Camouflage is anything you use to keep yourself, your equipment and position from looking like what they are. Personal camouflage has certain simple rules that will defeat the most obvious sensor on the battlefield; the human eye.
Shape. Your helmet, load bearing web equipment, rifle and other gear have a clear, often square shape, and there are no squares in nature. Break up straight lines with strips of burlap, camo cloth or netting in shades of brown and green. Elastic bands can be sewn to your uniform or equipment straps to facilitate adding camo strips or vegetation. Camo materials should not be attached to your rifle in areas where they may slip and interfere with your firm grip or the mechanical operation of the weapon. It is better to cover the weapon with paint or camouflage tape.
Shine. Most modern military equipment uses plastic or subdued painted metal fasteners and buckles. If the paint has worn off or you are using commercial equipment with shiny buckles, these need to be covered with paint or tape. Other shiny surfaces that can reflect light include binoculars, compasses, watch crystals, plastic map covers and eyeglasses. Little can be done about eyeglasses other than using headgear with a low brim or mosquito netting, but other shiny equipment should be stowed away when not needed and used with caution. Shine also includes skin, even at night when it will reflect moonlight and flares.
Silhouette. Similar in many respects to shape, silhouette includes the outline of the human form and the equipment it is carrying. The shape of the head and shoulders of a man are unmistakable and a bare helmet attracts attention. The use of local vegetation as garnishing helps break up your silhouette. Thick handfuls of grass tucked into your shoulder straps are especially useful in breaking up the distinctive "head and shoulders" shape of the human figure and vegetation added to a helmet breaks the smooth curve of the top and the line of the brim. Take care not to overdo adding local vegetation. You shouldn't need a machete to hack a path through your camouflage to get at your ammo pouch or other necessary equipment. Also, a large bush or tree is sure to attract attention when it starts to move. Silhouette also includes field craft. However well camouflaged you may be, it is little help if you "sky line" yourself by walking along the top of a hill or ridge line, or if you stand against a background of one solid color.
Smell. Even the most urbanized man will develop a good sense of smell after a few days in the open. He will be able to detect engine smells, cooking, body odors and washing. Some smells are hard to minimize. Soaps should be scent-free and activities such as cooking should be confined to daylight hours when other smells are stronger and the air warmer. Rubbish from cooking should be carried away from your operational area and buried only as a second choice. Buried objects are often dug up by animals and can give a good indication of the strength and composition of your patrol or unit as well as its morale. The discipline of refuse removal is important.
Sound. You can make a lot of noise while out on patrol. Your boots can squeak. Your cleaning kit or magazines can rattle in your ammo pouches. Heavy pack frames can creak. Fittings on your weapon can rattle. Radios can have background noise. Coughing and talking can carry for long distances, especially at night. You must become familiar with a silent routine in which hand signals replace the spoken word and conversations are conducted in a whisper. Proper stowage of your gear, taping of slings and other noisy equipment and a final shakedown before a patrol moves out will reduce noise. If digging a position, place sentries far enough out that they will spot an enemy before he hears the sound of digging.
Color. Though most modern combat uniforms are in a disruptive pattern camouflage, there may be times when this is less helpful. The trouble with camo clothing is that in the wrong environment, like cities, it stands out and says "Hey, look at me!" If fighting in built-up areas, a pattern of greys, browns and dull reds would be more useful than the typical woodland BDU pattern. Natural vegetation used to garnish helmets and equipment will fade and change color. Leaves will dry and curl up exposing pale under surfaces. You may have put dark green ferns and leaves into your helmet band while in the woods and then find yourself moving through an area of pale open grassland. Check and change your camouflage regularly. The most obvious color that needs camouflaging is that of human skin, and for that you need G.I. camo stick or, preferably, a commercial camo cream. G.I. camo sticks are issued in loam and light green for use in areas with green vegetation. A sand and light green stick is used in areas lacking green vegetation. A loam and white stick is for use in snow covered terrain. If camo sticks or creme are not available use burnt cork, bark or charcoal for the dark color and mud for the light color. Dark colors are used to reduce the highlights formed by the nose, cheek bones, chin, ears and forehead. Lighter colors are used in areas of shadow under the eyes, nose and chin. When applying camo to your face it is useful to work with a buddy and help each other. G.I. camo sticks are rough on the skin and difficult to apply. A few drops of baby oil, skin lotion or insect repellent rubbed on the skin first will make it much easier to apply. Skin camo needs to be periodically touched-up as you move and sweat. A simple pattern for the face is to apply a light color first to the entire face and then add dark diagonal stripes. The diagonals cut though and break up the horizontal and vertical lines of the eyes nose and mouth.
Good camouflage is almost as important as good marksmanship. A well camouflaged man who is a poor shot will probably survive longer than the poorly concealed expert sniper.
Coal stores well if kept in a dark place and away from moving air. Air
speeds deterioration and breakdown, causing it to burn more rapidly. Coal may be
stored in a plastic-lined pit or in sheds, bags, boxes, or barrels and
should be kept away from circulating air, light, and moisture. Cover it to lend
protection from weather and sun.
Wood. Hardwoods such as apple, cherry, and other fruit woods are slow
burning and sustain coals. Hardwoods are more difficult to burn than softer
woods, thus requiring a supply of kindling. Soft woods such as pine and cedar
are light in weight and burn very rapidly, leaving ash and few coals for
cooking. If you have a fireplace or a wood/coal burning stove, you will want to
store several cords of firewood. Firewood is usually sold by the cord which is a
neat pile that totals 128 cubic feet. This pile is four feet wide, four feet
high, and eight feet long. Some dealers sell wood by the ton. As a general rule
of thumb, a standard cord of air dried dense hardwood weighs about two tons and
provides as much heat as one ton of coal. Be suspicious of any alleged cord
delivered in a 1/2 or 3/4 ton pickup truck.
For best results, wood should be seasoned (dried) properly, usually at east
a year. A plastic tarp, wood planks, or other plastic or metal sheeting over
the woodpile is useful in keeping the wood dry. Other types of fuels are
more practical to store and use than wood or coal.
Newspaper logs make a good and inexpensive source of fuel. You may prepare
the logs in the following manner:
Use about eight pages of newspaper and open flat.
Spread the stack, alternating the cut sides and folded sides.
Place a 1" wood dowel or metal rod across one end and roll the paper around
the rod very tightly. Roll it until there are 6-8 inches left to roll, then
slip another 8 pages underneath the roll. Continue this procedure until you
have a roll 4-6 inches in diameter.
With a fine wire, tie the roll on both ends. Withdraw the rod. Your
newspaper log is ready to use. Four of these logs will burn about 1 hour.
Propane is another excellent fuel for indoor use. Like kerosene, it produces
carbon dioxide as it burns and is therefore not poisonous. It does consume
oxygen so be sure to crack a window when burning propane.
Propane stores indefinitely, having no known shelf life. Propane stoves and
small portable heaters are very economical, simple to use, and come the
closest to approximating the type of convenience most of us are accustomed to
using on a daily basis.
The storage of propane is governed by strict local laws. In this area you
may store up to 1 gallon inside a building and up to 60 gallons stored outside.
If you store more than these amounts, you will need a special permit from
the fire marshal.
The primary hazard in using propane is that it is heavier than air and if a
leak occurs it may "pool" which can create an explosive atmosphere.
Furthermore, basement natural gas heating units CANNOT be legally converted
for propane use. Again, the vapors are heavier than air and form "pockets."
Ignition sources such as water heaters and electrical sources can cause an
White gas (Coleman fuel). Many families have camp stoves which burn Coleman
Fuel or white gasoline. These stoves are fairly easy to use and produce a
great amount of heat. However, they, like charcoal, produce vast amounts of
carbon monoxide. NEVER use a Coleman Fuel stove indoors. It could be a fatal
mistake to your entire family.
Never store fuels in the house or near a heater. Use a metal store cabinet
which is vented on top and bottom and can be locked.
Kerosene (also known as Range Oil No. 1) is the cheapest of all the storage
fuels and is also very forgiving if you make a mistake. Kerosene is not as
explosive as gasoline and Coleman fuel. Kerosene stores well for long
periods of time and by introducing some fuel additives it can be made to store
even longer. However, do not store it in metal containers for extended time
periods unless they are porcelain lined because the moisture in the kerosene
will rust through the container causing the kerosene to leak out. Most hardware
stores and home improvement centers sell kerosene in five gallon plastic
containers which store for many years. A 55 gallon drum stores in the back yard,
or ten 5 gallon plastic containers will provide fuel enough to last an entire
winter if used sparingly.
Caution: To burn kerosene you will need a kerosene heater. There are many
models and sizes to choose from but remember that you are not trying to heat
your entire home. The larger the heater the more fuel you will have to store.
Most families should be able to get by on a heater that produces about 9,600
BTUs of heat, though kerosene heaters are made that will produce up to 25,000 to
30,000 BTUs. If you have the storage space to store the fuel required by
these larger heaters they are excellent investments, but for most families the
smaller heaters are more than adequate. When selecting a kerosene heater be
sure to get one that can double as a cooking surface and source of light. Then
when you are forced to use it be sure to plan your meals so that they can be
cooked when you are using the heater for heat rather than wasting fuel used for
When kerosene burns it requires very little oxygen, compared to charcoal.
You must crack a window about 1/4 inch to allow enough oxygen to enter the room
to prevent asphyxiation. During combustion, kerosene is not poisonous and is
safe to use indoors. To prevent possible fires you should always fill it
outside. The momentary incomplete combustion during lighting and
extinguishing of kerosene heaters can cause some unpleasant odors. To prevent
these odors from lingering in your home always light and extinguish the heater
out of doors. During normal operation a kerosene heater is practically odorless.
Charcoal. Never use a charcoal burning device indoors. When charcoal burns
it is a voracious consumer of oxygen and will quickly deplete the oxygen supply
in your little "home within a home." Furthermore, as it burns it produces
vast amounts of carbon monoxide which is a deadly poison. If you make the
mistake of trying to heat your home by burning charcoal it could prove fatal to
your entire family. Never burn charcoal indoors.
To conserve your cooking fuel storage needs always do your emergency cooking
in the most efficient manner possible. Don't boil more water than you need,
extinguish the fire as soon as you finished, plan your meals ahead of time
to consolidate as much cooking as possible, during the winter cook on top of
your heating unit while heating your home, and cook in a pressure cooker or
other fuel efficient container as much as possible. Keep enough fuel to provide
outdoor cooking for at least 7-10 days.
It is even possible to cook without using fuel at all. For example, to cook
dry beans you can place them inside a pressure cooker with the proper amount
of water and other ingredients needed and place it on your heat source until it
comes up to pressure. Then turn off the heat, remove the pressure cooker and
place inside a large box filled with newspapers, blankets, or other insulating
materials. Leave it for two and a half hours and then open it, your meal
will be done, having cooked for two and a half hours with no heat. If you don't
have a large box in which to place the pressure cooker, simply wrap it in
several blankets and place it in the corner.
Store matches in waterproof airtight tin with each piece of equipment that
must be lit with a flame.
Sterno fuel, a jellied petroleum product, is an excellent source of fuel for
inclusion in your back pack as part of your 72 hour kit. Sterno is very
light weight and easily ignited with a match or a spark from flint and steel but
is not explosive. It is also safe for use indoors.
A Sterno stove can be purchased at any sporting goods store and will retail
between $3 and $8, depending upon the model you choose. They fold up into a
very small, compact unit ideal for carrying in a pack. The fuel is readily
available at all sporting goods stores and many drug stores. One can of
Sterno fuel, about the diameter of a can of tuna fish and twice as high, will
allow you to cook six meals if used frugally. Chafing dishes and fondue pots can
also be used with Sterno.
Sterno is not without some problems. It will evaporate very easily, even
when the lid is securely fastened. If you use Sterno in your 72 hour kit you
should check it every six to eight months to insure that it has not
evaporated beyond the point of usage. Because of this problem it is not a good
fuel for long-term storage. It is a very expensive fuel to use compared to
others fuel available, but is extremely convenient and portable.
Coleman fuel (white gas), when used with a Coleman stove is another
excellent and convenient fuel for cooking. It is not as portable nor as
lightweight as Sterno, but produces a much greater BTU value. Like Sterno,
Coleman fuel has a tendency to evaporate even when the container is tightly
sealed so it is not a good fuel for long-term storage. Unlike Sterno, however,
it is highly volatile; it will explode under the right conditions and should
therefore never be stored in the home. Because of its highly flammable nature
great care should always be exercised when lighting stoves and lanterns that use
Coleman fuel. Many serious burns have been caused by carelessness with this
Always store Coleman fuel in the garage or shed, out of doors.
Charcoal is the least expensive fuel per BTU that the average family can
store. Remember that it must always be used out of doors because of the vast
amounts of poisonous carbon monoxide it produces. Charcoal will store for
extended period of time if it is stored in air tight containers. It readily
absorbs moisture from the surrounding air so do not store it in the paper bags
it comes in for more than a few months or it may be difficult to light. Transfer
it to airtight metal or plastic containers and it will keep almost forever.
Fifty or sixty dollars worth of charcoal will provide all the cooking fuel a
family will need for an entire year if used sparingly. The best time to buy
briquettes inexpensively is at the end of the summer. Broken or torn bags of
briquettes are usually sold at a big discount. You will also want to store a
small amount of charcoal lighter fluid (or kerosene). Newspapers will also
provide an excellent ignition source for charcoal when used in a funnel type of
To light charcoal using newspapers use two or three sheets, crumpled up, and
a #10 tin can. Cut both ends out of the can. Punch holes every two inches
around the lower edge of the can with a punch-type can opener (for opening
juice cans). Set the can down so the punches holes are on the bottom. Place the
crumpled newspaper in the bottom of the can and place the charcoal
briquettes on top of the newspaper. Lift the can slightly and light the
newspaper. Prop a small rock under the bottom edge of the can to create a a good
draft. The briquettes will be ready to use in about 20-30 minutes. When the
coals are ready remove the chimney and place them in your cooker. Never place
burning charcoal directly on concrete or cement because the heat will crack it.
A wheelbarrow or old metal garbage can lid makes an excellent container for this
type of fire.
One of the nice things about charcoal is that you can regulate the heat you
will receive from them. Each briquette will produce about 40 degrees of
heat. If you are baking bread, for example, and need 400 degrees of heat for
your oven, simply use ten briquettes.
To conserve heat and thereby get the maximum heat value from your charcoal
you must learn to funnel the heat where you want it rather than letting it
dissipate into the air around you. One excellent way to do this is to cook
inside a cardboard oven. Take a cardboard box, about the size of an orange
crate, and cover it with aluminum foil inside and out. Be sure that the shiny
side is visible so that maximum reflectivity is achieved. Turn the box on its
side so that the opening is no longer on the top but is on the side. Place some
small bricks or other noncombustible material inside upon which you can rest a
cookie sheet about two or three inches above the bottom of the box. Place ten
burning charcoal briquettes between the bricks (if you need 400 degrees), place
the support for your cooking vessels, and then place your bread pans or whatever
else you are using on top of the cookie sheet. Prop a foil-covered cardboard
lid over the open side, leaving a large crack for air to get in (charcoal needs
a lot of air to burn) and bake your bread, cake, cookies, etc. just like you
would in your regular oven. Your results will amaze you.
To make your own charcoal, select twigs, limbs, and branches of fruit, nut
and other hardwood trees; black walnuts and peach or apricot pits may also
be used. Cut wood into desired size, place in a large can which has a few holes
punched in it, put a lid on the can and place the can in a hot fire. When
the flames from the holes in the can turn yellow-red, remove the can from the
fire and allow it to cool. Store the briquettes in a moisture-proof container.
Burn charcoal only in a well-ventilated area.
Wood and Coal. Many wood and coal burning stoves are made with cooking
surface. These are excellent to use indoors during the winter because you
may already be using it to heat the home. In the summer, however, they are
unbearably hot and are simply not practical cooking appliances for indoor use.
If you choose to build a campfire on the ground outside be sure to use caution
and follow all the rules for safety. Little children, and even many adults, are
not aware of the tremendous dangers that open fires may pose.
Kerosene. Many kerosene heaters will also double as a cooking unit. In fact,
it is probably a good idea to not purchase a kerosene heater that cannot be
used to cook on as well. Follow the same precautions for cooking over
kerosene as was discussed under the section on heating your home with kerosene.
Propane. Many families have propane camp stoves. These are the most
convenient and easy to use of all emergency cooking appliances available.
They may be used indoors or out. As with other emergency fuel sources, cook with
a pressure cooker whenever possible to conserve fuel.
Most of the alternatives require a fire or flame, so use caution. More home
fires are caused by improper usage of fires used for light than for any
other purpose. Especially use extra caution with children and flame. Teach them
the proper safety procedures to follow under emergency conditions. Allow them to
practice these skills under proper adult supervision now, rather than
waiting until an emergency strikes.
Cyalume sticks are the safest form of indoor lighting available but very few
people even know what they are. Cyalume sticks can be purchased at most
sporting goods stores for about $2 per stick. They are a plastic stick about
four inches in length and a half inch in diameter. To activate them, simply bend
them until the glass tube inside them breaks, then shake to mix the chemicals
inside and it will glow a bright green light for up to eight hours. Cyalume
is the only form of light that is safe to turn on inside a home after an
earthquake. One of the great dangers after a serious earthquake is caused by
ruptured natural gas lines. If you flip on a light switch or even turn on a
flashlight you run the risk of causing an explosion. Cyalume will not ignite
natural gas. Cyalume sticks are so safe that a baby can even use them for a
Flashlights are excellent for most types of emergencies except in situations
where ruptured natural gas lines may be present. Never turn a flashlight on
or off if there is any possibility of ruptured gas lines. Go outside first,
turn it on or off, then enter the building.
The three main problems with relying upon flashlights is that they give
light to very small areas, the batteries run down fairly quickly during use, and
batteries do not store well for extended time periods. Alkaline batteries
store the best if stored in a cool location and in an airtight container. These
batteries should be expected to store for three to five years. Many
manufacturers are now printing a date on the package indicating the date through
which the batteries should be good. When stored under ideal conditions the shelf
life will be much longer than that indicated. Lithium batteries will store for
about twice as long as alkaline batteries (about ten years).
If you use flashlights be sure to use krypton or halogen light bulbs in them
because they last much longer and give off several times more light than
regular flashlight bulbs on the same energy consumption. Store at least two
or three extra bulbs in a place where they will not be crushed or broken.
Candles. Every family should have a large supply of candles. Three hundred
sixty-five candles, or one per day is not too many. The larger the better.
Fifty-hour candles are available in both solid and liquid form. White or
light colored candles burn brighter than dark candles. Tallow candles burn
brighter, longer, and are fairly smoke free when compared to wax candles. Their
lighting ability can be increased by placing an aluminum foil reflector behind
them or by placing them in front of a mirror. However, candles are extremely
dangerous indoors because of the high fire danger--especially around children.
For this reason be sure to store several candle lanterns or broad-based candle
holders. Be sure to store a goodly supply of wooden matches
Save your candle ends for emergency use. Votive candles set in empty jars
will burn for up to 15 hours. Non-candles (plastic dish and paper wicks) and
a bottle of salad oil will provide hundreds of hours of candle light.
Trench candles can be used as fireplace fuel or as a candle for light. To
make trench candles:
Place a narrow strip of cloth or twisted string (for a wick) on the edge of
a stack of 6-10 newspapers. Roll the papers very tightly, leaving about 3/4" of
wick extending at each end. Tie the roll firmly with string or wire at 2-4"
intervals. With a small saw, cut about 1" above each tie and pull the cut
sections into cone shapes. Pull the center string in each piece toward the top
of the cone to serve as a wick.
Melt paraffin in a large saucepan set inside a larger pan of hot water. Soak
the pieces of candle in the paraffin for about 2 minutes. Remove the candles and
place on a newspaper to dry. Kerosene lamps are excellent sources of light and
will burn for approximately 45 hours on a quart of fuel. They burn bright and
are inexpensive to operate. The main problem with using them is failure to
properly trim the wicks and using the wrong size chimney. Wicks should be
trimmed in an arch, a "V," an "A" or straight across the top. Failure to
properly trim and maintain wicks will result in smoke and poor light.
Aladdin type lamps that use a circular wick and mantle do not need trimming
and produce much more light (and heat) than conventional kerosene lamps.
These lamps, however, produce a great amount of heat, getting up to 750 degrees
F. If placed within 36 inches of any combustible object such as wooden
cabinets, walls, etc. charring can occur. Great caution should therefore be
exercised to prevent accidental fires.
The higher the elevation the taller the chimney should be. Most chimneys
that come with kerosene lamps are made for use at sea level. At about 4500 feet
above sea level the chimney should be about 18-20 inches high. If your
chimney is not as tall as it should be you can improvise by wrapping aluminum
foil around the top of it and extending it above the top. This will enable the
light to still come out of the bottom portion and yet provide proper drawing of
air for complete combustion. If the chimney is too short it will result in smoke
and poor light. Be sure to store extra wicks, chimneys and mantles.
Propane and Coleman lanterns. Camp lanterns burning Coleman fuel or propane
make excellent sources of light. Caution should be used in filling and
lighting Coleman lanterns because the fuel is highly volatile and a flash type
fire is easy to set off. Always fill them outside. Propane, on the other hand,
is much safer. It is not as explosive and does not burn quite as hot. A double
mantle lantern gives off as much light as two 100-watt light bulbs. Either
propane or Coleman fuel type lanterns are very reliable and should be an
integral part of your preparedness program. Be sure to store plenty of extra
mantles and matches.
Store lots of wooden matches (1,000-2,000 is not too many). Also store
butane cigarette lighters to light candles, lanterns and fireplaces. It would be
a good idea for everyone to have a personal fire building kit with at least
six different ways to start a fire.
Above all, your home and family must be protected from the ravages of fire
by your actions. Study the instructions for any appliance used for heating,
cooking, or lighting and understand their features as well as their
Don't go to sleep with any unventilated burning device in your home. Your family
might not wake up.
Whatever you store, store it safely and legally. In an emergency, survival
may cause you to make decisions that are questionable with regard to safety.
Become educated to the inherent hazards of your choices and make a decision
based on as much verifiable information as possible. You and your family's lives
will depend on it.
Consider carefully how you will provide fuel for your family for heating,
cooking, and lighting during times of emergencies. Next to food, water, and
shelter, energy is the most important item you can store.
The Psychological Consequences of Armed Carry
Before I delve more into the nuts and bolts of armed carry for the novice handgunner, there is a subject that needs serious thought before we go any further. This is the psychological effects of a shooting, the physical response of the "Fight or Flight" reflex, and the personal and emotional toll that being in a life or death situation can bring, and the possible legal ramifications of a shooting and what it may bring.
Let's start by discussing the states of awareness that a person operates under.
- Condition White: This is the most relaxed condition. You are safe in your home or at a friends or relatives. There is very little that could threaten you or your loved ones. You have no expectation of any violence.
- Condition Yellow: You are outside of your "safe area", in a public area, but there is no real expectation of a threat. You observe those around you with attention, scanning for anything that seems out of place.
- Condition Orange: You are outside of your comfort area, no real signs of a threat, but you have increased awareness of the people and things around you. Something may have seemed unusual, so you are in a state of heightened awareness. Sometimes this may be just that funny feeling, something telling you that something isn't as it should be.
- Condition Red: You perceive a threat or threats to yourself and or the people you are with. You mentally prepare for immediate response to either retreat, secure yourself and others, or to take action to eliminate the threat.
- Condition Red Action Required: This is when you have to make your decision, to flee if possible, to stand your ground, or to take immediate action to remove the threat. Let's think about consequences of carrying a firearm. You literally have the power of life or death under your control. This is something not to be taken lightly. By carrying a firearm, you are accepting that you may need to take someones life to safeguard your own or others lives. Anyone who doesn't think long and hard upon accepting that responsibility probably shouldn't be carrying a gun. You should always be aware of your circumstance and surroundings. Purposely going into high risk areas for no good reason while armed can hurt you if you have to go on trial later.
OK, let's take a look to what happens in the body when the "Fight Or Flight" reflex occurs. As you recognize the threat, your mind tells your body that you are in danger. There is a "chemical cocktail" released into your system that is adrenaline and other potent chemicals that immediately ready you for action. Your body will want to urinate and defecate, to remove or lessen the chance of infection if a bowel or bladder is punctured. This is where the expression "Scared the crap or the pee outta me" came from. You start to perspire freely, to lubricate the skin to allow free movement and to make you slippery and hard to grasp. The increase of adrenaline speeds up your heart rate and also constricts the blood vessels in your extremities, pooling the blood in your core organs as your blood pressure drops in the first stage of shock. The surge of the cocktail increases your speed of processing information, and causes tachypsychia. Tachypsychia is a neurological condition that alters the perception of time, usually induced by physical exertion, drug use, or a traumatic event. It is sometimes referred to by martial arts instructors and self-defense experts as the Tachy Psyche effect. For someone affected by tachypsychia, time perceived by the individual either lengthens, making events appear to slow down, or contracts, objects appearing as moving in a speeding blur. It is believed that tachypsychia is induced by a combination of high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, usually during periods of great physical stress and/or in violent confrontation.
You may also experience Auditory Exclusion, where you do not hear the sound of a gun firing, or gunfire may be heard as muffled pops. You may not be able to hear voices at all, even if someone is shouting in your ears. There have been cases where police officers in gunfights think that their gun has malfunctioned and isn't firing, causing them to fire shots in the air to see if the pistol fires, or do clearing drills, ejecting unfired rounds thinking they are duds.
With the blood pooling in your core, and blood vessels constricting in the extremities, you often lose your small motor skills, where your hands shake and lose the ability to manipulate small objects. That is why in training, you want to learn to operate your firearm by using your gross motor skills (large movements), rather than delicate individual movements of single digits. Muscle memory becomes your best friend at that point. You will perform exactly as you train. In the Newhall massacre in the early seventies, California Highway Patrol officers that were killed had emptied the fired brass into their hands then put it in their pockets as they had done on the range. This may have contributed to their demise, slowing their reloading time.
Knowing that these things will happen to you and being prepared for it will help measurably in life or death situations. So many civilians and also a large number of the law enforcement officers that I have trained have told me how shocking it was the first time these things happened in stressful situations. Knowing about it before you are involved in a scenario can make the difference between life and death.
Here's some things to remember if you are ever involved in a shooting. The police are NOT your friends! Do not talk to the police at the scene of the shooting, or the immediate aftermath. You'll still be hyped by the chemical cocktail, and utterances and anything you say, even before you are formally questioned, can be used against you. Use your right not to speak, until you have an attorney present. There are people behind bars today because of statements they made before they had representation. Plan on being in police custody at least 8 to 12 hours, maybe more. The investigator will try to pick your story apart, so be aware of this. Don't volunteer information. Here's something to think about too. If you have bumperstickers or signs in your house saying Trespassers will be shot, or something similar, get rid of them before you start carrying. A good prosecutor can use this against you, using this as "This evil man was looking to shoot someone". The same thing applies if you reload your own ammo. Never carry handloads in your protection firearm. I've heard prosecutors say "This person was looking to kill, he wasn't satisfied with factory ammo, so he loaded his own special killer bullets"! It can happen.
In the aftermath of a shooting, even if completely justified, you will have PTSD. You may not want to go out in public, may have nightmares, and flashbacks. All our lives we have been told that killing is evil, etc. This may effect your relationships, so don't be afraid to see a counselor or a psychiatrist. That doesn't mean you are weak or mentally ill. You have survived a terrible situation, and may need help to get back to a reasonably calm life. At the same time, you may find the people around you acting different or avoiding you. The stigma of taking another persons life may be too much for some people to deal with. Let them go, it's not your fault.
I would also Highly recommend attending a shooting school, like Lethal Force Institute, which will show that you have been responsible about carrying a firearm, and also, LFI will send a expert witness to testify on your behalf if you do end up being charged with a crime.
I personally recommend reading good literature on the responsibility and consequences of using a firearm for self defense, such as Armed and Female, by Paxton Quigley, and In the Gravest Extreme, By Massad Ayoob, who owns and operates the Lethal Force Institute.
Believe me, I am not trying to discourage anyone who is willing to take on the responsibility of carrying a gun for protection. On the contrary, I encourage good people to arm themselves. Just remember that it is a tremendous responsibility, and prepare yourself properly, so you can live a healthy life with your loved ones safe.
Thank you all for reading this. I will have another part of my articles on carrying for the novice out soon, so stay safe, my friends, and I'll see you soon with more info.
CHOOSING A HANDGUN FOR PERSONAL PROTECTION: PART 2 CARTRIDGE SELECTION
There are many variables to consider when choosing a cartridge for a personal protection handgun. Skill level, recoil tolerance, and cost all come into play. Staying within a budget and allowing for monthly or bi monthly trips to the range, and ammunition for practice can become a burden if a hard to get or expensive cartridge is chosen. Certain cartridges, like the .357 Sig or 10MM for example, are harder to find and usually more expensive when it is found. High cost of ammo equals less rounds for practice, and as a new shooter, practice is extremely important. That's one of the reasons why I recommend a quality .22LR handgun, either semi-auto or revolver to learn the basics with. Recently, because of consumer fears over gun laws and ammunition restrictions, .22LR has gotten a lot more expensive and less available, so that is something to consider also.
A couple of police officers and gun writers, Evan Marshall and Ed Sanow, compiled data from across the USA about shootings, the guns and ammunition used, and bullet placement, then wrote a book called Handgun Stopping Power, a comparative real world information source taken directly from police and sheriffs data.
On to selecting a cartridge. Lets start with common revolver cartridges first.
The S&W .38 SPECIAL - The .38 Special has been around for the better part of a century, and was once used by nearly all the police departments before the semi auto was adopted in the late 70's on. The .38 Special was an improvement on its predecessor, the .38 S&W, which was a rather underpowered cartridge, shooting a 180 grain round nose lead bullet at around 640 f.p.s. (feet per second). Its lackluster performance came to notice during the Moro insurrection in the Philippine Islands when Moros were being shot 5 or 6 times and still able to fight. This led the military to adopt the then new Colt 1911 semi auto with its .45ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) cartridge. Smith&Wesson went back to the drawing board, lengthened the casing, added more powder and boosted pressures, and also lightened the bullet to 158 grains, resulting in higher velocity and better stopping power. With modern loadings, and good Jacketed hollow-point bullets, the .38 is a respectable man stopper, averaging a 65-70% one shot stop statistic with a solid torso hit.
The .357 MAGNUM - This is the one that has the best performance over virtually all the modern handgun cartridges out there. Introduced to the public by Smith & Wesson in 1933 as a improvement of the .38 special, this cartridge has proven to be one of the very best as a man stopper, 97% one shot stops, with a solid torso hit using Federal 125 gr. Jacketed hollow point ammo. The combination of a lighter bullet and increased velocity makes this one the top of the class in performance. Also, the added bonus of owning a gun chambered for the .357 Magnum cartridge is you can safely shoot .38S&W, .38S&W Special, and .357 magnum ammunition in the same firearm. This makes for a very versatile firearm for shooters who can only afford one gun to do it all.
The .44 MAGNUM - I'm only briefly going to touch on the .44 mag because of the popularity of the "Dirty Harry" movies in which the lead character carries a Smith & Wesson Mod.29 .44 Mag with a 6 inch barrel. This is way too much gun for the novice. I can promise you if you get one, your probably going to develop a nasty flinch or give up shooting a handgun. Back in the 50's when it was introduced, many times you could walk in a gun shop and find a "used" mod.29 with a box of ammo minus 6 shots. Hard kicking, firing a 240 gr. bullet @ around 1400 f.p.s., excellent in the hands of an expert big game hunter. Overpowered and will over penetrate most human sized targets. Pass. One redeeming note: the .44 Mag. will safely shoot the .44 S&W Special cartridge, but that's not easy to find and expensive when you do.
Time to look at semi auto pistol cartridges.
The .32 ACP - Also called the 7.65mm, is a true surprise. Light recoil and impressive numbers when using the Winchester Silver tip ammunition, scores around 60% one shot stops. The nice thing also for those on a gun budget is there are inexpensive imported pistols coming into the US at really affordable prices, as this was a common police gun in Europe for years and was also used for officers sidearms in many European militaries. Not as common as some bigger cartridges, the practice ammunition is more expensive, but still a good useable gun and cartridge.
The 9MM PARABELLUM, or 9X19MM - First introduced in the legendary Luger pistol of WW1 and WW2 fame, this is one of the easiest to find cartridges in the world, used by most militaries as a pistol and a sub-machine gun cartridge. The 9mm Para, or Luger, as it is sometimes called, is a good cartridge for a self protection hand gun, it has a light recoil and high velocity. If loaded with high performance ammo with JHP bullets, this one will perform quite well, with lots of FMJ (full metal jacket) ammo out there as military surplus for target practice. The 9MM took awhile to gain a following, as with FMJ bullets it tended to go right through a target leaving a small hole and a very upset guy still in the fight! This has changed since the availability of good quality JHP ammo.
The .40 S&W - The .40 Smith & Wesson was an offshoot of the ill fated 10MM Norma cartridge of the early 80's. The 10MM was developed as a near magnum cartridge for a semi auto pistol, the Bren 10. The company failed in less than a year because of manufacturing problems (many new Bren 10 pistols were shipped without magazines) and also that the 10MM had heavy recoil and blast. In later days the 10MM ammo was downloaded to be easier on the guns and the shooters, When S&W stepped in and shortened the casing, went to a small primer, and was able to squeeze the same performance out of a cartridge that could be made in a 9MM sized gun, and the .40 S&W was born. Derisively called the 10mm lite, or .40 short and weak, it wasn't long before the .40 became popular with law enforcement and civilians who wanted more hitting power in a 9mm sized package. Firing a 180 grain JHP at around 975f.p.s., the .40 has a strong following these days. The Glock Mod. 22 in .40S&W is the same size as the Mod.17 in 9MM, and holds just 2 cartridges less.
The .45 ACP - The .45 ACP came into being by our old friend John Browning, who developed the cartridge and the first pistol to chamber it, the 1911 Colt, which was adopted by the US military, who were looking for a better handgun after the Moro uprising. Using a 230gr. bullet traveling at 950 f.p.s., this was a major development in a excellent design. Soldiers coming back from both world wars were so impressed with the .45ACP that they often bought civilian versions of the gun they carried at war. The combination of a big diameter heavy bullet and moderate velocity gave the big colt reasonable recoil with good performance as a man stopper.
Now I know that I've passed by a lot of cartridges out there, but I'm a firm believer in the Keep It Simple Stupid philosophy. I'm sure there are others that will perform as well as the ones I've listed, but remember, I wrote this for the true novice. If you decide that shooting a handgun is fun, you'll develop skills and probably end up with many others, if you enjoy em as much as I do anyway.
In Part 3 of our subject, I'll go into shooting stances, accessories and the subject of what gear to augment your firearm.
Till then, this is GunsmithG. I'm outta here!
A short explanation of a common measurement, grains, abbreviated as gr. is a weight measurement in ammunition making. Bullets and powder charges are measured in these. It takes approx. 7000 grains to make a pound.
CHOOSING A HANDGUN FOR PERSONAL PROTECTION: PART 1
By By GunsmithG
The task of selecting a handgun for personal protection can be a daunting one for a novice. It is my hope lend a little clarity to this process. First of all, I'm writing this for a true beginners point of view. I don't want to pass up anything that would be "common knowledge" to those acquainted with firearms.
To begin with, let's take a look at the different designs of handguns, and some pro's and con's of each.
The Revolver You can trace it's lineage back hundreds of years, but it wasn't until Samuel Colt introduced his designs for a loose powder, lead ball and percussion cap that it showed its practicality. With the advent of the metallic cartridge, handguns became much safer and more reliable.
Let's touch on some common terminology.
Single Action: This means the outside hammer has to be manually cocked to rotate the cylinder and fire the gun. Double action: this means the gun can be fired either by manually cocking the hammer, or simply by pulling the trigger to fire repeat shots. Most modern revolvers are double action.
Cylinder: The round steel part that holds the cartridges, and turns with each action, lining up a new cartridge with the barrel. The cylinder can be opened to eject the spent casings and reload either by a swing out mechanism, or a loading gate, which is a cut out in the frame to allow access to the ammunition. There is also a type called a break top, but only a few guns are made in this system, as it isn't as strong and more complex to make. With a revolver, there is a miniscule gap between the barrel and the cylinder, usually .006 of an in which allows the cylinder to rotate freely, but minimizes the escaping gases caused by firing.
Sights: There are two types of sights in common use today, fixed or adjustable. fixed sights have the advantage of being smaller and more rugged, where adjustable sights allow you to sight the weapon in for the individual shooter and cartridge being used. There are other types of sights, such as laser and night sights, but we'll touch on that a little later.
Grip Frame & Grips: This is one big advantage the revolver has over the semi auto pistol. By nature of design, a semi auto is restricted to a certain shape of the grip portion, as that is usually where the magazine, a separate piece of stamped metal or plastic contains the cartridges, which are lifted up to be loaded into the chamber by a powerful spring, there's not much you can do to alter that. Revolvers however, usually just have the hammer spring under the grips, and some companies actually make different frame designs for more compact firearms.
Safety: Can be either automatic, or manually controlled, a mechanism which renders the firearm incapable of firing. Most revolvers do not have a manual safety. They have internal safeties that keep it from firing until the trigger is pulled. OK, I know that I've passed over quite a bit of information, but you should have a basic grasp of what goes where and why.
Cartridges: Lets take a look at what makes for a good defensive cartridge. First of all, a cartridge consists of four components: the cartridge case, the primer, the gunpowder, and the projectile, or bullet. The primer is a small metal cup which holds a small amount of a pressure and shock sensitive material. When the firing pin hits the primer, the impact causes it to ignite, which sets the gunpowder on fire. The cartridge case holds the primer in a pocket at its base, plus holds the powder in a sealed container until fired. Upon firing, the case will swell slightly, creating a gas tight seal so you don't get sprayed by burning powder and also allows the bullet to travel down the barrel without bleeding off the pressure. The bullet can be made of a number of materials, usually lead with a copper material that covers the outside of the bullet, making faster speeds and heavier loads useable. Too much pressure or speed can cause a lead bullet to melt slightly in the barrel. This reduces accuracy and is very hard to clean out of the barrel. The barrel itself has grooves machined into the inner surface that twist in a spiral to stabilize the bullet in flight. Think of throwing a football, as it spins, the gyroscopic effect stabilizes it in its flight.
Cartridge Identification: The European metric system actually makes much more sense than the common American system. The military also uses the metric names for ammo, which is much simpler. The formula for this is simple. the first number is the diameter of the bullet, and the second number the length of the casing.
Cartridge Examples: 9 millimeter parabellum cartridge, is very common both as a military and civilian semi auto pistol cartridge. It's designation is: 9X19mm.
The round that the M4 military rifle uses is 5.56X45mm. Most medium range sniper rifles and some military weapons still use the 7.62X51mm, known in the civilian world as the .308 Winchester.
The American system is a hodgepodge of names that sometimes make sense, but often does not, like the 38 Special by SMITH & WESSON, which it's actual bullet diameter is .357. That's where you need to be careful to always know the correct name for the ammo your firearm can shoot safely. There's been many guns blown to pieces by someone not knowing, so this is imperative that you know.
Lets look at one popular cartridge that can be confusing...
Say I've got a old military handgun that says 9mm on it...
Are we safe?
Here is a shortlist of different NON COMPATIBLE cartridges:
- 9mm Luger
- 9mm Corto
- 9mm Bergmann-Bayard
- 9×18mm Makarov
- 9mm Browning long
With revolvers, you do have some interchangeability in certain guns. The .357 Magnum revolver can also safely shoot the .38 S&W, .38 S&W special. That's one of the nice things about a revolver, is it is not dependent on the power of the cartridge to make the action work like a semi auto does. As long as you can pull the trigger, a revolver will fire regardless of the strength of the ammo.
Semi Auto Pistols: Most semi autos (keep that term in your head) owe their design to the firearms genius John Browning. His concepts and basic functions are still in use today. The classic American service sidearm, the 1911 and later, the 1911A1, or .45 auto, was in service from 1911 to 1984 as the standard pistol for our military, and is still in use by some special forces units today. Let me clear up a common mistake most beginners share, which is calling a semi auto an automatic. An automatic will fire continuously until it runs out of ammo or you let your finger off the trigger. A semi auto fires one round with each pull of the trigger.
Semi autos are fine handguns in general, but as a novice shooter, they are much more mechanically complex, require full performance ammo to function properly, and also require more upper body and hand strength to work the action to chamber a round, and need good form and a healthy grip to be able to perform correctly. If a revolver is held loosely, it might jump around in your hand, but will perform. A semi auto with that same grip may have a number of difficulties including jamming, empty brass not clearing the action, etc. I advise most novices to start with a revolver first, learn your grips and stances, it is truly as much a martial art as karate, breathing control, sight picture and sight alignment, all can be much easier without getting knocked around by full power loads.
Whether you choose a revolver or semi auto, you need to consider how you are going to use that gun. Longer barrels give you a longer distance between the front and rear sights, making it much easier to shoot well. The added weight helps both with dampening recoil, and also with making your jitters less noticeable. If it's something that's going to stay in your nightstand at home, I would recommend a 4 inch barrel length medium size frame revolver in .357 Magnum, but loaded with lighter .38 S&W Special ammo. If you live in an apartment, condo, or heavily populated areas, the are several small ammo manufacturers that make frangible ammo, which breaks up into small pieces when it hits, lessening the danger to others. You can also get bird-shot loads, but unless you live in rattlesnake country, would not use them for self defense. If you are going to be carrying this firearm on your person, you need to read and study your state's laws about carrying a firearm openly ( which I think is a bad idea) or carrying it concealed. Most states consider a woman's purse to be part of her person, so you have an advantage right there over us guys! If you are going to carry concealed, you need to consider several factors: size, weight, shape, and your clothing on the occasion. Remember too, ladies, that weapon won't do you any good sitting at home, so making it easy to conceal and comfort is a must.
I know that this has been fairly generalized information, however I could write a 500 page book and still leave something out! There are a number of great books out there, such as my friend Massad Ayoob's book, "In the Gravest Extreme" - and - "Armed and Female", by Paxton Quigley. She was a vehement anti gun activist who had an epiphany, and is now a big supporter of women's right to defend themselves, neat lady.
There are also a number of training courses given by the NRA, including a all female class, and outfits like Gunsite Ranch, the Lethal Force Institute, azweaponsite.com, I'm sure I'm missing lots of them, Google it and see what is available in your area. I know that Massad Ayoob's school, Lethal Force Institute, has instructors touring the country giving classes.
Well my brothers and sisters, that wraps up this tidbit. Go forth, study, learn, and most importantly, have fun, but stay safe!
THE RANGE IS COLD, OPEN ACTIONS AND DO NOT HANDLE YOUR WEAPONS!
A Review of Survivor Jane's New Book...
"Where There is No Cosmetic Counter: How Not to Look like a Zombie - Even After the End of the World as You Know It"
Whether you're a seasoned veteran in the arts of Survival - Bushcraft - & Preparedness or just starting out, invariably you will be faced with the challenge of introducing the women in your life to the preparedness mindset, in my opinion Survivor Jane's new book serves 2 purposes:
1st is the aforementioned above...
I will let Jane tell you in her own words:
When discussing preparedness, whether it’s on my survival and preparedness for women website SurvivorJane.com, on social media networks like Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest - LinkedIn or addressing a group or a conference, I invariably get approach by men (no, not in that way), and asked how they can motivate the women in their lives to get involved in disaster preparedness. What I share with these men, or anyone else for that matter, is that women are just as uncomfortable at the thought of wearing camouflage-fatigues as men would be at wearing high-heeled shoes. Which is to say, men and women speak a different language. We interpret information differently. So it could be that the approach men are using when discussing disaster preparedness has more to do with what they are talking about - guns and ammo, camouflage clothes, underground bunkers and many even a little doom and gloom. Women prefer to think about things like family, fashion, make-up and lots of good smelling things. But even if the resistance isn’t the man’s approach, the reluctance may simply be they don’t want to give up their “woman-ness”.
So is it really that difficult to see why some women would be reluctant to jump on the disaster preparedness wagon? To some it would mean giving up these comforts and luxuries.
End of Excerpt..
With that being said, and as an insight into the mind of a woman in regards to preparedness - this is where Jane's book really shines in serving its 2nd and Main Purpose...
Listed below are the main categories of the table of contents - each having their own subcategories. The book is 272 pages and is a valuable compendium of recipes and remedies for both health & beauty using simple ingredients we have in our home pantries and gardens and even things found in the wild.
- FACIAL CARE
- EYE CARE
- HAND CARE
- NAIL CARE
- FOOT CARE
- BODY CARE
- HAIR CARE
- HAIR STYLING & CUTTING
FACIAL CARE & HAND CARE - Acne Remedies - Moisturizers for your face & hands in cold climates.
FOOT CARE - You have to take care of your feet in a survival situation - PERIOD.
BODY CARE - Survival Bathing & Body washes
HYGIENE - Shaving Creams & Toothpaste – Tooth Powders
This is just to give you an idea of some of the things available for men - some of the ingredients listed I have been using myself for years.
I will also add that Jane lists the health benefits of the main ingredients including the vitamins, minerals & cofactors - very useful information.
In closing, I would say that Survivor Jane's book is a valuable addition to your Preps - Well written and easy to understand - 5 STARS!
Where There is no Cosmetic Counter: How Not to Look Like a Zombie - Even After the End of the World As You Know It - is available on Amazon - GET IT HERE
Living with Fukushima's Legacy
By By GunsmithG
Greetings, fellow Preppers and Survivalists. With the damage done to Japan's
Fukushima Nuclear power plants from the tsunami, there has been much speculation
about how much damage and what the released radiation is going to do, not only in Japan, but also on the west coast of Canada and the United States. There has been a lot of panicked responses and incorrect information out there in the social media sphere. This is what has prompted us to bring some solid information to everyone, and to give you some idea of how to protect yourself and your loved ones during a nuclear disaster.
First, let's take a quick look at what types of radioactive substances you will
- Radioactive Iodine, or Radio-Technetium.
This is released in venting steam, very lightweight, and can travel on the air currents and in the water for considerable distances. Levels of radioactive Iodine after the Fukushima meltdown have already been found in California kelp.
This is the 800 pound gorilla in the corner. This element spreads quickly in rainfall
around the affected area, gets into the food chain rapidly as it concentrates in plants and animals. Cesium-137 also concentrates in milk, dissolves easily in water, and is chemically similar to potassium. In that way, it can enter the body through the foods we eat, especially in milk
The major long term health risk is going to be Cesium-137. There are a number of
radioactive elements such as Americium, Cobalt-60, Plutonium-238 and 239,
Sulfur-35, Zinc-65, and Strontium SR-90. Here's how we can minimize our exposure to
All radioactive materials, both natural and isotopes, mimic how vitamins and minerals
are absorbed into the human body. By taking the correct supplements, you can
minimize the effects of these compounds in your body. For Radioactive Iodine, an
iodine supplement can be taken. Iodine concentrates primarily in the thyroid gland. By
taking an iodine supplement,(KI), you fill up your thyroid with non radioactive iodine
and your body will process out the harmful substance as waste. This is especially
important for expecting mothers and children, especially below the age of 12.
Once again, our bodies only hold a certain amount of vitamins and minerals, and
discard the rest through urine and feces.
- Cesium-137 - Take Potassium
- Strontium SR-90 - Take Calcium
- Cobalt 60 - Take Cobalamin (vitamin B12)
- Plutonium 238 & 239 - Take Iron
- Sulfur-35 - Take Sulfur
- Zinc-65 - Take Zinc
- Uranium - Take Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)
- Americium - Take DTPA (Diethylenetriamine pentaacetate)
Vitamins A, C, D, & E will also help block these substances from metabolizing in your
body and help your DNA repair itself. Anti-oxidants have been found to be beneficial
also. I would highly advise those living on the west coast to, if you are not already
taking vitamins, to start now. Keep your body full of the recommended levels to
minimize the affects of it passing through your system. For the iodine, only take it in
the doses that are chosen by a doctor or rad specialist.
Okay, that's pretty much the gamut of what you can do to minimize the damage it will
do to you internally. Let's look at some other information on reducing the exterior
First of all, if you live on the west coast, I highly recommend purchasing a radiation
meter, (Geiger Counter). They have become easier to find and much less expensive as
the technology has improved. I have seen meters from as low as twenty dollars to
three thousand. I'm sure there's probably one out there to fit your budget.
Radiation is measured in Sieverts.
Here's a scale of radiation doses, in micro Sieverts/hour - (mSv)
- 0.20 = Safe, normal levels
- 0.50 = Safe, medium levels
- 1 = Safe for short term habitation only
- 2 = Elevated risk, take safety precautions
- 5 = Elevated risk, relocate as soon as possible
- 10 = Danger, relocate now
- 20 = High danger, sickness risk
- 100 = High danger, heightened sickness risk
- 1000 = High danger, Evacuate immediately
- 100,000 = Severe radiation poisoning
- 1,000,000 = Severe vomiting, 1 in 20 chance of cancer
- 10,000,000 = Organ failure and death within hours
To give you a better idea of the amounts of radiation involved, a chest x-ray is .1mSv,
average background for a full year is 3 mSv., and a full body CT scan is 10 mSv.
It can be confusing, because of the micro sv - the milli sv - the sv - just remember it's
like the the metric system.
As far as exposure outside and inside your home, leave your shoes outside, Asian
style. Make sure you have HEPA quality filters in your heating/cooling system and
vacuum cleaners. Don't take chances! If you think you are contaminated, or (Crapped up),highly technical term used in nuclear plants, strip off your outer clothing in a safe
area and survey it with your rad meter.
Well, that about wraps it up for me today, Stay safe, stay smart, and be prepared. It
isn't just for scouts any more.
GunsmithG is a former atomic energy plant worker, firearms instructor for civilians and law enforcement, certified instructor for muzzle loading and modern firearms, and a former master class shooter in competition with combat shotgun, handgun, tactical rifle, match rifle, sometimes Harley rebuilder, and former hunter education instructor.
Tornado Preparedness Checklist
When a tornado is coming, you have only a short amount of time to make life-or- death decisions. Advance planning and quick response are the keys to surviving a tornado.
BEFORE A TORNADO
Conduct tornado drills each tornado season.
Designate an area in the home as a shelter, and practice having everyone in the family go there in response to a tornado threat.
Discuss with family members the difference between a "tornado watch" and a "tornado warning."
Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on tornadoes.
Have disaster supplies on hand.
Flashlight and extra batteries Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries First aid kit and manual Emergency food and water Nonelectric can opener Essential medicines Cash and credit cards Sturdy shoes - Go here for a more complete - Emergency Preparedness Checklist
Develop an emergency communication plan. In case family members are separated from one another during a tornado (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.
Ask an out-of-state or out-of-town relative or friend if possible to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
Tornado Watches and Warnings
A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when weather conditions are such that tornadoes are likely to develop. This is time to remind family members where the safest places within your home are located, and listen to the radio or television for further developments.
A tornado warning is is issued when a tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar. The danger is very serious and everyone should go to a safe place, turn on a battery-operated radio and wait for further instructions.
Mobile Homes Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable. A mobile home can overturn very easily even if precautions have been taken to tie down the unit. When a tornado warning is issued, take shelter in a building with a strong foundation. If shelter is not available, lie in ditch or low-lying area a safe distance away from the unit.
Tornado Danger Signs - Learn these tornado danger signs:
Large hail: Tornadoes are spawned from powerful thunderstorms and the most powerful thunderstorms produce large hail. Tornadoes frequently emerge from near the hail-producing portion of the storm. Calm before the storm: Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.
Cloud of debris: An approaching cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible.
Funnel cloud: A visible rotating extension of the cloud base is a sign that a tornado may develop. A tornado is evident when one or more of the clouds turns greenish (a phenomenon caused by hail) and a dark funnel descends.
Roaring noise: The high winds of a tornado can cause a roar that is often compared with the sound of a freight train.
Calm behind the storm: Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.
DURING A TORNADO If at home:
Go at once to the basement, storm cellar, or the lowest level of the building. If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet. Get away from the windows. Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they tend to attract debris. Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it. Use arms to protect head and neck. If in a mobile home, get out and find shelter elsewhere.
If at work or school:
Go to the basement or to an inside hallway at the lowest level. Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls. Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it. Use arms to protect head and neck.
If possible, get inside a building. If shelter is not available or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building. Be aware of the potential for flooding. Use arms to protect head and neck.
If in a car:
Never try to out drive a tornado in a car or truck. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can lift up a car or truck and toss it through the air. Get out of the car immediately and take shelter in a nearby building. If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
AFTER A TORNADO
Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid when appropriate. Don't try to move the seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
Turn on radio or television to get the latest emergency information. Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe. Use the telephone only for emergency calls. Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the buildings if you smell gas or chemical fumes. Take pictures of the damage--both to the house and its contents--for insurance purposes.
Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
INSPECTING UTILITIES IN A DAMAGED HOME
Check for gas leaks--If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
Look for electrical system damage--If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
Check for sewage and water lines damage--If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.
Mitigation - Tornado Aftermath
Mitigation includes any activities that prevent an emergency, reduce the chance of an emergency happening, or lessen the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies. Investing in preventive mitigation steps now, such as checking local building codes and ordinances about wind-resistant designs and strengthening un-reinforced masonry, will help reduce the impact of tornadoes in the future. For more information on mitigation, contact your local emergency management office.
Urban Survival: Surviving in the City
While we all want to do our best to prepare for a coming crisis, and many of us realize the city is perhaps the worst place to live, very few people are really prepared to pack up the old Winnebago and head for the hills. Most Americans, whether they're aware or not, are going to stay in the cities.
This is not a hasty decision for most people. Most of us depend on the city for our livelihood, and we can be better prepared by continuing to live in the city, earn a good income, and make preparations for exiting the city at the appropriate time or by staying in the city and living off existing supplies.
This special report explains some of the most critical dangers of living in a city and presents some solutions to surviving them. If you are one of the people who has decided to stay in the city, you'll benefit greatly from this information.
CITIES ARE ARTIFICIAL
Every city is an artificial construct. Cities formed as people came together to conduct business, participate in social interaction, and benefit from efficiencies in public services (such as schools, sewers, water, etc.) and a common defense. Yet cities cannot survive alone. They need resources from the country; most notably, food, water and electricity. While electricity and water can sometimes be created or found within city limits, the acreage requirements of food dictate that no city could possibly feed its own people.
Read that last phrase carefully: No city can feed its own people. Not one. Cities are, by their very nature, dependent on the importation of food. The advent of just-in-time delivery systems to our grocery stores means that most cities would run out of food within a week if supplies were for some reason disrupted.
Remember, cities are not self-sufficient. Although they may seem to be in 2013, they have for a long time been entirely dependent on the American farmer for their support, something almost all Americans take for granted (except the farmer, of course.)
RISKS IN THE CITY
The city presents some serious risks during a crisis. The four most serious ones are:
- The collapse of social order(riots).
- The failure of the water treatment and delivery systems.
- The depletion of food supplies.
- The failure of the power grid.
While not every situation will appear in every city, every situation will most certainly appear in some cities. Will that include yours? We’ll tackle these one at a time:
1. THE COLLAPSE OF SOCIAL ORDER
“Social order” is a delicate thing, and it exists as a psychological barrier that could easily collapse under the right conditions. We all saw this during the L. A. Riots following the Rodney King trial verdict as citizens of L. A. set fire to their own town, yanked people from vehicles and beat them literally to death, and even fired guns at firemen attempting to save their buildings! More recently we were all witness to the looting, violence and total breakdown of society following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
What allowed this to happen? Simple: the simultaneous melting away of the psychological barrier of “order.” Once people realized 911 couldn’t handle the load, or was offline, that the local police were helpless or had simply abandoned their posts, “Law and Order” ceased to exist in their minds. They then conducted their lives in the way they always wanted to, but couldn’t because of the police. That is, they ran out to the local stores and just took whatever they wanted (looting). They took our their racial frustration on innocent victims who happened to be driving through the area, and they let loose on a path of destruction that only stopped when men with rifles (the National Guard) were called in to settle things down. In other words, only the threat of immediate death stopped the looting and violence. Rifles work wonders.
Imagine store owners lying prone on the roofs of their stores with AK-47's, firing at anyone who approached. This is exactly what happened in Los Angeles. But worse, imagine the lawless horde firing at the rescue copters trying to bring in supplies to the desperate masses.
The National Guard eventually got things under control. This event was isolated, however, to one city. Imagine a hundred cities experiencing the same thing. Will the National Guard be able to handle the load? Not likely. What about local police? They aren’t fools; if things look bad enough, they’ll grab their families and head for the hills, just like they did in New Orleans. No pension is worth getting killed for. A few U. S. cities could be transformed into literal war zones overnight. It would require all-out martial law and military force to have any chance whatsoever of bringing order to these streets. And the reality is that there are not enough military in the USA to secure all of the cities if this happens.
This collapse of social order is perhaps the greatest risk of staying in the city during a crisis. What, exactly, would cause this collapse of social order? Lack of three things: food, water, and money. When people run out of food, some will begin ransacking their neighborhood, searching for something to eat. (Remember that in a city, a “neighbor” does not mean the same thing as a “neighbor” in the country. They are not necessarily your friends.) It won’t take long, then, for violence to take over in some cities. While certain regions will certainly manage to keep things under control and people will form lines at the local (depleted) Red Cross shelter, other cities will see an explosion of violence. Imagine the gang-infested regions of L. A., Chicago, New York, St. Louis & New Orleans. Do you think those people are going to stand in line and wait? They already have guns; now they finally get to use them. Pent-up racial tensions & hostilities will simply serve as justification for shooting people of the same or other color in order to get their food.
Even if the food somehow gets into the cities, lack of money (due to the government not sending out checks) could cause the same thing. Eventually, lack of money results in looting and mass theft. As the stealing balloons, it also results in a collapse of social order. Water; the same thing (but faster). The collapse of social order is also very dangerous because it doesn’t require any “actual” collapse of the power grid, telecommunications, transportation or banking. Social order is a psychological artifact. It is a frame of mind, and any global panic can quickly remove the mental barrier that right now keeps people basically “lawful.”
2. THE FAILURE OF WATER TREATMENT AND DELIVERY SYSTEMS
Will the water treatment facilities fail during a crisis? Many will. Some won’t. The problem lies in figuring out whether yours will. Certainly, they depend on electricity, and testing conducted on some plants has already revealed weaknesses in the system.
In one such test, the water treatment plant released a fatal dose of fluoride into the water system when tested. The computers thought they were 99 years behind in releasing minute doses of fluoride, so they made up the difference. If you happened to be downstream, drinking that water, you were dead. Fluoride, no matter what misinformed dentists tell you, is actually a fatal poison. A major crisis likely to demonstrate this fact in more than one city.
The most important question here, though, is about what will happen when the water stops flowing (or if it is flowing, but it’s not drinkable). As you are probably aware, while people can live without food for long periods of time (2-3 weeks), water is needed on a daily basis. You can go 2-3 days without it, at most, but beyond that, you'll quickly turn to dust.
That means people will do anything to get water, because to not have it means death. And guess where it’s going to be the most difficult to actually get water? You guessed it: in the cities. During the first day of the water crisis, many people still won't figure out what's going on. They’ll figure it’s a temporary breakage of a water main and the government will get it fixed within hours. As those hours stretch into the next day, these people will get very worried.
By the second day, more and more people will realize the water isn't coming. At that point, you could easily see a breakdown of social order, as described in the previous section (as you can see, these things all tend to cause each other.). People will begin their “search for water,” and the first place they’re likely to go is where they always go for liquids: the grocery store, the local Wal-Mart, the 7-11. The shelves will be cleaned out rather quickly.
Beyond that (because those liquids aren’t going to last long), you're going to see people engaged in a mass-exodus from the cities. They’ll take the gas they have left in their tanks and they'll leave the city in search of water. Some will go to “Grandma’s house” out in the country where they might at least find a pond or stream to drink from. Others will simply go on an expanded looting mission, stopping at any house they see and asking the residents (with a gun in their face, likely) if they have any water to “donate.”
As a result of all this, if water stops flowing, here are the events you can expect to see in some of the worse-off cities:
- Looting of all the grocery stores by the second or third day (remember New Orleans?).
- Minor outbreaks of violence during the looting. Shop owners, for example, may attempt to defend their shops with firearms (ala L. A. Riots).
- Mass exodus of residents from the city in search of water.
- Ransacking of any houses or farms within a gas-tank radius of the city.
- Mass traffic jams on the outbound highways as people run out of gas and abandon their vehicles (if bad enough, this could actually block the highways and trap people in the cities) (Remember Hurricane Rita?).
- Mass outbreak of water-borne diseases as people use streams and rivers as both a water fountain and a bathroom. People crapping upstream are going to infect the people drinking downstream. Very few have any kind of water filtration device. That last point is really critical. Once the water flow stops, disease is going to strike.
The food supplies will likely dwindle quickly as we approach a possible crisis due to people stocking up just in case. Once the crisis actually hits, expect to see breakdowns in the transportation sector that will result in major delays in food delivery. This means food may arrive in sporadic fashion in some cities (if at all).
Once this happens, food suddenly becomes really valuable to people (even though they take it for granted today). And that means any small shipment of food that arrives will be quickly grabbed and eaten or stored. It only takes one week without food to remind people how much they actually need it, so expect the atmosphere to be that of a “near panic” if food is delayed by as little as three days. The level of panic will vary from city to city. Some cities or towns may experience very little difficulty receiving food. Others may face near-starvation circumstances.
Remember, the cities depend entirely on food shipped in from the farms and food processing companies. Also, note that if there’s a water problem as mentioned in the previous section, and the mass exodus begins, the highways may be jammed up at critical locations, causing gridlock for the trucking industry. If we're lucky, some trucks will continue to roll. If we’re not, assume that nothing gets through.
A shortage of food ultimately results in the same behavior as a shortage of water. First, people eat what’s in the pantry, then they loot the grocery stores. After that, with all local supplies depleted and no hope on the horizon, they leave the city and start ransacking nearby homes. Some will hunt in nearby forests, but most city-dwellers don’t know how to hunt. In any case, anyone with the means to leave the city will likely do so soon after their food shortage begins.
4. THE FAILURE OF THE POWER GRID
Nothing is as suddenly obvious nor has such a gigantic psychological impact as the failure of the power grid. When the electricity stops, almost everybody knows it at the same instant (unless it happens at night).
Naturally, during the first few hours of the power failure, if it occurs, people will assume it’s a temporary situation. Maybe a tree fell on some power lines, or perhaps a transformer blew up somewhere nearby. They'll sit tight and wait for the power to come back on.
What if it doesn’t? Then the city faces a severe problem. Without power, obviously, everything shuts down. Within hours, the looting begins in the more crime-ridden cities (we saw this in New York a few decades ago.). The longer the power stays off, the worse the social disorder.
The loss of power will bring the entire city to a halt. While vehicles may get around for a few more days (using whatever fuel they have left), businesses obviously won't be operating. Houses that depend on electricity for heat will quickly reach Winter temperatures, freezing many occupants to death. While those that depend on electricity for Air Conditioning will just as quickly reach Summer temperatures, resulting in death from heat stroke. Hospitals and police stations may have generators on hand, with a few days worth of fuel, but in short order, that will be depleted, too.
But the water treatment plant will almost certainly be off-line without power, causing all the events mentioned in the water section, above. Let's face it, the power is the worst thing to be without in the city. If you have power, you can survive a food shortage, perhaps even a short water shortage. But without power, all bets are off. If you have a “bug-out” vehicle stocked and ready to go (see below), this might be the time to bail.
SOLUTIONS IN THE CITY
Okay, so you're stuck in the city. You’ve made the decision to stay. You’ve read the problems above, you believe they make sense, and you’re intelligently frightened. What now? You really have two strategies. You can:
- Stay and defend your house
- Bug out (leave the city and head for the hills)
Important! This is not an either/or situation. You can begin by staying in your house and assessing the situation. You'll want to have a “bug-out” vehicle stocked and ready, just in case, if you can afford one, but you may never actually choose to bug out. You’ll have to be the ultimate judge of this. Just remember that when you bug out, you face major risks and disadvantages. Among these:
- You're severely limited in how much you can carry
- You have limited range due to fuel
- You expose yourself to social chaos, roadblocks, random violence, etc.
- Your house will certainly be looted while you're gone
- You run the risk of mechanical breakdowns of your vehicle
- You must have a place to go that you know is in better shape than where you currently are.
In general, unless you have a specific, known safe place as your final destination, I don't advise people to bug out. Just “heading for the hills” is a very poor plan. You might not make it. But heading for Grandma’s house or some known, safe place could be a very good plan indeed, depending on whether Grandma is ready, willing and able to accept you!
For these reasons (and more), staying and defending your house is sometimes the only reasonable course of action, even if it seems dangerous. For the most part, looters and people looking for food are going to have plenty of easy victims, so if you show a little willingness to use force to defend your property, you’ll likely send people on to the next house.
That is, until the next house is already empty and you appear to be the last house on the block with any food and water left. If you're in a bad enough area, your neighbors may “gang up” on you and demand your supplies or your life. This is truly a worst-case scenario, and unless you literally have a house full of battle rifles and people trained to use them (and the willingness to shoot your neighbors), you’re sunk. This is why the best situation by far is to keep your neighbors informed and help them get prepared. Then you (both your member and non-member neighbors) can act as a group, defending your neighborhood and sharing the supplies you have with anyone willing to help defend you.
When you have this kind of situation going, your neighbors realize you are their lifeline. You supply them with food and water, and they will help support you because they are, in effect, supporting their own lives. The best situation is when your neighbors and other ward members have their own food and water supplies. That way, they aren’t depleting yours, and they have a strong motivation for getting together with you defend your neighborhood. (More on this below.)
STORING (AND HIDING) YOUR FOOD
Storing food is just as important in the city as in the country, but hiding it is far more important. That’s because in the worst areas, marauders will be going from house to house, demanding your food or your life. If you're dumb enough to put everything you own in the obvious places, you might as well not buy it in the first place. They will find it. To count on having any amount of food left over after the marauders break in, you'll need to hide your food.
One alternative is to plan on defending your home with force. If you have enough gun-wise people in the house, and enough firearms and ammo, you can probably pull this off. But most of us aren’t nearly as experience with firearms as the gang members. A better alternative might be to plan on bringing you supplies to your ward/stake building where all of the Saints can both pool and defend their resources. This of course will depend greatly on your local Bishop and Stake President.
Back to hiding: the best way to hide your food is to bury it. You’ll need airtight containers, long-term food that won't rot and you’ll need to plan ahead. Bury your food at night so nobody will notice, and make sure you don’t leave the map on the refrigerator door! (Better to memorize it!) Try to get the ground to look normal after you're all finished. You’ll want to bury your food as early as possible because it gives the grass time to regroup over the spot. If you’re in an area that snows, you’ll have a great concealment blanket! Most food marauders won't go to the trouble to dig up food, especially if you insist you don't have any.
Best plan: Have some smaller amount of food stashed around the house, letting them find something. Better to give them something and send them on their way. The art of hiding your food is an ancient one. You've got to get creative. Use the walls, the floors, and the structure of the house.
If hiding your food is simply not an available alternative, then try not to advertise it. Keep it put away in your house or garage in as discreet a manner as possible. Don’t make a point of telling people that you have a years supply (or more). Word gets around fast that Bro. Jones has a ton of food in his garage. Boxes of food fit nicely under beds, behind furniture, in the attic, etc.. Be Creative!!
To sum up the food storage, you really have three strategies here:
- Store it all in your house and plan on defending it by force.
- Bury it in your yard in case you get overrun by looters.
- Store part of it in your house, and hide the bulk of it.
- Relocate all of it as soon as you recognize a major disaster is in progress.
Then sprinkle some diatomaceous earth into the drum. You'll need about two cups to treat a 55-gallon drum, and it must be mixed in well. Diatomaceous earth is made from ground up sea shells, and it kills bugs by getting into their joints.
You want diatomaceous earth that is food grade, and on the bag it says, “Fossil Shell Flour.”
Once you get these drums filled and sealed, you can then bury them in your yard. This is actually a HUGE UNDERTAKING and is a LOT more difficult than it sounds, since you’ll need to dig to a depth of around 5 or 6 feet in order to sufficiently bury these drums. You’re likely to attract a lot of attention unless you do it at night, and you’ll definitely be removing a lot of dirt that you’ll need to find some use for. Because the drums are steel, they will also deteriorate unless you line the outside with plastic (a good idea) and treat the drums with some kind of protectant or oil. (Don't use WD-40.) Even Vaseline would work well, although you would definitely need a lot to coat a 55-gallon drum.
When you’re all done, you should have your protected grains in 55-gallon drums, buried in your yard and protected against the humidity of the surrounding earth. It’s a big effort, but then again, the food inside may save your life. You’ll find it much more efficient to bury several barrels at once; side by side.
In reality it would be faster and easier to simply build a false wall in your garage and seal up your food behind the false wall. Sure, you might loose 2-3 feet of useable space in your garage, but the tradeoff is knowing everything is safe and sound.
STORING EXTRA WATER
Water can be stored in exactly the same way, although you might want to bury the barrel before you actually fill it with water. Make sure you treat your storage water, rotate it or have filters on hand when you get ready to use it.
If you don’t have a yard, or it's not practical to bury your water, you’ll have to store water inside your house. This can get very tricky because water takes up a lot of space and it's very difficult to conceal. It’s best to get containers made for long-term storage, but in a pinch, you can use almost any container: soda bottles, milk jugs (although it's very difficult to rinse the milk out), and even rinsed bleach bottles (in that case, you won’t need to add bleach). But a lot of these containers will deteriorate quickly, and they may break easily. Also, consider what happens if your water may be subjected to freezing. Will your containers survive? Be sure to leave enough air space to handle the expansion.
In order to prepare yourself for the water shortage, assuming you’re going to stay in the city, stock at least six months of water at a minimum two gallons a day per person. That’s nearly 400 gallons of water if you have two people.
Of course, even with the best in-house preparations, you may find yourself depleted of water supplies. In this situation, one of your best defenses is to have a really good water filter (like the Purificup Water Filter) that can remove parasites and bacteria from the water. You can also treat your water in other ways (iodine, distillation, silver solution, bleach, etc.). Armed with these items, you can safely use stream or river water (or even pond water) for drinking.
By far, the best solution for obtaining long-term water supplies is to drill a well. Buy the best-quality hand-pump available (cast-iron pumps available from Lehman’s) and a good cylinder. They will last a lifetime if installed properly. With this setup, you'll have a near-unlimited supply of water.
The total cost of doing this, depending on where you live, ranges from about $4000 - $6000. Is it worth it? If you’ve got the money, I think so. However, many cities simply don’t allow the drilling of wells, so you may not be able to get one drilled even if you want to.
The deeper your well, the more expensive it gets. Most well drilling companies charge by the foot. When water is deeper, you also need a bigger pump and a more powerful cylinder, so the costs tend to really grow the deeper you go. If you can find water at 20', you’re very lucky and it might not cost you even $2000. If you have to go down to 200', it might cost you $7500, and you’re at the depth limit of hand-powered pumps anyway.
DEFENDING YOUR LIFE AND PROPERTY
Let’s talk about force. No doubt, there are plenty of nice people in this country, and I think that in small towns and rural areas, people are going to find ways to cooperate and get along. I also think, however, that some cities will suffer complete social breakdown and violence will rule. If you happen to be stuck in one of these cities, you’re going to need to use force to defend your house. The section that follows discusses what I consider to be extreme responses to violence in the most dire situations. Hopefully, you won't find yourself in these circumstances, but if you do, the information below may be valuable.
Important: Do not use your lights at night. If you are stocking propane-powered lanterns, solar-powered flashlights, or other unusual supplies, using them at night will announce to everyone within line of sight that you have more than the “usual” supplies. Expect them to come knocking in your door. At most, let a fire burn in the fireplace, but in general, avoid drawing attention to your house.
Defending your house is a crucial element on your stay-in-the-city plan. Make your house your fortress, and hold drills to help other family members practice some of the more common activities such as hiding, defending, evacuating, etc.
Some useful items for home defense include:
- A guard dog.
- Pepper spray.
- Smoke bombs (military-grade).
- Trip wires
Pepper spray is a great alternative to the firearm. It will incapacitate people and certainly give them a painful experience to remember. On the downside (potentially), it might just remind them that next time they come back for food, they better kill you first. So understand the limitations of pepper spray.
Firearms are useful for obvious reasons. In the worst-case scenario, when looting is rampant, you may have to actually shoot someone to protect yourself or your family. If you’re squeamish about pulling the trigger under these circumstances, don't plan to stay in the city. Use the “bug out” plan instead.
Smoke bombs can be useful for covering a planned escape from your house. You can purchase high-volume smoke bombs that will quickly fill up any house with an unbreathable cloud of military-grade white smoke.
Trip wires are great perimeter defenses. You can buy them from Cheaper Than Dirt (they run a few hundred dollars). They will give you early warning if someone is approaching. You can connect the tripwires to flares, shotgun shells, light sticks or other warning devices. This way, you can have an audible or visible alert, your choice.
In addition to these devices, you can make significant fortification-style improvements to your home. While none of these are very affordable, they certainly help defend your home:
- Replace glass windows with non-breakable Plexiglas.
- Add steel bars to the windows.
- Replace all outside door locks with heavy-duty deadbolts.
- Replace all outside doors with steel doors, preferably without windows.
- Remove bushes and other shrubs where people might hide.
- Black out the windows entirely to avoid light escaping at night (similar to what residents of London did during the WWII bombing raids).
- Build secret hiding places for food, coins, or even people.
- Create escape hatches or passageways.
- Rig pepper-spray booby traps.
To light your home when there’s no electricity, try the following:
- Use LED flashlights and rechargeable solar-charged batteries. You can buy all these items from the Real Goods catalog.
- Use propane-powered lanterns. You can find these in the camping section of your local Wal-Mart. Be sure to purchase extra mantles and store lots of propane.
- Purchase quality oil lamps from Lehman’s and stock up on oil. You can also purchase cheap kerosene lamps from the Sportsman's Guide or Wal-Mart, then simply purchase and store extra kerosene.
- Buy extra candles.
- Purchase lots of olive oil. Not only can you cook with it (and besides, it’s a lot healthier than corn or vegetable oil), olive oil also burns as a clean candle fuel. You can float a wick in a jar half-full of olive oil and light the wick. Viola, a home-made candle. Olive oil is a fantastic item for your storage anyway because even if you purchase all the grains in the world, you’ll still need cooking oil, and you obviously can’t buy powdered cooking oil. Well-stored olive oil can last for thousands of years.
Did you know that people won't steal giant logs? Although they may easily steal wood you've already chopped, most people won't have any way of stealing logs. They’re too heavy, and the vehicles won't have any gas left. For this reason, your best bet in regards to stocking fuel for your house is to stock up on UNCUT wood logs.
It takes a lot of extra research to find out how to get them (took me a few weeks of asking around), but you can find a source if you look hard enough. Or you can usually get a permit to go out and cut your own. The effort is worth it, because this will give you a ready-to-go source of heat and fuel that cannot be easily stolen.
The catch, of course, is that you'll need equipment to cut and chop the wood. A chainsaw is REALLY nice in this way, but it requires fuel. Fortunately, chain saws don’t use much fuel, so if you have a way to store as little as 50 gallons or so, you've got enough to power your chainsaw for a few years (at least!). You'll need fuel stabilizers, too, which you can buy at your local Wal-Mart. (Be sure to buy extra chains for your chainsaw, too.)
You’ll also need splitting hardware. You can buy log splitters or just buy an axe, a wedge, and a sledgehammer. Better yet, buy all four so you have a choice of what to use. And remember, wood splits much better when it’s frozen, too, so you might just wait until the cold hits in Winter to start splitting your wood. Only split a little at a time, because you don’t want to end up with a big pile of nicely-split wood sitting out in your yard. It will invite theft from people who don't have any. If you already have trees on your property, you're all set. Cut down about 4-5 cords right now, so they can start drying out, then chop them as you need them.
A “cord” of wood, by the way, is a volume measurement. It’s 8' x 4' x 4', or 128 cubic feet of wood (stacked). Some people that sell wood will try to rip you off, so make sure you know what you're buying. If you purchase logs, it’s better to get a price per linear foot, based on the diameter of the log. For example, you might ask for logs that are an average of 10" in diameter, and you’ll ask how much the charge per linear foot would be. Something in the range of $1 - $2 would be great.
RELATIONS WITH NEIGHBORS
I’ve already mentioned the importance of getting along with your neighbors. It really is crucial to your city-based survival plan. The best situation to be in, as mentioned before, is to have neighbors who are aware of the issue and who are getting ready for it by stocking their own food, water, and other supplies. Every neighbor that becomes self-reliant is one less neighbor or member you’ll have to support.
The range of neighbor situations, from best to worst, is as follows:
- Best case: your neighbor is aware of and both temporally & Spiritually prepared for an emergency with their own supplies and training.
- Good case: your neighbor is aware of a potential crisis, and even though they don't have their own supplies, they’re willing to help defend yours as long as you share.
- Bad case: your neighbor didn’t prepare for it, figuring they would just steal from you if things got bad. They are aware of YOUR supplies but don’t have their own.
- Worst case: your neighbor isn’t aware of anything, and he’s a violent, angry neighbor just released from prison. He is going to be caught off guard by the ensuing events and will likely attempt to use violence to get what he needs or wants.
GUN CONTROL IN THE CITIES
No matter how you felt or thought about gun control in the past, it’s time to face disaster-induced reality. The gun-control politicians (and the people who supported them) have placed Americans in a situation where not only can the police not protect us in a timely manner, but we cannot lawfully defend ourselves. Criminals unlawfully have firearms; citizens lawfully don't. Intentionally or otherwise, gun-control supporters have created a situation where an unfortunate number of innocent men, women and children are going to be in danger during a crisis simply because they could not obtain the tools of self-defense.
It also happens that the cities where the rioting will likely be the worst are precisely the cities where firearms are most likely to be banned from lawful ownership (and where criminals may wield near-absolute power for a while.). Perhaps when society recovers from it, we can review the fallacy in the cause / effect logic that keeps people voting for gun-control laws, but in the mean time, millions of people are going to have to resort to breaking the law in order to protect their families. And yes, you too will have to resort to breaking the law if you are to acquire a firearm in an area where guns are entirely banned from private citizens (like New York, Los Angeles, etc.).
After the disaster hits, if the rioting gets really bad, we're going to see local police begging law-abiding citizens for help. Your firearm will be a welcome addition to the force of law and order, believe me. No local cop is going to mind you having a handgun if you're manning a roadblock protecting a neighborhood of families with children. Act responsibly, tell them what you're doing, and they'll probably give you a big thanks. But if you're carrying a gun while you smash a window of the Wal-Mart and walk off with a stereo; well that's a different story. Be prepare to get shot.
See, cops don't mind private ownership nearly as much as we've all been led to believe. I know, I work with law enforcement officers in a small town, and I ask them about topics like this. When the crisis hits, they'll be more than happy to have your cooperation. We're all going to need as many law-abiding gun-toting citizens as possible in order to fend off the criminals and establish some degree of order.
ONE MORE REASON TO MOVE OUT
If you really feel you need a firearm to protect yourself and your family, your best bet may be to move to a city or state where people are a lot more accepting of firearms. You'd be surprised what a difference the locale makes. Check the gun laws in any state you're considering moving to. Obviously, “cowboy” states like Arizona, Texas and Wyoming will have fewer restrictions on firearms (and, interestingly, they have less of a problem with gun violence). States where the population is more dense (like California & New York) tend to have much greater restrictions on private ownership of firearms.
Suppose it’s July 19, 2013, and you’ve changed your mind about this city thing. You happened to be right smack in the middle of one of the worst-hit cities in the country. The looting is getting worse, the power has been out for two weeks, and your water supplies are running low. You still have enough gas in your truck to make it out of town if you can get past the gangs, that is. You’ve decided to BUG OUT!
SOME BASIC POINTERS:
- Don’t try to bug out in a Chevy Geo. You will likely need a big heavy 4x4 truck in order to go off-road and around stalled vehicles.
- Get something that can carry at least 1000 pounds of supplies. A big 4x4 pickup will do nicely! Yes, it requires more fuel, but you can carry the fuel as cargo.
- Don’t bug out unless you can have someone ride shotgun, literally. You will need an armed passenger in case you run into not-so-nice people.
Ahh, the bug-out supply list. All this will fit in your truck. Here’s what you should take if you’re preparing to bug out with two people:
- Your 96 hour kits for each person in the vehicle
- 20 gallons of water
- 40 gallons of extra fuel or more (and a full gas tank)
As mentioned earlier, if you have a designated place of refuge (Grandma’s house, a cabin in the woods, etc.), head straight for it. If not, you’re basically driving anywhere you can go, so try to head for an area that forested and near a creek or river where you can get some water.
Choosing to remain in the city is a rational choice for many people in many situations. However, as you have seen from the dangers described here, the further away you can get from the population centers in general, the better your chances of surviving.
Most people, perhaps yourself included, have a difficult time actually accepting that a major disaster is going to be as bad as described in this report. And after all, if you leave the city, sell out, quit your job, move to the country, and then nothing bad happens? You will have disrupted your life, and you may find yourself broke, jobless, and homeless. You COULD assume it will be a mild event, which I suppose is also a credible possibility. In that case, surviving in the city will be quite feasible, especially if you have neighbors that can support your efforts and you don't live in a dangerous city with high racial tensions. However, the very nature of a major disaster means that if only one or two major infrastructure components goes down, the ripple effect will quickly create a much worse scenario. It seems there is very little room for “mild” effects unless they are miniscule. The most likely scenario at this point clearly points to massive disruptions, severe shortages in food and water, loss of power in some areas, and a breakdown of social order in certain areas where the population density is high.
But you can survive anything with good planning, an open mind, and plenty of practice. Why not start now?