Top 5 Survival Skills Review

     First I appreciate those who commented on the previous article on what Your Top 5 Survival Skills would be when the SHTF. Please keep in mind that there is no one perfect list that will fit everyone or every situation.

     Many people like to depend gadgets and gear and while they are very helpful and make many things easier I believe that we are now far too dependent on them. Gadgets and gear are really great for the short term and the novice but for longer natural and man-made disasters you will need skills that you just can't buy off the shelf. The following list are what some of the readers of this blog have contributed.

  • Water purification methods
  • Fire making 
  • Shelter
  • Food preservation
  • Emotional skills, ways to stay calm and rational ( If you can't think then how can you function? )
  • Building or repairing without power 
  • Hunting skills 
  • Marksmanship/ Security and being able to defend yourself and your family
  • Medical training 
  • Navigation
     The above list while very basic can be expanded upon to fit ones needs or situation. I would again like to thank those who contributed to the list, each contributor is a blog writer in their own right that you may or may not know and not all are in the survival field so if you have a chance please give them a visit.

American Apocalypse
Enemy of the state
  • Mr.B and his sites
In the MIDDLE of the RIGHT

Made in America


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Your Top 5 Survival Skills

     Skills, we all know how important they can be. Gadgets and gear can make a bad situation easier but I would rather have an inventors that relies heavily on skill sets to get by in the long run.

     So because we all think just a little different I would like to know what you all have in mind for your top skills to have in a SHTF type situation. Who knows some of us might have something in there someone else might find important. So go ahead and post in the comments section and Lets see what we are all thinking.

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Who like's the Dummies Books

I will admit that times I have been a Dummy, and many of my friends will agree so when I saw this add from one of my affiliates I had to put up a post. But really I have used a few of the books from this series so check them out for me and see if something peeks your interest.

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Radiation plume makes it to California, And?

     The awaited low level radiation that has been expected to reach the US west coast today has been picked up in a few locations, Sacramento being one. The levels though remain well below anything considered hazardous, keep in mind though that radiation decays over time and the levels released from Japan were not all that high yet. This does not mean that we are in the clear yet as there is still no final resolution at the damaged reactors in Japan, could it get worse? Yes. Could it get better? Yes. The bottom line is that this is an ongoing incident that will have both human and political ramifications for a long time to come.

     Here in the US there has been a run on Iodine pills that block the radiation absorption in the thyroid. Is it fear mongering, Hype or a good idea to have the pills? Each and every one of us needs to answer that in their own way and do what the feel is right for them and their family.   


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Sick, Tired, Japan and Misc Thoughts

     First let me apologize for the lack of posting, between the cabin project, traveling and a bug I picked up from my family I haven't been able to do more than an occasional comment and then crash right back out, Being sick sucks.

     One thing I have been trying to keep up on is the ongoing catastrophe in Japan, depending on what news source you follow you can find where everything is rosy and under control to fuel rods are uncovered to cracked containment buildings, very bad news on the latter problems but either way these are big problems. My biggest concern is that I would hope the government of Japan will be honest with their information and tell us exactly what if anything is released. I know many people believe that nuclear power is safe but man is a flawed machine and therefore he will make a flawed product, I do not care what anyone says, if it is mechanical it can fail and a nuke plant is no exception, the odds may be great but that does not mean it can't happen. What does this mean here in the US, well that is the big unanswered question that will be pondered in the next few days. Going back to sleep, everyone have a good evening and keep your ear to the ground.


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Supposed Hoarding in Japan

      I just caught part of a phone interview from Japan on one of those cable news channels where an individual decided to go to the store and get some food and water. Upon his arrival to the store he gets upset because there is neither, "Hoarding" he tells the interviewer.

     Pardon me if I go into a little bit of a snark but:

     First of all caller, you are in the middle of a natural disaster.
     Second caller, the infrastructure is trashed.
     Third caller, no truck delivery.
     Fourth caller, stores only have on hand what you see.
     Fifth caller, natural disaster means trashed infrastructure means no trucks means what you see on the shelves will be gone in hours and you were obviously late in getting there and that's one reason you have nothing, along with your lack of planning so don't call it HOARDING. Plan better.

I just covered JIT or Just In Time Delivery, for a refresher on this article here is the link again

Now don't get me wrong, I feel for the people and the tragedy they are going through but it is your responsibility to take care of yourselves and if you are waiting for government to do it then you better be prepared to wait a while as they take time to organize and deploy and for an incident of this scope and size it will take even longer. Those are the facts so please do what you can ahead of time to make yourself a little more self sufficient so you can get by for a few days without any help, you will be better off.


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A Brief Thought on The Tsunami Warning Systems

     We have just had one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded (top 5) off the coast of Japan, Thousands are feared dead and damage will most likely be in the billions if not trillions as a result of the Tsunami. This Tsunami has also traveled across the pacific to touch upon Hawaii and the west coast of the US causing damage. We also have reports that Nuclear plants in Japan are having issues and may have to release some pressure that may be radioactive. As far as the Tsunami warnings I hope that many will continue to head these alerts in the future and not become complacent due to this being a large event. Going up against a wall of water is a loosing battle, elevation and good warning are a key component to dealing with it but depending on where you are you may have hours or minutes to get to safety. Here in the US we are blessed with an abundance of radio and television as well as S.A.M.E. weather alert radios so take advantage of the options.


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Very late posting you might have missed

     I had a late posting last night that might have been buried in the cycle so here it is again General Prep (lite)


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General Preparedness Issues And Lists (Basic)

Basic Prep Items And Situations
     I have had a request here lately for a list of general preparedness  items that one should have, this in itself can be a huge undertaking and in fact whole sites are singularly dedicated to just that one topic. I have some posts that do have some small minor lists but nothing complete so I will make this post such as it is a primer that will cover some basics.

     In breaking down the aspect of preparedness you need to first and foremost know what you would like to be prepared for. As an expansive list could go into the hundreds of possible scenarios I like to break it down to simpler terms such as what an event might take away from you:
  • Shelter
  • Food
  • Water
  • Air
  • Security
     The above list while small  pretty much sums up most of the important aspects of life, remove any one and you could be in immediate danger.  The above List also represents  what will be some of your  issues in the event of a disaster. In most cases it does not matter what the disaster is because it is the end result of that disaster that affects you.  It is the above five items that I will try and expand upon in list form with some basics.


      Air is one element that you really can not do without and in most cases we can only go 3 minutes or less without it so I rank it as your #1 concern. When thinking about the lack of air that might affect us we are usually faced with a displacement issue. A displacement generally is where some other element pushes out or uses up the available oxygen in the area of habitation. 

     Some of the most common areas where this might happen are in the home or while on the job, most are preventable with a little common sense and preparation. 

  • Home
     Two very common oxygen deprivation events that occur in the home are CO2 poisoning and smoke inhalation due to structure fires. We hear every year how someone had a faulty appliance that resulted in death or serious injury, Gas heaters, stoves,  hot water heaters, cars and generators are the main culprits. Structure fires in the home can be caused by electrical, smoking, children and any other number of causes.

First Alert Sco7cn Battery Operated Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarm With Voice Location (Smoke/Carbon Detectors / Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors)     Besides a good dose of common sense like getting a regular checkup on your gas appliances and not running your car in a closed garage there are a few simple devices that are a must have.  Pictured here is a combination Smoke/ CO2 detector that is available in many stores and new homes are required to have them hardwired into the house electrical system with battery back up.
Speaking of batteries, many times due to being lazy (Or bad cooks) we unplug or remove a battery from a smoke detector and forget to put it back or worse negligently not put it back.  I can think of no other device that will protect you all day and especially while you sleep.

A&h Baking Soda 16ozKidde FX10K Kitchen Fire Extinguisher, 82CI     Another tool that you should have and know how to use is a fire extinguisher, Consider yourself a first responder in this respect and if it is safe to do so you can employ a fire extinguisher.  A classic example would be a cooking fire in your kitchen. A small box of baking soda can also come in handy to dowse a small grease fire in a pan as well as simply putting a lid on the offending pan. For larger more out of control fires your best coarse of action is to collect your loved ones and get out, forget your possessions they can always be replaced your life can not, evacuate and call 911 from outside of the home.


Officesnax Bottled Spring Water, 8 Oz., 24 Bottles/Carton     Water like air is also one of the necessities that we cannot live without, we can usually go about 3 days without depending on the environment. During a weather related event or civil unrest water as a utility can and does fail or it becomes contaminated, we take for granted that the tap will always be there and magically flow with a twist of the handle. The good news is that water is usually a high priority item to repair but one should still take measures to ensure that you have drinking and cooking water available. Stocking a couple of cases of water in the closet is extremely cheap and easy to do. While on the subject of stocking up on water it is also important to stock your vehicle as well in case you can not return to your home immediately, again the benefits are well worth the few dollars in cost. 

     In some cases you might also have to deal with contaminated water and there are a few options that you may need to take such as boiling, chemical, ultra violet or filtration. At some point in our lives construction company X has hit a water line somewhere in the city and the result is the local area being put under a boil order. This is one of the easier things to do as long as your electricity or gas is working. The procedure is fairly simple although you will find several recommendations on exactly how long to boil your water (0 to 5 minutes), I will usually bring the water to a rolling boil and let it continue to boil for about 5 minutes, I like to be sure. The other three options that you can use and are chlorine, UV or some type of filter. Some people will use all four if they have the belief that the water is extremely contaminated.        

There are a few other options and combinations but water purification is a huge and specific subject worthy of it own blog so we will only touch the basics here in the article.


     Food is another item that we really take for granted, we have long been blessed with store shelves that are loaded with more choices then you can shake a stick at. The problem usually comes when the transport system breaks down in some form or another, Our modern day stores have on hand only what you see on the shelves and they depend on daily truck replenishment to keep the shelves stocked. We have all seen the news that cover the grocery stores when bad weather is about to hit, they are usually picked pretty clean of a good many items in real short order. 

     Usually in most cases supply lines can be re-established within 72 hrs but I wouldn't bet your life on that, we usually have on hand a weeks worth of groceries, one thing to take into consideration though is that in rough weather or some man-made event  you have to take into consideration your utilities. Briefly look into what foods you have right now and think about how much of that food needs water or heat to prepare, take into consideration what foods you might loose without your refrigerator or freezer.

     The in-expensive way around the problem of not having utilities is canned goods, they have a very long shelf life and do not require any water or heat. There are more appealing options but with that comes a higher cost and is outside the scope of this article. One other option if you want to heat things up that most of us might also have is the outside propane grill, they do not require power and can last for weeks or months at a time on one tank so keep that in your mind as an option. Some homes also have an indoor fireplace and while you could use it for cooking most people in the urban setting keep very little firewood on hand, one exception might be a fireplace with a natural gas connection. Again though do not count on your utilities working durring an emergency, try and have several options.

      Being home during an emergency would in most cases be the better option as you will be most comfortable there and have the bulk of your supplies there as well. What happens though when you either can't get home or your home is no longer there, hopefully at that point you will have your vehicle. Many of us spend some time in our vehicles and it makes a great deal of sense to have some supplies along for the ride. While it would be impractical and almost impossible to have your car stocked as well as your home you can still include some basics to get you through, food, water, a change of clothes, spare medicine, glasses, cash, etc. The list is something that really needs to be tailored to your specific needs and those of your families and should allow you to make it to some safe location until whatever is happening is over. 


      Shelter in most cases is your home and would be the primary protection from the elements but as previously stated there might be times when you can't get home or your home no longer exists. When something like this happens having an option or two in place can relieve a great deal of stress. Most of us would opt to stay with a close friend of find a hotel or motel but if you are in the middle of a regional event your options may be limited as so much depends one the utilities being up, one limiting factor in you finding a place to stay would be how far you can drive on he fuel you have, no utilities usually means no gasoline flowing from the pumps, some stations have generators but don't depend on it. Keeping your fuel tank as full as possible is a good habit to have.  

     Shelter is one of those things that is dictated to you by several factors, weather and temperature will indicate the level of shelter you will need. Short of a nice air conditioned hotel room heat is best dealt with by staying out of it, find some natural shade such as a tree or hill, even the side of a building will help or under an overpass if it is safe. Water is the key in the heat and the more you have the more comfortable you will be.

     Sheltering for a cold climate can be just as rough as a warm climate and in this case you want to be as warm as you can without sweating as that can kill you. Short of a fire and that nice warm hotel room you do not have clothing in layers is one way to deal with the cold, being out of the wind will also reduce the wind chill factor significantly. Keep in mind as well that being near or on concrete or steal will sap the warmth right out of you, non conducting insulation such as cardboard of tree limbs and brush can be used in this situation. If you have the option of being with your car and the sun is out but it is cold then you can orient your car so it is receiving the maximum amount of solar radiation through the windows as possible. You will be surprised how warm it can get inside. When in cold country with your vehicle you should also store some cold weather gear in it, a couple of blankets can go a long way, how about a small 2 man tent, extra gloves, matches if you do have a chance to start a small fire, again every kit should be tailored to your specific region and weather or social/ political climate. 


     Security, especially personal security  is one of those issues that people have have very strong feelings about, some would not raise a finger to protect themselves under any circumstance and others will spend thousands of dollars on the best self defense instructor they can afford. The bottom line comes down to what you are comfortable with and what level you will take it too. A policeman in most circumstances in nothing more than a historian, they are there after the fact and that may or may not help you, as a victim you do not have the luxury of picking the time or the place of your victimization so it is up to you in how you want to deal with it, there are many option that are both lethal and not lethal but bear in mind that the best weapon is the one between your ears, if something doesn't feel right or look right then trust your gut, avoiding a situation is far better then having to deal with one.  Common sense and looking like a tough target as well as good situational awareness will keep you out of trouble in many cases but not all. Disasters and man-made events bring out the best and the worst of humanity and when you get down to it man and woman is not that far removed  from an animal when things stray beyond the norm. Katrina has shown us all the horrors needed to punctuate how cruel and vile we can turn on each other so plan accordingly.

Final Thoughts

     Please bear in mind that each and every subject here can be greatly expanded upon as well as other supplemental information that has been omitted here for the sake of brevity. Each and every situation as well as the different supplies will vary due to your taste, location or availability. This article is meant to be a very basic primer and it relates to how I would do certain things in certain situations and may not reflect how or what you may or may not be capable of, wow this sounds suspiciously like a disclaimer so on that note I hope you enjoyed the article and you gleaned some useful information out of it and as always your comments are welcome bot good and bad as well as any questions you might have. Please feel free to link to or re-post all or part of this article with proper attribution and a courtesy link back to me. Much appreciated.


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Bug Out Bag (Lite)

     I had a reader here recently ask me what were some of the things to kept in a bug out bag, it is ever changing but here are some of the basics:

  • Water ( also include water purification tablets, or a good water filter )
  • Snacks, munchies, power bars, granola, even a few MRE's ( meals ready to eat )
  • Communications, AM/FM radio, Spare cell phone ( even an older disconnected one will still dial 911 )
  • 2 flashlights.... 2 is one and one is none, have a backup ( make one a wind up type, no batteries needed )
  • Warm clothing, A change of clothes goes a long way to a little comfort
  • Raincoat ( a small tarp comes in handy too and does double duty )
  • A small first aid kit
  • Strike anywhere matches ( add a zip lock to keep them in and also for some dry tinder )
  • Spare medications that you might be on ( rotate these so they don't go bad )
  • Length of rope ( a million and one uses )
  • Spare glasses if necessary
  • A spare hidden debit card with a small amount of money on it or some cash
  • Spare ID or other important documents that can be hidden
     Bear in mind that no 1 kit will ever be the same, they vary wildly due to location, preference, season and many other reasons.

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Cabin Update Lighting FAIL

     As many of you know we have a long term cabin project that we are working on here that will be using energy efficient products as well as a slightly unusual design. Well today I want to give a review on a product that we have been using for our temp lighting:

Westinghouse: Soft White, mini-twist 23 watt
     We  started to expand our lighting to two floors and we picked up a couple of packages of the CFL's to use as temp lighting and at this point I can say they have been an absolute failure 50% of the 8 bulbs we have installed have failed within 8 hours again 50% in 8 hrs, so much for a 10,000 hr lifespan.

     So my recommendation is, DO NOT buy this brand or wattage, I am not sure if this is a bad production run or something else but but out of two packages to have this kind of failure rate is telling me something is wrong. 

For those new members who have not visited the cabin update page yet I have added the link below.
Cabin updates page


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