Is One First Aid Kit Enough?

One of the most important parts of preparedness is having the right first aid supplies. Because food storage and bug out bags always seem to steal the show, first aid sometimes gets overlooked. Having at least one first aid kit around the home is great, but if a disaster strikes, you may find yourself wishing you had spent more time and effort preparing with the right kinds of first aid equipment and supplies.

You should always have some sort of medical kit with you at all times, and that includes your family members.  We should all have first aid kits in our cars, our bug out/in bags, as well as in the home.

Our children need to know how important it is to properly prepare and it’s not a bad idea to give prepper gifts for birthdays and Christmas.  Not only does this make gift giving decisions easier but you will also be giving a gift that has real value and can even save a life.

The Basic First Aid Kit

Here is a list of the basic first aid supplies from the Red Cross that you would want in every kit.  After you have these, you will need to customize your first aid kits. What you add to them will depend on where they will be used, who will be using them, and their skill level.

2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
1 Tube Silvasorb Jel
5 antiseptic wipe packets
1 bottle of aspirin/Advil
1 blanket (space blanket)
1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
1 instant cold compress
1 box of non-latex (Nitrile) gloves
2 hydrocortisone ointment packets
Scissors & Tweezers
2 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
10 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
2 triangular bandages
First aid instruction booklet

Your Skills Will Determine Your Supplies

Before you begin to customize these first aid kits, you need to think about your skill-set first.  There is no reason to spend money on chest seals and tourniquets if you don’t know how to use them.  This doesn’t mean forget about them, it means learn how to use them.  If you are like me, you see all these trauma supplies and say, “I need/want this, I need that, I gotta have that too!” Along with having those supplies comes the responsibility to learn how to use them correctly.

First Aid Kits at Home

The first aid kit in your home should contain the bulk of your supplies.  This kit should be able to cover a wide range of injuries that could occur.  Because the size of your kit isn’t as much of a factor in the home, you should add all the extras you might need.

Extra supplies to practice with.
Less typical items like Steristrips, Mastisol and Xeroform.
Specialty dressings such as Medihoney and Mepilex. [Read More Here]
Tapes & Wraps such as Vet Wrap, Ace Wrap, Hypafix tape etc.
OTC Medications.
Prescription Medications.

First Aid Kits at Work

Most of us spend 8 hours a day at work, and depending on your job, some accidents are more likely than others. Having a first aid kit at work isn’t for minor injuries, that’s what workman’s comp is for. Your first aid kit would be for larger events like active shooters, terrorist attacks and earthquakes.  It should have supplies that could help until the medical professionals arrive.

Most places of employment have basic first aid kits. Because sometimes these get ransacked and never restocked, it might be a good idea to have your own. Check your work’s first aid kit and see how well it’s stocked, and what you might need.

First Aid Kit’s For Your Car

The average American spends around 2 hours per day in their car. Injuries while driving are likely to be more severe than injuries working around the home.  As you are thinking about what to add to your car first aid kit, think about likely injuries from a car accident.

You might want more trauma supplies (if you know how and when to use them) in your car kit. Broken bones and severe bleeding are common in car accidents. Having 100 band aids in your car would be unnecessary, but having SAM splints, extra gauze and dressings would be.

There are items you wouldn’t think are first aid supplies, nevertheless are important to have as part of your kits. Note pad and a pencil, road flares, a heavy duty solar blanket, regular blankets for comfort, headlamp, etc.  It’s very important to note, NEVER do anything you aren’t ABSOLUTELY positive about. Always wait for the medical professionals when available.

Don’t forget about putting first aid kits in your children’s cars as well. This is something our kids just don’t think about until it’s too late. Unless your child it training to become an EMT, a basic kit will work. If they are training to be a first responder, they probably know what to do anyway.

Too Much is Never Enough

We hear the saying all the time that 2 is 1, and 1 is none. With first aid supplies it should be 10 is 1, and 1 is none.  In most trauma situations, you are likely to use far more supplies than you thought.

Most first aid supplies have a very long shelf life, and some can even be used after expiration. The last thing you want is to run out of gauze or dressings when you are trying to stop severe bleeding.

Is There a Place For Pre-made Kits?

Unfortunately, most pre-made first aid kits are a waste of money.  They are typically filled with just band aids, gauze and tweezers.  For this reason, for the most part, I would say steer clear of pre-made kits. You can put together a much better kit yourself than most of the generic pre-made first aid kits.

A “quality” pre-made first aid kit would be good for putting in your children’s cars, and even a jump start first aid kit. You could take the items out you didn’t want, and add the supplies you need. Some people get these kits and use the supplies to practice with, and use the bag or container to build their own kit.

There are some websites that put together good first aid kits but make sure they use good supplies, and it has what you need in it. Keep in mind, a good kit with 100 items is going to be far more than $25. A 100 item kit for $25 probably has 75 band aids in it.

What to Store Your Kits In

Not all of your first aid kits need to be in bags or containers designed specifically for first aid. I would however make sure they are clearly labeled, or it’s obvious what it is. You want these supplies to be readily available, without having to search through boxes to find what you need.  Here are a few ideas that we have used to store first aid supplies in…

My main first aid kit is in a red backpack
Small cardboard boxes for extra supplies (labeled)
Old plastic bins
Old tool box
Sterilite bins with drawers
Ziploc Bags
Old cordless tool cases
Tupperware containers
And anything else laying around the house you can put stuff in.

The bottom line – don’t scrimp when it comes to your first aid kits.  Just like having extra food on hand in the event of an emergency, having extra first aid supplies on hand can literally save lives.

More than 35 years experience in the Preparedness Industry

What Do I Prepare For?

Being prepared for an uncertain future is much more than just having a little extra food and water stored.  There are so many possible trigger points in today’s world that preparedness needs to become a mindset and not just a something to check off your to-do list.  When one embraces the need to make preparedness a life-long process and not just an event, then one truly becomes an asset rather than a liability.  I’m afraid far too many are relying on the government or others to rescue them in times of need.  It may be helpful to take the time to consider possible events that one could face in the next five years.

Natural Disasters (weather related)
Heavy thunder storms
Flash flooding
Mud/rock slides
High winds
Severe winter weather
Extreme high heat

Natural Disasters (non-weather related)
Volcano eruption
Tidal wave/Tsunami

Man-made Disasters
War (conventional, biological, chemical or nuclear)
Toxic material emission or spill (from a train, semi-truck or nearby plant)
Riot or other civil disorder
Nuclear plant melt down or other nuclear disaster
Terrorism Fire
Government action against you
Stock market crash
Severe depression
Plague or disease outbreak

Personal Emergencies
Mugging, robbery or other criminal attack
Financial disaster
Death in family
Home destroyed by fire
Random acts of violence

This is certainly not a definitive list of possible events that could create a need to rely on your preps, but it’s a good starting point.  As you consider these possibilities, you may also want to consider the underlying purpose for your preps – that of basic survival.  If your preps will not provide the essentials of basic survival, you will want to re-think your priorities.

When it comes to survival, it can be reduced to “The Rule of Three”.  You may be military, firefighter, law enforcement, rescue worker or just plain folk with an inordinate amount of common sense.  Regardless, it never hurts to revisit the basics.  And all of the basics can be summed up in ”The Rule of Three” which says, absent sudden death (such as an accident) or terminal illness, your survival is generally contingent upon you not exceeding:

3 minutes without breathing (drowning, asphyxiation)
3 hours without shelter in an extreme environment (exposure)
3 days without water (dehydration)
3 weeks without food (starvation)

Most preppers‘ are stocking food.  You will note that starvation is the slowest form of death among the Rule of Three.  You would likely have three weeks before you starve.  Your level of physical exertion has an impact on the body‘s caloric requirements.  Personally, I might survive starvation for five or six weeks as I‘m carrying a lot of extra weight (just in case!).  Don‘t call me over weight, call me prepped!  Keep in mind, your survival strategy must consider the likelihood of you being separated from your food supply in an emergency.  When that happens, stay calm, focus on any immediate threats or hazards and remember that you have three weeks to implement Food Plan B or Plan C.  You do have a Food Plan B and Plan C, don‘t you?

Dehydration occurs much more quickly than starvation. As such, water supply is much more critical to address in an emergency.  Consider that in a temperate climate and without exertion, the human body requires approximately 2.5 liters of fluids per day.  In extreme heat this requirement goes up significantly.  Diarrhea can lead to rapid, catastrophic dehydration as well.  Given that water is far bulkier to store and/or transport than food, and that dehydration is potentially a far more pressing concern than starvation, your ability to procure water in an emergency should supplant food in your ranking of survival priorities.  Stated simply, water is far more important than food.  What is your home-base plan for water?  What is your mobile plan for water?

Exposure occurs far more rapidly than dehydration.  Hot or cold, you could find yourself unable to function in less than three hours.  Immersion in cold water, such as breaking through ice, could reduce your time to act down to mere minutes.  So what‘s your shelter strategy when you‘re away from home-base? In the north, temperatures can fall to minus 40 F in the winter.  If you have an accident on a slick road late at night in such conditions, you will likely not be waking up ever again unless you have prepared for such an eventuality.  Exposure kills in hours, or less.  Countering exposure is your number two priority for survival in any emergency situation. Yet most preppers are not thinking about exposure while stocking their pantries.  Prepare for exposure.

Asphyxiation kills in three minutes.  This is the emergency situation that gives you the least amount of time to react for your survival.  This is your Priority One survival issue.  An interior fire is the most common cause of asphyxiation.  Do you have a home escape plan in the event of a fire?  If not, make one – it might save your life.  Unless you‘ve been in a burning building, I guarantee that you cannot imagine how blinding the smoke is nor how quickly a structure can become fully engulfed.  If you have children, periodic rehearsal of the escape plan is mandatory.  In the unthinkable event of a fire, panic is inevitable.  Rehearsal helps to moderate the flight reaction, which might otherwise lead to death.

While fire is a common cause, there are other causes of asphyxiation worth your consideration such as carbon monoxide poisoning – usually from a combustion source in the home.  This has also occurred in vehicles stranded in snowstorms.  Vehicles were left running so the heaters would work and accumulating snow shrouded the tailpipe resulting in vehicle exhaust entering the passenger compartment.

Other poisonous fumes can cause asphyxiation as well.  Tanker trucks, rail cars, chemical and other industrial plants often have hazardous materials that, in an emergency situation, could cause you grave bodily harm if exposed.

Take some time with your family and review “The Rule of Three” as it might relate to a variety of emergency situations.  Assuring our families have the understanding and skills necessary to survive life threatening occurrences will provide peace of mind that we’ve done what matters most as we continue with our life-long process of being prepared.

More than 35 years experience in the Preparedness Industry

Is the Military Immune from Starvation?

I was concerned to learn Nicolas Maduro had just won his second six-year term as president of Venezuela.  There is so much corruption, greed and lack of concern for the Venezuelan people that the country may implode at any time.  Inflation is through the roof, the lack of food and basic supplies is putting the population into starvation.  And now, even the military is beginning to desert due to lack of food.

I came across this interesting article in the Associated Press by Fabiola Sanchez entitled “Empty Stomachs Drive Venezuela Soldiers to Desert in Droves” that describes the real life threatening dilemma even the military is facing.

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — He enlisted in Venezuela’s National Guard to earn a ticket out of poverty. But little more than two years later, his monthly pay is worth only about $2, forcing him to moonlight at a tire shop, and he has put in for a discharge.

“I don’t know what everybody else does to survive,” said Ruben, a 21-year-old sergeant, who fearing retaliation agreed to speak about his situation only if his last name was not revealed. “If I don’t get out of this, I’ll starve to death.”

Not even Venezuela’s once-proud military is immune to the oil-rich country’s deepening economic crisis of food shortages and skyrocketing prices, and while top commanders deny there is any discontent, analysts say thousands of soldiers are asking for honorable discharges or deserting their posts by simply walking away.

Since taking office after the death of Hugo Chavez, his mentor who installed Venezuela’s socialist administration, President Nicolas Maduro has sought to lock in support from the armed forces by pampering troops with outsized bonuses and awarding loyal officers with top government posts.

He is counting on the backing of the military to ride out any turbulent reaction if he is declared the winner of Sunday’s presidential election, which has been condemned by much of the international community for barring some of his leading critics from running.

But as Venezuela quickly goes broke and hyperinflation pulverizes the paychecks of civilians and soldiers alike, discontent is penetrating the barracks, raising doubts whether the troops will remain trustworthy as their stomachs growl.

With the opposition defeated and the economy worsening at the hand of the increasingly authoritarian government, many Venezuelans — as well as the Trump administration — are looking more to the military, which has historically stepped in as the calming hand during moments of political crisis.

Ruben, thin and downcast, spoke to The Associated Press after crossing the street from Caracas’ sprawling Fort Tiuna after handing in his discharge papers, copies of which he still had in a manila folder under his arm.

He said he couldn’t feed his pregnant wife and 2-year-old son on his National Guard pay. He sought work changing tires on days off, earning double the roughly $2 a month he takes home from the military. He said he plans to make the side job fulltime once he is discharged.

He’s hardly alone.

On the Caribbean island of Margarita, soldiers in olive green uniforms and rifles slung over their shoulders openly wander the market each morning begging merchants for fruits and vegetables.

In the western city of Maracaibo, Ruth Bravo, 21, said she sent her husband into the army for food benefits so she and her two young children could eat. But such help seldom comes, forcing her to beg on the streets each day for survival.

Even the rations served in military mess halls have dramatically diminished in size and quality. To compensate, soldiers are often given leave several hours during the day to hunt for meals off base, several told the AP.

Soldiers once made up a privileged class at the height of Venezuela’s oil boom under Chavez, who himself was a former tank commander. They had access to quality housing, cars and home appliances at subsidized prices.

But the largesse has dried up under Maduro, who has tried to compensate by giving top-ranking officers an even bigger slice of power. They head nearly half of Venezuela’s ministries, including control of the primary food-supply program.

Most notably, six months ago Maduro named Maj. Gen. Manuel Quevedo to revive the state-run oil company, PDVSA, and its plummeting production though he had no previous experience in the industry.

The 150,000 men and women serving in Venezuela’s military are now the lowest paid in Latin America, with monthly salaries worth only to $2 to $12, said Rocio San Miguel, a Caracas-based military analyst. Base pay for troops in Colombia begins at $75, while soldiers in Mexico earn $300 to start.

Nobody knows exactly how many soldiers have deserted. But San Miguel and other experts say they number several thousand.

In addition to the economic strains, many soldiers fear being deployed again to hold back masses of angry protesters calling for a new government. Experts say desertions surged in 2017 as the National Guard clashed with anti-Maduro protesters almost daily for four months, leaving more than 140 people dead and hundreds more injured and arrested.

There has been a spike in court martials. A handful of soldiers and officers were jailed in 2017 on suspicion of various crimes, yet 90 have already been arrested so far this year, experts say.

Aging, paunchy generals regularly flank Maduro in televised events in a show of strength, but in private they are more inclined to grumble about his leadership, said Alonso Medina Roa, a lawyer who defends some of the military detainees.

Gen. Vladimir Padrino Lopez, who commands Venezuela’s armed forces as minister of defense, announced plans in March to bolster conditions for soldiers struggling with economic challenges. But he denied there was widespread unrest in the ranks and ridiculed rumors of a brewing military coup.

“The Bolivarian armed forces won’t be divided by anyone,” he said, speaking at the nation’s biggest base in the capital of Caracas.

Adm. Remigio Ceballos, head of the armed forces’ strategic command, denied any mass exodus of soldiers, emphatically telling the AP: “Not at all, that’s a lie.”

Families of soldiers paint a far grimmer picture.

Odalys Bermudez, wife of a National Guard sergeant, said she relies on “miracles” to feed her four children aged 5 to 12. Some days, the gaunt 30-year-old borrows money from friends, or she sets up a makeshift shop outside her apartment near the military base in Maracay.

“I sell any little thing, whether it’s ice cream or cookies,” she said. “Anything I can get to fill the hole in my stomach.”

We can learn from the sad and difficult experiences of others.  Living in a dream world convinced that similar things could never happen to us here in the United States is folly.  As the Venezuelan people are now experiencing, there is nothing more valuable than food to feed one’s family – absolutely nothing!  Now is the time to prepare, not after the need has arisen.


More than 35 years experience in the Preparedness Industry

Living Without a Fridge

I have one of the most wonderful mother-in-law’s I could have ever hoped for (and I’m not just saying that because I fear she may read this).  She loves having her family around her and has always treated me as one of her own sons.  She runs a tight ship and insists on having everything in its place and order is paramount.  This is why there’s been one thing that’s been very difficult for me to reconcile through the years, namely that of warm milk!  Yes, you heard me right, warm milk.

You see, my wife has six siblings and now that they’re all married, when we get together there’s quite a crowd.  Whenever we eat as a group and milk is part of the buffet, often the milk jug is left out on the counter for hours.  Now I don’t know about you, but when I pour a glass of milk, I expect it to be ice cold.  I love cold milk.  Now on the other hand, for me there’s nothing worse that expecting a crisp, cold swig of milk and end up with a mouthful of room temperature milk.  If I were alone, I would definitely spit it out.

Now with today’s technology, we’re very accustom to our dairy, produce and meat products coming out of the fridge cold.  But what if we didn’t have a fridge or our fridge didn’t work, how would we keep our food cold and keep it from spoiling?

Well, one way to address this problem is to look at how our forefathers kept things cold.  In England in Victorian times and before (and probably in other countries too) not everyone could afford the luxury of delivered ice – and anyway poorer people could only afford to shop for the bare necessities every day and these got quickly gobbled up by the much larger households of the time!

What people needed was a safe place to store food overnight or until mealtime. This was usually called a ‘cool pantry.’ The pantry was often located on the coldest (North) facing wall of the house/cottage, and often had a tiny window high up. This window was often protected by a sort of metal sieved screen to keep the flies out. On the inside, the walls where shelved, and on the shelves were kept perhaps a jug of milk or cream, cheese in a specially shaped china wedge, perhaps a ham or other cold meat, rashers of bacon, a pot of butter or a few slices of cold pie or brawn. The cooler temperatures in there would have been enough to keep the food cool for 2/3 days (we probably wouldn’t risk it nowadays!)

Before electricity, there were a few different ways of keeping food before refrigerators. Most recently (just before modern refrigerators became very common) people used iceboxes.  These were like refrigerators but instead of being cooled electrically, they were cooled by having actual ice in them.

Before that was available, people had cool cellars and some had ice houses where ice could be stored (under sawdust or straw) and kept cool for much of the year.  These places could keep some food cool.

But mostly, in those days, food was preserved some other way – by smoking, salting, or drying it.

Most houses used to be built with cellars. A cellar was dark and cool, and food could be kept there so it wouldn’t spoil. People also canned fruits and vegetables, and preserved meats in barrels with salt. The wealthy had ice houses, where they stored ice and they were also cellars. They would have an icebox in the house, and put the blocks of ice in there.

If one lived close to a stream, placing some food items in a screened container in the cool stream water would offer the refrigeration needed to preserve many food items while keeping animals from eating the food.

But what if you don’t have a cool cellar or access to ice or a cool stream, how then could you practically keep food at least cool if not cold.  The answer is evaporation.  Check out these videos on how you can make your own evaporative cooler called a Zeer Pot to help preserve your food.

It may be worth your time to spend a few dollars and pick up some unglazed terracotta pots and experiment with your own Zeer Pot refrigerator now so you’ll know what you options and limitations are in the event of an off-grid survival situation.

More than 35 years experience in the Preparedness Industry

EMP Attack on America – Will It Happen Soon?

A wicked wind storm blew through our area last spring with winds over 70 mph.  There was significant damage to roofs and trees in throughout our neighborhood and community.  A large section of shingles blew off our roof and one of our mature 40 foot weeping willow trees was blown over.  It was a real mess everywhere.

As a result of the storm, the power was off for about 12 hours.  Now since it was spring time, temperatures were mild and the lack of power was in no way life threatening.  What did become evident very quickly was just how dependent we are on electricity for virtually everything in our lives.

You know what it’s like when you forget to wear your wristwatch and you are constantly looking at your wrist throughout the day expecting to see the time and then are quickly reminded, you aren’t wearing a watch.  The same thing happened to us during that 12 hour period of time.  We were constantly flipping switches, simply out of habit, expecting lights or appliances to work.

Yes, it was aggravating and frustrating at times but we knew the inconvenience was only temporary.  Then the thought came, “What if it was permanent?”  What if electricity was a convenience of the past and we had to learn to survive without it?  How would we survive or could we?

Unfortunately, our electrical grid is susceptible to a variety of threats that could disrupt the flow of electricity for many months to many years.  They range from natural disasters, terrorist attacks and an EMP, an EMP attack being the most devastating.

A great book to read detailing the traumatic conditions following an EMP attack is “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen who has a Ph.D. from Purdue University with specializations in Military History and the History of Technology.

It is estimated that 90% of the population of the United States would perish in the first year after a nation-wide EMP attack primarily due to the lack of food.  So what is an EMP and how can we prepare?

EMP stands for electromagnetic pulse, which is considered a short burst of electromagnetic radiation. This kind of burst can come from a variety of sources, including our own sun, but in this case we’re talking about a pulse from a nuclear detonation that occurs at an extremely high altitude.

As nuclear physicist Dr. Yousaf Butt explains, these pulses affect everything in line of sight of the nuclear blast. For example, a blast at 60 miles up can affect a 700-mile radius on Earth.

EMP bombs do not cause casualties directly. The blast happens much too far away from people. Their power comes from interfering, disrupting, or damaging electronic equipment. That could mean power grids going down, cars and planes losing power, computer systems going berserk, and possibly even losing emergency backup power at facilities like hospitals.

Here’s a great video describing the details of an EMP attack and the probability of just such an event.

Unfortunately, if there was only one word that could describe what an EMP attack on the United States would be like, ‘devastating’ would be it.  One of the thoughts that cross many prepper’s minds is what electronic devices will work after an EMP attack. The rest of your life would literally change following an EMP attack. That is not an exaggeration because life would literally return to the Dark Ages.

Should an EMP device be detonated high enough in the atmosphere, the entire power grid across most of North America would collapse.  What does this mean for you?

It means there will be no more electricity.  It means your TVs, computers, and phones will no longer work.  It means your cars most likely won’t.  It means airplanes would no longer work and could fall from the sky.  Electronic banking would no longer be possible.   The supply trucks would stop rolling. The economy would collapse.

And when that happens, you can guarantee there will be chaos. The once peaceful and delicate community you live in now will become a war zone. People will take to the streets looting all the stores and restaurants and businesses in the area.

The normal people you once knew could become savages. Many may turn on one another for food and supplies.  Organized raiding parties would form and prey on the innocent.  Every single second of your life would be focused on survival and keeping an eye out for threats.  What’s worse is this catastrophe is not something that could be solved in a short time period.

The United States is woefully under prepared for an EMP attack.  Even the most conservative estimates are that it would take at least TEN YEARS for the country to recover.  During that time, over 90% of the American population would die due to starvation, dehydration, disease, murder, and suicide.

This is what would happen when literally nothing works.  No more electronics, no more power, no more heat and electricity, no more vehicles, no more internet, no more cell service.

If you want an almost surefire way of knowing what will work after an EMP attack in regards to electronic items, using a Faraday cage at the time of the EMP blast is your best bet.  Named after Michael Faraday, a scientist who lived in Great Britain in the 1800s, a Faraday cage is simply any container or enclosure that can shield the contents inside from an electromagnetic field.  Faraday cages are also incredibly cheap and easy to make using materials you likely already have.

For example, you can build a Faraday cage out of nothing more than a galvanized metal trash can and cardboard, or you can build one by covering a cardboard box with at least three layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil.  With both of these examples, wrap your electronic item in a towel and then in plastic wrapping before placing it into the cage for added protection.

Since you won’t be able to recharge your electronic item in a power outlet after an EMP, invest in a solar charger to go with it.

Does a Faraday cage guarantee that your phone or laptop will still work after an EMP?  No, but it greatly increases the likelihood, and for that reason alone is worth building.

An electromagnetic pulse attack upon the United States would be very bad no matter how you slice it.  But you can become more prepared by stocking up on items that will work after an EMP attack.  So while your car may not work, an older model of car may. While your phone or laptop won’t work after an EMP, protecting it in a Faraday cage may be able to save it. While you won’t be able to access information online anymore, you can still access the same information through physical copies of books.

Please take the time now to learn more about the possibility and effects of an EMP so you can be properly prepared.  If you had to choose just one thing to do to prepare for such an event, securing enough food for your family for as long as you can afford would be the absolute best action to take.  Remember, the vast majority of deaths are not a result of the lack of electricity but the lack of food.  Having sufficient food reserves for your family will help shield against almost any potential event or disaster.


More than 35 years experience in the Preparedness Industry

I Don’t Want to Know

I noticed something strange today at the gym.  I was on my favorite treadmill when a woman came in and got on the treadmill on the row in front of me a little to the right.  Normally I don’t pay much attention to those who come and go while I’m working out but this woman did something I didn’t expect.  As she was starting, she took off her jacket and laid it over the display of the treadmill.  I first thought she didn’t know where else to put her jacket then I noticed her peeking under her jacket to adjust the incline and speed.

Then it dawned on me – this woman didn’t want to see her stats showing in bright red numbers on her display.  From what I could tell, she wanted to work out by just the way she felt, not by what the numbers on the display were telling her.

I don’t know if this is a good or bad approach, but I did think it was interesting but also potentially misleading.  I’m one of those who likes to know all the details and to be able to compare my performance with my last workout.  Some days I do better than I anticipated, other days not so much.  Nevertheless, I want to know.  For me, knowledge is power.  Knowing all the details of any specific event is something I crave.  I want to be one of the first to know and have as much time as possible to act on that knowledge.

I haven’t always felt that way.  I’m sure most of us have gone through a stage where ignorance was bliss.  I know as a newly-wed starving college student, there were times I didn’t want to balance my checkbook just because I didn’t want to know how bad it was.  I must admit, there were times when not knowing gave me a small measure of peace until the returned check notices started to appear in the mail.  It was then that I wished I’d been more pro-active and could have avoided the return check charges.

As I started to learn about the importance of preparedness, I became more and more interested in learning about all the potential events that could occur that would require prior preparation to avoid unnecessary suffering by my family.  I would war-game every possible scenario I could think of and try to prepare in a fashion that would mitigate most adverse consequences of said event.

This exercise gave me so much confidence and empowerment that I wanted to convert all my friends and extended family members to the same level of belief and subsequent preparedness.  Boy, was that ever a mistake!  I learned very quickly that most didn’t have the same belief level as I did and many though I had turned into a real fanatic or even a nut job.

Even some of my close friends and family members asked me to stop discussing the potential “doom and gloom” scenarios with them and that they really didn’t believe such things would happen.  I must admit, I felt I was so well prepared that I was almost routing for the disasters to happen so I could put my preps to use.  I didn’t look at the possible traumatic events as something to avoid, but embrace and I enjoyed talking about them.  This really turned off many friends and family members.

As I try and analyze the reason why individuals don’t like to talk about or even hear about such potential events, I get the sense that once again, ignorance is bliss.  It’s seems as if somehow if they ignore it, it’s not real.

I’ve learned over the years that if I want to continue with a good relationship with these friends and family members, I have to simply not discuss preparedness issues.  It really is an awful shame and something these good folks will surely regret but as the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”.

So what should we do?  We can’t prepare for everyone and we shouldn’t feel as if we have to.  Each of us has to make the personal decision as to how to handle such a dilemma.  I can’t imagine what it would be like if loved ones who had not prepared came to my door in dire need of food and supplies and I wasn’t able to help.  So for me and my family, we have simply made the decision to never stop preparing.

Every week we continue to add to our preps even if it’s something as simple as a case of Ramen Noodles.  I’ve had the impression many times as I carry another bucket of wheat or case of pinto beans to the basement – I will never personally eat this but that it will someday save someone’s life – and that’s good enough for me.

When the time comes we need to rely on our food storage, none of us will ever say, “Dang it, we’ve just got too much food here!”  We will just be glad we put aside what we did because the moment it’s needed; it’s too late to get it.

More than 35 years experience in the Preparedness Industry

Are You Prepared for a Medical Emergency?

I’ve always loved shooting guns and archery.  I was a lot like Ralphie on “A Christmas Story” where all I wanted for Christmas was a BB gun.  I tried every strategy I could come up with but unfortunately, my mom trumped them all.  There was absolutely no way she was going to allow me to pack a BB gun – she just knew I’d shoot my eye out or possibly someone else’s eye.

My first real gun was a Remington bolt action .22 rifle.  My dad gave it to me when I was 10 years old and if my parents would have let me, I would have slept with it.  I loved shooting that rifle and still have the gun today.  It’s one of the most accurate open-site rifles I’ve ever shot.

As much as I loved that rifle, I was only able to shoot it when we went to the mountains and that just wasn’t anywhere often enough.  Luckily, I had received a 30lb. fiberglass recurve bow for Christmas (and yes, I still have the bow as well).  Since I didn’t have a BB gun, I’d take my bow and a few wooden arrows lizard hunting with my buddies.  We’d walk through the mesas near our home in Albuquerque kicking up blue tails and horny toads from the tumble weeds.  I learned quickly that I just wasn’t fast enough on the draw to actually hit a running lizard.

I was determined to improve my hunting abilities so I would practice in the back yard shooting cardboard boxes.  The arrows I was using were nothing like the aluminum of carbon fiber arrows of today.  They were very basic wooden arrows with a metal field tip crimped on the end.  I only had three arrows and they were really showing the signs of wear.  What I didn’t realize was just how worn they really were.

One of my arrows had developed a crack about six inches in front of the fletching.  I could easily see the crack but just didn’t think anything about it until I learned a very painful lesson.  I nocked the cracked arrow, drew it back and sighted in on my cardboard box target.  I released the shaft and everything seemed to slow down as if I was watching the arrow leave my bow in slow motion.

As my bow string pushed against the nock at the back of the arrow, the force caused the arrow to bow and split right where the crack was.  The front part of the arrow flew away from my bow totally missing the target.  The back end of the arrow ended up driving through my left index finger just in front of my first knuckle.

I didn’t feel anything at first and remember just staring at it wondering what to do.  I then decided I better go inside and see if I could somehow remove the arrow.  I came into the kitchen from the garage and went to the knife drawer.  I decided the best course of action was to cut through the flesh on top of the arrow so I could just lift the arrow straight up rather than pulling it out.  This was my first encounter with just how tough human skin really is.  I had unfortunately (on second thought, fortunately) chosen a fairly dull knife.  As I began to saw on my skin, I was surprised I still couldn’t feel anything but was upset that the knife was not slicing through the skin as easily as I had anticipated.

I quickly decided to abandon this approach and knew I needed help to fix this problem.  I could hear my sister in the living room with her boyfriend and decided to walk in there to get help.  My sister first though I was somehow faking it but on closer inspection realized this was real.  I have to clarify one important point here – my parents, especially my dad seldom felt a doctor was needed to address a wound.  If this happened today, I would rush my kid to the emergency room – not the case when I was growing up.

I told my sister how I’d tried to cut the arrow out and she commented on the folly of my attempt.  She explained that the arrow would need to be pulled out and I definitely was not excited by this revelation.  She told me to look away and on the count of three, she would pull the arrow out.  I reluctantly agreed, turned my head and heard my sister begin counting.  One. Two. Then a quick jerk of her hand pulled the arrow right out of my finger.  She totally faked me out and pulled on the count of two!  I’ve still not forgiven her for this.

I never got stitches and pulled out slivers from the wound for several days thereafter.  Somehow, I survived.  It might have gotten a little infected but nothing I couldn’t handle with some antibiotic cream under the Band-Aids.  I still have the scar today and can even see the cut mark where I tried to slice the skin to remove the arrow.

Now, the facts are – I was very lucky.  Had such an accident happened in the wild, I could have died with an infection.  It really is easy to take for granted the extraordinary medical care available to all of us by simply walking into an Emergency Room.  But what if all that was unexpectedly taken away?  Are you prepared to handle more than applying a Band-Aid?

Most first aid kits are really not much more than Band-Aids, gauze and medical tape.  If there is any antibiotic ointment, it’s probably very limited in quantity and does have an expiration date.  The bottom line, most first aid kits are woefully lacking in real world needs.  In addition, there may be specific medical needs for members of your families that cannot be ignored.

So what should you have in a comprehensive first aid kit?  The options are almost limitless and you could spend close to a thousand dollars so you’ll need to decide what would make sense for your personal and family needs.  There are several companies that specialize in very comprehensive first aid kits that can at least serve as a resource, listing the types of items you may want to consider in your own kit.

Here is a link to a kit that has over 700 items – too many to list in this post but may provide a good working list for your own kit.

The Medic | First Aid Kit

I personally own this first aid kit and have added several additional items to customize it to my family’s needs.  Please don’t neglect this part of your preps – your health and well being are far too important.  You never know when a bizarre accident may happen and the option of heading to your local hospital emergency room may not be an option.

More than 35 years experience in the Preparedness Industry

Do You Have an Escape Route?

I live in a small community where the city struggles with collecting enough tax revenue to maintain the infrastructure, especially the roads.  Just recently, a bond was passed to address the terrible state of disrepair many of our roads have fallen into.  There were so many pot holes, cracks and uneven surfaces that many times one feels as if it would be a smoother ride if it was a dirt road.

Well, just a few weeks ago, the road repair began.  Orange cones appeared everywhere with road construction signs on almost every street.  Then the heavy equipment showed up and the process of tearing up the old roads in preparation of laying a new road base and a fresh layer of asphalt.  Then things began to get tricky.

You see, so many of the roads were being worked on at the same time that it created a real challenge to drive just about anywhere.  Then when they chocked down certain roads to one lane with flagmen stopping traffic every few minutes, things got really frustrating.  In an attempt to bypass much of this construction, I took the time to map out alternate routes that were longer in distance but much quicker in time.

Now everyone in the community agrees, these roads desperately needed to be fixed.  It’s just the inconvenience of not being able to use the roads for a period of time (since we’re all such impatient people), really gets under our skin at times.  I made the mistake the other day of not remembering my prior though out route change to avoid much of the construction and turned onto one of the most highly congested one lane roads under construction.  When I realized my mistake, I quickly looked around to see if I could make a U-turn to get out of there but no such luck – I was locked in.

I spent almost 20 minutes on a stretch of road that normally would take less than 3 minutes and I was ticked.  I was in a hurry with what I felt were important errands but the construction workers just didn’t seem to care.  They made me wait just as long as everyone else.

I think we’ve all been on roads where there was either construction or an accident or just far too many cars (I hate rush hour).  It can be really infuriating dealing with stop and go traffic and average speed limits of under 20 mph.  There’s no question, this can anger a lot of people and road rage can take an uptick in these situations.

I remember going to a huge 4th of July fireworks celebration at a university stadium some 20 miles away.  There were 60,000 attendees inside the stadium and another 30,000 outside the stadium.  We knew traffic and parking would be a nightmare so my wife and I decided to take my motorcycle.  My wife’s not a huge fan of riding on my bike, especially in traffic so I always try and drive a little more conservatively when she’s on board.

From previous years’ experience (when we drove a car to the event), I knew the worst time would be right after the event when everyone would be trying to get out of there.  We had been stuck in traffic for hours in previous years.  My plan this year was to avoid most of that by being able to drive on the shoulder passing all the cars stuck in grid lock.

What I didn’t expect is how some drivers would react to my plan.  Now keep in mind, I wasn’t driving very fast on the shoulder so drivers could see me coming.  There were those who were so upset about my passing everyone by, they actually would steer their cars over to the right blocking the shoulder.  I’m not sure why they felt they were personally be hurt by my passing them by, but nevertheless, there were several who tried to keep up from passing.

This of course was so very comforting to my wife – the thought of people trying to run us off the road.  Needless to say, it was the last time we rode my motorcycle to this event.  These experiences have caused me to reflect on the utter chaos that will exist should a mass evacuation be required or necessary.

The 1998 movie, “Deep Impact” comes to mind as I think about such potentially massive traffic gridlock.  A comet is on a collision course with the earth slated to strike in the Atlantic Ocean generating a 3,500 ft. high mega-tsunami.  Everyone is on the road trying to get to higher ground.  Problem is, there are so many on the road, traffic is at a complete standstill.  Tempers are flaring and desperate actions taken.  Unfortunately, I believe this scene could repeat itself in real life for many of us.

One of the most dramatic examples I personally experienced was related to hurricane Katrina.  A little more than a day before Katrina hit, I was in New Orleans and watched as they changed the traffic flow on all the freeways in the area.  It’s called contra-flow and the direction of the flow on all freeways was headed out of the New Orleans area.  Even though the vast majority of the residents of the New Orleans area did not evacuate, still the freeways were a mess!  I can’t imagine what it would have been like had EVERYONE tried to evacuate using the freeways.

So you may be asking yourself, “What’s the solution?”  There isn’t a blanket solution for every circumstance but there are some common sense precautions one can take to greatly reduce the risk of having to deal with such difficult and potentially life-threating situations.

First – Take the time now to map out several different routes out of your area using less traveled roads.  You should have at least three escape routes planned out.  Using Google Maps and Google Earth, it should be fairly simple to map these routes.  You then must drive them.  Make notes of any potential bottle necks or concerns that may have you choosing another escape route.

Second – Make sure you always have enough fuel in your car.  My wife has the bad habit of running her car down to the empty mark before she lets me know she needs gas.  I try and help her avoid this issue by always filling her car whenever I drive it.  Ultimately, we should drive off the top 1/4 of a tank, always filling up when you get to 3/4 of a tank.  This is not always possible but I seldom let my tanks drop below 1/2 (unless my wife’s driving).

I also feel it’s important to keep at least 5 gallons of gas in a red plastic gas can in the garage that could easily be thrown in the trunk in a bug-out scenario.  Better safe than sorry.  Back in August, a friend and I decided to drive up to Idaho for the solar eclipse.  Knowing there would be tens of thousands of others also driving up there and not knowing what the traffic conditions would be, especially right after the eclipse, I decided to take two 5-gallon gas cans with us.  We ended up not needing to use them but it really gave us that extra sense of security that if things got dicey, we’d be able to make it out.

Remember, the last thing you want is to be stuck in traffic with an impending disaster looming.  Please take the time now to ensure you have your escape routes and fuel secured and I promise you will sleep better.

More than 35 years experience in the Preparedness Industry

Russia Prepares for Nuclear War with the U.S.

Russia Prepares for Nuclear War With U.S., Instructing Citizens to Buy Water and Gas Masks

By Cristina Maza

Russian state-owned television is urging the country’s residents to stock their bunkers with water and basic foodstuffs because Moscow could go to war with Washington.

Warning that the potential conflict between the two superpowers would be “catastrophic,” an anchor for Russia’s Vesti 24 showed off shelves of food, recommending that people buy salt, oatmeal and other products that can last a long time on the shelves. Powdered milk last five years while sugar and rice can last up to eight years, the newscaster explained before showing videos of pasta cooking in a bomb shelter.

The channel’s newscasters also displayed charts explaining how much water people need to store for drinking, washing their face and hands, and preparing food every day—and how that amount changes depending on the temperature of a person’s bomb shelter. The program also recommended that people stock up on gas masks and read guides on how to survive nuclear war.

The program aired just one day after sources told Newsweekthat “there is a major war scare” in Moscow, as President Donald Trump prepares to strike Syria in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons against civilians over the weekend. The Trump administration has said it believes Syria’s Russian-backed President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the attacks, and it plans to ensure that Assad pays the price. Russian military forces have responded by saying that Moscow would meet fire with fire and said that it will shoot down any U.S. missiles.

If there is a strike by the Americans, then the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired,” warned Alexander Zasypkin, Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, during an interview on Tuesday with a television station linked to Hezbollah.

The increasingly bellicose rhetoric has sparked fears that a conflict could break out between two nuclear-armed superpowers.
On Wednesday morning, Trump took to Twitter to issue a stark warning to Russia, which he accused of partnering with “a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!


More than 35 years experience in the Preparedness Industry

Know Your Limits

I qualified for a learner’s permit when I was 14 years old and received my driver’s license when I turned 15.  My dad had purchased a brand new 1969 Ford Bronco and it was his pride and joy.  Moving beyond our family station wagon, we now officially had a SUV rather than trying to make the old trusty station wagon act like a SUV.  I had learned how to drive with our automatic transmission station wagon so the manual transmission Bronco posed a new, exciting challenge.  Four-wheel drive was a new thing for me and I just couldn’t get enough of testing the limits of what a 4X4 could do.

My younger brother and I were always coming up with new and bizarre adventures that would put our dad’s Bronco to the test.  The Bronco was powered by a 302 V8 with three on the tree.  For those who don’t recognize that terminology, if was a 3 speed manual transmission with the shifter mounted on the steering column.  It had both a high and low range four-wheel drive shifter on the floor that was often temperamental.  If everything wasn’t just right, it was almost impossible to shift into four-wheel drive or move from high to low.

One of our creative adventures was to drive out to the mesa where there were several old, abandoned cars.  We would hitch a tow chain between the Bronco and the old vehicles, put the Bronco into four wheel drive and pull the old car around the mesa, usually with my brother in the driver’s seat of the old car.  We all got a real kick out of this and the cloud of dust we would leave was always huge (seeing as these cars seldom had any tires or wheels).

On one of these adventures, we found an old car that was partially buried in the dirt and sand.  This didn’t worry us because we knew we had four-wheel drive.  We hitched the chain up to the vehicle and I jumped back into the Bronco while my brother climbed into the old car.  As I shifted into four-wheel drive I had a thought I should probably shift into four-wheel low since the old car was partially buried.

I pushed the buttons in on the shifter handle and was able to shift into four-wheel high but I could not get it to go into four-wheel low.  I tried and tried but no dice so I made the decision to try and make it work in high. I dropped the tranny shifter into first gear, revved up the motor and began to let out the clutch.  I was just barely able to move the old car before the motor stalled.  I started it up again and revved the motor even more and began to do something very stupid.  I began to slip the clutch trying to artificially create even a lower gear.

It worked.  I was able to pull the old car out from being partially buried but because there was still a lot of sand and dirt inside the car, I had to keep slipping the clutch to keep the Bronco going.  As I looked back to see how my brother was doing, I saw him climbing out the driver’s side window swinging his arms and yelling at me to stop.  I didn’t know what the problem was so I stopped and jumped out of the Bronco.  It was only then I could understand what my brother was yelling – I was on fire!

I had been slipping the clutch so much that it created enough heat to ignite the clutch plates.  Flames were coming up from underneath the Bronco so we started throwing dirt up underneath the Bronco until the flames were extinguished.  I jumped back in the Bronco and depressed the clutch pedal and there was nothing there.  I began to sweat thinking about what I would tell my dad.

I’m grateful to this day my dad was somewhat understanding.  I think in spite of it all, even though he wouldn’t openly admit it, he got a kick out of our creative adventures.  Not only did I learn the lesson of compassion, but I also began to understand how important it is to understand the limits of your equipment and make sure you have the right tools for the job.

Having the right tools and knowing the limits of your equipment are essential for you and your family’s safety sake.  I took my wife and two small kids snowmobiling one winter thinking we would have a great afternoon.  I had a special snowmobile trailer/sled where we set the kids and my wife and I rode on the snowmobile.  After driving for about an hour on a remote, snowy mountain road, we stopped to have a picnic lunch in the snow.  I spread out a tarp and we had a great time having lunch and playing in the snow.

When it was time to turn around and head back, I got the kids loaded up in the sled and my wife and I climbed on the snowmobile ready to go.  I grabbed the pull starter and gave it a good yank and POP, the pull started rope broke.  I couldn’t believe it – really?!  After unloading the kids, I spread a tarp beside the snowmobile, lifted the hood and went to work fixing the pull starter.  I guess I should rephrase that – I attempted to go to work fixing the pull starter.  I quickly realized the only tools I had with me was a small crescent wrench, a small Philips screwdriver and a rusty cheap pair of pliers.  Not the tools I needed!  I tried for about 30 minutes to take off the pull starter with the pitiful tools I had but no dice – it just wasn’t going to happen.

Now what?  We’re miles away from civilization, the kids are starting to get cold and we’re dead in the water (so to speak).  I ended up making a fire for the kids while we hoped and prayed another snowmobiler would come by.  I knew there was no way the kids would be able to hike out and I was not about to leave them and my wife alone while I hiked out.  In a few hours it would be getting dark and I really started to pray hard that someone would come by.

Fortunately, our prayers were answered.  About an hour later two guys came by on their snowmobiles and I flagged them down.  They were properly prepared with all the tools I needed to take the pull starter off, repair it and reinstall it.  After just a couple of pulls, the motor was purring and I knew we’d make it home safe and sound.  Had those two snowmobilers not taken the same trail that day, the end of our Saturday afternoon adventure could have been significantly different, possibly even tragic.

Please take the time now to ensure you know the limits of your equipment and make sure you always have the correct and necessary tools in the event things break down.  This type of preparation can literally be lifesaving.

More than 35 years experience in the Preparedness Industry