Prepper Ponderings

Big Berkey

Last night I received my new Big Berkey from our great sponsor, The Berkey Guy.  I've been putting this off for quite some time, but finally bit the bullet.  This is a nice looking unit that will be fine sitting on the kitchen counter for daily use, and is durable enough to keep in storage and break out in an emergency. 

We have clean well water, so I think I'll end up keeping mine in storage until I need it.  A couple times a year, we get long term, torrential downpours that cause dirt to seep in the well and we get brown water for a few days.  That will be an ideal time to break it out and use it.  If I lived on city water, I'd definitely use it on a daily basis, with the addition of the fluoride filters.

Clean water is essential to life.  Any of the Berkey line will be a great addition to your water plans.


I put up 30 more pounds of rice today.  We use the 3 liter Deer Park water bottles (holy crap that link is expensive!) for our vehicles, and as we rotate the bottles out every couple months, I've started using them for my rice storage.  The going rate around here is $1.39 - 1.59, but we can sometimes find them on sale for $1.09.  The Food Lion brand 3 liter waters are sometimes on sale for $.99.  After being sure the insides are completely dry, I use a funnel with about a 3 cup top and a 3/4 inch wide spout to pour in 10 pound bags of rice.  I've found that I can get 30 pounds perfectly into five bottles.  That equates to 2 pounds of rice per liter of space if you have smaller or larger bottles.  I fill them nearly all the way to the brim, and screw the top on tightly.  I'm thinking about adding oxygen absorbers, but I don't know how that will work.  I'll probably give it a try on a couple bottles as a test.


I used my new Husqvarna for the first time today.  It is SO much better than my old $109 Craftsman.  I got a 16" blade, primarily because most of my cutting is saplings and small diameter trees, along with reaching up to some branches.  Anything bigger is not needed and is heavier.  It cut right through some trees, branches, and even the big nasty bushes that had been growing in front of the house for years.  It starts right up, has little vibration, and is easy to maneuver.  I should have done this years ago instead of going through a new cheapo one every two or three years.  Quality costs, but it's worth it in this case.


FEMA Follies

What is the Purpose of FEMA?

The most recent reports put the death toll from the recent tornadoes at 318.  It is horrific and I pray for the survivors and those who lost family and homes.  People are coming together and helping neighbors.  Private charities are stepping up to the plate.  Volunteer search and rescue teams are recovering the dead and finding survivors.  Local and state emergency management agencies are organizing efforts, operating shelters, and coordinating mutual aid from undamaged neighboring jurisdictions.  All very positive activities and necessary for a community to recover.

So what is the role of FEMA and the feds?  President Obama said yesterday, "I want every American who has been affected by this disaster to know that the federal government will do everything we can to help you recover."  I have a problem with that statement.

As I was coming along, I was always under the belief that FEMA was there to assist states and localities in restoring infrastructure.  Getting highways back open, rebuilding the local jail, financially helping poor jurisdictions...  Managing outside responses during large regional events, bringing in resources from outside the affected area, getting the destroyed community hospital replaced with a MASH unit until a building can be adapted...  When did the role of the federal government become handing out water, ice and generators to individual residents?  Why does FEMA pay to rebuild damaged homes?  Why is the United States in the camper business?

My first awareness of this micromanaged disaster response was in the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel in 2003.  This area was hit hard and many people were without power for several weeks.  The morning after she hit, my wife (actually my fiance - our wedding was going to be the following weekend) and I managed to drive the 10 miles to my dad's house where he had two generators and running well water.  It was a difficult drive.  Once there, I went up to help cut away trees that had fallen on the road to the horse barns.  I was cutting a tree that was under pressure and it snapped out, pushing me down at the ankles, and I broke my arm.  We made it to the emergency room about 20 miles away, and under emergency power, got my arm set and a temporary cast on it.  We gutted it out at my dad's for the next week. 

We scoffed at reports of the FEMA trucks bringing in ice and water for distribution at the local fire house.  But under the conventional wisdom that has taken over America since then, we should have waited in line for our rations, bought a generator so that FEMA would reimburse us for it, and applied for payments to cover my insurance deductibles.  As the  weeks unfolded, I became more and more dismayed at these supposedly independence minded rural folks who not only got these handouts, they demanded them.  A few weeks later, I was further amazed when a coworker had to leave early to go meet the FEMA man at her house.  He was there to estimate the damage to their roof and issue them a check to repair it.  I asked her how she could take money to pay for something that her insurance would cover, and she said that they owned their house outright, so they didn't need insurance... the government had to take care of them.

Since that time, we've dramatically increased our ability to respond to disasters ourselves.  Not even so that we don't have to be good little subjects and get our handouts from FEMA, but so that we can take care of ourselves, not intrude on my folks, and even be able to help our neighbors.  But other disasters have shown that many of our fellow citizens are taking even less responsibility for themselves.  Now we are apparently at the point where "every American affected" will get federal help to recover.  I don't know that our nation can recover from that attitude.

Survivalists and preppers don't fall into that trap.  We understand that we must be self-reliant.  Help for individuals should be local and voluntary.  I know that not everyone is able to help themselves.  But that's what friendly neighbors and private charity should be for.

I hope I haven't put anyone off with this political post.  It's not anti-Obama; I believe he's just continuing what George W. Bush started.  It may go back farther then that.

Tune in tomorrow,  I'll tell you about my Big Berkey that came today and my prepping activities for the weekend.


Product Review

Field & Stream Ripstop Jacket

As the deadly band of storms moved into our area today, I was at work, and realized I don't have a lightweight rain jacket, so I stopped by Dick's Sporting Goods.  I found a nice North Face rain jacket in olive drab.  It had a flap over the zipper, adjustable cuffs, hood and waist; the material felt nice, and it was $80.  I then found the F&S Ripstop Jacket for $40.  It's also OD, and has adjustable cuffs, hood and waist.  They say the material is "hydroProof ULTRA" and it's waterproof and breathable.  The material reminds me of the GI poncho I had in the 80s and 90s.  It's noisier than the other one, but half the price.  I got that one.

It fits well.  It's long enough to cover most of my backside.  I had my arm out the window coming home at 75 mph and it's windproof, just as they say.  It's more breathable than my old GI poncho, but it's no Gore Tex.  We had a gully washer storm come through a little while ago, so I wore it in the yard.  I stayed perfectly dry, so it works as intended.

Is it a fantastic rain jacket?  No.  I wouldn't want to wear it day in and day out in monsoon season in the jungle or on a crabbing boat on the north Atlantic.  But is it perfectly usable for wearing at work if I get caught in a storm, or having behind the truck seat with my BOB?  Sure, and the price is right, too.

The Storm

This has been a terrible storm system.  They are now saying over 280 deaths.  My thoughts and prayers are with the people who lost homes and loved ones.  I truly value my NOAA weather radio.  If you don't have one, please get one.  It's an extremely valuable piece of daily survival gear.  Every home and office in America ought to have one.


Product Review

Cold Steel Irish Blackthorn Walking Stick

For the past few weeks, my knee has been acting up.  I've periodically had tendinitis in it over the years, but not like this in a long time.  I've been popping ibuprofen and trying to take it a little easier, but a couple of times, it felt like it was going to collapse on me.  It's feeling better now, but I still get some pains if I move wrong.  It got me to thinking that I might look into getting some sort of cane, just to have on standby.

A couple weeks ago, I posted a series on prepping and defense while traveling.  The Cold Steel Irish Blackthorn Walking Stick caught my eye.  If you fly, TSA can't question your "handicap" or lack thereof.  It's unassuming and non-threatening.  It will look pretty smooth hiking around the Highland Games in me kilt.  And you can bust a cinder block (or other object) wide open if needed.  Check out this video from Cold Steel.

I went ahead and ordered one, and have been experimenting with it.  First off, it looks good.  At a casual glance, it looks like a fine wood walking stick.  It's 37.5" long.  I'm just barely 6 feet, and it could stand to be another 1/2 inch or so longer for me.  If you're much over 6 feet, you might need to look for another product.  If you are about 5'9"-5'11" I think it will be just about perfect.  If you've never walked with a cane and plan to use it on a flight, practice some first.  It's really an awkward movement if you're not used to it.

It definitely needs a rubber tip. It's kind of slick, especially on hard floors.  I'll pick a couple up at a drug store this week.

This walking stick will certainly have a place in my preps.  It will always be on standby if I need it for an injury; I'll have it available for traveling unarmed; and I'll keep it in my truck kit if I need to hike home.  Not to mention, when I get a couple more years on me, I can stand on my front porch and wave it around while I yell at kids to get out of my yard.


Canned Heat

Canning for Dummies

I've never canned before.  We eat very little jelly or jam, and my wife doesn't come from a family history of canning.  She's been reluctant to dive into yet another "project."  But we love salsa and chips, and I just put in some jalapeno plants in the garden.  She asked if we would have enough to make our own salsa, and how long it would keep.  I told her that even if we don't get the crop this year, we can always get stuff at the farmer's market, and anything we canned would keep for at least a year or two under good conditions.  I then told her the difference between waterbath canning and pressure canning, and her interest rose. 

So, long story short, we picked up some canning equipment this weekend and will be able to start off with some basic salsa with this year's harvest.  I already had a Ball Blue Book, so we got 2 dozen Ball pint jars, extra lids and rings, a granite ware canning pot, and a Ball starter set with a funnel, side scraper, lid magnet lifter and jar lifter.

I'm really looking forward to expanding this side of our prepping activities.  And what a great way to spread self sufficiency - a nice jar of home grown and canned salsa as a present to folks.

The Heat is on for Top Shot

Tonight is the grand finale of Top Shot on The History Channel.  Local favorite, Ashley Spurlin, went out at the top 6.  It's now down to the top 4 shootout with one USAF sniper and three former Marines.  My money is on Gunny Brian Zins who lives in the small village in Ohio where my step-mom hails from.  He's a 10-time NRA pistol champion and seems to always pull it out.

No matter who wins, he will have earned it!  All of these guys are great competitors and marksmen.  I really appreciate that History is promoting the safe and fun use of firearms.


Mainstream Prepping

It's In The Sunday Paper

This April 10 article from the LA Times appeared in our local paper yesterday.  It focuses on a family in the Shenendoah Valley of Virginia who are "stockpiling" food, not for a natural disaster, but for an economic one.  Most of the article is very straightforward and presents a good look at one aspect of modern survivalism.  The article even talks about our sponsor, Shelf Reliance, and features a Cansolidator and Thrive brand food in the photo.

Naturally, coming from the LA Times, they had to include some snarky comments at the end from a professor of food policy and international business at Tufts University in Boston.  "While there is nothing wrong with being prepared, Tillotson is skeptical of products that claim to last longer on the shelf than the lifespan of the average horse. 'You can't keep people from getting old no matter what you do to them.  Food is the same way.  In five years it may taste like a dog's breakfast.'"  I can just hear him sounding like Thurston Howell the 3rd when he said it and looking distastefully down his nose not just at the products, but at the people who buy them.  "Mwhuh, Lovey, I don't think that maid even knows how to prepare something like this... thank goodness."

It's In The Family

At Easter lunch at the in-law's yesterday, my wife's aunt mentioned that her husband had planted 100 pounds of potatoes.  She said that they were worried that food would get scarce and the government would take over the grocery stores; but if that happened, they'd at least have potatoes to eat.  They don't really know what I do, and we don't see them very often.  There wasn't opportunity to dig deeper in the conversation (25 people jammed up in one house for lunch), but I think I'll bring it up next time we see them.  They live out in the country and I've always had the impression they were fairly self-reliant, so I'm kind of surprised they don't have a more well rounded garden.

It's In The Neighborhood

I was off work today, and got my new plants in the ground.  Tomatoes, jalapenos, watermelons and strawberries.  I also took a ride to the dump with the trash for the last two weeks.  There are a lot of farms around here, but I noticed that there were at least a half dozen large gardens between here and the dump that I had never seen before.  A couple of them looked to be about 1,500 to 2,000 square feet and had fencing around them.  More and more people are coming around.  They may not take the name of "preppers," but that's what they are.


Dreams of Prepping

You Know That Dream Where You Don't Have What You Need?

Last night I had a bizarre dream that I was at an intersection near where I grew up, and a small plane crashed around the corner.  I went into my truck emergency kit for supplies to go help, but as I dug through my gear, all I could come up with was a few bandaids and alcohol wipes.  Naturally, this lead to much fretting and worry in my dream as I was unable to render aid to the plane crash victims. 

When I woke up this morning, my thoughts were to write about first aid supplies, and the training to use them.

Skills and Training

With enough money, a person can acquire all the medical equipment needed to run an emergency room.  But without the skills to use it, it's useless.  On a smaller scale, there are a lot of people who buy suture kits, IV supplies, birthing equipment and other things that can be very useful and life saving, but if improperly used, can be dangerous or even deadly.  There is some argument that they buy these things so that if they come across a doctor or other medical professional who has no equipment after SHTF, they can welcome that person into their group and have supplies for them.

I think that every person, whether a prepper or not, ought to have basic first aid, CPR and AED training.  With that, a basic first aid kit and a CPR one-way valve mask, should be in every car, office, home, etc...  Most public buildings now have AEDs for the use of anyone who knows how to do so.  That basic level of training is easy to get, easy to maintain, and likely to be used somewhat regularly.

If you want or need a higher level of skill level, you can get certifications as Emergency Medical Technician or Paramedic.  I was an EMT about 20 years ago.  The training covered everything from arterial bleeding to major broken bones to child birth.  The purpose was to stabilize patients long enough to get them to a hospital.  Paramedic is a higher level of training that uses IVs and medications.  Back then a saying was that Paramedics save lives, but EMTs save Paramedics.  The idea was that the Paramedic was so highly trained that they would look to the more exotic or advanced treatment when perhaps all that was needed was a traction splint or something.  Either training can often be had at minimal cost (but quite a bit of time dedication and commitment) through your local volunteer rescue squad or community college.

Other advanced training possibilities include becoming a medic in your state's National Guard, attending a wilderness medical training course, or working with your local Medical Reserve Corps during disasters.

I'd also say that everyone should have a copy of Where There Is No Doctor.  You can get it as a free download or as a printed book.  Might be good to have both.

Equipment and Gear

Quality first aid kits are available from our great sponsors: Survival Gear Bags; Essential Packs; and Shelf Reliance; in all price ranges and for every skill level.

Although I doubt I'll ever have a plane crash around the corner from me, I need to bump up my first aid gear a little bit.  Consider what you have and what you know, and see if they are compatible.

Sponsor Of The Week

Wise Food Storage from Directive 21 is our Sponsor of the Week.  Wise Food Storage is nitrogen packed, with a 25 year shelf life.  They have grab & go emergency packs and long term storage systems that go over 4,000 servings.  The food is packaged in individual or family serving packs inside of square buckets for easy storage and without the need to open a #10 can and worry about spoilage before it gets eaten.  If you check out Wise Food Storage from Directive 21, please tell Jeff that you heard about them here at If It Hits The Fan.


Growing Pains

In The Garden

I had to go out today and buy some plants for the garden, much to my chagrin.  I had started my tomato seeds a while ago, and had them under a twice a day grow light cycle.  They were doing great, and I started putting them outside for a few hours.  Then, my dog tipped over the planter, completely upside down.  The smaller ones were crushed under the dirt, and the larger, thicker ones broke under the pressure.  I think one might have been salvageable.  Then, I think I got them too much sun and the leaves started drying out.

So, off to Lowe's today.  I picked up four nice heirloom seed tomato plants, about 14-18 inches tall already with good thick stems.  I also got six strawberry plants to replace the strawberry root wad things that I planted a couple weeks ago.  A couple of the plants are already showing small berries.  I got two jalapeno plants (a first for me) and two sweet baby watermelon plants (also a first).  They'll all go in the ground tomorrow after Easter lunch at the in-laws'.  I'll get my cuke, summer squash and zucchini seeds in the ground tomorrow also.  My lettuces and carrots are coming up nicely.  I'll also get my cold frame taken off tomorrow.  Should be a good garden this year.

A funny side note about the sweet baby watermelons.  Back in the countdown to Y2K, I was in a rented old farmhouse on 200 acres with three other guys.  Two were short term, but one was and is one of my best friends.  Our landlord brought us over two sweet babies from his garden one day and we put them in the fridge with the intent of one being mine and one Chip's.  I've never been a big watermelon fan, but a couple days later I decided to try mine.  Chip was off at work.  That thing was so delicious, that I not only ate mine, but his as well.  Twelve years later, he still brings up the fact that I ate his sweet baby.  If I get any production from my plants, I'll take one by his house and drop it off, just to get him to hush up about it.


Prepper Ponderings

Dave & Cody Are Back

As I type this, the season 2 premier of Dual Survivor (my wife pointed out that I had been spelling this "Duel" duhhhh) is coming on, so this will be a pretty short post.  The guys are in the wilds of Argentina, and the show is starting off with Dave cauterizing a cut arm with blackpowder.  Wow!

I also found out today that a guy who was a year behind me in high school is one of their field producers and has traveled the world with them. 

Product Review: Petzl Tikka XP2 Headlamp

This is a great little headlamp.  It runs on 3 AAA batteries, is pretty comfortable at only 3 ounces, and has a long battery life.  The tilt angle of the light is adjustable depending on if you are walking along, or doing some close up work.  It has settings for bright (60 lumens), economy (about 1/4 the brightness), flashing bright, red, and flashing red.  There is also a diffuser that you can slide up over the LEDs.  On the bright setting, it is plenty bright for walking through the woods or searching your house or yard.  I've been playing with mine for about a month on the original set of batteries.  I've probably had two hours of running time accumulated, and it is still very bright with no noticeable power loss.  According to Petzl, you can get up to 160 hours on economy setting.  A battery indicator light comes on when you get down to a low amount of power.  As an added bonus, one of the buckles on the headband has an emergency whistle built in.  The current Amazon price is $52.72.  You might be able to do better with a local supplier, but either way, this is a very handy item to have around the house, when camping, changing a tire on the side of the road at night, or just taking out the garbage before bed.


C.E.R.T. - Not Just A Mint

Community Emergency Response Teams

One part of personal preparedness that I promote is that if my family is prepared to help ourselves during a disaster, that frees up resources to assist those who can't (or, unfortunately, won't) help themselves.  By encouraging others to prep, we can further reduce demands on the system.

A lot of our friends and neighbors around the country have started doing more to aid not just themselves, but their communities.  They are becoming a part of their local C.E.R.T. Team.  C.E.R.T. is not about being a hardcore survivalist, search & rescue stud, sheriff's posse.  It's retirees, housewives, school teachers, college students, business owners... people from all walks of life who come together to learn the basics of disaster recovery and then support their community's efforts.  They free up the resources of the fire department, rescue squads, police departments and other professional rescuers.  They might help secure the perimeter of a tornado-struck neighborhood.  They can be called upon to search houses for stranded elderly people after a flood starts to recede.  They can provide triage assistance at the county fair on a 100 degree day.

Not every community has C.E.R.T., but it is growing.  In most places that have it, it falls under the fire department or the office of emergency management.  To join, a person has to complete some basic training under the guidance of a C.E.R.T. instructor.  Topics include: Disaster Preparedness; Fire Safety; Disaster Medical Operations; Light Search & Rescue; C.E.R.T. Organization; Disaster Psychology; and Terrorism.  All of that is followed by a disaster simulation, and may also include area-specific weather threats.  The classes are typically one evening or morning a week for 6-8 weeks, so it is quite a commitment.

There is also an on-line class a person can take.  It is a basic overview of the full class, and might be good to gauge your interest.  It will not substitute for the in-person class.  To take it, visit the C.E.R.T. training page.

If it looks like something you might be interested in, check here to see if C.E.R.T. is in your locality.

By the way, if you want C.E.R.T. gear, most places issue it to the course graduates... but if you're like me, the issue gear is never good enough, and you'll want to upgrade.  Our sponsor of the week, Essential Packs has a great selection of C.E.R.T. gear ranging from a simple shoulder patch all the way up to a deluxe kit.

C.E.R.T. won't be right for everyone, but it is a valuable addition to a community's emergency planning and operations, and just might be right for you.


Danger, Will Robinson

Warning, Warning

Robot on Lost In Space had a very effective warning system whenever the family was threatend.  Since about 2002, the Department of Homeland Security has had a color coded warning system for our nation's threats.  It hasn't been percieved as being very effective.

Today the DHS announced a new warning system.  Instead of national alerts with little detail, there will be alerts only for specific information that indicates a threat.  Those alerts will offer information about locations, things to beware of, and types of threats.  They will also be of limited duration instead of lasting indefinately as the current ones do.

Here's a link to the DHS information page about the new threat warning system.

Another Price Increase

The Berkey Guy announced forthcoming price increases a couple of weeks ago.  Now, another sponsor, Survival Gear Bags, must do the same thing.  Kelly posted this on Facebook yesterday:

If you were thinking of placing an order, I would do so soon. A supplier is instituting Minimum Pricing, which will result in a PRICE INCREASE on most items. It will take me a a week or so, to get these changes into the site.

This DOES NOT effect the following product lines: Paladin, SOTech, EOTech, 5.11, BCB, Kaito, Ogio

Some price increase will be small and others large - Let me know if you have questions.

There are a lot of businesses out there that will spring price increases suddenly and take advantage of their customers.  The businesses in the preparedness community, as a rule, are much more customer oriented.  I'm very proud of all of my sponsors and their dedication to customer service.  Kelly has great stuff at very reasonable prices.  Check out Survival Gear Bags quick to make a purchase before his prices go up.


G.O.O.D.-EVOC Part 2

That Was Why... Now How?

Yesterday we looked at some of the reasons to seek out specialized training in various high-risk or challenging driving techniques.  Today I'll talk about some ways to get that training.  Some cost a lot of money, some are low-cost or free, and one or two might even pay you to learn.


It's funny that to drive a short bus with 16 passengers, a limo, or a truck for hire, you need special training and a CDL (commercial driver's license) of one type or another; but to drive a giant motorcoach or a large pickup with a 38' 5th wheel camper trailer, you just need the money to buy it.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating special licensing for RV'ers, but as a person who has crushed more than one hubcap on a shuttle bus, I can say that it might behoove a person to get some training.

The best option would be to get training on your particular RV.  A Google search for "RV driver training" revealed training classes and schools all over the country.  I can't vouch for any one in particular; check with your dealership, local Good Sam club, or other RV'ers for recommendations.

Another option might be to go through a Emergency Vehicle Operators Course as a fire truck or ambulance driver with your local volunteer organization.  Different states and organizations have different requirements, but check in your locality.  Many are happy to have volunteers who can't commit to EMT or firefighter training and certification, but are willing to drive a unit, freeing up a service provider.

If you are between jobs or partially retired, consider getting a part time job as a school bus driver.  Many school divisions are in need of good drivers, and will often provide the necessary training and licensing.  If you can navigate a big yellow bus full of excited children through crowded city streets or small country roads, you can safely get your RV to your BOL in less than ideal conditions.

In The Car

If you are like me and just have a regular car or pickup that you use on a daily basis, but want to improve your skills so that you are better able to get home in a SHTF or stressful situation, then some advanced defensive driving might be for you.  If you've ever been through a DMV "defensive driving" course to get out of a ticket, you know that is not the same thing as what we are looking at.

Yesterday I mentioned going through a State Department executive protection driving course as a test student for new instructors.  I did that training at ITI at their permanent facility on the grounds of the West Point, Va. airport.  They not only offer "tactical" driving, they also have civilian advanced techniques, and shooting schools.  Kind of a one stop shop.  I've known several instructors there over the years and they have a very good reputation, so I can recommend them if they fit your needs.

Googling "advanced driver training," "crash avoidance" and "EVOC driver training" will get you tons of potential training schools all over the country.  Again, check them out and find our if they are of good quality before putting your money down.

Many police or sheriff's departments have volunteer auxiliary programs where candidates receive the same training as full time staff, but only work a couple days a month.  That can be an excellent way to get trained and practice high speed maneuvering and other skills, as well as some advanced shooting skills.

Off Road

When I was 17, I was lucky enough to have my Dad let me drive his 75 Jeep CJ5 to school and on weekends.  I was stupid enough to take it off road to the point where I got well beyond my capabilities and sunk it in about 30" of thick clay mud.  It ultimately took one of those 18 wheeler tow trucks to get it out.

If you are planning to take an off-road route to get home in SHTF or out to your BOL, please learn how to do it safely and have your rig equipped for whatever terrain you are in.  At the very least, join the local 4 wheel drive club and go on organized trips with experienced off roaders until you learn what your and your rig's capabilities and limitations are.  That super-cool FJ Cruiser in black and green with the aggressive tread is useless if you roll it or get it stuck in your inexperience.

A Google search for "off road driver training" or "4x4 driver training" brings up a plethora of possible training opportunities.  As above, investigate and be sure you are getting the quality of training that you are expecting.  I can't vouch for any of them, but I did find Overland Experts which seems to be an established and proven training school in Connecticut and Virginia.  In addition to basic and advanced off road training, they also offer driving trips in locales ranging from NE Canada to the wilds of Kenya.  I told my wife about them last night and we are going to look into taking a class at their Virginia location.

Driving after It Hits The Fan is a lot different than your daily commute.  Be sure that you and your vehicle are ready for it.



Did I Ever Tell You About The Time I Drove In The Joie Chitwood Hell Drivers Stuntshow?

Ever notice in SHTF disaster movies, the star always knows how to drive like an expert, dodging explosions, driving through falling buildings, fording raging rivers, evading zombie hoards?  Some that come to mind are 2012, Dante's Peak, Deep Impact, and Volcano.  While loads of fun to watch, how realistic is it for us to drive like that while trying to Get Out Of Dodge?  Probably not very.

Most of us took driver's ed in high school.  When I took it, we did a little serpentine course and a left-right-stop drill.  I drive about 30,000 miles a year in moderate traffic.  You might be in a similar situation.  What is your plan to get home if SHTF or evacuate your community after a disaster?  Will you drive off road?  Perhaps you plan to drive on the sidewalks to get around traffic jams in the city.  What will you do for the brigand roadblock between you and your family?  Will you be in your Chevy Impala commuter car or in your '89 F350 4x4 dually?

Have you been to Gunsite or some other shooting school?  Did you take that home canning class?  What about the wilderness survival course you've been planning?  All of those are important and can contribute greatly to your survival.  But how good of a driver are you?

I encourage everyone to seek out some professional driver training.  Over the years, I took a week of pursuit driving in the police academy, Emergency Vehicle Operators Course with the rescue squad, and a State Department protective detail escape and evasion course from a private company.  In the latter one I drove door handle to door handle, practiced the PIT maneuver, did bootlegger turns and rammed vehicle roadblocks.  I was a practice student for State Department instructors, and it was not only incredibly informative and practical, it was tons of fun!  Through all of those courses, I improved my skills in various types of vehicles and it has made me a better driver on my daily commute, as well as better prepared to G.O.O.D. if needed.

Regarding the post title about Joie Chitwood, I really did drive in the stuntshow one time.  Years ago, the Mid-Atlantic Chevy dealers had a three day pep rally for the salesmen from Maryland to South Carolina.  They had sales seminars and the new model year cars to drive.  They also had one of Dale Earnhardt's race cars out with one of his pit crew people so the salesmen could compete in tire changing.  The highlight of each day was the Joie Chitwood Hell Drivers Stuntshow where they jump ramps, drive blindfolded, and drive up on two wheels.  Another police officer and I were working security with your Chevy Caprice police cars all shined up nice.  The last day, someone had the idea to conclude the Stuntshow by incorporating the track that had been laid out for the test drives, plus a little extra.  They had the stunt drivers going around, through and over the track while the #3 car drove the track with us driving our two police cars after it with lights and siren blaring.  Not really relevant to the post topic, but I've always enjoyed asking, "Did I ever tell you about the time I drove in the Joie Chitwood Hell Drivers Stuntshow?"

Where To Get Training

Check back in tomorrow for a look at different ways to improve your driving skill in other than normal situations.  I've got some scoop on off-road schools, E&E, large vehicles and EVOC.


Springtime for BOB

BOB Seasonal Change

I'm pretty late on doing the seasonal change on my Bug Out Bag, but it has been a cool spring.

I keep my bag packed in my truck with the purpose of using it to get home if I'm stranded with or without my truck.  I work over 50 miles away, and depending on the circumstances and route, it could take me 3-4 days to hike home.  I have a close friend down there that I could shelter with if necessary, but I like to have my own supplies so I don't take from theirs.  I keep my bag set up with several days of water, food and shelter capabilities.  I've got some thoughts on expanding it in the near future that I will share at the end.

Here's the current contents:
From left to right, bottom to top...
2 underwear
2 camouflage bandannas
2 pair socks
2 dark colored t-shirts
OD boonie hat
Eddie Bauer khaki "bush" shirt
21st Century Ka-Bar wrapped in about 10 feet of duct tape
5 granola bars
pack of Kool-Aid singles
notepad with Sharpies and a pen
lined flannel shirt vacuum sealed
light blanket vacuum sealed
2 Campbell's soup
tuna fish
2 cans pineapple bits
first aid kit
compact binoculars
LED flashlight
handcrank flashlight
space blanket
Bic lighter
Swiss Army Knife
candle lantern
dentist's sample toothpaste & toothbrush
pack of tissues

In the truck, I also have body armor, some hiking shoes and four 3-liter bottles of water.  My water plan, if I have to leave the truck, is to fill up the CamelBak reservoir from the water bottles, then, as I find more water, I can fill up the reservoir from a questionable source, but drink it only through the Sport Berkey.

I think to further refine the bag, I will move the clothes to a small duffel bag and improve the food and shelter capabilities.  I can expand upon the food a little without affecting the weight too much.  I'll also add a dark colored small tarp for sheltering.

No matter what, if I have to hike home, it's going to suck.  The key to my BOB is to make it suck a little less.  I'd never make it home in good shape in my khakis, shirt and tie wearing dress shoes; and I work far enough away that food and water supplies are a must.  If I worked 6-10 miles from home, I'd have it set up totally different.

Sponsor Of The Week

Our Sponsor of the Week is Essential Packs.  Give them a visit and check out their huge variety of packs, CERT gear, and emergency equipment.  You can also subscribe for free to their informative newsletter and emergency preparedness tips.  Of course, please tell them you heard about them at If It Hits The Fan.


Taking Stock


Today I did more work organizing my preps in the shop.  I got the shelves straightened up and most of the prep gear sorted into bins.  My wonderful wife used some mailing labels to make easy-to-read identifiers so I don't have to go through all of them to find something.  I also got the food shelves organized out there.  It's a lot easier to rotate stores and maintain inventory when the food is organized.  Finally, I got the workshop side of the building straight as well.  Things are hung up on the walls, on shelves, and in containers.  I've got extra socket sets, screwdrivers and hammers because of disorganization in the past, it's so much easier to work on something if I know where my tools are.


We made a trip to BJs' this evening and added to the food supplies.  Four double boxes of cereal, three cases of water, a case of Annie's organic mac & cheese, two 6-packs of Lipton flavored rice, two 10-packs of Healthy Choice soups, two 75-count bullion cubes, 24 cans of albacore tuna on sale, two big jugs of popcorn, three 3-liters of olive oil, three 8-packs of canned fruit, and a #10 can of Planter's mixed nuts.  All in all, a pretty good stash to add to the pantry.


The storms that were so deadly in the Midwest and Southeast made an appearance this afternoon.  As I mentioned yesterday, the NOAA weather radio is a must have.  Ours let us know about a severe thunderstorm watch, a severe thunderstorm warning, and a tornado warning.  Since I have such a long commute and I seldom listen to the car radio, I need to find a portable NOAA radio that won't cost my whole paycheck to keep stocked in batteries... maybe one I can hard wire into to the truck's electrical system.  Anyone know of something that will fit the bill?


Prepper Ponderings

Tomato Envy

I thought that some of my tomato plants that I started were looking pretty good.  Tonight we stopped at Lowe's for a few things and I saw their plants.  Their plants were about 4 times the size of mine.  I think I'm going to bite the bullet and pick up a few to go in the garden.  I'll still plant a couple of mine to see how they do in comparison.

First Fruits

I put in two blackberry plants and three strawberry plants last week.  I dug up my wife's liriope from in front of my shop (I had the OK and moved it elsewhere) and planted them all there.  As they grow, I'll add some lattice to the front of the shop to support the plants.  This is my first attempt at fruits; I hope they do well so we can eat delicious fresh fruit and dehydrate some as well.

Duel Survivor Is Back

I see where Dave Canterbury and Cody Lundin will be back with Season 2 of Duel Survivor starting next Friday, 4/22 on the Discovery Channel.  We really enjoyed the show last season and learned some great techniques.  I'm really looking forward to attending Dave's Pathfinder school this summer.

Yesterday's Storms

As a further reminder of how quick it can hit the fan, yesterday a line of deadly storms swept through Oklahoma and Arkansas before heading into Mississippi and Alabama today.  Reports have nine people dead and the storms are continuing into the Southeast for Saturday.  It is so important to have a NOAA Weather Alert Radio on at all times and set for your local area.  At least four of the storm's victims were killed in bed


The Barter Larder

Stocking Up On Trade Goods

I've mentioned my Barter Larder a couple of times.  But what is it?  Back during my prepping for Y2K I had a box set aside that I labeled as my Barter Larder, and it's stuck with me.  Essentially, it is my collection of items that I might be able to use for barter without dipping into my needed preps.  I can also use it for some charity as well.  Some of the items that currently live in my Barter Larder are:
  • buttons
  • needles and thread
  • travel-sized soap, shampoo, toothpaste
  • feminine hygiene products
  • 16 oz. water bottles filled with rice
  • small flashlights
  • ammo and holsters I no longer have guns for
  • work gloves
  • used, but name brand pocket knives
  • stocking caps and scarves
  • durable clothes that no longer fit (jeans, old BDUs, flannel shirts)
  • small first aid kits
  • convention backpacks and ditty bags
  • tools
The key to my idea of a Barter Larder is that it should contain items that I don't need, and that cost little or no money.  I don't know of anyone who is so complete in their preps that they can purposefully go out and buy items solely for future barter purposes.

Here's some ideas of how to build up your own Barter Larder at minimal cost or inconvenience:
  • buttons - every worn out dress shirt or jacket, cut off the buttons and stick them in a container - you might find a jar of old buttons at a yard sale for as little as a quarter
  • needles and thread - hotels often have courtesy sewing emergency kits in the bathroom, pick 'em up and add them to the larder - assuming you have a good sewing kit for yourself already
  • travel-sized soap, shampoo, toothpaste - free samples from the dentist or the store, freebies from the hotel bathroom again, often available for less than a buck at the store
  • feminine hygiene products - sometimes a lady will change brands or types while still having leftovers of the older type
  • 16 oz. water bottles filled with rice - I fill 3 liter water bottles with rice for storage.  Seldom does the number of bottles and pounds of rice come out even.  Leftover rice goes in a couple of clean, dry 16 oz. water bottles for barter or charity
  • small flashlights - free logo or promotional flashlights, bonus packs with batteries
  • ammo and holsters I no longer have guns for - if you've horse traded a gun or two in your time, you probably have some leftover ammo - need 2 rounds of .40 S&W, 77 rounds of .380 or 5 rounds of .357 Sig? come see me...  Years of police work and concealed carry have left me with more holsters than I have handguns for as well
  • work gloves - these can often be found at Lowe's, Home Depot, Northern Tool & Equipment, or other places on sale for 99 cents each or even cheaper.  I always grab a handful to keep in the shop, truck, and elsewhere, and a couple pairs make their way to the Barter Larder
  • used, but name brand pocket knives - I've got dozens of Wegner and Victorinox Swiss Army Knives, plus Bucks, Old Timers, Spydercos, and others - they can be found at yard sales, or in bulk closeouts for pennies on the dollar
  • stocking caps and scarves - I picked up a half dozen child sized watch caps at Wal Mart this week for only 20 cents a piece.  Spring is a great time to find super cheap cold weather gear
  • durable clothes that no longer fit (jeans, old BDUs, flannel shirts) - As I change in size, I put the outgrown durable clothes in the barter larder (lately, it's been because I've been getting smaller - a good thing!) - flannel shirts sometimes be found for $4-5 each, and after a season of wear, they have shrunk in the wash too much and go in the BL - sometimes thrift stores have everything in the bag for $5 sales and that can be a great way to add clothes to the BL
  • small first aid kits - promotional giveaways often have "band-aids" or small nylon pouches with a few pieces of first aid equipment
  • convention backpacks and ditty bags - if work sends you to different conferences, you probably don't need any more tote bags or those draw string backpacks - but a family needing some charity would be grateful to have one to carry their gear in
  • tools - upgrading from cheap tools to good ones - don't just get rid of the cheap ones - promotional giveaways sometimes include little multi-tools, screwdrivers, or even full kits
If you have something extra, before throwing or giving it away now, think about if it would be useful to someone during a SHTF scenario, either as a trade item, or as charity.  If you have the extra room to keep somethings, I encourage you to do so.


We got a big influx of visitors yesterday from Survival Blog.  I'd like to welcome you all and hope you'll check out other posts and stick around.  Check out my sponsors and visit my Amazon store.  Like us on Facebook if you are so inclined.  I post most everyday, and I'm always glad to have new readers!



Wind & Solar

Off Grid In Oregon

I recently found out that a cousin owns a wind and solar company in Amity, Oregon.  He sent me a brochure, and I've checked out his website at Wind2WattsInc.com.  They offer hybrid wind and solar systems that can be grid tied or stand alone.  If you are in Oregon, there are some very attractive state tax credits as well as the federal ones.  Check them out and see if it might work for you.

When we move to our land in Wyoming, having a wind and solar hybrid system is a no-brainer.  We'll definately be calling on some family advice.  Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to paste in his brochure, but check out the website and tell them you heard about them at If It Hits The Fan.

Scheduling Announcement

Remember that there will not be a post on Wednesday, but I'll be back in full force on Thursday.


Guest Post - Conference Report

Hanging out at the Sensible Preppers Conference, by PH34RB34R

On April 2, 2011 I attended the Sensible Preppers Conference in Greenville, South Carolina which was put together by the man who goes by the name Sootch00 on YouTube. This was a gathering of over 300 like minded people of all ages who go by the handle “preppers” and was attended by individuals from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio and even one person from Connecticut. Sootch00 said the reason he wanted to do the conference was to allow people in various stages of their preps to meet other like minded people and allow them to network and share information and hopefully make new friends. Everyone I met was friendly and willing to share ideas and talk about what they were doing and freely share ideas to others who needed help. The people doing their presentations were not telling people that if they did not have certain items already bought and stored that they should panic. What they were doing was saying here is what I have been doing and why and let me share some information so you can get closer to where you want to be in your own preparations.

This why he wanted to do the conference was to allow people in various stages of their preps to meet other like minded people and allow them to network and share information and hopefully make new friends. Everyone I met was friendly and willing to talk about what they were doing and freely share ideas with others who needed help.

There were several speakers, most which have their own YouTube channel and I will be briefly writing about their topic and referring to the speakers by their YouTube handles so that anyone reading this article can easily find them on YouTube and learn more. The first topic discussed at this conference was Food Storage given by Southernprepper1 and how each person needs to make a plan in storing food. When storing food you need a variety of things to eat and seasonings not only from a nutritional perspective, but also for psychological reasons because if you give a person the same thing every day they will eventually grow tired of the same meal and stop eating. He discussed that before you buy a lot of the freeze dried or dehydrated meals that you contact the vendor about purchasing a sample pack of their products so that you can find items that your family will eat and even enjoy. He also talked about short, medium and long term ways to store your food and common mistakes to avoid. He wrapped up his presentation talking about the importance of learning how to grow your own food now so that if God forbid anything did happen you would have those skills when you need them and not trying to learn the best way to grow food when a good harvest could mean the difference between life and death.

The next topic was Water by Engineer775 who discussed different sources of water such as surface water like streams and lakes but also underground sources of water. He talked about ways to access these water sources by using techniques that our forefathers used to get potable water for their homes, crops and their farm animals. One such way he discussed was drilling a well using the “Explorer” hand drilling system from Hydromissions.com and setting up a well on your own property and he went on to talk about different ways you could then access this water depending on how deep your water table is. These included different hand pumps and solar power pumps and he talked about having a redundancy in the way you access this water so that an equipment failure will not be catastrophic.

The next topic was Trauma by Skinnymedic who stressed the importance of taking a basic first aid course from the Red Cross. His talk was about in a medical situation what the basic steps of trauma assessment were, Airway, Breathing and Circulation. Is the patient’s airway clear and unobstructed and are they breathing easily or struggling to take in air? Is the patient bleeding and if so is it a minor cut or is the blood flowing out in such a way to signify a major cut in their blood circulation?

The next speaker was the author of the blog Modernsurvivalonline.com who gave a talk about who he is and how he got to where he is now. He also talked about his blog site and how he tries to discuss topics on how to prepare for emergencies and does product reviews. He also mentioned that he has a fairly extensive collection of material available to download from his database section to help people in their preparations.

EastCoastPatriot was the next speaker and he gave a good lecture on proper clothing layering for outdoor survival. His discussed a person’s three basic layers; base, mid weight and outer. The base layer should be something that will wick away moisture from your skin but will also keep you warm. The mid weight is another layer to keep you warm and typically made of either fleece or wool. The outer layer is also there for warmth but also keeps you dry from the elements, but care needs to be taken because something that will shed water will also keep sweat from evaporating. In selecting an outer layer you need something that not only block the rain but will breathe and allow perspiration to evaporate away from your body.

Sootch00 spoke next and he discusses the survival mindset. Why are we doing this and we should not panic and think we are too far behind to do any good. Prepping is not done over night, but is something that is done over time. If you could just go out and buy everything you think you need right now, then most likely you would put it all in a closet and forget about it and when the time comes and you need it you will find the batteries are dead in the gizmo or that 3 month supply of food is now past its expiration date. Prepping is a lifestyle and should be taken one step at a time to learn skills and have you and your family ready to focus on the big issues when an emergency arises.

Southernprepper1 gave another lecture and this time he talked about Bug out Bags (BOB) and the basics that should be included. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on this one because I could write a whole post on this subject along, but I can say that his approach to building a basic BOB and improving as you have the finances was correct. He also emphasized that his BOB would be different than a person who live in a different geographical region. But I felt that his approach of the principles of water (carrying and purification), food, shelter, first aid and tools are basics no matter when you live.

Engineer775 was next and his presentation was on energy. He talked about solar, hydrogen, propane, diesel, woodgas, and thermo electric generators. He discussed the pros and cons he sees with each of these and what he has tried and what works for him and reminded us that when trying to decide on a good backup or even prime source of electricity for ourselves that we need to know what our power requirements and what these alternates sources can provide. Solar would be awesome but the expense right now for setting up a whole house unit is cost prohibitive for him, but setting up a series of batteries that could be charged by solar and held as backup for emergency use can be done at a reasonable cost. My personal favorite topic of this presentation was his discussion on woodgas and how he has set up a system where he can use the gas produced from the partial combustion of wood to fuel a generator and power his home. He has does have a couple of good videos on YouTube where he has set up one of these systems. Outside the conference building he had a truck, which he has modified to run off of woodgas, for people to look at and ask questions. For those that are curious, it was not driven to the conference.

Skinnymedic gave the next to last presentation and gave brief class on the basics of CPR. He emphasized that this was not in place of the 4 hour class given by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association, and urged everyone to take the time to attend one of these courses since it could help save someone’s life .

Interspersed during the conference were breaks where the audience could ask questions to the presenters. Also during the lunch break and before and after the conference those giving talks were willing to talk people and I was lucky enough to get to chat with most of them a little bit on various topics and found them to be very friendly and willing to share information on their topics.

Near the end of the day we broke up into smaller groups by state to hopefully be able meet other preppers in our area.

Steve Lorch from Hydromissions gave a presentation at the end of the day, but unfortunately I was unable to stay for this one since I had a 6 hour drive ahead of me. He did have a table out in the hallway where the vendors were and I listened to him talking to a couple of people and I think the hand well drilling equipment they use is very cool.

There were several vendors at the conference selling everything from t-shirts, MREs, books, knives, flashlights, freeze dried meals, human powered crank energy generation, fire making kits, and more.

One of the most popular parts of the day was the awarding of door prizes donated to the conference. A list of businesses that donated, while not complete, included Leatherwood/Hi-Lux optics, Maxpedition Hard Use Gear, HPR Ammo, Knives By Hand, Ry Tac Online, Tactical Defender, author Steve Shaw, Hydromissions International, US Grunt Gear, Battle Boy Surplus, Carolina Readiness Supply, and Scottsdale Silver and I do apologize if I left any of them out . There were other door prizes brought to the conference by the attendees as well and I want to thank them all, it was fun and allowed me a chance to digest the information of the recent presentations.

The fact that over 300 people gathered for this conference with just promoting it in blogs, on YouTube and by word of mouth is really amazing and gives me hope that a convention like the Self Reliance Expo could be held here on the East Coast and be successful. I urge everyone to contact Ron at selfrelianceexpo.com and encourage them to take a closer look at hosting an expo in the East Coast region.

Finally I want to thank Sootch00 for putting on the conference and all of the guest speakers. I had fun, I met a lot of very friendly people and learned something as well.


Thanks to PH34RB34R for writing this, and to Sootch00 for putting on what looks to have been a great conference!  If you follow the link to Sootch00, you can see a video of the conference highlights.


On The Road Again

Car Travel Has Issues Too

A lot of folks think that if they travel by car, then they just carry their regular old GHB (Get Home Bag) and be done with it.  But there are a few things to consider...

There's a lot of other stuff in the car.  Will you have room for a GHB for each traveling companion if the car also has to carry a cooler, suitcases, recreational equipment, and other vacation necessities?

You'll be farther from home than normal.  I work about 60 miles from my house, and pack my gear on the assumption that I might have to hike home, or stay with friends near work.  If we drive on vacation, we might be 100-500 miles from home.  That will certainly affect what we need to prep for.  Probably more of a shelter in place scenario than evacuate home.  Also, you need to be familiar with the risks associated with your destination if it is a good distance away.  Weather, geographic, criminal and political risks can all come into play.

You also have the car itself.  Is the maintenance up to date?  Does your spare have air in it?  Do you have spare hoses, belts, and the tools and knowledge to change them if they break?  Do you have AAA or another roadside assistance program?

From Maine to Florida, and out to the mighty Mississippi, I prefer to travel by car, and prepare accordingly.  It's not always possible or practical, but I do it if I can.

Sponsor Of The Week

The Berkey Guy is our Sponsor of the Week this week.  Jeff sells the full line of Berkey water filtration products, along with a seed bank, some books, and other gear.  He also has amazing customer service and great prices.  You've probably heard that  Berkey is raising its prices and is experiencing shipping delays right now.  The Berkey Guy shows on his website what items are in stock, and what items are not.  He is not doing back-orders, but you can sign up for notification when your chosen item is back available.  Currently, it looks like he has the Berkey Light, Go Berkey Kit, and Travel Berkey in stock.  Clean water is a necessity for life, and Berkey is the top of the line in providing it.  The Berkey Guy is the top of the line in great customer service.

Scheduling Announcement

I won't have access to a computer for a few days, but I'm not going to leave you hanging.  I've got two posts loaded up and scheduled to be published on Monday and Tuesday.  If it works, you should notice no difference, other than me not announcing the posts on Facebook.  I'll try to get one done for Wednesday, but it may not happen.  I expect to be back to normal on Thursday.


Don't Call Me Shirley

Surely You're Prepared On An Airplane

Who doesn't enjoy the movie, "Airplane?"  Few of us are qualified to take over the controls if the pilot is incapacitated, but what can you do to be prepared for a survivable crash or a hijacking attempt?

I carried a pocket knife of some sort on every flight I took from about the age of 12 until 9/11.  As a kid, it was a Swiss Army Knife and a Buck folder, as an adult, it was usually a SAK and  Spyderco.  I figured out that sitting in the exit row not only gives me extra leg room for comfort, but maneuverability room and first access to the emergency exit.  After 9/11, I've experimented with improvised weapons when I've flown.  I always take a magazine with me.  Rolled up tight, it can be used with fair effectiveness as a baton, or jabbing implement (the throat is my favorite target, followed by the solar plexus).  Once, coming back from Seattle, I packed a pair of hardwood chopsticks in a pouch.  They can easily take out an eye, or penetrate the ear.  A heavy duty sock with a can of soft drink in it makes for a fine swinging weapon.  The other day, Ron Hood was getting interviewed on The Survival Podcast and mentioned that he carries a chain, about the length of his forearm, with a padlock on one end and his keys (including a key to the lock) on the other.  It can be used to secure a briefcase to a chair leg in the departure lounge, or an improvised nunchuk-like weapon. 

Aside from weapons, what else can save your life while flying?  I carry a small kit, similar to what I had on the subway in DC a few posts back.  A pair of work gloves, safety glasses, and a N-95 mask.  The mask can be helpful if you're surrounded by sick people, but won't do much for smoke or noxious fume protection.  I also have a small flashlight, some tape, some cordage, and a small first aid kit.  I like to keep my carry-on bag fairly small so that I can grab it and go if I need to.

It goes without saying to know where the exits are and how they work.  Stay alert and don't be embarrassed or think you'll be called racist if you report suspicious behaviors.  I prefer an aisle seat for mobility unless I'm in the exit row, then I prefer a window seat.  The front bulkhead row is my second favorite row.  There's almost as much leg room as the exit rows, and you have a short movement into first class and you only have one direction to look to see everyone in the plane.

Getting through airport security is a real pain these days, but dressing for security leaves you vulnerable for the rest of your trip.  I suggest wearing a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops until you get through, then changing into your boots, jeans/cargo pants, sturdy belt, and long-sleeve, natural fiber shirt before boarding the plane.  Avoid synthetic fibers when flying.  If there is a fire, nylon, rayon, etc... will melt to your body.

If flying overseas, check out the State Department travel warnings while planning your trip and shortly before you leave.  Don't dress like an "American."  Leave the cowboy hat and Toby Keith t-shirt at home.  This could get us heading into a whole 'nother topic, so I'll leave it at that.


Vacation Preps


When you load up the Family Truckster with coolers, suitcases, and floats, heading for the beach or other tourist destination, how do you prep?

Maybe you're going out of state and your concealed weapon permit won't be any good.  Perhaps you'll be spending your days in monster crowds at an amusement park.  What about if a cruise ship is on your vacation agenda?

Do you plan your vacations around your prepping plans or concerns?  Does your family support those plans? 

As we move into spring break time, then summer vacations, over the next few days I'd like to look at some different traveling situations and some ways to stay prepared while enjoying them.

One misstep that comes to mind was when we went on our honeymoon cruise through the Caribbean.  I packed a Spyderco, a Swiss Army Knife, and a small neck knife.  As we boarded the ship, we had to go through metal detectors, and all of our luggage was x-rayed.  My wife's suitcase was delivered promptly to our cabin, but mine was nowhere to be found.  A call to the purser's office got me invited to the security office.  There, I found the Nepalese Gurkha ship security chief telling me they had my suitcase because of the weapons in it.  I dug in my suitcase and pulled out the knives.  I had to check them in with Security and was able to get them back out at each port, to be checked back in upon returning to the ship.  Not interested in the hassles, I checked them out at the first port, Key West, and mailed them home.  If I go on a cruise in the future, I'll depend on some sort of improvised weapon such as the Cold Steel Irish Blackthorn Walking Stick.

If you have any traveling/prepping stories, please add them in the comments.  I'll continue this line of thought for a few days.

Ammo Locker

I mentioned the other day that I had ordered a Stack On Security Cabinet to go in the shop.  It came today, and I'm very pleased with it.  It comes assembled, but goes together with just a socket wrench and a Phillips head screwdriver.  It took about an hour and a half to get together, and seems sturdy and well suited for my purposes.  Tomorrow morning I'll use the included bolts to bolt it to the wall and floor of the shop.  After I fill it up with nicely organized ammo, I'll take a picture and post it up.  If you have a lot of ammo in various boxes, cabinets and counters, consider getting one of these.


Prepper Ponderings

Another Earthquake

Japan had a 7.3 quake off the coast again today.  Tsunami warnings went out, but it looks like minimal damage/casualties.  My prayers are with the people of Japan as they recover and still react. 

Weird Find

More shop cleaning today and I found a check stub.  It seems I got paid $100 for writing an article for the Apr. 2005 issue of Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement.  I have no memory of this.  If anyone has that issue, would you mind scanning the article and emailing it to me?  I'm really puzzled by this memory failure.

Lucky Gunner

On Tuesday night, I placed an order with Lucky Gunner for some 9mm that was on sale, and a brick of .22s.  It arrived today via UPS.  Excellent customer service and super-fast shipping.  If they don't have it in stock, they don't list it on their website.  They even list how much of each item they have in case you want to order a large quantity.  If you buy something from them, please tell them that you heard about them at If It Hits The Fan.  I think they'd make a great addition to my advertisers.

Atlas Shrugged

I seldom talk politics here, but I want to mention the Atlas Shrugged movie that is opening next weekend in very limited cities.  We're fortunate to be getting it here, and have already bought our tickets.  If you've never read the book, you really ought to.  As preppers, it really gives a good look at the slow downward economic spiral that we may be riding.


Morning SHTF

Hooray For The Generator

Yesterday morning, a storm rolled through the area in the wee dark hours, causing our power to blip off for a few seconds, just long enough to wake me up before it came back on.  Although I'm on vacation this week, I had to go to a training class for work yesterday.  As I was walking down the hall, back to the bedroom to get in the shower, the power went out again.  And stayed out.  At that point, I was on time for getting to the class, but altering my schedule would have made me late.  I took a quick shower to get what water I could without running the well pump, and headed out.  Luckilly, my wife didn't have to go to work until after lunch.  The power came back on about 11 o'clock.

This morning, I woke up to a power failure at about 6:15.  I'm back off today, but my wife had to get up for work by 6:30.  I fired up the generator (I just tested it on Monday, so I knew it was good to go), and she had normal levels of hot water for her shower and could even run her hair dryer.  She went off to work and I shifted the breakers so that I had full power out in the shop, and had another very productive day out there (I have WAY too much stuff, but I'm working on it).  The power came back on about 10 or so.

Top Shot Spoiler Warning
A big congratulations to Gunny Zins for his awesome 1,000 yard shot with the Barrett M82 .50BMG rifle.  George, the USAF sniper, got the target with one shot.  Gunny took three shots, but he was several seconds quicker on getting the hit than George was.  With the win, Gunny got immunity, and at the elimination (pop up targets with a M1 Garand), Jay Lin, the golf pro, ended up going home.


Spring Cleaning

I Forgot I Had That!

I was on a productivity roll last night, so I got to cleaning and organizing in the shop.  I barely made a dent, but I was amazed at the difference.  The key is to not get bogged down looking at stuff too deeply.  Make a decision and stick with it!

I got rid of a big box of early 80's gun magazines.  Normally I would have skimmed them and remembered certain ads, guns or articles fondly.  Instead, I set aside all of the survivalism magazines and the rest went out to the dump pile.  I found the Ka-Bar and Gerber Mark I that I carried in Desert Storm.  I thought they were long gone.  I found some oil lamps and extra mantles for my Aladdin lanterns (those things have really gone up in price!)  Other prepper gear included a bunch of small Swiss Army Knives from Wegner and Victorinox, my old USMC watch cap, a smoke grenade, more random ammo, and a handbook for the British Home Guard from 1942.  I'm sure there was other stuff, but I'll report a full inventory later in the week.

Lock 'Em Up

I have three gates into my backyard.  Two are drive through, one is walk through.  Today I bought a 4-pack of Brinks keyed-alike, long shackle, commercial-grade padlocks.  Two will stay on the gates, and the fourth will go on the inside of the end doors of my shop building.  It's past time to secure it.

I'm ordering the Stack-On security cabinet to put in the shop, bolted to the wall, for all of my ammo.  It will keep the ammo out of the way, and segregated from other activities, as well as better organized.  These units are not high security, but my first gun "safe" was a Stack-On and it served me well for many years. 

Lucky Gunner

I used my $200 winnings from Lucky Gunner to order 1,000 rounds of 9mm and 500 rnds of .22LR ammo last night.  For shipping and a little extra for the .22, I ended up paying about $42 or so.  Thanks, Lucky Gunner!

Top Shot

Top Shot comes on History Channel tonight.  For tonight's episode, the final 7 compete with the .50 BMG sniper rifle at 1,000 yards.  Who's going home?  I don't know, but I hope not Ashley or Gunny.  Ashley went to my high school (he graduated 8 years later), and Gunny lives in the small village in Ohio where my step-mom is from and where my uncle lived until he passed away two years ago.