Terrorism Threat Analysis

Current SITREP

From the Washington Regional Threat Analysis Center Daily All Hazard Intelligence Report:

(U) America’s Next 12 Terror Threats

Homeland security officials identified in recent bulletins several tactics, threats, and players, that al-Qa’eda and associated movements might use in coming attacks.

Source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/09/12/9-11-anniversary-america-s-next-12-terror-threats.html

1) Biochemical Attacks: An intelligence report this summer warned that AQAP was seeking castor beans, the ingredient needed to make a lethal dose of the poison ricin.

2) Radiological Bombs: Officials recognize it would be fairly easy for a terror group to collect radiological waste from hospital machines overseas and package it with an explosive.

3) Backpack Bombs in Shopping Malls: This type of attack could create the sort of panic that would shake consumer confidence in an already weak economy.

4) Vehicle Bombs: In the last few months alone, U.S. intelligence has picked up significant signs that al Qaeda and its allies have been plotting attacks with explosive-laden cars, trucks, and boats.

5) Cyberterrorism: With the help of a state sponsor well versed in cyberwarfare, a terror group could shut down parts of the U.S. electric grid, cause havoc with financial trades, or disable or hack into sensitive government computer systems at great cost to American security.

6) Small Aircraft Loaded with Explosives: U.S. officials have long worried about terrorists loading a small airplane with explosives and flying it into a major event with crowds, such as sporting events, concerts, amusement parks, or political debates.

7) Train Bombs: The 7/7 attacks in Britain in 2005 showed how devastating and easy train bombs can be as a tool of terror and death. And unlike the U.S. airlines, trains have fewer security precautions and far more access points for terrorists.

8) Energy Assets: For years, al-Qa’ida has plotted to blow up oil and energy assets ranging from nuclear-power plants and hydroelectric dams to oil-drilling rigs and tankers.

9) Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula: The group is responsible for the attempt to blow up a commercial airliner to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, and packages with powerful explosives in cargo bound for Chicago in late 2010.

10) Homegrown Terrorists: In the last year the Obama administration has placed a greater emphasis on preventing attacks from Americans inspired by al Qaeda’s English-language propaganda on the Internet.

11) Symbolic Dates: Terrorist groups have historically expressed interest in attacking on symbolic dates.

12) Unfinished Business: Al Qaeda has a patience and determination to strike the same targets, a point made clear when the terror group targeted the World Trade Center in New York in 2001 after a less spectacular attack in 1993.

Some of this I agree with, and some I have other thoughts on.  Tune in tomorrow for my personal analysis.


GIS As A Preparedness Tool


Geographic Information Systems - sort of Google Maps on steroids.  GIS is typically built and maintained at the town, city or county level and is much more than a satellite view of your locality.  Very simply, and for most of our uses, through the use of overlays, you can identify such things as government buildings, property lines, bodies of water, street names, etc... or you can remove all of those things and just have the satellite view.  It can be good for determining population densities, alternate routes, water sources that might not be obvious from the road, and where nearby property lines might be.  For some of us in rural areas, we might not know that if we go through our woods, and cut across the neighbor's back 40, we'd come across a stream fed pond that has a narrow dirt road leading to it (or some other useful information).

Many municipalities keep the GIS information for internal use, or make it difficult to get to.  But others put it right out there for us, the folks who paid for it, to use at will.

Here's a couple of quick specifics for ways that GIS could be a handy tool for us:
  • OPSEC Maps - You can set up maps of your AO (Area of Operations), but remove all indicators of road names, grid coordinates, and property names
  • Water Sources - nearby streams, ponds and even rivers that you may not know about how close they really are
  • If you are skilled with computer graphics, you can use the GIS overheads of your property and identify defensive locations, natural perimeter markers, distances to various features, and interlocking fields of fire
If you've never checked for your locality's GIS, give it a try.  Not all places are photographic, some are line drawings, but you never know until you give it a shot.


Hip Shots


Didn't get out a post last night.  Cub Scouts went long with the entire pack's Raingutter Regatta.  My nephew won his first heat, but lost in the Tiger den championship.  But he had a great time, and it was refreshing for a youth sport to celebrate winning and not just "participation."  From here on out, I'll write an extra post on Sundays to autopublish on Monday's if we have scouts.


Just some short stuff tonight... My wife and I are celebrating our 8th anniversary!  She is the reason I prep, and why I love life!

Another Attack

How about the Garfield Township in Michigan?  The jack wagons running that town have lost money on their new wastewater treatment plant.  To solve the problem, are they reducing costs... becoming more efficient... selling it to a private entity?  Nope.  Their "progressive" idea is to levy an annual surcharge... not on the homes and businesses using the services of the wastewater treatment plant, but on the people who have wells and septic. When will it be enough?

More Magazines

Got two more magazines in the mail to read and review soon.  The new Mother Earth News has the usual variety of articles on gardening, energy, health, and far left agenda.  I do really enjoy the letters and "how to" columns.  Also got the new Survival magazine in.  Flipping through it, I see that Chance Sanders, one of my instructors at Pathfinder school, had a couple of articles in it.  The main topic of this month's issue is medicine and first aid for when SHTF.


1999 Flashback

Sweet Sue Is Back

I was at Food Lion today doing some shopping when I stumbled across a buy one get one free sale on Sweet Sue Chicken and Dumplings.  Back in 1998 and 99, Sweet Sue played a big role in my Y2K preps and filled quite a bit of space in my basement shelving units.  It's a tasty, filling stew, and can be a good change up to add variety to your storage.  I got it on sale for $1.55 a can, normally $3.09.  The Amazon 6 pack rate is about $3.61 a can, and you save any sales tax.

Sardine Stockup

I also found Beach Cliff sardines on sale today and picked up 15 cans of mustard and Louisiana hot sauce for 79 cents each, marked down from .99.  I eat them in my lunch periodically, and they are great for long term storage of protein.

Reality Check Survive 2012 Magazine

I also found a new survival magazine in the newsstand section.  It is put out by American Handgunner magazine, and costs $9.95.  It says Vol. 2, but I never saw Vol. 1.  It looks to have a bunch of good articles on many aspects of preparedness.  I'll give you a better rundown of them tomorrow.  It also has a 90 page buyers guide for guns.  Just a few weeks ago, I finally threw out a stack of mid-80s gun magazines, and there were a couple of buyers guides in there.  Now I wish I had kept one to compare the prices from back then. 

Sponsor of the Week

Our Sponsor of the Week is Survival Gear Bags.  Visit them for some great ready to go survival kits, or the resources to build your own.  They have several items on sale right now including Blast Boxers, the Paladin Go Bag and the 5.11 Tactical RUSH 72 back pack.  Check out what they have that might fill your needs.  I'm an affiliate with Survival Gear Bags, so any purchase you make through my links will get me a commission with no additional cost to you.  Check them out!


Book Reviews For Hungry Folks

A Field Guide to Farmers' Markets - Sally Ann Berk

This is a cool book for folks who are new to fresh foods.  While aimed at things you can buy at a farmers' market, it is also good for new gardeners or those taking part in a CSA program.

The first part of the book gives information about all the different fruits and vegetables that one is likely to find locally.  Each one has a nice color picture, followed by a list of the major vitamins and minerals, descriptions of what good, ripe ones look like, information on whether you can or should refrigerate or freeze them, and the shelf life.  There is then one or more icons that indicate which season the produce is harvested in.  That helps you sort out if what you are looking at was probably grown locally or if it is out of season and was imported.  It also lists which pages on which you can find recipes including that ingredient.

The next session is recipes for all these fresh foods you've just learned about.  It has sections for starters, soups, salads, side dishes, entrees, sauces-condiments-dressings, and desserts & baked goods.  In each recipe, the fresh foods from the book are highlighted so you know to look for them in the first part.

It's a pretty good idea the way the cross referencing works in two directions.  I could flip through the recipes and decide that Capellini with Bell Peppers and Snow Peas looks good to try.  Through the highlighted parts of the recipe, I'd know to look up onion, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper and snow peas to find out how to shop for them and if they are in season.  Conversely, maybe I'm at the market with my book and I get a good deal on green beans, I'll know that I can look on pages 134, 154 and 161 for recipes.

If you are already an old hand at cooking with fresh vegetables, then this is probably not the book for you, but if you are new to the game, it's a pretty good one.  It is tall, but narrow, so it can fit in your pocket when you go to market, so it is user-friendly, too.

A Field Guide to Farmers' Markets How to Select and Prepare the Freshest Foods for All Seasons

Edible Wild Plants, Eastern/Central North America - Lee Allen Peterson

I got this book to take with me to Pathfinder school this past summer.  As we did our wild edibles and medicinal tours of the training areas, it came in really handy for learning more information about the plants I saw.  This is part of the Peterson Field Guide series, and will fit in a cargo pants pocket or in a musette bag.

The line drawings are very detailed, and make it easy to figure out what plant you are looking at.  The guide is broken down into flowering plants, woody plants, and miscellaneous plants such as grasses, ferns and mushrooms.  Another section breaks it down by the types of environments in which to find edible plants, then cross references back to the correct page.  Another section breaks it down by what type of food you want to prepare from your wild plants.  Everything from candies and chewing gum to teas and beer... again with the cross reference back. 

Because so many poisonous plants have similarities to edible ones, the book gives very detailed descriptions and pictures of the poisonous ones and shows the exact similarities and differences.  I know that I'll be using it on camping trips with my Cub Scout nephew and just hiking our property and other trails.

A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guide)

I think these two books belong in your library and in regular use.  If you are like me, I know you can always eat more fresh produce, and the first book really gives some tasty ways to do that.  The second book really helps a person be more aware of what is in your local environment, and seeing how much is really out there.  Of course, if you are not in eastern and central North America, there is a different field guide for you.


It Can Happen Anywhere

Courthouse Shooting

Did you see this video recently of a madman stalking the courthouse in Fort Smith, Arkansas, trying to gun down a judge?

You'd think that off all the "gun free" zones around, a courthouse might actually be among the safest.  What with metal detectors, bailiffs, and random police officers all over the place...  But that didn't work in this case.  The guy wanders in with an overcoat and somehow gets in three guns and then stands in the hallway trying to get it loaded.  It looks to be simply a case of his incompetence that thankfully nobody got killed.

I have to hand it to the gal who hauled butt out of the judge's office to get away.  A lot of municipal office workers would have gone into lockdown mode and tried to hide under her desk or stay in one place.  She took off and got away alive.  Even hiding behind the glass door, it looks like she figured that out and then hid better.

Just goes to show that the most important survival tool we have is our mind, followed closely by an ability to stay calm under pressure.


Chicken Chicanery

Urban Chicken Wrangling

There has been a resurgence lately in urban farming and chicken raising.  With that, we frequently hear of people running "a fowl" of city codes.  Some cities, like New York (never thought I'd have anything good to say about NYC) have a long history of allowing chickens, and of people raising them, even in tenements and row houses.  Other cities treat an urban chicken coop not much better than a meth lab.

This article from a nearby city shows the lengths some cities go to to restrict urban homesteading.  Keep in mind that up until the mid-50's much of Newport News was still a rural, unincorporated county.  There are still a couple of small farms, but most of the city is residential or industrial.  According to this article, chickens are only allowed if the chicken area is 175 feet from a neighbor's house.  That is almost impossible in most residential areas.

The article says that many cities have a three chicken maximum with no roosters.  I have mixed feelings... the libertarian in me says that it shouldn't be regulated as long as you are keeping the chickens in a humane and sanitary manner, and that common sense and being a good neighbor would suggest you don't keep a rooster if it is going to annoy folks.  But the realist in me says that we've got to have some regulations.  I think if I was running the show, I'd go for some sort of chickens per 1/10th acre ratio and maybe no roosters unless you are on an acre lot.

What do you think?


The Sky Is Falling

Chicken Little Was Right

Have you heard about the falling satellite?  For some reason, this is making a lot of news, despite the fact that it happens every now and then with little or no damage.  This one seems to have the conspiracy theorists up in arms.  The most interesting thing to me is this statement from the article:

If you do come across what you suspect is a satellite piece, NASA doesn't want you to pick it up. The space agency says there are no toxic chemicals present, but there could be sharp edges. Also, it's government property. It's against the law to keep it as a souvenir or sell it on eBay. NASA's advice is to report it to the police.

Aside from NASA being concerned for the average American's ability to avoid sharp edges, I don't really understand how they can claim it is still their property even after it disintegrates in mid air and crashes to the earth in a fiery burst.  What happens if it crashes into a foreign country?  Do NASA's "laws" still apply?

Prize Winners

The If It Hit The Fan Survival Wristbands for the five prize winners went out in the mail today.  Hope you enjoy them!  I'll do my durndest to get some up at the gear shop this weekend.



Three Months Left

2011 has flown past!  It is almost October, which starts the final quarter.  I think I need to set some goals for the last three months.  And you know what they say... goals that are not written down are just wishes.  So here are my goals, and you all can help me achieve them.

1. Lose weight - By Dec. 31 I will lose 25 pounds.  I've started to use the "Lose It" app on my iPhone to track my calories and activity. I started last week, and it is user friendly and should be a good tool. 

2. Add to the pantry - By Dec. 31 I will add 30 days worth of food to our pantry.  Rice & grains, canned fruits and veggies, protiens

3. Build a pantry - I've got a lot of storage in our laundry room, and tons of shelving in the climate controlled shop, but our kitchen is really light in cabinet space.  We have an odd, unused section of the kitchen that will be great for building a large pantry.  Should be a fairly easy weekend project.

4. Clear six feet around the backyard fence line - We have a chain link fence surrounding our back yard, and an acre and a half of woods on the outside.  As soon as it cools off, I'll get out there with the chainsaw and clear a path that will be easy to maintain.

Each of these goals is doable, it's just a matter of getting it done. I'll keep you updated.

Electrical Question

During the week that we ran the generator after Hurricane Irene, the GFI outlet in the bathroom stopped working.  I replaced it today, but the new one does not work either.  The breakers are all fine.  Any ideas?


One For The Ladies

Women's Health Article

In yet another sign that prepping is going mainstream, this month's Women's Health magazine has an article entitled: "Flirting With Disaster."  It's less than two pages, with a sidebar of bullet point tips.  Now, I'd imagine that any lady reading If It Hits The Fan already is far advanced over what this article introduces, but it could be used as a great non-threatening way to introduce the subject to a grasshopper friend or relative.

Happy Birthday

I want to send birthday greetings and wishes to Dave "Pathfinder" Canterbury!  Through his teachings, Dave spreads the idea of passing on the tribal knowledge to the youth.  Kind of appropriate that today I took my nephew to his very first cub scout meeting.


Are You Prepared For Death?

The One Sure SHTF For Everyone

We just got home from the funeral for the 28 year old brother of a close friend.  He was killed in a car wreck while living and working in another state.  He wasn't married, and all of his family was here.

That got me to thinking...  We often speak of death of a spouse as being one of the SHTF scenarios that people prepare for.  But what about death of ourselves?  Have we prepared those that we leave behind to deal with our death?  I'm not talking about life insurance, although that is important.  I'm talking about things such as documentation, financial information, asset distribution and body disposal.  If there are two of you, you need a plan A for if just you go, and a plan B for if you both go at the same time.


Much like the thumb drive -O- plenty that I talked about last weekend for the Grab & Go kit, you should have a thumb drive with all of that same information for each spouse, and have the executor or executrix of your estates also with a copy.  A part of that should be passwords and usernames for emails, forums, and the like, along with instructions on what you want put up as a farewell.  Also include safe combinations and the locations of any hidden caches you may have.

Financial Information

You need to record all banks, accounts, passwords, etc... paper investments, precious metals (you know, making sure your nitwit cousin doesn't take your rolls of pre-65 quarters to play the slots in Atlantic City), and points of contacts to dispose of any of it. If you have any NFA weapons (full-auto, short barrel rifles and shotguns, and suppressors), I would include them in this category due to their very specific legal implications.

Asset Distribution

It's amazing how many people don't have a will.  But more so than that, it's amazing how dividing up things without a plan can tear a family or ruin friendships.  Having a will for the big picture is great, but we should also keep a list of our more minor assets and who should get them.  Little things like a favorite knife, a CD or DVD collection, that special book...  Things that you have always had in mind for a particular person.  Just make it known and record to ease the strain on your survivors.

Body Disposal

Sure, you've got the box checked for organ donation on your driver's license, but does your family know that?  In times of loss, survivors can be taken advantage of by funeral directors or newspaper writers who get paid per word in the obituary.  Prewrite your obituary.  That way you can have as much or as little in it as you want.  Do you want to be cremated, kept in an ammo can, and scattered in the wind on a hiking trail with nobody but your wife around, or do you want a bronze casket, carried in a custom Harley hearse trailer, entombed in a marble sarcophagus with a lifesized bronze statue of yourself in front of it... or something in between?  Whatever your desires, make sure they are known, and that you leave the funds to pay for it.  I've reinforced my desires with the warning that if they are not upheld, I will be back as a haunt.

I guess the main thought is that we will all die at some point.  As preppers, one of our goals should be to make our passing as easy as possible on our loved ones by being as prepared for death as we are for hurricanes, earthquakes and zombie mutant bikers.

Sponsor Of The Week

Our Sponsor of the Week is Wise Food Storage from The Berkey Guy at Directive 21.  From the 56 servings of breakfast and entrees to the 4,320 servings in a family supply, the Wise food comes in handy squared buckets to maximize storage space, and has a 25 year shelf life.  The Berkey Guy has Wise in stock, ready to ship, and offers great customer service.  Check out Wise, and please tell The Berkey Guy that you heard about it at If It Hits The Fan.


Saving Money

Military Discounts

I know that many readers are either in the military or are veterans like myself.  I recently found out that Lowe's and Home Depot offer pretty good discounts. Active and Reserve military and spouses get a 10% discount every day of the year.  Veterans get the 10% discount on the weekends of Memorial Day, July 4th and Veterans Day at both stores... plus Labor Day for some reason at Home Depot.

I'm going to save up some money for a couple projects I have planned for the winter, and make the purchases over Veterans Day weekend to save some dough.

This website has some of the details.


Passing It Along

Time For Scouts

This evening, my brother-in-law and I took my 6 year old nephew to a Cub Scout introduction at his elementary school.  Ever since I talked to him about it last spring, he's been very excited about it.  We got him signed up for the local pack, and next Monday, he'll be an official Tiger Cub, and I'll be taking him to his meetings and activities as his "adult partner."

The pack already has a couple camping trips and other activities planned, and many of them look like opportunities to teach him and the other boys some survival skills.  And, I'm pretty sure I'll learn a lot along the way. 

Any readers involved in Scouts?



The Garden

I haven't given a garden update in a while, so here goes...  My jalapenos did great.  Off of just two plants that never got more than a couple feet tall, I probably got 40 or so peppers.  Just the right amount of sweet and hot - yum!  My tomatoes did pretty good... much better than last year.  I lost one of my four plants, but the others kept me in enough tomatoes to eat a few a week all summer, and they still have a few green ones.  My lettuce did amazing, but my carrots were pretty lousy - they tasted great, but were tiny and misshapen.  I'll plant another batch in a couple weeks when it finally cools off some.  I thought my sweet baby watermelons were dead and gone, but one had made a resurgence, and has a few tiny melon buds on it... we'll see if it comes to fruition (pun sort of intended).  The strawberries have given me a few amazingly delicious berries, and I think next year will go gangbusters. 

That's what's happened.  I learned a lot and ate a little.  I'll expand some for next year.  Thanks to my step-mom's horse operation, I get all the high quality compost I can use.  It's so good, they even swap it out to a friend of their with a certified organic small farm.

The Blog

I've been amazed and honored by the fact that so many of you take time out of your day to read what I have to say.  When I started in May of 2010, I never thought it would get to this level.  When I started doing daily (for the most part) posts on Jan. 1 of this year, I was hopeful, but still not sure.  Now that we are here, I think it is time to grow more.  Readership had a couple of big spikes from links to some of the major blogs, and I've been pretty steady for a couple of months, but I think we can do better.

Some feedback would really help.  Would you mind sending me an email and let me know if you have any suggestions?  I need to learn about SEO, RSS, and other ranking and syndication tools.  If you can steer me to some intel on these topics, I'd really appreciate it.  I've read Crush It!and got a lot out of it back in January.  I need to work on getting those principles back into play.

Do I expect to ever make this my full time gig?  No, but if I could make it a great part time income, that would be fantastic and is a goal.  I do this blog because I love the topic and I love spreading what I know.  Money is an added bonus.

On that note, if you could support my affiliate programs with Survival Gear Bags, Emergency Essentials, and Amazon, that would be really appreciated.  Every time you buy from any of them using the links on here, I get a small commission and it doesn't cost you anything additional.  With Amazon, anything you buy after entering through my store earns me commission, not just things in my "store."  Christmas is coming, and if you are like me, you buy a lot of gifts through Amazon.  Finally, we have some If It Hits The Fan T-shirts for sale at www.IfItHitsTheFanGear.com and will get they paracord wristbands up there this weekend.  My wonderful wife is making them and everyone who wears one loves it.

As Bartles and James used to say, "Thank you for your support."


Prepper Fun & Games

Red Cross Quiz

Came across this short quiz from the Red Cross today.  I certainly hope that all of you get 100% on it, but it's a fun little quiz and a great way to introduce others to the concept of preparedness.

Beat the Quake Game

Want to race the clock to see if you know how to make your home earthquake safe?  Try this fun little game from the Drop, Cover & Hold On folks

More Earthquake Fun

Last but not least, check out this quiz from the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management.  See how you score in a range of environments.

The Big Winners

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest on Facebook!  The big winners are Nicole, Steven, Otis, Randy and Jenny!  Check FB for details on how to claim your If It Hits The Fan Survival Wrist Band.  For those who didn't win, we hope to get some up at www.IfItHitsTheFanGear.com this weekend.


Something To Celebrate!

We Hit A Milestone

We have hit 400 fans on Facebook!  I'm truly grateful and humbled.  Thanks to all of you who support If It Hits The Fan.  To celebrate this milestone, I've got a 24 hour contest going on our Facebook page.  Go to the contest post and leave a comment.  For every 10 comments that get left, one lucky reader will win an If It Hits The Fan survival wrist band in your choice of black, tan or OD.  These wrist bands will also be up at www.IfItHitsTheFanGear.com soon for those of you who aren't lucky enough to win ;-)

Other Folks Doing Good

The blog, Tactical Intelligence, put out a list of the top 10 most influential survival blogs.  While If It Hits The Fan did not make the list (maybe next year), some folks who have helped me along the way have.  Congratulations to Rourke at www.ModernSurvivalOnline.com; M.D. Creekmore at www.TheSurvivalistBlog.net; Jack Spirko at www.TheSurvivalPodcast.com; and Jim Rawles at www.SurvivalBlog.com for making the list.  Each of these guys has done a great deal to promote the survivalism way of life, and they all give back by helping others share the message.  Each has helped promote If It Hits The Fan, and those extra boosts have really helped build my readership.  Kudos too to Erich at Tactical Intelligence for doing the research to come up with the list.


225 Years of War

To The Shores Of Tripoli

Shortly after the Revolutionary War, radical Islamists from the sultanates of North Africa began attacking American flagged ships in acts of piracy to capture the ships and their cargo, and put the sailors into slavery.

From Wikipedia:

In March 1785, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams went to London to negotiate with Tripoli's envoy, Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman (or Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja). Upon inquiring "concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury", the ambassador replied:

It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy's ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once.

In 1805, USMC Lieutenant Pressley O'Bannon lead his Marines in the Battle of Derna in what is today Libya, to help restore Prince Hamet Karamanli to his throne in Tripoli.  This lead to the defeat of the Barbary pirates, the second line of the Marine Corps Hymn, and the USMC officers' Mameluke sword that is based on the sword Prince Hamet presented to Lt. O'Bannon and has been carried by Marine officers since 1825.
In more recent times, the war has continued with (among many others):
1972 - Muslim extremists from a mosque in New York lure police with a false alarm call, then ambush them
1979 - Iranian "students" seized the US embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days
1983 - 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers killed by a truck bomb at the Marine Barracks in Beirut
1991 - Operation Desert Storm
1993 - Palestinian shoots up the entrance to CIA headquarters - First World Trade Center attack
1997 - Palestinian shoots seven visitors to the Empire State Building observation platform
9/11/01 - Nearly 3,000 killed in the largest attack on US targets since Pearl Harbor
2002 - DC Sniper attacks with the goal of starting an Islamic revolution
2007 - Muslim immigrant kills five and wounds four shooting up a Salt Lake City mall
2011 - Muslim immigrant and Marine Reservist shoots USMC museum, Pentagon and a recruiting office
Source: www.TheReligionOfPeace.com
9/11 Memories
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, I was pulling into the courthouse, a few minutes before 9 o'clock, listening to the John Boy & Billy radio show, when they said that they were getting a report that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.  My thoughts were that some nitwit pilot got too close, and I was hoping not too many were hurt or killed... after all, in 1945, a B52 crashed into the Empire State Building and only 14 people were killed.  I thought no more about it and went into court.  I had other things on my mind, such as the handful of cases I had scheduled that morning and Magnum, the chow-chow/basset hound mix that I was scheduled to pick up at the pound after I got done in court.
These were the days before Facebook, Twitter, and the Internet on a cell phone.  In fact, my only communication device was an alpha-numeric pager on which I got news headlines, sports scores, weather alerts and precious metal prices, along with messages from work.  As I sat in court, waiting for my cases, a friend from another agency came over and told me to check my news updates because it looked like we were under attack.  I began checking, and saw where planes had hit both towers and the Pentagon.  Confusion reigned.  Reports included a car bomb outside the Dept. of Commerce, missing planes, and estimates of 10s of thousands dead.  I later saw the text readout about the plane going down in Pennsylvania and the towers collapsing.  It was very surreal as deputies and officers kept checking their pagers, the bailiff carried notes to the judge, but everything continued as scheduled.
I don't recall when court ended, but it was sometime in the late morning.  I rushed out to my Jeep and turned on the radio to start getting some fresh information.  I then went to Green Top Sporting Goods where I picked up 200 rounds of ammo for my AK47.  It seemed like the thing to do.  Apparently, a whole lot of people had similar ideas.  The parking lot was filled, and people were 3 and 4 deep across the length of the gun counter.  Next, I went to the pound and picked up Magnum.  Check back to my post after the earthquake the other day where I talk a little about him.  I lifted him up into the Jeep (the basset hound part of him included his legs) and we went to a friend's nearby house and I finally got to see the footage from the attacks and the buildings falling.  Words can't describe it.
That night at home, I walked Magnum out in the yard and down to the street.  I looked up at the empty sky.  It is really amazing how empty silent they truly were.
The war continues.  Americans are targets around the globe.  The magazine, Inspire, is an English-language e-mag aimed at recruiting American jihadists to continue the attacks on our people.
As preppers, we must stay vigilant and prepared. 
Sponsor of the Week
Our Sponsor of the Week is Essential Packs.  They have great supplies of all types for emergencies at home, the office, school, or while traveling.  Some of the sales this week include the Water Heater Adapter, which allows you to use the water stored in your water heater, and screens out the muck at the bottom.  They also have the Emergency Preparedness Water Kit marked down $14 this week.  Please give Essential Packs a visit, and tell them you heard about them at If It Hits The Fan!

Go, Go, Go!

The Grab & Go Kit

One of my readers, Shanna (check out her cool tie-dye stuff here) made a request of Facebook a few weeks ago that I write about putting together a Grab & Go Kit for families with children.  With the Texas fires and Pennsylvania floods causing evacuations, this seemed like a good time to get this done.

First thing we need to do is define "Grab & Go Kit."  To me, it is what a person would take with them if they had 15 minutes or less to evacuate their home, with a safe location such as a hotel or family member's nearby home to go to, but they would more than likely be back in a few days, hopefully with the home still intact, if a little damaged.  This might be in advance of wildfires, flooding rivers, approaching hurricane, or a hazmat train derailment.  Every family is going to have some different things based on ages of the kids, time of year, etc..., so I'm going to set a scenario and a particular family, and go from there.

Family:  Dad, Mom, 10 year old daughter, 6 year old son, 18 month old daughter, cat

Scenario:  Single family home, mini van, prearranged fall back location at the cousin's house 45 minutes away

First thing they should do is put together a document file.  I'd suggest using a thumb drive and scanning copies of all important documents into it.  Getting a large GB capacity will also let them save photos and videos.  Documents to scan in and save to the thumb drive might include: birth certificates, Social Security cards, car registrations and titles (or loan documents), car insurance policies, mortgage documents (or house deed), home insurance documents, passports, medical records (immunization records for the kids), prescriptions, medical insurance cards, diplomas, education transcripts, professional certifications, photos of all valuables in the house (including serial numbers), recent photos of all family members (and the cat), veterinary records, military records, concealed weapons permits (and gun ownership licenses if they live in a restrictive state), video tours of the house and property (make an updated one every 4-6 months or so), bank account information, a list of web accounts, all passwords and P.I.N.s (password protect the document and share with a couple of trusted people)...  I'm sure there are plenty more, but this will give our fictional family a good start.  It will be a pain to do this initially, but once done, maintaining it will be pretty easy.  I'd even consider making three copies of the thumb drive.  One to keep with a trusted friend, family member or attorney; one to keep in the Grab & Go Kit, and one to keep in the safe or fire box.

Next up, we need to look at what the family will take with them when they evacuate.  First thing is a couple of Rubbermaid Action Packers.  One should have several days worth of food.  Not necessarily long term storage like Thrive or Provident Pantry, but things that the kids already eat and like, and that are easy to prepare.  Things like canned soup/chili/veggies/fruit, the little boxes of cereal (don't forget the shelf stable milk to go on it), peanut butter & jelly, some hard candies or M&Ms, juice boxes, a box of crackers (vacuum seal it and it will take the place of bread with the PB&J), and some powdered drink mixes.  These things would be rotated out every six months.  Also in this bin would be hygiene items: handi-wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorant, any prescriptions (if you can get some extras), first aid kit and some feminine products.

In the other bin, put several days clothing for each family member, towels and wash cloths, and diapers for the little one (don't forget to change the clothes and diapers as the sizes change).  For each child, stick a favorite stuffed animal or toy that is out of the current rotation.  For this experiment, we don't need things like sleeping bags, tents, campstoves, etc... because the family is going to another home on the other side of town in a safe area. Put the thumb drive in a ziplock baggie and duct tape it to the inside of this bin.  Both bins go in the hall closet closest to the front door.  On top of the bin, put a brand new litter pan, a 10 lb. bag of litter, and a cat carrier box with two bowls and a ziplock baggie full of cat food.

Beside each person's bed should be an appropriately sized backpack with a flashlight or headlamp, a jacket or sweatshirt, some individually selected comfort items, and a book or two.  Of course, the baby will have a diaper bag always packed up with daily needs.

So, in this scenario, the phone rings in the middle of the night.  Dad answers it and it is the county's reverse 911 system with a recording saying that a train derailed in the area and it is leaking chlorine gas... all residents need to evacuate the area as soon as possible and plan to be away from home for at least 48 hours. 

The clock is ticking... the cloud of chlorine is moving out from the train...  Dad tells mom what is happening...

She throws on some clothes and shoes, slips on her backpack, sliding her pistol in the front pocket of it,en route: about 7 minutes.  They are all set to crash at the cousins' without being a burden or eating up their food, and have most everything they need to make the event as low stress as possible, both for the parents and for the kids.

Everyone is going to have different specific needs, but I hope this gives you some starting points to think about.

Noisy Neighbors

Did you catch this story from the San Diego power outage?  Some have asked about me running my generator all night after Irene.  Thankfully, I live far enough from the neighbors that they can't hear mine and I can't hear theirs.  No crazy, flashlight wielding neighbors for me!


Fight The Power (Outage)

It Happened Again

Midnight... There's a monsoon raging outside, but we're sound asleep... until the doggone power went out again.  It shut down the fans and my CPAP machine.  It was raging too much outside for me to go outside and fire up the genny, so we tried to make do.  Five hours of restless, poor sleep later, the alarm clock goes off and I went outside to fire it up to get the hot water and well pump ready for showers.  Sure enough, the power came back on just a couple minutes later.

I really need to figure out another way to run my CPAP without firing up the generator in the middle of a storm.  I'm thinking either a deep cycle marine battery with an inverter, or a jump box such as the Wagen Power Dome EX.  Some reviews are great, some are awful, so it looks kind of hit or miss as to the quality of each individual unit.  I think I could probably get three or so hours of CPAP power off of it, which would at least get me a little good sleep (and let my wife get some good sleep without me rattling the plaster down with my snoring).

Any body out there have a similar situation?


Prepper Ponderings

Texas Fires

I got this picture today from a friend of the fires east of Austin.
Horrific fires in Texas, horrible flooding in Pennsylvania, there's been some sudden disasters here lately.  I'll be doing a post on a grab & go plan and kit this weekend.

Assaults on Freedom

I usually keep politics out of here, but every now and then, something comes up that I just need to speak up about.  I consider myself a "little 'l' libertarian" and I really see that personal freedoms are a part of survivalism and preparedness.  This article out of Ogden, Utah really got my blood boiling today.  A man was butchering a cow in his driveway and a neighbor called the police.  It's no different than a Greek family butchering a goat or a hunter butchering his deer.  What got me the worst was the police lieutenant saying, "It boggles my mind.  It's not illegal, but it's absurd that people would think slaughtering a cow in their driveway is OK."  If it's NOT illegal, IT IS OK!!!  Now the police, health department, and animal control are all working with the district attorney to figure out how to charge this guy with a crime.  What kind of bizarro world are we living in?

Mob Violence

How about this report out of Longview, Washington?  Five hundred Longshoremen stormed the Port of Washington at 4:30 a.m. where they broke down gates, smashed windows, vandalized rail cars, dumped grain cargo and took six guards hostage for several hours.  That is what happens in third world countries, not here.  How no one was killed I have no idea.

Giant Faraday Cage

I've written a couple of times about my attempts with Faraday cages.  This article in tomorrow's Survival Blog very thoroughly discusses using CONEX shipping containers for large scale Faraday cages.  I found it very interesting.


EDC Update

My Current Kit

I mentioned that I had updated my EDC kit, so I thought I'd let you know what it now has.

I was using a small Sony pouch, but although it had a belt loop, the snap that kept the belt loop attached to the pouch kept popping open.  It was no risk of losing the pouch, but it made it dangle.  The pouch was also a bit small.  I've upgraded to the Lowepro Ridge 30.  Now this has nothing to do with Lowe's hardware store, it is Lowe packs and camping gear.  If you were a fan of The Survivalist series of books by my pal Jerry Ahern, you should remember that John Thomas Rourke carried is gear in a Lowe Alpine Pack.  I don't know if they still make the Alpine pack, but this gives me a little connection to JTR.

Anyway, here's a picture of the contents:
I like that this pouch has a sewn belt loop, and is plenty roomy.  In the outermost flap pouch, I have about 40ft of bank line for my cordage.  I don't like that the zipper on that part goes up to close, but I've never had the line fall out.  In the middle part, I have the 3x3 pad, two exam gloves, about 10ft of adhesive tape, an alcohol pad, a small mirror, and a small Quick Clot pad.  In the main compartment, I have a Bic lighter, an eyeglass repair kit, a tube of 15 SPF Chapstick, an LED flashlight, a Wegner Swiss Army Knife, and a pack of Band Aids.  There is still a little room, so I need to figure out a couple other small necessities.  I might get a trash bag in there for emergency cover, but I'm not sure.  This is discreet enough that it fits in fine with any clothing, up to and including a suit.  It can pass for a cell phone holster.

Elevated ThreatCon

I had to go on the local Army base this afternoon, and they seem to be at an elevated security level.  I guess between the 9/11 anniversary and the Reno shooting of the National Guard soldiers yesterday...  As I was getting the Element searched by a very nice young soldier, he was impressed with my gear in the back.  "Wow," he said, "You have a pretty good Go Bag set up in there!"  When I popped open one of my containers, he saw a copy of Self Reliance Illustrated with Dave Canterbury on the cover.  As I went to close the container, he had me wait while he looked at it.  "I know that guy!"  I expected him to mention Dual Survivor on Discovery, but he said, "that guy is on You Tube, my brother turned me on to him!"  "I loved his video where he made a sling bow from sling shot cords!" 

I told him I had been through Dave's class this summer.  It would have been a great time to slip him an If It Hits The Fan business card, but alas, I haven't had any made yet.

Also, as a part of the security, they had soldiers with M-16s with magazines in place watching the vehicle searches.  Inside the entrance and exit gates, they had up-armored Hummers with SAW machine  with magazines in place bipoded on the roof and some motivated soldiers manning them.  Made me feel good that they looked to be taking things seriously.


The Buck Starts There

Buck Factory Tour

While in North Idaho last month, my wife and I took the tour of the Buck Knives factory in Post Falls.  They have a state of the art facility that they moved to from California a couple years ago.  They offer several tours a day, several days a week... free of charge, but you do need reservations and closed shoes.

We arrived about 20 minutes early as instructed, and looked around the very relaxing, outdoor themed lobby and in the gift shop while the rest of our tour group arrived.  We signed waivers, then were issued a headset so we could hear the tour guide in the noisy factory.

We first saw where the blanks are made.  The 420 stainless comes in on giant 4 ft. tall rolls, about 4 or 5 inches wide.  That is all stamped out mechanically.  The higher grade steel comes in sheets and is cut out by laser.  All scraps are sent off for recycling.  If I interpret my notes correctly, 14% of their steel still comes from China, but more is of US origin each year.  Next, we moved through all the machines and workers who take the rough blank and turn it into the finished product.  It's a pretty good combination of craftsman and computers.  We even saw a stack of Ron Hood Hoodlum knives being produced.  The final assembly, fitting, sharpening and testing is all done by hand.

There is one five man crew that does nothing but handmade knives for their special projects and custom shop.  The factory turns out 6,500 - 12,000 knives a day, but this crew does about 20 works of usable art a day.

There is also a separate section that makes nothing but the venerable Buck 110 and 112 folders that the company is so well known for.  Another section does fixed blades and another does other folders.

Buck has a lifetime warranty on their knives and has a section that does all the repair and resharpening work.  That crew has one guy who has been with the company for 35 years and made the move to Idaho with them.  Let's say you break the tip off of your 110 and the scales have come loose, so you send it back.  They may repair it or replace it.  If they replace it, they save the bad one for a while in case you get your new one and then call because your grandpa gave you that broken 110 right before he died or something.  They can then pull it out and send it back to you.  All the others get a quick fix and are sent to missionaries in third world countries who might use them as gifts or barter items.  That's a pretty cool program I think.

The tour ended, and of course, we bought a couple of knives in the gift shop.  The VP of Marketing wanted to catch up with me, but he had prior commitments.  I was supposed to give him a call to do a phone interview when we got back to Virginia, but earthquakes and hurricanes got in the way.  I'll get that done this week.

The folks at Buck were really nice; the factory tour is a lot of fun and very informative; and they make a great line of knives.  If you are ever in North Idaho or Eastern Washington, take the time to go visit... you won't regret it!

More Media

Tonight I am going to be interviewed by Carolyn Nicolaysen on the "Ready or Not" show on The Preparedness Radio Network on BlogTalkRadio.  I'll be on at 9 p.m. Eastern, and we will talk about Hurricane Irene and my experiences with her.  I think you'll be able to call in or ask questions in the chat room.  Tune in and check it out!


Monthly Tasks

Oops, I Missed The First Of The Month, But Have You...

Test run your generator? (Over 90 hours on it in the past week)
Rotated you gasoline stores? (Rotated it right through the generator)
Tested your smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors?
Checked your household and vehicle fire extinguishers?
Given your dog his heart worm pill and flea/tick treatment?
Changed your HVAC filters?
Test run all your small engine equipment? (Chainsaw is working great)
Checked your belts, hoses and filters on your vehicles?

Great Sale

If you are in the market for a shop vac, several Lowe's around here have a big 16 gallon wet/dry shop vac on closeout, marked down to $49 from $99.  I picked one up.

Freezer Saga

Our freezer out in the shop is officially dead.  I went to clean it up today, and it had not completely refrozen everything, despite running for the last 48 hours.  Like I said yesterday, it was about 25 years old anyway, it is  an upright, not a chest, so about the only thing it has left to be good for is as a smoker.  I don't really have the interest in doing that myself, but I'll see if anyone around here wants it.  We're definitely going to save up to replace it.  I know a chest freezer is much more efficient, but I can't get around the idea that whatever I want will invariably end up being on the bottom.  Any suggestions for organizing a chest freezer?

Hurricane Katia

Looks like Katia is going to go ahead and miss CONUS.  I really hope she makes that turn, otherwise she might follow the same path as Irene.  Maybe if everyone on the East Coast blows real hard at the same time....


171 Hours

Power's Back On

Well, the power finally came back on last night after 171 hours.  Just over 7 days.  It sucked, but could have been a whole lot worse.

I've got a few lessons learned...

A head lamp is the greatest invention ever for a power outage.  I used my Petzl that I bought in the spring and my wife picked up an inexpensive Energizer brand one for her when she bought the new generator.  Whether keeping your hands free while filling up the generator in the dark, navigating the breaker panel, or just going to the bathroom, a head lamp makes it very easy.

Old freezers aren't as efficient as a newer one.  The freezer we have in the shop is about 25 years old and although it never went more than about 10-11 hours without power to it while we were at work, we lost all the food in it.  Our refrigerator in the house is only about 2 years old, and the freezer kept everything rock hard frozen.  Most of the things in the refrigerator part also stayed safely cold, but we lost some dairy.  I don't think we'll fill up the freezer again, but will use it for short term rotation things.  Time to save up for a new freezer.

The Husqvarna 435 is a great little chainsaw.  I've picked up an extra bar and chain for it.  I'll gradually get a third bar, and I'd like to have a total of 5 chains.  I also need to learn how sharpen the chains.  I've been through a series of $89 Craftsman saws over the years, and it really pays to spend the extra money up front for a quality saw.  The 16 inch blade is plenty big for most chores, and it's not so heavy as to be unwieldy... but...

Check the kickback brake on the chainsaw before you completely disassemble it because you don't think it is working.  'Nuff said.

Using two-way radios for communications with the neighbors during a SHTF scenario is very effective.

Two is one, one is none.

Coming Up

Now that things are back as they should be, I'll be back on here daily.  I've got a few topics in the works that I've been planning and I'll write about them this week: I changed my EDC kit and my grab bag for the car to better reflect things I learned in my Pathfinder Basic class  in July.  Shannon has asked me to write about grab-and-go kits, especially keeping small kids in mind.  I haven't yet written about my tour of the Buck Knives factory a few weeks ago.

Swiss Army Knives on Sale

Amazon is currently having a great sale on Victorinox Swiss Army Knives.  On top of the sale prices, if you spend more than $50, you get an additional $10 off.  Maybe a Champion Plus and a Classic SD, it's like getting the SD for free.  It's not too early to start thinking about Christmas, and a Swiss Army Knife makes a great stocking stuffer or the perfect gift for that young kid in your family.

Sponsor Of The Week

Our Sponsor of the Week is Directive21.com, home of the Berkey water filter system.  With the recent earthquake and then the heavy Irene rains, my well water was a little dingy.  Having my Berkey on hand gave me confidence in our water's safety.  Directive 21 also has the Aquatank water storage system.  Having one of these for temporary, emergency water storage would come in very handy.  I can see having one in the tub or on a sturdy shelf in the pantry to fill up before a storm comes through, and then draining out if the storm passes without it being used.  Directive 21 has great products and great customer service.  Check them out and please tell them you heard about them at If It Hits The Fan.