National Preparedness Month 2020 – Week 4

Week 4 rounds out the month with the suggestion to ‘Teach Youth about Preparedness’. This a topic I have covered before (See Including your kids in the plan) but it is till a very important one to discuss.

While it may seem obvious that you want to teach your kids about the preparedness plans you have, it is not as simple as a family dinner discussion. Age of your children is one key factor. A 6 year old will have a very different role than a 16 year old. Take this into account when address certain scenarios.

One key to doing well with kids is to start early. Start with simple things, such as what to do if there is a fire or the smoke alarm goes off. Teach them how to get out safely and where to meet you outside. Use a honest but not frightening approach. Also keep it simple. 6 year olds will much more reliably follow instructions like “meet at the mailbox” than “get to safety”. This will hopefully help them to understand and not freeze up in fear. This also sets the tone when you broach larger subjects with them.

Give them a responsibility. For the youngest, it could be a backpack of their own containing comfort items such as colored pencils ( don’t melt or dry up), coloring books, a flashlight, and a favorite stuffed animal. This makes them feel a part of the plan. If everyone else has bags, they may feel disconnected and not invest in things. For older kids it may be helping to inventory food stores, assisting their younger siblings during drills, or loading certain things in the car in the event of evacuation (bugging out). This can help to give them some insight into why this is being done. Many in the terrible teens may not fathom what could happen without that. In addition, the helping hands older kids can lend may be welcome help when planning and when enacting that plan.

Additionally, you need to teach kids skills that they may need. While you may not plan to run off and live like Grizzly Adams, some basic woodcraft can be a life saver. Practice things such as water purification, fire starting. safe knife usage, firearm safety, and what to do if they end up lost alone (in the city or in the woods). This skills are much more than their individual ones, they can help to build an adaptability in kids that they can apply even as adults.

One last thing. When possible, keep things light. While kids need to understand the seriousness of some of these matters, they should not lie awake at night worrying about what disaster will happen. There is no reason to have them live in fear. Let them know that the reason you plan is to overcome those disasters. Kids have enough to worry about daily already. It is best if next weeks history test, who to ask to the school dance, or which college to go to are their biggest anxieties. They are only kids once. As parents, we do what we do to let them have that.

As with all planning, there is no rubber stamp method to do it. You, your kids, and your environment will dictate how you involve them. Remember also that by involving them now, you not only prepare them for your plans, but also how to make their own when they are adults.

National Preparedness Month 2020 – Week 3

The theme of week 3 of National Preparedness Month 2020 is “Prepare for Disasters”. This may seem like what you have been doing, but that is not what it means. A better way to phrase it is “Know your Disasters”. This means evaluating disasters that are the most likely to affect you.

One good example is tsunamis. If you live on the coast in relatively close proximity to the ocean, this is something you must take into your planning. If you live somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, it is not going to be necessary to plan for. If a tsunami hits you there, there is not a lot you can do to prepare.

This is a good time to employ the levels that I discuss. Nothing has to be exact, but you can use them to break down the possibilities. For example, you live in Minnesota and get a large amount of snow each year. The amount you get might be a huge disaster some places, but is only a blue level to you. This is because everyone is used to it. Municipalities will have a sufficient amount of equipment and chemical to remove the snow from the roads quickly. Normal home owners will own snow blowers or at least enough shovels to dig out. In addition, everyone will probably have supplies in case the power is interrupted. If it is, it will be off less time because the power providers are prepared for the yearly ritual. Lastly, people who must venture out will have the proper clothing and things like tire chains to protect them from becoming stranded. So basically the planning and preparation are a given.

A short term, say 24 to 48-hour, power outage might be a yellow level to many people. While it is a huge inconvenience, it is not bad enough to cause you to have to evacuate unless there are other factors. If you do not have extreme heat or cold in your area, then sitting tight and riding it out would be just fine if you have a few supplies and planning. These supplies might be as advanced as a generator tied into your home electrical system or as simple as flashlights, a dual fuel camp stove, and an alternate heat source if necessary. It greatly depends on your desired comfort level and budget.

Hurricanes are an example of what could be a orange level event for many. If you are in the direct path of a severe hurricane then evacuating is the safest bet. The flooding and destruction from high winds can cover a large area and be unpredictable. Being prepared to evacuate quickly with necessary supplies is a must for an orange level event. Since it covers a wide area and easily has the potential to totally destroy your home and anything left there, you may be left with only what you take with you. So, while this covers a large area and occurs multiple times a year in some areas, it may only significantly affect a small number of people in that area. It takes a heavy toll on those it does though.

A red level event is something that totally uproots large regions, whole countries, or more probably, the entire world. It is the worst-case scenario. This could be a massive global EMP., natural or otherwise, taking out all electrical devices. Or it could an asteroid strike of a level not seen since the dinosaurs. Alternately, it could be an entire social break down that brings on a time where there is no rule of law. It could even be a pandemic, but not like we have now. It would be one that has a mortality rate so high and spreads so fast that a significant portion of the population is gone in the blink of an eye. Heck, to cover everything it could even be some sort of zombie uprising. Whatever it is, it overshadows any other disaster in human history. This is the least likely, but most grave level of disaster. Preparing for it is to also hope that you or none of you family’s generations to come see it come to pass. While these are ones that would be deadly if not planned for, they also take so large of an investment of time, energy, and money that many simply cannot fully prepare for the full battery of possibilities. Whether you commit to preparing for this is a personal choice.

While thinking about these possible disasters can be stressful, it is necessary. Once you know what disasters could befall you, you can then logically begin steps to prepare. These preparations could be as simple as storing a plastic tote full of food and batteries or as drastic as moving to a different area to limit your chance of certain disasters. Each situation is drastically different and only you can decide how your plan is laid out to address it.

September is National Preparedness Month and it means more than ever in 2020

We roll around again to September and National Preparedness Month. I think this year it strikes a much deeper chord with lots of people. Whether it be because of COVID-19, violent rioting, or record setting destructive weather. The slogan put forth by Ready.gov this year is “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.” I feel this very fitting if a bit late since we are in the middle of a pandemic.

While this is not the only month that you should look at emergency preparedness, it is a good marker to use to re-evaluate your planning or lack thereof. If you are reading this and new to the subject, please take a look around the site to begin to get a feel for what planning involves.  A good place to start is my explanation of the core ideas I use when planning that I call The Levels.  You can find this here. If you are a seasoned planner, take a chance to refresh your family or team on the details and make changes necessary based on live events.

There are some key things to review in your plan each year. One of the first is the individuals in your team or family. Have there been any significant changes? Is there a new baby in the family? Has anyone had health issues that affect how they participate in the plan? Are there children that are now at ages that allow you to revamp their responsibilities? Or, alternately, has anyone involved moved to somewhere that affects the plan, be it positive or negative? All of this have secondary effects in the provisions you may need whether it is food, medicine, or equipment.

A second key item to review is rotation of supplies. Now many people have a constant rotation of food as to not let it go to waste, so that might not be an issue. Either way, go ahead and review your food for any otherwise unseen issues. There might be issues with pests, a surprise leak of a container, or simply something that you missed and it expired. In addition, you need to review your medical supplies. Lots of items beyond medications have expiration dates also. While some of these are more suggestions than rules, it does not pay to have potentially faulty medical gear due to age.

A third key thing to review is your skills. Many skills such as advanced first aid, shooting, and fire building, to name a scant few, can dull with lack of use. It is good to ensure that you keep important skills fresh through practice or instruction. Just because you were good at it 5 years ago and have not done it since, does not mean you will be 100% effective at it. Truly some skills are not like riding a bike. So, decide how you want to nurse those skills. It is also a good time to review ones that you have decided would be good additions. Then you can look into how to acquire and improve those skills.

The last item I want to mention is your health. You need to take a serious look at where you stand. Did the last year find you being prescribed additional medications? Did you have major surgery? Did you gain a significant amount of weight? Taking a hard look at these things are important but not necessarily fun. Take a look at factors you can change. Do you feel you need to lose weight and tone up your body? Do you need to evaluate factors that you cannot change and make allowances for these in your planning? Maybe some of the medications are not optional and you need to plan for a stockpile of those in your supplies. Having an honest view of these things is very important because all the plans in the world may not help if you fall ill during an emergency. On the other hand, maybe you had a banner year and improved your health. Then all you have to do is assess what you need to do to keep that up.

In summary, it is important to use this month as a time of reflection of where you want to be next September. Then you can set the plans in motion to make that happen. So, plan for the next year, no matter what it may bring.

Relax – You can’t eat Toilet Paper – COVID-19 Blind Panic

Right now, it is almost impossible to go an hour without seeing or hearing about COVID-19. It is running amuck in most of the world right now causing shortages and fear.

Please watch out for yourself and your loved ones.  Maintain good hygiene by washing your hands well (soap and warm water for 20 seconds) and using other sanitation item you may have. Practice isolation from the general public to whatever degree you can. Just to be safe. If you are in areas that do not have mandatory shelter-in-place orders, halting the spread of the virus might help to keep it that way.

The key is to be safe and prepared but not to panic. Panic is driving the toilet paper shortage (for no good reason). Those loading up on toilet paper, but not any other essentials, may find themselves very hungry if this lasts an extended period of time. Stocking up on things like canned soups, crackers, peanut butter, and protein bars are a good idea. All of these have an extended shelf life and most can be eaten without heating them.

As an alternate to toilet paper since it does seem to be hard to track down, flush-able wipes can still be found some places. I suggest using Amazon so you can avoid the stores.

Flushable Wipes

They also have toilet paper, though not as cheap as before and not a common brand

Toilet paper

Pick up some protein bars and peanut butter while you are there if you need to stock up.

Cliff Bars

Peanut Butter

Again, stay safe out there by using common sense to limit your exposure and avoid the panic that the unprepared seem to be having.

If you have questions or concerns feel free to contact me on the Contact page

Contact Leveled Survival

OPSEC for Civilians – Keeping Secrets

The word OPSEC can be heard in a lot of discussions of survival preparedness and apocalyptic stories. A lot of individuals do not understand what that means because it is a primarily military term. As with lots of military vocabulary, this is an abbreviation for a longer phrase. OPSEC began as the phrase “operations security.” Operations security is defined on Wikipedia as

“a process that identifies critical information to determine if friendly actions can be observed by enemy intelligence, determines if information obtained by adversaries could be interpreted to be useful to them, and then executes selected measures that eliminate or reduce adversary exploitation of friendly critical information.”

In layman’s terms this means that you keep vital information related to planning out of the hands of anyone you do not trust completely.

This can be traced back to some concepts developed in World War II. One example is this World War II poster by Seymour R. Goff. It is the early example of the “Loose lips sink ships” phrase.

 

Another is this poster that comes from the Women’s Army Corps anti-rumor propaganda (1941–1945).

This may seem like a purely military idea, but it is not. The planning that you do is in order to protect yourself and loved ones. Some other people are not of the same mindset though. I have even seen people boasting online that they don’t need to stock supplies because they will just take what they need when the time comes. Sadly, this is a real possibility.

This is not to say that all your planning needs to be done in a whisper in the backroom or by using invisible ink. You may feel that no one should know you have any plans set up. That is fine. At the least though, it means that certain details may be restricted to your family or group. These details might include how many supplies you have set aside, where they are stored, any bug out locations you have planned for, or weapons you may have. Basically any details that could be used to derail your plans should be protected. No one wants to have the worst-case scenario happen and then show up to your bug out location to find it occupied by your heavily armed coworker.

So, to finalize, don’t hesitate to discuss planning if you feel safe in doing it. The free exchange of ideas is what improves planning and creates relationships that may be vital in an emergency. Letting everyone in earshot know how much food you have in your garage might not be a good idea though. Use common sense when deciding what to discuss and with whom.

But I don’t want to be a Prepper

The media often times plays up extremes. A good story is the guy building a 20,000 square foot bunker with 300 years of food and more ammo than the Soviet Union had in the 80s. They tend to ignore the family preparing extra supplies to take with them while evacuating ahead of a hurricane. While the flashier story may bring good ratings, it tends to skew the view the general public has (on whatever subject). In turn that view tends to be applied to anyone that very vaguely fits the typecast.  This can bring a certain negative connotation and labels. People who plan and prepare for emergencies must be preppers, right? No, not in the way that the term has come in to common usage. The Red Cross stockpiles supplies for disasters, so does FEMA. Neither of those organizations are deemed to be zealous preppers. You should not not be labeled negatively either.

I bring this up to highlight how people who truly desire to protect themselves and their loved ones can feel pressured into not doing so. No one wants to be labeled as the “crazy prepper” next door. Sometimes this pressure can even come from the very family members you want to protect. This can be hard to overcome but it cannot be the reason you are found vulnerable when emergencies strike. The very reason you want to plan for whatever eventuality is so that you are not at the mercy of others.

There are several ways people deal with this situation. Some keep their plans as private as possible. Some ignore the stereotype and try to educate others. Most fall somewhere in between though. How you handle it is entirely up to you. Maybe you want to discuss it with a few close friends, but not with the neighborhood at large. As with most things in life though, don’t let others dictate your actions. Rarely are those same people there to help you when issues arise.

Hidden Water

One thing that humans cannot live without is water. On a normal day we can turn on the tap and fill our glass over and over. When disaster strikes, we will have to rely on what we have stored or can find. If public utilities are out, then municipal water or the electricity to pump water from your well will not be an option. Depending on the disaster, sources like rivers and lakes might be too dangerous or polluted to drink from. Flood waters can pick up many types of pollutants. Rainwater might also be contaminated in cases such as a nuclear explosion or a volcanic event. Given this, you may need to look for less obvious locations.

Some locations that may have clean water (Though treating or boiling might still be needed)

Water heater – Every home or business has one and they can be as large as 100 gallons

Garden hose – This might not be a huge amount, but you might find upwards of a gallon just sitting in the hose from its last use.

Toilet tank – While it seems unsanitary, the water in the back tank of a standard consumer toilet is clean. Just be sure that it does not have a toilet cleaner tablet in it. These contain more than just bleach and can poison you.

Silcock connection- The faucet found on the outside of commercial buildings needs a silcock key to open properly, but due to its low location on the building, it should gravity feed out whatever is left in the building’s pipes.

Retention Ponds – Most housing and retail developments are required to have a retention pond to capture run off water. Some larger ones are even stocked with  fish to combat mosquito breeding. It is suggested you filter this water because it could have contaminants picked up as it drained from yards or the pavement.

With water being one of the most vital keys to survival it might become the most important item to resupply. In a true disaster stocks of bottled fresh water will disappear quickly. It will be your responsibility to find places to supply yourself and your family or group. As stated before, thinking creatively will be the key to finding what others overlook.

Urban Resupply a.k.a. Scavenging

Despite the best laid plans and stores of supplies, if a disaster lasts long enough you are going to have to resupply. If you are in an urban setting there are potentially lots of supplies left sitting around. Let me make a distinction between scavenging for supplies in a very long term disaster and looting. Looters tend to take advantage of the chaos in short term to break in and steal things they want or can resell. Things like money, electronics, cars, and jewelry interest them. They are not trying to survive, just profit from the disaster. They don’t care that the owner might be back in 10 minutes or a few days. In the case of long term scavenging, you are looking for items like food, fuel, and medical supplies. You are also not taking items from someone. In this case, the original owners are probably not ever coming back. This is not to say that you would not gather something like jewelry for barter purposes later on, but that is not the main goal. Your goal is to provide supplies to keep your group fed, sheltered, and protected.

Develop a Plan

There a several things to plan before even unbolting the door or gate to head out. Good planning will hopefully net you the most supplies with the least risk. Simply heading out blindly will only endanger you and waste valuable time and energy.

First, plan on what you are looking for and prioritize. Items such as food, medical supplies, and fuel are obvious first priorities. Things such as plumbing pipe, building materials, or tools may also be on the list. Depending on the scenario, your group, and your location you may have other needs. Items to allow you to collect and purify water, plant and grow food, build defenses, and sufficiently house your group could be necessary. Those in charge of different areas of the group’s infrastructure should discuss what they need and why. This will bring to light what is truly needed to keep the group going.

Second, plan where you are going beforehand. If you have them sit down with a map and a phone book. Pick an area and look for places that might hold the supplies you need. You might have to get creative if you expect the normal places to have been picked clean.  Doing this you can prioritize places based on what supplies you have the most urgent need for.  You can also begin a list of places you have been with notes as to other items still there or potential dangers to avoid.  Let the ones that stay behind know the details. Others knowing your plan will also mean that if you are injured there is a chance someone may be able to come assist you.

Next, plan who is going. Depending on your group and needs you may have to go alone with little time for recognizance. If time and numbers do allow, scouting in a small team of 2 or 3 will let you identify dangers such as possible traps or locations controlled by other, possibly hostile, groups. Unless you are desperate, starting a war with another group by raiding their camp would not be beneficial. Scout teams need to be armed and supplied with enough to allow them to observe target locations as long as necessary. A radio, if possible, should be included to allow them to contact home base regularly or in case they need assistance. Also look at the skills of people going. Not just skills to help them scavenge, but skills that mean they should stay behind. For instance, sending your only member with medical knowledge out to scavenge might not be a good idea if it can be avoided.

Gather the Tools

Scavenging teams should also be equipped with tools to get in and out of locations where supplies are at. They also need to be able to disassemble items too difficult to transport otherwise or because only parts are needed. Some to possible include

Pry bar – Stanley Wonderbar Pry Bar

Hacksaw – Stanley Hack Saw Junior

Roofer/Shingle/Plumb hatchet – Plumb Half Hatchet

Lock picks (if you have someone that can use them)  – LOCKSET Strong Pick and Hook Set, 24-Piece

Bolt Cutter – WORKPRO Bolt Cutter

Socket/Wrench/Pliers/Screwdriver Set – Apollo Tools 95 Piece Tool Kit

Knife – Morakniv 4.1” Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife

Para cord – Para cord Planet 100′

Zip Ties – 15″ White 120lb (100 Pack) Zip Ties

Trash Bags – Heavy Duty Contractor Bags

Pack – 55L Internal Frame Backpack

Maps (preferably in a waterproof map case) – Map Case

2 Way Radios – BaoFeng 2 Way Radio 5 pack

Fuel Containers – 5 Gallon Gas Can

Siphon (water or fuel) – Siphon Fuel Transfer Pump (Be sure to keep a separate one for fuel/oil and water)

Spray Lubricant (help disassembling items) – WD-40 Lubricant Spray

Items to Look For

As stated before, the exact items you need will depend on your exact situation. Here are some items in no particular order to keep in mind that might find use in a lot of situations.

Plumbing pipe – Metal or plastic for water collection, sanitation, and could be used for making weapons.

Clothes – Either to wear, cut up for material, or trade (such as winter coats)

Fuel – gasoline, kerosene, used cooking oil, and cooking stove fuel (propane or liquid)

Water

Guns and ammo

Ammunition reloading equipment and supplies

Medical Supplies – Medications, bandages, surgical equipment, and sterilization items

Books – Both for entertainment and education

Farming items –  Tools, seeds, and plants/trees

Maps – To plan future routes and distribute copies

Communication equipment – Walkie talkies, Ham Radios, antennas, and (if electricity is out) possibly a manual typewriter to allow long term record keeping (unless you have GREAT handwriting, unlike mine)

Sanitation items – Toilet paper, tissues, feminine products, and such can be used or traded.

Shipping Pallets – If you have a way to transport them in mass, pallets can provide a lot of building materials or be used as is to fashion sheds for shelter.

Where to Look

Some places others may have missed where you might look for items

Manufacturing plants – Break room vending machines, maintenance shop tool box, first aid station, and janitor closet

Distribution warehouses – What is there might be hit or miss, but these will not be picked over as quickly as retail stores and usually will have larger quantities. If you get really lucky, you might find a shipment going from a gun, ammo, or MRE distributor to retail stores. Make sure you include shipping depots like UPS. Lots of stuff will be sitting there if things fall apart quickly. Most things you think of ordering online go thorough one of the major home delivery shippers.

Schools – Generally there will be some types of food in cafeterias or vending machines. The library and shop classrooms might also have useful items. Paper, pencils, maps, and first aid kits are usually stored there.

Veterinarian Offices – Many of the medications and surgical items are just the same as used on humans. If you have started farming animals, then there may be stores of animal food there that you could use for them. Dry dog and cat food, canned wet food, bird seed, and small animal hay/feed are some of them. There may be cages there that would also work.  The food and cages would save a lot of work feeding and housing animals such as rabbits, chickens, ducks, pigs, or goats.

Marinas – Boats should have supplies stored on them. Tools, guns, fuel, food, and water are possibilities.

Churches – Lots of churches run a food bank or organize clothes drives. These supplies might still be locked in a closet there. In addition, candles, toilet paper, paper towels, and such will be stored there in some quantity.

Self-Storage Facilities – While these may not contain food, one would expect an abundance of clothes and household items. Other items like tools and spare parts would not be out of the question either. Given enough relative safety and time even the roll up doors and metal walls could be disassembled for use. This location would be a second or third level location though due to the time needed to open and search each unit.

You can see that there is a lot more to scavenging in a long term scenario than just going and getting things. Resources will become scarce and dangerous to acquire. The ability to plan and think creatively might mean the difference between living and dying.

 

Making Due

Anyone reading this is obviously interested in being prepared at some level. The issue is that at times you may end up in a situation where either you cannot have your supplies with you or they are lost/damaged.  This is when the the real level of preparation you have done will come to light.

Preparation for almost anything is less about the items you have than the skills you gain and hone. Once a skill is learned, it cannot be lost or taken away. Sure it can get rusty, but the knowledge and experience are still there. One skill that is talked about a lot is adaptability. This post is going to focus on examples of how you can adapt and use nontraditional items to equip yourself with the basic items you may need to survive.

Lets set up a scenario where you might be without most, if not all, of your gear and supplies. This is a good exercise to generate constructive thinking about your surroundings. In this case, you have flown to distant city where you are staying in a hotel by yourself for work. Due to flight security and space you do not have anything except a few sets of clothes and toiletries. A large scale disaster (take your pick) strikes that prevents the emergency personnel from responding in the foreseeable future. You have little info beyond the total chaos you can see outside. You know that you need to try and evacuate the area to avoid danger. Hanging around in such a unknown densely populated area does not seem like a healthy idea.  You look around your hotel room for supplies to assist you in hopefully getting home or at least out of the danger zone. You hope that you can resupply with better supplies, but you want what you can get right now.

Items you could collect:

Shower curtain:  This can serve as a ground cover, makeshift tent, or  rain poncho depending on your needs. If available grab a few, they are light and not especially sturdy for the long term.

Bed Sheet/Blanket:  This can serve as a sleeping bag, cold weather poncho, bandages, slings, or be cut to strips for cordage. The sheet could also be tied into a hobo bundle to carry your items more easily that the standard luggage you came with.

Water Bottles:  Beyond the obvious use, these can be packed with cloth, charcoal, and sand as a basic water filter. the top could also be cut off to use as a container to use while foraging.

Soda Can:  Very easily these can be used to create a small alcohol stove to cook or boil water. A second can can act as a pot. They could also be used as a mirror signaling device. In a desperate situation these could be cut into a flat sheet and formed into a crude cutting tool.

Ice Bucket:  If this is the lighter plastic type you can use it to carry water, foraged food. If it has a lid you can use it to keep your tinder dry to help with fire making. While you are at it grab the plastic bag that is usually with it. Again it can hold or protect different items.

Mini Bar Items:  While most of us normally avoid these items due to the insane cost, they are not something to leave behind. The food is obvious, but also take the coffee, tea, sugar packets, and liquor. The tea and coffee will provide caffeine to help you keep moving. You may have a long trek before you feel safe enough to stop. Even just soaking a coffee or tea packet in water can accomplish this on the go. The liquor is best reserved for sterilization and other medical needs.

This list is not to say that you need ALL if these items. You may not have all of them at hand or may have better alternatives.

In addition, when you make it to the lobby, there may be some things you can scavenge.

Every major hotel has a breakfast of some kind. It might take a bit of force to get into the storage area. In a true disaster, you breaking in might be the least of anyone’s worries.

Food/Water:     You can gather a variety of food for short and longer term here. Fruit, baked items, and refrigerated items would be great for the short term. Items such as peanut butter packs, individual cereal boxes, and oatmeal packs would be safe for the longer term. Water bottles or at least a container of water will be stored there. Stock up to augment what you took from your room.

Knife:  Most of these food prep and storage areas would have some type of knife or box cutter. Having a cutting tool is a real necessity. It can be used to make tinder, cut cordage, and if desperate as a defensive tool. You can use cardboard and tape to make a improvised sheath. If no knife is there, scissor might be a good fallback.

Utensils:  While most of what hotel guest get is plastic, there would be a variety of metal utensils in this area for prep. A couple of them could be very helpful if you need to cook or boil water over an open fire.

Cookware: While there is not anything here that would pass for a full set of cooking pots and pans, there is something. Any metal container that you could use to boil water but is still small enough to not hinder your travel would work. Starting a file and boiling water takes time and effort, so it is best to do it in the largest volume possible.

Bleach:  Either in the food prep area or the laundry room you have a good chance of finding a bottle of bleach. Plain unscented bleach can be used to purify water.  It needs to not have any additional cleaners, colors, or anything in it. From 6 to 8 drops per gallon will purify the water depending on bleach concentration.

First Aid Kit: Normally safety procedures would warrant a first aid station in this area. If there is not a kit here, then the front desk is a good place to check also.

Lighter: A lot of these breakfast setups use Sterno to heat the containers they put eggs, sausage, or such in on the serving line. That means a lighter should be available. In addition if the Sterno is there, it would be a great option to use instead of a full blown fire.

As you can see, with a bit of creative thinking, you can supply yourself with some basic tools. They may not be best option given alternatives, but they may also make a difference in your survival. You do not know what you will have access to after you leave the hotel. Nothing stops you from swapping off for better equipment as you travel either.

While this scenario may be very contrived, it is to point out how those items around you can be put to use when you are a bit creative. Thinking and identifying potential items in your location that could help you in an emergency is a very good habit to build. It is very similar to people who, due to training, habitually identify exit points when entering a room. The time saved in ether of these cases could help you escape to a safer area ahead of the crowd.

 

 

Legality matters..until it doesn’t

Watch any good apocalyptic movie or television show and you will see “ordinary”  people running around with full auto guns, suppressors (often referred to as “silencers”), and explosives. While that makes for a good action flick, it is far from what I would expect to see if things really fell apart.  I very often see posts where people advocate ignoring current laws because they feel they need such equipment if things go wrong. This is a a very slippery slope that rarely ends well.

One thing that you must be cognizant about is the laws related to the plans and preparations you are making. Even in the worst case scenario, there will be a time period when law enforcement and the military will still attempt to enforce the laws. Being locked up or worse would put a real damper on your survival plans. In addition, some of these items come at a trade off as money is invested in them instead of other items.

While having some of the advanced hardware might help you after the world transitions to total chaos, it does comes with extra cost and risk. Legally you can apply and own a lot of full auto guns and suppressors, but they cost a pretty penny by the time you pay for permits. Without those permits, you risk hefty jail time and fines. The cost involved with these permits could be better spent on standard guns, ammo, and other supplies. On top of this, full automatic  guns tend to  burn through more ammo (read “money”) as you practice. One other factor is that more common guns such as handguns and hunting rifles will be in much larger supply if things totally deteriorate. This means more spare parts or replacement items will be available for something like a .30-06 hunting rifle than a fully automatic HK MP5.

Explosives such as grenades, refereed to as “destructive devices” by law enforcement, put you at even greater risk. No only can they cause legal issues, but they can be a physical danger unless you are trained to handle them.  So if you have visions of creating pipe bombs to ward off violent attackers, you had better rethink it. In today’s legal landscape stockpiling items for this is easily branded as terrorist no matter how loud you shout your good intentions.

Other items that you should thing carefully about as you plan  include alcohol production equipment and stockpiles of prescription drugs. I have seen many people discuss making alcohol as a trade item, medicinal use, or consumption. This is a highly regulated item and has limits on what you can produce without falling under additional guidelines. Beer is the least regulated as far as “home” production. As much as I see this a  potential benefit, I also see that it could draw undue attention. Also the necessary equipment is not extremely mobile. So not knowing the exact details of future emergencies, there is no way to know if you will have to abandon this in favor of mobility. Stockpiles of certain prescription drugs will also draw attention because normally this can be associated with intent to sell. Even if these are your own, it again is a risk if someone decides to falsify a report against you or they are found during some unrelated events.

So while you plan for all levels up to the worst, you must carefully navigate the laws that govern us whether you may agree with some of them or not. The consequences  of ignoring them can affect your family, friends, and ultimately your survival.