportunity to experience a different type of disaster. One that was far less malignant.

It was about 3:30 in the morning the other day and I noticed that the wind outside had picked up a little bit and there was a hint of lightning but no thunder. No big deal, we had been having some fairly hot weather and when it cools down at night it is common for the weather to act up a bit. All of the sudden the power cut out. It was not the usual flicker on and off a couple of times and then it goes out. The power popped off like someone had turned off the breaker to the entire subdivision. No big deal, go back to sleep and figure it out in the morning.

To make a long story short, the power was out for just over 36 hours and only because a property owner failed to take care of a dead tree that a gust of wind blew over straight onto a power line.

1 Gust of Wind + 1 Dead Tree = Power Outage for 8,000 Local Residents

Life is good though because we have a gas-powered generator, right? I only wish. My failure to make sure that my generator was properly maintained resulted in an inoperable generator when I needed it the most. This was a fairly big issue at this point because we were experiencing the same triple digit temperatures that many places in the country were. Heat wave! Luckily I was able to troubleshoot the generator engine problems to a certain degree and my neighbor came over and helped me through the rest of the troubleshooting process. In a more widespread state of emergency where the store was not open to allow me to buy the parts I needed or if my relationship with my neighbor were not established, the outcome could have been very different. This led me to look at the events that happened and what parts of the events I did right as well as what I did poorly or looking back at my military training, this is what we would call an After Action Review (AAR).

The following are the lessons that I learned from our recent power outage:

Check Your Gear, Check Your Gear, & Check Your Gear – Some of this part went fairly well because we do maintain a fairly comprehensive blackout kit (see tomorrow’s post for in-depth info on blackout kits) in our master bedroom and each of our kid’s have their own flashlights in case of an emergency. (Sometimes those are used to play with though and are not always in their appropriate locations!) So this was good, but the fact that our generator was not running was bad. Had periodic checks been established and utilized, such as running the generator every 3-4 weeks as the manufacturer recommends, then this could likely have been avoided. The takeaway point from all of this is to know what you need to have on hand to deal with any disaster that you may face and make sure that periodic checks and maintenance are performed on all pieces of equipment.

Community Is Not Important, It Is Vital – The only reason that my family was able to have power through our recent outage was because of a neighbor who I had established a good relationship with and who was willing to help. Sure, I could have taken it to a small engine repair shop to get it running but it likely would not have been fixed when I needed it and even if I was able to work something out it surely would have cost me a pretty penny. The bottom line is that through establishing relationships in my neighborhood and community building, I was able to use one of these relationships to get fast and free help to get my generator running. I have helped this particular neighbor before and he has helped me. The lone wolf survival scenario I don’t believe will ever really pan out. Those who will likely survive the longest will have a tight-knit community who rely on each other and capitalize on everyone’s strengths.

Maintain Fuel Stores – A proper running piece of equipment doesn’t do any good without fuel for it to run. Once my generator was back in good running order I put the fuel that I had on hand into the tank but it was not nearly enough. I was lucky enough that it kept the generator going long enough for me to get to the gas station and back but I don’t think that it would have lasted five minutes longer. This was shortsighted on my behalf. I had been using my fuel stores for yard equipment which resulted in the fuel shortage. The right answer would be to calculate my fuel needs for a predetermined period of time (likely a seven to ten-day period) and keep that on hand, stabilized with fuel stabilizer.

Redundant Supplies Are Necessary – Spark Plugs, Oil, Fuel Filters, Fuel Lines, Carb Cleaner, and Fuel Stabilizer are examples of items that should be kept on hand in excess quantities to ensure proper and continuous operation of back up life support systems like a generator in an emergency or disaster. If our 36 hour power outage had lasted longer, it may have been necessary to conduct additional maintenance on the generator. These additional parts would be useful in doing my part in the community if one of my neighbors was one having a difficult time with their generator instead of me.

Prioritize Items to Power & Know Your Limits – The key items that we needed electricity for during the outage included our refrigerator, chest freezer, a couple of fans, and my work computer as needed. With a continuous capacity on our generator of 4500 watts and a surge capacity of 5500 watts, we were well within our limits. The items that we powered required a maximum draw of less than 2000 watts at all times which kept us under 50% of capacity. This equated to fuel consumption of about 1/2 gallon an hour. With a 6 1/2 gallon tank, the generator will run on one tank for a twelve-hour period with a little left for fluctuation. This means that for a 10 day fuel supply that I should have 65 gallons of fuel on hand for 12 hours a day of generator operation or 130 gallons of fuel on hand if I want to have the option to run 24 hours a day for the 10 day period.

See, Do, & Teach – One of the things that we always practiced in the Army was the philosophy of see one, do  one, and teach one. The idea is to learn something, practice it, and then teach it to others. Now that our generator is running well and I saw what my neighbor did to help me fix it, I will practice good maintenance, and it is my responsibility to teach those capable in my home, how to maintain and properly run our family’s generator.

Some Things Are Preventable – Had our generator been properly maintained in the first place, it is likely that the difficulties my family experienced from the delay in power while the generator was repaired could have been avoided. Also, proper levels of fuel storage could have been maintained which would have resulted in not have to make a midnight express run to the gas station. This also would have protected my family in the event of a broader impact by the power outage where the local gas stations were without power as well and therefore not open.

Don’t Forget What You Learn – This is fairly self-explanatory. By remembering these things that I learned from this most recent disaster that my family experienced, I can make sure that we do not have the same problems again.

The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” – Tom Bodett

Please don’t hesitate to chime in and add any lessons that you may have learned from a disaster that you or your loved ones have experienced in the comments below.

TOMORROW’S BLOG POST: Blackout Kits

Being Prepared Is a Team Sport

FamilyBeing prepared for any level of disaster or emergency is definitely something that should be a family, group,or team effort. This point was driven home to me as I was sick over the Christmas holiday. I had nothing left in me and if something had happened I would have been worthless. It is safe to say that I was actually a liability in my state and would have taken away from any efforts instead of helping. So what does this mean from a preparedness perspective for you?

1. GET YOUR FAMILY, GROUP, OR TEAM ON BOARD

In my family I am the primary prepper and until recently my wife has not really been all that thrilled with much of the ideas and practices of prepping. In fact it would be fair to say that she is not entirely on board. She is more like a person that is being towed in a boat behind mine, but at least she is not frantically rowing in the opposite direction!  So how do you get others on board with preparedness planning?  There is certainly no one answer to this question but from my experience the best approach to take is to be open and honest and help those who are important to you see how preparedness matters so much to you, your family, and inner circle.  If you are truly important to your family, friends, and community members then they will seriously consider what you have to say.

If you are a lone wolf type then seriously consider finding some like-minded people who are in close proximity to you so that if there is an emergency or disaster situation you are not forced to go at it alone.

2. DETERMINE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Each person in the group should have a primary and secondary responsibility when possible. If your group is two people then the situation may dictate otherwise but in a normal family size unit of 2 adults and 2.5 children this should be feasible and if you are part of a larger group of families then this is definitely doable. In fact in these larger groups, once primary and secondary roles have been mastered then the group should work on cross training in each other’s roles as well as taking on the responsibility of learning new skills.

Examples of potential individual roles/responsibilities include:

-Security
-Power
-Water
-Food
-Medical
-Communications
-Maintenance

This is of course not an all-inclusive list.  It does cover some of the major areas and systems of support that are an area of concern.  What roles need to be assumed will of course depend on the capabilities and systems that are available to your group.

3. DISCUSS WHAT TO DO IF SOMETHING DOES GO WRONG

If my role within the group is to be in charge of the generator and emergency power systems and I am ill then what will the group do? These types of situations need to be discussed and alternate plans need to be made to address such problems. This is where secondary responsibilities and cross training come into play. The subject matter expert in each area will assist the group by taking on an apprentice to teach their craft to.  If the size of your family/group makes taking on every responsibility that may need to be taken on then this is where strategic partnerships and community building comes into play.  No one person can do everything and sometimes it is better to rely on a trustworthy member of your community or inner circle than to try to be the jack of all trades.  A prime example that I can think of is knowing how to cut down a tree with a chainsaw is a valuable skill to have but is not on the same level as trying to remove a tree that has fallen on top of your garage.  Taking on this task without the specialized skill necessary could easily wind up getting someone seriously injured or even killed.

4. DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT…

As roles are determined then update the group documentation.  This is a great way to get your survival documentation updated and not put the burden all on one person.  Each person takes a folder, binder, journal, or whatever and compiles all the information that they can about their responsibilities and how it fits into the group.  This binder should include manuals/operator guides for any pertinent equipment, standard operating procedures, decision points for bugging out or other key events, expansion plans and ways to deal with changes in group size or locations, etc. 

There is certainly much more that goes into making sure that your family or group is prepared to appropriately react to an emergency or disaster but hopefully this serves as grease to help get the wheels turning.  The team approach is a must in my opinion and certainly relieves the burden of preparing on the group leader or head of household.