Alternate Communications

Lets face it, most of us are used to picking up our phone and calling or texting someone at a moments notice. On a day-to-day basis it is very easy to communicate. This is the marvel of modern technology. I highly recommend that you have a cellualr phone with you at all times. For most people, signal will be good enough to call for help in an emergency. Even with very low signal a text message can often still be transmitted. Keeping the appropriate chargers and a power bank handy is also advisable. In a large percentage of situations this will be enough to call for help if you have a medical emergency, auto accident, become lost, or face a natural disaster. There are times though that the cellular networks will be overwhelmed or down completely.

These situations where cell phone access is unavailable require a bit more thought to plan for. This has been see multiple times in the recent past. On 9/11 cell networks in the surrounding area were crippled from the immense load of the calls. They became unusable. I even experiened some of this hundreds of miles away as the cellular providers attempted to reroute call traffic through secondary routes to lessen the load. Ironically, when being able to make a call is the most important is when it is most likely to be jammed up. This means that we must plan alternate methods to communicate with family, group members.

One of the easiest ways to set up an alternate communication plan over a moderate distance is handheld “walkies.” While these could be susceptible to breaking down from an EMP or simple age, they are simple to aquire, train on, and deploy.  Most of these require standard batteries and additional ones can be stored with it. Rechargable batteries and a solar or crank charger would be a nice addition. Also many models have weather alerts built in. You do need to remember a few facts though. First, these have a limited range that greatly decreases with obstructions. Second, most if not all of the channels on these are public and not secure. A personal set of code words would be advisible in case things become hostile. Lastly, often different models and brands may not be set up with the same channels. This can also vary with the ages of the units. Decide on and test channels ahead of time.

Here is an example of a unit that is rated well and affordable

Midland – GXT1000VP4, 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio

A second option that is similar is CB or Ham radios. I will not go over all the differences, but basically CBs are lower powered and not regulated where as HAM radios require a license but have much more power and bandwidth. These units would allow for a much larger range than hand held 2 way radios. The trade off is that these normally require more power to run. Ham radios do come in handheld models, but many of the more powerful are a fixed location affair. Another plus though is that you can communicate with groups such as emergeny responders in yoiur area via HAM.  Most 2 way walkies cannot do that. There are many great online resources about HAM radio and most areas have a “club” where you could meet some experienced HAM operators.

In the event that the use of electronics is not possible, there are still ways to communicate with others. This can require a bit more preplanning if you feel that there may be the possibility of others misusing the information. It would be smart to come up with some “code” with your group members. It does not have to be hard. Something as simple as refering to Grandpa’s house as “The Farm” or using a symbol for each member to securely sign the communication. It may sound a bit like an old spy movie, but if things are really bad, nefarious individuals might use intercepted communication to track or ambush you. On the up side, as long as everyone knows the “code”, there is no harm in it and it might even simplify things.

There are several ways you can use this code. You could write a note and place it somewhere out of sight that others know to check. This could let you confirm your status, travel desination, and who is with you. Another way to leave communication might be to paint something on the side of a building along your route. While this would not be good to do in normal times, during a forced evacuation or worse cases it might be the best way to catch the eye of others in your group traveling the same route.  Sharpie style markers are also useful to do this on a smaller scale. These coukd be used to write on windows, street signs, or abandoned cars.

While I know some of this may lean toward the apocalyptic level of disasters, it will hopefully give you something to think about for all levels of planning. Because of things such as long commutes, children away at school, and simple distance between towns, we may find ourselves far flung when disaster strikes. This communication is important because it connects you to your most valuable resource, family and friends.

National Preparedness Month 2019

Yet again we roll around to September which is National Preparedness Month. It is a great time to reevaluate your planning and update it based on situation changes. Life events that change your geography, add or remove household members, or affect your health are all things that may cause a need for changes. In addition, social, political, and environmental changes may also warrant revisions in parts of your planning.

FEMA’s site Ready.gov is using the theme this year of “Prepared Not Scared.” It is a great theme because fear should not be the driving factor in your planning.

The different focus for each week also highlights important topics to consider. I have touch on each of these topics in past posts, but visiting them again periodically is a great idea.

Saving early is not just good for disaster preparedness, but is great overall. Sometimes putting money back can be very hard, but there are many great strategies out there. From putting all your spare change into a savings account to brown bagging lunch, it is not hard to save something. Even if it is not a lot each week, small amounts add up. When disaster happens, whether it be a blown out tire, roof leak, or hurricane, not having any cushion of funds can leave you in a perilous situation.

Planning for a disaster is, well, why you are reading my page I hope. Planning is a definite way to take control of the situation so that you are not paralyzed by fear when things do happen. In worst case scenarios, those that act early will have a better chance to come out of it successfully. Time is a precious commodity whether you are evacuating ahead of a hurricane, gathering last minute supplies to ride out a blizzard, or outrunning everyone else escaping the zombies (just kidding).

I did an entire post on including your kids in your planning. No one is too young to understand some part of the plan. Things as simple as “meet at the mailbox if you have to escape the house” are a great place to start. Plenty of five year olds dial 911 in an emergency every year. Even if they can’t explain the issue to the operator, the call will alert emergency personnel.  This teaching also sets the precedent to allow you to expand their part in your plan later. Plus, spending time with your family on a shared activity is always a good thing.

In addition to your own planning, I do agree that everyone should be a part of their community planning. On the up side, you have input to try and get the most effective plan in place. You will be able to form bonds with other like-minded people that may help you to band together in times of need. On the more selfish side, you will know what others plan so that you can adjust appropriately. Plus, hopefully some sound advice offered to others might help you lessen the number of unprepared people around you. That possibly means less people to clash with over resources if you cannot leave or no assistance can get to you.

So take this month as time to plan or revisit existing plans. Read up on what others suggest and find how their ideas apply to you. Most importantly, decide what level you want to plan for and how your specific life affects your plan.

Day 2 of the Apocolypse

Watch any apocalyptic themed movie and you will see a very common trend. Your happy go lucky neighbor will turn into a raving psychopath as soon as whatever event happens that makes it apocalyptic. While this tends to add drama and move the story along, it is not very realistic. Aside from a pandemic disease that alters the mind of those infected (i.e. 28 Days Later) or a nuclear incident, most people will not even realize things have hit the fan at first. Even if a widespread EMP event happens, most people will assume things will be back to normal in a few days. Authorities will tend to reassure people of this in an effort to not incite panic. While it may actually vary in time period, I refer to this as Day 1. For the most part this can be a quiet time. Some less than desirable individuals will try to leverage that law enforcement is stretch thinner than ever to ramp up criminal efforts. Most ordinary people like our neighbors, members of the PTA, and the college girl that babysits your kids will be either in a state of shock or disbelief though. This period unfortunately is when the decisions you make can very well be life or death.

In this lull, unless the situation is instantaneous cataclysmic, most people will feel more inconvenienced than anything. They will follow their normal patterns as much as they can. They will go to work or school if it is open, come home, have dinner, do chores, and repeat the next day. They will discuss news tidbits they have heard with their friends and neighbors and theorize about when this will end. Most will feel that their community services, government, and relief organizations will take care of the problem in due time. You can’t really blame them for wanting to believe that. Most have no idea how to react if that is not true. The longer this period lasts, the thinner the veneer of society will be stretched.

It will begin to dawn on some slower than others that this is not going to end any time soon. That is when the transition will begin to what I refer to as Day 2. Again the actual time period may vary greatly depending on the actual events. This is when the full implications of a large scale disaster will sink in. Panic is very likely to ensue. Essentials like food, water, and fuel will become points of conflict as people try to hoard what they can. Both targeted and random violence will begin to break out. The uncertainty will leave most in a high level of stress and panic. The longer the population remains high, the more resources will be burned up or willfully destroyed. Possibly within a matter of hours of the light bulb going off in their head, those in densely populated cities will begin to migrate outward in hopes of finding the quiet little farm or a section of woods where they can hold up. Millions of unprepared and ill-supplied bodies will tear across the land ravaging it worse than a wildfire. As the situation becomes dire, people will become desperate to feed themselves and their loved ones. Desperate hungry people often feel they have nothing to lose and will not act logically. This will make for a very dangerous horde trampling towards wherever they may see as glimmer of hope.

As someone making preparation for various disasters, you might already see that Day 2 is too late to be making your move to relocate and secure yourself. Like has been seen in so many evacuations, traffic will be at a standstill on any road but the most remote. Initially the volume of traffic will be the issue, but as hours pass roadways will become long parking lots of crippled and abandoned vehicles. Any vehicle that is not trapped in this will become a target for anyone with questionable morals. The only way to avoid this deathtrap that many will fall into is to identify Day 1 and have plans in place to move quickly or already be at a location that allows you to hunker down safely.

When planning take this need for swift and decisive action into consideration. Wasting precious time mulling over your options or going shopping for essentials might put you directly in the middle of the rush to leave. While there are some item you may need to acquire at the last minute, make those as few as possible. Also, in many situations credit cards will be useless, so having cash on hand will help you get the last minute items you need to round out your supplies. Additionally, be sure to plan how everyone is to get to the desired location. Waiting for your entire party to get home may take much longer than meeting them at a central randevu location.

While this scenario goes well beyond localized flooding, snowstorms, or even lower end hurricanes, there are many precedents to look at in recent years. Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Andrew, the Mendocino Complex Fire in California, and others show that it does not take an EMP, government collapse, or a pandemic to cause you to need to put your plan into action. So plan well, review it often, and be prepared to stay ahead of the crowd.

P.P.P.P.P.

The 5 P’s is something a ex-Marine told me years ago that still resounds with me. He said his commanding officer had drilled it into them – “Proper Planning Prevents Piss-poor Performance”. In the same vein, it is just a different expression of the Boy Scout motto of “Always Be Prepared.” While this is true in disaster preparedness as we discuss here, it can also apply to your daily life. Applying these ideas daily will help you to be in a better position to limit stress. Living with less stress will make you stronger and healthier to deal with large life events.

On a daily basis I honestly struggle with organization. Things just get out of hand and then you can’t find your shoes the next morning. This in itself wastes time and causes undue stress. Compound this over weeks and years and all the little things build up. This can lead to a constant state of stress dealing with even the most basic things. This impacts you both physically and mentally.

Some things you can do to combat this apply to both daily life and disaster preparedness.  Some of these may sound cliche, but they work.

Everything has a place – Ever run late looking for your keys? Not if you designate a place for them and habitually put them there. Having organized locations for everything is not OCD. It is a manner to remove one more variable that can cause stress from poor performance. The same goes for your emergency supplies and bag. Having things organized saves precious time when you may only have minutes to evacuate from a disaster situation. A handy thing to have is a label printer. With it you can label shelves to organize where items belong. This works anywhere you can stick a sticker.

DYMO LetraTag LT-100H Handheld Label Maker

Another option are erasable labels such as these dry erase ones. Then you can adjust them whenever needed.

Dry Erase Magnetic Labels

Plan Ahead – Anything from laying out tomorrow clothes beforehand to a complete color coded family weekly schedule can fall under this. Depending on your situation, it may be more complex that other people’s. Planning out your day, week, and month can avoid conflicts, delays, and , again, stress. Planning will allow you to consolidate things such as having appointments that are in the same location on the same day if possible. This will avoid multiple trips and additional time away form home or work. Planning well in advance can also help you save money as in the case of booking a vacation. Earlier booking can let you find better deals on accommodations or transportation, pre-order tickets to attractions or events, and avoid forgetting items you must replace while away.  With all of this done you can actually be relaxing instead of planning each day while there. Planning out your emergency strategy can help you to have everyone one up to date on what to do in particular circumstances. This again saves time you need to evacuate or enact the plan to hunker down. Organizing the rotation plan of perishable items such as canned foods you are storing can help you to avoid wasting items and money due to expiration. A good way to keep up with this rotation is an inventory log. It can help you know what you have to avoid over buying or forgetting something.

Inventory Log: 100 8.5 x 11 inch pages

You can also use color coded stickers to assist in keeping up with the rotation.

Pack of 1020 1/2″ Round Color Coding Circle Dot Printable Labels

Know your limits – Everyone must face that they are not an expert at everything. Also, based on age, lifestyle, or illnesses, physically you may not be able to do certain things. Admitting these ahead of time will allow you to find ways to adapt to these parameters. If the limiting factor is skills you do not have, you can study or train to build those. For instance, your financial situation may keep you from upgrading your car that is giving you mechanical issues.  In this case, studying how to do some of the repairs yourself can improve the car’s reliability at a much lower cost. This more reliable transportation then relieves stress on you and your finances. Similarly, studying and practicing skills like fire building and water purification can  help you to better mitigate issues in a crisis.  In the case of physical limitation, you can find ways to accommodate or alleviate them. If you suffer from arthritis that causes you to have less strength in your hands, simply buying pop top style canned goods versus screw off lids can help the issue. When emergency planning, you may also do something like including a cart to transport your supplies if you must evacuate on foot. You may do this because you know that the weight you need to carry exceeds your personal limit for the necessary time period.

Practice – You often hear people in different sports talk about muscle memory. Basically it means that you repeat a task or motion enough that you can repeat it without thought. Some examples include shooting a basketball, firing a gun, and riding a bike. You can apply this to help out in your daily life. Repetition of tasks such as chopping vegetables will lead to you having consistency and  speed. This can make preparing dinner a less stressful task. The same can be said for emergency plans. Maybe you want to improve your skill with a firearm because you want to protect your family during a crisis. Then practice loading the gun, firing the gun from different stances, and resolving malfunctions. Again, this will improve speed and consistency because you do not have to think about it, you just do it.

These are just a few examples of strategies you can use in both daily life and disaster preparedness to limit stress and be more prepared for whatever may come. If you have any personal tips that you think might benefit others, please share them in the comments.

Surviving the Heat

Summer can be a time of great fun. School is out in a lot of places and lots of people take their yearly family vacation.  Unlike when it is cold though and people take precautions to avoid frostbite, people seem to forget about the dangers overexposure to sun and heat cause. These dangers can be multiplied exponentially if you are in the midst of a disaster rendering you without electricity, clean water, or shelter. Some natural disasters that might affect you in this way during the summer are tornadoes, wild fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and tsunamis.

Here are some tips to employ to help out if you end up caught in a disaster with no electricity during the hot season in your area.

If it is safe to remain in your home, keep it cool by doing the following:

Cover windows with drapes or shades. Dark colored sheets or multiple layers of lighter colored ones would work as temporary stand ins.

Weather-strip doors and windows before hand. Duct tape could be used as a temporary option around doors and windows you do not need to use. This works best if you do still have some type of cooling option, but can still be a benefit if you cannot open windows.

Use window reflectors, such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside. Mylar emergency blankets would also work in the place of foil.

Add insulation to keep the heat out. This is hard to do unless you do it before hand, but it can save you heating and cooling costs on a daily basis in addition to helping out in a disaster.

Take precautions when you have to be outside:

When possible, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face. A boonie hat is a popular option. A large cloth can also be used to cover your head and neck. A scarf like this shemagh is a helpful option. A dangerous sunburn is the last thing you want to add to your worries.

Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. If you or someone you care for is on a special diet, ask a doctor now how to deal with it now so that you know. Water is good, but also make sure you have something to replace salt and electrolytes such as a sports drink.

Avoid high-energy activities during the heat of the day. If you must travel on foot a considerable distance to get away from danger, do so at night or in the early morning hours. Rest in a safe cool area during the day.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you make it through the extreme heat even if you do not experience a disaster.

 

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.

Packing..and I don’t mean heat

In all of the planning discussions packs and bags are brought up a lot. The type of bag and the contents are discussed at length. Rarely though do you see a good discussion of PACKING the bag. Anyone that has carried a pack for any length of time can tell you that things needs to be organized in a particular way to carry it comfortably.

An often recommended way is to divide the pack into 3 sections. Gear should be packed based on weight, bulkiness, and how frequently it is used.

The Bottom Section

Bulky items that are needed less frequently should be placed here. Things like sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and extra layers for occasional use are some examples. These are light and can provide some cushion to carry the load of the heavier items.

The Middle Section

This section should be reserved for heavy gear that you do not need immediate access to.  Cooking kits, stove, fire kit, crank emergency radio, and your main food supply generally fall into this. If you have a larger store of water, it should go here too. Just wrap in in some soft items to prevent it from being damaged by other heavy gear. Placing the heavy items in the center helps to keep it from tipping back or sagging down on you. Either will cause you to have to work harder without a stable center of gravity.

The Top Section

This section should be reserved for items that you need quickly or more often. Rain gear, first-aid kit, water filter, and toilet paper.  For the most part it should be lighter items to keep the pack stable.

 

External pockets

These pockets should also be used for quick access items. They will be smaller items and based on pocket location should also follow the same weight pattern as the interior.  Items that fit this could be your compass, map, pack rain cover, sunglasses, headlamp/flashlight, water bottle, snacks, and hand sanitizer. Not only will this help you get to these items quicker, it will prevent them from being lost in the interior shuffle.

Lashing points

Many packs built for hiking or tactical use feature lashing points at different areas. These can be used to affix tent poles, hiking sticks, axes, or machetes. Some even have points at the bottom designed to be used for a sleeping bag or pad. Just be sure things are lashed so as to not swing around.

What not to pack iN your pack

There are some things I advise to not put in your pack. These would be personal documents, ID, at least part of your cash, your main knife, a flashlight, and basic fire kit. In addition if you carry a handgun it should not be buried in your pack. The reason these should not be packed, but on your person, is that a point could arise that you must ditch your pack. You may need to flee from danger, it might be taken from you, you may lose it in a water crossing, or many other scenarios. In these cases you need these very important items on you so that there is less chance of losing them completely.

It is important to test out the packing plan of your pack and how it carries. This will give you a chance to rearrange and perfect your load. Better to do it now than when your safety depends on it.

 

The list I thought I would never make

When I set out on designing Leveled Survival’s philosophy related to emergency planning, I wanted to emphasis how personal the plan should be. Everyone is different and their family and geographic location play a huge part in forming that plan.  In light of this I did not want to post any lists of items you “must have” in your bag. I have made a post listing the types of items with explanations and links to examples though. This list has lead to a lot of requests for me to offer a ready made shopping list of items. I have put this off for a while because I feel it is impossible to make a kit that is a good fit for everyone.

After talking to many people, I have come to realize though that  some people with very limited experience are looking for a starting point. Items to fill the major categories that they can use to improve their skills. Along the way they can specialize their kit by adding, removing, or swapping out items. In light of this I have put together a list with links to exact items that can be purchased. Whenever possible I have listed items I have exact experience with. If not, I have listed items that are as close to what I use as is reasonably available.

Suggested Buying List

I hope this list is helpful to novice and experienced planners alike. Feel free to comment or contact us with questions or comments.

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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.