8/12/13

Guest Post: Wilderness Survival School Review

Folks, it has been over 2 months since I have posted anything.  Lots of things going on (nothing bad) and I'll get some updates out to you soon.  I REALLY appreciate you for still checking in.  In the meantime, please enjoy this guest post from a long-time reader and friend of If It Hits The Fan, Gene from Kentucky.


LAC’s Wilderness Survival Weekend: Wilderness Survival Basics
 
It’s time to stop running and take a few minutes to STOPA! STOPA is a survival acronym taught over the weekend at the Life Adventure Center (LAC) hosting a Wilderness Survival Weekend. This weekend class was taught by Kentucky Native, Craig Caudill of Nature Reliance School (NRS) out of Winchester, KY. 
 
Stop, Think, Observe, Plan, Act (STOPA) is a survival technique that can be used to stay alive if you get lost while in the wilderness and is the first thing taught to our class. The worst thing you can do when lost, or in a survival situation, is panic.  Panic can quickly turn an unfortunate event into a tragic event. Using STOPA will aid in panic prevention.
 
Our lessons and exercises followed the Law of Three known and taught by many instructors.
 
The Law of Threes
1.     Three minutes without air.
2.     Three hours without protection from the elements.
3.     Three days without water.
4.     Three weeks without food.
5.     Three months without social contact.
 
Not meant to be a replacement for First Aid training, and not a level of Wilderness First Aid, but Rule 1 starts with some First Aid situations which one could find themselves thrust into out in the field.  In teams of two, we were given events to deal with, Hyperthermia, Hypothermia, broken finger, torn ACL, head trauma (“It’s Christmas and I see snow”), eye injury and a worst case scenario: abdominal puncture. Tasked with using items from our First Aid Kits, many of us quickly found that our First Aid Kits were lacking in some areas.  But part of this rule is also to learn that you can adapt and if you STOPA – you realize that there are elements which you can use from your pack and from the environment about you.
 
Protecting yourself from the elements is the second topic of the weekend.  Different types of tarp shelters, tents, lean-to devices are all methods to deal with the elements.  Having materials with you helps quite a bit, but in the event that do not have any resources, you need to use the landscape to keep yourself drier and warmer/cooler.  Our weekend was excellent weather wise; even with Saturday morning drizzle, yet the over night lows were close to 55 degrees and when you are wet, that is a recipe for disaster.
 
Having a fire is part of the second law as well.  In this rule it is used to help regulate your core body temperature and while it prepares you for Rules 3 and 4 it is essential to survival.  There are a number of ways which work, and a few ways which are just impractical to attempt.  Our instructor states that he carries at least two different ways to start fire on his person daily. The cheapest and easiest is a BIC lighter; they are just to easy to carry around and use, even for someone that doesn’t smoke. Second choice is one of many different forms of a Ferrocerium Rod.  Ironically, I found a Scout Fire Steel near the fire ring from a previous class held here.  After nearly a year in the elements it still works, just brush off the dirt and leaves, and it’s ready to go.
 
Now that you have ways to maintain your core body temperature it’s time to talk about water. While you may be extremely hungry, know that your body must have water for digestion.  Don’t just start eating stuff if you don’t have enough water to drink, as this can lead to dehydration. There are several places to find water when in the field.  You did bring some, right? No – well again, just STOPA and you’ll be fine. 
 
Here in Central Kentucky and much of the eastern part of the country, we have seen quite a bit of rain recently. This class had rain Saturday morning, so there are places to find it if you know where to look.  In our location was an active spring, a stream bed and of course trees.  There are a good number of productive ways to find and collect water.  There was some debunking of what does and doesn’t work from actually applied devices such as the Solar Still, from trees, or using a piece of cloth and mopping up from rain soaked or dew covered grass. Rain water can generally be drunk without concern, but other water should be treated by one of many means.  Our discussion of what does and doesn’t work for this purpose covered the spectrum of cheap (boiling) to the extremely expensive and high tech (UV treatment). When you head out, you may have grabbed that plastic sports bottle, or even found a plastic bottle in the field.  While these can be used to boil water, it’s better to have a Stainless Steel container as you can boil your water with no worries. Incidently, boiling water in a stainless steel container is the cheapest method of treating your water. Your dirty water may not look pretty, but survival isn’t always pretty.
 
If rescue hasn’t arrived yet, now it’s time to deal with next critical item – food. Craig explained that some types of food are zero or negative gain items.  He goes onto explains that if it takes 50 calories to capture a 100 calorie critter and your body uses 50 calories to consume it you have a net gain of zero.  There isn’t any positive gain here and you do yourself a disservice.  We were introduced to obtaining the ‘critter’ component using three simple traps and other devices, it’s also suggested to go after less mobile ‘game’ - wild edibles. Several simple and easy to identify examples of wild edibles from this area were shown.
 
As each plant is identified and explained, Craig reminds us to be a conservationist as well.  Take no more than you need and be respectful of the amount available in the area.  One plant discussed was the Mullein plant; this plant has several comfort and medical uses, but as there was only one example in the area, it was left standing. <
 
The rest of the class was a test, broken down into groups, we were set with a situation that a small group or family, could easily find themselves in.  Hiking out a trail, only to get turned around, lost and now there is a storm moving in.
 
Enacting our training we begin with STOPA and the Law of Threes.  We receive curve balls from time to time; a broken ankle, amputated digit, hyperthermia, lost members of the group and a lost hiker who hasn’t been seen for two days, who comes into the group and is confused, delirious and semi-violent. << there are no degrees of violence and non-violence. I would use “aggressive”
 
Tasks are divided and conquered and all participants survive the “survival situation”. We gather back together and discuss what we learned over the weekend, what worked and what plainly didn’t.  <
 
It was an excellent weekend for this class and the instructor presented the information in a manner which was easy to grasp and practical to apply.  While the tone was serious – being lost is serious – survival is serious; it was fun to learn in a challenge format.  I believe we gave as much back to the others as we took from Craig.  While I expect all members of the class will be reviewing mental and written notes over the coming days, I also am reviewing my notes of what did and didn’t work for me personally, as well as what I need to replace or acquire. 
 
I highly recommend, if you enjoy hiking, camping, hunting or generally being outdoors, to take Craig’s class.   Reading a book or watching someone ELSE do things is not the best way to learn these skills.  You should have a knowledgeable  instructor and you must try it and practice it. I highly recommend you check out Nature Reliance School and take one of their offered classes. I hope you never have to employ those lessons, but should you need to, you’ll be better off knowing what to do.

5/29/13

Hurricane Preparedness Week

Welcome, WRVA Listeners

Thursday morning at about 7:30 a.m. (EDT) I'm scheduled to be interviewed on Richmond's Morning News with Jimmy Barrett to talk about hurricane preparedness as we get ready to enter the season.  You can listen in on 1140 AM (it's a 50,000 watt clear channel, so you can pick it up across quite a distance.  You can also find it streaming at www.1140WRVA.com or using the I Heart Radio app on your smart phone.

As an intro to the listeners who may want more information, I thought I'd offer some more details, resources and links for what Jimmy and I will be talking about.


Time To Stock Up, Save Money, And Stick It To The Man

It kind of snuck up on me this year, but this week is Virginia's Sales Tax Holiday for Emergency Preparedness.  Through May 31, Virginian's can save 5% by skipping the sales tax on tarps, flashlights, bungee cords, coolers, batteries, weather and 2-way radios, and other prep items that cost up to $60 each.  The tax holiday also goes for generators and inverters that cost up to $1,000.  For a complete list of tax exempt items, you can follow this link.  For folks in other states, Alabama and Louisiana have similar programs.  Here's a list to all state sales tax holidays.


It's Not All About Hurricane Preparedness

So, how can folks prepare for a hurricane now when we are unlikely to get one until late summer or in to fall?  The first thing is to keep in mind all-hazards planning and disaster commonality.  What other disasters can befall us in Central Virginia?  Tornadoes, Snow and Ice Storms, Derechos, Earthquakes...  all of these, like Hurricanes, can result in long term loss of power, loss of other utilities, injury, blocked roads, home and property damage.  Preparing for one makes us prepared for all. 

Here are some specific things to do on a year-round basis to help stay prepared for whatever Mother Nature sends our way:
  • Hurricane Straps - these are thin metal strips that are screwed (or nailed, but screwed is stronger) that attach rafters and roof trusses to the walls.  They can also attach a second floor to a first and a first to a foundation.  If you are doing new construction, this is a very cheap way to go.  With existing homes, depending on your attic situation, you may be able to retro fit straps to your roof at least.  These can help keep roofs attached and prevent home collapse in heavy hurricane direct hit.  They can also help in a small to moderate tornado.
  • Garage Door Braces - these vertical braces can prevent your garage door from imploding in up to 180 mph wind.  They can also make your garage door a more difficult target for burglaries.
  • Windows - modern, double and triple pane windows are more shatter resistant than old fashioned single panes.  With the energy savings, if you haven't put in new windows, you really ought to.  They'll cut your electric bill, and make your windows a little more sturdy in a storm.  Hurricane or storm shutters are not really common in Central Virginia, but would probably be good to have along the coast.  You can buy expensive, custom made shutters, or simply cut 5/8" plywood to fit and figure out how to attach them (wood screws to the window frame, masonry sinkers, etc...).  The key is to mark which covers go on which windows, and keep the attaching tools and devices where you can easily find them.  Don't wait until the day before a storm hits to try and buy plywood, and once a year or so, go ahead and do a dry run to practice putting them up.
  • Generators - at my home, we average 10-14 days a year without power.  We've gone as long as 8 days at a stretch after last year's derecho wind storm.  Whole house generators are great, but they are expensive.  We have two portable generators so we can rotate use.  We have a transfer switch hard wired into our electrical system by a licensed electrician.  The key with a generator, whether automatic/whole house, or portable, is to know how to safely run it, know how much energy you need at any given time, and maintain it.
    • Safety
      • If you just have a small generator to run a fan, a couple lights, and the refrigerator for a couple hours at a time, extension cords are the way to go.
      • With larger generators, you'll need a licensed electrician to set up a transfer switch that you plug a main cord into and it feeds into your home's electrical system.  You then control which outlets get power through your circuit breaker box.
      • Do Not "backfeed" a cord from the generator directly into an outlet... you can kill a lineman working farther down the line
      • Be sure you have adequate ventilation - don't run a generator in the garage or with the exhaust right under an open window
    • How Big
      • Do you know how much power you need?
      • A generator sales rep might add up all the electrical devices in your home... washer, dryer, refrigerator, microwave, four TV sets, three computers, two window unit air conditioners, three space heaters, 17 laps and overhead lights, hot water tank...  Adding up all of the watts needed to run those items will tell you how big a unit you need, right?  Wrong.  Have you ever run all of those things together at the same time?  Probably not.  Add up a couple of lamps (CFL bulbs use a heck of a lot less power than regular bulbs), TV, one appliance, and a TV.  Maybe add in one space heater OR one window AC unit.  You'll get by on a much smaller generator.  Our 7,500 watt generator easily runs what we need, including a window unit when it was 100 degrees outside.  We ran the fridge for a while, then shut it off to run the well pump and hot water tank.  It's not as convenient as just flipping a switch, but it is a WHOLE lot more economical.
      • You can get a device called a "Killawatt" that will accurately measure your various electrical items.
    • Maintenance
      • The automatic whole house generators kick on for a few minutes every week.  You still need to do or contract for routine maintenance such as oil changes.
      • A portable generator should be run under load (plug in a leaf blower or something) for about 15 minutes every month.  The oil needs to be changed every 25-50 hours of running time.  Be sure you have extra oil and filters on hand for those long-term outages.
      • You can't simply fill a 5 gallon can with gas and leave it in the shed for years.  The gas goes bad.  I keep 12 gas cans filled with treated gas.  Each can is labeled with a month, and each month I use that gas and refill the can with fresh treated gas.  That ensures I always have about 60 gallons on hand and can run my generators for over a week.  I have the ability to safely store that much gas... check with your local regulations and keep as much on hand as you can legally and safely.
  • Food, Water & Other Necessities
    • Richmonders are famous for clearing the grocery shelves of bread and milk on the day before a storm - wouldn't it make more sense to have a larder or pantry that you rotate on a regular basis and have enough food and other needs to get your family through most any emergency?
    • FEMA suggests 2-weeks worth of food and water - I encourage at least a month, and more if possible.  MREs, freeze-dried "survival" foods and the like have their place in long term preparedness plans, but for most folks, regular grocery store foods will work fine.
    • Copy-Canning; FIFO; Eat What You Store-Store What You Eat
      • You don't need to run to BJs and buy case lots.  Simply buy an extra can or box or two of what you normally buy each time you go to the store.
      • When you buy these extras, mark the date on them and rotate your stores - First In, First Out
      • If you like SPAM, buy SPAM (or tuna or canned peas or whatever).  If you hate it, don't buy it.  It ain't gonna taste better to you if you HAVE to eat it.  Buy foods your family already eats.
    • Water/Drinks
      • You don't need 50 gallon barrels of water in the basement.  Pick up a couple of cases of water on each trip to the store.  Fill up cleaned 2 liter soda bottles with tap water.  Store about 2 gallons of water per person for 2-3 weeks.  You can go less than that if you have alternative ways to get water.
        • If you are on a well (and a genny for the pump), have a pond or pool, or water catchment from the gutters, you have extra water.  I suggest a Berkey Water Filter system for every home that will make all that "outside" water clean and pure.
      • Water gets boring.  Pick up tea, coffee, lemonade, and Kool Aid powder mixes.
    • Toiletries/Necessities
      • Running out of toilet paper sucks.  Why does anyone buy a 4-pack?  Pick up the giant pack and get another one when that one is halfway done.
      • Don't wait to run out of soap, toothpaste, razors, deodorant, etc...  Buy multipacks, and get the next pack when the first one is halfway done.
      • If you are on any kind of maintenance medications, work with your doctor and insurance company to try and get a month ahead so that you always have at least 30 days worth on standby
  • Blackout Kit
    • Anytime the lights go out, whether for a week after a hurricane or ice storm, or just for a couple hours when a drunk runs into a power pole, a blackout kit will make your life easier.  Use a soft cooler or a small tote bag.  I keep one in the bedroom and one in the laundry room.
      • Have a couple of flashlights and extra batteries.  I've become a convert to using headlamps instead of flashlights.  They keep both hands free for hooking up the generator, walking the dog, or pretty much anything else you can imagine.  I love my Petzl Graphite that is linked below.
      • Keep an index card with the phone numbers for the power company and other emergency contacts
      • Candles and a lighter - I like a handful of those battery operated votive candles to just spread around the house.  Some prefer regular flame candles.  At after Christmas sales or thrift stores, look for jar candles since they are safer than a stick candle
      • We already said batteries, but have more!  Have different sizes for anything that you might not even think of.
  • The MOST Important Piece of Storm Preparedness Gear
    • Every home should have at least one NOAA Weather Alert Radio plugged in with fresh batteries year-round, 24/7
    • With S.A.M.E. technology of current models, you can set it so it only picks up warnings for your county
    • Technology has made the warnings more accurate and longer range to give us a chance to prepare and seek shelter - especially for tornadoes
With a 30 day supply of food, water, and daily needs, not only will you be ready for most any natural disaster, but you'll also be that much better off if you get laid off or have to miss work due to a serious injury.  You can also use the extra as charity for neighbors or family who are less prepared.

Where to store all this food, water, and mondo packs of toilet paper?  Be creative!  Under the beds... the dead space above the cupboards... the coffee table or footstool might be able to be used for storing more than a couple throw pillows...  that attic crawl space that is too small to store a bunch of junk, can easily hold a couple packs of TP and paper towels.

If you take these steps, gradually and without building debt (when's the best time to buy a generator? a month after a hurricane hits when half the people who ran out to buy one at Lowe's before the storm end up selling them on Craig's List because they didn't even open the box), you'll be much more prepared for a hurricane, or any number of other personal or widespread disasters.

Check back here over the next few days for more info on preparedness efforts to take as we get farther in to hurricane season and for the last minute things to do in the days before a hurricane hits the area.

For more information on securing your home against high winds, FEMA offers several free download documents here.

5/26/13

Interesting Week

Moore, OK

We were on vacation this past week down on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Taking a break from the beach in the room, my wife was stunned to see live footage of the tornado that devastated Moore.  Her best friend from high school lives there.  As soon as the news showed the tornado had ended, she got on Facebook and reached out to her friend.  Thankfully, they made instant contact, and she and her family were safe.  Her work was destroyed, but her home was unscathed.  In the aftermath of the tornado, the photos were amazing.  Entire square miles are destroyed and there are no recognizable landmarks.  Chance Sanders put a comment on his FB page suggesting folks also record grid coordinates, along with addresses, of their family meeting or rendezvous locations.  Great idea!  But how do you do that without an old school map?

Here's what you do...  Go to Google Maps and find whatever location you want to make a meeting location.  Right click on it and pick "what's here?"  The 16-digit coordinates will show up in the search box.  Simply save these to your notes page on your smart phone, then, if you need to find the location after a disaster, just go to Google on your phone's web browser, enter the coordinates, and it will pop up in Google maps.  You can then get directions to there from your current location. 

For OPSEC, you can simply do a "plus 2" to each pair of numbers when you record it, and you can give them labels such as "gym combination" or "bank account #."  Let's give it a try... using "plus 2," my "elementary school locker combination" is: 39.625758,-79.580219.  Figure out where I went to 5th grade, and email it to me here.  All correct answers received by noon on Saturday, June 1, 2013 will be entered in a drawing to win some cool prep gear from my bunker.  It won't be huge, but it will be cool.

A word of caution - I also tried this with Google Earth.  I got completely different grid coordinates for the same location.  I used the coordinates that I got off Google Earth, and I ended up about 40 miles away on the other side of town.


Five In The Pocket

No, I didn't spend vacation in a pool hall.  We were at the beach.  How to ensure you have protection, even in the bare minimum of clothing (it's OK, you don't have to gouge your eyes out, I wasn't wearing a Speedo).  I carried my NAA mini-revolver with five rounds of .22LR CCI Stinger in the pocket of my swim trunks and my Buck neck knife the whole time.  Super lightweight and convenient, and while not much, it would have been a very rude surprise if anyone on the beach had nefarious intentions.  NAA Mini-Revolver Review  Buck Neck Knife Review



Memorial Day Message

Tomorrow is not for car and sheet sales.  It's not for getting drunk at the ball park.  It's not for having a hot dog on the grill.  You can do all of those, of course, but only because others have given their lives for us to have that freedom.  Have fun, but please take a moment to remember and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  Go to the local veterans' cemetery and render a salute.  Visit a Gold Star mother and thank her for her son's or daughter's service.  Read some Medal of Honor citations to your children.  Please visit my last year's Memorial Day message and read about two Marines that I have had the honor of knowing.

5/19/13

Prepper Ponderings

TREXPO

The other day, I went again this year to TREXPO in D.C.  It used to be the Tactical Response EXPO back in the 90s when I started going, but I think now it is just plain TREXPO and is done in cooperation with the GOVSEC trade show.  Tons of cool gear, much of it applicable for preppers.  Numerous body armor manufacturers and suppliers were there.  Since I bought my last vest about 8-9 years ago, it is amazing how light and flexible II and IIIA armor is.  Compared to when I bought my first vest over 20 years ago, it is like comparing it to a knight's shining armor.  There was a lot of first aid gear that would be great for a blowout kit or 72 hour bag.  I got a samples of a couple of tourniquets I'm going to review here soon.  Big brother was prevent, of course.  Several different drone manufacturers were there.  These things are getting smaller and more maneuverable every day.  All-in-all, a good show again this year. 


Travel Safety

One of the promotional give-aways I picked up at TREXPO was a glow-in-the-dark door wedge.  Much more useful than the countless pens and can coozies.  We are heading on vacation soon, and this will go with us to help secure the hotel door at night.  I don't know who the actual maker is, but it is just as simple to get an old fashioned rubber door stop or a chunk of 2x4 cut on an angle.


Great Customer Service

I've always heard about the great service from Dillon Precision, but never had a need to experience it.  Some time ago, my Dillon 550 press started having problems feeding primers.  I finally got around the other day to calling them to see what I needed to do.  I was on hold for about 45 minutes, but considering the current state of affairs in the firearms and ammo industry I didn't really mind.  Once the fellow got on the phone with me, I described the problem, and he asked a few questions to further trouble shoot.  He quickly determined what my likely problem is, and said he would send me out some replacement parts.  I was shocked to have them in my mailbox less than 48 hours later... at no charge.  If you are in the market for a reloading press, strongly consider Dillon.

5/6/13

Fleeing Felon

It Can Happen Anywhere

Friday afternoon I got a call from the local police that a guy had escaped from state police custody and he had 50 years of time hanging over his head for parole violations, and he had vowed never to go back to jail.  He was in the vicinity of three elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school.  We put the schools in a modified lockdown with the exteriors secured.  As dismissal time rolled around, the five lower schools let the students go, with one bus getting loaded up at a time and a police officer standing by.  The high school just got all the students to their cars or on the buses quickly, with plenty of adult supervision and a couple of police officers on site.

The police were using bloodhounds, helicopters, and about a hundred officers to try and find this guy, but never was it like Boston with people ordered inside and warrantless searches of private homes and businesses.  He was found about 12 hours later, holed up in an apartment, less than a half a mile from two schools.  This situation worked out pretty well with minimal disruptions, but what if it were a worse or larger problem?

So how can a person prepare for an event like this?

Really just like any other event that might make it difficult to get home.  A communications plan and alternate travel routes, along with a 72-hour kit that fits your particular needs.

If your kids are at school and dismissal is delayed, can you get to them, or do you have a nearby trusted friend or family member that is on the "pickup" list and can get them if you can't?  Do they have age-appropriate kits with them at school in case no one can get to them?

If your main road is shut down, do you have alternative routes?  Perhaps cutting through residential areas, or maybe skirting outside of town and coming back in the back way.

How about communications?  Make sure your cell phone is always charged up.  Have phone numbers for school, neighbors, and family members.  If you have a smart phone, be sure you know the webpages for you local media outlets.  You can also download an app that allows you to listen to your local police, fire/rescue, state police, and other emergency radio broadcasts.  There are a bunch of them out there, many free, so check them all out to see which ones carry your local frequencies.

Using an "all-hazards" approach, prepare for any eventuality that could reasonably happen in your community.  Disaster commonality will ensure that you are pretty well prepared for even those things that you may not have thought of.

4/28/13

Video Review: Surviving Civil Unrest

Surviving Civil Unrest with Chance Sanders

Disclaimer: Chance sent me a free demo copy of this video for me to review.

First, a little background...  I met Chance Sanders, and his wife, Laura, when they were assistant instructors when I went through Pathfinder Basic class in Ohio a couple years back (you can read my 5-part review of the school here).  They were both very knowledgeable and all-around good folks.  We've kept in touch since then, and I've followed his growing presence in the survival and preparedness field through articles that he has written for several magazines.  About a year ago I was excited to find out that he was working on this training video and have been eagerly awaiting its release.  As many readers know, I work in a major city, but commute over 50 miles to and from my rural homestead each day.  I frequently take alternate routes home and refine my get home bag (GHB) for different times of the year.  I dread the situation that  might force me to hoof it home, but it is a possibility that something could happen.

Recent news has given us examples of where the skills to escape and evade from an urban environment could be of great, and even lifesaving, value.  The Boston Marathon bombings come to mind.  Thousands of participants, race supporters, and even bystanders suddenly had their plans disrupted and many were separated from their belongings, and/or injured.  Just last night, the Va. Beach oceanfront erupted in civil unrest with shootings, stabbings and mob violence.  Imagine being a family on vacation and either out to dinner away from the hotel when things got bad, or simply at the beach for the day and trying to get out to get home in one piece.

As I watched Surviving Civil Unrest this afternoon, I learned quite a few techniques that I can put into my get home plans.  I also got some ideas that will make me think differently or alternatively about my particular situation.

Chance teaches throughout the video by simulating an on-foot evacuation from an urban environment to his rural destination.  He demonstrates and explains what he is doing, and has interspersed guest commentary from some subject matter experts.  Aside from just "how-to" information, he also teaches a system of planning, using the Marine Corps 5-paragraph order.

I'm not going to give away the great information that he covers, but here are some highlights that I gleaned and particularly liked:
  • For his every day carry (EDC) bag, he uses a simple messenger case or musette bag, not some "tactical" kit that may draw unwanted attention during normal times
  • He notes repeatedly that gear alone is not the answer - you need to develop skills
  • He highlights the importance of advance planning - communications, maps, caches, redundancy, etc...
  • He shows a few ideas of scavenging urban materials
  • He has two great ideas for cache locations that might work out perfectly for my situation
The production quality of the video is very professional.  The video and audio are both well done.  I do, however, have a minor critique and a suggestion:
  • I had a hard time getting the video to play on my laptop - it wouldn't work at all with my RealPlayer, and it froze at several points using Windows Media Player - it could very well have been my computer, though and not an issue with the video.  Playing it on my bluray on the TV, I had to try a few different buttons to get it started (this could also have been me, though, I'm not real used to watching discs on the player), but once I got it going it ran flawlessly.
  • edit - I just heard from Chance - he had sent me a burned copy of the disc, and the production ones ought to run fine on anything that can play a DVD
  • Chance used some really cool gear in the video.  I'd love to see a supplier or resource list, perhaps on a related website, or linked on his YouTube channel.
If you regularly spend time in an urban environment, there may well come a time when you can't get home your normal way.  Part of your preps should be studying this video and practicing the techniques that Chance presents.

You can order the video here.
Check out Chance's YouTube channel here.

4/11/13

Book Sale

Staying Home - by Alex Smith

Alex wrote his first post-SHTF novel, Going Home, under the nom de plume of Angery American.  It recieved rave reviews on Amazon.

He let me know that his latest book is on sale for .99 cents in e-version through Friday.  It is not a novel, but a how-to guide aimed at the beginner or intermediate prepper.  I haven't read it yet, but I'm sure it will be great.  And you sure can't beat the price.

4/9/13

Free Preparedness Fair

This Weekend - Hampton Roads, Virginia

I went to this fair last year and really thought they did a great job.  The LDS church in Newport News is doing it again this Saturday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

 
 
If you are in the Richmond - Va. Beach area, I really encourage you to check this out.  I'm hoping to go, but I'm not sure yet.  If I do, I'll post on the Facebook page and maybe meet up with a few of you.
 


4/5/13

Staying ALERRT

Just Had Some Amazing Training

As long-time readers know, I was a police officer for 15 years and have been the chief of security for a large, urban public school system for the past 7.  As a cop, I attended hundreds of hours of training each year, far exceeding the mandated in-service requirements.  Since I left police-work, I've still managed to attend way more training than is typically expected of someone in my position.

This week I had the opportunity to attend what was one of the best training programs I have ever been too.  ALERRT is Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, and is a program designed in Texas to teach active killer response.  I went through with college and municipal police from across southeast Virginia, with experience ranging from two years to nearly 40.

Yesterday was classroom in the morning, followed by "blue gun" training in the afternoon to get the basics of team movements down.  This morning we had a little more classroom, and moved to Simunitions for the afternoon.  When I left police work, "Sims" were typically only used by the SWAT types.  The use is much wider spread now, and it is truly an effective force-on-force training tool.

My skills were a little rusty, but quickly came back, and by the end of the day, I felt very comfortable and competent and the cobwebs were getting knocked off. 

For the lawdogs out there, if you ever get the chance to attend this training, you really should.  For other folks, contact your local PD or Sheriff's Office and ask them to get their officers trained in it.  The training is offered free-of-charge through grant programs organized by Texas State University-San Marcos.  Information is at www.ALERRT.org.

3/11/13

Prepper Ponderings

Been a While

Folks, it's been quite a while, so I really appreciate everyone who continues to check in here.  I can't get out content as much as I would like, but if you are one of our 955 Facebook fans, I usually get something up there almost every day.  Contests from other sites for great prizes (body armor, suppressors, flashlights, even guns), links to free Amazon downloads of interest to preppers and homesteaders, and funny or poignant photos or memes (what the heck is a "meme" I never heard that word before a few months ago).  If you are not following us on FB, please hit the like button.


Incoming Rounds

I was working in the yard yesterday afternoon, to the sound of someone down the road shooting a heavy caliber rifle.  No problem, I shoot in my backyard sometimes and we are out in the country.  It became a problem when I heard BANG.... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzTHUNK.  A daggone ricochet came over and impacted somewhere in my woods.  A few more shots, then again, BANG.... zzzzzzzzzzzz - that time no thunk, it kept going.  Getting a little concerned, I stopped what I was doing and it came again... then a fourth time.  I duckwalked to the house and made sure the Mrs. was OK, then hopped in the Jeep and went down the road to see if I could figure out who was shooting.   I went a good 1/2 mile or so and pulled in a couple driveways, but couldn't find them.  I came back, went and checked on the neighbors, and went back to work.  There were more gunshots, but no more zzzzzzzzzzzz.


Outgoing Rounds

We got our membership approved at the gun club about 20 miles away.  Last Sunday, we headed over so my wife could take the new member orientation and I was scheduled for a skeet lesson.  I've shot durn near every type of recreational shooting there is, but never skeet or trap.  I was hoping to use my Grandpa's old Winchester Model 12 Featherweight, but when I dug it out of the safe, I found it was a full choke... no good for clays.  I ended up using my SxS coach gun that I use in Cowboy Action Shooting.  I could have used the instructor's Perrazi (probably a $10-15,000 gun if you are not familiar with it), but I wanted to "run what I brung."  After 30+ years of rifle and pistol shooting, I had a lot to learn - or perhaps unlearn.  I used muscles I didn't know I had.  I probably got about 20% of the birds, and had a lot of fun.  I think I'll save up and buy another 28" full choke barrel for the 12, and get it cut down a few inches and removable chokes installed.  That gun has a super smooth action, it's lightweight, and will do me just fine for as much as I anticipate shooting.

For the rifle and pistol ranges at the club, you need to have your own target holders that fit into sunk PVC pipe.  The manager sells them for $10 or you can make your own.  I decided to make my own.
 
 
They are made of 2x2 with scrap chipboard for corner supports and super thin (about 1/8" maybe) plywood for grooves to hold the cardboard.  7.5' tall, with 20" cross pieces.  For the grooves, I have two layers of about 1/2" wide plywood supporting 1.5" wide plywood across the bottom and on the sides.  It is glued and nailed.  The chipboard is cut in triangles and glued and screwed with short wide screws.  The crosspieces are glued and screwed with 3" screws.  My bar clamps really made it possible to do.  Why the crazy paint you may ask?  Members can store their holders in a locked shed, and they suggest wild paint to identify yours easily, and chaining/padlocking two together to discourage "borrowing."  I am really looking foreward to sending a lot of rounds down range this year and shooting some video for the YouTube channel.

2/24/13

Guest Post - Food Storage Tips


Food Storage Tips
 
Edited 2/25/13 - The author of the guest post had sent me an email that I missed, asking me to hold off on posting their article.  They should be getting me an updated and expanded one soon.  Sorry for the confusion!
 
Bug Out Box Subscription Service
 
A long-time reader sent me this link to the Bug Out Box subscription.  For $27.95 a month (including shipping) you get 5-8 survival gear items, plus information for how to use them in different situations.  I don't know what they include, but it might be worth looking in to if you want to get an older relative set up with some basic supplies or if you have trouble sticking to a monthly budget.
 
 
Starting My Seeds
 
I got my first tomato seeds started in the grow box today.  I had some more tomato and pepper seeds left over from last year, but I can't find them.  I think they must be buried in the freezer so I'll look more this week.  Last year, I filled my red Solo cups a couple at a time with super rich soil from my garden box, then carried them across the yard to the green house.  I got a little smarter this year and filled a bucket from the box, then sat at the grow box with a stack of cups and my seeds.  MUCH quicker and efficient!  My wife cut me a piece of black canvas to fit the top, then serged it so it wouldn't unravel.  I stapled it to the back edge and stapled the front edge to a dowel rod.  Now, when we have a clear, cold night, I can roll it out to cover the top and prevent convection heat loss to the atmosphere.  Then the next morning I can quickly roll it up before I leave for work.

2/18/13

Updates

Another Milestone!

We just passed 900 fans on Facebook!  Thank you so much! When dealing with advertisers, suppliers, and other organizations, FB fans is an important number.  I haven't been getting much out here on the blog lately, but I try to share a news story or a cool picture or something everyday on FB.  If you are not already a fan there, please consider doing so.  I also post on FB whenever I have a new post up here on the blog.


Car Troubles

About three months ago, I sold my Honda Element.  It was very cool, and did everything I could need, but it just didn't fit my body for my 2+ hours a day I spend commuting.  I had gone back to my 11 year old Dodge pickup.  Stick shift, manual windows, 2 wheel drive,V6, A/C had been broken for two years... nothing fancy at all, just very reliable and pretty comfortable to drive.  Thursday morning last week, the engine blew with 175,000 miles on it.  I just can't see dropping several thousand dollars to get a $1,500 dollar truck back on the road.  Starting Friday after work, my wife and I went car shopping.  The objective was a late model, low mileage, AWD or 4WD, car/SUV/Crossover/PU, under $20K - and it had to be automatic with cruise control and comfortable for me to drive - no compromise on those last two.

Saturday morning, it was snowy and sleety here, and I had to be at my new gun club for new member orientation and safety briefing.  My wife had another obligation in town.  I fired up the EMP-BOV 72 Jeep Commando and went on out.  No heater and a soft top, but it did great... just not suitable for commuting to work (maybe in the summer...) Over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we went to five or six dealerships, sat in over a dozen vehicles and test drove about six of them.  Sunday afternoon found us at a Kia dealer looking at a used Soul.  It had pretty high mileage for the year, and had a very funky smell to it.  The dealer worked with us and got us into a 2013 Soul+, that met all of my criteria, except it wasn't used and it is front wheel drive.  As small as the Soul is, I'm a pretty good sized dude, and it fits me just fine.  Very comfortable seating, no odd angles or protuberances into my knee or shoulder, and pretty peppy.  I had a Kia Spectra several years ago and was very impressed with how it held up.  5yr/60k mile bumper to bumper and 100k mile powertrain warranty shows they stand behind their products.  It has all kinds of cubbies and storage, so my GHB and emergency kits are already in place.  It is also getting almost twice the gas mileage of my truck.  It's not AWD, but really, around here, front wheel drive will get me through 99% of what I need to be driving in.  If you are in the market for something to commute in, check out the Soul.


Slingin' Lead

As mentioned above, we just joined a gun club.  It's very nice, catering mostly to skeet and trap shooters, but they have several nice rifle and pistol ranges too.  I was a member years ago when it was an Issac Walton League facility, but it is privately owned now.  They require all new members to take a four hour safety class.  Three hours is the NRA home firearms safety course, and the last hour is range rules and regulations.  In Va. the NRA course will count for a concealed weapon permit, so that is a nice feature for new members who don't have a permit.

Once it warms up, I want to shoot some shooting videos for the YouTube channel, and take some non-shooting friends and family just to show them how much fun and "unscary" guns can be.


Suppressor Info

Our friends at Liberty Suppressors have just released this video that goes over the pros and cons of "can" ownership.  Very informative.  Link to YouTube video


Coming Up

We've got a guest post from a reader that I'll get out later this week.  If you have a particular interest or skill that you want to share, please email me a guest post.  I'd love to get it out to our readers.

When I went down to weekly posts in January, I mentioned some new ventures that I am working on that will take a lot of time.  One of those is pretty big, and I hope to be able to share it with you by the end of the week.  Stay tuned!

2/10/13

Prepper Ponderings

Growhouse

I set up the growhouse tonight.  I was going to put it against a chainlink fence, but I think having it against the shop will give it more sunlight over the course of the day.  I can't put my black cinderblocks in the bottom because it is actually in my strawberry patch.  It will be an interesting comparisson to see the strawberry plants that spend the next few months under the shelter vs those exposed to the elements.  I put eyebolts in the rear of it and in the wall of the shop, then used zip ties to secure it.
 
 


New Promotional Partners

I'm excited to announce two new places to get If It Hits The Fan out to folks.  A new survival/preparedness aggregator site, Survival Pulse, will start showing our links.  It's a very useful site to see what is going on a huge variety of sites.  Also, the site, Before It's News is going to start carrying our RSS feed for their millions of readers.  Pretty cool if I do say so myself.


MREs

Our friends at Meal Kit Supply have a new batch of MREs for sale.  These were packed just last month, so they are super fresh and a great way to get as long a shelf life as possible.  A new menu item is Chicken Fajita.  I'm looking forward to giving them a try.  $129.99 for a case of 12 meals.


Crucial Survival Tip for Men

Fellas, if you don't take my advice on this, your life will be much worse off...  Valentines Day is right around the corner.  This coming Thursday is it!  Maybe your gal wants flowers or candy.  Maybe she wants a case of MREs or a new holster or knife.  Whatever it is, get it ahead of time.  Don't be the guy searching the CVS on the way home from work Thursday evening!

2/3/13

Product Review: Grow It Wooden Growhouse

A Greenhouse for Regular Gardeners

Last year I tried a greenhouse for the first time, to get my seeds started early.  My dad and I built it out of pvc pipe, rolls of plastic, and Gorilla Tape.  It was 6'x6' with a peaked roof, and I ran a space heater and grow lights into it.  I built a shelf unit with the shelves lipped and lined with plastic so that the hundred or so seed pots (10 oz red Solo cups with a hole drilled in the bottom) could self water from the trough.  It worked ok, but it was really bigger than I need for my garden, and by the time spring was going good, it was starting to collapse from the tape losing adhesive.

This year, my wife bought me the Grow It Wooden Growhouse from Amazon.


It's 3'7" high, 2'6" wide, and 1'10" deep with two slatted wood shelves, and polycarbonate sides, back, doors and top.  The top is hinged and has braces to keep it open, and the two doors swing open.  It was VERY easy to put together, taking me just under an hour (it would have been even quicker if I followed the directions from the get go).  My only tool was a phillips head screw driver in my drill.  It seems pretty sturdy, but is lightweight enough for one person to easily move around.  It is plenty big for my needs, and if my garden gets bigger next year, I can always get a second one for more capacity.  It's pretty attractive, and would be fine in a hoity-toity subdivision, or out here on the homestead.

The wood is stained to look like redwood, but I'm sure is a light pine or poplar or something.  That is probably about the only negative I see.  I don't think it will hold up to the elements for year after year.  I plan to hit it with a weather-repellent coating of Minwax or something like that, and it will come in the shed after seed starting season.  With those two small efforts, it ought to last for years. 

I also am making a couple of adjustments to it to fit my particular needs.  I'm going to have it against a chain link fence, so I'm screwing in a couple of hooks on the top rear corners so I can secure it to the fence and it won't blow over.  The doors have swiveled pieces at the top and middle to keep them closed.  I'm adding one to the bottom to keep it from gaping there.  Finally, I'm going to take a piece of canvas the size of the lid.  I'll staple one edge to the rear of the lid frame, and the other edge to a dowel rod so it can be easily rolled up and out.  It will be used to cover the top when it is a cold, clear night.  Listening to Paul Wheaten one time on The Survival Podcast, he spoke about the need to cover a greenhouse under those conditions.  You figure that the upper atmosphere is bitterly cold, and if there is no cloud cover to insulate the ground, then any head built up in the grow house during the day will rapidly escape.  I'm also going to paint a couple of cinder blocks black and put them in the bottom to serve as a heat sink.

Next weekend, it will be time to get my seeds started for the season.













1/28/13

Book Review: The Prepper Next Door

The Prepper Next Door, by Charlie Palmer, HCM Publishing, 2012, 314 pages, $19.95

This book was sent to me at no charge, by the author, for my review.

The Prepper Next Door is chock full of useful information, presented in an easy to read, conversational writing style.  Charlie breaks it down into 15 logical chapters on topics ranging from "The Prepper Porta Potty" to "Of Fireblocking And Basements" to "Not Everybody's Cut Out To Raise Chickens."

Looking through my copy, I have probably 25 pages with the  corners turned down for some great tidbits of information, or especially humerous side comments.  In the chapter on flashlights, Charlie discusses the pros, cons, and specs for a variety of different models, all of which is good, useful information.  Then, to lighten the detailed read, he drops, "nothing else says, 'What the Hell are you doing here?' as well as 1,000 lumens."  He includes numerous web resources and downloadable documents such such as the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, among others.  The information in this book makes it valuable to the novice or experienced prepper.  The writing style makes it enjoyable to read for anyone. Because the author presents so much of the information in a non-threatening, good for everyday emergencies as well as major disasters and even WROL situations.

I whole-heartedly recommend, The Prepper Next Door, by Charlie Palmer as a gift for that novice or non-preppin friend, and for yourself.  Everyone will learn something from it.  It is also available on Kindle for $9.95.

1/21/13

New Prepper Resource

I got an email from a fellow named Dennis Evers offering the first 50 folks to visit his blog, Preparedness is Fundamental, a free copy of his e-book, How to Handle a Crisis.  I really like the blog, nice photos, and good, solid, "how to" information. It's definitely on my regular read list.

Here's the info release on the blog:


New Resource for “Hands-On” Preppers

Preppers are typically “hands-on” kind of people, and with that in mind, a new website; “Preparedness is Fundamental”, has just been launched that features articles and short how-to videos on prepping for anyone that doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty. One video shows you how you can secure as many perfectly good batteries as you want for free while another walks you through the easy construction of a super bright, rugged 12 Volt LED prepper light for around $6.00.

Other information includes how to build a solar generator, gardening, free prepper materials and discount codes, while upcoming videos and how-to articles deal with a serious homemade smoker for under ten bucks, LED security lighting, long term food storage, seed preservation and more.

To the first 50 visitors “Preparedness is Fundamental is offering a free eBook; “How to Handle a Crisis” (a $4.99 value) which deals with all types of disasters, terrorism, CBRNE, medical crises and survival.

1/17/13

They Work For Us!

Letters To My Congressman and Senators Going Out Today


January 17, 2013
The Honorable Eric I. Cantor
Rm. 303
Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
 
Congressman Cantor:
 
I am a Marine Corps veteran, a retired law enforcement officer, and currently the chief of security for one of the largest public school divisions in Virginia.  I am also a life member of the National Rifle Association and the Single Action Shooting Society.  I enjoy recreational and competitive shooting of both modern and historic pistols, rifles and shotguns.  My wife, Charlotte, is a budding skeet and trap shooter.  We keep and carry firearms for home and personal defense.  Our guns have never been used to “assault” anyone, and never will be.  I have used my pistol defensively, both as a police officer and as a private citizen.  I’m thankful that I never had to fire one at another person, but the mere possession and display ended the threats I faced.
 
The president is pushing for numerous gun control measures that are not only un-Constitutional, but are morally repugnant.  Guns are the only area where many want to punish the law-abiding and restrict possession of inanimate objects simply because an evil or deranged person might use a similar item or because it has a particular appearance.  The AR-15 and AK47, in semi-automatic form, have been on the market with standard 20-30 round magazines for well over 50 years.  Functionally, they are based on technology that was readily available in the earliest part of the 20th century.  I was a police officer during the Clinton “assault weapon” ban and I know that it had no effect on reducing crime.
 
I urge you to lead the fight in Congress against any new gun control laws.  They will not prevent any crime, and will only lead to make criminals out of law-abiding gun owners.  Demand that current laws are enforced… prohibited persons must be prosecuted if they lie on form 4473 or if they are found to be in possession of a firearm.  Project Exile works!  Demand that straw buyers are charged and held accountable for their actions.  Demand that strict, additional penalties are given to criminals who use firearms in the commission of a violent felony.  Please use your leadership role to protect our rights.
 
Sincerely,
Donald R. Green, CPP, CEMA
 
 
January 17, 2013
The Honorable Mark R. Warner
Rm. 475
Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
 
Senator Warner:
 
I am a Marine Corps veteran, a retired law enforcement officer, and currently the chief of security for one of the largest public school divisions in Virginia.  I am also a life member of the National Rifle Association and the Single Action Shooting Society.  I enjoy recreational and competitive shooting of both modern and historic pistols, rifles and shotguns.  My wife, Charlotte, is a budding skeet and trap shooter.  We keep and carry firearms for home and personal defense.  Our guns have never been used to “assault” anyone, and never will be.  I have used my pistol defensively, both as a police officer and as a private citizen.  I’m thankful that I never had to fire one at another person, but the mere possession and display ended the threats I faced.
 
The president is pushing for numerous gun control measures that are not only un-Constitutional, but are morally repugnant.  Guns are the only area where many want to punish the law-abiding and restrict possession of inanimate objects simply because an evil or deranged person might use a similar item or because it has a particular appearance.  The AR-15 and AK47, in semi-automatic form, have been on the market with standard 20-30 round magazines for well over 50 years.  Functionally, they are based on technology that was readily available in the earliest part of the 20th century.  I was a police officer during the Clinton “assault weapon” ban and I know that it had no effect on reducing crime.
 
You have a solid record of defending the 2nd Amendment and gun owner rights.  I urge you to continue this support and lead the fight in the Senate against any new gun control laws.  They will not prevent any crime, and will only lead to make criminals out of law-abiding gun owners.  Demand that current laws are enforced… prohibited persons must be prosecuted if they lie on form 4473 or if they are found to be in possession of a firearm.  Project Exile works!  Demand that straw buyers are charged and held accountable for their actions.  Demand that strict, additional penalties are given to criminals who use firearms in the commission of a violent felony.  Please use your leadership role to protect our rights.
 
Sincerely,
Donald R. Green, CPP, CEMA
 
 
 
January 17, 2013
The Honorable Timothy M. Kaine
Rm. B40C
Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
 
Senator Kaine:
 
I am a Marine Corps veteran, a retired law enforcement officer, and currently the chief of security for one of the largest public school divisions in Virginia.  I am also a life member of the National Rifle Association and the Single Action Shooting Society.  I enjoy recreational and competitive shooting of both modern and historic pistols, rifles and shotguns.  My wife, Charlotte, is a budding skeet and trap shooter.  We keep and carry firearms for home and personal defense.  Our guns have never been used to “assault” anyone, and never will be.  I have used my pistol defensively, both as a police officer and as a private citizen.  I’m thankful that I never had to fire one at another person, but the mere possession and display ended the threats I faced.
 
The president is pushing for numerous gun control measures that are not only un-Constitutional, but are morally repugnant.  Guns are the only area where many want to punish the law-abiding and restrict possession of inanimate objects simply because an evil or deranged person might use a similar item or because it has a particular appearance.  The AR-15 and AK47, in semi-automatic form, have been on the market with standard 20-30 round magazines for well over 50 years.  Functionally, they are based on technology that was readily available in the earliest part of the 20th century.  I was a police officer during the Clinton “assault weapon” ban and I know that it had no effect on reducing crime.
 
You have a record of alienating gun owners and attacking the 2nd Amendment.  I urge you to change your views and lead the fight in the Senate against any new gun control laws.  They will not prevent any crime, and will only lead to make criminals out of law-abiding gun owners.  We can all agree that violent felons and the mentally deranged should not possess firearms.  They are already addressed in the current laws, yet those laws are not enforced.  Demand that current laws are enforced… prohibited persons must be prosecuted if they lie on form 4473 or if they are found to be in possession of a firearm.  Project Exile works!  Demand that straw buyers are charged and held accountable for their actions.  Demand that strict, additional penalties are given to criminals who use firearms in the commission of a violent felony.  Ensure that the states provide accurate criminal history and mental health records to the NICS system.  Please use your leadership role to protect our rights.
 
Sincerely,
Donald R. Green, CPP, CEMA
 
 
 
These people are elected to serve and work for us.  Make your thoughts heard!

 

1/13/13

When It's Time To Change...

You've Got To Rearrange...

Of course, I take today's title from a classic episode of The Brady Bunch.  I think it is time for If It Hits The Fan to change.  Over the past 2 and a half years, you have taken time to come here and see what I have to say, over a quarter million times.  Unfortunately, that has taken a lot of time, about 2-3 hours a day.  With my long commute, I'm away from home almost 12 hours a day, and I just can't keep it up.  I need to devote more time to my own preps.  I want to spend more time with my wife.  I want to shoot my guns more, and shoot more video for the YouTube channel.

I've also got some other things in the works.  I have the opportunity to write some articles for one of the survivalism magazines out there, as well as a publisher that wants me to submit a draft of a book.  There just aren't enough hours in the day.  On top of all of that, since the Sandy Hook attack, my professional life has taken off and responsibilities have increased at work.  Soon, I'll have some big news in that area.

If It Hits The Fan isn't going anywhere.  I'll still get some content out to you once a week or so.  It's just that I've got to change my focus and priorities.

I'm really grateful to all of you who have made If It Hits The Fan such a success, and my sponsors are truly amazing.

Times are going to tough in 2013.  Our economy is collapsing... our rights are being stolen away... the flu season looks like it is going to be nasty...  natural disasters are striking in new and severe ways.  Preparedness is a valuable life skill and life style.  There are some fantastic web resources out there to help us all learn how to improve our skills and build community.  I'm hoping that you'll continue to include If It Hits The Fan as one of your resources, but check out the others as well.

Thanks for an amazing ride for these past 2 and a half years, and I look forward to more with you.

Donald

12/27/12

Did Santa Help Your Preps?

He Got Me Some Good Gear

I got some good non-prepping gifts, Get Smart - The Complete Series Gift Set, a Bali-Song-style Silver Flash Butterfly Can Bottle Opener, and some nice cigars.

Otterbox Defender

I've been using a Griffin case for my iPhone 4 for about a year and a half.  It's a great case, but really more than I need.  It is thick rubber and very water resistant.  I am very happy with the Otterbox.  It is almost as protective as the Griffin, but a little thinner, and not as "sticky."  It also makes it easier to use the camera because the Griffin has a rubber flap that must be moved and held out the way.  The Otterbox doesn't.

Col. Littleton cell phone pouch
Col. Littleton makes some fantastic leather gear, much of it available through Orvis.  I carry my iPhone and a Blackberry for work, and I've been toting them in a Lowe Alpine belt pouch.  It was functional, but ugly.  My new Col. Littleton pouch is very well made leather, and it holds both phones easily and securely.  I love the look of it which is very reminiscent of a WWII-era GI flap holster for the 1911.

Desantis Ankle Holster

I got this rig for my new Kahr CM9.  It is very comfortable, and I've been wearing it almost constantly since Christmas Eve.  It is easy to conceal, and fairly quick to draw from.  This is going to become a part of my EDC gear.

Pocket Chainsaw

I've long had the pocket chainsaws made from braided wire with split ring loops on the end.  They work pretty well, but have limited durability.  I've been wanting to try this type, and have heard good things about them.  After I give it a good workout, I'll do a video product review soon.

War Hammer

I never thought that I would need a hammer like this, but I'm really looking forward to using it.  It is really designed as a wrecking bar tool with prying spots, nail pullers, a chisel, and even a bottle opener... but seems like a great improvised impact weapon as well.  Makes me feel a little like Thor.  I'll shoot a product review video of this as well.

I also got a Maxpedition S-Type Jumbo Versipack (Od Green), but it is worthy of a whole post on its own.

I gave some prepping items to a few friends and family, but some haven't been delivered yet, so those are still secret.

How was your Christmas?