Preparedness Town Hall

Getting The Word Out

Last week, our state delegate sponsored a Preparedness Town Hall at one of the local fire houses.  I was invited to set up a static display.  Other displayers included government entities like the state department of emergency management, the fire department, the sheriff's office and the extension service.  Also represented were the local power, phone and cable companies, along with a Thrive food consultant and me.  There were about 75-100 citizens there, and they had two speaker panels.  The first was members of our county board of supervisors, the county emergency management coordinator, and the chief deputy from the sheriff's office.  They spoke about the county's role in an emergency.  Next up were the reps from power, phone and cable talking about how they go about restoring service and setting priorities.  Finally, the state EM department spoke about the state's role and then the outreach coordinator spoke about some very basic preparedness.

On my table, I had a Berkey water filter and some Wise foods from our sponsor, www.Directive21.com; a Survival Straw and Survival Seed vault from our newest sponsor (so new they haven't gotten graphics to me yet), www.MyPatriotSupply.com; a selection of survival, preparedness and homesteading books; and a flier I made up offering some preparedness quick tips for folks.  The highlight was that I had a mason jar full of frog pond water and was demonstrating the Survival Straw.  I bet I could have sold a couple dozen if I had them there.  Quite a few folks came up and asked questions and talked about their own preparedness efforts.  It is really spreading around here, which is a great thing.  I was glad to see a couple of readers came by, and hope I got some new readers out of it too.

All in all, it was a good event, and I appreciate Delegate Chris Peace for putting it on and inviting me.

I'd really encourage you to suggest such an event to your local government reps.  The more that are prepared, the better we will all be... If It Hits The Fan.

Just Ordered Founders by J.W. Rawles

Thanks to everyone who uses my Amazon links to make purchases from Amazon and gets me a small commission, I just used my most recent commission credits to order a copy of James Wesley, Rawles' latest novel, Founders - A Novel of the Coming Collapse.  I'm looking forward to reading it and writing up a review for you soon.


A Perfect Day... For Terror

Glenn Beck Reports on Jihad in America, with Schools as a Target

Five years ago, on his CNN show, Glenn Beck did a multi-day series on what he called "The Perfect Day," which detailed the ways that radical Islamists could be planning on targeting US schools.  I mentioned this series in my interview last week on The Survival Podcast, and wanted to gather the videos in one place to make it easy for everyone to view.  These are five years old, but certainly not out of date.  One thing we have learned about terrorists is that they have incredible patience, waiting as long as they need to get it right.  And they only need to get it right once.

Thanks to 1001Phoenix for putting all the videos up in one place.


Prepper Blogs Crossover Questions, Part 5 of 5

National Preparedness Month Wrap Up Event

I'm excited to be a part of a program this week where each day, a group of bloggers will answer a particular prepping question, and link to each others' sites so that our readers can compare our answers and be exposed to other ideas. We also invite our readers to participate by answering the day's question in the blog comments section.

Please also visit the other participants:

Sit down, strap in, and please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle... Enjoy the ride!

Friday's Question:

What are your plans for Dec. 21, 2012?

I'm going to party like it's 1999...?  I've done quite a few posts about 12/31/1999.  I spent the evening and early morning hours on duty with my small town police department, listening to the shortwave, riding two deep in my war wagon (minivan) and waiting for the looting to begin at the Food Lion.

For Dec. 21 this year... I'm not doing a thing any different than normal.  The way I figure it, The Mayans had to end their calendar somewhere, they simply did it on a solstice.  There is a cartoon around the internet of two Mayans carving the calendar and saying something like, "I'm tired of carving, I think I'll stop here.  That ought to really freak people out in the future."

According to the ancient Hallmarkians, who produced my 2011 "funny kittens" calendar, the world should have ended on Jan. 31, 2012.

If the world truly is going to end on 12/21, there ain't a durn thing we can do to prepare for that.  Otherwise, life goes on and we've got economic downturns, pandemics, and mutant biker zombies to worry about.

I hope you've enjoyed this crossover with the other blogs and that you have found some new resources on the net with them.  I've enjoyed doing it and thank them for including me!

What are YOUR plans for Dec. 21, 2012?


Prepper Blogs Crossover Questions, Part 4 of 5

National Preparedness Month Wrap Up Event

I'm excited to be a part of a program this week where each day, a group of bloggers will answer a particular prepping question, and link to each others' sites so that our readers can compare our answers and be exposed to other ideas. We also invite our readers to participate by answering the day's question in the blog comments section.

Please also visit the other participants:

Sit down, strap in, and please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle... Enjoy the ride!

Thursday's Question:

What firearms do you feel are most appropriate for long-term survival and why?

What a "loaded" question!  .45! 9mm! .357! Revolver! Semi Auto! 5.56! 7.62x51! 7.62x39!  Main Battle Rifle!  Assault Rifle! .22! Marlin! Ruger!   It can go on and on and you'll find "experts" who profess any and all of these as the best.

Some say get the same calibers and opperating systems as your local police or the military because either they will share ammo with you or you can scavange it from the bodies littering the streets... Really?

I've got a simple answer... get guns that will fit your needs, body, and budget.  Get the best you can and as much ammo as you can.  Also get training.  Not the afternoon CCW license class, but several days with thousands of rounds, transitions between weapons, shooting on the move and from cover, and real scenarios.

I live in the Eastern Woodlands.  I don't need a "sniper rifle" or a long range elk/moose rifle.  For hunting, a Winchester 94 in .44 magnum is great, or even a 12 gauge with #1 buckshot.  Even a .22 for a lot of small game.  For my rural home's defense, a 9mm semi auto carbine serves me well, but I also have a PTR91 in 7.62x51... but primarily because I have always lusted for a HK91.  For pistols, find the one that best fits your hand and that you can conceal... if that is what you want to do with it.  I have plenty of ammo for each, and always like to pick up some more now and then when I find a good deal or start running low.  I've been through hundreds of hours of good shooting training as a Marine, a cop, and a competition shooter... but I can always use a refresher or new techniques.

This works for me... what works for you will probably be different.

What firearms do YOU feel are most appropriate for long-term survival and why?


Prepper Blogs Crossover Questions Part 3 of 5

National Preparedness Month Wrap Up Event

I'm excited to be a part of a program this week where each day, a group of bloggers will answer a particular prepping question, and link to each others' sites so that our readers can compare our answers and be exposed to other ideas. We also invite our readers to participate by answering the day's question in the blog comments section.

Please also visit the other participants:

Sit down, strap in, and please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle... Enjoy the ride!

Wednesday's Question:

What's the most important thing people can do to prepare themselves in today's troubled economy?

Easy... Two words... ELIMINATE DEBT!  I'm a firm believer in Dave Ramsey's program of 7 baby steps.
  1. $1,000 emergency fund
  2. Pay off all debt except the mortgage using the snowball method
  3. Build an emergency fund of 3-6 months expenses
  4. Put away 15% of income toward retirement
  5. College for kids (or yourself, or skip it if it does not apply)
  6. Pay of the mortgage early
  7. Build wealth and give
That plan will work just great if TEOTWAWKI doesn't come, and if it does come, a person would be daggone glad to have no debt and a great big emergency fund/cash reserves.

Debt is poison and can destroy your life whether SHTF or not.  In a time of bad economy, even historically "safe" jobs are at risk.  Think how much better a layoff would be if you had no debt.  Of course, a butt load of long term storage foods and other household supplies will also make it easier.

What's the most important thing people can do to prepare themselves in today's troubled economy?


Prepper Blogs Crossover Questions Part 2 of 5

National Preparedness Month Wrap Up Event

I'm excited to be a part of a program this week where each day, a group of bloggers will answer a particular prepping question, and link to each others' sites so that our readers can compare our answers and be exposed to other ideas. We also invite our readers to participate by answering the day's question in the blog comments section.

Please also visit the other participants:

Sit down, strap in, and please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle... Enjoy the ride!

Tuesday's Question:

How critical will groups and community be during a WROL (Without Rule Of Law) situation?  If important, what suggestions do you have for fostering it?
I think that the idea of an organized group of preppers, riding out TEOTWAWKI on their large retreat compound sounds good in a novel, but realistically I think it is unfeasible for most of us.  Community as it is commonly looked at... a neighborhood or town, probably will not be of much use during a true WROL situation.  There are too many variables... the unprepared, the criminal, the collectivists.  I think that a community of like minded individuals would be crucial.  These may be people that are in the same town or county, perhaps fellow church members or civic group members, who all have prepping in common, regardless of how physically close they live (within reason).  These can be the people who can help organize their neighborhoods and physical communities that will be needed to eventually restore the rule of law.

To help foster this, I've done some things in the recent past and will be continuing with my efforts.  Last Wednesday I set up a static display at the local firehouse during a Preparedness Town Hall sponsored by our state delegate and members of the board of supervisors.  I met quite a few local folks who want to improve their preparedness.  From that, I'm doing some talks at local churches and civic groups to spread the message of preparedness and self-sufficiency.  I also have a great relationship with my immediate neighbors who practice preparedness and would be invaluable allies during a WROL situation.

How critical will groups and community be during a WROL (Without Rule Of Law) situation? If important, what suggestions do you have for fostering it?


Prepper Blogs Crossover Questions Part 1 of 5

National Preparedness Month Wrap Up Event

I'm excited to be a part of a program this week where each day, a group of bloggers will answer a particular prepping question, and link to each others' sites so that our readers can compare our answers and be exposed to other ideas.  We also invite our readers to participate by answering the day's question in the blog comments section. 

Please also visit the other participants:


Sit down, strap in, and please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle... Enjoy the ride!

Monday's Question:

When did you start prepping and why?

I touched on this the other day, but coming of age in the early 80s, I was acutely aware of the commies, nuclear war, and terrorists.  Two TV shows that helped get me interested were the miniseries, The Day After (I still have vivid memories of Jason Robards' car cutting off and as he ducks down to check his wires under the dash, his car protects him from the blast) and a show that I can't remember the name of, but it was shortly after CNN came on the scene and this show was done as if it were a real emergency news break alerting us to terrorists having a nuclear weapon in Charleston, SC harbor and threatening to detonate it.

I started reading survival magazines and books at that time, and still have many of them.  I did not grow up around guns, but starting in middle school, I was able to start building my collection and was able to go out to the country and shoot every now and then.  Survivalism and guns seemed to go together, and my interest was grown that way.  As I became an adult, my interest and activities ebbed and flowed over the years, but when my wife and I got married a week after Hurricane Isabel hit Virginia, and we were totally unprepared for it, I got back in to the lifestyle and have been going at it intensely ever since.

How did you start prepping and why?


And The Winner Is....

Congratulations To...

Ron Bowman!  Ron, please send me an email here with your mailing address and I'll forward it to Prepper Press.

Thanks to all who entered, but I gotta say, I'm surprised at how few entered.  I'll be doing another Prepper Press book giveaway soon, I really hope more folks enter.

If you didn't win, you can get your own copy of Joe Nobody's latest book, The Home Schooled Shootist - Training To Fight With A Carbine through my Amazon link here:

Ron, if you want to write up a review of this book after you read it, I'd love to use it as a guest post.

Made a Good Score Today

A guy I know put some pistol magazines up for sale on FB.  He had 6 like new Sig Sauer factory made stainless 8 rnd mags for the Sig P220, which is one of my carry guns.  He was asking $10 a piece, and I offered $40 for all of them.  Sold American!  Last time I bought Sig mags, I think I paid $29 each.  MSRP on these is $46.  I got $276 worth of mags for $40.  Pretty good deal, I'd say.  Plus, you can never have too many mags for your guns that use them.

Don't Forget To Enter The Contest!

Win a Copy of Joe Nobody's New Book!

Just under 12 hours left to enter as I type this.

Here's all the details!


Who Inspired You To Become A Prepper?

Of Course, Back Then It Was A Survivalist...

There were three authors whom I read repeatedly back in the early 80s...  Mel Tappan and his Survival Guns, Dr. Bruce Clayton and his Life After Doomsday, and Jerry Ahern and his series, The Survivalist.  Tappan and Clayton's books taught me a lot of real world applications and The Survivalist was great fiction that kept my imagination going.

With people I actually knew, it was probably my grandparents.  They weren't preppers, per se, but they had made a great life for themselves after the Depression, and thrived out West, building things, canning, fishing, hunting, fixing most anything that was broken... They lived up to the ideal expressed in the famous Heinlein quote, "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

Who inspired you?

Something big is coming...
All next week, I'm involved in a big project with a group of other prepper bloggers to wrap up National Preparedness Week.  Be sure to visit each day!


Reader Contest

Win Joe Nobody's Latest Book!

I've reviewed several of Joe Nobody's books over the past few months, here, here, and here.

Now here's your chance to win a copy of Joe's latest book, The Home Schooled Shootist.  Joe takes his experiences behind the trigger in the military and as a private contractor, and breaks them down into lessons you can do at home to improve your carbine shooting skills.

Here's a video preview of the book:

Here's how to enter the contest...

First, you have to have liked If It Hits The Fan on Facebook.  Next, you have to like the Facebook pages of The Prepper Press (publishers of Joe's books), and Joe Nobody's fan page.  After you have done all three, post a note on the If It Hits The Fan FB page letting me know that you did it.

For a bonus entry, share this post on the social media of your choice by clicking on the appropriate sharing icon at the bottom of the post.

That's it, that's all there is to it!  The contest ends at 8 p.m. EDT on Sunday 9/23, so you have 48 hours to get it done.  Good luck!


Welcome TSP Listeners

The Survival Podcast Interviewed Me

Many of you seeing this today are coming over from Jack Spirko and The Survival Podcast thanks to the interview with me that he just broadcasted, Preparing Your Child For School Emergencies.  If you have not heard it, you can listen here.

To give you an introduction to If It Hits The Fan, I thought it might be good to share some of my favorite posts over the past few years.

What Does Preparedness Mean To Me? (My very first post)

Is Prepping A Moral Imperative?

The Everyday BOV

My EDC Kit

The Buck Ron Hood Hoodlum knife and a custom sheath for it

My series about my trip to Dave Canterbury's Pathfinder School

Project EMP BOV

These are just a few that I really like.  I invite you to look around, leave some comments, and hopefully stick around as a regular reader.  If you use Facebook, please visit our page and like us, and check out my YouTube videos (I really need to get back to doing more of them - sounds like a good fall project).

I thank you for visiting, and I really want to thank Jack for interviewing me and for being a great spokesman in the preparedness movement!


MRE Memories

Meals Rejected by Ethiopians?

In the last10 years or so, I've only had a couple of MREs... it seems like the quality and variety has improved dramatically sine I was in the Corps or stocking up for Y2K.

When I became a Marine in 1986, MREs were still fairly new, and the variety wasn't that great.  The ones I remember are dehydrated pork patty, dehydrated beef patty, and beef stew.  There was either a fruit drink type powder or cocoa powder, crackers that could be used as a throwing star almost, peanut butter spread, apple jelly, or cheese spread, dehydrated fruit compressed into a square (peaches and pears come to mind) and a dessert - either a pound cake with nuts or fruit, a brownie bar, or a chocolate covered cookie.  The accessory pack had toilet paper, matches, sugar, creamer, coffee, two Chiclets gum pieces, and a fork.  The little bottles of Tabasco were several years off.

You had to be pretty creative to get satisfaction from the meals.  The beef patty with cheese spread and crackers was almost a cheeseburger.  Using just a couple of drops of water and the creamer in the cocoa powder made it a pudding consistency... put it on a cracker with peanut butter spread and it's almost as good as the chocolate peanut butter pie from my favorite truck stop.  Breaking up the crackers in the beef stew, and putting a line of cheese on top made almost a shepherd's pie or beef pot pie.

Back then, the MRE heaters that come in every meal today had not been invented.  The food was either cold or had to be heated alternatively.  Some would drop the vented pouches in a canteen cup of water over a heat tab.  In the summer, we'd just lay the pouches in the sun on a hot rock.  Winter time would sometimes call for setting them on the manifold of our deuce and a half truck.  If things were moving quick and we had little time, it might be as basic as shoving the pouch under the t-shirt for a bit of body warmth.

Whatever you use for long term storage foods, you really need to be creative to eat it in different ways to avoid food boredom.  Spices, different combinations, etc... can all go along way toward making it tasty and keep you fueled up.  Of course, sometimes a little imagination helps too.


Prepper Ponderings

New Kent Preparedness Town Hall Agenda

Looking forward to meeting some local readers tomorrow night and helping some new folks learn about prepping with my static display.

Date: Sept. 19, 2012
Location: Fire Station 1
4315 North Courthouse Rd
Providence Forge, VA 23140
Time: 6:30pm

Welcome (3 min)
Delegate Chris Peace

Local Safety and Response Panel Presentation (10-12 min)
New Kent Fire and Rescue: Brandon Jenkins
New Kent Sheriff Office: Sheriff Wakie Howard and Chief Deputy Joe McLaughlin,
New Kent Board: Supervisors ________________________________________________________________________________

VDEM: Presentation (10-12 min)
George Urquhart, Dir. of Preparedness, _________________________________________________________________________________

VDOT: Presentation (10 min)
Mike Cade, Residency Administrator, Ashland Residency

Service Provider Panel with Q&A (10 min)
Dominion, Cox, Verizon

Wrap Up Remarks:
Delegate Peace (2 min)

Vendor Tables:
New Kent Co-Op Extension
Home Depot
New Kent Habitat with Walmart
Red Cross
New Kent Sheriff’s Office
New Kent Fire and Rescue
Service Provider Table
Donald Green: www.ifithitsthefan.com
Terry Mixer: Shelf Reliance
Providence Forge Volunteer Rescue

Check Out These Videos

Reader VT Paladin has been putting up some YouTube videos related to prepping.  He's got some on canning (I'm fascinated by his corn cob jelly - never heard of that), some sales and deals, and some general thoughts on preparedness.  Pretty good information.  Check him out here.

Dr. William Forstchen's Talk at the Self Reliance Expo

Dr. Forstchen is the author of One Second After, a New York Times best selling novel about life in a small North Carolina town after an EMP event knocks out power and generation across the country.  He spoke briefly about the book and how it came about, and then took questions from the audience.  Among some of the highlights...
  • Writing the book took a huge emotional toll on him.  He may write a sequel, but hasn't decided.
  • The nation as a whole has done nothing to prepare for or combat EMP.  There has been talk about having an entire city do a drill, but it never came about.
  • He believes the threat of EMP is real.  Iran has test fired missiles straight up and publicly called it a failure, but in reality the tests could have been for an EMP producing nuclear payload.
    • a "perfect" threat would be three missiles exploding - one over the East Coast, one over the Midwest and one over the West Coast.
    • The missiles could be smuggled to our coasts on shipping vessels, in shielded containers.
  • He is a big fan of the mid-60s VW Beetle or van as an EMP-proof car.
  • He said he is a prepper, and really wishes that everyone would be... not just for an EMP, but for any of life's disasters that might get thrown at us.


Self Reliance Expo Wrap Up

I Almost Forgot...

It was fantastic getting to meet Nurse Amy of Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy.  They are doing some amazing work teaching folks how to prepare for medical emergencies after SHTF.  Although I didn't get the chance to take it, they did a class teaching suturing on pigs feet that looked amazing.  They are super nice and a class act.  My wife could not stop thinking about Nurse Amy's suggestion of raw honey and cayenne pepper as an topical wound treatment (and also as a consumable for bacterial and viral infections).

Here's a picture of me with Jack Spirko

Here's a picture of me in the Atlas Survival Shelter

And here's me with Jeff "The Berkey Guy" Gleason


Back From The Expo

What a Great Event!

It looks like the Self Reliance Expo was a raging success.  I know we had a great time, learned a lot, met a lot of great people, and got some great new gear.  The vendors had folks lined up all day long, and the speakers all had nice crowds.

We left home early Friday morning, making out way west and south.  We passed by Hickory, and could see a surprising large crowd of cars outside of the convention center for a Friday mid-day.  We went on to Asheville where we toured Biltmore, the largest private home in the U.S.  If you are ever in the area, it is well worth the time and the cost of admission.  With 250 rooms, 4 acres of interior square footage, and 8,000 acres of land... and constructed of stone, it would be a jim-dandy place to ride out the breakdown.

We headed back to Hickory and checked in to our hotel, the Hampton Inn right next door to the convention center.  If you ever have to be in Hickory, the Hampton Inn is a great hotel, very clean with super friendly staff.  After getting settled, we headed out to grab a bite, then went to a local brew pub to meet Jack Spirko and fellow fans of The Survival Podcast, including Crystal and Greg who live not too far away from us.

Saturday morning dawned bright and early and I headed over to the convention center for the TSP fan early entrance and meet & greet with Jack.  After that, I went and met our long-time sponsor, Jeff "The Berkey Guy" Gleason of Directive 21.  I've spoken to Jeff on the phone a number of times, and was very glad to finely meet him in person.  He is really a good guy and I had a great time talking with him.

I then walked back over to the hotel, got my wife, and we then went back over to the Expo.  We spent the rest of the morning checking out the vendors and meeting great folks.  We slipped out for lunch, then came back to catch the talk by Dr. William Forstchen, author of One Second After and several series of historical fiction that he co-authored with Newt Gingrich.  He gave a fascinating talk about the threat of EMPs and why people should be prepping, not only for just that, but for other threats as well.  Afterward, he stayed to sign books.  I forgot to take my copy of One Second After, so I bought a copy of his new novel, The Battle of the Crater and got it signed.  The book has special interest for me since that Civil War battle took place just right down the road from my house.

I then finished getting ready for my talk, Preparing Your Child For School Emergencies.  As my time rolled around, Jack Spirko and his wife, Dorothy, were in the front row, and I also saw Crystal and Greg, and long-time reader, Bill, and his family.  It was good seeing those familiar faces.  The audience started of kind of small, but by the end, I had most of the seats filled.  I think it went pretty well.  Afterward, my wife and I had a table set up and sold a few paracord wristbands and If It Hits The Fan t-shirts while talking with some of the folks who listened to the presentation.  Imagine my surprise when Bill Forstchen came over and thanked me for covering the topic.  He joined the conversation and talked about some of his experiences and concerns for school safety at the college where he is a professor.  Before he left, he gave me an autographed copy of To Try Men's Souls, a novel about Washington and the Revolution.  I was extremely thrilled and honored.

We spent the remaining time visiting with more vendors and picking up some great things that we really needed.  Here's some highlights:

I met Matt from My Patriot Supply and am very excited to say that we will be working together in the future as they become one our premier sponsors.  At their booth, we picked up two Life Straws, something that has been missing from our Get Home Bags, and something that a reader asked about a long time ago... the review will be forthcoming soon.  Matt gave me a Survival Seed Vault that I'll be reviewing and evaluating for you as well.

At Carolina Readiness Supply, we picked up a copy of Natural & Herbal Remedies for Headaches.  Should be interesting reading to learn how to help take care of headaches without using big pharma.

I had a nice conversation with a gent from the Revolutionary War Veterans Association, the organization that does the amazing Project Appleseed marksmanship program.  We really want to go through their program next year.

I met a lady that owns Down South Ammo with her husband.  They make and sell an explosive binary target system.  It's not the flaming explosion kind, but a little different.  Looking at the demo videos on their website, they look pretty darn cool. 

At G&R Foods, we picked up some more Bega canned cheese and Red Feather canned butter for the pantry.  Both of those are delicious and great for long term storage or regular use.

From the nice ladies at Life Sprouts, we picked up a Sprout Master kit, with jars of Alfa-Plus mix, Pro Vita mix, Sunflowers and Chia, along with a book, Natural Sweets and Healthy Treats, by Rita Bingham.  We both really love eating sprouts, and are looking forward to growing our own.

Equip 2 Endure had some really cool gear displayed, including a prototype slingshot made of micarta.  And as a bonus, I finally got to meet the famous SisterWolf.

Daily Bread is a long-term storage food that I had not heard of before. They were serving up samples of Chicken Ala King from their freeze dried foods.  If the Chicken Ala King is any indication of the rest of their foods, it is a company to add to your pantry.  The Chicken Ala King was absolutely delicious!

Atlas Survival Shelters brought in their 32 foot corrugated pipe blast shelter.  It is amazing how they have it set up inside for long term comfort and safety.  Ahh, maybe someday.

I was glad to meet Bob, from Equipping The Workers.  They make simple, yet durable and functional kydex, inside the pants holsters.  They can make a holster for any pistol if they have a template, so I am on the list for when they can make one for my Colt Agent.  We also talked about making one for the NAA Mini-Revolver.  Seemed like real good people.

Homestead General Store had a big display area set up with all kinds of homesteading and "old-timey" household goods, ranging from solar ovens to oil lamps to a double binned manual washing machine with a hand cranked wringer.  Pretty neat and useful stuff, I'm looking forward to checking out their website and catalog.

Finally, I chatted for a bit with Dave Kobler (a.k.a. SouthernPrepper1 on YouTube) of Practical Preppers.  Dave was out there with the Simple Pump, a really great device that can be adapted to all but the deepest wells to keep water flowing to your home in a long term power loss.

We closed out the evening at another brew pub with Jack and Dorothy Spirko and a group of TSP fans. 

I had an amazing time at the Self Reliance Expo.  If it ever comes to a location even remotely close to you, I really encourage you take it in.  The next one is Oct. 26-27 in Mesa, Arizona.  I really want to thank Ron and Scott for giving me the opportunity to attend and speak.  I also want to thank my new sponsor, My Patriot Supply, my old sponsor, Jeff Gleason at Directive 21, Jack and Dorothy Spirko,  Bill (aka VT Paladin) and his family for making the trip, Dr. Forstchen, and the many wonderful vendors and attendees that I got to meet.


You Never Know...

When The Day Before Is The Day Before

FEMA has released a new promotional campaign trying to get folks to plan and prepare now, because you really never know when something might happen.  They say that you never know when the day before is the day before, meaning that you don't know today that a disaster might come tomorrow, so you need to be prepared anyway.  Now, I think FEMA is simplistic in what they suggest (get a 72 hour kit, make a plan and stay informed), but what they suggest is easily achievable by nearly everyone, and if everyone did do it, such preps would carry folks through the vast majority of disasters, so it does have some merit.

Anyway, what I particularly like about this promotion is the effort they make to have it hit home everywhere to do away with the "it can't happen here" mentality that we talked about here the other day.  They have a map of the US with a different date on each state.  If you click on a state, you get the date before something big and unexpected happened, and the story of that disaster.

For instance, in my own state of Virginia, it shows Sept. 17.  Clicking on it brings me the story of Sept. 18, 2003 when 20 inches of rains fell with 106 mph winds that knocked out power to 1.8 million people.  Here's the page so you can see what happened in your state and what the day before was the day before.  I think it is a good interactive exercise, especially to show those who say "it can't happen here."

Here's a link to the press release for the entire National Preparedness Month promotion.


A Time To Remember

Please Never Forget 9/11/01

Egyptian extremists have attacked the U.S. Embassy in Cairo... the war continues.

Please read my post from last year for some history and my memories of 9/11.

Stay vigilant, stay prepared, and keep those you love close to you.


The Coldest Night I Ever Spent

Ft. A.P. Hill - February 10, 1989

A person put a photo up on Facebook today of a road closed sign on Ft. A.P. Hill in Virginia.  It brought back some memories of time spent living and working around the base in the town of Bowling Green, and training on the base as a Marine.

I'll never forget one USMCR drill weekend that we spent on base.  In early 1989, we were still using M101A1 105mm howitzers, my particular one having been built in 1944.  My usual sleeping arrangements in the field consisted of making a pallet from four wooden ammo crates, my closed cell foam sleeping pad, and my intermediate weight sleeping bag with a busted zipper. 

105mm Howitzer Ammo Crate
Even in the winter, I stayed pretty warm at night, even sometimes waking up with my poncho draped over me, stiff as plywood from a heavy morning frost.  I would strip down to my skivvies, keeping my boots and uniform in the bag with me so I had something warm to put on in the morning.

This particular February weekend, we mustered at our reserve center on Friday evening, loaded up the deuce and a half trucks, hitched up the howitzers, and headed up I-95 to A.P. Hill.  It was bitterly cold riding in the back of the canvas covered truck with an open rear end, waving at cars on the highway.  When we got to the base, instead of heading to the WWII barracks where we normally slept for winter drills, we headed out to the field and immediately set up our guns for a night-fire mission.  Around midnight or 0100, we were given the order to stand down.  I began to set up my normal sleeping position, but the order came down for everyone to sleep in the back of the trucks for body warmth.  I was against it because I believed that all that open air space underneath for the wind to whip under the sheet metal floor would make us even colder, but I was a lowly lance corporal and in no position to argue.

So there we were, no cold-weather gear, nothing but field jackets with liners, regular old leather combat boots, and intermediate-weight sleeping bags (keep in mind that mine had a busted zipper, so I had to depend on snaps to keep mine closed).  Some had enough sense to wear long johns, and a few had "wooly pully" commando sweaters - these were not issued at the time, but were approved for optional uniform wear.  I climbed up in the back of the truck without enough room to unroll my sleeping pad, so I shucked my uniform and boots and climbed in the bag, with my uniform, and pulled my two canteens in with me. 

After a few hours of restless, fitful sleep, we were roused before dawn to begin another training day.  I rapidly dressed and found my canteens, which had been inside my bag with me, had frozen solid in the night.  A minor mutiny occurred.  Because of the vast quantities of bagged gunpowder on the gun line, smoking and open flames were strictly verboten.  That morning, the entire battery built campfires right beside our firing positions and even broke open some powder bags to get the fires started quicker.  I distinctly remember the smell of melting rubber as I stuck my boots right in the flame in an effort to warm up.

We were told that the overnight low was 10 degrees with a windchill below zero.  I just checked the historical records and the nearest I could find was for the town of Bowling Green which showed 17 degrees with a windchill of 7.  Either way, it was doggone cold.  We were then told that barracks had been available, but that we faced the challenge, and succeeded in the spirit of Chesty Puller and the Frozen Chosin.

It was a cold, miserable night, that really could have been dangerous, but I (along with 120 other Marines) survived and even prevailed.  I went winter camping a number of times after that, for recreation, and used my experiences to have more appropriate gear.

So how is this relevant other than as a story to tell around a campfire?  Cold weather can be deadly, but with minimal gear or shelter, it is easily survivable.  If you have even the slightest chance of being stranded outside in the winter, having the basics of shelter and staying dry will keep you alive.  As we head into fall with winter travel and hunting season, check your car kit and your hunting gear to make sure you have those basics.


Look Up For More Storage

Space Is A Valuable Commodity

Our kitchen has pretty limited counter space and cabinets.  We only have two drawers.  Overall, it is a good size kitchen, just poorly designed.  I've been keeping my Berkey water filter kind of stuck on the edge of the sink, right against the edge of a cabinet.  The spigot is over the sink, so you need to hold your glass down in the sink.  It's easy to refill with the sprayer hose, but it was really in the way.  I had been keeping it at the far end of the counter, hanging off the edge.  It was easy to use, but prevented the door from the far cabinet from opening all the way.

Today I tried a new location.  We have a tall, deep refrigerator, with only two small cabinets above it.  I can't reach the cabinets without using a step stool, and we only keep a couple things up there that we hardly ever use.  I moved the Berky to the top of the refrigerator with the spigot sticking over the side.  It's very easy to get to for filling a glass of water.  To keep the Berkey filled, I need to lift the whole unit down each time rather than just keeping it topped off, but I don't think it will be too much of a pain.

Doing that got me thinking about what else we have high up.  Above our kitchen cabinets, we have about a foot and a half of open space (9 feet tall ceilings) that is almost useless.  We have a few knick-knacks up there, but they serve no purpose other than collecting dust.  They are so high up that people really don't see them.

I think it would be pretty good to use that space for prep storage like freeze dried foods or other relatively lightweight items.  To keep them concealed and the kitchen looking nice, I'm thinking either some curtains, or maybe putting a grooved 1x1 along the ceiling and along the top of the cabinets and making some simple sliding door coverings.

I guess it gives new meaning to the phrase, "things are looking up."


12 Myths of Disaster Preparedness

Disaster Dozen - by Paul Purcell
From Emergency Management Magazine

Hurricane Katrina and other disasters have given us a series of emergency preparedness wake-up calls. Do we pay attention now or continue to hit the snooze button?

Let’s look at the most important part of a comprehensive emergency readiness plan: the preparedness levels of individuals and families.

The biggest obstacles to comprehensive family emergency readiness education are the misconceptions surrounding the true nature of preparedness. So to set the stage for better education, and ultimately better public safety, let’s take a look at some of these myths.

1. If something happens all I have to do is call 911.

Help can only go so far or be there so quickly. Security, like charity, begins at home and the responsibility for your family’s safety rests on your shoulders. This isn’t to say that families shouldn’t call for help when it’s truly needed, it’s to remind them that they may be on their own for a while, especially if the situation is expansive or severe.

2. All I need is a 72-hour kit with a flashlight, first aid kit, some food and water, and a radio.

We’re not sure where the 72-hour figure came from but it’s an extremely minimal amount of time and not very realistic. A more practical goal is to be self-sufficient for a minimum of two weeks (preferably four weeks). Why two weeks? As bad as Katrina was there are numerous disaster and terrorism scenarios that could yield substantially more damage and a disruption of local services for three weeks or more. Also many biological scenarios may cause a two-week quarantine. Avoid the one-size-fits-all simpleton lists and customize yours to your family’s unique threats, needs and assets.

3. My insurance policy will take care of everything.

SWAT teams of insurance agents aren’t going to instantly rebuild your life like on TV. Insurance companies will be far more concerned about their own bottom line than yours. In fact, many insurance companies are rewriting policies to redefine some rather common terrorism or disaster-related incidents as being excluded and not coverable. Check your policies closely.

4. Good preparedness is too expensive and complicated.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The problem is we haven’t made preparedness part of our overall education. We get more preparedness information on an airline flight than we get as citizens. Most citizens aren’t taught that there are literally thousands of subtle, simple and economical things we can do to drastically improve our emergency readiness. The notion that it might be expensive or complicated has come from companies that aggressively market high-priced unnecessary gear.

5. We can only form a neighborhood group through FEMA, the Red Cross or local law enforcement.

Neighbor helping neighbor is one of our highest civic duties. No one regulates this, and you don’t have to get anyone’s permission to coordinate your safety with others. Working with these groups is rather advantageous but not require.

6. In a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) terrorist attack, we’re all dead anyway.

WMDs might kill larger numbers of people, but that doesn’t mean widespread destruction is guaranteed. In fact, for widespread destruction a top-grade WMD must be expertly and precisely applied under ideal conditions. This does not mean that WMDs are to be ignored or that they’re nothing to fear, it’s just that mass destruction does not mean total destruction.

7. Nothing like that could ever happen here.

Though some areas are more prone to certain types of disasters, say earthquakes in California or terror attacks in New York, no area is completely immune. Travelers might travel somewhere and wind up in a disaster they never thought about.

8. All I have to worry about is my own family.

Technically yes but the more you’re able to care for your own family, the more you can and should help others.

9. If preparedness were really important it would be taught in school.

Preparedness really is that important but schools only have so much time and budget to teach the topics they already do. This is one of the many things we’re trying to change.

10. I can get free preparedness information on the Internet.

Many free sources contain really good information. However, many of them are nothing more than a rehash of 72-hour kit ideas and contain nothing new or comprehensive. Also it takes time and experience to filter the trash from the treasure. And some of these free sites have information that could actually cause more problems than they solve. Start with www.ready.gov, but don’t stop there, continue your education as best you can.

11. Full preparedness means I have to get a lot of guns and be a survivalist.

While personal security and family safety are valid concerns, the vast majority of people around you will not be a threat. In fact, though looters gained a lot of media attention after Hurricane Katrina, there were far more stories of heroism and of people making new friends through shared adversity. We suggest a balance between personal security needs with the desire to help others.

12. If something really bad happens, no one will help.

There’s no such thing as “no one helping.” However, the best thing people can do to is to prepare their families so they need as little outside help as possible. There’s always someone needier than you and the more prepared you are, the more you free up assistance resources so they can help those less fortunate.

Paul Purcell is an Atlanta-based security analyst and preparedness consultant with more than 20 years of risk management and preparedness experience. He’s also the author of Disaster Prep 101.

You may use or reference this story with attribution and a link to http://www.emergencymgmt.com/training/12-Myths-Disaster-Preparedness.html

I'm not familiar with Mr. Purcell, but it is great to see this information in a mainstream EM professional journal.  The whole "72 hours is all you need to be prepared for" is so set in people's mind.  I truly believe that "they" promote 72 hours not because that's all that it will take before the FEMA cavalry comes in, but because there was a conscious effort made to promote an idea that is so minor and easy to achieve that anyone can do it and won't "feel bad" for failing.  I agree with Mr. Purcell that 2 weeks is a much more reasonable goal (although for true preppers, that's just a good start.

What do you think?  What do your friends and family use as excuses as to why they won't prepare.


Another Event / Public Appearance

New Kent Preparedness Town Hall

If you are in the Richmond or Tidewater, Va. areas, on Sept. 19th at 6:30 p.m.,, Delegate Chris Peace is sponsoring a Preparedness Town Hall.  It will be at New Kent Fire Station #1 which is south of Exit 214 on I-64, just a little ways past the Colonial Downs horse racing track.

They plan to have speakers, vendors and door prizes.  I've been asked to set up a static display to help promote self-reliance and preparedness, as a compliment to the local emergency management efforts.

I hope to see you there!

Self Reliance Expo - Hickory, NC

I hope you can make it to the Self Reliance Expo in Hickory next Friday and Saturday (14th and 15th) for some great vendors and speakers including Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast and William Forstchen, author of the new classic, One Second After.  I'm speaking at 3:30 on Saturday on "Preparing Your Child For School Emergencies."

I hope to see you there!  For ticket information, you can go here.


Life's Ceremonies After TEOTWAWKI

You Marryin' or Buryin'?

 An old timer that I used to know would always ask me that if he saw me in a suit.  I usually answered, "convictin'."  One time I had actually been to a mid-week, first thing in the morning, wedding and he thought that was as funny as could be.

If we get to a true TEOTWAWKI situation after an EMP or other major, world-altering event, what do we do with people dying, being born, or falling in love?  Some would say, stick 'em in the ground, raise them as best as you can, and shack up.  Others might have very deep religious beliefs and need a formal, specific ceremony to accompany these events.  Still others will fall somewhere in the middle.

Would a specific religious denomination be important?  In the military, chaplains have their denomination, but they are trained to perform ceremonies in all denominations.  Would the Catholic lay leader who lives down the block serve the needs for your whole community?  Could the Pentecostal preacher around the corner marry the young Jewish couple that fell in love?  Who would say words over the body of the atheist who got killed defending the neighborhood from brigands?  What about the "free thinker" who got an on-line ordination to perform his college roommate's wedding a few years back?  Would you let her baptise your baby?

If such concerns are important to you now, I'd bet they would be even more important to you after SHTF.  Just one more thing to think about in our preps.


News Notes

Don't Screw Around With An Old Veteran

How about this 92 year old WWII vet who heard three punks breaking in to his basement at 2:30 in the morning?  He grabbed his .22 rifle and waited in his living room.  When the first one breached the doorway, he took careful aim and plugged him right in the heard.  His two conspirators dragged away his body and fled the county.  Had this fellow not been armed, we probably never would have even heard about an old timer getting killed in the night.

Dishwasher News?

Well first off, who would have thunk than there was a website devoted to all things dishwashers?  As preppers, a lot of us like to find alternative uses for things.  Here's six different uses for your dishwasher (and I don't mean your 12 year old kid).  I'm particularly intrigued by the fish steamer...

Out of State Concealed Weapon Permit

Fox News had this article today about folks in other states getting Virginia CCW permits to carry in their own state.  Now as a Virginia resident I know that if I got, say, a Florida non-resident permit, I could not use it here.  It seems that several states, including Texas, don't have that same limitation on their residents.  According to the article, in Texas an applicant has to take a 10-15 hour course and fire a 50-round qualification.  Virginia has never required a qualification, and only started requiring a safety course when they went to "shall issue" probably 20 or so years ago.  A few years ago, our legislature authorized on-line training for the safety class.  Now, a person in Texas can avoid spending several hundred dollars for a training class, take a simple on-line course and pass a test for a Virginia permit, and be good to go.  Of course, now that the cat is out of the bag, I'm sure those states will change their laws to disallow residents from using non-resident permits from other states.

Free e-Book Offer

Our friends over at www.PrepperWebsite.com are offering a free e-book entitled, Education After The Collapse.  Here is their description:

I am excited to announce the release of my first ever ebook, Education After The Collapse. The book is a primer on educating elementary students in basic reading and math. However, the book also contains a fictional chapter, introduction to learning styles, a chapter on science topics and flashcards that can be printed out and used. Also, since the ebook is in pdf form, all the links that are provided are clickable to their respective websites.

Although the title refers to “collapse,” the strategies contained are relevant to any emergent reader and math student. These are skills that are being taught today and will continue to be used throughout history to teach students how to learn. Parents will find that they can benefit from reading this book now and applying these skills in a homework or even homeschool environment.

This looks like a great way to help youngsters today learn the basics, whether as homeschoolers or to supplement what they receive from government schools.  I'm going to pass it on to my SIL to help my 2nd grade nephew get a jump on his peers.

Three More Free e-Books - These Are On Surviving a Nuclear Disaster

This evening I connected on Twitter with the folks at AlertsUSA and Threat Journal.  AlertsUSA is a national threat and incident notification service for mobile devices.  Their Threat Journal is a free weekly newsletter that complements the mobile notification service.  I just signed up for the newsletter, and the cool thing is, that when you sign up for the newsletter, you also get three free e-books:
  • What To Do If A Nuclear Disaster Is Imminent
  • When An Ill Wind Blows From Afar (All About Fallout)
  • The Good News About Nuclear Destruction (It's Survivable)
I'm looking forward to reading these books and the newsletter.  The mobile notification service looks pretty useful.  On their main page, they have a few of their notifications over the past months.  One is for the nuclear plan about 55 miles from my house!

You can never have too much information.  I encourage you to check out the books from Threat Journal and Prepper Website!


Monthly Task Reminders

It's Just Past The First Of The Month...
Have you:

Test run your generator?
Rotated you gasoline stores?
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?
Checked the tires, belts, hoses and filters on your vehicles?

I like to get this reminder list out on the first, but we had a wedding in the family this weekend.  Congratulations to Maranda and Jason on their marriage!

Join Me In Hickory, NC for The Self Reliance Expo on Sept. 14th and 15th!

I'm part of a great group of presenters, and I'll be speaking on "Preparing Your Children for School Emergencies" at 3:30 on the 15th.  I hope to meet lots of readers!  For ticket information, please visit the Self Reliance Expo website.