Survival Water Filtration

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

Survival Water Filtration Devices

Group Survival in a SHTF Scenario


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

Groups Morale

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.

  1. An individual feels strengthened and protected since he realizes that his survival may depend on others whom he trusts.
  2. The group can meet failure with greater persistency.
  3. 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

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

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.

Physiological and Psychological Aspects of Survival

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.

Survival Planning and Kits

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

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.

Water Procurement/Purification

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.

4 Ways to Die in a SHTF Scenario

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.

Urban Survival Guide


Survival Skills Starting a Fire in Wet Conditions

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.

How to find dry materials in wet conditions and successfully build a fire in a wilderness survival situation.

Six Survival Tools That Don't Fit in Your Kit

So it's the end of the world. No problem. Don't panic. Just grab your handy bug-out kit, sit back with some popcorn, and try to make the most of Armageddon. I just have one question for you: what in the world did you put in that bag that makes you so confident you'll do any better than the unprepared masses around you? (Don't answer that... it's a trick question!)

Do you remember that old cartoon “Felix the Cat”? There was a line in the theme song that went, “...whenever he gets in a fix, he reaches into his bag of tricks!” Those were the good old days, huh? Well the sad truth is that we often approach survival preparation just like that. If you think you can pack a bunch of gear in a bag and call yourself “survival ready”, then you are in for a world of hurt. If being prepared were that easy, we'd all just pick up a FEMA-approved survival kit from Wal-Mart and wait out the next disaster in duct-tape-and-plastic shelters. The truth is, there is no magic bullet, and if it's TEOTWAWKI out there, there's no guarantee you'll even make it home to your bullets. There's one thing that I will guarantee though: In an emergency, your survival kit will not contain everything you need, no matter what you've packed.

Now before you get too bent out of shape defending the $15,000 you spent on Bisquick, whiskey, and ammo, here's what I mean: Packing a bag is not the same as being prepared. Regardless of what gear you've decided you need for survival, I'd like to offer you six important things that won't be found in your kit:

#1 Questions (BE SPECIFIC!)

Survival is a mindset, and questions can be powerful when preparing for the worst. Ask them now while life is easy. You might not like the answers you come up with when the pressure's on. Below are a few good questions to ask yourself. These questions are not rhetorical. It's up to you to come up with your own answers, but I did include a few of my own in italics.

Now on with the questions:

Can I really be so cold hearted as to hunker down with a year's supply of food and firewood while my neighbors are starving outside in the cold?

Be specific:

Do I have the mental toughness to turn strangers away? What about my neighbors? How would I explain that to my kids? Is isolation the answer? Is there some better approach that still protects my family? If not, am I willing to stand firm?

What gear am I putting too much faith in?

Be specific:

What if I lose the key to that lock or forget the combination? (More on lock-picking later...)

Is my flashlight waterproof?

What if my GPS is dead when I go to get my secret cache in the woods? I'll answer this one for you. All you need is a decent compass with clear angle markings. Standing at the cache site, carefully record the angles (from North) for at least two objects nearby. Now you can find the spot again as long as you can find your reference objects. You may want to pick more than two references just in case the view to any of them is blocked. Avoid things like trees or buildings that might not be the same when you go back. back to the questions.

When is my kit going to cause more problems than it solves?

Be specific:

Did I leave anything in my hidden cache that could compromise my security (or the location of my other caches)?

Am I going to get in trouble if a state trooper finds my [fill-in-the-blank] hidden in the woods?

What if a teenager finds it?

Could I stand to carry that heavy bag all day?

On the run?


Could there ever be a situation when it's safer to be unarmed?

Last year a man was killed in my neighborhood when he threatened a gun-toting punk with a rock... not smart and ultimately tragic. If you are outgunned, it's probably best if you are not seen as a threat.

What about creature comforts?

Sure, I can survive using X,Y, and Z, but can I make my life easier by preparing better?

Be specific:

Am I willing to use nothing but a Leatherman to open canned goods for several weeks or months?

Can I stand to sleep on/in [fill-in-the-blank: my packable hammock, cot, sleeping bag, truck bed, back seat, etc.]?

How will poor sleep affect my ability to keep up with the daily tasks required for survival?

Do I have to wipe with 80-grit toilet paper just because it’s WW-III outside?

Wouldn’t the soft toilet paper be okay for emergencies too?

What if X,Y,or Z doesn’t work?

Be specific:

Will I starve in my own Y2K bunker because my can opener fell apart?

Probably not, but if you buy a cheap-o can opener and it breaks, you might do something stupid like cut yourself while trying to get into your can of beans with a knife.

Seriously, get a reliable tool for the important things like food.

What if the batteries/generator don’t work?

What if the water supply dries up?

What if I run out of cartridges?

What if the slingshot breaks and I run out of arrows too?

How will I hunt?

What if there are no animals to hunt?

Where will I go?

What will I do?

Have I printed out all of the manuals and instructions I might need just in case the computer gets fried?

Do I honestly expect myself to remember all this info without any printed manuals?

And so on and so on. You get the idea. Ask the hard questions. Expect the first, second, and third plans to fail, then learn how to improvise and adapt today while learning is not a matter of life and death.

#2 Understanding Physical Security

Physical security is more than owning a gun or putting a lock on the door. It requires careful thought. Think like a thief. Think like a desperate, scared, and hungry soul just trying to find the next meal. What would you do? Where would you hide if you wanted to ambush someone on the road? Physical security means thinking like your opponent and staying one step ahead:

Locks: A lock is only as good as the door it’s attached to. Sure your door has three locks on it, but this is the end of the world, and that guy is hungry. Why wouldn’t he just break the window or kick in the doorjamb or smash through the wall with a car? Locks keep honest people honest. For everyone else, it just slows them down a little (“a little” may be all you need). A good lock will at least make life harder for looters and thieves.

Lock-picking: When used responsibly (and legally), lock-picking can be an extremely valuable skill. Even if you don't use the skill often, it will give you a better understanding of how much trust you can put in any given lock. There’s a ton of info on the net about lock-sport (see: MIT Lock-picking Guide by Ted the Tool), but learning takes time and practice. In an emergency, you will have neither the internet nor the time to practice, so you'd better learn to do it now. And don't bother spending $100 on some fancy “professional” pick set. Some of my favorite picks have been cut from a dull hacksaw blade. If you buy a set, get a cheap one that you don't mind losing or breaking.

When you practice lock picking, don't get cocky. Remember that there's a big difference between a file cabinet lock and the deadbolt on your house. Remember that lock-picking takes time, so don't expect doors to just fly open if you're on the run. Also remember that it can be a useful self-protection scheme to honestly say: “I don’t have a key to that lock.”

One more thing: don’t lose sleep over thieves picking locks. If they can’t cut the lock, kick the door in, or break a window, then they probably won’t bother picking it. Even if they do, that's what alarms are for.

Alarms: Alarms are the second line of defense when your locks and physical barriers have failed. Ideally, the alarm gives you notice before they fail so you can decide whether to take a stand or run. An alarm can be as simple as a few pebbles in a can on a string, but my emergency alarm system of choice is a sophisticated mobile listening device that I like to call “my dog”. She just happens to have a very handy set of teeth on her too.

Camouflage and Deception: Sometimes that big padlock just screams “Something valuable is in here”, so you really need to disguise it. When you do, remember that “almost perfect” camouflage is usually worse than an okay disguise. Most people have a knack for noticing when something is “not quite right”, and inappropriate camouflage may draw attention rather than hiding your treasures. In other words, it's better to make something look like useless trash than to make it look like a weird rock. To really understand what I mean, try going geocaching. Not only is it fun, but it will also expose you to a wide variety of both well and poorly disguised containers in all sorts of unusual hiding places.

Show of Force: You may scare off the lone thug, but be wary of scouts who may come back with a group. If you put your biggest gun on display, someone will find a bigger one or come at you in some way you don't expect. You must balance the element of surprise with deterrence. This is a judgment call.

Use of Force: If you have a CCL, you know all about this. This has been covered elsewhere on SurvivalBlog, so I won't say too much about it. It is a last resort, but you need to be willing and capable of using whatever weapons you own instinctively and effectively. Just be prepared to live with the consequences.

#3 Staying in Shape

24-hour gyms don’t take new members during the apocalypse. Just play it safe and get in shape now. If you don't already have a fitness plan, I would recommend using the US Army Physical Fitness Manual. It provides basic exercises with and without gym equipment. The Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) at the back of the manual also provides an excellent baseline for determining how in-shape you really are. If you are fit enough for combat, you are fit enough for emergencies.

When you exercise, push yourself. You'll be mentally and physically tougher for it. Hard exercise teaches you to endure and overcome pain and discomfort like nothing else. This is especially true of long-distance running. If you are not a consistent runner, you will find yourself rationalizing shortcuts before you've reached your goal. Learning to recognize and overcome these head games in sports will help you deal with them confidently in life too.

#4 Having Fun

You don't have to study the psychology of survival to know that your mental state can determine whether you live or die. Have a plan for keeping spirits up and especially for dealing with boredom. You can't afford boredom-induced mistakes, so have something on-hand in case you are stuck in one spot for a long time. At the very least, throw a deck of cards in your kit. A harmonica or an Irish whistle can be great portable morale boosters if you know how to play them (but very annoying to others if you don't). Likewise, a football, hackey-sack, or Frisbee might take up valuable space, but they may be well worth it when you need a physical distraction from the stress of survival.

#5 Clothing for Daily Use

Think about the Virginia Tech shootings or other “going postal” scenarios. More than anything else, the shoes you are wearing right now could determine whether you survive the first thirty seconds of such an event. You may not have the luxury of showing up at the office in your jungle boots, but there's still a good chance an emergency will happen during working hours. If you can't run in your work shoes, then at least keep a set of tennis shoes nearby.

As far as outfitting for work, here's what I do: for my shoes, I wear what amounts to a leather tennis shoe. They look professional enough to go with my slacks, but they're comfortable, and I can run in them if needed. Even on Fridays I prefer slacks to jeans, because they are lighter, more comfortable, and easier to run in. I always carry a pocket knife, an LED key-chain light, a pen with a metal clip on the cap (the clip makes a good flat-head screwdriver in a pinch), and a small lock pick set. I also keep a light jacket and a pair of boots in my work locker. You may want to add a few things to your own list, but the main point is that you should wear and carry whatever makes sense for your own environment.

#6 Practice and Experience

You can't train for every situation, but constant survival practice will build confidence in yourself, and it helps you keep a level head when the time comes. Practice will also build your confidence in the gear you carry and teach you how to improvise when something is missing or goes wrong. Only experience teaches you what gear is trustworthy and which things are going to need routine maintenance.

“Survival training” doesn't have to be unpleasant. Try to have fun with it. I already mentioned geocaching, and camping is an obvious way to practice, but be creative. There are countless ways to hone your survival skills that won't make you miserable in the process. If you don't enjoy it, you won't do it often enough, and that means you will rely too much on unproven equipment when an emergency comes along.

Conclusion If you ask 100 survival-minded individuals what items you should keep in an emergency kit you'll get at least 100 different answers. For myself, the answer is simple and yet not so simple: pack your brain. No matter what gadgets you may pack away, you can't predict what you'll need, what will break or get stolen, or what will be in short supply. So do your best when picking and packing, but be prepared to make the most of whatever you can find around you.

Trust (in yourself or in your gear) should be earned, so don't give it out blindly. Ask questions, then try out your solutions in practice. Have fun with it, but don't take it too lightly. We are still dealing with life and death. Only you can decide the best way to prepare, but remember that you will be the same person five minutes into an emergency that you were five minutes before. Be the best person you can be today, and you won't regret it tomorrow.


Survival Preparedness: Survival Skills & Survival Kits

Anyone can suddenly find themselves in an emergency survival situation, or have a disaster land in their lap without any warning. How well one survives or IF one survives at all could be a matter of luck, but as it has been said:

"Chance favors the prepared mind"

I think it is far better to invest some time and effort in making survival preparations as well as spending time honing your survival skills, don't you agree?

Survival preparedness does not mean to be in constant fear of impending doom or disaster waiting around every corner, or to stockpile huge amounts of food, water, lead, and gold and then waiting to bug out with your supplies to some remote location.

In a more realistic point of view, survival preparation is about gathering knowledge of and practicing the most basic survival skills, obtaining survival gear, food and water together into emergency survival kits, or bug out bags. These kits can then be placed at easily accessible places such as, the home, car, office, etc., or on your person.

You should always be thinking ahead to anticipate what sort of scenario could arise and what particular survival skills, gear, or supplies would be needed to survive through to the end such a scenario. I recommend you take a look at this list of basic survival skills and make an effort to learn and practice them, your life may depend on it!

  • Learn how to build and maintain a fire with or without matches in different environments (in the rain, snow etc.)
  • Learn how to build a simple survival shelter using only what is available in your surroundings
  • Learn how to procure food (foraging, obtaining fish and game with out a gun or fishing pole)
  • Learn basic navigation skills (finding your direction, and map and compass reading)
  • Learn basic survival signaling methods
  • Learn basic first-aid
  • Learn to use and become proficient with the survival gear you have aquired

You should build your survival kit according to the scenario they should be used for.

Some examples:

  • Wilderness survival kit should you become lost in the wilderness
  • Emergency vehicle kit in the event you become stranded with your vehicle
  • Emergency disaster kit to recover from the aftermath of a natural or man made disaster

Items that should always be included are:

  • fire starting tools and methods
  • items and knowledge to build an emergency / survival shelter
  • survival tools
  • first-aid kit
  • survival signaling device
  • emergency lighting
  • water containers and methods of purification
  • food rations

Remember in any survival situation to remain calm. Use your mind. It is the best survival tool you have.

Do yourself a huge favor and make the effort for your survival preparations toward your own survival and that of your loved ones. Don't wait. Do it NOW. Do not be the one suffering the consequences because you did not take any action at all.

Survival Priorities & Rule of 3's

Imagine suddenly finding yourself stranded in the wilderness. Perhaps your plane has crashed or you have become lost. Darkness is falling and you are on your own. Self extraction at this time is out of the question.

Your next course of action could mean the difference between a miserable life threatening experience and reasonably comfortable survival.

You are lost and you know you will not be leaving the wilderness today.First order of business – do nothing but relax and think through your situation.

Then, take the decisive actions necessary to keep you alive.

In this Survival Topic we assume you are not grievously injured; that you can still function well enough to take care of yourself but need a survival guide outlining the essential steps you must take to survive in the wilderness. Do the Most Important Survival Tasks First

Flailing around in the wilderness without a well thought out plan isn’t going to increase your chances for survival – but it could reduce them. Proper actions taken in proper sequence will enhance your ability to survive.

The first question you should ask yourself in this situation is “what are the most important survival tasks to be accomplished”?

Many survival guides provide some information about wilderness survival skills but dwell on excessive material devoted to finding food in survival situations. Often there is little consideration given to the important component of timing.

This one-dimensional approach to wilderness survival instruction gives many survival students the mistaken impression that finding food is the most important wilderness survival task. In reality, food acquisition is at the bottom of the list for things that need doing in most wilderness survival emergencies.

The proper order of tasks will take into account that which is most important to your immediate survival. You need a list of things to do; as each task is completed to satisfaction move on to the next in line of importance. In this way you will secure your survival in the environment you find yourself.

The remainder of this Survival Topic will provide step by step a list of the main survival skills you should apply in order to increase your chances of surviving in the wilderness.

First Survival Things First

Should you find yourself in a wilderness survival situation you have your work cut out for you. The first twenty-four hours are the most critical. Within this time frame you must satisfy your basic survival needs; only then is your survival usually assured.

Upon the often startling realization your survival is at stake, and assuming your current state of health is not life threatening, the first thing you need to do is do nothing.

That’s right, do “nothing”

In spite of the often overwhelming urge to take immediate action in the early stages of a survival situation, usually the best thing you can do is take it easy. Have a seat and relax for a few moments. Lay down if that makes you more comfortable. If there is food and water available, have something to eat and drink. Make especially sure you are fully hydrated.

Take it easy. Quell any fears that may be welling up from within to pollute your mind. Remain calm and collected because you will only have yourself and your survival skills to rely upon until rescue arrives.

Take stock of your situation. Hopefully you’ve been reading many survival topics so you’ve got a good survival kit, you know what to do, and you and how to do it. Everything will be fine and soon enough you will be home telling all your friends about this great wilderness adventure.

Inventory Survival Supplies

Once you have complete charge of your thoughts, quickly inventory your situation. Consider the environment you find yourself in and the materials such as clothing, water, survival kit, and other survival gear you have available.

Every situation is different, but try to look about you with the eye of a MacGyver. Take stock of other items you can re-purpose for survival. Depending upon the situation you may have parts available from your vehicle or aircraft such as mirrors (signaling), foam insulation from seat covers, wires (cordage), gasoline (fire), batteries (starting a fire) and other man-made materials.

Observe the natural resources you can utilize to help you survive. Sources of fuel for fire, water, and survival shelter are especially important. Try to locate yourself in an area where these survival resources are close at hand so that you expend a minimum amount of time and energy in gathering them.

Build a Survival Fire

Now that you have your head on straight, I suggest you build a fire. Fire has many uses beyond warmth, light, and signaling. Just the act of making a good campfire has a calming, morale boosting effect that will psychologically save you from yourself. This is very important; in any wilderness survival situation your mind is both your best asset and your worst stumbling block.

Once you make and maintain a good survival fire, you are assured of ample warmth, light, and an increased ability to signal for help. The boost to your morale that a camp fire causes will immediately be felt. With a good fire going, you can safely tackle the next important survival tasks.

However in many survival situations successfully making a fire can be problematic even if you have proper fire starting materials. Fuel is often wet or of poor quality. It may be raining or snowing and there may be high winds. Only through the experience of making many fires in a variety of situations will you master this most essential survival skill.

When you need it most, as in this situation, you will be glad you have honed your fire making skills by repeated practice. Your survival kit should contain at least three methods of lighting a fire. For example waterproof matches, fire steel and butane lighters, so that if one method fails you still have two backups. Fire is so important to wilderness survival this redundancy in fire making gear could very well save your life.

I also recommend your survival kit contains a fire starting aid. Petroleum jelly fire starters or wax fire sticks will be of great help in making a survival fire if the wood is green or damp.

A survival fire is relatively small; gathering fuel is time consuming and energy intensive. You do not want to unnecessarily burn though material faster than you can gather it. Keep your small fire going while you move on to the next tasks.

Make a Survival Shelter

The next wilderness survival priority is shelter from the elements. Without a proper survival shelter you may be exposed to a variety of threats including heat, cold, wind, rain, snow, and pesky insects.

Do not make the mistake of relying upon current conditions to persist throughout your entire survival situation. It may be warm, sunny, and comfortable now, but in the middle of the night you do not want to be awakened by a raging storm totally unprepared.

If possible you have advantageously selected an area for your fire where shelter is already fully or partially integrated, and where there are plenty of building materials nearby. For example a rock overhang may make an excellent shelter and by making a fire a few yards away you may have a very comfortable setup.

If you have your survival kit, you can use your tarp to construct a protected area or even as the basis for a debris hut or snow trench shelter. The type of shelter you construct will depend upon climate, available materials, and your abilities. Once again, the wilderness survival skills you practiced before an actual survival emergency will serve you well.

Obtain Water

Many people do not fully understand the importance of adequate water intake. You can survive for weeks or even months with little or no food, but go without water for even just one day and your ability to carry out the tasks necessary for wilderness survival is greatly compromised.

When you become dehydrated your efficiency is reduced in many ways. You will tire more easily. You will become susceptible to injury and the effects of cold or heat. Morale will drop and a host of other problems ensue. Observe the Rule of 3's

The Rule of 3's are:

  • You can survive without oxygen or with major bleeding for 3 minutes
  • You can survive exposure to extreme cold or heat for 3 hours
  • You can survive without water for 3 days
  • You can survive without food for 3 weeks

Try to locate your shelter and fire near a good source of water. This will save you having to travel far to replenish your water supply. Areas near streams, lakes, and ponds are also likely places search and rescue is likely to look for you. In thick forests these areas are often more open than the surrounding countryside, which improves your ability to signal and to be seen.

Always consider water as suspect in quality. Do not boil your water for ten minutes or longer as many misinformed sources erroneously expound. The myth of boiling water for inordinate lengths of time is stubbornly cherished and recirculated for years.

Boiling your water for any length of time merely wastes fuel and evaporates water. Simply bring your water to a boil; this is more than enough to destroy any pathogens that might do you harm.


With your immediate physical needs taken care of you can turn your attention to signaling for rescue.

There are many ways to signal for help. Your survival kit should contain several items that will come in handy for this purpose.

A signal mirror can be used to flash aircraft and ground personnel from surprisingly great distances. Often a survival signal mirror can be fashioned from a piece of shiny metal or plastic. Some compasses have a mirror as part of the compass casing.

Every survival kit should contain a shrill survival whistle. The blast of a whistle can be heard further than the shout of a human voice. And importantly, you can blow a whistle at regular intervals all day but you cannot do the same with shouting; in very little time your voice will become strained and you will be unable to maintain the effort.

A smoky fire makes an excellent survival signaling device that can be seen and often smelled for miles in all directions. Keep a ready pile of green vegetation next to your campfire and throw it on should you hear the drone of an aircraft.

Extended Wilderness Survival

Now that you have fire, shelter, and plenty of drinkable water you know you can survive in the wilderness for many days if necessary. You have your signaling methods in place and you are safely awaiting rescue.

You can survive for many weeks just as you are but keep in mind that 95% of all wilderness survival emergencies are resolved within just 72-hours. The fact is you’ve got it made. You are now actually on a sort of adventure vacation.

Continue to keep your spirits up by taking action. While awaiting rescue keep yourself busy by improving your campsite. It will help your morale and increase your level of comfort. Improve your shelter and bedding, gather water and firewood, and keep vigilant for the opportunity to signal would-be rescuers.

Survival Food

You will become hungry going without food for more than several hours, but as long as you are properly sheltered, warm, and have enough to drink you will come out of this fine.

There are number of ways to obtain wild survival foods in nearly any wilderness situation. The Survival Topic Survival Foraging on the Move is an excellent example of the abundance of natural foods you can harvest in many wilderness areas. If you can drop your preconceived food prejudices you are often well on your way to having plenty to eat.

As with all the basic survival skills, the ability to find wild foods during a survival situation depends upon previous study and practice. Learn how to identify, harvest, and use the most important edible plants in the area you are traveling in. Think about the various methods you can use to harvest local wildlife. Be sure to cook anything that may contain parasites or disease causing organisms.

Your survival kit should contain the means to fish, trap and snare, cook, and create various tools and hunting gear. A good survival knife, 550 paracord, fishhooks and line will go far in helping you procure wild edible foods.

The skills and experience you have accumulated through practice will serve you well when it comes to finding survival food. Even without a survival kit you can usually figure out ways to utilize the materials you have available to aid in this effort.

It is important to note that plants and insects are often the easiest and most abundant foods to acquire. Fish are also often relatively easy to catch. But depending upon animals for food may be unreliable; hunting and trapping is not always an assured way of obtaining food on a day to day basis even by those with experience. The pursuit of animals can also be time and energy consuming and may even cause you to become separated from your campsite.

Recap of Wilderness Survival Priorities

95% of wilderness survival situations are resolved within 72-hours either by outside rescue or self-extraction. What you do during the first 24-hours will largely determine your chances of survival. After the first day work on improving your situation:

First 24-hours

  • Take stock
  • Build a fire
  • Make a quick and basic shelter
  • Obtain water
  • Set up signaling


  • Continue to improve your situation
  • Find food

Wilderness survival above all is using your best asset to full advantage: your mind. Stay calm and take positive action step by step one survival priority at a time and you will survive to see another day. source

Urban Survival: Surviving in an Urban SHTF Scenario

Many of us realize that the city is perhaps the worst place to live, to prepare for a SHTF scenario. Should you choose to stay in the city, the following information may be helpful. This information has been gathered from various sources and compiled.

Cities are formed for the benefit of interacting with large groups of people for mutual benefit. However, they need resources from outside of themselves; most notably, food, water and electricity. Although electricity and water can sometimes be created or found within city limits, cities are dependent on the importation of food. For a long time they have been entirely dependent on the American farmer for their support, something almost all Americans take for granted.

The city presents serious risks during a crisis.
The four most serious are:

  1. Rioting and the breakdown of order
  2. Lack of water, or the delivery of water
  3. Lack of food
  4. The power grid going off-lineV
Some cities may experience only a few of these, although most certainly there will be cities that experience them all.

Social order is psychological. It could collapse under the right conditions. When people realize there is no longer law and order, they behave according to their own whims. Only the threat of immediate death stopped the looting and violence in the L.A. Riots, when the National Guard responded to the crisis. Eventually the National Guard assumed control. Remember, this was only an isolated event, with one city. In a more serious crisis, will the National Guard or local police be able to handle the load? Overnight this country could be turned into a war zone, requiring all-out martial law and military force. The reality is, however, the military would be stretched beyond limits to handle the load.

The greatest risk of remaining in the city is the breakdown of social order. Lack of food, water, and money will drive people to behave unethically towards other people. While certain areas will manage to keep things under control, people will be forming lines at the local (depleted) Red Cross shelter, while other cities will erupt in violence. The gang-infested regions of major metropolitan areas will not stand in line and wait. Racial tensions will simply serve as a catalyst for shooting people in order to get their food or other possessions.

Lack of money results in looting and mass theft, resulting in a collapse of social order. Lack of water has the same effect. The collapse of social order doesn’t require any collapse of the power grid, telecommunications, transportation or banking. Social order is psychological. Global panic can quickly remove the mental barrier that right now keeps people basically “lawful.”

Water treatment plants are electricity dependent. Some plants have already failed emergency testing in the event of a shutdown of the power grid. In one such test, the water treatment plant released a fatal dose of fluoride into the water system when tested. The computers thought they were 99 years behind in releasing minute doses of fluoride, so they made up the difference. If you happened to be downstream, drinking that water, you were dead. Fluoride, no matter what misinformed dentists tell you, is actually a fatal poison. A major crisis likely to demonstrate this fact in more than one city.

More importantly, however is, what do you do when the water stops flowing or is not drinkable? People can live without water only 2-3 days. During the first day of the water crisis, many people will only be inconvenienced. As the day wanes, they'll get worried. By the second day, more will realize the water isn't coming. Social order will begin to break down while they search for water. People will searches stores and eventually those supplies will vanish. If water stops flowing, there will be looting of all the grocery stores, outbreaks of violence with some shop owners defending their goods, a mass exodus from the city by residents in search of water, ransacking of any houses or farms within a gas-tank radius of the city (presumably by desperate people with guns), mass traffic jams as people abandon their vehicles when they run out of gas, and outbreaks of water-borne diseases as people use streams and rivers as drinking water and lavatories.

Supplies of food will dwindle quickly. Breakdowns in the transportation sector will result in major delays. Any shipment of food that arrives will be quickly grabbed and eaten or stored. Expect the atmosphere to be that of a “near panic”, the level varying from city to city, if food is delayed by as little as three days. A shortage of food results in the same behavior as a shortage of water.

The power grid goes off-line. Nothing is as suddenly obvious nor has such a psychological impact as a power outage. When electricity stops, almost everybody knows it at the same instant (unless it happens at night). People assume it’s temporary. What if it doesn’t back online? Without power, everything shuts down. Looting begins in the more crime-ridden cities. The longer the power stays off, the worse the social disorder. Vehicles may get around, but businesses won't be operating. Houses that use electricity for heat will reach Winter temperatures, freezing many occupants to death. Those that depend on electricity for AC will just as quickly reach Summer temperatures, some dying from heat stroke. Hospitals and police stations may have generators with a few days worth of fuel, but eventually that will be depleted. Water treatment plants will almost certainly be off-line causing all the events mentioned in the water section. If you have power, you can survive a food shortage, perhaps even a short water shortage. If you have a “bug-out” vehicle stocked and ready to go, this might be the time to bail.

Okay, so you're stuck in the city and made the decision to stay. What now? You really have only two options. You can (1.) Stay and defend your home, or (2.) Bug out. Of course this is not an either/or situation. You can begin by staying in your house and assessing the situation. You'll want to have a “bug-out” vehicle stocked and ready, but you may never actually choose to bug out. When you bug out, you face major risks and disadvantages. Among these: You're severely limited in how much you can carry; you have limited range due to fuel; you expose yourself to social chaos, roadblocks, random violence, etc.; your house will certainly be looted; you run the risk of mechanical breakdowns; you must have a place to go that you know is in better shape than where you currently are.

In general, unless you have a specific, known safe place as your final destination, it's not advisable to bug out. Staying and defending your house is sometimes the only reasonable course of action, even if it seems dangerous. For the most part, looters and people looking for food are going to have plenty of easy victims, so if you show a little willingness to use force to defend your property, you’ll likely send people on to the next house. That is, until the next house is already empty and you appear to be the last house on the block with any food and water left. Your neighbors may “gang up” on you. The best situation is to keep your neighbors informed and help them get prepared. Then you can act as a group, defending your neighborhood and sharing supplies with anyone willing to help defend you.

Storing food is important, but hiding it is far more. That’s because in the worst areas, marauders will be going house to house, demanding your food or your life. To count on having any amount of food left over after the marauders break in, you'll need to hide your food. One alternative is to plan on defending your home with force. If you have enough gun-wise people in the house, and enough firearms and ammo, you can probably pull this off. But most of us aren’t nearly as experience with firearms as the gang members. The best way to hide your food is to bury it inside airtight containers. Bury your food at night so nobody will notice, and make sure you don’t leave a map on the refrigerator door! Try to get the ground to look normal after you're finished. You’ll want to bury your food as early as possible give the grass time to grow over. If you’re in an area that snows, you’ll have great concealment. Most marauders won't go to the trouble to dig up food, especially if you insist you don't have any. Also, have smaller amount of food stashed around the house, letting them find something. Better to give them something and send them on their way. Be creative in hiding your food. Use the walls, the floors, and the structure of the house. If hiding your food is not possible, then don't advertise it. In reality it would be easier to simply build a false wall in your garage and seal up your food behind the false wall. Sure, you might loose 2-3 feet of usable space in your garage, but the trade off is knowing everything is safe.

Water can be stored in exactly the same way. Make sure you treat your storage water, rotate it or have filters on hand when you get ready to use it. If you don’t have a yard, or it's not practical to bury your water, you’ll have to store it inside your house. Water takes up lots of space and is difficult to conceal. It’s best to get containers made for long-term storage, but you can use almost any container: soda bottles, milk jugs (although it's very difficult to rinse the milk out), and even rinsed bleach bottles (in that case, you won’t need to add bleach). Many of these containers will deteriorate quickly, and they may break easily. Also, consider what happens if your water may be subjected to freezing. Will your containers survive? Be sure to leave enough air space to handle the expansion. Stock at least six months of water at a minimum two gallons a day per person. That’s nearly 400 gallons of water if you have two people. Even with the best preparations you may find yourself short of water. In this case, one of your best defenses is to have a really good water filter that can remove parasites and bacteria from the water. You can also treat your water in other ways (iodine, distillation, silver solution, bleach, etc.). The best solution for obtaining long-term water is to drill a well. Many cities simply don’t allow the drilling of wells, so you may not be able to get one drilled even if you want to. The deeper your well, the more expensive it becomes.

Now regarding defense. In rural areas most people are going to find ways to cooperate. However, some cities will suffer complete social breakdown and violence will rule. If you happen to be stuck in one of these cities, you’re going to need to use force to defend yourself. Also, do not use your lights at night. Avoid drawing attention to your house. Defending your house is a crucial element on your stay-in-the-city plan. Make your house your fortress, and hold drills to help other family members practice some of the more common activities such as hiding, defending, evacuating, etc. Some useful items for home defense include: a guard dog, pepper spray, firearms, smoke bombs, and trip wires. The guard dog probably eats a lot of food, but the investment is worth it. Dogs also tend to sleep light, so have them sleep near food storage areas, and make sure you sleep within earshot. If the dog barks, don't consider it an annoyance, consider it an INTRUSION. Pepper spray will incapacitate people and certainly give them a painful experience to remember. On the downside (potentially), it might just remind them that next time they come back for food, they better kill you first. Firearms are useful for obvious reasons. When looting is rampant, you may have to shoot someone to protect yourself or your family. If you’re squeamish about pulling the trigger under these circumstances, don't plan to stay in the city. Use the “bug out” plan instead. Smoke bombs can be useful for covering a planned escape from your house. You can purchase high-volume smoke bombs that will quickly fill up any house with an non-breathable cloud of military-grade white smoke. Trip wires are great perimeter defenses and will give early warning.

In addition to these devices, you can make significant fortification-style improvements to your home. While none of these are very affordable, they certainly help defend your home: replace glass windows with non-breakable Plexiglas; add steel bars to the windows; replace all outside door locks with heavy-duty deadbolts; replace all outside doors with steel doors (preferably without windows); remove bushes and other shrubs where people might hide; black out the windows entirely to avoid light escaping at night; build secret hiding places for food, coins, or even people; create escape hatches or passageways; and rig pepper-spray booby traps. Many people living in rough cities already have steel bars covering their windows, and removing extra bushes and shrubs is a well-known tactic for making your home a safer place.

To light your home when there’s no electricity, try the following: use LED flashlights and rechargeable solar-charged batteries; use propane-powered lanterns (be sure to purchase extra mantles and store lots of propane); purchase quality oil lamps and stock up on oil (you can also purchase cheap kerosene lamps then simply purchase and store extra kerosene); buy extra candles; purchase lots of olive oil. Not only can you cook with it but it also burns as a clean candle fuel. You can float a wick in a jar half-full of olive oil and light the wick for a home-made candle. Olive oil is a great item for your storage anyway because you’ll still need cooking oil. Well-stored olive oil can last for thousands of years.

Your best bet in regards to stocking fuel for your house is to stock up on UNCUT wood logs. The effort is worth it, because this will give you a ready-to-go source of heat and fuel that cannot be easily stolen. You'll need equipment to cut and chop the wood. Wood splits better when it’s frozen, so you might wait until Winter to start splitting. Only split a little at a time so as not to invite theft. Cut about to start drying out, then chop them as you need them.

Getting along with neighbors is important. The best situation to be in, is to have neighbors who are aware of the issue and who are getting ready, stocking their own supplies. If you do live in a bad neighborhood, do what you can to relocate. If you live in a good neighborhood, do the best you can to educate and inform your neighbors.

The gun-control politicians (and the people who supported them) have placed most Americans in a situation where the police cannot protect us in a timely manner, nor can we lawfully defend ourselves. Criminals unlawfully have firearms; citizens lawfully don't. The cities where rioting will likely be the worst is where firearms are most likely to be banned from lawful ownership (and where criminals may wield near-absolute power for a while.). Millions of people are going to have to resort to breaking the law in order to protect their families. And yes, you too will have to resort to breaking the law if you are to acquire a firearm in an area where guns are entirely banned from private citizens. After the disaster hits, if the situation deteriorates badly, local police will be begging law-abiding citizens for help. But if you carry a gun while you smash a window of the Wal-Mart and walk off with a stereo, be prepare to get shot. Police officers don't mind private ownership nearly as much as many believe. When the crisis hits, they'll be more than happy to have your cooperation. If you really feel you need a firearm to protect yourself and your family, your best bet may be to move to a city or state where people are a lot more accepting of firearms. Check the gun laws in any state you're considering moving to.

Suppose you’ve changed your mind about this city thing. You’ve decided to BUG OUT! Well, you will likely need a 4x4 truck in order to go off-road and around stalled vehicles. It should also be able to carry at least 1000 pounds of supplies. Yes, it requires more fuel, but you can carry the fuel as cargo. You will need an armed passenger in case you run into not-so-nice people. Here’s what you should take if you’re preparing to bug out with two people: your 96 hour kits for each person in the vehicle; 20 gallons of water; 40 gallons of extra fuel or more (and a full gas tank). As mentioned earlier, if you have a designated BOL, go for it. If not, you’re basically driving anywhere you can go, so try to head for an area that is forested and near a creek or river where you can get some water. The conclusion is this: choosing to remain in the city is a rational choice for many people in many situations. However, the further away you can get from population centers the better your chances of surviving. Most people have a difficult time accepting that a major disaster would be as bad as described. However, the very nature of a major disaster means that if only one or two major infrastructure components go down, the ripple effect will quickly create a much worse scenario. The most likely scenario at this point clearly points to massive disruptions, shortages in food and water, loss of power in some areas, and a breakdown of social order in areas where the population density is high. But you can survive anything with good planning, an open mind, and plenty of practice. Now is the best time to start.


Bushcraft Survival & Nature Quotes

Bushcraft Survival & Nature Quotes

"Bushcraft is what you carry in your mind and your muscles."
- Ray Mears

"My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing."
- Aldous Huxley

"A white man makes a large fire and sits far away, an Indian makes a small fire and sits close."

"Being lost is a state of mind, not a state of place."

"I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. "
- E. B. White

"The more you know the less you carry"
- Mors Kochanski

"I once asked my grandfather if he'd ever been lost in the woods. He gave me a perplexed look and said, The woods are my home. How can I be lost when I'm at home?"

"Here is nothing (A Brazilian on seeing the Amazon forest for the first time). Here is everything (An indian who lives there)."

"There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing"

"To poke a wood fire is more solid enjoyment than almost anything else in the world."
- Charles Dudley Warner

"Rabbits are there to feed everything else, and they know it"
- Ben McNutt of Woodsmoke.

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”
- John Ruskin

"The best knife is the one you have with you when you need it."

"I learned how much of what we think to be necessary is superfluous; I learned how few things are essential, and how essential those things really are"
- Bernard Ferguson, Chindits, Burma 1943.

"Everything is edible, even the things that are not... Those kill you... Learn the difference..."

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, to discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and to be able to give a true account of it"
- Henry David Thoreau - (1817 – 1862) - Walden or Life in the Woods

"Take only memories, leave only footprints."
- Ray Mears

"A blunt blade is more dangerous than a sharp one"
- Ray Mears

"Do not mess with the forces of Nature , for thou art small and biodegradable!"

"If you leave the Christian Bible outside, eventually the wind and the rain will destroy it. My bible IS the wind and the rain."
- attributed to an unnamed Native American woman.

Nature Quote
To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude, 'tis but to hold
Converse with Nature's charms, and view her stores untold.

Advice on knife use; "The pink things are fingers"

"Always hike in bear country with someone you can out run"

"Wolves did it!" (a good excuse for when you've burned another persons carefully carved pot hanger on the fire by mistake.)

"Keeping you safe in the wilderness and keeping the wilderness safe from you!"
- Green-Craft

"Fire-wood makes you warm three times; first collecting it, secondly shifting it and third when you burn it."
- Ray Mears

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference"
- Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken

"When the first Europeans landed in the Americas, they described it as one vast untouched wilderness. This was about the highest compliment they could pay to the Native people who had lived there for thousands of years."
- Bill Mason - at the start of Waterwalker

"Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you realize that you cannot
- Cree Indian prophesy

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; We borrow it from our children"

"We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home, in towns and cities."
–NESSMUK (G.W. Sears), Woodcraft, 1963

"Never pick blackberries along the path that are below waist height."

"The best knife you've got is the one in your pocket cos ya always got it"

"The bigger your rucksack the more ya kitchen sink it" (stuff ya don't need)

"The real measure of wealth is how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money."

"Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a life time. Teach a man TO LEARN to fish and you empower him for a life time."
- lao tzu

"Light a man a fire and he's warm for the night. Light a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life."

"Take only memories, leave only footprints"
Ray Mears

"In all things of nature there is something of the marvellous."
- Aristotle

"Nature does nothing uselessly."
- Aristotle

"You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters."
- Catholic Saint (Bernard?)

"Knowledge is the key to survival, the real beauty of that is that it doesn't weigh anything."
- Ray Mears

"Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does Nature, because in her inventions, nothing is lacking and nothing is superfluous." - Leonardo da Vinci.

"No ones last words have been 'I wish I'd spent more time in the office"

"A sharp knife in the hands of a wise man is less dangerous than a blunt knife in the hands of a fool."
- Montivagus

"You will last 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food."
- Unknown (quoted by many, perhaps Lofty Wiseman?)

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods;
There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar;
I love not man the less, but Nature more.
- Lord Byron

"There can be no peace in the world if we make no peace with the earth."
- Satish Kumar (BBC's Earth Pilgrim : A year on Dartmoor)

"Sometimes we have to get lost in order to find ourselves."\
- Unknown.

Survival Water Procurement

Water Procurement: Depressions in Living Hardwood Trees

Here's a quick tip on where to find water and how to gather it from natural depressions found at the base of some hardwood trees.

We Are Survivalists


He who fails to prepare for the night, fails to prepare for the dawn.

I am a survivalist and by nature a survivalist is an OPTIMIST. I do not have one pessimistic bone in my body. If what I just said sounds odd to you, then you are not yet a survivalist and you do not understand the modern survivalist at all.

It has been very difficult to communicate to the public and and the mass communications media, the concept of an optimistic, hopeful survivalist. A fireman is a fireman, not because he believes everything will burn, but because he believes much can be saved. Doctors don't believe in death, they believe in life, and a survivalist is not a survivalist because he believes everything must be destroyed and everyone must die, he believes that life and freedom can be saved, if people of good will are prepared. A fireman does not start fires, a doctor does not make disease and a survivalist does not make disaster. Crime, disease, war, revolution, fire, flood, periodic financial collapse and famine are the results of nature and the nature of man and unfortunately are not within the power of anyone on this earth to prevent.

We all know that the sun will set each day, leaving us in darkness and we all know that warm summers give way to cold winters and that we can do nothing to keep the sun from setting ot the cold winds from coming, does this make us pessimistic? I think not! So then why is the survivalist called a pessimist when he makes ready to face events that are just as much part of history and nature as the sunset and changing of the seasons.

Another misconception is that survivalists are predicting world disaster. On the contrary, we seem to be the OPTIMISTIC MINORITY that is predicting world survival. We are hard pressed to find any well recommended historians, economists, political scientists, sociologists or military strategists that can come up with a scenario that gives even a fifty-fifty chance of avoiding a large scale catastrophe, yet we survivalist dare to be OPTIMISTIC about the future.

We survivalists do not need to predict the probability of disaster anymore than we need to predict the sun setting. Those who criticize survivalists, are like men who refuse to look at a calendar, in the hope that through self-imposed ignorance they can keep from aging another year.

"You survivalists will be disappointed if we don't have a world cataclysm", here is another accusation that is pure B.S. and I could not think of a milder phrase to describe it. We survivalists have loved ones we don't want to see hurt or killed, we have homes we don't want to see destroyed, we are not fools to think that just because we are survivalists a world cataclysm would be fun for us or the we would not experience danger, loss, hunger, injury, cold or even despair and death.

We have spent time and money to improve our chances for survival and recovery from disaster, but we would have a great celebration if some day we could be assured that we had wasted our time. No, we will not be disappointed if there is no disaster to survive, anymore than the Red Cross is disappointed when there are no floods and storms or the man who buys an insurance policy is disappointed when his house fails to burn down. It may be said that the survivalist would much prefer the pleasant (but unlikely) surprise of being wrong to the (probable) deadly rude awakening that the non-survivalist will face if he is wrong.

So, you see the survivalist can not lose because his survival preparations will be of value regardless of what the future has in store. In time of crisis, those who have not prepared to turn to each other, will turn on each other.

It is most regrettable indeed, that many people consider survivalists as a threat and regard them with suspicion and even hostility. This attitude is logically indefensible and is rooted in the non-survivalists own sense of fear and guilt. Subconsciously, the non-survivalist may hate the survivalist for reminding him of how fragile his lifestyle is.

Now, let's get the facts turned around right. THE MOST DANGEROUS PEOPLE IN AMERICA TODAY ARE THE NON-SURVIVALIST. Every person who has not made provisions for surviving without food, water, fuel and other essential needs from the outside, is a mortal danger to his neighbors. What will a man do when he and his family are freezing, hungry, thirsty,sick and starving? He may ask or beg his neighbors for help, but when they have no extra fuel, food, water or medicine to give, will he just go back home to die with his wife and kids? What do you think?

We survivalists who stock up on food and other supplies, now do a favor to society because what we now buy is replaced on the shelves so there will be that much more available in an emergency. We survivalists won't be looting and killing for food. We won't be a burden on the medical facilities or a danger to the police. Since we will be able to turn to each other, we will not need to turn on anyone and we maybe able to help at least some.

Survival preparation should be regarded as a social obligation, one that every individual owes to his family and community and his nation. The non-survivalist is simply a poor and irresponsible citizen.

So the reality is, that survivalists are optimistic, self-reliant individuals, who cannot help but see the imperative of preparing for the worst possible events, while hoping sincerely, that they won't happen. Today's survivalist is an asset to his community and to the world and should be proud to be called a SURVIVALIST.

Bushcraft Bow And Arrow

Bushcraft Bow And Arrow 2 Part Play List

Part 1
bushcraft skills: how to make a bow (just a very basic one... yet effective!)
making bows is a fine art, but one can make a crude bow in a very short time and with little effort. i used hazel, which is imo the perfect wood for this kind of bow: soft enough to be easy to carve, strong (especially if fire hardened) and elastic enough to make a decent bow. i intentionally didn't tiller the bow, just to show that even a not-so-perfect bow can be usable... also, i decided to skip the fire hardening, which would have resulted into a stronger bow. the whole thing took about half of hour an very little effort.

Part 2
bushcraft skills: how to make an arrow (just a very basic one... yet effective!)
many say that an arrow is much hard to make than a bow... and they might be right! arrow making requires time, patience, skill, resources and tools. that is, if you have all of the above and you want a really good arrow. but, if you need an arrow "right now", maybe you can settle for a less-than-perfect-arrow, that still works within certain limits. in this vid, i try to prove that a very basic arrow (that is easy to make in a short time with just a knife) can be accurate at a decent range and can deliver a lot of impact/penetration, more than enough to take small game (if you can get close enough). bow hunting is prohibited in Romania, so i never shot an arrow to a living target, but i got in numerous occasions close enough to small game to be able to use even such a crude arrow with a fair chance to a clean kill. even if i prefer a good arrow, it's nice to know that i can make and use a more basic one, too.

Bushcraft Fishing

Desciption: I demo a simple fishing pole that is built in the wilderness from natural materials and a safety pin. I also show you how to use the pole without the safety pin. Also shown is where to find live bait and how to make a quick fish stringer from local materials.

Preparing For Survival

Update: This video from "Ghostkamo" is well done and well thought out and makes an excellent addition to this post below.

Preparing For Survival

In light of recent events many individuals and families are taking a fresh look at the dreaded "S-word," survivalism.

As with any beginners, these people need some sort of plan for these uncharted waters. I hope that this article can give some useful guidance to those new to the field, and perhaps some new insights to others who have been left to their own devices in coming to grips with this virtually all-inclusive field.

This plan consists of nine major points:


This is the first requirement to insuring your (and your family's) longevity. You must want to survive. Contact others upon whom you might rely (and whom may likewise rely upon you) in a crisis. This is not a game, although games can play a part in the training aspect. If we are to survive as individuals, as families, as a society, we cannot approach this as a one-person show. It will take cooperation of the highest order. The stakes are literally life and death.

Many people take the attitude that "If it happens, I wouldn't want to live anyway, " This is an attitude which almost guarantees defeat or death. A husband, father, or single mother with this attitude is virtually condemning his or her own family to a similar fate.

Every-one in the family or group should get a complete medical, dental and vision checkup. Find your weaknesses and limitations so you may cope with them now. If eyeglasses or contacts are needed, get at least one spare pair, or save old ones. Stock up on cleaning solution if you wear contacts. Work to bring your teeth up to the healthiest level possible. A toothache can be a major problem even in normal times when a dentist is available. Imagine trying to make critical decisions while suffering with a toothache when there may be few, if any, dentists in operation.

Make sure your feet are in good condition. They may someday be your only mode of transportation. Begin and maintain an exercise program which balances strength with endurance and flexibility. Walking, running, swimming, bicycling and stair climbing are all excellent conditioners.

Acquire supplies as your budget allows. Be practical and set priorities. For example, set aside $10 per month for weaponry (including ammunition and cleaning supplies, ($10 per month for clothing (if you don't have the proper clothing already on hand. (Three-piece suits or tennis outfits have very limited survival applications), another $10 a month for reserve food and medical supplies, and so on. If money is tight, you can alternate purchases from month to month.

The important thing is to make some sort of survival-based acquisition regularly, or at every opportunity. In making survival investments, you should consider the following points: a) Wil you actually need it (Does it serve a legitimate survival need, such as food clothing, or shelter?)

  • Do you have the skill to use it properly, and would you be able to repair it when it inevitably breaks down?
  • Will it need something else, such as electricity, gas, heat, or water to operate?
  • How many/much will you need, and how long do you expect it to last?
  • (see Plan For Duration)
  • Is it practical for the conditions you anticipate, such as proper clothing for the climate?

You should discuss with your family or group the conditions under which you would run (Where?) or stay; whether to hide (For how long?) or fight (Whom? How?) . Every member of the group must be in agreement with the final plan. One dissident could destroy all your intentions; for instance by "setting-out" the group to an adversary.

You should also develop "backup" plans to cover various contingencies such as those mentioned. Plan for the worst-case scenario and work down from there.

Keep a short-term (up to one week) Survival Kit / Bug Out Bag packed and ready to go in case you must leave NOW. Remember the priorities: shelter, water, food, medical supplies, weapons, communications. Ideally, you should have several kits; one for each member of the family and group, another one in each vehicle in case a crisis occurs at an unexpected moment (as they usually do). Also consider a large cache of supplies away from the home, in a place safe from discovery or disaster; in the event you must evacuate your home quickly, as in the case of fire, earthquake or war. Each of these survival kits or survival caches should be planned to supplement and extend the capabilities of the next smallest survival kit.

Avoid making your personal Bug Out Bag too heavy to run with; you may have to carry it long distances, quickly.

Try to realistically anticipate how long you expect your scenario may last, and add a little more to the estimate as a buffer against shortsightedness.

Do you expect your disaster scenario to last days (such as waiting for disaster relief after a major storm, fire, or earth quake) , months (i.e., a major strike by unions; rebuilding after a disaster) , or years (such as being caught in the clutches of a dictatorship, foreign invasion, or economic collapse) ?

Try to be realistic in your preparations. Plan for the consumption of food (calories per person per day, plus other essential nutrients) , water (gallons per person per day, for drinking, cooking and sanitation) , ammunition (as much as can be obtained, with a suggested minimum of 500 rounds per weapon) , air quality (while in shelter, or masks for outside) , medical supplies (including prescription medicines) , and so on.

Some of your scenarios may look unlikely in the context of present conditions, but it only takes an open-eyed look at the world, the nation, or the neighborhood, to see the potential for frightening situations to rapidly develop which would not allow time for preparation after the fact. For instance, note that many people reacting to a disaster often converge on all the nearest stores for provisions such as food, candles, bottled water, batteries, and so on. Frequently, the crowd gets impatient, not wanting or waiting to be left without essentials for themselves or their families. Occasionally, rioting and looting begin, feeding upon itself as the unprepared start to panic.

Your aim must be to store adequate supplies for all intended members of your group for the longest time that you will likely be on your own, with self-sufficiency being your goal. The federal government recommends having at least three to five days supplies on hand, to sustain you until relief agencies can get into action. The more serious the crisis, the longer you may have to wait for outside help.

If you are able, lay in extra supplies for a few additional persons who will, most likely, show up either on their own, or with members of the group ("My mother was visiting at the time; I couldn't just leave her") . As pragmatic as you must be, you must also not surrender your humanity completely. Otherwise, you are no better than the predators you may be fleeing. Of course, there is a practical limit to how much you can be expected to cope with. Examine your own conscience on this issue.

A plan must also be drawn up to deal with waste management. Essential "luxuries" such as toilet paper, soap, and proper means of disposing of human waste and garbage with become major issues during a survival situation. Goods and services we have always taken for granted may no longer be available.

You must also plan to cope with your people's emotional survival. The abrupt change in lifestyle, the day to day fight to stay alive, will take its toll psychologically if not treated quickly and continuously. Find things to alleviate boredom, such as games or projects. Give every able person in the group a job they will be responsible for. Even children can be instructed to secure trash, act as lookouts, or help with food preparation or gathering supplies. Also attempt to continue with their education, albeit with a different emphasis. Find duties which re quire a person to study the situation and come up with a solution. Hold meetings to keep everyone current on what's happening, and conduct frequent and regular classes for everyone in survival arts. Keep your people, and yourself, busy. Despair may be your worst enemy.

Your group should learn how to use weapons effectively. Safety, maintenance, handling malfunctions, and marksmanship are all of equal importance in a survival context. Because this is an area where mistakes can be fatal, instruction should be sought from qualified professionals, such as the National Rifle Association. Also, everyone should study unarmed self-defense under a qualified instructor; one who teaches combative, not tournament techniques.

Tactics are another important area of study. Learn how best to utilize your weapons under various conditions and environments, such as snow, rain, or at night. There are several reputedly good schools for this type of study. There are also many books such as military manuals which can be of help, if accompanied by lots of practice.

Study first aid diligently, as this is one of the most essential areas of self help study. The American Red Cross has excel lent, inexpensive courses on CPR and basic and advanced first aid. Everyone should be encouraged to take and pass such a course. A study of improvised medicines and first-aid equipment would also be useful. Some community colleges offer non-credit courses in herbology, folk medicine, and edible wild plants. There are many very good reference books on the subject. Another variation on this theme would be the study of medicinal minerals. You might seriously consider taking an Emergency Medical Technician course (or a Paramedic course if already an EMT) and joining a volunteer ambulance corps. Not only would you be contributing to a vital community function, you would also be gaining practical, real-life, hands-on experience which no course can give by itself. Remember, in a crisis, your body does what is has been trained to do. The untrained reaction to crisis is usually panic Practical experience aids tremendously in overcoming the panic which accompanies disaster.

Study Survival Skills and Bushcraft. Learn the difference between, and uses of, cover and concealment. Learn how to survive in rural or urban wilderness, how to find or construct proper shelter, how to gather food and collect and purify water, the use of correct sanitation procedures, basic land navigation, and much more.

Conduct realistic simulations with your equipment and your people to gain valuable experience and confidence working together. Get the bugs out while it's relatively easy. Learn what works and what doesn't.

Go to the firing range often, preferably when you or your group can use it without onlookers. Practice on human-shaped targets, using tactics. Train in firing techniques for real world situations (such as varying weather conditions, target distance and size. Learn different firing positions, practice in-house techniques, etc.) . Always rigidly enforce appropriate safety procedures while training with weapons.

As an EMT, you can work on an ambulance or in the emergency room to practice and to accustom yourself to the suffering of others. It's certainly not pleasant, but it is crucial in over coming the shock of seeing something happen suddenly, perhaps to someone you love. This allows you to get on with treating the patient rather than wasting valuable seconds in panic. With practice, reaction becomes almost automatic, and confidence is gained. Without practice, hard-earned skills are gradually lost.

You should try to incorporate your survival skills into every day life, making it a normal part of your existence.

Don't, however, carry it to extremes, such as walking around in public wearing camo with a 10-inch knife on your belt. Don't advertise. Shooting and hand-to-hand practice, ambulance duty, making your own clothes, and canning your own food; all these skills and more will not only add to your survival repertoire, they will enhance the quality of your life, as you become less dependent on "the system" and more confident in your own abilities

. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of your equipment, your people, and yourself. Without practice and effort you are just wasting time and money, and someone close to you could die needlessly.

Keep your actions and intentions as low-pro file as possible. You could risk discovery and the loss of every thing you have been working for, or wind up with a lot of people on YOUR doorstep in a crisis; people whom you cannot support, and who may have no positive survival value. If you intend to support dependents, prepare for them with your supplies.

One last thought. Because predatory people are out there, firearms are an essential element of survival planning. Unfortunately, they have been abused frequently enough to give the whole survival movement a bad reputation in the eyes of the general media, who too often seem to be looking to discredit and ridicule the movement. Survivalists should respect firearms and view them as tools to protect what they have: their lives, families, homes, and provisions; not as weapons of conquest. The more you prepare, the more ready you must be to defend against those who don't.