Discussing some basic Search and Rescue techniques and give out as much information as I feel I can safely and responsibly about "Guard" freqs.
Tags: * search and rescue * survival skills * survival kit * survival radio * hunting * fishing * camping * Survival Skills Hunting
because of your great reaction to my "5 bushcraft myths" vid i thought to make another... enjoy!
Tags: * bushcraft * myths * splitting wood * universal edibility test * body heat * survival * outdoors * wilderness * Survival Skills
People who cannot get their drugs in a shtf or wrol scenario may pose one of our biggest threats. If you have to deal with many different personalities who are having withdrawals they could be quite dangerous. Please be aware that you may not be dealing with rational human beings. And if you or a family member needs life saving prescription medication, try to research an alternative with your doctor's help that you could use in an emergency. Thanks for watching!
Tags: * shtf * wrol * drug use * teotwawki * preparedness * "emergency preparedness" * prepper * guns * survival * preppers
Tags: * bushcraft * survival * camping * outdoors * wildermess * survivor * survive * rule of 3 * full tang knives * rat-tail tang knives * stainless steel * fire rod * spruce * bow-drill * cotton
Note: This article was written in 1989 for the American Survival Guide. Much has changed since then. Some of the information maybe be useful in thinking and planning for different SHTF scenarios, remember this is the authors particular perspective, not my own
There's a lot of confusion about what survival means. To some, it's getting through the aftermath of an airplane wreck in a desolate area. It can mean knowing when to avoid walking in radioactive wastes. Or, it can mean knowing how to barter with troops in the aftermath of riots, war, and looting. To others, survival has to do with avoiding danger and knowing how to deal with it when it breaks into your home in the dead of night.
Survival ideas abound and there are as many definitions and strategies as there are survivalists. Some have good ideas for survival and some have unsound tactics. Bad ideas can mean extra work or trouble in everyday life; bad ideas during a survival situation get you killed. On the job training doesn't work when you're dealing with poison and gunfights. Or survival.
One of the most dangerous ideas as far as I'm concerned is that of "backpack survival."
A "backpack survivalist" is a survivalist that plans on leaving his home ahead of a disaster and taking to the woods with only what he can carry out with him. He plans to survive through a strategy that is a sort of cross between the Boy Scout in the woods and Robinson Crusoe. The backpack survivalist plans on outrunning danger with a four wheel drive or a motorcycle and hopes to travel light with a survival kit of everything he might need to cope with the unexpected. He hasn't cached anything in the area he's headed for because, chances are, he doesn't know where he's headed. Somehow, he hopes to overcome all odds with a minimum of supplies and a maximum of smarts. Certainly it is a noble cause; but it seems like one destined to failure. And that's not survival.
(Let's back up a minute. Backpack fever or bugoutosis does makes sense when you're facing a localized disaster like a derailed train with overturned poisonous gas cars. A a potential nuclear meltdown, an impending hurricane, or similar disasters where there is a safe place to run to. During such a time, it makes perfect sense to retreat and come back when things settle down. Likewise, some people have to work in dangerous areas. For them, donning a backpack and heading for a retreat that they've prepared before hand is a viable survival strategy. These people aren't backpack survivalists.)
Let me make a confession. Yes, I once was a closet backpack survivalist. I had an ALICE pack and had it packed with all I could carry. As I learned more about how to survive, I realized I needed to carry more. Soon I discovered that, just for my family to survive for a very few days, I'd need a pack mule and/or a hernia operation... Something was very wrong.
Probably most survivalists start out the same way. Things are bad so let's bug out. Backpack survivalism is an effort to deal with the possibility of a major disaster. As backpack survivalists, we make elaborate plans centered around the idea of "bugging out" of the area we live in. We hope to travel to an area that is safer than the one we're in and plan on living off the land or on some survival supplies we've hidden in the area. On the home front, we carefully prepare a stock of supplies that we can quickly cart off in a car or van when things start to look bad.
As more and more plans are made and as ever more survival gear is purchased, the survivalist realizes just how much he needs to cope with in order to survive. If he is any sort of realist, he soon amasses enough gear to warrant a truck or more likely a moving van just for carrying the survival equipment. (And don't laugh, there are survivalists who have large trucks for just such use.)
Some brave souls continue to make more elaborate plans and some of these survivalists may be able to pull off their plans. Those who have really thought things out and have spared no expenses may manage to survive with a bugout strategy. But I think there are more logical and less expensive ways to survive a large crisis.
Forget all your preconceived notions for a minute.
Imagine that there is a national emergency and you are an outside observer? What happens if a nuclear attack is eminent, an economic collapse has occurred, or a dictator has taken over and is ready to round up all malcontents (with survivalists at the top of the list)?
Situations change with time. The survivalist movement and backpack fever first started up when gas guzzler cars were about all that anyone drove. That meant that a survivalist with some spare gasoline could outdistance his unprepared peers and get to a retreat that was far from the maddening crowd, as it were. (Read some of Mel Tappan's early writing on survival retreats. His ideas are good but many have been undone with the new, fuel efficient cars.)
With cars getting 30 or even 40 miles per gallon, it isn't rare for a car to be able to travel half way across a state on less than a tank of gasoline. The exodus from cities or trouble spots will be more limited by traffic snarls than lack of gasoline even if the gas stations are completely devoid of their liquid fuel.
Too, there are a lot of people thinking about what to do if the time for fleeing comes. A lot of people will be headed for the same spots. (Don't laugh that off, either. In my area, every eighth person has confided his secret retreat spot to me. And about half of them are all headed for the same spot: an old missile silo devoid of water and food. I suspect that the battle at the gates of the old missile base will rival the Little Big Horn.)
No matter how out of the way their destination, most survivalists are kidding themselves if they think others won't be headed for their hideaway spot along with them. There are few places in the US which aren't accessible to anyone with a little driving skill and a good map.
Too, there are few places which aren't in grave danger during a nuclear war or national social unrest.
Though most nuclear war survival books can give you a nice little map showing likely targets, they don't tell you some essential information. Like what the purpose of the attack will be. The enemy may not be aiming for military targets that day; a blackmail threat might begin by hitting the heart of the farmland or a number of cities before demanding the surrender of the country being attacked. The target areas on the maps might be quite safe.
And the maps show where the missiles land IF they all enjoy 100 percent accuracy and reliability. Anyone know of such conditions in war? With Soviet machinery!? Targets may be relatively safe places to be in.
Added to this is the fact that some areas can be heavily contaminated or completely free of contamination depending on the wind directions in the upper atmosphere. Crystal ball in your survival gear?
But let's ignore all the facts thus far for a few moments and assume that a backpack survivalist has found an ideal retreat and is planning to go there in the event of a national disaster... What next?
His first concern should be that he'll have a hard time taking the supplies he needs with him. A nuclear war might mean that it will be impossible to grow food for at least a year and foraging is out as well since animals and plants may be contaminated extensively.
An economic collapse wouldn't be much better. It might discourage the raising of crops; no money, no sales except for the barter to keep a small farm family going. With large corporations doing much of our farming these days, it is not unreasonable to expect a major famine coming on the heals of an economic collapse. Raising food would be a good way to attract starving looters from miles around.
Ever try to pack a year's supply of food for a family into a small van or car? There isn't much room left over. But the backpack survivalist needs more than just food.
If he lives in a cold climate (or thinks there might be something to the nuclear winter theory) then he'll need some heavy clothing.
Rifles, medicine, ammunition, tools, and other supplies will also increase what he'll need to be taking or which he'll have to hide away at his retreat site.
Shelter? Building a place to live (in any style other than early American caveman) takes time. If he builds a cabin beforehand, he may find it vandalized or occupied when he gets to his retreat; if he doesn't build it before hand, he may have to live in his vehicle or a primitive shelter of some sort.
Thus, a major problem is to get a large enough vehicle to carry everything he needs as well as to live in.
History has shown that cities empty themselves without official evacuation orders when things look bad. It happened in WW II and has even happened in the US during approaching hurricanes, large urban fires, and nuclear reactor problems.
So there's a major problem of timing which the backpack survivalist must contend with. He has to be packed and ready to go with all members of his family at the precise moment he learns of the disaster! The warning he gets that warrants evacuating an area will have to be acted on quickly if he's to get out ahead of the major traffic snarls that will quickly develop. A spouse at work or shopping or kids across town at school means he'll either have to leave them behind or be trapped in the area he's in. A choice not worth having to make.
Unless he's got a hot line from the White House, the backpack survivalist will not hear the bad news much ahead of everyone else. If he doesn't act immediately, he'll be trapped out on the road and get a first hand idea of what grid lock is like if he's in an urban area. Even out on the open road, far away from a city, an interstate can become hectic following a ballgame... Imagine what it would be like if everyone were driving for their lives, some cars were running out of fuel (and the occupants trying to stop someone for a ride), and the traffic laws were being totally ignored while the highway patrol tried to escape along with everyone else. Just trying to get off or on major highways might become impossible. If things bog down, how long can the backpack survivalist keep those around from helping to unload his truck load of supplies that they'll be in bad need of?
Telling them they should have prepared ahead of time won't get many sympathetic words.
Even on lightly traveled roadways, how safe would it be to drive around in a vehicle loaded with supplies? Our backpack survivalist will need to defend himself.
But let's suppose that he's thought all this out. He has a large van, had the supplies loaded in it, managed to round every member of his family up beforehand, somehow got out of his area ahead of the mob, is armed to the teeth, and doesn't need to take an interstate route.
When he reaches his destination, his troubles are far from over.
The gridlock and traffic snarls won't stop everyone. People will slowly be coming out of heavily populated areas and most of them will have few supplies. They will have weapons (guns are one of the first things people grab in a crisis according to civil defense studies) and the evacuees will be desperate. How many pitched battles will the survivalist's family be able to endure? How much work or even sleep can he get when he's constantly on the lookout to repel those who may be trying to get a share of his supplies?
This assumes that he gets to where he's going ahead of everyone else. He might not though. If he has to travel for long, he may discover squatters on his land or find that some local person has staked out his retreat area for their own. There won't be any law to help out; what happens next? Since (according to military strategists) our backpack survivalist needs about three times as many people to take an area as to defend it, he will need to have some numbers with him and expect to suffer some casualties. Does that sound like a good way to survive?
What about the local people that don't try to take over his retreat before he gets there? Will they be glad to see another stranger move into the area to tax their limited supplies? Or will they be setting up roadblocks to turn people like the backpack survivalist away?
But let's just imagine that somehow he's discovered a place that doesn't have a local population and where those fleeing cities aren't able to get to. What happens when he gets to his retreat? How good does he need to be at hunting and fishing? One reason mankind went into farming was that hunting and fishing don't supply enough food for a very large population nor do they work during times of drought or climatic disruption. What does he do when he runs out of ammunition or game? What happens if the streams become so contaminated that he can't safely eat what he catches? Can he stake out a large enough area to guarantee that he won't deplete it of game so that the next year is not barren of animals?
Farming? Unless he finds some unclaimed farm machinery and a handy storage tank of gasoline at his retreat, he'll hardly get off first base. Even primitive crop production requires a plow and work animals (or a lot of manpower) to pull the blade. No plow, no food for him or domestic animals.
And domestic animals don't grow on trees. Again, unless he just happens to find some cows waiting for him at his retreat, he'll be out of luck. (No one has packaged freeze dried cows or chickens at least, not in a form you can reconstitute into living things).
Intensive gardening? Maybe. But even that takes a lot of special tools, seeds, know how, and good weather. Can he carry what he needs and have all the skills that can be developed only through experience?
Even if he did, he might not have any food to eat. Pestilence goes hand in hand with disasters. Our modern age has forgotten this. But during a time when chemical factories aren't churning out the insecticides and pest poisons we've come to rely on, our backpack survivalist should be prepared for waves of insects flooding into any garden he may create. How good is he at making insecticides? Even if he carries out a large quantity of chemicals to his retreat, how many growing seasons will they last?
Did he truck out a lot of gasoline and an electrical generator with him? No? Do you REALLY think he can create an alcohol still from scratch in the middle of nowhere without tools or grain? Then he'd better write off communications, lighting, and all the niceties of the 20th Century after his year's supply of batteries wear out and his vehicle's supply of gasoline conks out.
I'm afraid we've only scratched the surface though. Thus far things have been going pretty well. What happens when things get really bad? How good is he at removing his spouse's appendix without electric lights, pain killers, or antiseptic conditions? Campfire dental work, anyone?
How good is he at making ammunition? Clothing? Shoes?
I think you'll have to agree that this hardly seems like survival in style. Even if our backpack survivalist is able to live in the most spartan of conditions and has the know how to create plenty out of the few scraps around him, he'll never have much of a life ahead of him.
Camping out is fun for a few days. Living in rags like a hunted animal doesn't sound like an existence to be aimed for.
The bottom line with backpack fever is that, with any major disaster that isn't extremely localized, running is a panic reaction not a survival strategy. Running scared is seldom a good survival technique and backpack fever during any but a localized disaster (like a flood or chemical spill) looks like it would be a terminal disease with few, rare exceptions.
So what's the alternative?
A number of writers, from Kurt Saxon to Howard Ruff, have already suggested it but I think that it bears a retelling.
What they've said is this: get yourself situated in a small community that could get by without outside help if things came unglued nationally or internationally. Find a spot that allows you to live in the life style you've grown accustomed to (and a community that allows you to carry on your livelihood) but which has the ability to grow its own food and protect its people from the unprepared (or looters) that might drift in from surrounding cities during a crisis. This spot has the ability to carry on trade within its borders and has a number of people who can supply specialized products or professional skills.
An area with two thousand to five thousand people in it along with a surrounding farm community would be ideal but sizes can vary a lot according to the climate and city. Ideally such a town would have its own power plant with a few small industries along with the usual smattering of doctors, dentists, and other professionals.
This type of community isn't rare in the US. It's quite common in almost every state. You could probably even take a little risk and commute into a city if you must keep your current job. (In such a case a reverse backpack survival strategy just might work, you'd be bugging out to your home.)
Western civilization stepped out of the dark ages when small communities started allowing people to specialize in various jobs. Rather than each many being his own artisan, farmer, doctor, carpenter, etc., men started learning to master one job they enjoyed doing. Each man become more efficient at doing a job and through the magic of capitalism western culture finally started upward again.
A small modern community like the one suggested above, when faced with a national economic collapse or the aftermath of a nuclear war, would eventually lift itself up the same way. It would give those who lived in it the same chance for specialization of work and the ability to carry on mutual trade, support, and protection. Such small communities will be the few light spots in a Neo Dark Age.
Which place would you rather be: in a cave, wondering where the food for tomorrow would come from, or with a group of people living in their homes, working together to overcome their problems? Even the most individualistic of survivalists shouldn't find the choice too hard to make.
Ever since I'd first brought up the subject of survival, my father had scornfully rejected anything I had to say. He was one of those with the "it can't happen and it won't happen here" attitude. He reminded me of the brass in the US high command prior to Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941.
That evening, as I sat reading my latest issue of "The Survivor" in my room, my younger brother Jeff, who is a carbon copy of the old man, stuck his head through the door. "Whatcha doin'?" he demanded.
"Get out Himmler." I barked.
He stuck out his tongue at me. "Don't have to."
Laying aside the paper, I got up and went for him. Turning, he fled for the stairs. Closing the door, I locked it and then sat back down and resumed reading.
Presently, I heard heavy footsteps on the stairs, and my father's voice demanded, "Are you reading that idiotic paper again? Cluttering up your mind with that survival rubbish?"
I didn't reply.
"Answer me!" he demanded.
"Open that door this instant!" came a second demand.
Again I paid no attention.
Muttering about "worthless whelps" and other things, he stomped away and went back downstairs. He, the runt, and my mother would all agree how impudent, disrespectful and no good I was and how I ought to be punished.
But, by maintaining as low a profile as possible, I could get by without too much trouble.
Sighing, I finished reading the copy of "The Survivor" and laid it aside with the others I kept. My parents couldn't invade my room because I kept it locked all the time. Besides "The Survivor" copies my father would love to burn, there were other books and equipment he'd enjoy disposing of.
But unless they wanted to break the door down or send for a locksmith, two expensive propositions, they couldn't get in. And my gear stayed secure.
When I first read "The Survivor" and other like papers and magazines, I was smart enough to realize they were telling the truth--my father's opinions notwithstanding.
So, since it wasn't possible to persuade him or anyone else--Mom or the brat, I decided to concentrate on saving my own hide when and if the crunch came.
Stowing the latest issue of "The Survivor", I was about to begin reading a sci-fi novel when the lights went out. I swore, then got up and broke out my calcium carbide lamp. This had happened before, my father cutting out power to my room at the breaker box to demonstrate his authority or show off his machismo or something--to strike back at me.
The carbide lamp hissed and burned, casting a soft white light that burned away the darkness, and let me read. A knock came at the door, and I called,
"Who is it?".
"Can I borrow a flashlight?" asked Jeff.
"Bug the old man to put the circuit breakers back in." I replied. "Then you'll have plenty."
"The power's out all over town--even the streetlights!"
My first impulse was distrust. I trust my father and brother to knife me in the back whenever they can, so I looked out the window, and sure enough, the power was off!
Finding my AM-FM portable radio, I switched it on and listened. The local station was off the air as well! For the first time, unease began to gnaw at me. Digging out my CB walkietalkie, I switched it on and began to call, "This is KLZA 1508 to anyone with their ears on. Come in please, over."
I was transmitting on channel 11, the "monitoring" channel that almost everyone listens to. Within minutes, I had a reply. "KLZA 1508 this is KNH 1234, alias Coconut Pete, I copy you."
"What's the problem? The lights are off everywhere."
"That's a big 10-4, by golly. The radio station's off the air, too. It must be serious."
"10-4" I agreed. "I'm gonna monitor 9 (the distress channel). KLZA 1508 clear and on the side."
Switching to Channel 9, I heard a jumble of transmissions.
"This is Unit #8. I've just arrived at the light plant--man, it looks like somebody dropped a bomb--everything's down or really blown up! Better call out the Emergency Corps and the Sheriff's Posse."
"Negatory--there isn't enough left to burn!"
Keying my transmit switch I cut in. "Breaker 9."
"This is KLZA 1508. Is that the Southland light plant east of town?"
"10-4. Are you official?"
"Negatory. Is the plant totally destroyed?"
"Looks like it--and clear this channel, motormouth!"
"Ten-four, hotrock," I replied and clicked to channel 11 again.
By now the wavelengths were getting crowded. The news the light plant had exploded and was totally destroyed was just starting to get around. Someone was yelling the Russians had bombed us, while someone else with a stronger transmitter was overriding him and claiming one of the huge boilers had blown. Each of those boilers was as big as a small building, and if one of them had blown, it would be as devastating as a bomb.
Besides M'town, the Southland plant supplied other areas with power. With the plant itself gone, it would be days, at least, before we'd have any power, let alone full service. And without electricity, a city is a dead hunk of iron, concrete, asphalt and plastic.
Flicking to channel 22, I began to transmit again.
"KLZA 1508 to KRAO 2345. Do you copy?"
The reply was almost instantaneous.
"10-4 KLZA 1508. We copy."
"Ol' buddy, the balloon just went up--Southland blew a boiler, and that pretty well leveled the whole joint. I'm beginning my Emergency Contingency Plan, and am activating Stage One. Do you copy?"
"Ten-four. Will meet you at the rendezvous site."
"Roger, KLZA 1508 clear and on the side."
Laying aside my walkietalkie, I dragged out the huge backpack and frame I'd had built for me by a tentmaker and welder. The frame measured 2 1/2 feet wide by 4 feet long. The great pack could take a lot, and it was possible to strap a dufflebag or two, along with a sleeping bag, tarp and groundcloth onto the frame itself. I'd designed it with that in mind. After clearing it from the closet, I began to pack, working as fast as I could, without making any mistakes. By the time I was finished, I had everything I'd need--from basic survival gear to books, magazines and newspapers and tools that would come in handy for long-term survival.
The fully loaded pack weighed almost half as much as I did, but I got it on at last. Then, picking up my shotgun and donning my hardhat with the calcium carbide lamp on it, I walked out my room's door after unlocking it, relocked it behind me, and headed for the stairs.
They had candles lit when I stepped into the living room, and Dad started when he saw me.
"What are you doing with all of that stuff?" he demanded.
"Leaving." I told him.
"Where?" he demanded.
"You wouldn't care," I told him.
"Are you going on that survival kick again? Do you think the
Crunch, as you call it, has arrived?"
"It'll do until one comes along." I told him.
"You stay right here--this won't last long--they'll have repairs completed by morning."
"No they won't--the whole plant is gone."
"Where'd you hear that? Over that stupid CB radio you play with?" he sneered. Ignoring him, I turned and opened the front door and walked out.
"Why was I given such a stupid son?" was the last thing I heard him say.
Walking down the totally darkened street, my carbide lamp lighting the way, I heard the sound of glass shattering and suddenly running men appeared in my light's beam. "Hey! There's one--get him!"
My shotgun leaped to my shoulder, finger squeezing the trigger. BOOM! the flash and roar were tremendous, and the charging figures vanished as if by magic--except for the one who lay sprawled on the street ten feet from me.
Walking hard, I reached the rendezvous point, grateful I'd spent $2 for that MASS info packet, that had put me in touch with an M'town sportsman's club that was also a survivalist association.
Presently, a station wagon towing a trailer came slowly idling up to the spot, and I walked up to it, halting when a flashlight squirted light into my face.
"Hi--ready to go?" asked a cheerful female voice.
"Ready," I murmured, shrugging off my pack and loading it in first, and then climbing into the crowded rear seat, holding my gun carefully.
The station wagon took off, cruising slowly. The woman at the wheel, and her three kids were quiet and alert, looking around.
"Where's Jack?" I asked.
"He's still at home--securing it."
"Good. My family'll still be there." I grimaced.
"My father called me stupid whenever I tried to warn him."
"Your family isn't coming?" she asked, and I nodded.
"The brat, my folks--they wouldn't believe me.
'It can't happen here.
' I'm the 'stupid son'."
"Stupid like a fox." she replied crisply.
Grinning, I relaxed. It was curious, but I found myself not caring too much what happened to them. I guess they'd killed any love I'd had for them over the years with their picking, belittling and nagging and bitching.
We left the city limits behind us, and drove down the asphalt. Reaching a gravel turnoff, we pursued that until it came to an intersection. Hanging a left, we drove along that road until we came to a small farmhouse and outbuildings. Several cars were parked there, and lights were on inside.
"Our wind generator gives us enough power for some light after dark," said Wanda, as she stopped the car. Helping her with their gear, we were soon inside with everything--kids, gear and us. Everyone else who belonged to the survival association was already there, save for Jack, but soon, he too arrived, and then the chairman began to call the roll.
Everyone was present, and after that was taken care of, the chairman asked for a report from each of us. When he got to me, I told of my conversations on, and monitoring of, the CB channels, and my encounter with the looter gang.
"The situation seems clear--if grim," the chairman stated boldly. "With power gone, the rest of the public utilities will go too--and in a few days, the city will be a pigpen. From what we know also, law and order are breaking down inside the city--the looter gang that one of us ran into was probably just one of many. So, we had best prepare for a long, long stay--perhaps as long as two months. In view of the fact that lawlessness is starting to appear, we shall mount guard in case nightriders come our way. Tomorrow, we'll decide what shall be done in the way of long-term preparations, but for now, we shall mount guard and turn in. I have a duty roster drawn up. As I call out your names, stand up and get ready.
I didn't draw guard duty that night. But the following morning I did wind up on wood-gathering detail. Armed with my machete, folding saw and hatchet. I ventured into the woodlands around the small farmsite, and with three other fellows proceeded to cut and gather up dead wood.
Upon returning with our sizable load, we then split up the bigger pieces, and then kept breaking up the smaller ones until all we had left were sticks about as big and long as corncobs and fingers. Small sticks burn better than big ones.
The Franklin stoves we had wouldn't be necessary yet--except for food preparation. The large garden out back would provide enough food to see us through the winter, if it came to that. All in all, we numbered some forty people--men, women and kids. It was a bit crowded, but we were glad for the company. We had well water, and for sanitation, a crude septic tank affair--that was hooked up to a methane gas generator. The methane gas was in turn piped to either storage tanks, or burned by the small light plant we had set up along with our wind charger.
A week went by, and we marked our first week with a celebration--we sang songs--played games and had a shooting contest with non-firearm weapons. I did so-so with my slingshot, but one guy with a longbow made everyone look sick--except for another guy with a crossbow, who made the longbowman look sick.
We monitored CB channels and listened to the local radio station, which was back on the air. For the first time we found out what had actually happened. A boiler had exploded at the Southland plant--due to a structural flaw that had passed unnoticed by all until heavy pressure had been built up in it. The plant had indeed been almost gutted by the blast, and the loss of life had been heavy. It was not yet known just when electrical power would be restored--although vital public utilities should be restored in another week or so--scant consolation for the thousands who hadn't prepared at all for the debacle.
And so we stayed out at the retreat, working, playing, taking turns tutoring the kiddies, and all in all, we had a decent time of it.
The second week went, and then the third. By then I was adjusting to the routine, and for the first time in my life, I was a contributing member of a community. I was respected, and people listened to me, and didn't call me a dummy either.
On the third day of the fourth week we were there, a Tuesday, one of the kids was fooling around with one of the radios, and suddenly the local station, which had been broadcasting a pretty weak signal via standby generators, came through like a 21-gun salute.
I was helping with the washing that day, and I'd struck up a friendly relationship with one of the girls--a pretty dark-haired brown-eyed senorita named Consuelo. We'd just hung up the laundry when Jack came dusting around to tell us the news. Electrical power had been restored. The city had full power again, all public utilities were operating at capacity.
We held a meeting late that afternoon, and the consensus was that with things getting back to normal in the city, we could all head on back tomorrow.
That evening, sitting around the small Franklin stove, Consuelo beside me, everyone else singing, laughing, talking, having a good time, I was sad. Tomorrow I'd have to go back to my family and revert to being "the stupid son". Back to the nagging, bitching, belittling. Out here I'd been somebody with respect. I'd been a good man to handle many chores--cutting wood, washing clothes by hand, hoeing in the garden, doing other chores that need to be done--I'd won myself respect and was esteemed by my fellow survivalists as a man they could trust. But tomorrow--it would end.
I'd go home--and catch hell for having ducked out. But after all, they hadn't believed me--just like most people hadn't listened to Noah. Only when it was too late did they try to get aboard the Ark-- but by then, God had shut the door. And no-one else could get aboard. It was much the same way with the survival community.
"What's wrong?" asked Consuelo softly.
I told her--all of it. And ended with, "I don't want to go back--but what else is there?"
She smiled. "Maybe they'll change their tune when they see you. Stand up for yourself."
"I plan to , honey." I told her.
The next morning, Wednesday, we all piled into our vehicles and rode back to town.
Jack and Wanda were kind enough to drop me off at my place--which was outwardly okay. The front door was wide open, and I entered with my gun at ready--and found no-one else at home. Nothing looked disturbed, so I began to explore--and found a note on the kitchen table.
It said, "We have gone south to stay with some friends of your father's. We'll be back after things get back to normal. Love, Mom.
Laying the note down, I turned on the living room light and sat down in my father's recliner chair. Footsteps sounded on the porch, and two Army or National Guard MP's stalked inside, both in fatigue battledress, .45's drawn and ready.
"Hey--what is this?" I demanded, rising.
"Who're you?" snapped the senior MP, a tall, husky man with grim planes on his face.
"I live here. What's the deal?"
"Let's see your ID," demanded the second MP. Carefully, I dug out my wallet and tossed it to him. He caught it, flipped it open and scanned my papers--driver's license, social security card, draft card and gun club membership card and my sportsman's club card.
Tossing it back to me, he lowered his gun. "Sorry--we've had reports looters were still in this area."
"Are they?" I asked, with a start.
"We aren't sure--but they were real bad on the south side of town up until just awhile ago--after power was restored."
"Yeah--the gangs were really having a time of it--ambushing the refugees trying to leave the city by the south roads."
I gulped. "My folks said they were cutting out by the south roads. This note's dated a week ago."
"Then they're dead--those gangs killed everyone they got their hands on, buddy. What's their names?" asked the MP. I gave them, feeling a funny empty space appear in my gut all of a sudden.
The MP looked at his partner and nodded, "We'll check it out--the bodies have been mostly identified by now. Some got through, but not many. I hate to be gloomy, but--but it looks like your folks are dead."
They turned and marched out, as I went to the phone. Lifting it, I heard a dial tone. I called City Hall and they referred me to Civil Defense. I called them, and asked if they knew whether my folks were dead or alive.
A CD clerk checked and then got back to me. "Your little brother's at the pediatrics ward at MACH East hospital. I'm sorry, but your parents are dead--killed by looters when they tried to crash a roadblock."
"Thank you," I murmured, and slowly hung up. Gazing at the picture of my parents on the buffet in back of me, I murmured softly, "Dad, you said I was stupid, lazy, ignorant, dumb--ever since I was a kid, you said it.
Well, who's the dummy now, Dad?
Who's the dummy now?"
This was a short story from The Survivor series, volume 1, by Kurt Saxon.
Now Who's Stupid, Dad
by Marc Ridenour
in this vid you can see how i make fire with a clear plastic (PET) water bottle - the kind that you find everywhere (unfortunately... :( ).
i used charred cloth, horseshoe fungus and almost-dry cow dung to get an ember (you can use other natural tinder, too) and some jute twine to get a flame (you can use dry grass, tree bark fibers, dry leafs etc.).
i want to thank to my friend radu (aka m00thman) who gave me the ideea for this vid.
Tags: * bushcraft * bushcraft skills * firemaking * how to make fire * fire * tinder * start a fire * water bottle * plactic bottle * soda bottle * outdoor * outdoorsman * camping * survival * cooking
This is a simple fish trap based on the concept of a spring snare but modified to be more effective in more situations. The deadfall can be setup almost anywhere and has many advantages over a spring snare.
Tags: * survival fishing * primitive fishing * primitive trapping * survival school * dead fall trap * fish trap * primitive fish trap * fishing
Brothers Caleb Musgrave and Robert Munilla travel to the Boreal forests of Canada in the dead of winter (January) to film and demonstrate cold weather survival and wilderness skills. In this video, Brother Caleb, who grew up learning and living wilderness skills in this environment, along with Brother Robert show how to make the Sampson Post Deadfall, using a single tree. This trap was used by the Ojibway, Cree, Innu and a multitude of other sub-arctic cultures to catch furbearing mammals such as the mink and marten.
Tags: * Deadfall trap * trap * traps * trapping * survival skills * winter survival * Brothers of Bushcraft * camping * outdoors * educational * BOB * Bob * bob * Bug out bag * Bug-out bag * bushcraft * Canadian Bushcraft * cold weather survival
Are you ready to bug out in cold weather? What gear would you need? How would you stay clean?
I thought I was ready until I actually tried winter camping for ten days. I had a lot to learn, the hard, cold way.
Sot and I arrived on Sunday and were stoked to get on the trail to find a place to set up camp. The snow wasn't deep enough to need snowshoes, which also meant we wouldn't be making any snow shelters like a quinzee or snow cave.
After some scouting we found an open area ideal for setting up the 11 foot diameter tipi and outside fire pit. The hike in only took about 15 minutes with our over packed sleds, and we're both sadly out of shape. Each sled was loaded with about 60 pounds of gear.
After we caught our breath we started to set up. The woodstove and teepee didn't take long, and within a couple of hours we had a working campsite complete with an outside firepit and lean-to.
We froze for the first three nights as I just couldn't get the stove in the tepee to work. Even with our mountains of wool blankets. In fact, we spent much of the first three nights hanging out in the truck with the heater on waiting for the sun to rise so we could drive to town and have a hot breakfast.
Sot had enough of the cold, hard living by Thursday, so I drove him home. While driving him home I got more supplies and the keys for my friend's cabin that's on the land we were camping on.
I thought it would be great to recover with some easier living in the cabin but I was in for a rude awakening. Since the cabin was in the middle of being renovated there was no source of heat and the walls and floors had many small holes that made it just as cold inside as outside.
There was a propane stove, a bed and level floors though, so it was easier in some ways than living in the great outdoors. It took me a couple of hours to make the mental shift from camper to squatter, but I eventually got the hang of it.
My heart goes out to homeless people, especially in cold climates. I was lucky to have an escape plan from my ten day experiment and still I found it challenging.
- bed blankets
- hygiene-cleaning, pee, poo
- always cold, parka on
Tags: cold weather camping squatting survival extreme surviving survivalist survivalism survived zombie teotwawki emergency preparedness prepper tactical evasion sar training special forces military army ranger camp backpack equipment tipi teepee tepee tarp sled toboggan pulk knife howto how to snowshoe snow shoe fire making shelter bush craft bushcraft axe wood stove urban woodstove mukluk primitive wilderness outdoors review wool blanket weapon search rescue
a day out into the woods after some serious rain, presenting the swedish torch - my way: you don't need to cut and split big logs, and you can do it with your sak saw (although i preffer my fiskars). i cheated a bit, using a mini-bushbuddy burner (made from a tea candle) to light the torch.
Will YOU die first? I give you a WARNING on who to WATCH OUT FOR. I also give you a warning for YOURSELF if you are in "The Big Three."
This article is taken from American Survival Guide July, 1993 volume 15 number 7 pages 56 thru 59 Name: One Effort, Multiple Results: Survival Homestead By: Richard R Doucet
The author is a retired U.S. Army sergeant with a background in infantry, logistics and administrative and security training. He currently heads his own security firm and is an adjunct faculty member with the University of New Hampshire teaching seminars on home food production.-The editors.
WHAT is a BOL (Bug Out Location) / survivalist homestead? It is a home in which you can live in a real-world/present-time economy and social order, yet at the same time practice on a regular basis the survival skills you may need later.
All of this is accomplished while still living a normal life-style with access to work, schools, emergency services and stores, etc. But most importantly, you will not be in conflict with criminal, firearm or building codes, zoning ordinances, EPA regulations or planning board requirements.
The BOL / survivalist homestead offers one more very important option. That of helping you now to live a better quality life at a cheaper price and allowing you to shift to more severe survival plans only to the extent needed to meet emergencies.
In planning a BOL / survivalist homestead there are three concepts which must be incorporated into your thinking from the start and which must be adhered to if the goals are to be met. They are:
- Plan A and Plan B-Plan A is that part of all planning of your homestead which has to do with dealing in the present/real world time frame. Plan B is the planning for whatever emergencies you feel could threaten you. Both plans must be such that they can co-exist in the same place at the same time.
- One Effort with Multiple Results- This concept is simply "working smarter, not harder," fine tuned to an almost absolute. Every effort must result in more than just the one primary result. It allows you to accomplish more goals with less expenditure of time and money, to facilitate the first concept.
- Reduce, Re-use, Recycle- This concept is taken wholly from the environmental movement. Re-using material and recycling waste allows you to reduce expenses thus build with less cash outlay. This is also a skill you will need in any type of breakdown of social order, where normal access to stores and services will not be available.
Applying these concepts in homestead planning is not the first step. The first step is deciding what you are planning for-what emergencies or crises you might have to face.
This is subjective and no two people will feel that any one set of possible emergencies will be what they have to be ready for.
The process of thinking this through is called threat analysis. Done correctly it can give you an accurate picture of what it is you should be getting ready for. At the end of my threat analysis I decided that the following were what I wanted to be ready for:
- Short term cash flow problems.
- Severe weather conditions.
- Economic upheaval on a large scale.
- Catastrophic world events.
The first task in establishing a homestead is to find the land. You can eliminate many present-time and cirsis-time security problems with proper site location. At the same time the property should be located so that you have reasonable access to work, entertainment, schools and emergency services.
Other important considerations are taxes, community growth plans, amount of land for your needs, zoning ordinances and building codes in the area where you plan to buy.
I chose my property because it was large enough (15 acres), had the right topography, available firewood, garden space, animal space, hunting and potential for water. Also the town has as part of its charter that the community will remain rural with little growth, no heavy industry or commerce and with farming as its main industry.
Crime, in normal times is a by product of growth and population density in urban and suburban life, and increased crime and civil disorder are the first results of cultural breakdown. My location has been chosen to avoid these to a great extent while still having reasonable contact with the real world.
Finally my location allows me to use firearms, garden, raise animals and build pretty much what I want for now and the future because of the absence of myriad zoning regulations and building codes that are found in so many other communities today.
Security was at the top of my list of priorities in planning my homestead on the land I acquired. A poorly laid out homestead will result in one that is more difficult and costly to secure in both normal and crisis times.
Just locating the house-compound on a hill went a long way in avoiding problems with criminals now -Plan A-and in possible lawless times-Plan B. The compound is hard to see from the nearest road, especially in summer. It is impossible to tell just what is on the hill unless you walk or drive at least half way up the driveway. By this time a would-be intruder or gang finds that the entire front of the compound area is blocked by a marshland to the east, extending a few hundred yards beyond my property line, and a deep dug pond connected to a series of beaver ponds that run nearly a half mile to the west beyond my property line.
This fine example of an engineer water barrier is the result of hard working beavers that moved onto the adjoining property the same year I bought my parcel. Within a few years they had backed up enough water to flood all the aforementioned area except my driveway. The total cost to me for this barrier was $600 to have the deep pond dug. This system serves as a second source of water for emergencies, irrigation , swimming, and draws a wide variety of waterfowl, mammals, reptilles and fish which can be a food supply- One Effort with Multiple Results.
The water barrier freezes in winter. To deny access to the main compound all year round I knew I would have to install some type of fence, which could be expensive. Instead, I stacked brush and tree limbs from land-clearng operations around the top edge of the hill on which my home-compound was located-Reduce, Re-use, Recycle. This created an instant barricade called an abatis. In most places it was around three feet high and as much as eight feet wide.
The next year native New Hampshire blackberries, that grow in abundance in the area, made their appearance and soon formed a living flesh-tearing barbed wire barrier where the brush had been stacked. Unlike a fence that deteriorates and has to be maintained every year, my barrier just gets thicker and stronger without me lifting a finger except to cut it back here and there it also provides a good amount of fresh fruit and attracts animals which, on occasion, end up on the dining room table-One Effort with Multiple Results.
In building my home I wanted a strong dwelling which was also aesthetically pleasing, practical for day-to-day living and would meet all the zoning and building codes and yet would meet the emergencies I plan for.
Solar Heating-I used a lot of rough-cut lumber, stucco and stone inside the house I used one-inch lumber instead of sheet rock for the walls and ceilings because of its structural strength.
The kitchen, living room, dining room and master bedroom are on the south side of the house. This side has large areas of glass windows to allow solar heating during the colder months. The colder the season gets the lower the sun is on the horizon. By Dec. 21, the sun floods almost straight through the south windows, keeping the inside temperature around 65 degrees F. By June21, the sun is now high in the sky, adding little heat to the house during warmer months.
Because solar gain heating can overheat a house in the day time, there is a need for something to absorb the excess heat during the day and radiate it back into the house later on. This is called thermal mass. It is achieved by having no basement and building instead on a concrete slab, sometimes called a floating slab or a monolith slab.
For additional mass-and protection from gunfire if the need should arise-I built a solid concrete block wall of four-inch thick blocks almost the whole length of the house.
This wall collects heat from the wood/coal stove to prevent overheating of the north side rooms and then radiates it back late at night. This stove except for the Ben Franklin stove in the master bedroom which is used only occasionally, is the only source of man-made heat we have had for the past three winters
Plans for this year call for the addition of a propane gas heating system. The gas system will be one that does not rely on electricity to function. Once again if the heating system is connected to house current the loss of electricity means no heat. The wood/coal stove will be kept for back-up, cooking and heating, and just for the pleasure of a wood fire in the winter.
The north wall of the house is just the opposite, as far as windows go, of the south wall. The smallest windows allowed by code are placed here. These are the bathrooms, toilet and bedrooms. These rooms remain empty most of the day and do not need as much light. The smaller windows reduce heat loss and restrict entry from the outside.
To further reduce heat loss the north wall is triple insulated. Standard fiberglass was installed, then one-inch rigid insulation over the studs, and 7/16-inch flake board over the insulation there are no breaks in this barrier except the windows, to allow heat to escape or cold wind to infiltrate the house if desired.
Lastly, all closet space was built into the north wall to create as much "dead space" as possible to further isolate the heat in the house from radiational cooling.
Still Room, Root cellar, Work Shed-Once the main house was up the still room, root cellar, and work shop/shed were added.
A still room was the part of a colonial home where fermentation of home made brews, "kraut" making and pickling were conducted. It was also used to store smoked foods, beverages and other preserved items. I use ours for most of the same reasons and it is also where the water pressure system, well, washer and drier are located.
The dryer is vented through the root cellar by way of a four-inch PVC pipe Part of the system is underground in the root cellar which has a sand floor. This section of pipe has holes in it so condensed moisture can drain into the sand and humidify the root cellar when the drier is used. The end of the pipe has a fixture that allows me to vent the air outside when it is too warm in the cellar or vent into the cellar when it is too cold.
Root cellars are generally constructed underground or in hillsides. Mine is above ground because, with modern insulating materials, it was just cost effective and time saving to do so. In the cellar I can store appropriate food stuffs to last until late spring when the following year's crops start to come in. This is also a good place to store jugs of water in the event we lose electricity.
The wood storage area at the entrance of the still room holds about a half cord of firewood. With this entrance facing south the sun hits the wood pile every day in the winter, melting snow left on it after it is brought in from outside storage. This means we can bring wood into the house night or day and any weather without making a mess all over the place with melting snow.
The summer kitchen is where all the initial cleaning of garden and animal products takes place. All waste can go directly to the compost heap. Waste water from the sink goes directly to garden irrigation after passing through a grease trap. The contents of the grease trap also go to the compost heap.
The Well-Most wells are outside the home and at some distance. Mine is unusual as it is in the still room of the main house.
Few people have the well in a building, other than a small pumphouse, because when the pump and pipe have to be brought up for service, equipment and often a truck have to be used to get the 150 or 200 feet of pipe-full of water- and the pump up.
My well is 700 feet deep and a truck with the proper equipment will be needed to haul everything up. For this reason, the door leading to the outside lines up with the well so the truck needs only to back up and start working.
Having the well in the still room also means there is no chance of freeze ups or busting pipes that are at least four feet underground. The well is also constantly under lock and key where it cannot be tampered with. All of this comes under Plan A should a disaster strike that is so far reaching as to reduce our culture's technology to pre-electrical days, I can remove the pump and pipe and still reach my water in comfort and safety any time of the year-Plan B. I would simply use a container just an inch or so smaller in diameter than the 8 inch pipe well shaft. The container has a flap valve on the bottom and is suspended by a rope. As it is dropped through the water, the valve is pushed open and the container fills. When pulled up the force of the water pushes the valve back down and seats it so the container stays full. Though the well is 700 feet deep, the water level is only 35 feet from the top when it is full. This gives me at 1 1/2 gallons per foot, about 800 gallons in reserve.
In New Hampshire, as in most states, you cannot get a building permit with out a state approved septic system plan. I applied Plan A by putting in a normal flush toilet as the main one in the home and a composting toilet in the master bedroom for back up-Plan B.
The composting toilet needs no special hook up except for a vent through the roof. When you lose electricity that means there is no well pump either, and thus no flush toilet. But the composting one will still be functional for at least three days.
Food-The only real answer to a reliable food supply during bad times is to produce your own, or most of it, all the time.
Producing your own food on a constant basis means you not only have a constant source of reliable food, but you also have the prepared land and facilities, tools and skills to keep going. You can do it all, from planting a garden bed to sowing, raising, cleaning, butchering and preserving your produce, meats and fish.
The most common argument against the whole process of home food production is the time involved, followed by cost. While this is a subject which merits an entire article in itself and there isn't enough space in this article to go into it in depth,suffice it to say that if you have the resources and time to establish your own home food production, you will find it well worth your while.
I have to admit that the initial efforts to set up garden space and small animal facilities is time consuming though not necessarily expensive. But, the set up time is a one-shot effort.
I have used many techniques-too numerous to include here- for saving time, energy, and money in producing food.
In growing tomatoes in the garden area for example, newsprint and grass clippings have been put down in the tomato bed to prevent weeds from growing and reduce the need to water.
For a few hours work a week in home food production from late April through October, you can raise prepare and put up (store) most of your food for a year. And doing so reduces your cost of purchasing the same amounts and types of food by half or more.
The lessons learned by early homesteaders still apply today.
- Analyze possible threats to you
- Choose terrain that lends itself to defense.
- Plan security around the principles of "Avoidance." "Deception" and "Denial."
- Reduce costs and effort as well as help the environment, by following the concepts of "Plan A and Plan B, "One Effort with Multiple Results" and "Reduce, Re-use, Recycle."
- Assure yourself good shelter, reliable water and constant food.
Think about this as you reflect on your own plans to survive... now and later.
How to CLEANLY Field Dress a Deer in under 7 Minutes - WARNING GRAPHIC!
My first time to make an instructional video. Usually takes me 5-7 min to field dress a deer start to finish. However I haven't ever done it while talking before so it took a bit longer :) I made this video for my brother-in-law and decided to post it here. Sorry the camera angle isn't better but I hope it helps you in the field.
Note: If you want to keep your canopy (neck and head skin) whole for shoulder mounting, simply cut the trachea just above the top of the collar bone and proceed from there, or check with your taxidermist, for some the cut doesn't matter.
Tags: * Deed Deer * Deer * Doe * Buck * Rack * 4pt * Hunting * Gutting * Field Dressing * Venison * Safety
Using the net we made in the netting videos to build a live capture trap for small game and birds.
Changes to the set up we should have made, but didnt were
1- use a bigger net
2 - use a shorter length of cordage between the net and main cordage.
Good practice though and unless you try, you will never know what you need to do make the trap even more effective.
Wild Food Procurement: Simple and comprehensive kit for bushcraft fishing and survival use.
Tags: * survival * fishing * bushcraft * wilderness * living * self-reliance * primitive * skills * dual * ozark * mountian * preparedness
The pine tree has a lot to offer the bushcraft enthusiast from a source of vitamin C to a colander! In the first of 3 films, survival expert Sean Collins demonstrates the uses of pine needles and cones in a woodland setting. In subsequent programmmes he talks about pine string and uses for a dead pine tree.
Tags: * bushcraft * outdoor sports * woodlands * pine needles * survival * pine tree * camping
Tags: * bushcraft glue * pitch pine uses * pitch pine * pine pitch * primitive glue * survival glue * fire sticks * pitch glue
Making a survival water transpiration bag still is similar to the vegetation bag, only easier. Simply tie the plastic bag over a leafy tree limb with a tube inserted, and tie the mouth of the bag off tightly around the branch to form an airtight seal. Tie the end of the limb so that it hangs below the level of the mouth of the bag. The water will collect there. The same limb may be used for 3 to 5 days without causing long-term harm to the limb. It will heal itself within a few hours of removing the bag.
CAUTION Do not use poisonous vegetation. It will provide poisonous liquid!
Survival Water Transpiration Bag
Survival Spring Pole Snare
The spring pole snare requires a small sapling and cordage to construct. The trigger for the spring pole is the toggle. It is designed to lift the animal off the ground; not allowing predatory animals to take your game. Remember, the trigger can not be so tight that the intended game can not set it off.
SURVIVAL SPRING POLE SNARE
Survival Fishing Spear
If you are near shallow water (about waist deep) where fish are large and plentiful, you can spear them.
(1) Cut an 18-24" long straight hardwood sapling, fire harden if green.
(2) Sharpen one end of the sapling.
(3) Shave two green saplings to serve as prongs.
(4) Carve barbs on the prongs.
(5) Notch main staff to support prongs.
(6) Lash the prongs to the main staff.
(7) Prongs that do not easily flex under the weight of a finger need to be shaved and thinned, prior to lashing.
(8) To spear fish, find an area where fish either gather or where there is a fish run. Place the spear point into the water and slowly move it towards the fish. Then, with a sudden push, impale the fish on the stream bottom. Do not try to lift the fish with the spear. Hold the spear with one hand and grab and hold the fish with the other. Do not throw the spear as you will probably lose it.
SURVIVAL FISHING SPEAR
SURVIVAL FISHING SPEAR VARIATIONS
The water filter is a three tier system. The first layer, or grass layer, removes the larger impurities. The second layer, or sand layer, removes the smaller impurities. The final layer, or charcoal layer (not the ash but charcoal from a fire), bonds and holds the toxins. All layers are placed on some type of straining device and the charcoal layer should be at least 5-6 inches thick. Layers should be changed frequently and straining material should be boiled. Remember, this is not a disinfecting method, cysts can possibly move through this system.
Survival Water Filtration Devices
If the water you find is also muddy, stagnant, and foul smelling, you can clear the water--
- By placing it in a container and letting it stand for 12 hours.
- By pouring it through a filtering system.
Note: These procedures only clear the water and make it more palatable. You will have to purify it. ( ie. boiling, iodine, chlorine etc. )
To make a filtering system, place several centimeters or layers of filtering material such as sand, crushed rock, charcoal, or cloth in bamboo, a hollow log, or an article of clothing
A group's survival depends largely on the ability to organize activity. An emergency situation or SHTF scenario does not bring people together for a common goal initially, but rather the more difficult and confusing the situation, the greater are the group’s problems can be
High morale must come from internal cohesiveness and not merely through external pressure. The moods and attitudes can become wildly contagious. Conscious, well-planned organization and leadership on the basis of delegated or shared responsibility often can prevent panic. High group morale has many advantages.
- An individual feels strengthened and protected since he realizes that his survival may depend on others whom he trusts.
- The group can meet failure with greater persistency.
- The group can formulate goals to help each other face the future.
Factors that Influence Group Survival. There are numerous factors that will influence whether a group can successfully survive.
Organization of Manpower Organized action is important to keep all members of the group informed; this way the members of the group will know what to do and when to do it, both under ordinary circumstances and in emergencies.
Selective Use of People In well-organized groups, the person often does the job that most closely fits his personal abilities and skill level
Acceptance of Suggestion and Criticisms The senior man must accept responsibility for the final decision, but must be able to take suggestion and criticisms from others.
Consideration of Time On-the-spot decisions that must be acted upon immediately usually determine survival success.
Check Survival Gear Failure to check you survival gear and equipment can result in failure to survive.
Survival Knowledge and Survival Skills Confidence in one's ability is increased by acquiring survival knowledge and Survival skills.
Survival ASPECTS OF LEADERSHIP. When dealing with leadership challenges in a survival situation, the foremost weapon a leader must employ is his vigilance: a leader’s attention should be focused on ensuring all people of the group are contributing to the overall success of the situation.
Cohesion. As a leader, you must ensure that all members of the team are working towards the survivability of the group. You can not allow individuals or small groups to formulate their own goals or plan of action.
Self-Worth. A person without self-worth is a person who does not value living. Leadership is a critical; factor in building self-worth. Tasks must be found for each person in which best suits their situation while attempting to receive positive results. (i.e., A man with a broken leg can monitor the fire, A man with a broken arm can still procure water for the group). This will make each and every person feel useful and not a burden to the other members, regardless of their individual situation.
Natural Reactions to Stress. A leader must quickly identify natural reactions to signs of stress his group may be displaying (i.e., Fear, Anxiety, Guilt, Depression). Failure to recognize these signs early will result in injuries, illness, or death which will reduce the groups survival rate. Corrective action must be taken immediately.
Will to Survive. The will to survive is a “mind-set” that must be instilled and reinforced within all members of the group. Without the “will to survive”, no one will succeed.
CONCLUSION. Paramount to survival is preparation and training that will foster trust and confidence in a groups capability to improvise, adapt and overcome in a survival situation. Poorly trained people or groups will not possess the “Will to Survive” as they lack the fundamental skills to overcome the survival situation. Individual confidence is built through challenging and realistic training that teaches a person how to survive and how to effectively use their survival gear and survival skills.
Survival Training Notes
The following are excerpts from notes on survival training that was used while an instructor at the Special Forces School (1983-1985) where he was fortunate enough to serve under LTC James N. (Nick) Rowe, and the US Army Ranger School (1986-1988). They reflect his opinions and understandings of survival techniques and in no way should they be accepted as "gospel." If you have a need or interest in wilderness survival, I suggest you research the subject by reading any of the many excellent sources on the market to include: FM 21-76: Survival, The Boy Scout Handbook, Outdoor Survival Skills by Larry Dean Olsen, Bushcraft by Richard Graves, or Bernard Shanks' Wilderness Survival.
by Carl J. Archer MAJOR (USAR), Special Forces
The key word "SURVIVAL" is an acronym to be used as an "immediate action drill" to be performed at the outset of a wilderness survival situation. Use this simple phrase to plan measures that will assist you in surviving in the wilderness and returning to civilization. The Key Word "SURVIVAL" will provide you with two of the most important survival skills--the ability to organize yourself and the ability to stay calm.
A. "S" stands for "Size up the situation."
(1) Consider your physical condition and perform any first aid required.
(2) Concentrate your senses on getting a feel for the area.
(3) Conduct an inventory of the equipment you have.
(4) Begin planning.
B. "U" stands for "Undue haste makes waste."
(1) Reacting without thinking or planning can result in faulty decisions and could result in your death.
(2) Acting in haste, just for the sake of action, will make you careless. The natural tendency in a stressful situation is to run. You must overcome this tendency and think of your objectives.
(3) If you act in haste, you may lose or forget equipment, you may not make a survival plan, and you may become disoriented and not know your location. As a cultural group. Americans have little patience. Know this weakness if it is your own particular Achilles' heel.
C. "R" stands for "Remember where you are."
(1) Always knowing where you are on the map and how it relates to the surrounding terrain is a principle no outdoorsman should violate.
(2) If in a group, always know the location of the maps and compasses.
(3) Guard against the natural tendency of allowing someone else to be responsible for navigation. Always be aware of your route, regardless of the mode of travel.
(4) Whether you are in a base camp or on the move, you should always know the following things:
(a) Direction or location of the nearest populated area.
(b) Direction or location to the nearest major transportation artery (river, highway, railroad track, etc.)
(c) Location of local water sources.
D. "V" stands for "Vanquish fear and panic."
(1) Fear and panic are two of the greatest enemies in a survival situation. These are not unusual emotions. The secret is to recognize them and control them.
(2) Fear, panic, and anxiety take their toll on the body. They divert needed energy.
(3) Many people have never been alone and without diversion. This could subject them to anxiety.
(4) The best way to control fear in a survival situation is preparation, prior planning, and training.
E. "I" stands for "Improvise."
(1) Make the wrong tool and do the right job.
(2) Make an object do more than one job.
F. "V" stands for "Value living."
(1) A man's will to survive, to endure, to live, is the key to survival. Maintaining a positive mental outlook and a desire to live will allow an individual to overcome tremendous odds.
G. "A" stands for "Act like the natives."
(1) Many situations we would consider to be "survival situations" are dealt with on a daily basis by primitive peoples all over the world. To them, these situations are a way of life and hold no specific danger. Read about these people and our own ancestors. They survived in a world without electricity, stores, or fast food; you can too.
H. "L" stands for "Learn basic skills."
(1) Learn to put together a survival kit that will meet your specific needs and probable survival situations. Learn to use your survival kit.
(2) Learn to make fire in different environments with different materials.
(3) Learn to build shelter from natural materials.
(4) Learn to find and purify water.
(5) Learn first aid and the treatment of most common survival dangers such as insect stings, snake bites, climatic injuries, etc.
(6) Concentrate on "doing" as opposed to "knowing". Many people know how to build a fire, but cannot build a fire in a rain storm with damp tinder. That is the fine line between surviving or dying.
The physiological and psychological aspects of survival and their significance on an individual in a wilderness survival situation is very subjective. Know your mental, emotional, and physical limitations and prepare for their impact on your ability to survive.
A. Fear is a normal reaction to a threatening situation. Acceptance of this fear will lead to purposeful rather than random behavior. This way will greatly increase chances for survival.
B. How a person will react to fear depends more on himself than on the situation. Timid and anxious persons may respond more coolly to fear than the physically strong or happy-go-lucky.
C. Two factors frequently reported to decrease or help control fear are:
(1) Having confidence in your abilities and your equipment.
(2) Concentrating on the situation at hand and the job to be done.
D. The seven "enemies" of survival are pain, cold, thirst, hunger, fatigue, boredom, and loneliness. They are mental distractions and difficult to overcome.
(1) Pain is uncomfortable but in itself is not harmful or dangerous. It is a symptom of underlying problems and should be monitored. It can be controlled and can become subordinate to efforts to carry on.
(2) Cold numbs the mind, the body, and the will.
(3) Thirst dulls the mind. Serious dehydration may occur in a survival situation even when there is plenty of water available.
(4) Hunger lessens your ability to think rationally.
(5) Even a moderate amount of fatigue can materially reduce mental ability. Fatigue can make you careless and promote the feeling of hopelessness.
(6) Boredom and loneliness are two of the toughest enemies of survival to overcome.
E. Everyone has experienced pain, cold, thirst, hunger, fatigue, boredom, and loneliness, but not to the extent that their survival has been threatened. The more you know about these and their effects on you, the better you will be able to control them, rather than letting them control you.
F. One of the most important psychological requirements for survival is the ability to accept immediately the reality of a new emergency and react appropriately to it.
G. Much of the available evidence demonstrates the importance of having a "preparatory attitude" for whatever emergency may occur. Knowledge and rehearsal of survival and emergency procedures bring about a feeling of confidence and preparation for survival. While you can't prepare for every situation, you can prepare for the most probable situation.
H. Survival may depend more on personality than upon danger, weather, terrain, or nature of the emergency. A person is more prone to survive if he can make up his mind; can improvise; can live with himself,; can adapt to the situation; can remain cool, calm, and collected; hopes for the best, but prepares for the worst; has patience; can take it; and knows where his special fears and worries comes from. The will to survive, along with a positive mental attitude, are key ingredients to surviving.
I. In summary, development of self-sufficiency is the primary means of protecting yourself against the physiological and psychological stress that could affect you in a survival situation. If you have not learned self- sufficiency, it is not too late to begin.
Preparedness for a survival situation is the cornerstone of success. You should build a personal survival kit based on your own needs and the probable situations you will encounter. This kit should be carried whenever you could be placed in a wilderness survival situation.
A. Survival planning begins with realizing that you may be placed into a survival situation at any time. Realizing this, you must take steps to enhance your ability to survive. Be aware of your environment, whether you are entering a strange building or leaving your camp for a short hike.
B. A person's ability to survive cannot be fully judged prior to actually being involved in a survival situation. Training, practice, and preparation may mean the difference between life and death.
C. Become familiar with the contents of any survival kit you have access to. Practice using the contents of your personal survival kit under differing conditions.
D. Carry some forms of survival kit with you at all times. This could range from spare cash on a trip to the city; extra identification, credit cards, and medicine on a trip overseas; or a wilderness survival kit that you carry on a backpacking trip.
E. Before constructing a survival kit, consider your skills, the environment you are working in, and where the kit will be carried.
F. When selecting items for your kit, avoid redundancy and look for items that will perform more than one function. Build flexibility into your kit.
G. The container for your kit should be water repellent, accept components of varying shapes and sizes, and be durable. Your kit should be small enough to fit comfortably in a pocket. A survival kit doesn't do any good if you don't carry it.
H. As a minimum, your wilderness survival kit should allow you to make a fire, build shelter, and purify/carry water. Also consider first aid, signaling, and food procurement.
I. Do not delay the completion of a survival kit to support you in various situations. Do not buy "high speed" components. Concentrate on sturdy, inexpensive components that will perform the required functions.
J. Maintain a survival log in a survival situation. Entries into the log should be clear and concise. They should explain who you are, how you got into a survival situation, and an inventory of your equipment. Further entries should include your activities, what you eat/drink, amount/description of urine/feces, and physical/mental state.
K. Draw a map of the local area. Include a legend, north arrow, location of your shelter, water sources, game trails, your traps and snares, major terrain features, roads, latrine area, and an alternate camp site.
Fire building is one of the three critical factors in a wilderness survival situation. A fire can improve your mental well-being, keep you warm, purify water by boiling, be used as a signal, and cook your food.
A. Selection of a site takes into consideration the possibility of grass or forest fires, wet or flooded ground, rain, and snow.
B. Heat, fuel, and oxygen are needed to build a fire.
C. Heat can be obtained by matches, lighter, magnifying glass, friction, battery, or the discharge of a weapon.
D. Fuel falls into three categories:
(1) Tinder ignites with a minimum of heat. Examples of tinder are birch bark, wood shavings, dry straw/grass, sawdust, waxed paper, bird down, hemp rope/twine, a candle, cloth squares dipped in paraffin/wax, or gasoline mixed with dirt.
(2) Kindling is readily combustible fuel that is added to tinder once sufficient flame is obtained. Examples of kindling are small twigs, cardboard, and split wood.
(3) Sustaining fuel is added to maintain the fire once it is started. Examples of sustaining fuel include deadwood, logs, and split green wood.
E. Holly and fir should not be used for fire building since they can explode.
F. To build a fire, place a small amount of tinder on a clear dry surface; ignite the lower windward side of the tinder; slowly add kindling after the tinder has ignited; slowly add sustaining fuel after the kindling has ignited. Build your fire "loosely" to ensure oxygen can circulate around the fuel.
Exposure to the elements is the biggest killer of people in a survival situation. The ability to shelter yourself from the extremes of the elements will go a long way to improve your chances of survival. Shelter can be portable and carried as part of your kit or built from natural material.
A. In selecting a site for a field shelter, consider what the shelter will protect you from. Ideal sites in winter and summer will differ. Select a winter site near fuel and water that will offer protection from the wind. In summer, choose a site that will protect you from rain, sun, and insects. Evaluate your environment.
(1) In coastal areas, consider high tide levels.
(2) In foothills, avoid flash flood (low) areas.
(3) In mountainous areas, avoid potential avalanche sites.
(4) In all areas, choose a site that is well drained.
B. Ponchos and tarps can be used to construct quick, effective, temporary shelters. Using a poncho or tarp, you can construct a lean-to, pup tent, hammock, or envelope.
C. A timber lean-to is similar to a poncho or tarp lean-to, but it is made from locally procured, natural materials (brush, pine needles, etc.).
D. When building a shelter in snow, insulation from the ground is extremely important.
E. A simple, effective dessert/beach shelter can be made by digging a man sized hole approximately 18 inches deep in the sand and covering it with two layers of shade producing material (poncho, tarp, etc.). There should be an air space of approximately six inches between the shade layers.
The ability to procure and purify water in a survival environment is one of the most critical and difficult tasks to accomplish. Dehydration is second only to exposure as a killer in survival situations. Many survival manuals and kits emphasize food procurement, but water procurement is much more crucial. A person can go weeks without food but only several days without water.
A. Seawater, blood, urine, or alcohol should not be used as a substitute for water. Your body will expend more fluid purifying them than it will derive from them.
B. Snow and ice are an excellent source of water but must be melted prior to use.
C. Rainwater or dew may be collected in waterproof material such as a poncho or tarp. It may be soaked up in cloth and wrung out. Shallow wells may be dug to collect rainfall and run-off. Water may be obtained from hollow trees, puddles, crevices, and leaves.
D. Water may be condensed from the steam of boiling seawater.
E. The basic water still will provide water in almost any environment. The water still can be in ground (a sheet of plastic, weighted in the center, spread over a hole in the ground, with a collection vessel underneath), above ground (a plastic bag filled with non-poisonous green vegetation and placed in the sun), or a transportation still (a plastic bag, tied over the end of a living, non-poisonous plant or tree branch). The in ground still is the best expedient way to purify water in a contaminated environment.
F. Muddy, stagnant, or polluted water should be made clear by filtration through layers of sand, gravel, and charcoal; or by settling prior to purification.
G. Water must be purified by boiling for 5-10 minutes; adding purification tablets per package instructions; adding 5-10 drops of 2% tincture of iodine per quart of water (let stand for 30 minutes); adding 5-10 drops of chlorine bleach per quart of water (let stand for 30 minutes); or using a portable purifier available commercially.
The subject of survival in a long term disaster goes beyond having stockpiles of beans, bullets and band-aids. Those that do survive during a long term emergency will no doubt be tried and tested with a great many things. One of those trying scenarios is dealing with death.
Zombie attacks seem to be a prevalent theme for preppers to prepare for. In fact, the CDC has even posted a preparedness article on how to ward off zombie attacks. While I believe these zombies will likely take the form of substance abusers, mental patients, chronically ill or diseased, and desperate individuals whose basic needs have not been met, they will die out in the first few months of an onset of a major disaster, and there presence will rarely be an issue in a long term situation.
In reality, a majority of those that will die during a long-term disaster will be from illnesses brought on by acute respiratory infections due to cramped living conditions, poor water conditions (or lack of), or bacterial infections from wounds. If we survive a major disaster, America would become a third world country and the aftermath of such a scenario will be similar to those living in Africa, Ethiopia and India.
Illness Due to Poor Water Conditions
Typically, any diseases that are brought on by lack of sanitation and hygiene are controllable and preventable. In a disaster where water sources are compromised, people within a 50 mile radius could be adversely impacted by illness and disease if just one person incorrectly handles water or incorrectly disposes of waste. Contaminated water, poor sanitation and/or lack of hygiene leads to diseases such as Hepatitis A, viral gastroenteritis, cholera, Shigellosis, typhoid, Diphtheria and polio. If these diseases affect enough people, an epidemic will ensue.
Dehydration and diarrhea are also water-related matters to contend with. Those without adequate water conditions and/or are suffering from disease brought on by poor water conditions could quickly dehydrate. These types of illnesses typically affect at-risk populations such as children, the sick and the elderly. Young children in particular are at high risk for diarrhea and other food- and waterborne illnesses because of limited pre-existing immunity and behavioral factors such as frequent hand-to-mouth contact. The greatest risk to an infant with diarrhea and vomiting is dehydration. In addition, fever or increased ambient temperature increases fluid losses and speeds dehydration. Having knowledge beforehand on how to properly clean drinking water and food, and the symptomatology and treatment of these types of diseases can prevent further outbreaks from occurring.
Recommended preparedness items:Survival water filtration systems like Purificup, water purification tablets, chlorine granules, bleach, electrolyte or re-hydration powders, anti-diarrea medicines.
Malnutrition from either improper water conditions or from lack of nutrients is also a large killer amongst those in impoverished communities. Medical experts say there is a symbiotic relationship between malnutrition and diarreah. Malnutrition increases the severity of diarrhea while diarrhea can cause malnutrition. Either way, prevention for both of these health issues is key.
Those that are malnourished are more suseptible to illness and disease. Individuals who are malnourished will also be vitamin deficient and their health is likely to regress further. Those who survive from malnutrition are permanently affected by this disease and may suffer from recurring sickness, faltering growth, poor brain development, increased tooth decay, reduced strength and work capacity, and increased chance of chronic diseases in adulthood. Adult women with this condition will give birth to underweight babies.
Recommended preparedness items: dietary supplements, vitamin powders, seeds for sprouting or seeds for fresh vegetables and fruits, survival bars, knowledge of alternative means to attain vitamins
Acute Respiratory Infections
Upper respiratory infections (URI) will also be a leading cause of death in a long term disaster. Upper respiratory infections include: colds, flu, sore throat, coughs and bronchitis can usually be cured with additional liquids, rest and nourishment. Allowing the illness to exacerbate will lead to secondary infections such as bacterial pneumonia. The germs from pneumonia are easily spread from an infected person to others by coughing or sneezing or through close contact. A major concern about respiratory infections is that there are many drug resistant strands of viruses, bacterias and diseases (including tuberculosis), that regular medicine will not cure. In a long term disaster situation, many could perish.
To properly prepare for this type of medical situation, learn about the more prevalent viruses and bacterias in your country and how to prevent them in order to provide a healthy living environment in a long term situation.
Not only are URI’s a concern but other air-borne diseases such as tuberculosis will likely fester during a long term scenario. In regular non SHTF times, treatment for tuberculosis requires 6-12 months of medication. In a long term emergency, chances of surviving tuberculosis are slim. The best way to prevent tuberculosis is adequate nutrition, vitamin D and living in a properly ventilated shelter.
Survival groups that have multiple people living under one roof will only increase the likelihood of passing air-borne infections and diseases to one another. In addition, those in an at-risk group (elderly, immuno deficient, infants) are more likely to catch illnesses. If a survival group is sharing a home, an infirmary or sick room should be prepared for those who have fallen ill. Isolating the person who is ill will limit exposure to the other members of the group. Adequate nutrition, water, rest, good sanitary practices and ventilation of the home is essential in curbing this.
Recommended preparedness items: decongestants, expectorants, upper respiratory medicines, antibiotics (for secondary and bacterial infections), knowledge on medicinal herbs, prepare a sick room at your survival homestead
Infections From Wounds
Open injuries have the potential for serious bacterial wound infections, including gas gangrene and tetanus, and these in turn may lead to long term disabilities, chronic wound or bone infection, and death. Anitibiotics will be few and far between and will be more precious than gold. Without proper medicines, antiseptic and knowledge on proper medical procedures, many will die of bacterial infections. Learning medical skills, gaining knowledge on natural medicines and alternative medical antiseptic (i.e., Dakin’s Solution) before a disaster occurs could help people survive from wound infections. Also, ensuring the area that you treat medical emergencies is clean and as sterile as possible may also prevent bacterial infections.
Recommended preparedness items: stock up on maxi pads for wound absorption, gauze, celox, antibiotics, suture needles and other basic first aid supplies.
Additionally, consider developing the following skills: basic first aid class, sign up for EMT classes in your community, an off-grid medical care class such as those offered by onPoint Tactical. Also, consider investing in books such as When There is No Doctor and When There is No Dentist.
Also look into making your own antiseptics utilizing alcohol distillation, such as the custom made units from LNL Protekt.
These illnesses (provided above) have impacted countries all over the world. These illness and conditions, coupled with unsanitary living conditions such as substandard sanitation, inadequate food and water supplies and poor hygiene, make disaster-affected people especially vulnerable to disease. These illnesses will affect us no matter what part of the world we live in, what socio-economic status we currently hold, and no matter how prepared we think we are.
Understanding what can happen and being prepared when it does is absolutely essential. The last thing we want to do when a serious condition arises is to panic. Preparing your supplies, developing your skills and educating the rest of your family and preparedness group on how to prevent, identify and counteract these serious conditions will provide a significant boost to your ability to survive if the worst happens.
Survival Skills Starting a Fire in Wet Conditions
Making and maintaining a fire in wet conditions can be challenging unless you have the right skills The first thing you need to do is gather the required materials, that is tinder, kindling and fuel. However if it is wet or raining or even with snow on the ground, it can be a bit more difficult, but not impossible, if you know where to look.
Some things to look for and consider:
- Standing dead fall
- Hanging dead fall
- Tree bark
- Inside of mature milkweed pods
- Pine pitch or pine resin
- Underneath rock shelves
- Underneath downed trees or logs or even inside of them
- Inside of thick shrubs or sedges
- Underneath heavy snow pack if the temps are below freezing
- Heavy patches of dead weeds or tall grasses
- Inside or arround old animal burrows, just be cautious with this one make sure the owner is not at home!
- One stick fire method
Another consideration maybe on your person, a piece of your clothing, or even something from your wallet. And yes that does include the paper cash you might have as well, if your in a survival situation then you had better really consider it. It is far better to loose a few pieces of paper money then to loose your life don't you think?
If you are not completely drenched you might be able to find lint in the very bottom corners of your pockets. Dry lint will ignite very easily as long as you have acquired enough to use as tinder.
In wet conditions it is best to build your fire on top of something and if possible underneath some type of refuge. Before creating your fire clear an area, look for a foundation to start it on, a flat piece of wood, metal, debris or a rock. Make use of what ever is in the area to keep the rain or snow off your fire until it gets hot enough to sustain itself.
In wet conditions you will have a very difficult time finding dry natural tinder, this is the very reason why Survivalists and Bushcrafters carry many different types of tinder in their survival and bushcraft kits and practice many different methods of Firecraft.
Here is a very good 2 part playlist demonstrating many of the topics discussed here.