Tag Archives: Emergency Management

Madness and Mayhem

The news over the last few days seems to be filled with chaos and mayhem. Whether it is the abandonment of vehicles in Atlanta or cryptic statements being made by journalists, it seems as though we are experiencing interesting times in America. To me, this further reinforces the need to be prepared and have a plan. Here are a few of my thoughts on recent events:

1. The gridlocked traffic in Georgia, Alabama, and other southern states reinforces the need to have a bag packed with appropriate items to help sustain your life in the event of an emergency. What if the businesses like Home Depot were not willing to harbor refugees from the weather? What would you do? Where would you go? It is possible to remain in your vehicle and protect yourself from the elements with the right equipment. Make sure to go out with a plan and not blindly hope that other will look out for you. Even if you do nothing else, put the following items in a bag in your car at the minimum:

  • A blanket for each person in the vehicle.
  • A one quart bottle of water for each seat in the vehicle. (Wrap these up in the blankets to keep them from freezing.
  • Food – Stable food that does not require special treatment (refrigeration) and that needs no resources to prepare. Think about items like jerky, granola bars, MRE’s, etc.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Hand Warmers
  • A light source (flashlight w/ batteries or chemical lightsticks).
  • Hat & gloves for each person.
  • A roll of toilet paper.
  • A disposable poncho for each person.

This is just a short list of the minimum items. These are all items that can be purchased at the dollar store. Put all this stuff in a plastic tote and keep it in the trunk. It could save your life!

2. Matt Drudge recently made a cryptic statement on Twitter about needing an exit plan. His exact tweet was, “Have an exit plan…” Many have taken this to the extreme and speculated about economic and stock crashes as well as other ideas. I take it as another reminder that we should all be preparing for the tough times that are likely ahead of us. It is not a bad idea to have an exit plan about how we would live our lives if we only had ourselves to rely on. (FYI-In the end, you can only count on yourself anyway.) Think about these points to assist you in your exit strategy:

  • Get out of debt.
  • Store enough food and water to sustain you and your loved ones for a predetermined amount of time (a MINIMUM of 7 days).
  • Have a plan on how you would acquire more food and water once you run out.
  • Establish a way to secure yourself and your property. Have a gun and know how to use it!
  • Always be able to provide yourself shelter, even if it means just having a tent and a plan on where it can be safely set up.
  • Talk to your family, friends, and neighbors about what you would all do if something were to happen. The solution to difficult times is to band together, pooling your resources and planning the path to recovery.
  • Pray, meditate, or do whatever you have to in order to seek wisdom and guidance as to how to deal with challenges. This is a daily task and does not have to only apply to an end of the world scenario.

These are a few of my thoughts. Take them for what they are. Remember that it is better to have something and not need it, then to need something and not have it!

Surviving With Survivor Jane

There is a plethora of intelligent and helpful people in the survival and preparedness community and today I have the pleasure of featuring one of the best, Survivor Jane, in a short interview where she shares some of her insight into preparedness.

Make sure to check out Jane on Facebook, Twitter, and don’t miss the wealth of knowledge that can be gleaned from her website.

Q: If I were limited to only one firearm for survival, I would own a…

A: Actually, although I do recommend that a person have the three (3) essential firearms in their home for protection and security; a handgun, shotgun and rifle, I always stress that we need to think outside of the box for self-defense and not rely solely on firearms.  For some having a firearm could be more detrimental than helpful in a tense situation.  But, to answer your question in a generalized way, if I were put in a position of only having access to one firearm, my hope would be that it was a shotgun.

Q: The single most overlooked prep item is…

A: A poncho. It is one of the most versatile items you could have in your survival preps. It can keep you dry and warm, it can be used to create shelter, you can use it for water collection and, if need be could hold enough air to keep you afloat in water – just to name a few uses.

Q: The first thing to disappear following a disaster will be…

A: Well this really depends.  What I mean by this is … during Hurricane Katrina I saw a lady on TV wading in chest deep water holding a Dyson vacuum cleaner over her head.  A person’s priorities can get displaced before and after a disaster. I remember going into a store to buy some hurricane lantern oil before Hurricane Andrew and people were panic buying.  Some of the things they were getting made no sense.  It was as if they knew they needed to buy but just didn’t know what to get.  I always suggest to people that they need to think ‘basic needs’ to help then decide what they need to buy. Water, food, shelter, warmth, protection and, first-aid.  But if I had to say one thing … okay two things, I’d say plywood and generators.

Q: If I could have a retreat anywhere in the world, it would be…

A: Lucky me, I actually moved to my retreat in Western North Carolina from Florida (which to me is a death trap should a major catastrophe happen – with only one way out.)  I now live in a passive solar home on a defensible piece of property, with a large garden and small farm animals.  To me the size of the property is not as critical as water.  If you don’t have access to a stream, pond or river then a good rain water collection system is a must.  This is huge!  No water – no life.

Q: In my opinion, the best commercially produced survival food on the market today is…

A: Hmmm. Okay that’s a hard one. I am all about redundancy and that goes for food as well.  But, I don’t think people should just rely on commercial “survival food” alone.   I think we all need to have the basics like flour, sugar, rice, salt, spices and cornmeal, etc. (all stored in appropriate air tight containers or packaging.)  Then have canned goods, dehydrated foods and preserved foods.  And lastly, commercial survival foods.   So many people get caught up in the consumer part of survival by try to buy everything without giving thought to what happens if these items are destroyed, go bad or any number of other factors that could come into play.  Don’t be like the one person that I spoke with who purchased tons (a lot) of #10 cans of mac/cheese for their kids because that is what they were used to eating at home.  Then during Super Storm Sandy they made some of the canned mac/cheese for the kids and they hated it.  Now they are stuck with all those cans.  I would suggest trying several of the commercial survival foods brands – there are definitely differences in taste and texture. Remember these survival food cans may be all you have to eat so you want to like them. Also, don’t just store your food.  Use it and rotate it.  First in – First out. This goes for the commercial cans too.

Q: The items that I have on me at all times include…

A: My go-bag is with me at all times.  But I always have paracord in the form of a bracelet, and in my EDC bag I carry a folding knife, a multi-tool, a poncho, small first-aid kit, water purification tablets, iodine tables, a face mask, gloves, small manicure set, goggles, a solar blanket, a small flashlight, a whistle and a self-defense pen.

Q: The last book that I read was…

A: I am currently reading a great book for review titled: ‘Jingling Our Change’ by Kelli Otting and, without creating a spoiler alert – I’ll suffice it to say it’s not too far from where this Country may be heading.

Q: One thing that I would miss the most if an EMP shifted my lifestyle back to the 1800’s would be…

A: Hmmm, again.  I am really working hard towards an off-grid existence but I’m not quite there yet.  I guess I’d say one thing that comes to mind is ice to keep things frozen until I can preserve them.  When it rains it pours at harvest time and sometimes all I can do is freeze something until I can dehydrate or preserve it.

Q: Stuck on an island and forced to choose one person to survive with, I would pick…

A: Wow.  Good question.  I’d have to say I’m pretty happy with my prepper-mate – so I’d pick him – forced or not. Trust is very important when forming survival alliances. Just because someone has skills and knowledge does not mean they will have ‘your’ best interests when the poo-hits-the-fan.

Q: The vehicle I drive is…

A: I don’t really like to get into too personal of information and this question kinda boarders on that.    Now if you would like to know what vehicle I’d like to have… it would be one of those awesome all-terrain armored vehicles with the machine-gun mounted on the top. Just sayin’.

Don’t miss out! Tomorrow, August 1st, 2013, Survivor Jane will be live Tweeting from the Press Event & Premier (On Location) of National Geographic’s new series, Doomsday Castle.

How to Prepare Your Household for a Power Outage

How to Prepare Your Household for a Power Outage

by Ben Thatcher

Everyone can remember the media outrage following Hurricane Katrina; New Orleans became a hotbed for violent criminal behavior long after the event. Catastrophes, natural and otherwise, that destroy our power sources and leave us in the dark elicit an ugly and familiar behavior in some: looting and theft. And while few natural disasters meet the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, any event that takes away our power can leave us instantly exposed. Even those of us prepared with a home alarm system lacking an alternative power source can be invaded the moment our power fails. Here are a few tips to prepare your home for safety the next time you experience a power outage at home.

1.    Have a plan ready with your family

Before a power outage happens, the best step you can take to make sure your family remains safe is to have a plan prepared. This includes:

  • plenty of unrefrigerated food
  • a water source/supply
  • an emergency kit including flashlights and medical supplies
  • reserve clothes and bedding
  • at least one alternative source of power

Your family should have a plan, including common routes and meeting locations. If anyone becomes lost, they should where to find everyone. Another important aspect to assess in your plan is how long your household can survive in case the power outage is for an extended period of time; there should be a predetermined day in which you leave when you pass that number of days. If you have a nearby neighbor you trust, make arrangements with them. In survival situations, there is always strength in numbers.

2.    Prepare different sources of light

For most criminals, a dark house equals an exposed house. It provides cover, allows easy access to your home, and indicates that any security measures you’ve equipped are likely now unplugged. Deter criminals and maintain your sanity by keeping plenty of alternative light sources somewhere specific that every member of your family is aware of, like a pantry or storage closet. Oil/battery operated lanterns, long-burning candles or fireplaces are potential ways to keep your home alight enough to deter crooks targeting a seemingly vacant defenseless home. Keeping motion sensing lights hooked to a generator at night for your lawn is an excellent precaution.

3.    Limit access to your home

To prevent criminals from invading your doors and windows, limit your access with some simple modifications. Install a screw on each window that limits how far they can be opened to a few inches. Make sure your doors are of a sturdy material, and equipped with secure locks and deadbolts. Preparing your property with a sufficiently tall fence (six feet minimum to deter people) and a locked gate will definitely benefit you in a power-outage. Last but not least, never leave equipment out on your lawn that could be used against you in an attempted break in, such as tools, blunt instruments, or ladders.

4.    Take caution with generators

While investing in generators for this kind of event is smart planning, make sure your use of the generator is equally smart. Using generators in-doors is extremely dangerous and can result in carbon monoxide poisoning. Likewise, you should keep generators far from windows or doors where the poisonous gas can seep in. It’s important to follow the directions provided with your unit to avoid possible electrocution or damage to your wiring, and never refrain from contacting a professional to lend you a hand if you’re unsure while installing or using a generator. Solar generators are an excellent long-term source for electricity during power outages, though should be used sparingly; focus on lighting and communications devices foremost. They can be expensive − unless, of course, you make one.

Keeping these tips in mind, your family will feel much safer during a power failure. Even if you’re fortunate in not needing all of your supplies or plans readied for the occasion, the peace of mind your family will have knowing what needs to be done in case the worst happens is a priceless boon.

Ben Thatcher is a DIY home security guy who writes tips and tutorials helping people defend their homes. He lives on a ranch in Idaho with his loving wife and enjoys spending his time watching college basketball and freelancing on the web. He currently writes for Protect America.