BugOut Blog

How to Save on Emergency Supplies – Disaster Prep on a Budget

How to Save on Emergency Supplies – Disaster Prep on a Budget

 How to Save on Emergency Supplies – Disaster Prep on a BudgetIt’s no secret the world is a dangerous place. Every day, we hear about something – whether caused by humans or nature – that’s turned lives upside down. Bad news greets us in the morning and follows us to bed at night.

What are we to do?

Fear and stress are killers. They kill us from the inside out. We must find constructive ways to defuse the situation. Faith practices, physical exercise, counseling and peer groups… all can help, but there’s one thing everyone should consider: Get prepared.

When you take the initiative to recognize potential problems and prepare to deal with them when and if they come, you not only position yourself to face those difficulties, but knowing you’re ready helps lower stress.

In this guide, we’ll talk about disaster preparedness. We’ll talk about the supplies and equipment you and your family need to weather out the storm or make it through the crisis. And we’ll suggest ways you can save money and still get high quality goods.

By getting ready now, you won’t have to worry so much about what might happen. If a news alert says severe weather is headed your way, you’ll be ready for it.

You’ll know that whatever comes down the pike, you’re not going to be joining the crowd desperately trying to find a store with something left on the shelves or wondering how in the world to live without water and electricity.

We’ve tried to keep the recommendations here in line with those suggested by the American Red Cross. Responding to disasters is a big part of what they do every day.

 How to Save on Emergency Supplies – Disaster Prep on a Budget

Most of Us Are Not Prepared for an Emergency – WHY?

Why don’t we stay ready, just in case the power goes out, the water doesn’t flow from the tap, or the grocery store has to close for a few days?

It’s a perplexing question.

We know disasters happen. We know we’re susceptible. Yet most of us are sorely unprepared.

And if we examine the usual answers to why that is, they all fail in the light of reason:

  • I don’t know how to prepare
  • We just don’t have time to figure it out
  • It hasn’t happened yet, so why worry about it?
  • I don’t have the money to get everything I need together
  • Public services like police, fire, and medical can handle any problem

According to data from the United States Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey only about one-third of American households have developed a communication plan and agreed on an emergency meeting location.

In this emergency preparedness guide, we’ll talk about the preparations you should make and suggest ways to check each item off with a minimum of expense and hassle.

After all, the best plan in the world won’t work if you don’t have the means to enact it.

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This article was written by Coupon Chief and can be viewed in its entirety here

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Emergency Medical Preparedness: Prepare Yourself for a Medical Emergency

Emergency Medical Preparedness: Prepare Yourself for a Medical Emergency

When it comes to prepping, there is a lot of talk about what material needs we should have on hand. A bug-out bagfreeze-dried foodwatertransportationfirst-aid kitweapons for protection and a place to bug-out to. The idea is to have the basic needs of food, water and shelter readily available. The problem is; when the SHTF not everyone gets to just go merrily about their way, to easily head out and get gone. In fact, it is quite likely that many of us will sustain significant injuries that need to be tended to. Whether it is ourselves, our loved ones, or the friends who will be with us, we will need to know how to take care of each others injuries and illnesses.

I am an Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant with more than 20 years of Emergency Room experience, the majority of it in Level I Trauma centers (where the most severe cases…crashes, gunshots, severe work injuries, falls from heights, etc. go). Prior to becoming a PA, I was an EMT. I have a great deal of experience dealing with trauma victims and worked in an ER where we saw multiple gunshots daily. I have lectured at several colleges in the Chicago area as well as being responsible for teaching EMT, Physician Assistant, Medical and Podiatry students. I have also been an instructor for the American Red Cross teaching First Aid, CPR and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) classes.

There is a lot of information out there about what makes up a good medical kit for your bug-out bag. Everything you need can be either assembled by you or purchased as anyone of a variety of pre-stocked kits. While the kit you have with you when you bug out is obviously important, it is also completely useless if you have not taken the time to learn how to use it. The truth is you can stop most bleeding with direct pressure. Sometimes you need a torn shirt, some duct tape and a pair of trauma scissors. You don’t have to be MacGyver to do it. You do need proper training.

Emergency Medical Preparedness: Prepare Yourself for a Medical Emergency

Pamela Rauseo, 37, performs CPR on her nephew, 5-month-old Sebastian de la Cruz, after pulling her SUV to the side of the road. The baby was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he is reportedly doing OK.

That said; EVERYONE who expects to deal with the aftermath of when the SHTF needs to know basic CPR and at least basic Trauma First Aid. That means taking classes and practicing what you learn. I can tell you stories about people attempting to administer first aid who had no training, but I won’t. Suffice it to say the outcomes were less than desirable.

Emergency Medical Preparedness: Prepare Yourself for a Medical Emergency

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way

Let’s think about some injuries you can expect in the woods, hiking or running to find cover. Or for that matter, just being in a place where help is not going to come anytime soon. Falls are very common and can result in anything from a scrape to sprains to more serious injuries like fractures and head injuries. So ask yourself; do I really know how to treat a sprain? What about a fracture? Do I know how to stop bleeding and properly clean a wound? Have I ever done those things? Would I be able to actually do the job the right way should I need to? What if it was something life threatening? Could I save a person’s life?

If the answer to any of the above is NO, then you can have all the gear in the world at the ready, but YOU are not ready to bug-out!

I’m going to give an example of injury event that can be a tragedy if you are not properly trained to treat it. Remember, this is about knowing: both what TO do and what NOT TO do.

You and your companion are moving quickly through a heavily wooded area and your companion falls. When you reach them, you see a branch has impaled their arm. They are essentially stuck to a tree because of a branch sticking all the way through their arm. Your companion is in shock and not even aware of the extent of the injury. They are confused. There is blood coming from their arm and also from a gash on the right side of their head which is bleeding profusely. You think you see bone exposed through the head laceration and it seems that one of their legs has something wrong. Closer examination shows you that the ankle is sitting at a strange angle. What do you do now?

If you are like most people, you freak out, try to compose yourself so you don’t freak out your companion, get really pale and nearly pass out and then reach for your cellphone to call 911. Oops, no connectivity, so no help coming. So what now? The first aid kit! You have a first aid kit with a manual in it to walk you through caring for these injuries. You dig out the kit, open and it and check the book only to find it’s great for small cuts and bruises and simple things, but it has nothing remotely close to what you’re dealing with now.

Suddenly, you realize that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to cancel that first aid class you had signed up for but decided you were too busy/tired to take. Besides, someone else will know what to do or I’ll call 911 anyway, I’ll never need to use it.

WOW! Talk about contrary to prepper philosophy. Or is it? It would seem that Emergency Medical preparedness training is a no-brainer, but in reality, most prepper sites and stores that cater to preppers are focused on the medical equipment you need rather than the training required to use it.

So anyway, I can’t teach you the how to do it in this article. I can give you a good idea of what good, accurate care and treatment of this fall will require. And yes, you can look all these things up on the internet. However, unless you learn from a real, live person who can guide you and correct mistakes you will surely make as you learn, you are never going to be able to really address the problems this very real scenario depicts.

STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.

Emergency Medical Preparedness: Prepare Yourself for a Medical Emergency

The very first thing required in any trauma/accident situation is an evaluation of the site of the accident. Stop, take a breath and look at where you are about to go. Is it a safe place to enter? In the urban world this is akin to a Paramedic called to the scene of a gunshot victim. In that situation, the Paramedic cannot help the victim until the Police have arrived and determined that the Paramedic is safe from the danger of being shot herself when she goes to help. At that point the scene is declared “safe” and the Paramedics can get to work.

In the wilderness or woods, the dangers are different but still just as potentially deadly. Is the ground stable? Are there dangerous branches or rocks that could fall onto you as you make your way to your companion? Will you slip and fall as well if you attempt to help? Do you need to take time to tie off before going to the person? What about wildlife? Are you in danger of animal or insect attack when you go to help? Can you find a way to make the scene safe?

Only after you treat the area as if it were a busy street corner will you be safe. You have to STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.

Once the scene is determined safe, or made safe the next thing is to get to the injured person and take stock of the situation by doing an initial survey of them. This is done by looking and speaking to them without touching them. Encouragement to stay still is recommended at this point. Usually saying “Hold on, try not to move, I’ll be right there,” is a good start.

Look carefully at the person and where they are lying. Do you see any blood? Where is it coming from? What about limb deformities? If so, which ones. Are there any objects that will cause difficulty in treating the injuries? Can they be cleared or do you need to find a way to work around them.

Emergency Medical Preparedness: Prepare Yourself for a Medical Emergency

Now it’s time to your ABCDE’s: Airway/Head and Neck, Breathing, Circulation, Disability/Deformity, and Exposure assessment.

Airway: If the person is conscious and talking, then they have a clear airway, but they might have a neck injury which will require stabilization. In the case of any significant fall, or one with an accompanying head injury, be sure that the cervical (neck) spine is stabilized. If the person is unconscious or can’t talk, be sure that the airway is clear of obstruction before going further. Gently lowering the jaw while holding the forehead steady will allow you to see if anything is causing an obstruction. Look for broken teeth, blood, dirt or some foreign body causing an obstruction. Remove any obstruction you can see. Do not blindly probe their mouth. You could push an unseen object backward and cause an obstruction where none had previously existed.

Breathing: Is the person breathing on their own? If they can talk, they are breathing. Is there any reason to suspect a possible lung injury? Do they have any evidence of a chest injury that could have broken a rib? A broken rib can puncture a lung and lead to air in the chest collapsing the lung on that side. You can check this several ways. One is to watch the rise and fall of the chest and see if both sides rise equally. Another is to put your ear on one side of the chest, then the other and listen for breath sounds to be equal on both sides. If you notice that the trachea, the tube that runs down the middle of your neck, is pushed to one side; that is a clear sign of a lung injury. The best case scenario is that you have a stethoscope in your kit that will allow you to hear the actual breath sounds easily. If there is a lung injury, this is a true emergency and will need to be treated quickly, but that is a procedure that requires specialized training.

Circulation: Check for obvious bleeding, but also in the case of extremity injury, is there good blood flow to the far portions of the extremity? Is the color of distal (far) limb pink or pale/bluish? Is it warm to the touch or cool/cold? Pink and warm = good. Anything else indicates blocked blood flow which may be due to arterial injury or compression. Arterial injury needs repair soon. Compression can often be correct by adjusting the limb to an appropriate angle.

Disability/Deformity: Is neurologic function intact or are they confused, unable to answer questions or showing other signs of significant head injury? Are there limb deformities, obvious chest or facial depressions indicating broken bones? Depending on what you find, a variety of things may be needed from re-evaluation of the airway, to splinting or bandaging.

Exposure: How long has it been since the injury took place? Are they becoming chilled or hypothermic? Cold =shock. Putting a warm cover over an injured party ASAP is essential even in hot weather.

Emergency Medical Preparedness: Prepare Yourself for a Medical Emergency

The important thing to do now is stay calm and determine what needs to be treated first. If there is copious bleeding indicating probable arterial involvement (this can also be characterized by blood that sprays with each pump of the heart) apply direct pressure and if necessary a tourniquet that can be tightened and released easily. If there is no major bleeding issue, then recheck the airway and breathing. If there is chest deformity and/or other evidence of a collapsed lung, that is the next thing to deal with unless there is now evidence of airway obstruction or the person is not breathing on their own. The former requires clearing the airway, the latter requires rescue breathing. The collapsed lung requires specialized training you can’t get from the internet or a book. Any other injuries can wait. Remember; the brain starts to die after 3 minutes without oxygen. Airway is first unless bleeding is so profuse that not stopping it would mean there would not be enough blood to circulate oxygen.

Back to our fall victim; we have bleeding, limb deformity, confusion and a fall. The fall means we have to have high suspicion of a neck injury and the confusion could be shock or it could indicate a more serious injury such as concussion or a brain bleed. We also have a penetrating injury which may have been an insult to a major artery. This person is seriously injured and qualifies as a trauma patient. Ideally, we would get this person stabilized and out of there ASAP, but that is not an option. Instead, we have to stabilize and create a sheltered space as close to where we area as possible so we can begin to treat the various injuries.

Assuming there are no immediate life threats (Excessive bleeding or collapsed lung/blocked airway) we begin by stabilizing the neck. A towel, shirt or thick cloth of some kind can be rolled and taped carefully in place to accomplish this. Next stabilize and splint any limb deformities so that we can move the victim with the least amount of discomfort to them. Continue to talk to them to assess their mental status. At this point, things get tricky…

People’s first instinct when presented with something sticking out of or through a body part is to remove it. STOP! Don’t do it! Not only is it exactly the wrong thing to do, it could quite possibly be the thing that kills the person. I know it is scary looking and seems like the danger comes from it being stuck in the person, but at this point the person is alive and has survived impalement. Leaving the object embedded is not dangerous at this point; it is actually the safest thing to do. As long as the object is left in place, it is acting to tamponade (stop) the bleeding. That is, it is putting pressure on any lacerated vessels and preventing any major bleeding. Yes there will be some oozing around the injury site, but it will be minimal as compared to what happens should the object be removed. NEVER REMOVE AN IMPALED OR IMBEDDED OBJECT FROM A PUNCTURE WOUND unless you have been trained to handle this procedure. This is another procedure that requires specialized training courses.

But what about infection, you ask? Yes, infection risk is high, but it is not a life threatening problem at this time. A neck injury or brain injury will need prior attention as will the bleeding from the head wound. Antibiotics are something you can give, but not at this time because the victim has a decreased mental status and it is not clear if they can swallow a pill without causing an airway obstruction or aspirating it into a lung.

For the time being, the safest and most efficacious thing to do is to cut both ends of the branch so that your companion can be maneuvered to the sheltered spot. Start with the end of the branch still attached to the tree and try to keep the arm as immobile as you can while doing so to minimize pain. You can then trim the protruding opposite side.

Don’t cut the ends short. Leave enough to be able to grasp both ends firmly to assist removal when it is time. Use your gauze or Ace wrap to secure the branch so that it moves as little as possible during transport to avoid causing undo pain.

Continue to monitor the ABC’s and mental status and address what need to be done ASAP. Once you have done as much as you can, find a way to get this person out of there and to an emergency care center as quickly as possible otherwise, they will likely not survive for very long.

This all started out as a fall but resulted in multiple injuries placing your companion in danger of dying. With the proper training, you could swing the odds much more in favor of a good outcome. So before you buy that cool medical kit, or put one together on your own, get out there and get trained. If you know someone who has been trained and can teach you the emergency survival techniques you’ll need, ask them to teach you. Meanwhile there are a multitude of courses in first aid, tactical lifesaving, wilderness emergency medicine, survival medicine and CPR. Don’t forget to look into classes that teach herbal remedies. Know what plants can ease pain or prevent infection, they may be the only medications you’ll have available.

So go out and get prepared. Learn.

This article was written by The Prepper Journal and can be viewed here

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Live Fire Gear Products Now Available on Walmart.com

We are proud to announce Live Fire Gear products are now available through Walmart (Sold & shipped by Walmart at Walmart.com). Walmart is carrying our full product line including 550 Firecord, Live Fire Original, Live Fire Sport, Live Fire Survival Kit, Live Fire Twin Pack, Live Fire Sport Duo and Live Fire Ring O Fire. Visit Walmart.com today and pick up more great Live Fire Gear products.

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11 Mistakes and Goofs That Every Prepper Should Avoid

11 Mistakes and Goofs That Every Prepper Should Avoid

We have all done it – made a mistake with our preps that was either a stupid use of our time, a waste of our money, or both.  The good news is that with a couple of years of prepping experience behind you, you will begin to recognize those things that are worthwhile and those that are folly.

I say this from personal experience.  This year I have completely overhauled my bug out bag, started over with my pocket survival kit and EDC, and have shifted my focus on food storage from anything and everything, to a more select group of products that are good tasting and simple to prepare.

And here is the big one: I recognize that while it is important to grow food, for some of us, growing enough to sustain ourselves is impossible due to space, climate, or other factors.  It is far more reasonable, for example, for some of us to focus on herbs and especially medicinal plants.

Fortunately, it is rare that any one person will make all of the mistakes in this list, but chances are you have made one or two.  Check them out; they are in no particular order.

11 Prepper Mistakes and Goofs

1.  Creating a 3 Day Kit and ignoring the long term

The government, the media, and the Red Cross have been promoting the 3-day kit for so long that it is safe to say that the term “3 day kit” is now common vernacular.  Not surprisingly, the 3-Day Kit has also become a marketing phenomena.

The good news is that the more that people jump onto the 3 day kit bandwagon, the better for the rest of us.  That is three days we will not have to reach out and help them.

On the other hand, something as simple as a winter power outage can last far longer than three days.  And a cyber-attack, pandemic, or earthquake?  Two weeks, a month,or even a year of emergency supplies would be much better.

2.  Not knowing how to use your gear

Who hasn’t been guilty of getting out that combination battery, wind-up, and solar emergency radio and forgetting to use it?  (There is a little doo-dad inside of mine that has to be switched over to change modes.)

Or how about the Sun Oven?  If it sits in the box and never gets used, how will you know how to place it in the sun to cook your food or boil your water when the sun is the only source of power you have.

Similarly, do you have copies of your gear manuals tucked away in case you need them?  Storing them on a laptop or flash drive is a great idea but only if you have some way to power your devices when the grid goes down.

3.  Failing to learn how to cook using food storage items

This is another way of saying “not knowing how to cook from scratch”.  Most of us store bulk foods to supplement our freeze dried food.  We would be broke if we didn’t.

Do you know how to cook rice and beans?  How about making a soup or stew without opening a single can?  As you plan your food storage, keep your habits in mind and if you don’t already scratch cook, at least learn the basics.

4.  Having a comprehensive first aid kit but not knowing basic first aid skills

Having a robust first aid kit (FAK) is a given as is having a supply of emergency medicines.  But what about knowing CPR?  Or cleaning and dressing an open wound that is bleeding profusely?

Many communities offer free or low cost classes on first aid.  Now might be a good time to check them out.

 

This article was written by Gaye Levy and the complete article can be viewed here:

https://www.backdoorsurvival.com/mistakes-and-goofs-that-every-prepper-should-avoid/

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com

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Live Fire Gear Ring O Fire Featured in OffGrid Magazine

Live Fire Gear Ring O Fire Featured in OffGrid Magazine!

Our Ring O Fire product was featured in yet another great outdoors magazine, OffGrid Magazine Issue #22 (December 2017 issue). They loved the Ring O Fire and stated:

“Any prepper worth their salt knows you have to have multiple means of starting a flame. The Ring O Fire kit from Live Fire Gear will certainly deliver on that concept. This kit consists of three fire-starting items. First is the FireCord, a 550 paracord with its eighth inner strand being a color-coded red tinder that’s waterproof and easy to ignite. Use the FireCord as neck lanyards, zipper pulls, or boot laces and you’ll always have a way to spark a flame wherever you go. Second is the Live Fire Original, essentially a firestarter made from mineral oil, polymer resin, and other material that’s waterproof, cedar scented, and can be relit again and again. It comes in a tiny tin with a slide-top lid, so you can limit its burn and even use it as a candle. Third is a ferro rod with striker. Together, they’ll provide you with much needed redundancy this coming winter.”

We couldn’t agree more! If you’re interested in purchasing this issue of OffGrid Magazine click here. Also take a look at their website for some great articles and tips. If you haven’t already purchased a Ring O Fire pick one up today here, and grab a few extra for your family members, they make a great stocking stuffer!

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7 Household Items You Never Guessed Could Save You In A Survival Situation

7 Household Items You Never Guessed Could Save You In A Survival Situation

No matter whether you hear the tornado sirens or an order comes to evacuate for some other reason, there is a moment of panic that can send every thought from your mind.  Even if you have a fully prepared bug out bag, or have made all kinds of plans, stress levels can rise to the point where you may aimlessly wander about the house or start packing things because everything else is forgotten.   This guide is intended to show you seven common items (excluding the obvious knives, mirrors and other more common sense every day carry tools) that you may already be inclined to carry with you or have on hand at all times.  If you can find ways to include the adaptations listed in each section, you will vastly improve your chances of survival until you have a chance to retrieve other items.

T-SHIRT

7 HOUSEHOLD ITEMS YOU NEVER GUESSED COULD SAVE YOU IN A SURVIVAL SITUATIONAs long as you are wearing one, you will already have valuable survival tool right on your back.  Here are just a few things you can do with T-shirts, plus simple modifications that will make them even more useful:

  • double or triple the fabric to remove dirt and debris from the water. You can also sew in a layer of cotton and nylon. Four layers of cotton sari cloth can filter almost all cholera bacteria while nylon can remove parasite eggs.
  • add a bib of 2 – 4 layers of tightly woven silk to the inner front of the T-shirt to get better results when using it as an air mask.
  • Tear into strips to start fires, make tourniquets, bandage wounds, and tie items together.
  • Use the hems to hold other important survival goods.  Waterproof mmini-packets embroidery thread, and other soft items you might forget about can all be placed in the hems.
  • If you are concerned about tear gas or pepper spray, do not assume that you can simply wet the shirt and prevent burns and irritation. Your best bet is to sew in a thin rubber shield within the front bib (see above) of the shirt.  Even though this will not protect your eyes, it can still shield your nose and lungs from some of the noxious gases.

PUSH PEN

By themselves, push pens look entirely innocent, yet they can make a more diverse weapon with just a few modifications:

  • Add a LED light and battery to the trigger mechanism to create a makeshift flashlight. You can also rub the battery with steel wool to create sparks for a fire.
  • Use the barrel to store B.Bs, bits of cotton balls (for filtering water), and other tiny objects.
  • Even if you do not modify the pen, it can still be used to poke out an attacker’s eyes or shoved elsewhere to create a diversion. When combined with specific maneuvers, a pen can be used to kill in several ways, however, it may take several minutes or more.
  •  Attach a poison-tipped needle to the empty end of the inkwell.
  • Drill holes in the upper and lower section, then run a rubber band through to make a slingshot. Do not make the holes too big or other ammo may slip through when using the pen as a spring propelled gun.
  • Create canisters that will discharge liquids when the trigger pushes against the canister.  You can add just about any liquid of interest, including flammable ones.
  • Once you have a suitable model that covers the widest possible range of weapons and tactical lighting, see if you can obtain a polymer base to form into a push pen, and then strengthen each area with other materials.

METAL BUSINESS CARD HOLDER

Simply rub some steel wool across the metal surface to make it shiny enough for signaling and starting fires.  If you get into the habit of using a metal business card holder as your debit/credit card wallet, you can tape sewing needles inside and other small objects.  Don’t forget to include a plastic card and a credit card tool kit.  Put a few rubber bands around the wallet, and you will have yet another handy resource on hand to help you get through an emergency.

A metal business card holder is also the perfect place to store step by step instructions. Don’t remember how to make an alcohol stove from a tin can?  Write out these, and other instructions and tuck them away in the card holder.  Mini hand drawn maps, directions to different locations, and other guides can also be of immense value.  If you laminate these cards, they will also be waterproof and durable enough to last for years on end.

EMBROIDERY THREAD AND SEWING NEEDLE

Even though some people recommend dental floss as an emergency survival material embroidery thread is much better for the following reasons:

  • you can use it for everything you would use dental floss for
  • the threads are easy to separate, so you can get the exact thickness that you need
  • embroidery thread is easy to braid together if you need to make a stronger fishing line or snare
  • it can be used to sew everything from wounds to clothes
  • cheaper than dental floss
  • Much easier to add inside the hem of a T-shirt or any other garment.
  • Aside from sewing, needles can be used as weapons, for scraping dirt out of tiny areas, and as a compass needle (when rubbed across a magnet).

MINI-PACKETS

You do not need to spend a fortune on travel sized mini-packets, or get stuck with paper wrappings that may break apart or be ruined before you use the contents inside.  To make mini-packets, follow these steps:

  • Take a drinking straw and cut it to about 1 ¾”.  This will give you just about enough room for a single serving or use.  You can also use larger or smaller lengths depending on the material inside.
  • Squeeze one end of the straw so that it is sealed.  Pass this end over a lit candle so that the plastic melts.
  • Place contents inside the straw.
  • Seal the other open end of the packet with heat from the candle.
  • For flammables, leave extra room in the straw, wipe excess away, and use tongs to hold the packet while sealing.  Place the candle in the sink and remove all other flammables from the area.  Avoid working near electric sockets and wires.  Wear fireproof gear until you get the knack for each substance.

Even though there are literally dozens of things you can fit into waterproof mini packets, seven of them are at the top of my personal list.

  • Steel Wool – absolutely necessary if you are going to make a polished surface for starting a fire. They are also very important for removing dirt and debris from other items that you may find useful as you go through the crisis.  You can also use scouring pads as long as they don’t have soap on them.
  • Sugar – sugar packets are important for keeping up your electrolytes, and also for wound care. Adding some sugar to an open wound will reduce the risk of infection and also help it to heal faster.
  • Salt – also very important for managing electrolytes.  Salt can also be used as an anti-bacterial.  Do not add to drinking water, as it will cause your body to flush out water faster.
  • Pain Killer Packets – aspirin and other anti-inflammatory medications are very important for pain management and dealing with injuries that cause swelling.  If you do not have ice on hand, these drugs can reduce the risk of more serious impairment.  Write the expiration date on each packet so that you know when to discard it and replace with new ones.
  • Oils – vegetable oil can be used for lubrication and also as a fuel for fire.  Include packets of herbal oils for medicinal needs.  Just make sure to replace the oil packets every 6 – 12 months (depending on the oil type) so that they do not lose their potency.
  • Rubbing Alcohol – can be used as a fuel and also to disinfect your hands.  Some people recommend hand sanitizers, however, there is too much controversy about whether or not they actually work as well as advertised.  Rubbing alcohol, on the other hand, is tried, true, and just about foolproof.
  • Water (in full or half sized straws) – even a few drops of water can be priceless when it will take hours to find water and purify it for drinking needs.  Replace these every 4 – 6 months to ensure freshness.

CAN OF FRUIT JUICE

A can of fruit juice can provide more nutrients and just as much liquid as a can of soda.  You can also use the empty can and pull ring to make a number of important tools:

  • the pull ring can be made into a fish hook
  • cut the can in half and use the two parts to make a rocket stove or alcohol burning stove
  • store away fishing gear, snare lines, and other small items.
  • polish the bottom and use it as a fire starter or signal mirror
  • make into a cup for cooking or drinking water
  • wrap duct tape or electrical tape around the can so that you have it on hand in time of need.

YOUR MAIN KEYRING

7 HOUSEHOLD ITEMS YOU NEVER GUESSED COULD SAVE YOU IN A SURVIVAL SITUATIONIf you are always in the habit of keeping your keys with you, a few simple additions to the ring can give you as many vital tools as the T-Shirt.

  • Even without modification, you can use house  keys already on the ring to scrape items clean, cut tape, and act as gouges to rake an attacker.
  • If you can’t locate or afford a credit card tool kit, go ahead and shape some keys into screwdrivers and other tools that may be of use.
  • Sharpen at least one key into a point that will poke a hole in metal cans.
  • Take another key and create a serrated knife edge or even a flat edge for cutting.  Just remember to put a leather guard or some other material over that key so you don’t cut yourself on it.
  • Keep a few extra keys that you can bend into hooks for fasteners
  • Make a paracord monkey fist and add it to the keyring. You will have a weapon plus a valuable source of rope to meet many emergency needs.
  • Attach a few feathers that can be used as fishing lures.
  • Add a small magnet

“It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark” (Howard Ruff), and there wasn’t an actual crisis when you made all your prepping plans.   A fire or many other situations may leave you in a position where you don’t have time to get to your bug out bag. If you are unable to get to your vehicle, or another location where you have every day carry supplies, there are still household items that may be of use to you.  No matter whether you prepare these items ahead of time, or make it a point to carry them with you, they can save your life in more ways than expected.  With a few modifications, the above seven items can go even further and give you an even better chance of surviving most major and minor crisis situations.

Further reading:

This article was written by Conrad Novak with Survivor’s Fortress and the complete article can be viewed here:

https://survivorsfortress.com/household-items-for-survival/

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Starting a Survival Garden in 4 Simple Steps

Starting a Survival Garden in 4 Simple Steps

Disasters can occur anytime, and when they happen, food becomes scarce in the neighborhood. One of the most beneficial things you can do to prepare your family for these situations is to start a survival garden in your backyard.

What Is a Survival Garden?

A survival garden is a specially prepared small farm where you plant highly nutritious crops for your family’s dietary needs. The garden is also important when it comes to the production of vegetable that can be stored for future consumption. These food crops are selected mostly based on the calories they provide. They include protein, carbohydrates as well as fat producing crops.

Survival gardening is advantageous when it comes to natural disasters. With a survival garden, you are better prepared to face a food shortage problem that will likely affect society in times of disasters. Many harvested food crops from a survival garden also have long-term storage abilities like carrots, potatoes, onions, pumpkins, nuts as well as winter squash.

How to Start a Survival Garden

To start a survival garden, follow these simple steps:

1 – Identify the Perfect Location

When identifying the location for your garden, consider the following factors:

Sunlight – Survival garden should be located in a place that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight in a day. Most of these crops require sunlight as a source of energy for their growth and developments.

Accessibility – The garden should be near your home for easy monitoring. You can then easily check for pests, weeds, disease and the general conditions of the crops. Having it near also reduces the risk of thieves who may decide to harvest on your behalf.

Access to water – Your survival garden requires water for irrigation. This means that a water source must be available and accessible. It becomes easy to set irrigation system when the water source is near.

Fertile and well-drained soil – Most of the crops you plan to cultivate in the garden require proper drainage. A well-drained soil is well aerated, which allows the crops to grow well. You can also do some soil test to determine the nutrients level of the soil.

2 – Select Suitable Crops

Most survival garden crops are for family consumption. Therefore, you must determine how much your family consumes and then calculate how much your garden can produce. It is highly advisable to subdivide the garden into sections and also intercrop to ensure you cultivate several crops. Maximize the garden’s output but don’t intercrop crops that are not friendly.

Make a written plan for your garden. Ensure you have perennial crops like sage, mint, raspberry, blueberry, strawberries, bunching onions and asparagus in the garden. They should be planted at the back of the garden where they will be less disturbed. A survival garden should aim to produce several food crops either at the same time or in a sequence. Therefore, make sure you don’t plant crops that have the same pests or don’t follow each other in the sequence.

When selecting crops, be realistic and go for crops that are well adapted to the regions’ climate. On top of that, it is highly advisable to go for crops that your family loves and consumes more often. Also, consider the season of the year and make sure you incorporate those crops that can be preserved for future use. Don’t make it look too complicated, make it simple for a start so your garden can produce good harvests.

3 – Prepare the Land for Cultivation

If you want to harvest handsomely, you have to prepare your land properly. Clear the bush, plow, collect trash and compost it, and level the garden. Depending on the crop varieties you want to have in the garden, you can select to use either rows or bed. For crops like carrot and onions go for beds, and for crops like kales, cabbages, potatoes as well as corn go for rows.

Ensure you subdivide the cultivated land into plots that will be planted with different crops. If there is a plot, you want to mark and intercrop it to ensure you don’t affect the arrangement. Depending on the times of harvest you can plant some crops earlier to ensure they are not affected by competition for sunlight and nutrients.

When spacing your garden, also consider crops that require special training like tomatoes. Set the poles for training during planting to ensure you don’t disrupt other crops in your garden. If you are going for drip irrigation, make sure to set it properly to ensure crops get significant moisture for their growth. After planting it is necessary to fence the garden to keep off pest like rabbits, poultry, porcupines and squirrels

4 – Plant and Manage the Garden

Apply organic manure before planting, but if the soil needs a special nutrient boost, go for organic fertilizers. Use plant certified seeds as well as seedlings from certified seeds. After planting ensure that crops are well taken care of until they mature. Irrigate regularly and weed the garden when necessary. On top of that do pest monitoring as well as disease checks to ensure your garden is free from pests and diseases.

It is important to be well prepared for any disasters that can lead to a food shortage. With a well-prepared survival garden, you can cultivate the most important nutrient providing crops. The garden can be small, but with subdivision and intercropping, you can harvest enough. Follow these steps, and you will have the best garden that meets most of your family’s nutritional needs.

Resources & Further Reading

Planning A Survival Garden
Vegetable Gardening for Beginners
Planning Your Garden In Six Easy Steps

Guest Post Author Bio: Henry Rangkuti is a gardening enthusiast. His other passions include the outdoors, travel and technology. He writes about his gardening interest over at his website GardeningJourney.com.

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Bug Out Bag Essentials List: Our Complete Guide to Build a Good BOB

INTRODUCTION

In this series, we will walk you through the necessary steps required to ensure that you are prepared in the event of a catastrophic disaster. If you think about it for a short amount of time, you will be surprised by the numerous steps you can come up with on your own to provide the best chance for you, your family, and friends–often called “your party”–to come out the other side of a disaster healthy and whole.

However, just because you feel confident in your abilities to work through this type of problem on your own does not mean you have accounted for the litany of potential issues that can bring everything to a crashing halt. That is why we have developed this series: to help guide you from random Joe Schmo to master prepper in no time.

The amount of information you need know at the drop of a hat can be staggering. If a disaster were to happen, you might know where you would go. You might even know what route you would take.

However, what would you do if your safe spot was not available or if your route was blocked by panicked people all trying to leave at the same time, causing a traffic jam, or worse, an impenetrable wreck. How many alternative plans do you have?

Could you travel on foot? Do you have anyone you want to save that has difficulties moving? What kind of supplies are the most vital yet still compact and lightweight enough to be easily carried? These are the types of questions you need answers to well in advance of actually needing to implement those answers.

That is what this guide sets out to do, and if you follow our advice, you can feel relatively confident that, should disaster strike, you will have a plan of action and be as best prepared for survival as you can.

EXPECT THE BEST, PREPARE FOR THE WORST: HOW TO DEVELOP THE RIGHT MINDSET FOR A BUG OUT

When disaster strikes, a matter of seconds can mean the difference between survival and failure. However, even the most battle-hardened veterans need to keep a cool head to ensure their survival and escape from a hairy situation. Still, there are a number of psychological habits and routines that you can develop to provide the necessary mindset to better ensure your survival in the event of a catastrophic collapse.

HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS, NEGATIVITY, BOREDOM AND FEAR DURING A SURVIVAL SITUATION

When engaging with a survival situation, there are a handful of mindsets that can create more danger than the scenario already entails. Some of these pitfalls may seem natural or benign, and in other situations, they may very well be. But when life or death is on the line, even minor mindsets can mean the difference between survival.

Fear – Fear is the mind killer. When your mind becomes overtaken by fear, your fight or flight response kicks in. This can be a lifesaver if you have seconds to survive and must react on pure instinct. However, in almost every other situation, your best bet is to take a breath and center yourself.

Keep in mind, your instincts are likely not developed to handle the multitude of life or death scenarios you may encounter in a survival situation. Just because you braved the fear of war does not automatically qualify you to handle the terror of being buried alive by an avalanche.

Unless you have specifically trained for a scenario to the point that the appropriate response triggers like muscle-memory, your first step should be to take a few deep breaths and calm down. From there, your next step should be to assess the situation as quickly as possible and make it a point to focus on motivations outside of yourself– friends and family.

Stress – Stress can create a situation similar to fear where you lose the ability to think and analyze rationally. However, in this instance, instead of an immediate and present threat, a general threat begins to grate on you cyclically.

Difficulty finding a freshwater source in the event that your supplies are lost can be incredibly stressful when survival is on the line. However, allowing yourself to be overcome with stress will not do anything to ensure your survival.

Similar to fear, taking deep breaths until you calm down, and other relaxation techniques can help. Moreover, indulging in a physical activity–even something as simple as unpacking and repacking your bug out bag–can clear your mind, allowing you to look at the situation rationally once more.

Boredom – This may seem a bit odd, but idle hands are the devil’s playthings. The main issue with boredom is that it breeds complacency. A complacent person is often a more careless one, and in a survival scenario, carelessness can get you killed.

Keep a deck of cards or some other item of entertainment that is small and light. Have a list of tasks that need to be completed before your survival can be sustained and continuously add to that list as you complete previous tasks. Regardless, if you do not have anything to do, then you likely have not done enough.

HOW TO BE ADAPTABLE ACCORDING TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES

While it is impossible to be completely prepared for all possibilities, you can still be better prepared for some of the most dangerous or most common threats to survival. The total number of possible threats are innumerable, but the probable threats do allow for planning and acclimation. Some of the skills and adaptations you can hone are:

  • Training yourself to withstand extreme cold
  • Practice shooting regularly and under different circumstances
  • Learn the lay of the land of your bug of location and its surrounding area
  • Build shelters and fire in a variety of adverse conditions
  • Train yourself to go without sleep for long stretches of time
  • Increase your endurance with stamina training exercises

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE STOP ACRONYM

When you do come upon an unfamiliar situation, there is a method that you should employ in order to best react to this kind of event. This is called the STOP method and is broken down into four simple steps: stop, think, observe, plan. Whenever you find yourself in a stressful situation that requires a quick response to ensure your survival, this is the method you should use.

S – Stop

When the rubber meets the road, the untrained mind is liable to feel the need to immediately react. However, this is often not the best course of action unless your life is in immediate danger. This is because the initial reaction is based on instinct, and instinct is not truly rational. As such, the first step your mind should take in the event of a disaster to best ensure survival is to simply stop the initial natural fight or flight response.

T – Think

Once you have gathered control over your thoughts, your next step is to assess your current situation. When disaster strikes where are you? What supplies do you have on hand? Where is your closest bug out location? These are some of the most important and relevant pieces of information that weigh heaviest in the first five minutes–arguably the most important minutes–immediately following a disaster.

O – Observe

Once you have fully assessed your situation as it relates to your previous work and planning, the next step is to take stock of the conditions surrounding you. Remember when we told you to be prepared to adapt? This is the beginning of that process. In the previous step, your task was to take stock of your bug out plan. This step is all about taking in your present surroundings. What is the temperature? Time of day? Regional geography?

P – Plan

Once you have fully assessed both your current situation and the most immediate factors, the next step is to formulate a plan. Unfortunately, you will not have the luxury of time on your side, so you will need to formulate your plan of action relatively quickly. Still, it is far more important that your plan is of sound construction than of hasty preparation. Regardless, it is advised that the entire STOP process should take no more than between five to ten minutes total.

HOW TO CREATE A ROCK SOLID BUG OUT PLAN

All of the supplies in the world and the best-packed bug out bag will not mean a hill of beans if you never make it to a secure location once a disaster strikes. That is why it is important to have a plan to get you and your loved ones–be they family or friends–from ground zero to your bug out location.

FIRST STEP: CONSIDER THE KIND OF DISASTERS MOST LIKELY TO OCCUR

In the multitude of possible disasters you could encounter which would force you to enact your bug out plan, all can be categorized into two broad groups: natural and human. Granted, some of the possibilities may stretch those two categories or overlap, but broadly speaking, those are the general types of disasters for which your plan will have to contend.

Specific natural disasters are likely somewhat expected and are heavily dependent on your location. If you live in a cold weather climate, then blizzards and other snow or water-related disasters are relevant. Conversely, someone who lives in the desert is unlikely to have to consider those situations–aside from a possible “once a century” flash flood.

Human disasters are those that are caused by or made dangerous due to the presence and reaction of other people. A complete economic collapse or hostile invasion fall into this category. Similarly, while there is a natural element, the outbreak of a deadly disease is likely more influenced by human behavior–specifically, travel patterns and quarantine procedures–than the disease itself.

However, human disasters are far less likely to be confined to specific regions as even rural areas will see an influx of activity and potential threat in this event–though, remote locations stand a much better chance of escaping the worst of a human disaster.

Some disasters which blur the line include things like thermonuclear war. While this disaster would without question be caused by humans, your primary concern, once you are able to escape a heavily populated area will be environmental in nature–namely, escaping the radioactive fallout. Of course, as time wears on, other people will again become a threat in this event, once survivors make their way out of the hot zones.

SECOND STEP: DEFINE A RALLY POINT

Unless you are given clear indicators days or weeks in advance, disaster is liable to strike without warning. Since it is often impossible to predict when you will need to make haste to your bug out location, it is important that the people you intend to provide security to, know where to meet up once disaster strikes.

This rally point is actually one of the most important decisions for your bug out plan as it will affect how easy it is for your party to meet up and be accounted for. Without a well-defined rally point, trying to get everyone together can be a bit like herding cats. Either, one group of people goes out to look for stragglers–one of the worst things you can do in this situation–or you waste valuable time waiting for everyone else to meet up.

When selecting a rally point, there are a few characteristics that you need to consider so that the least amount of time is wasted and the chance of confusion remains minimal. These qualities are:

Accessibility – Accessibility should be analyzed two-fold: first, it is important that the rally point allows everyone to reach it simultaneously. Time is of the essence as the disaster in question will make things chaotic and inherently increase travel time. Waiting for a single party member to meet up because the rally point was not accessible can dig a hole that is difficult to get out of.

Specificity – “The city park” is not an appropriate rally point unless the park is effectively small enough to ensure that the party members all meet up at the same exact location–an unlikely reality. Instead, make sure that the rally point offers no chance for confusion. A specific house, room, etc is vital to ensure that you do not waste time looking for party members even once they have all reached the rally point’s general location.

Security – A rally point that is in and of itself treacherous does little good in protecting against a disaster. Areas that are in central urban regions should be avoided at all costs if possible. Similarly, rally points with few routes of escape should be crossed off the list. While the perfect rally point for all situations may not exist, try to set up a point that minimizes your contact with non-party members as much as possible

Variety – Ultimately, you should have a couple rally points with clear guidelines for when which one applies. If everyone is scheduled to be on one side of town, you will want to designate a different rally point in case two groups are across town or if everyone is spread out equidistant. Different starting configurations of your party should inform different possible rally points.

THIRD STEP: HAVE MULTIPLE DESTINATIONS, ROUTES AND DROP POINTS

One of the worst things you can do is hem yourself into a single plan because plans rarely go accordingly. As such, it is a good idea to develop numerous plans.

These plans should include different bug out locations, different routes to each location, and multiple supply caches along each route. Having this type of redundancy built into your bug out plan ensures that if an option is unavailable, you have many others to choose from.

Moreover, if one plan seems ideal in the beginning but sours due to emergent conditions, you are able to effectively change plans without a loss of time or a significant increase in risk. This prevents you from getting stuck following through with a plan that disintegrates on the fly.

FOURTH STEP: TEST OUT YOUR ROUTES AND THE TRANSPORTATION YOU’LL USE

While you cannot necessarily predict how your route will fare during the chaos of a disaster when a general population is likely to present an impediment, you can still test it out. Do a dry run of different routes with different types of transportation.

Walking and driving are the most likely, but if you access to horses or ATVs, see how developing an off-road route compares to an on-road route. Moreover, try to test on-road routes during rush hour when traffic is liable to be more similar to the mad panic of a large population trying to flee all at once.

FIFTH STEP: WHAT ARE THE ITEMS YOU’LL NEED

While we will go over what and how to pack your bug out bag in a later section, there are a handful of items that you will want to ensure are located at the various cache locations along your routes to your bug out location. These include:

  • Water
  • Compass
  • Stationery
  • Communication devices

Ideally, it would be nice to have a fully packed bug out bag at every cache as well, though that may take time depending on your means and the quality of chosen gear.

SIXTH STEP: DON’T FORGET TO IDENTIFY YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

What skills have you already developed, and what skills yet would you ideally develop to be better prepared? These are vital considerations, but they should not be taken as static ones. The best preppers are constantly adding to their repertoire of valuable skills.

As such, you should make it a point to identify what you can proficiently accomplish. These should be classified as your strengths. Granted, you may exhibit varying degrees of skill beyond competency, but that should be a baseline.

As you a acquire new skills, update your assessment to identify other skills in which you are relatively untrained (hint: reading a book about a subject can provide valuable insight, but it is no substitution for the time you will need invest in developing skills in the field–under adverse or stressful conditions if possible).

Once you feel confident in achieving at least base proficiency in the most relevant survival skills, then you can move on to refinement. Regardless, keeping track of this progression can aid you when making your way to your bug out location.

If you are not skilled in orienteering but can recognize various natural formations and understand what they mean, maybe let someone else be the navigator while you act as the forward scout.

SEVENTH STEP: CONSIDER THE PEOPLE YOU’RE GOING TO BUG OUT WITH (CHILDREN, ELDERLY AND SO ON)

It is quite likely that your party will contain members which may not necessarily be up to the task of survival on their own. Whether they are young or old, sick or lame, or afflicted with any sort of condition which could impede their chance of survival, these things must be considered ahead of time.

If someone cannot walk, how will you transport them in the event that you cannot travel by vehicle? Who will carry the additional weight of supplies for a party member who cannot bear their own load?

When the rubber meets the road is the worst time to figure these things out. Instead, it is better to not only plan for these conditions but practice with them ahead of time. If you have a small child, do your practice runs with additional gear to simulate what you would be carrying should disaster strike. If someone has difficulty walking, do a dry run pulling a cart laden with 150 pounds of stones.

EIGHTH STEP: IS NOT ENOUGH TO HAVE YOUR PLAN IN YOUR HEAD, DOCUMENT IT!

A proper bug out plan requires numerous steps and contingencies. Keeping track of all of this information is not something you should simply rely on your memory to do. If you have an exceptionally good memory, great.

It is still important that you keep track of the details of your bug out plan. Maybe members of your party do not have as good of a memory as you. Maybe you focus on certain details or routes more than others based on the likelihood of necessity or use.

However, if that day comes where the least likely solution is the one that will keep you alive, having a hard copy of your plan will not only save you the stress of having to recall that information in the heat of the moment, but save your life.

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How to Grow Herbs in Small Spaces – A Primer

How to Grow Herbs in Small Spaces – A Primer

Growing your own food is an empowering experience. You nurture a seed or small starter plant into a tasty meal. You remove a bit of your dependence on grocery stores while enjoying a fresh harvest free of pesticides.

Many people dream about growing their own food, but few turn it into a reality. Anyone can grow food with the right supplies and knowledge. Even if you live in a small space, you can always grow herbs!

Herbs are a great choice for starting your garden (or adding to your garden). They take up less space than fruits and vegetables. They can be pretty hardy and easy to grow. Plus there are many uses for them, from adding to drinks to spicing up a dish.

If you live in a small house or apartment, it is easy to buy the myth that you cannot grow your own food. Growing herbs in a small place is entirely possible with a bit of creativity!

Growing Herbs Indoors

Sure, indoor gardens are not ideal. But they are not impossible either! The main requirement for plant growing is access to adequate sunlight. Try to place plants in a window facing east or south or set up a grow light.

Once you find a sunny spot, you can create a number of different indoor garden options.

A Herb Wall

Take a free standing pallet and make it into a garden. A herb wall is built to be tall, not wide. You can set it up on top of a kitchen counter without needing to sacrifice significant surface area.

A herb wall adds a bit of a rustic touch and vibrant green coloring to your kitchen. It doubles as a decoration tool.

A Tall Piece of Wood

Similar to a herb wall, a plank of wood takes up vertical space rather than horizontal space. This helps you take advantage of limited surface space in your kitchen.

For this project, you will attach the plants’ pots to a tall block of wood. You can use mason jars, miniature pots, or other types of small containers to grow the herbs in.

A Fridge Magnet

The space directly in front of your fridge’s walls is space just waiting to be used! Round up some metallic cans and attach them to your fridge with magnets.

A Hanging Planter

Hanging planters allow you to utilize efficiently the empty space underneath your ceiling. You can plant your herbs in them before hanging them from your ceiling.

You can seek out creative or beautiful hanging planters or decorate them on your own for an artistic project. These can also serve as interior decoration to add some color or style to your kitchen area.

Growing Herbs Indoors

Herbs can be surprisingly durable, making them a good fit for indoor growing. If you pick the right container, the herbs can double as a decorative piece in your room too! Choose the best growing option for your unique budget, space constraints, and style.

This article was written by Gaye Levy and the complete article can be viewed here:

https://www.backdoorsurvival.com/how-to-grow-herbs-in-small-spaces-a-primer/http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/tips-for-taking-charge-after-a-disruptive-event/

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com

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6 Inexpensive Skills Every Prepper Needs

Take a second and think if there is anyone you know who has loads of supplies packed into their home. Now ask yourself if that person has the knowledge and skill level to employ that equipment in critical times. What about you? Do you have the know-how when the going gets rough?

Maybe you’re just getting started with prepping and have an extremely tight budget. Your community and family are going to need capable people who can execute vital tasks when times are hard and lives are on the line. Don’t sell yourself short if your finances prevent you from acquiring massive amounts of equipment for any number of disasters. Think about the people on the other side of the coin who have lots of gear, but not lots of training on how to use it. Aristotle’s said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and pulling together as a community can pull you through any difficult circumstances.

Take a stroll through any prepper website and you’ll see that a ton emphasis is placed on gear and gadgets. I’m here to tell you that skills beat gadgets any day of the week and twice on Sundays! Knowledge weighs nothing and you always have it on you. People often try to buy their way out of a problem, but skills are built through habit and time. Today we’re going to focus on 6 basic skills that every prepper needs: Shooting, Medical, Survival, Communication, Gardening, and Leadership.

Shooting

When things fall apart, it’s handy to know how to handle a weapon. Not just for self-defense purposes, but also for hunting. Even if you only have a .22 rifle, you can become deadly with it. Fancy scopes, match-grade barrels, suppressors and bi-pods are not required. A rifle with a sling in the hands of trained marksman can devastate an enemy force or consistently provide meat for the pot. You need to learn how to shoot – it can literally save your life!
Project Appleseed is a non-profit nationwide community of volunteers that teaches traditional rifle marksmanship that will “transform you from a person with a rifle into a principled and skilled Rifleman.” They offer inexpensive weekend shoots in nearly every state. Check out their site and get signed up for one of their events.

Medical

Medical emergencies don’t wait for the end of the world. They happen every day to thousands of people in your community. Trained First Responders can mean the difference between life and death. It’s likely that everyone will have to deal with some sort of medical or traumatic situation so it’s probably not a bad idea to learn how to deal with medical emergencies before they occur.

There are many counties/cities in every state that need volunteer firefighters. Since almost 80% of their calls are medically related, there are departments that will pay for your Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)- Basic Certification Course in return for your volunteer service to their department. This is an outstanding way to learn a crucial skill (for free) and get involved in your community. During my time as an EMT, I’ve seen first-hand the varied and extreme reactions of people’s response to stress while also developing the muscle memory to stay calm and provide emergency care to the sick and injured.

Survival

Whether you’re bugging out during a crisis or simply lost in the woods, survival skills are foundational to maintaining life. There are a lot of great resources on this topic that are free. Check out your local library for books or DVDs on survival. YouTube can also provide a lot of information regarding water purification, shelter building, fire-craft, signaling, navigation and snaring. There are a wide variety of techniques in the survival community so focus your search on practical skills and less on the primitive living techniques that can take years to master like fire by friction, tanning hides, flint-knapping, etc.

Communication

It’s a good idea to learn how to use radios now before you need them.For communities to effectively work together during catastrophes, they have to be able to communicate. In today’s society, we’ve become complacent with luxuries like the internet and cell phones that are highly vulnerable to failure when things go south.

In times of need, HAM radio operators stand in the gap to provide lifesaving information. This allows communities to prepare for incoming threats, make informed decisions, adjust provisions for crisis duration or work in concert with nearby communities. You can learn the basics of HAM radio with this free course.  Also, it’s less than $40 to get your license and using a simple handheld radio you can be talking to other operators in your community in no time!

Gardening/Canning

You’ve probably heard the saying that “Growing your own food is like printing your own money” and in hard times this has never been truer. Imagine your delight eating fresh tomatoes or strawberries after two weeks of freeze-dried food. Or opening a jar of raspberry jam in the middle of winter that you canned earlier that summer. Gardening and canning are skills that can be learned with a minimum amount of startup costs. If you have no idea where to start, check out your local county extension or city. They likely offer free workshops on these subjects and some even provide supplies to take home! Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of space. A simple windowsill herb garden can teach you the learning curve that comes with gardening. The beauty of gardening is that even if the crisis never comes, you’ll still enjoy the fruits of your labor. Ha…you see what I did there?!

Leadership

Working together is a key factor to surviving disasters and leadership is a fundamental role in making that happen. Your community is a lot like a tribe and it needs leaders at the local level. Good leadership comes from being informed and understanding what people need in hard times. One part of leadership is understanding what planning and execution are taking place at the city, state and national level. FEMA has tons of free online courses so you can work together and relay community challenges using the local chain of command. Here is a snapshot of some of the courses they offer:

  • Understanding the Incident Command System
  • Emergency Planning
  • Decision Making and Problem Solving
  • Planning for the Needs of Children in Disasters
  • Natural Disaster Mitigation

There are also free courses on personal emergency preparedness offered by your city or county. A quick Internet search should point you in the right direction.

Sometimes the hardest part with most things in life is getting started. The good news is that you don’t need a fortune to start building your skillset. The danger here is not acting on this information; you have to apply it! Like Derek Sivers says, “If information were the answer we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs”. Now you know how to get started and move towards your goal. This can actually be a lot of fun. Invite a friend along with you and learn something new together. You might even find a new hobby!

This article was written by The Prepper Journal and can be viewed here

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